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Q & A with Dog Trainer Carina Vaz Pinto

Q & A with Dog Trainer Carina Vaz Pinto

If you’re a pet parent in the UAE, then you’re sure to have heard Carina’s name come up.

Her passion for animal welfare goes before her, as does her reputation as a renowned dog trainer and owner of ‘Carina’s Zoo’ home boarding facility. Truly remarkable that she still has the time to be a dedicated pet parent to five dogs and eight cats.

In case you didn’t know, Carina is a Furchild Ambassador and we’ve caught up with her to ask a few questions about what it’s like working within the industry, and what advice she’d like to share with pet parents of the UAE.

Here’s the inside scoop…

What made you decide to become a dog trainer, and how did you pursue your interest?

Dogs have been my passion since I was a toddler having been blessed with them growing up [in Portugal]. When I adopted my 1st dog (after leaving my parent’s house) I decided I would train him myself and enrolled in a dog-training course.

When I moved to the UAE, I missed being around dogs, so I decided to use my knowledge and experience to create a company, Carina’s Zoo Dog Training. [Carina has been living in Dubai for 6 years, moved from Portugal]

Since then I’ve been actively helping animals and their families in the region, through training and helping as much as I can with animal welfare.

You are very successful in what you do. What’s the philosophy behind our dog training?

Every dog is a good dog and they must be trained and taught the right way, just like we raise our kids.

I use modern dog training techniques, mainly focused on clicker training. I am aware that I need to assist dog parents to raise their ‘furchildren’ and I need to find real solutions for real owners and their daily challenges.

If there were one thing you would want pet parents to understand about dog training, what would that be?

Dogs as much as children need time, patience, and dedication. We can train a dog to sit in five minutes, but it takes a lot of practice and time to have him/her sitting automatically in any situation after the command word is said.

They [dogs] are extremely clever and trainable but they are not robots. We humans need to understand that we are constantly humanizing pets and have high expectations of their capabilities to adapt to our world and rules. We must respect the amount of time it takes for pets to learn and grow into ‘perfect’ pets.

If someone wants to get a job in the animal training industry, what are your top three tips?

  1. You must be passionate about animals, this is not just another profession, it is a lifestyle and demands your full dedication.
  2. Learn and get trained with modern techniques. Old fashion training techniques and tools must be left where they belong, in the past.
  3. Be real, honest, and connect yourself with genuine and prestigious animal lover companies. Good luck!

Is there one particular achievement that you are proud of as a dog trainer?

I’m lucky enough to have had a lot of successful cases, I cannot choose a particular pet or case to share with you. I am proud when the families I work with put in the effort and follow my guidance to further their dog’s training. Together we transform a “little trouble maker” into a great pet for life!

There’s a lot to be said about ‘owning’ pets and animal welfare in this region. What’s the most important thing you think pet parents need to know that’s specific to the UAE?

Well… firstly, we must stop acquiring pets as accessories! It’s extremely important that people research a specific breed before buying them based on their looks. Ideally, people should look into adopting instead of buying as the UAE is flooded with unwanted, abandoned and stray animals, unfortunately. As well, the sources of “pedigree” animals here are highly suspicious.

When bringing a new pet home it’s important to research an appropriate nutrition plan, training from the start, and providing enough exercise for the breed. You need to make sure your building/community is pet-friendly to avoid future disappointment and it is extremely important if you are an expat to start a savings plan so that if/when you leave the country, you make sure that you don’t leave your furry family members behind. Start from the very beginning!

Now… tell us a little bit about your furry family members!

My gang is composed of five dogs and eight cats. They are all different breeds, sizes, personalities, and stories as to how they joined Carina’s Zoo.

Thor waiting patiently for Grass-Raised & Organic Green Tripe with Free-Range Turkey & Organic Vegetables.

My dogs:

  • Thor – a gentle giant Rottweiler that came to my family when he was a little puppy.
  • Kira – a troublemaker Bully. Rescued at the age of 3 months for being a difficult puppy to deal with.
  • Sushi – the cutest Frenchie on earth! [We agree!] Surrendered to me after their family got into a religious disagreement.
  • Sheikh – an energetic Dogo Argentino who was too much to handle by a busy family.
  • Kenya – a clumsy Neapolitan Mastiff that grew up to be a larger sized dog more than expected by her first owners (!?!?!) and ended up at my Zoo.

Amelie and her sister sharing Free-Range Duck Meals for Cats.

My cats:

  • Nikita – a queen, rescued in Portugal from the streets as a kitten.
  • Simba – a lion, given up by a frequent traveler.
  • Amelie – a tri-color, sweet, forever kitten. I found her in the streets of Sharjah with her 4 siblings who were thankfully, all adopted.
  • Bee – a lioness Arabian Mau. Found all alone at 7 days old and bottle-fed by myself.
  • Branca – the funny 3-legged cat. She was dropped at my doorstep by my front door neighbors after losing her leg. (!?!?!)
  • Nelson – the black beauty. I found him abandoned inside his carry box on a street corner in Dubai.
  • Dudu – a stunning fold. He was ignored by his previous owner for three days after being hit by a car and suffered a broken jaw. (!?!?)
  • Mischa – a precious Princess. Her mom rejected her when she was a few days old and bottle-fed by me. The owner of the mom claimed they didn’t want to care for Mischa.

Over a month ago you started feeding Furchild Meals to your pets. What has been your experience so far?

Kira loves gnawing on her all-natural Himalayan Dog Chew.

In my opinion, feeding raw has always been the healthiest option for my pets, but I found it extremely complicated to do myself. It requires a lot of research and I would have had to figure the right proportions and serving amounts for each pet. Also, it wasn’t practical to prepare, store, and freeze all the quantities. Now all of that has changed…

"FURCHILD has arrived as my savior and the solution to all the concerns mentioned above! "

Since I have my gang on this diet, the first immediate change that I noticed was how their coats became shiny and they shed considerably less. They also look fitter and I can see their muscle definition. Incredibly, my pack never experienced an upset stomach or any side effects frequently seen when transitioning even between kibble to raw, or even to any new brand of pet food.

Previously I tried to feed homemade raw to two of my dogs, however, they didn’t show any interest in my meals. I was a bit concerned about how they would accept Furchild meals but with the guidance and advice of Furchild’s great team, their transition was done smoothly and successfully. Now it’s a pleasure to watch them devour their meals and they always ask for more. Haha.

Great news! We had no doubt that they’d love their meals and you’d see an improvement in their health. Now, I have to ask, what are your pet’s favorite Furchild products?

My dogs go crazy about their Himalayan Dog Chews and when their regular Furchild meal gets upgraded with Green Tripe they just can’t hold back their excitement – they want to eat immediately!

Furchild’s Green Tripe is a must-try for all pet parents! Now back to dog training…

Other than offering training lessons in person, do you have any literature, videos, or a simple lesson plan that might help pet parents better care for their pets?

Not yet as I’ve been extremely busy training dogs and their parents privately. But I am planning to start a YouTube channel very soon! This will enable me to reach more people as well as maintain relations and support clients (and Carina Zoo’s fans) from the UAE and worldwide.

For anyone interested in knowing more, you can check my Facebook page: www.facebook.com/CarinasZooTraining. It is constantly updated with videos, training tips, and an inside look at life in the Zoo.

I am really pleased to be a part of the Furchild Family.

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FURCHILD is the first raw pet food company of its kind in the Middle East.

Discover the transformative power of our fresh, healthy, balanced meals, raw bones, all-natural chews, and premium handcrafted freeze-dried treats. Our Meals for Dogs and Meals for Cats are formulated by the world's leading pet food experts, approved by veterinarians, and are made of the highest quality ingredients.

  • Human grade ingredients
  • Organic vegetables and fruits
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  • No antibiotics. No hormones. No preservatives. Absolutely no nasties!
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