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The Rangarajans have an unusual business - they train dogs for a number of specific security related tasks.

In the crime ridden, trigger-happy environment today, the day is not far when proper security will play a more prominent role in everyday life. The Woodstock Dog Training School, Chennai run by Rajee and her husband Rangarajan, is one of the few schools in India, today, that trains dogs for a number of specific security related purposes. Located on Mahabalipuram road, this unique training school trains dogs not only for domestic's security but also as snuffers - for detecting narcotics, for patrolling in industrial areas and guarding

Petrol pumps or even a van carrying hard cash!

The specialized training is done by Rangarajan himself, whereas all the administrative work is handled by Rajee. The training school is equipped with 'trained helpers' who are familiar with the programmed, up to a point. "My helpers are very skilful and have a good understanding with the dogs," says Rangarajan. "This is very important, for, while monitoring the immediate needs of the dogs a continuity has to be maintained in the training process. The voice modulation, the way to hold the lead all contribute to the communication process."

Elementary instructions like 'walk' and 'sit' are very basic commands. With dogs becoming a vital part of the security system, training is getting more advanced and specific to a situation or need. Rangarajan says, "In any case dogs are more capable than human beings both in their hearing and sniffing capabilities as well as in their sensitivity to external stimuli."

Rajee visits the training centre almost everyday, keeping a close watch on the development of each animal - this includes the elaborate grooming and general care that goes behind every one of the dogs.

Very often the dogs are being trained especially for a specific company and for a specific purpose. Rajee says, "We keep a record of all the dogs admitted. The rafter periodic reports are submitted on the dog's progress. We note how many classes the dog has covered, what exercise he has done and what has been the progress in these sessions. A monthly report is definitely submitted to the company and while delivering the dog we give a consolidated report."

Do dogs instinctively understand what is required of them or is there a 'dog language'? How does one communicate with a dog?" it depends on the dog's psychology" says Rangarajan. "Dogs do not under-stand any language, contrary to what many people believe. The association of ideas and the power to remember that is the key to a dog's intelligence. He can make a connection with a sound or a tone. Basically one exploits the inborn characteristic wherein a dog wants to please man - the leader of his pack!

"The training itself requires immense patience. Constant persuasion is required with firm repetition of the same word and action till you get the desired result." Rangarajan is totally against punishing a dog harshly as it does not bring about any permanent solutions. He says, "The dog can turn fearful, sly or become unstable." These things are communicated faster through telepathy or sweat - after all the animal instinct still exits beneath the sophisticated exterior. More important, the dog constantly communicates, you can make out by the expression in his eyes - the dog can also smile or just roll in sheer happiness."

At present Rangarajan is training dogs to guard petrol pumps, lonely farmhouses and industrial godowns besides a host of other security areas. Lucas-TVS and TI cycles are a few business houses that have opted to introduce dogs in their security systems. The dogs warn of any impending danger, act as a deterrent and are protective of person and property. A good security dog will have a sound temperament, character, a good physique and strong senses.

The Woodstock kennels have housed several breeds of pedigreed dogs that have been show champions. It has indeed been a dream come true for the Rangarajans, as Rajee says, "My husband always had a passion for training dogs. Even before he had this school, early in our marriage, he used to talk of it and dream of it. Earlier he used to train dogs on a part-time basis. When he took it up full time I had my apprehensions, but not for long. Today it has grown from strength to strength and has become our joint endeavor, our common dream."

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