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This Filipino Dog Trainer in Singapore is Living Every Dog Lover’s Dream Career
July 25, 2022
Which domesticated animal only sees the world in blue and yellow? They love to stick by your side and are called man’s best friend. The answer is none other than – the dog!
More than just a pet doing cute tricks, dogs are some of the best companions for humans because they can play various roles such as protector, helper, and lifesaver, among others.
In an article published by the Time Magazine in 2017, dog owners were likely to have longer lives because dogs make good companions to humans – especially those living alone. Dog ownership has been linked to a number of positive health outcomes like reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease and loneliness caused by social isolation, and engaging more in physical activities, among others.
If you have a soft spot in your heart for animals and enjoy spending time with them, becoming a dog trainer is hands down one of the most satisfying professions you can pursue. The Beat Asia got the chance to speak with one of the dog trainers of Sunny Chong Dog Training School in Singapore, Allen Lord Zaragoza Villanueva.
Allen is a Filipino citizen who is currently working as the Operations Manager at Sunny Chong and has been training pups for almost five years. He also underwent different training and online courses and became a kennel attendant until he got promoted.
Allen revealed that he was travelling with his family in Singapore when he received the offer to become a dog trainer in the city-state. As he enjoyed the view of the Lion City while riding inside a cable car, he mulled whether to accept the offer, but decided not to since it was unrelated to the degree he finished.
For him, training dogs is just a passion, but little did he know he could make a living from it.
“The day we went back to the Philippines, I immediately [sent] my CV and a week after, [I flew] back to Singapore, this time not [as a] tourist but a hired employee,” he shared.
When asked about his personal strategy in training dogs, he said that one must build a strong bond first.
“First meeting is crucial, never force a dog to train... Build trust the natural way,” he said.
From there, dog trainers, like him, will put into practice the methods they have acquired through their own specialised training. Dogs enrolled at Sunny Chong will be assessed and rewarded with treats for their desired behaviours. Once they pass the evaluation, they will advance to the next level of learning.
Since its founding in 1998, Sunny Chong has trained more than 40,000 dogs. As a training school, their mission is to inspire more fur parents “to achieve their dog education goals and respond to their needs while building and maintaining their growth.”
The training school follows the syllabus and licenced programmes provided by the Animal & Veterinary Service (AVS).
Located at 54 Kim Keat Road, you can see a two-storey building painted in blue and yellow, which serves as Sunny Chong’s main office and a facility for training dogs. There is also a veterinary clinic just a stone’s throw away from the office building.
Aside from behavioural classes, Sunny Chong also trains dogs on a treadmill to help them build their muscles and increase stamina. The training school has an indoor swimming pool specially designed for dogs for a swimming session guided by experienced trainers.
Sunny Chong Dog offers a day school where pups will undergo a step-by-step guide to remove their “behavioural problems” such as nipping, chewing household items, separation anxiety conditions, and feeling destructive, to name a few.
Other classes offered at the dog school are puppy manners and potty training, obedience training, and off leash training.
Allen shared that training all kinds of dog breeds requires patience, determination, and proven techniques.
As a dog specialist, his advice for pet owners and dog lovers alike is to invest time in them, aside from giving them food and shelter. In a pet dog, humans can have a loyal friend and stress reliever all in one.
“[D]on't let them stress you out. Invest your time, bond with them and everything else will follow,” he added.
Apart from training dogs, Allen also loves to breed organic chickens in the Philippines. He has a Siberian Husky, three aspins (Asong Pinoy), and a two-year-old American Akita, who they rescued when she was just 10 months old. His daughter, on the other hand, is a dog lover herself and owns two dogs – a Labrador and a Golden Retriever.
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