For several citizens of Pune, the stray dogs are a menace. They are accused of barking incessantly at odd hours, dirtying the society premises and chasing vehicles at night…
Little have people realised that these very characteristics can be put to advantage and this is exactly what was done by a progressive housing society in Chennai, South India.
Residents of Agasthiyar Nagar, Villivakkam, Chennai have trained their stray dogs to be their friendly security force to protect their locality from thieves.
According to a report, There were no dogs in the locality three years back. But one or two came in 2015, and a kind resident Meena Vasudevan started feeding them.
They realised that when the dogs were there in the locality the thefts in the area reduced. Hence they got the dogs sterilised and vaccinated.
In this report, Resident, R Venkatasan said, Many bike parts were stolen in the dead of night. Some men would also consume alcohol in front of our homes and it was a nuisance. All these issues have stopped since we adopted the strays. We feel a lot safer. And the dogs are extremely friendly, they haven’t harmed anyone.”
Pune can certainly take a leaf out of this and help reduce the man-animal conflict that this city witnesses.
Pune365 spoke to various citizens and animal lovers on adopting this method to train these strays and use them to secure societies and residential complexes.
Riya Shah, Riyo Paws owner and K9 trainer shares, Strays can be trained, a basic obedience program can be certainly taught to the dog and the dog parent for a really good upbringing and better communication between them.
Approaching any Stray Dog- What You must Know :
Understand the kind of dog that you plan to approach.
If you are not aware of the dogs temperament or personality, consulting a professional dog trainer or behaviourist will help.
If the dog is a happy go lucky pup, go ahead with the basic foundational trainings.
Certain factors to be considered before training –
Personality & their age.
If they are insecure, aggressive or have temperamental issues then such pup’s/dogs will need to socialize. However If your dedications and training concepts are right – nothing can stop the strays from being basic trained.
Senior dogs above 8 to 10 yrs age may be difficult to train. But it isn’t impossible.
Genetics is one factor that needs consideration – may it be a stray or any breed dog when it comes to higher level training like competition work, advanced obedience, guarding work, agility or any purpose specific training.
Strays usually bark/chase people while they are walking because of the interaction people subconsciously make with the strays.
Out of fear, people keep staring the dogs while crossing their ‘territory’.The best way to counter fear is just ignoring the strays while crossing their paths. If you know what kind of dog it is, you can interact if not Just ‘Ignore’.
Another Trainer, Mayur Gade shares, Strays too are like any domesticated dog, just without an owner. So Yes. With little practice & patience, all strays can be trained, regardless of size or age.
In the context of the recent Chennai model of making strays a friendly defence force, it leads to harmony between humans & dogs. Also, dogs always instinctively protect their surroundings (including property & humans) from external threats.
Mayur further shares, “Indie strays are easier to train as they have high energy & instincts, as they have struggled & survived each day since birth.
In fact, I have seen the Chennai model already in place with many societies in Pune.
There are thousands of residential societies in Pune, even if half of them adopt just 1 dog, a huge load on government & NGO’s would be reduced.
Tips to train stray dogs:
Feed the dogs where you would like them to stay
Get the small children familiar with the dogs early on. And teach them to respect boundaries. E.g. not to shout at the dogs or pull the tail or man-handle the puppies(not all dogs like to be picked) etc
Get them vaccinated & neutered
Keep a ‘Dogs inside’ signboard at the society gate for the visitors.
Once the strays are vaccinated and sterilised they pose no harm to humans unless the humans are cruel to them, says Abhijeet Kamra, Pet-sitter.
In my opinion, strays dogs are more intelligent than humans and are great as guard dogs. You need to win their trust, therefore give them good food and slowly start with petting them.
Dogs understand what you speak to them, so training them becomes easy. They sense everything, so they will only barking at the suspicious people.
Sharing an incident Kamra says, “Some months ago a thief had entered the society premises and was planning to rob the society office. Raju, a stray dog was continuously barking till the guard woke up and checked as to why he was barking.
The guard called up everyone in the society, but Raju was the real hero of the story as without him nobody would have been aware of the robbery.
Raju is a stray dog who was brought up in the society itself and few members take care of him and feed him.
He is not even trained for anything, but till date, he has never urinated or pooped in the society premises.
The Chennai initiative must be be adopted in our city, I feel every society in Pune should adopt two dogs and train them. Am sure every society will have one animal lover who can vaccinate the stray regularly. he added.
Dogs are nothing but a boon to mankind and we must do our bit for them, says Preeti Agarwal, Owner of Petville.
Stray dogs are wise, alert and agile! We have heard lot of horrific stories about stray culling in the south of India and on the other hand, there are these heroes in Chennai who are not only feeding them, but training them to guard their society.
These residents observed first hand how the thefts in their area reduced just by the mere presence of the strays.
“We often curse these strays when we see them chasing vehicles, but little have we realised that so many strays are hit mercilessly because of rash driving. This is precisely why they are averse to automobiles that go by fast.
The only mantra is co-exist. Feed them, get them sterilised and let them live as they are meant too, Preeti added.
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