Monday, November 10, 2014

Dogdom Kuwait - My Introduction

I had been hearing about Dogdom and a guy named "Khalid" on Facebook and through fellow dog lovers in Kuwait.  I had the opportunity to meet him several months ago during the kick-off meeting for the creation of the Kuwait Kennel Club.  There was a room full of breeders, trainers, and people like me, who generally connect the dots between all.

I had a chance to introduce my new friend, Khalid, to Gill Pirow, a South African dog trainer who is working through Animal Care.  They have similar philosophies regarding dog socialization and training.  I also had the opportunity to introduce Khalid to my friend, Angel, from Dogs Spa Hotel.  Like-minded people with like-minded techniques and a great love of animals.

I walked away from the meeting knowing a little more about Khalid and eager to learn more about how he deals with dogs; since everything I had felt was good energy.  

While away on vacation, I left my dog, Mikey, at Dogs Spa Hotel (which I wrote about previously).  Mikey had the opportunity to socialize with other same-breed dogs; and I learned that Khalid and his golden retriever, Phoebe, had visited one day and got to play with Mikey and the gang (Angel actually sent me a video while I was in the States).

I've seen Khalid a few times here and there (mostly at PetZone which is where his Dogdom group is in partnership with and meets for dog instruction and socialization).  He's usually surrounded by a bunch of people; many big, burly large-breed-dog owners who seem to be hanging on every word Khalid has to say about how to handle their dogs.

This past week, I was very concerned because Mikey had been acting aggressively during a beach gathering for the Kennel Club (mostly large breed dogs, but some small). He barked constantly for 2 hours and was very aggressive to another German Shepherd; a workline female who belongs to my friend and who Mikey has played with.  

LucyFur is generally very aggressive (evil - Lucifer) towards Mikey at the farm and they usually spend about 10 minutes in what appears to be a fierce dog battle with teeth bared and foaming at the mouth.  However, there is never any hard biting and skin has never been broken.  After the 10 minutes, they play like litter mates.  I have heard that this is the norm with many workline German Shepherds.  Mikey is a less-aggressive showline German Shepherd (bred for looks and not heavy work) and he could easily learn the aggression by watching.

At the gathering, I wondered if Mikey was seeking revenge on LucyFur as she was not in her territory.  She was acting very timid and was afraid of the larger dogs; not at all her normal self at the farm.  She was out of her element and has not been socialized.  Mikey initiated this time and struck out at her several times.  I was genuinely concerned (and embarrassed in front of all the other well-behaved-dog owners)

I called Khalid and told him the entire story.  His response was NOT at all what I expected.  "I should work with Lucy to socialize her."  I said, "Why?  Mikey was aggressive and a bigfatbully!"  Khalid went on to explain that as a pack, dogs would always turn on the weakest; especially when Lucy displayed fear; and Mikey was accustomed to her being strong and dominant. He was confused and didn't like it at all.  It was my "aha" doggy moment.  "Mikey was behaving normally, as he should have.  Lucy was not."

Wallah fascinating.

It was interesting because people I knew on the beach that day asked me several times, "Why is he so pissed off?"  He genuinely was having a bad day.  Now I get it.

After Mikey went to obedience school, I have been searching for more training for him.  I have learned that Khalid holds 3-month courses of socialization and behavior.  Their meetings are structured and owners are given exercises to go through with the dogs.  You fill out a membership card at PetZone, pay a fee, and  you can attend the courses (and be invited to the Dogdom beach gatherings - also structured).  

I haven't owned a big dog in many years.  I think I've forgotten some of the language.  I'm looking forward to being re-taught at some of the Dogdom classes!  I'll let you know how it goes.

If you're interested in the Dogdom program, contact:  Khalid Al-Qassem, Canine Behaviour Consultant, mobile:  55508891 or 555556654, e-mail:, and Instagram:  dogdomkuwait.  
Or stop by PetZone in Rai and ask.

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