6 habits to learn from the furry guru!

New Year is a time to look back at all the good things in our life and of course plan for the next year. Our pooches make our life beautiful…there’s never a dull moment when they are around. So, this New Year, let’s recollect the good habits we learn from them.

Sridevi with Bruno

Sridevi with Bruno

My pet dog Bruno (a Beagle), who is now five years old, has been with us since he was just 32days old. The five years of life that we have lived with him are undoubtedly the most amazing years ever for us. A lot is always said about the unique and unmatchable companionship that a dog extends to a human’s life. With my five years of experience with my dog, what I wonder apart from being a great companion, how excellent teacher is this living being.

1. Forever young
It is said that you grow younger if you have a dog. The 30-40 minutes’ walk for Bruno, both in the morning and evening is compulsory for Bruno. This has made us more disciplined; he wakes us up in the morning for his walk. If one of us (me and my husband) is already awake, he would go and wake the other person up. Unless not possible, we try that both of us go for a walk along with him. That walk time is so relaxing and playful for us also, we get the fresh air in the morning and exercise in the evening, and we have some fruitful discussions over the walk which gets missed out during the usual times, due to our work schedules mostly. Besides, it keeps us physically fit and younger.

2. Tolerance
We are a nuclear family and both my husband and I go out for our respective works in the morning and come back in the evening like a usual office day.
Bruno is alone at home throughout the day. He has got used to the fact that he has to stay alone at home; I think he somehow knows our routine and the fact that we are going to come back in the evening. The amount of tolerance he shows in understanding us and adapting to our routine is commendable.

3. Unconditional love
The best instance when we get to know about our Bruno’s unconditional love is when we get home from office. One evening, my husband called me from office that he would get late and I didn’t like it since we had planned for the evening much earlier. Bruno waited at the door for more than three hours for my husband and finally when he came home, Bruno pounced on him with much more enthusiasm than usual and it was a grand welcome that brought a BIG smile on my husband’s face. Needless to say, my response was not that happy.
Bruno can sense our emotions like an expert. He can sense when we are happy, angry or sad. At these times he is constantly around us to check if we are fine and communicates his love in a million ways. He will not sleep until we sleep, if we are working late, he will sit with us and not go to sleep in the bedroom.
I love the way he sits outside the kitchen as if he has been waiting for me to make food for him for long. And finally when I give him the food, he finishes it and cleans the entire bowl nicely in the blink of an eye. That very moment is an enormously precious one for me.

4. Pass smiles around
When I walk around with Bruno, I see a lot of people (kids and elders) smiling looking at him, some come closer to pat him; some adore him from a distance. The kids adore him. This 5-10 minutes of joy that he passes into those kids’ lives and those 2-3 seconds of hearty smiles that he brings in people who adore him from their respective places, is unmatchable. There is an unexplainable connection between kids and dogs.

5. patience
When Bruno was small, he used to pounce on me when he knew I was giving him food and had developed a tendency to snatch the food item from my hands. I taught him to sit down if he wants something. It took five minutes for me to teach him ‘to sit’ and this learning he has himself extended. He just sits down if he wants anything, he will just sit and stare at us for all his wants.
The amount of patience he shows is remarkable. Under circumstances especially not in our control, we tend to lose our patience but he has taught me to keep cool and be patient to see things going right ultimately.

6. Be a child
A dog is after all a child who never grows up; you become a child with the dog and remain a child till he is there with you as a companion!
There may be many many more things which we learn from our pooches everyday…let’s all bask in their love and companionship all the year round. Happy New Year!

6 easy steps to make toothbrushing fun

By the time they are three years old, 80 percent of dogs show signs of gum disease, caused by a build up of plaque and tartar on the teeth. Regularly brushing your dog’s teeth is a great way to prevent this problem and help his teeth and gums stay healthy and it can be an enjoyable reward for your dog.

Small breeds in particular are more susceptible to gum disease as they live longer so there is more time for disease to take hold and they have the same number of teeth crowded into a smaller jaw. You need to introduce your dog to toothbrushing very gradually, ensuring that he learns to really enjoy the experience. It is essential to remember to praise and reward your dog for any positive responses. Choose a suitable time and place to carry out this training, for example, when you and your dog have returned from a walk or playing and he has had the chance to release some energy. A quite area that is free from distractions is best.

The necessities

  • Dog toothpaste (never use human toothpaste as this can upset your dog’s stomach).
  • Clean hands and short nails (this is essential for the safety of your dog).
  • A ‘finger’ toothbrush.
  • A pet toothbrush (soft bristles, do not use firm bristles as this can cause damage to the gum tissue).
  • Water.
  • A quiet area, with little or no distractions.
  • Patience!

Steps to introduce toothbrushing

Each of the following stages should last for no longer than five minutes and should be repeated on five separate days before moving on to the next stage. If your dog appears unhappy with any stage then return to the previous stage until he is ok.

Stage 1

The first stage is to introduce your dog to the taste of the toothpaste so that he starts to look forward to his toothbrushing sessions. Wash your hands and smear a small amount of toothpaste on to your index finger. Allow the dog to lick the toothpaste from your finger. Repeat this process for a few minutes rewarding your dog for licking the toothpaste.

Stage 2

The next stage is to get your dog used to having has mouth handled and the feel of something in his mouth. Smear your index finger with toothpaste and then gently slide it into your dog’s mouth letting it glide over the surface of the teeth and gums. Only go as far into the mouth as your dog is comfortable. Re-apply toothpaste to your finger and repeat this process for approx 6- 8 times. Remember to praise and reward your dog for any positive responses. With your other hand start to gently touch your dog’s muzzle and nose, bridging the nose with your hand ensuring your fingers and hand do not interfere with your dog’s eyes. Gently lift your dog’s lips whilst your finger is in the dog’s mouth. Repeat this for the remainder of the session.

Stage 3

Place the finger brush on to your index finger, wet it with water and smear some toothpaste onto the bristles. Let your dog lick the toothpaste from the bristles. This will feel different to him so repeat this a few times allowing him to get used to the feeling. When he is happy to do this, re-apply toothpaste to the bristles and gently slide your finger into your dog’s mouth and allow it to glide over the teeth and gums. With your other hand, bridge your dog’s nose and lift the lips as you slide the finger brush over the teeth and gums. Only go as far as your dog is comfortable and happy and remember to praise all positive responses. Remember to always end the session on a good note.

Stage 4

Wet your dog’s toothbrush with water and smear the bristles with toothpaste and then allow your dog to lick the toothpaste from the bristles to let them get the feel of the bristles. Put some more toothpaste on the brush, bridge your dog’s nose and, lifting the lips, start to gently brush his canines, using an up and downward motion; start with the toothbrush angled towards the gum line and move the brush away from the gum to the tip of the tooth. Finish the session with the finger brush and toothpaste exploring all areas of the teeth and gums.

Stage 5

Your dog should now be happy with having his canines brushed with the toothbrush. You can now move on to cleaning his other teeth. Prepare his toothbrush and paste and start by brushing his canines, as before, using an up and down motion. Slowly move along to the teeth behind the canines using a circular motion, (remember to slightly angle the bristles towards the gum line), and slowly proceed to the back of the mouth. Only go as far as your dog is comfortable and happy with – remember this should be an enjoyable activity for your dog. Concentrate on the top teeth at first and work along both sides of the mouth in turn. When your dog is happy with his top teeth being brushed, start to brush along the bottom row behind the canines, moving towards the back of the mouth (take your time as it is usually more difficult to brush the lower teeth – this is the part of the jaw that moves!).

Stage 6

Providing your dog is happy with having the rest of his teeth brushed you can start to brush his front teeth. Prepare his toothbrush and paste and start by brushing the canines and then move along the teeth behind on both sides of the mouth in turn, brushing top and bottom teeth. Now for the front teeth – with your other hand, carefully bridge your dog’s nose placing your middle finger across the top of the nose. Place your index finger under his nose, ensuring you do not block his nostrils. Place your thumb on the top of your dog’s bottom lip and gently part the lips with your index finger and thumb. This should reveal the front teeth. Gently brush the front teeth using an up and down motion (as for the canines). This may feel quite strange to your dog so you may need to repeat parting the lips a few times before using the toothbrush. Gradually build up the amount of time spent brushing.

When you have repeated Stage 6 several times you should be able to confidently brush your dog’s teeth every day. Remember this should always be an enjoyable experience for your dog.

Sparkling 6 !

As we celebrate the sixth anniversary of Dogs & Pups, we just cannot thank all of you foreditorial your love and trust you have shown us all these years. The bonding has been strong and together we have cherished our four-legged companions.

Another reason to rejoice is that besides our love and care, we can look forward to better medical care. Ramba (a nine months old Boxer) in Chennai met with a road accident which broke his spinal cord but thanks to the Madras Veterinary College where he got a stem cell therapy which helped him walk again. Then,

Tamil Nadu Veterinary and Animal Sciences University has recently started a blood bank–which is the country’s first. Precious K9 lives can thus be saved with timely help. Another welcome and much awaited move is a cardiac centre for pets in Parel (Mumbai) at a hospital run by Bombay Society for the Prevention of Crurelty to Animals (BSPCA). Kudos to the new developments and we hope in times to come there are many more–as the need of the moment is timely health care for our pooches.

There’s more– the Ministry of Environment is now set to regulate the pet shop owners and dog breeders through the Draft Pet Shop Rules and Draft Dog Breeder Rules 2001, proposed under Sub-section (1) of Section 38 of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960. With these draft rules in place, pet shops and breeders will need to obtain a license to keep, breed and sell pets and will have to adhere to certain guidelines with respect to the food, shelter and care to be given to the animals at their pet shops or breeding centres. Hope this helps to eradicate the puppy mills, which we all disapprove.

So, this anniversary is a big celebration for all of us. Sparkle is wagging his tail to all readers and giving a big woof to all his four-legged companions. Love shared–multiplies manifold–thank you for being with us for these 6 wonderful years and many, many more to come!

breed profile

6 sensational breeds of all times

Ravishing Lhasa Apso

Flowing tresses, beautiful expressive eyes…Lhasa Apso has everything a poet wants.breed profile

  1. Small but sturdy: A Lhasa Apso is a small sized dog but is quite sturdy for his size.
  2. Beautiful mane: His dense coat is straight and long. Most popular colours are gold, cream and honey, though multi-colours of brown, grey and black are also found.
  3. Devoted to pet parent: They are friendly but assertive and are affectionate towards their pet parent. They love to obey and please them.
  4. Good watchdog: Don’t go by their size as their keen sense of hearing makes them good watch dogs.
  5. Do well in apartments: They are quite active indoors and are suitable for apartments.
  6. Daily walk and play: They love to walk and play.

(Featured in D&P July-Aug 06 issue)

Cocker Spaniels: a joy breed!

Sensitive and demure, that’s how a Cocker Spaniel is. He is suitable as both a gundog and a pet.

  1. Hair so silky: Cockers have beautiful hair, their silky coat is flat or wavy.
  2. Suitable for all: They are awesome as family pets and also as gundogs. They are gentle with children and elders. They also do well with other pets.
  3. Good with neighbours: They will rarely bark at neighbours and disturb them.
  4. Sweet disposition: They are sweet, gentle and obedient; they are so cheerful that they are a joy to be around.
  5. Good for apartment life: They are quite active indoors and can live in an apartment, given their daily dose of exercise.
  6. Easy maintenance: Their shining coat rules out the myth that long-haired dogs shed a lot of hair. Simply brush and comb to remove dead hair and keep their coats shining all the times.

(Featured in D&P Mar-April 05 issue)

Golden Retrievers: Simply ‘golden’

Beautiful and generous – your best friend for life!

  1. So beautiful: The shiny coat of a Golden Retriever requires regular grooming. Their hair can be cream or golden colour.
  2. Charms to kill: Lovable, charming and intelligent – that’s how a Golden Retriever is.
  3. Easy to train: Love to please, so it is easy to train them for obedience training.
  4. Love to retrieve: They love to play ball and Frisbee.
  5. Adjust to apartment life: Given adequate amount of exercise, they are happy to live in an apartment.
  6. Good watchdogs: They keep strangers at bay.

(Featured in D&P July-Aug 04 issue)

My precious Pug

Good things come in small packages…like a Pug who is small but cute, his dark, melting eyes will make you forget your worries and his happy disposition will spread happiness all around.

  1. Small but muscular: A small dog, Pugs have a charming personality…they are short, muscular and have a shiny coat. And don’t forget their characteristic wrinkled face, which adds to their cute look.
  2. Love to please: They are extremely devoted to their pet parents and love to please them at all times.
  3. Social family dog: They are extremely social and are not a one-person dog.
  4. Daily cleaning: Regular brushing is necessary to remove their shedding hair. They do need daily cleaning of their facial wrinkles and cleaning of their eyes and ears on daily basis is also a must.
  5. Take care in extreme temperatures: Since they are short-nosed, they can become over-heated quickly. Also, they cannot withstand extreme hot and cold temperatures and so should be kept in a suitable temperature at all times.
  6. Exercise for fun and health: They love to play and sensible exercise routine is a must to keep them healthy, fit and fine.

(Featured in D&P May-Jun 05 issue)

Lovable Labs

The most docile, lovable and reliable natured dog – what more can you ask for?

  1. Strong n’ athletic: They are medium-sized dogs but strongly built and athletic.
  2. Weather-resistant coat: Their weather-resistant undercoat provides protection from water, cold, etc.
  3. Great family dogs: Loyal, loving, patient and affectionate – Labs go well with all family members and other pets.
  4. Easy to train: They can be easily trained and they love to please their family. But train them from puppyhood.
  5. Active dogs: An ideal pet for an active family, they love to exercise.
  6. Bathing beauties: They love to play with water and are good swimmers.

(Featured in D&P Sep-Oct 05 issue)

Royal German Shepherds

If you have never loved a GSD, you have missed one of life’s greatest pleasures.

  1. Sturdy looks: A German Shepherds is an epitome of strength and royalty.
  2. Loyalty at its best: Extremely lovable and loyal to their family, they can go to any extent to protect their human pack.
  3. People’s dog: They love human company and cannot live without them but they are wary of strangers.
  4. Trainable breed: They can be easily trained and it is important to train them from puppyhood to avoid aggression and behavioural problems at later stage.
  5. Highly intelligent: They are so intelligent that they can be trained as a police dog, dog for the blind, guard dog, etc.
  6. Exercise a must: They love to be active and need to be exercised regularly.

(Featured in D&P Nov-Dec 05 issue)

6 tips to bring home the pawfect bundle of joy

For many households, bringing home a puppy is an impulse thing. Let’s get a puppy, which breed, the discussion starts and finally the hunt begins and ends in no time. But there is much more to it…

Puppy Care

Akbar & Oscar


  1. Match the puppy with your lifestyle: Each breed is different, not just in size, colour, coat etc, but in their unique traits which enable them to do a particular type of work. You have to see if those traits match your personality and lifestyle. A mismatch is always uncomfortable, more so for the dog. So don’t just go by the looks of the dog, choose the right breed keeping in mind his requirements and yours.
  2. Choose a responsible breeder: If you are going for a pedigree puppy, choose a reputed breeder who has time to talk to you regarding the breed, his needs, the parents and of course the puppy and his care. A responsible breeder will and should also be interested in the person buying the puppy and how he or she plans to keep him and if it will be a good match. The breeder should not just be interested in selling the pup.
  3. Do not just pick up the puppy on impulse: Most people see a litter of adorable pups and choose the one who looks sweet, without even realizing if that puppy is suitable for them or not. In fact, you can determine the personality of a puppy by seeing how he behaves in the litter. For example, an over-confident pup may be a handful for some to handle.
  4. Get him home at the right age: Age does play a vital role in the pup’s/dog’s personality to be developed in the coming months and year. I have been noticing that when pups are taken away at about six or less weeks of age they mostly tend to have some behavioural problems. The right age to get a puppy is at least eight weeks. The reason for this is that the mother and the siblings teach the pup a lot during this time and it is very important for them to be together.
  5. Weaned off: Pick up a pup only when he is weaned off mother’s milk.
  6. Be ready to pay the right price: Another important observation is that generally breeders tend to try and sell their pups as soon as possible. This is because as the pups grow, they need a lot of care and the cost of feeding them can go up quite a bit, especially in giant breeds. At times, this is also heightened by the prospective puppy owners as they want a cheap puppy, so if you cut out the rearing part of the puppy which should be done by the breeder, you can get a cheaper puppy as the cost is then transferred to the new owner. But that is not right. Quality does come for a price and prospective owners should be ready to pay for it as the puppy they buy will generally live for the next 10 plus years with them and hence they should get a mentally sound, pure bred and genetically healthy puppy rather than an unhealthy one who may have problems later on in life, whether medical or behavioural.

Happy hunting!!

(Dinkar Singh has kept Rottweilers for about 20 odd years with occasionally showing and breeding. He has recently introduced the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel for the first time in India. Dogs are his passion and hobby, not his business.)