Independent dogs are cool! Dispelling common myths about them

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Indian “desi” dogs, aka strays or Indie dogs, have always had the wrong side of the stick. Left to fend for themselves on the streets, they often starve to death, suffer from untreated illnesses and injuries, and are at high risk of road accidents.

However, Indies have become very popular with dog lovers across the country in recent years. The change in attitude towards these so-called “oppressed” has led to more of them returning home. During the Covid shutdowns, many animal lovers have adopted and fostered the neighborhood independent dogs they used to feed and care for earlier.

And they soon discovered that Indians are protective, loving, intelligent, strong and adaptable.

No wonder the Indian armed forces, no less, have adopted Indie dogs as army dogs for their intelligence, trainability and stamina. Also, the Indies are not as expensive as the Thoroughbreds.

Some Extraordinary Indies have a significant social media presence with hundreds of followers.

With all of these stellar qualities, you’d think it would be child’s play for an Indie to find a home. However, as times change, most people are reluctant to embrace an Indie due to the many myths surrounding it.

However, we are here to dispel some of the most common lies about Indie dogs that keep people from adopting or even caring for them.

Myth: Independent dogs often get sick

Truth: It’s the toughest breed

“Indians have strong immunity. Like any other breed, they need nutritious food, regular exercise and veterinary checkups that include annual vaccinations and deworming,” said Dr Ajay Satbige, Senior Veterinarian at Wiggles. in, to DH. “Indians rarely suffer from health problems like hip dysplasia, obesity and genetic diseases,”

If you are considering adopting an Indie from a shelter, most of them will be vaccinated. However, if you adopt one off the street, get him vaccinated against ARVs and get a veterinary exam once you bring him home. They live up to 13-16 human years and make excellent companions.

Myth: Indies are hard to train

Truth: smart, quick to grasp and adaptable

Since independent dogs are street smart and a highly intelligent breed, they can quickly adapt to their surroundings. They follow cues from trainers and parents quickly and can understand commands in two to ten different languages. Once they have settled into a safe environment, they can be trained with rewards and positive reinforcement.

Some purebreds like Golden Retrievers, Huskies, and Border Collies may have inherent genetic traits like retrieving, howling, and herding, which can influence their behavior patterns, but Indies can be easily trained in one of these activities.

Myth: Indians need extra care

Truth: Minimal Grooming Needed

Indies have a short, sparse coat that does not require regular haircuts at all. Since they have no undercoat, they do not shed. You will rarely find excess fur in your home. They need a bath every 15-20 days to keep their coat clean.

Myth: Indians are aggressive

Truth: They Make Affectionate Pets

Most first-time dog owners think that independent dogs would behave differently than purebred dogs. This is not the case.

“Indians are alert, energetic and always ready for adventure,” said Dr Satbige. “They are excellent swimmers and love to go on long hikes with their owner/alpha parent as they are used to living in packs.”

(Gurpreet Kaur is a journalist who writes about lifestyle, entertainment and culture)

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