Tall, lean, surly and handsome, Simba stole my heart the minute I saw him. Found in the high mountains of Uttarakhand and Nepal, Bhotia dogs, otherwise known as the Bhutiya, Bhotia, Bhote Kukur or the Himalayan Sheepdog, are powerful and quick dogs, with strong guarding and herding abilities.
Simba was not socialized towards people as a puppy, and was (and still is, but to a lesser extent!) very wary of strangers. For both our comfort, we started our sessions in a neutral space, Lodhi Garden.
We focused on five major aspects of training:
- Recall – It’s the first and most important command your dog needs to learn! I needed Simba’s owner to have a reliable recall over her dog to be able to control him, particularly around new people and in new environments!
- Fetch – A good game of fetch encourages the recall and sharing i.e the ‘drop’, which is a very desirable skill for guarding dogs like Simba. Fetch is exercise and obedience training rolled into one.
- Impulse control – He has an amazing ‘stay’ and ‘leave it’. Recently, the owner tried a 10-15 min Stay in the garden with him!!
- Mental stimulation – No Bhotia is going to be happy with just 2 walks a day. We had to challenge him! In addition to basic obedience, we taught him some simple ‘find it’ exercises. He will be getting walks in different parks, markets and neighbourhoods several times a week so that he can experience new smells, sights!
- Meeting people – Simba is extremely wary of new people. He would make an excellent alert dog but in dense, urban Delhi, we need to raise our pet dogs to be accepting of strangers who enter our home. We have a strict protocol in place to introduce him to new people in a way that is safe for both, the human and the dog, and this protocol needs to be practiced with any new person entering his home.