The dog is man’s best friend. This statement has never been truer than in recent years. It has been estimated that in the city of Milan, the ratio is approximately one dog for every eleven residents. But can people, considering the city’s working rhythms, provide all the necessary attention to their four-legged friends?
The mission of “Il Mio Cane” school for dogs
Inevitably, the answer is negative, and therefore they entrust their dogs to dog sitters. The demand is high, so much so that people are being trained to be professional dog sitters. “Il mio cane“ is a school for dogs in Rho and also one of the first to introduce a course for becoming a dog sitter. “The training program that we have structured is highly qualifying both from a theoretical and practical perspective,” explained the school’s head, Eleonora Mentaschi. “The lessons are taught by various instructors to provide a multi-professional approach. It is important for the dog sitter to be able to understand the dog’s needs.” The course lasts for six months, at the end of which the student will receive a certificate that guarantee the acquired skills. The goal is to train well-rounded, aware, and competent new professionals.
Behind the dog’s mind
Bruno is one of the school’s instructors, teaching how to handle the difficulties that can arise when interacting with the animal.
It is important, during dog sitting, to develop communicative and empathetic skills with the dog. Through the study of animal behavior, it is possible to understand the dog’s mind in detail. Then comes the practical aspect. “We work on the skills and competencies that educators and dog sitters must possess. One must know how to handle a dog on a leash, assess the most suitable areas to let them off, avoid conflicts with other dogs, and above all, always have a precise and responsible management of the entrusted animal.” The well-being of the dog must come first. This is one of the school’s mantras.
The student’s difficulties
Bruno also mentioned how difficult it is to make people understand what is behind the dog’s complex mind; it is a world to be discovered and understood thanks to the latest scientific research. Often, students are surprised because their approach to animals is completely transformed. Our four-legged friends have the same basic emotions as us and even some complex secondary emotions. This has completely changed the way we see dogs. Once this aspect is understood, it is possible to train professionals capable of making the difference.
The course is aimed at a various audiences: both professionals in the field who want to expand their knowledge and individuals who want to turn their passion into a job. The latter is the case of Michela, a former criminal lawyer who decided to change her life. What started as a way to better care for her dog, soon became a new profession. Struggling with her previous career, she decided to fully dedicate herself to those animals that have given her love since she was a child. As she confessed, the most challenging part was understanding that for a dog, every gesture, every movement, even the tone of voice, has a specific value. Once she internalized this, everything became easier, and the rest followed naturally. She is a practical example that nowadays, one cannot improvise as a dog sitter.
Study is necessary. Dogs, just like people, differ in both their origins and characters, and it is essential to respect and make them feel unique in order to meet their needs.