Dog owners in Saba had the opportunity on Saturday to participate in a dog training session provided by Jazmine “Jaz” Vergara. A group of Saban dog owners turned up for the meet-and-greet, and were elated with the tips to keep a happy, healthy and loyal dog.
Vergara, who works as a volunteer at El Momo Hotel until mid-September, is a certified dog trainer. Also present at the event were veterinarian Eva de Vries of Saba Veterinary Consultancy, and Saba Foundation for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SFPCA) board members Evette Peterson and Yamila Bulos.
De Vries was very positive about the initiative. “Dog training is necessary for the happiness of the dogs and their owners. Dogs are happy when they know boundaries. And, the younger you begin with the training of a puppy, the easier it is,” she said.
Vergara confirmed this. “Dogs are happier when they are trained. It is recommendable for the entire family to be involved; otherwise, you won’t be able to train your dog.”
Vergara said it had been an interesting and fun experience. “Some dog owners only needed little advice as their dogs were already behaving really well. I noticed that a lot of dogs were full of energy. It’s important to help the dogs in channelling that energy by taking them for long walks.”
SFPCA Chairperson Peterson and Secretary Bulos explained that a trained dog was less aggressive and listened better. “Often people get a dog because they see a puppy that looks cute. However, these puppies turn into powerful dogs that you can’t handle if you don’t train them.”
Pit bulls and rottweilers, for example, are very loyal and intelligent dogs, said Peterson and Bulos. “A lot of people don’t know that, because they see and hear about the aggression in these breeds. The key is to be able to train and control them.” They said it was also good for dogs to know that the human is the leader of the pack, and that training can help both the dog and the owner with this.
Peterson and Bulos called the meet-and-greet with Vergara a “great initiative” which “deserves a follow-up.” They said SFPCA would look into options for organising dog training sessions on a regular basis; for example, with a trainer from St. Maarten.
SFPCA has had a spay and neuter programme in place for many years. In Saba, people can sterilise their pet for free via Saba Veterinary Consultancy. It is also financially attractive to have a sterilised pet, as the yearly animal tax is only US $10. Owners of non-sterilised pets pay US $100 per year. Having sterilised pets means a manageable pet community on the island without neglected stray animals that keep multiplying.
Saba Veterinary Consultancy has a walk-in consultation hour at the agricultural station every Monday from 5:30 to 7:00pm. Appointments can be made via tel. +599-416-7131. The vet is off-island from August 15 until September 6. People can schedule a private consult with Vergara for tailored advice for their dog. She can be reached via her email email@example.com or via phone by calling El Momo: +599-416-2265.
The Daily Herald.