Doggy busi­ness

Dog train­ing cen­tre. his own pro­fes­sional his dream of hav­ing a 19-year-old re­alises

The Star Malaysia - Star2 - - R.AGE - By CLARISSA SAY

DAVE Teoh is the kind of 19-year-old who forces you to look back and re­con­sider all your life choices. At 19, he’s al­ready a cer­ti­fied dog trainer, a li­censed pri­vate pi­lot, a di­ploma stu­dent at Sun­way Col­lege and now, a (young) man who has made his dreams a re­al­ity.

When R.AGE last spoke to him a year ago, Teoh had been toss­ing around the idea of pos­si­bly one day open­ing up his very own ca­nine train­ing cen­tre, just like his men­tor and third­gen­er­a­tion dog trainer Juer­gen Knobel from Ger­many.

Lit­tle did he know that those dreams would be­come re­al­ity so much sooner than he orig­i­nally thought.

To­day, Teoh is the proud and am­bi­tious man­ag­ing di­rec­tor of Knine, a pro­fes­sional dog train­ing academy, along­side his part­ner Poven Ku­mare­san.

Teoh’s life story so far is less of a lin­ear up­ward pro­gres­sion, and more of a young boy’s ob­ses­sion with dogs com­ing full cir­cle.

Even dur­ing child­hood, Teoh found him­self sur­rounded by dogs of all shapes and sizes.

He grew up with three Ger­man Shep­herds which he ded­i­cated his time to train­ing and lov­ing.

Whilst other boys his age were wor­ry­ing about girls and grades, Teoh found him­self try­ing to find a way to com­bine his love for dogs with a fi­nan­cially sus­tain­able ca­reer. Thus, the first seeds for Knine were sown.

“I love han­dling ag­gres­sive dogs,” he said dur­ing the small launch­ing event he held last week. “I love be­ing able to train them, work with them and dis­ci­pline them.”

Ac­cord­ing to Teoh, work­ing with dogs will al­ways be ten times bet­ter than work­ing with people.

“Dogs are the most loyal, un­der­stand­ing, obe­di­ent com­pan­ions we can have,” he said while smil­ing fondly.

And no one agrees with him more than

Good boy!: Poven, his man­ag­ing part­ner in Knine. The two met at a ken­nel one day and hit it off in­stantly. To­gether, they be­gan brain­storm­ing ideas for a train­ing academy – a place where pri­vate own­ers and se­cu­rity com­pa­nies could send their dogs in for obe­di­ence and pro­tec­tion train­ing.

With funds from dog food brand Eukanuba, their dream slowly be­gan to un­fold into re­al­ity.

The 32-year-old Poven looks more like a big brother to Teoh than just a friend. He lets Teoh an­swer most of the ques­tions, lets him take cen­tre stage dur­ing their dog demon­stra- tion drills, and is con­tent to spend his hol­i­days at home, sur­rounded by his dogs.

“I get anx­ious if I’m away from them for too long,” he said. “It doesn’t mat­ter where I am, as long as I am with my dogs.”

Poven’s dreams are sim­ple – he wants to one day be able to live com­fort­ably by the coun­try­side, sur­rounded by dogs.

Poven car­ries a gen­tle air about him that com­ple­ments Teoh’s youth­ful ex­u­ber­ance. Even their re­la­tion­ships with dogs are dif­fer­ent. Whilst Teoh sees his dogs as his best and most trust­wor­thy per­sonal body­guards, Poven treats them as part of his fam­ily.

Dur­ing the demon­stra­tion drills they per- formed at the launch, you could see a quiet sort of con­nec­tion be­tween the two men, sec­onds be­fore Teoh cracks his whip and the dog comes fly­ing to­wards him, in­tent on tak­ing a chunk out of his arm. Poven stands by as the dog’s jaws clamp down on Teoh’s pro­tected arm and gives a safe word that in­stantly gets the dog off Teoh’s arm and back into its start­ing po­si­tion.

Their demon­stra­tions and train­ing ses­sions are be­ing con­ducted in a pri­vate com­pound at Bukit Rah­man Putra, Sun­gai Bu­loh, Kuala Lumpur. The house is well fur­nished, but nei­ther Teoh nor Poven stays there.

“The house is for our trainees who come from out­sta­tion,” Dave said.

By trainees he means The Men Kai and Aw Wai Yen, who are 15 and 26 re­spec­tively. Like Poven and Teoh, the two grew up sur­rounded by dogs and have a de­sire to un­der­stand their ca­nine friends bet­ter.

They un­dergo men­tal as well as phys­i­cal train­ing, to be bet­ter pre­pared when han­dling dogs that are some­times twice their weight. Guard dogs are usu­ally hefty breeds such as Rot­tweil­ers, Dober­mans and Ger­man Shep­herds, and these breeds, whilst not nec­es­sar­ily vi­cious, are ca­pa­ble of tak­ing down tar­gets with ease.

This might be one of the rea­sons why some people have mis­con­cep­tions about dogs be­ing dan­ger­ous crea­tures when in re­al­ity, they are usu­ally lov­ing, kind and loyal.

No one sees this bet­ter than Teoh and Poven, who said: “We don’t just want to train dogs. In a sense, we also want to train people.”

allther­age@thes­tar.com.my

dog trainer dave Teoh, 19, do­ing a demon­stra­tion

his very at the launch of Knine,

train­ing own pro­fes­sional dog

KL. cen­tre in Sun­gai bu­loh,

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