Hi everyone, I’ll like to introduce to you the dog whisperer of Singapore, Bernard Lau! He’s no stranger to me as I have known him for more than half of my life.
Bernard and I are primary school friends and I noticed his social media feeds were mostly travelling pictures and videos. I’ve always wondered what he was doing and it’s only when I saw this video of a mannequin challenge he did that I found out he’s the founder of Berdhouse.
As a dog lover myself, this video immediately caught my attention. We managed to catch up recently and that’s when I got to know in detail about the work that he does.
I’m super happy that he readily agreed to do this interview so let’s hear from the man himself on how he founded his company and created the lifestyle most people can only dream about.
1) Hey Bernard! I know the both of us need no introduction but for the benefit of our readers, share with us who you are and what is it that you do for a living?
Hi. My name is Bernard and I am the founder of Berdhouse.
Berdhouse provides a range of pet services that includes training, boarding, and grooming. Our company also carries a range of products carefully selected and tested to ensure that the products are ideal for your dog.
The focus is on our training/boarding programme and we specialise in puppies. This programme consists of your dog undergoing basic obedience command training and the rehabilitation of any undesirable dog behaviour.
Here’s a short video of our puppy introductory course:
2) How did Berdhouse come about and what inspired you to go into the dog training business?
Berdhouse was a project of mine that I did back in university for an entrepreneurship module during my schooling days.Upon graduation and after a short stint in the financial industry, I decided to put that business plan into action.
My first dog, Hiro, was what inspired me to start dog training. I wanted her to be able to go off the leash and run freely like how every dog should. However, I still had to keep her and others around safe. Therefore, I began giving her obedience training.
Here’s a video of Hiro and I going through some routine training:
3) Is it difficult training dogs?
It really isn’t hard to train dogs. All you need is clear communication. That’s why patience and consistency will play a huge role.
I’d like to emphasize on the importance of starting training young. Apart from being able to bond with your dog through training, many potential behavioural problems like over excitement, aggression, fearfulness and so on can be prevented. It’s also the ideal time as they have a higher learning capability at a younger age.
It’s my goal to help educate new dog owners to avoid potential mistakes from being made. After all, prevention is better than cure!
4) What’s your advice when it comes to pet ownership and obedience training?
The most important rule I will always share is to reinforce discipline before showering them with love and affection. This will ensure a healthy relationship between owner and dog.
For example, when coming home to your dog after a long day, it’ll be common to see your dog jumping on you, seeking your attention. Instead of rewarding such unwanted behaviour, command your dog to sit and wait patiently, calm them down before giving them the affection they seek.
5) Any quick tips and tricks for new pet owners who’s having a hard time trying to train their dog?
When having a tough time training your dog, the best way is to use enticing treats to capture your pooch’s attention and communicate clearly. Personally, I use the clicker training method for that purpose.
Another tip is to keep taking small, progressive steps when training your dog. Don’t be afraid to push the limits but also do take a few steps back when you’re not making any progress.
My final tip is to train in a calm mindset. If you ever feel frustrated that the training is not making any progress, stop and try again later.
6) I’ve been following your Instagram for a while now and see that you’ve been travelling quite frequently, how do you do it?
I’m fortunate enough to have the opportunity to run my own business, which means that I’m able to plan my own schedule. The travelling you see is only one part of my life. What you don’t see is that at times, I work really hard, working daily consecutively for weeks and at times, even months. During work, there are no weekends or public holidays.
By working hard, it allows me to save up and go for extended trips to unwind and do what I love to reward myself.
7) Wow, that’s interesting… Maybe share with us what were some of the challenges faced when you first started out, for both business and travelling and how did you overcome them?
When I first started out, I was fortunate enough to get an overwhelming demand for my services. Being new and inexperienced, I took on many jobs and overworking myself. I worked to exhaustion to meet deadlines in order to get results delivered.
Learning from this, I hired someone to assist me in my job.It helped and subsequently, I planned my schedule very carefully to ensure that I don’t take on more than what I can handle.
One challenge I face when travelling are my dogs. As I’m unable to bring them along, I’ve to find someone to care of them for me. Duration of my trips also have to be considered as I am unable to leave them for too long.
8) Where are you planning to travel this year and what’s your main goal for Berdhouse to achieve in 2017?
This year, I have already travelled to Myanmar and Cambodia. Bali and Lombok has been planned and I also aim to visit either New Zealand or Nepal too. As for what I would like Berdhouse to achieve this year, it’s to expand my premises and get someone to assist me in my work so I can increase my capacity.
9) In your own words, what does it mean to “Love the Life You Live and Live the Life You Love”?
In my own words, it means to be thankful and appreciative of what you are blessed with and do what makes you happy.
Although we’ve been friends for so long, we still learn a great deal from each other. From this interview, I’ve learned that there’s a price to pay for the lifestyle that we desire to live.
There’s always two sides to a coin.
Before reconnecting with Bernard, I envied that he was able to travel so frequently and visit so many nice places on long, extended trips. After this interview with him, I finally understood that there are sacrifices to be made that people don’t see or hear about often.
Thanks Bernard for giving us a sneak peek into the life of a dog trainer and avid traveller. All the best to you and your furry friends 🙂
If you want to stay up to date with Bernard’s upcoming adventures and see nice pictures of his canines, you can follow him on Instagram @asfreeasaberd
Lastly, Bernard did mention that he’s currently looking for dog trainers so if this is something of interest to you, feel free to contact him! I’m sure it’ll be loads of fun 😉
Founder of Berdhouse
Bernard is a dog lover that shares a wonderful relationship with his dogs. He wishes that all pet owners are able to have that with their canine friends. Certain pet behavioural issues can sometimes cause a strain in this relationship so he hopes to help educate dog owners on how to prevent or resolve such problems.
As a dog trainer, Bernard sees himself like an educator. He feels a sense of accomplishment whenever there’s progress from his students at the end of the day. He also feels rewarded when owners express their gratitude and sees the relationship between dog and owner improve. Bernard’s hobbies also include fitness and photography.
Founded in February 2016, Berdhouse is the one stop solution centre for all pet needs.They provide a range of relevant services to enhance the lives of both pets and owners which includes dog training, dog care, and dog grooming. Berdhouse’s mission is to deliver top quality service to clients, giving them a peace of mind while enjoying the convenience and efficiency.