For Blackface Bandit, going toe to toe with his trainer Arie Raya is all in a day’s work. Drill is the name of the game for the Malinois Belgian Shepherd and Arie, as both went through the finer points of obedience training, like fetching, trotting and pacing.
“A dog’s response to its owner varies with the breed, as in whether it’s a hunting dog, working dog or a watch dog. The chemistry one establishes with a dog begins when they’re puppies, and depends on how we train them,” said Arie, a trainer with the Bandung-based Black Face dog training agency who has been training canines since 2011.
“Usually we can get a read on their character from when they’re about seven weeks old, then we take it from there.”
Arie then showed his versatility with dogs by showing another dog, a female boxer named Berenice, a few moves in protection training. Posing as an intruder, Arie allowed himself to be chased by Berenice, who latched on to a decoy on his arm and wouldn’t let go, until her owner yelled “ Laas ” or let go in the Sundanese language. The demonstration revealed a glimpse into the complications behind dog training.
“There are various phases in dog training, starting with the learning and positive phase when the dog is still a puppy, that includes luring and shaping, as well as the positive with corrective phase when they reach adolescence,” said Arie whose accolades in dog training include placing second at the 2012 Kapolri Cup dog training held by the National Police.
“Then there is the intermittent phase in which we randomly give them commands and rewards, before we get them into the training phase as adult dogs, in which we deal with more firmly or ‘negatively,’ then giving them positive rewards,” he explained.
The dogs then worked their way into their audience’s hearts at Jakarta’s Senayan complex by deftly making their way through an obstacle course. The canines, which included Huhrer the German Shepherd and Gaby the Beagle, made their way through the meandering obstacle course and tunnels with a little help from their owners, who tried to ensure they won’t go astray and get disqualified. Generous rewards awaited them and other canines who managed to finish the course, including a generous amount of Alpo dog food.
The spectacle was part of the ExtraPAWganza, an event held on Sunday by the Nestle Purina PetCare company, whose subsidiaries include pet food manufacturers like Pro Plan, Alpo, Fancy Feast and Friskies.
“The ExtraPAWganza is the first joint event for cats and dogs in Indonesia. Aside from entertaining pet lovers and the general public alike, we aim to educate the public about pet care, so that they will understand their pets and take better care of them,” said Nestle Purina PetCare commercial manager Thomas A. Nugroho.
Strutting their stuff
Aside from involving hundreds of cats and dogs as well as their owners from among the public, dozens of celebrities and their furry friends enlivened the event at Senayan, among them talkshow host and emcee Anya Dwinov and starlets Cici Panda and Tya Ariestya. Aside from competing, the celebrities also shared their tips on grooming their beloved animals.
“Grooming and showering a long-haired cat can take over four hours. It’s important that we leave no stone unturned, including rinsing away the shampoo after they’re done,” said Tya, whose Persian cat Sammy came out on top in the eight- to 12-month class. “Sammy, does well in this type of show. Before, he won best junior award at a show in Bandung,” Tya added.“He and his fellow Persian Rembulan are accustomed to these types of events, as the noise and crowds doesn’t faze them.”
The same can’t be said of Bonnie, a five-month-old tabby Persian who dealt with the spectacle around her by dozing off. “Bonnie still feels awkward and is perhaps stressed out, because she’s not usually like this,” said her owner, Dian Mariani, who hails from Tangerang. “Usually she’d be active and playful at home. I guess the crowds, noise and travel from Tangerang to here on a motorbike was too much for her.”
The two are among hundreds of cats who participated in the feline beauty contest which were held in the pedigree and non-pedigree classes, and further divided between the junior four to eight month category, as well as the senior eight- to 12-month category.
Persians predominated the former class, though a ten month old Maine Coon named Kitty competed alongside them. Tya Agestya’s furry friends did particularly well, as Rembulan and Sammy won top awards in the four- to eight-month and eight- to 12-month categories respectively, garnering over Rp 1.4 million in winnings between them.
But it wasn’t all about preening, grooming and looking good, least of all for Cacang Effendi of the Sukses Beternak Kucing Ras or the Success in Breeding Pedigree Cats group, who shared his know-how during the cat talkshow.
“The flatter a Persian’s nose is, the higher its pedigree. This would entail more care for them, particularly their long fur,” he said. “Among the steps I would recommend are clipping the fur around their paws to keep them from hurting when they walk, as well as around the ears to emphasize their natural shape.”
He further pointed out that when giving baths, one should also emphasize removing fat from the tail of male cats, otherwise it attracts fungus.
Spreading a sense of mission
Aside from owners and their furry friends out to have their day in the sun, animal groups also came out to enliven the ExtraPAWganza. They include groups like PERKIN, CFA, and Peduli Kucing or Caring for Cats, as well as Animal Defenders, while the Jakarta Animal Clinic also came out to offer free consultation.
Perhaps the most poignant stealer of the show was the Yayasan Peduli Kucing, or Cat Caring Society, who shared their book “ Berbagi Kisah Terindah Bersama ‘Si Meong’ ” [Sharing Beautiful Tales With Meow] with fellow pet lovers at the venue.
“We received more than 200 tales of animal rescue after we issued a call to the public to share their experiences. Out of that number, we chose 35 tales,” said Kori, who edited the book along with her colleagues Mariati and Yanti.
“Choosing the stories was particularly hard, as all of them were affecting in their own way. Among those who participated was best-selling Indonesian author Clara Ng, who is also a noted animal rights activist.”
The trio also encouraged those who submitted their stories in the book to share it with the audience.
Among them is the owner of a three-legged half Persian cat named Bima, who was found dying in Bogor and nursed back to health. The tale struck a chord with the audience, as it did with other animal lovers who read the book or Yayasan Peduli Kucing’s 7,500-strong Facebook page.
“I can’t say just yet how many copies we sold, since the book has only been on sale for a month and a half. But its already sold on Amazon and published as an e-book. That’s quite phenomenal, considering that most bestselling books take three months before they’re released as an e-book,” Kori said.
She added that royalties from sales of the book will go to Yayasan Peduli Kucing, including its various projects on behalf of cats.
Originally published in The Jakarta Globe on December 19, 2013