About Me

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Mumbai, India
I'm a landrace dog fancier. Founder of the INDog Project (www.indog.co.in) and the INDog Club. Before that, I worked with urban free-ranging dogs of Mumbai from 1993-2007. Also a spider enthusiast and amateur arachnologist.

This blog is for aboriginal dog enthusiasts. It is part of the INDog Project www.indog.co.in. Only INDogs (Indian Pariah Dog) and INDog-mixes (Indies) 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 landrace village dog of the Indian subcontinent. I sometimes feature other landrace breeds too. Also see padsociety.org

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Tommy in Devon: rosettes and training!

Far far away from the street where he was born, Tommy roams the quiet Devon countryside, winning hearts and rosettes wherever he goes.

Monique sent all his recent news!

To read all his earlier posts, follow the links in this story, and this.

'It has been a hectic summer with lots of competitions and training.

To promote the book, I entered Tommy in Novelty Dog Shows in all kinds of different classes.

When he didn't win 'Most Beautiful Eyes' (he came second), I got very upset! Strangely enough, as much as people here love meeting Tommy and think he is so handsome, and always ask if he is a fox or a dingo, and love hearing about coming from India, the judges were never impressed in the 'most beautiful dog' classes. It was always a cockapoo (hybrid between a poodle and a cocker spaniel, very fluffy dogs) that won.

At one show I decided to skip the beauty classes and enter him in 'best rescue'.

It was a big agricultural show and there were 15 dogs in the class. You have to tell the dog's story to the judge and they decide on what happened to the dog and how well he has done after being rescued.

She stood there looking at the group for a long time, and then said 'It has to be you' and walked up to us! We won! Finally!

And then we went to the next county, in Dorset, and won again! This time 'Best Family Dog' and a bunch of other 2nd and 3rd places. 

And again and again! 3 'Best Rescue' in total. The biggest class had 20 dogs and by winning we were qualified for a very big show organized by a famous English actor called Martin Clunes. It was pouring with rain, and we didn't win, but we did meet the actor and he loved Tommy.

I was also thinking of doing another season of obedience competitions, but the dog training school we ended up in was not a competition-based one, it was a behavioural one and the teacher was so interesting that I decided to skip the competitions and use these months to learn more. 

However we did the English Good Canine Citizen test, which we also did in the USA. It was quite different here. A friend of mine who recently moved from Goa to Devon came along for the test, as she was the one who helped me get Tommy ready for his big trip when he left India.

Since in the USA you must walk your dog most of the time on a leash, all the exercises were leash-based and walk-based. It was very strict and quite tough.

Here in the English country side, a few had left their leashes at home. The judge was 'very English' - it was almost out of a movie, but all very calm and relaxed. 

We did two tests on the same day. Bronze and Silver (there was no time to do the Gold; next year!)

One of the exercises was 'play with your dog' - to show that you have a good relationship with each other. 

I said 'Tommy doesn't play'. 

The judge stopped. All the other dogs stopped playing with their toys and balls. 

'What do you mean he doesn't play?'

'He plays with me or chases squirrels or rabbits.'

She looked on as Tommy started playing with me as if I was his toy, and that was enough. I had to explain though, that on the streets of India you don't have tennis balls and teddy bears. 'Aha! Oh dear!' with a look that implied animal cruelty!

But she was mighty impressed with his stops, sit, come and other obedience exercises. She also liked when we had the oral exam that she was holding food in her hands and he just sat patiently without begging. 'Indeed very well-behaved!'

Tommy passed with flying colours and again showed a new part of the world how amazing INDogs and Indies are!

The dog school we went to for three months is based on a system that was new to me.

An example is when the dog is on the leash,and growls at another dog, to have a command (we had 'look at!' with a high-pitched tone). So, let the dog look at the other dog, and then say the command, and as soon as the dog turns away from the other dog and looks at you, you give them a treat.

Non-confrontational. It was very interesting, everything was based on quietness and removing any type of stressful behaviour. It was so nice to be in an environment with a professional trainer that was so calm and in tune with what is best for the dog, not the owner.

Quite a few times I was baffled by this trainer, who defended the dog, in situations where other people might have just dismissed the behaviour.

Towards the end of the classes Tommy used to be so relaxed he would fall asleep, which was quite funny. Once I had friends with me visiting from London and I really wanted to impress them.

We had to do the exercise where the dog runs to you and you tell them to stop half way.

I did, but instead of stopping Tommy looked at his blanket and went back to bed!

It has been some pretty amazing six months here in the UK. Tommy never walks with a leash and most dogs are friendly and calm. The parks and walks are fantastic. We can't wait to come back. However it is starting to get cold now and it's time for Tommy and me to head to warmer climes...

Story and photos: Monique G Nerman

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Jan Palmer said...

Absolutely excellent !

Anonymous said...

God bless u both