Dogs are home companions, not pets

By: Jose Santino S. Bunachita June 07,2015 - 11:29 AM
The Philippines’ dog whisperer Jojo Isorena explains how to train a dog during his talk in the Summer Dog Fair in SM City Cebu last  May 24. (CONTRIBUTED)

The Philippines’ dog whisperer Jojo Isorena explains how to train a dog during his talk in the Summer Dog Fair in SM City Cebu last May 24. (CONTRIBUTED)

When you get a dog, you don’t just get a pet – you get a whole lifestyle.

This is why there are a lot of things you need to know and make sure before you get yourself a furry little home companion says the Philippines’ “Dog Whisperer” Jojo Isorena.

“This whole lifestyle that goes with getting a dog is a lifestyle of providing for the needs of the dog. A dog isn’t like a fish that you put in your living room and feed every morning and you just watch it.

A dog is a home companion. If you get one, it’s like you brought in another person to you family,” Isorena told Cebu Daily News.

A dog is not just there for you to cuddle with. Isorena says they have special needs like exercise, mental stimulation and training.

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As a new family member, dogs need to know human rules or else he’ll continue being a dog and will become a pest and a problem.

“What he needs to learn when you take him home is how to live properly in a human home. First, you have to teach him where the bathroom is. Second you need to teach him English kasi dogs don’t talk,  eh. They don’t understand English,” he said.

“That’s what training is about. Training is about teaching your dog how to understand human language because it’s not natural for them to talk or to listen. But they can learn quickly. And once they can learn your language, they can understand  what you want them to do, how you expect them to behave.”

In 2009, Isorena founded Better Dog Canine Behavior Center  the first professional training facility in the Philippines that teaches owners how to train their dogs.

He said the usual practice is for the owners to  hire a trainer to train their dog and after the course,  they expect the animal to be in tip-top shape.

But Isorena said this often fails, and there’s a reason why.

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“Very often, it didn’t work. And the reason for that is because dogs are very specific. They are very visual. So if you teach them the word ‘sit down’ and ‘hop’, they’ll associate it with the person telling them,” he explained.

“So if the trainer says ‘sit down,’ ‘come,’ the dog understands. But if the owner tells him to sit down or come, the dog won’t get it because it’s a different picture. They connect the word with the picture that they see,” he added.

Isorena is the only authentic Canine Training and Behavior Specialist in the country. In 2006, he attended the Triple Crown Academy for Professional Dog Trainers in Austin, Texas where he got his certification after graduating.

This was why he established Better Dog to continue educating people.


Isorena said he’s been going around the country doing talks, demonstrations and exhibitions on how to better take care of dogs.

Last May 24, he was in Cebu and gave a talk and demonstration to over a hundred dog owners during the Summer Dog Fair activity organized by SM City Cebu at the Trade Hall.

“That’s why I’m very, very thankful to SM Cebu that they’ve actually opened their doors to pets and have allowed us to do these kinds of events,” Isorena said.

According to Annalee Duran Flores of SM City Cebu, it’s the first time that the mall has hosted a dog fair. She said they plan to hold similar activities every year and, hopefully,  they can host activities like dog agility competitions and other dog sports.

Better Dog is also a member of the Philippine Dog Athletics Association (PDAA) which is an organization of top dog training clubs in the country like those from Cebu, Davao, Bacolod, General Santos, Zamboanga, Subic and Pampanga.

Agility competitions usually involve a sequenced obstacle course where a handler takes a dog through a course, in the right sequence. The one that does the challenge most accurately and in the fastest time wins.

In fact in Cebu, there is a known and well-celebrated dog athlete – and she’s an Asong Pinoy (Aspin) named Amiga.

Amiga was found by Ryan Ong Cabahug in his home in Mandaue City in 2011. He decided to rescue the Aspin and train her in his dog training facility. Since then, Amiga has joined several national dog agility competitions even catching the attention of Isorena.

Isorena’s center is also promoting and highlighting the local Philippine native dog or Aspin which used to be looked down upon by people and called  disparagingly Askal (Asong Kalye). His center has taken some rescued Aspins, usually traumatized, from the Philippine Animal Welfare Society (PAWS) and trains them to the very highest level.

“And I think a lot more trainers are beginning to see the light. They’re beginning to see there’s also value in the Philippine native dog,” he said.

In his talk during the Summer Dog Fair at SM City Cebu, Isorena explained to the owners present, who were mostly regular pet owners and not professional trainers, that dogs belong inside a home.

“A dog is primarily a home companion. We believe that when you get a dog, the dog belongs inside the house. It does not belong outside or in a cage. That’s the most cruel thing to do because a dog is a social animal. This is what people don’t get,” Isorena said.

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“A dog does not like to be alone. A dog likes to be with others, with other dogs or to be with people. In fact, the biggest punishment you can give a dog is to separate him, to put him away, to lock him up by himself. That’s one of the most painful things you can do to a dog.”

Dogs just need to learn the rules because a dog knows how to be a dog.

But do not make the mistake of thinking that training your pet dog can be completed in a week, or a month or even a year.

Isorena says it’s a lifetime of work.

Dogs get excited when seeing other dogs, they jump around and play with each other. So if a dog is untrained and you have a guest that comes into the house, its first instinct will be to jump on the person.

“Unless you teach him not to jump. You have to teach him that when he meets a new person, he has to sit down. He has to accept petting,” Isorena said.

Even people as they grow up continue to learn etiquette and good manners and how to behave socially, he added.

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TAGS: dog, dog whisperer, pets, Philippines, summer dog fair

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