We asked professional dog trainers at Worldwide K9 Academy UAE some questions, including what expats must know before becoming a pet owner
28 October 2022| Last updated on 7 November 2022
These true professionals can help young puppies and even teach old dogs a few new tricks.
Dogs are known as "man’s best friend" for a good reason. They provide companionship, security, and unconditional love.
However, dogs need to be trained to behave well, from where to use the bathroom, to behavior and matters, to understanding commands and socialising with other dogs. New pet owners must also be aware of the UAE's rules regarding dogs, which are in place to protect owners, the pets, and the community.
We asked the experts at Worldwide K9 Academy, one of the leading dog training program providers in the UAE, to provide some simple, professional answers for new dog owners and expats looking to bring their pet from another country.
Q. Why is dog training very important for pet owners in the UAE?
"Dog owners, no matter their location, will benefit from a structured training program.
Not only is it important to have the fundamentals taught to your companion; but it is equally important that the owners recognise their pets' needs and limitations. A baseline of training and understanding for both the owner and pet will allow for an easier transition to household living and enjoyment of each other's company for years to come."
Q. Are there different dog training styles? Which do you use at the academy?
"There are many different styles of dog training. Here at Worldwide K9 Academy, our staff has a wealth of knowledge, spanning from different countries and backgrounds. We utilise all the tools and techniques that are available to us to accomplish the mission.
Every canine that we encounter is different, and a specific plan is mapped out for each client. What works for one dog, may not work for another, and that is where our vast knowledge and abilities come into play. The end goal is the same: to have a reliable and confident partner."
Q. How do you decide what each dog needs for training? Do these vary by dog breed or by individual case?
"Each dog is handled on a case by case basis. Initially, we will assess the canine with their owner. We will talk about goals, behaviours, and concerns.
Does the dog have more drive for food, or a toy reward? How long of an internal is the dog in the house before able to go out for a break? Are there other dogs in the home? Has there been any prior issues with aggression or incidents of dog fights? Are there children within the household? Along with the in-person assessment, these are some of the questions we will ask to determine what plan we establish."
Q. If an expat wants to bring their dog to the UAE from their home country, what do you believe the owner(s) shoulder consider first?
"First, anyone wanting to have a dog in the UAE should consider if they have the space, the time and if their surroundings are appropriate for a good quality of life for their pup. One should not rely solely on the presence of a dog park for their pets' exercise/socialization needs.
Second, many breeds are not allowed to be imported into the UAE. American Pitbull Terrier, Cane Corso, Japanese Tosa, are just a few.
Make sure you check the Ministry of Climate Change and Environment website for the complete list. They will also have updated information on import fees, vaccination and microchip requirements, passport, and permit regulations."
Q. What is the most common mistake that new dog owners in the UAE make when adopting a new pet?
"The most common error that people make when adopting a pet is underestimating the amount of time, patience and responsibility that comes with being a pet owner.
Assimilating into a new home is just as stressful for them as it is to you. Their goal is to please you, and they live for our love and affection. Dogs will spend their whole lives with their owner, yet the owner will just spend a small portion of their life with their dog."
Q. What do you find is the best part of dog training?
"I cannot speak for all dog trainers, but I do know that we develop a connection that is more rewarding than one can imagine.
We see them make physical and cognitive breakthroughs due to our dedication and countless hours of work. Knowing that we have bridged the gap for pets and families to coexist is priceless. The joy and excitement that you see in the eyes of a pup who knows he or she has completed a task with success is a very happy, content feeling."
Q. What is the most important thing you wish pet owners understood about dog training?
"Dog training is only as effective as the continued training and positive reinforcement that you provide at home.
If you aren’t communicating properly with your pet or aren’t willing to put in the time for proper practice after the fact, most likely, your relationship between you and your dog will suffer. Trainers can lay the foundational work, but there must be follow through at home, by the pet owners."
Q. Is there such a thing as a 'perfectly trained' dog, or at least somewhere close to it?
"A 'perfectly trained' dog is more of a matter of perception. What is perfect to one, may not suit the needs of another. I think there is always room for improvement in anything. A dog could always sit quicker, or down for a longer time frame. Detect a smaller weight of explosives in a more complex hide. Perfection is in the eye of the beholder."
Q. What are some common UAE pet etiquette rules/laws that new dog owners must know?
"There are rules on vaccinations and in Dubai, dogs should be registered with the municipality.
Each emirate differs, and the best thing to do is to check with your local veterinary clinic in the emirate that one resides in, to make sure they abide by the rules. Some rules will range from you must have your dog on a leash in public, to cases of abandonment/abuse of your pet to be punishable by fines and jail time."
Q. Tips for dog owners on how they can get their pet to behave in a crowd of people and other dogs?
As the UAE’s winter season is coming up, plenty of people will be outdoors, including their pets. Worldwide K9 Academy shares some tips for dog owners who wish to bring their pets outdoors.
Prior exposure to other dogs and scenarios
"This is paramount to your pet's social success. If your pet has never encountered other dogs, don’t drop them off at the dog park expecting them to be on their best behavior. Maybe walk the fence line on the outside of the dog park to see how the interaction goes with a barrier in between the dogs. Try socializing with one dog at a time. Learn to tell the difference between a friendly encounter versus something that may escalate into something not so friendly. Is your dog reacting out of fear, or is he or she just playing?"
Are you going to a dog friendly bistro in the UAE?
"Make sure your dog is comfortable with laying on the ground for an extended period, while people are eating. Also be prepared for those who are not comfortable around dogs. Many people (especially children) have never been exposed to dogs and may not know how to approach accordingly. I personally do not allow others to pet my dog unless they ask first, then I determine if I allow them to approach, based on my dog’s demeanor at that time. You must always think of safety first, to protect your dog and others."
Not sure how your dog will react amongst a crowd?
"Try having a few friends over at a time, at your home; then change your venue to walking with a few friends in public with your dog. Is your dog friendly with children? Don’t chance putting your dog in an uncomfortable situation. You are responsible for learning your dogs’ warning signs and knowing how to de-escalate a situation safely. Be prepared to break up a dog fight. Think ahead, of what might happen, and what you are going to do if it does. Be prepared for the unexpected and know that not every dog owner is going to be as responsible as you are."