Basavaraj knocked on the gate at 6.15 in the morning. Not our normal waking up time, but we got up anyway. It was KC’s first day at training school and like any other parent, we were all excited. No lunch box, no water sipper, and no school uniform – just the leash clipped on to his strap and KC was off. We watched him reluctantly walk down the street as he kept looking back wondering what this was all about.
Nearby our house in Koramangala 8th Block was the Police Training ground. Basavaraj lived in the adjoining quarters and besides being a constable on duty, he was also an experienced dog trainer. For 1500 rupees a month, 3 times a week we couldn’t have asked for more.
And KC was quick to pick up. In a few months he was responding to the trainer’s commands. “Roll over” and he’d roll over; “Sit” and he’d sit on his rear; “Lie down” and he’d be full stretch on the floor. Opposite our house was a park with a few benches. The trainer had taught KC to jump over and he did it with the elegance of a trapeze artist.
KC was 8 months old when his training started. But long before that, we’d take him out for long walks around the park, at least 5-6 times a day. This is when he learnt to do all his natural business outside and never inside the house.
His ‘after school’ time was spent playing, eating and sleeping. He was very, very mischievous. My younger son had this habit of leaving his socks in his shoes. KC would sneak into his room, pick up a sock in his mouth and dart under the bed and chew, chew and chew. It was a lesson for all of us never to leave socks around. He had enough toys to play with but his all-time favorite was to chew up plastic bottles.
There were dozens of street dogs in the neighborhood and that kept KC rather busy. None dared wander around our gate. KC would literally fly out of the house and chase the stray away. No encroachment into his territory. First time visitors were in for a rude shock watching those snarling teeth waiting for an opportunity to dig into something fleshy and those loud barks that thundered from the house. In due course he understood who was who and familiar friends were welcomed with a wag of his tail. But, his aggression never waned.
We ensured that his diet was never compromised on. Initially it was milk and milk and then we started him on cornflakes and oats, and at times a piece of mashed banana added to his breakfast. Gradually, and in small doses we got him to eat a rice broth of fresh vegetables, and some mutton soup. We avoided bones since his teeth were still sharp and delicate. Later, as he grew his dinner had lots of flesh and once in a while, a marrow bone to chew on.
KC’s training lasted for one and half years. He was now very strong, extremely athletic, very, very alert, highly obedient and very, very lovable. Whenever he was being discussed his ears would stand erect. He understood every word that was talked in the house.
But there’s just one thing he detested – having a bath!