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Kunsang Chhopel: The Man who trains indigenous dogs in the Dooars

21 January, 2023 08:07:58
Kunsang Chhopel: The Man who trains indigenous dogs in the Dooars

Kunsang Chhopel lives in Nagaland’s Dimapur. He has travelled from Nagaland to a small village situated in Siliguri, to train dogs. These trained dogs are being supplied to different households. They are reaching Nepal, Bhutan, and even Bangladesh. These dogs are trained in a way so that domestic animals do not get scared suddenly and attack others. As a result, these dogs would be domesticable and even friendlier and can even be used by farmers to look after their livestock, especially in the higher mountains where sheep and mountain goats are reared in large numbers.  Every day Kunsang Choppel follows a routine where he helps the dogs exercise and takes them for a walk. He has also arranged some daily activities for them so that they can play and run in the open. These activities ensure that the excessive fat gets burnt out and the dogs remain in shape and stay active. It is also observed that the dogs respond to certain commands, such as they sit down when asked to “sit”, they stand up when asked to “stand up” and they go to sleep when said “sleep”, just like an obedient child does. That’s how Kunsang controls these furry friends and they seem to like him so much that they would listen to whatever he says. Dogs are usually intelligent creatures and can be trained for various purposes. For the first time, the Himalayan breeds are being trained by Kunsang.

There is a small village near the town of Siliguri, to be precise in the Matigara- Pathorghata region called Nehalujot where these special dog training kennels are situated. Kunsang takes routine classes on dogs. In his growing up years in Nagaland’s Dimapur, he came across several canine friends and loved dogs from his childhood. This love for dogs led him to take up the profession of being a special dog trainer. Kunsang and his team have been working in Dolsingpara near Dooars, with different species of dogs, particularly those that are indigenous to the area and can be bred and reared by locals too.

During the lockdown, this profession took a hit as well. Owing to the financial crisis, he had to adopt some dogs. At that time the number of dogs kept in the kennels was 90. That number now stands at 30. Kunsang leaves Dolsingpara and moves to Pathorghata off and on. There he trains different species of dogs such as German Shepherds, Australian breeds, and Tibetan dogs. What’s more interesting is that these dogs are learning to live together in harmony, though they come from different breeds. The dogs train, eat and stay together. When they give birth to puppies, the puppies are also gradually trained. They have become Kunsang’s friends over the years and he feels it is so difficult to part with them when the time arrives.

Kunsang learned the art of training dogs while he was in Nagaland. At first, he also brought foreign breeds. Now, he does not have to bring foreign breeds as there is no longer a need for them or even people are not too keen only on exotic dogs anymore. It has been proved that even Indian breeds are good enough, intelligent, and listen to their masters with due diligence. Hence if trained properly, they can be equally prized. During Covid, many families lost their loved ones. To fill the void, many realized the need to buy puppies and keep dogs as friends at home to tide over depression and anxiety. It seems that no one could win hearts like these dogs trained by Kunsang did. Again many people are afraid and do not love dogs much. But Kunsang Chhopel’s story will give new hope to the millions of people who love dogs and who would like to keep them close to their homes as their best friends.

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