Priyanshi Singh Shekhawat: the Story behind Canine Culture
- IWB Post
- August 25, 2014
If you pursue your hobby and make it your job, you never have to work a day in your life. Clichés are clichés for a reason. My life story from a passionate dancer to an Economics graduate to a Canine Behaviorist is littered with instances of pursuit for my passion.
I was born to a family which treated dogs like their own kids. There should be little surprise if I tell you that on my trip back from the hospital, right after I was born, I was accompanied by Stephie, a German Shepherd. Once the car pulled into the driveway, there was Bonny, a black Pomeranian, to welcome me into the home. As I grew up, my hobbies changed, my interests varied but my love for dogs was consistent. I became more passionate about them when my father gifted me Marshal, an Alsatian, and Donna, a beautiful black Labrador. There were multiple instances when I was threatened to be thrown out of the house if I did not put the cute, little, cuddly stray which made my heart melt by just looking at it; back to its place. There was credible substance in those threats because our home was always lively by the presence of a minimum of two dogs! I have lived my life with Stephie, Bonny, Marshy, Donna, Johnny (white Pomeranian), Bijli (The stray); and now Angel (Dalmation), Buddy (Pug) and Kia (golden Labrador).
Given the presence of dogs and my training experiments with them, my career choice as a Canine Behaviorist came rather late in life. When I decided to be a Canine Behaviorist, I wanted to prove that my story is not mediocre, that my decision to swim against the tide and not do a run-to-the-mill job was correct.
How I started?
There is only one course for Canine Behavior in India which is accredited by The Kennel Club Accreditation Scheme for Instructors in Dog Training and Canine Behavior in the UK (KCAI). It is conducted by Ms. Shirin Merchant, who is one of the top 5 canine behaviorists in the world. This course is held once a year and as my luck would have it, this year it was to start in March! I was just in time for the application and registration.
About Canine Culture:
I am glad I’ve started Canine Culture, a dog training academy in Jaipur. I have more than ten students (lovable dogs), and still counting. I have done numerous consultations regarding dog’s behavioral issues and right breed to match the character of their owners. I have a Facebook page which is followed by hundreds of people from round the world. Few of my shared videos have got more than 90,000 views – and I got enquires from many dog-lovers! Here, I initiate the new and revised methods of handling a dog with the help of positive reinforcement and loads of love. I strongly oppose the conventional methods like the use of chain collar, prong collar, shock collar and hitting. People have a very common misconception that hyperactive dogs are very mischievous; whereas the fact is that they are any trainer’s dream! Hyperactive dogs are the fastest to learn things. My job is to explain such details like these to pet owners.
My little achievements:
My little furry students could do such distinctive things that no other local trainer could teach a dog. So far, my students have learnt how to open and close the door for you, fetch anything that falls on the floor or you would want them to bring it to you, switch on and off lights for you, hi-fiving, doing math sums, getting you a bottle from the fridge on command and best of all, being the most obedient dog. I am proud!
What I earn?
For my trainings, I charge a premium of 4 to 5 thousand above the market price. My sessions cost 8,000 rupees for 12 sessions in a month. This covers 3 sessions a week of an hour each. I require the pet parent’s participation in my trainings and for them to practice what I had taught the dog.
What is the future of this career in Jaipur?
I am 22 years old and take pride in saying that I am the 1st female Dog-trainer in Jaipur. People in Jaipur take extreme pride in the breeds of their dogs, but very seldom understand the responsibilities which these pedigree dogs come with. There is a wide scope if you want to indulge in this field. And after all, women understand emotions better than men. Agree?
How can you become a successful Dog-trainer?
First and foremost – ask yourself if you really love animals. Can you live among dogs and train them? Once you say Yes, their poop and furs shouldn’t bother you. To handle a dog, you need to give him exercise, discipline and affection. Ready for it?
For certified course, you can go for the course that I did with Shirin Merchant. I paid Rs. 35,000 for a 12 day vigorous course after which we did practical work on our own.
Don’t fear away from taking the path less taken. Everyone has a hidden talent. What is rare is the courage to follow that talent. Just mix determination, discipline and some efforts; and you are good to go. You might need a catalyst but once you start, the journey becomes beautiful and worthwhile!
By Priyanshi Singh Shekhawat,
First Female Dog Trainer of Jaipur