Meet The SHEROES: Shirin Merchant, Canine Trainer And Behaviourist
I’ve been working as a canine trainer and behaviourist for the past 20 years. I was born into a family that has always been passionate about dogs. So, getting into a profession where I can work with dogs and help them was natural for me.
I studied in Queen Mary School and St. Xavier's College. I met my mentor, the world-renowned canine behaviourist John Rogerson, in 1995, when he was in India to conduct a training workshop, and was fascinated with the work he did. He invited me to study under him in England. Since then, it has been an exciting journey into the world of canines.
Entering a male-dominated field and breaking the barriers
(Also Read - Status Of Indian Women In The 21st Century)
When I started off, it was primarily a male-dominated field; so I had to work hard to break the barriers and get the country to accept that women can be excellent dog trainers and are very capable at the job.
Now, in my courses, there are more women who choose this profession than men and people accept them readily.
Like playing with dogs? Not enough!
Many people think that working in this field would mean long hours of playing with dogs. Honestly, training the dogs is the easy part; you also have to spend hours working with pet parents. So if you don't really like working with people, you need to rethink this profession.
My day starts at 6:30 am when I get the kids ready for school. Once they leave, my work begins: Consultations with pet parents who have problems with their dogs, and conducting training and behaviour courses.
This is followed by training dogs for special needs such as assistance dogs for physically challenged people.
Once my kids are home, my time is dedicated to them.
Dogs are like children--they need our time and effort
So, you stay in a city and want to get a dog? Ask yourself how much time you can spend with them. If you don't have the time, you shouldn't keep a dog at home. Dogs are like children-- they need our time and effort to help them become well-mannered and happy individuals.
Expanding to videos and online/offline help across borders
My work is expanding into videos and courses that are now in demand across Asia. I often work late into the night as there are many people writing to me from around the world asking for help.
I thoroughly enjoy my work helping dogs and pet parents; it gives me the chance to help dogs that would otherwise be abandoned or euthanized.
You can Also Join the SHEROES Pets Community.