‘Before Owning A Pet, Find Out The Breed’s Requirements’

Vishal Mishra, an avid dog lover in Lucknow, says many pet owners keep big, aggressive dogs as trophies, without knowing about their needs for space, love and physical activity

The shocking incident of a Pit Bull mauling its owner in Lucknow recently, and the resulting media coverage, had at least a few positive outcomes. One, pet owners are now trying to find more about the needs of their pets and; two, municipal officials have become more watchful in inspection of pet licenses in the city. However, most pet owners still remain ignorant about the wellbeing of their dogs. Let me offer my two bits.

Keeping high-end dog breeds, often imported ones, has always been a status symbol among Indians. However, with the arrival of social media, everybody now wants a pet so they can regularly boast about their possessions like a trophy. It matters little to the owner if he has adequate space and time for the breed that he has brought home.

The most important point, according to the requirements of a specific breed, is the space for a dog. A large dog which has guarding or hunting features, is unsuitable to be kept in a small living space. Also, every dog needs its own physical activity (including mating) which will enable it to live its full life and capacity. A dog also requires playful company, care and time of its owner. Another important thing is to adopt the dog at its prescribed age so that it can adopt its new family well.

Most dog owners, who buy pets more as a prize-cup than a family member, fail on all these counts. Often, large, aggressive dogs are kept in small apartments, with insufficient physical activity and veterinary care (like deworming, vaccination). I personally know people who live with a family of four in a 1200 sqft housing unit but keep a pet the size of a Siberian Husky.

ALSO READ: ‘Don’t Judge A Pit Bull By One Stray Incident’

If any living being is not getting the minimum required space and movement, it will surely affect its mental health and may bring drastic or dangerous changes in its behavior. This is what possibly happened in the case Pit Bull.

Many owners barely have the time for their pets, other than walking the dog once in a day to answer nature’s call. This is sheer cruelty. I have three pets, two Labradors and one mongrel. I ensure that besides having ample playful time with them, I tend to their medical needs, besides yearly renewal of their licenses.

Recently, a team of municipal officials came to our housing society and besides mandating the license, it requested pet owners to take help of professional trainer for guidance. However, as far as I have experienced, if you provide the basic amenities to a dog like space, physical activity, attention and partner, you do not need a formal trainer.

Pitbull, Doberman, Boxer, German Shepherds etc. may help their owners get attention or awe, but improper bringing up of these powerful dogs can pose a serious threat to people’s lives too. Dogs should not be treated as a trophy to show off but as a partner and member of your family.

As told to Rajat Rai

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