About Me

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Mumbai, India
I'm a landrace dog fancier, birder and amateur arachnologist. Founder of the INDog Project (www.indog.co.in) and the INDog Club. Before that, worked with urban free-ranging dogs of Mumbai from 1993-2007. Also a wildlife conservationist working in the tiger reserves of central India with Satpuda Foundation.

This blog is for aboriginal breed enthusiasts. It is part of the INDog Project www.indog.co.in. Only INDogs (Indian Pariah) and INDog-mix mongrels are featured here. The two are NOT the same, do please read the text on the right to understand the difference. Our aim: to create awareness about the primitive natural breed called the Indian Pariah Dog/INDog. I sometimes feature other landrace breeds too.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

"Pi-dogs can't be trained...can they?"

It's half a century since the sun set on the British Empire. But in our country many colonial leftovers still remain, and I'm not talking about the High Court building or Victoria Memorial. I mean that large segment of people who still believe that only European breeds can be trained and disciplined, and that desi dogs are "wild." Yes!!! I've actually heard some people referring to INDogs/INDog-mixes as wild dogs!

This kind of attitude was common in my mother's generation (she's in her mid-70s) and surprisingly is still around today.

We Indi owners know that our dogs can be beautifully trained if we bother to train them. But perhaps we need to demonstrate that to the Fossils Of The Raj (any of you Fossils reading this blog? Nah, perhaps not).

So here's a demonstration, courtesy Sourabh Edwankar who clicked this picture and posted it in an e-group I belong to. It was taken at the IDA shelter in Mumbai.

From Sourabh's message:

"I had the good fortune to be at IDA (In Defense of Animals) today evening and witness the feeding schedule. I had reached there unannounced as I had some work in the area.

Krishna of IDA showed me the procedure...

The food was laid out in bowls (approximately 120 bowls). The dogs were disciplined like cadets and stood patiently for the roll call. As soon as the boys shouted for them in unison an amazing sight unfolded right in front of our eyes. A hundred dogs descended on the bowls of food (one to each bowl) and happily chomped away.

The food is dal and rice with some chicken legs. The smart and old residents selectively find the chicken legs from the bowls!

I was amazed at the discipline and the understanding of the signals. It was a truly amazing sight and needs to be shared among animal lovers."

Thanks Sourabh!

Years ago when I worked in WSD, the shelter dogs had been trained to feed exactly in this manner by two excellent wardboys, Hari Doraisamy and Ravi. Chance visitors would watch admiringly as over 100 dogs stood in queue and never jumped the line. No growls, no fights, no pushing and shoving.

Footnote: In concert intervals at the NCPA, struggling to reach the snacks counter but getting badly pushed about by the crowd, I would often wish the audience had been as well-behaved as the kennel dogs. Now I know what they need, all those diamond-and-chiffon clad Chopin fans: a little training from Hari, Ravi and Krishna.

Photo: Sourabh Edwankar (posted here with permission)
Taken at In Defence of Animals (IDA), Mumbai


Deeps said...

you bet! our four legged pals are better than us!

doggylove said...

hi all! yes , its an amazing site to watch so many dogs eating from their own bowl, without disturbing fellows around. when i feed street dogs(its a custom now for over more than 4 yrs), i have noticed different nature of dogs, one dog sheru is boisterous, right from his puppyhood, he must be 5 yrs old by now, but his habit of jumping on me, even before i keep the bowls on the ground, rushing unscaringly into neighbouring dogs bowl, remains the same.first i used to think, he does so as he feels insecured abt food, but i feed them all regularly, others eat solely from their bowls though!!some dogs will first sniff out the curry pieces and eat them first, if the proportion of rice is more to that of chicken, some customised dogs, show 'i dont care attitude', look at me and turn their back!my pets, i have seen this habit of chinky: she first watches if tommy is eating his food, only then she starts to eat her food? sooo caring? she doesnt eat if tommy doesnt eat, this has happened on 2 occassions!

June said...

this is so cool! Imagine how much better they could get with attention and some training.

Sunil Kambrath said...

good one, thanks

pawan said...

I to have indi dog(Puppy)as pet.....even I was also told by friends to buy a pedigree dog.....but I choose to go ahead with our street pup... and till date I don’t have any problem with him.... he respond to sit, sleep, no... And various other commands...he never jumps for his food. Some time to check his obedience we order him not to eat and he patiently wait for our order.... every one at our home adore him…. Most favorable part of our house for him is kitchen…. He simply love to stay in there and just watch every one….three thing he loves to eat are Tomato, Marie Biscuits, Mango (Alfonso), you cant hide mango from him… his nose become active as soon as some one try to eat mango……..this is one time when he disobey …. But we love him the way he start searching and smelling every….. We simply love him for his innocence and obedience…. People don’t believe that is stray dog from our own neighborhood street…..

Rajashree Khalap said...

Great to hear from another Indi owner Pawan. Why not email me snaps of your dog, I'd love to share them in the blog. My email: rajashree DOT khalap AT gmail DOT com

Prasanth said...

I love pariah dogs and other stray dogs.I have a pomeranian/pariah mix.I will never ever buy a pedigreed dog because these dogs love you the same way the costlier ones do.I always wanted to help out these poor stray dogs by giving food but i couldn't help them because i live in a crowded place where i cant find a place to give food to them.
Hats off to you guys who are helping these poor animals.God bless.

East Meets West: The Adventurous Housewife said...

Whoever says that Indogs are not smart or trainable... has never taken the time to try! When we got Rex from Red Paws Rescue he had been a street puppy. After being shipped all the way here to the US I was amazed at how quickly he learned. Things that took my others US bred dogs weeks to master.. he learned and more importantly remembered everything with in mins. Rex is currently at a training center and the trainer thinks he will master everything within two weeks. He has trained another INdog and said that dog learned much faster than the ave dog as well. Look at it this way: Street dogs MUST be smart, learn and remember quickly, and be fast on their feet and healthy... otherwise... its natural selection at work. The result are smart, generally healthy and easy to train dogs! And lets not forget cute ;) They sure do know how to beg better than ANY other dog ive ever had... lol Whos the smart one?! The dog who can get your food right off your plate with a single look? Or the person who cant seem to resist... "the look" ;)

Rajashree Khalap said...

Oh glad to hear Rex is all settled with you now! Does he still spin round and round like a top? Do send his pics for the blog when you have the time - my email is rajashree.khalap@gmail.com You are quite right about street dogs needing to be smart and quick learners. They can't afford to be anything less.

Anonymous said...

Hi there, I have two Pi/pariah dogs from Thailand. These are similar to the Indian Pi/pariah dog no? I am glad someone finally is starting to write about this ancient dog that is far superiour to the manufactured "pure breed" dogs of the Western world. Thank you for your effort.


Vikram Karve said...

Of course INDogs can be trained - on fact they are more intelligent and responsive than so-called pure breeds.

Anonymous said...

Hey, happy to see so many indie lovers, I adopted two indie male babies 3days back and i got to know from their surroundings that they might be are a month and a half old, i just need to know at what age i should start training them and how long they will take to understand their names, however i had heard and read about them that they are highly intelligent and can be trained easily. I also wanna know what kind of commands they can adapt, only few or anything like helping in carrying stuffs to opening a door etc..
Regards Impy singh

Anonymous said...

Exactly!There's no other dog breed more pure than a Pariah.Infact it's the ancestor of Dingo and these people have the guts to call other dogs as pure.Over 15000 yrs old breed.lol! People these days.

Adithya Sharma said...

You are World's real heroes..:-).. i Love you people...