Progress Report

Training is a lifelong process. I didn't fully understand what this meant before I got Loki. I always thought I was a patient person, but Loki definitely stretches that patience to its limits... and then some more. Here's an update on his training progress.

  1. Little Children. Thumbs up!

    Today, we sat by a green patch about 30 ft. away from two small, but rather calm children playing. Their mother was present and I think children tend to be better behaved around their parents. Loki was able to lie down and stay down for awhile. I also was able to pet him lots without him jumping up and being alert. He even stayed down when a kid zoomed by on a scooter!

    And a couple days ago, he sat and gave high-fives to a group of kids. He was hyper and his butt never stayed on the ground for long during his sits, but he sort of listened to their commands. The kids like the high-five trick, and so does Loki, since it's a really non-threatening trick.

    Progress is good. Still no petting, but we are steadily moving forward. Yay!

  2. Manhole covers. Thumbs down.

    Unfortunately, we've regressed. Apparently, you can't just train once and be done with it. He "remembered" his fear. So I guess we have to go through the exercise again.

    By the way, I don't want him to step on the covers. He can walk around them. All that I want is for him not to freak out, not to shut down, and to continue moving forward.

  3. Collar. 2 Thumbs up!

    No more problems with the collar! What really helps is petting him. It calms him down. The hard part though is that you need two hands to snap on a collar. So I pet as much as I can while draping the collar around the back of his neck. And I snap it together in the front under his chin.

  4. Nails. 2 Thumbs down.

    This has gone absolutely no where. As a believer in positive reinforcement, I tried for four months to get him to lie down and voluntarily stay there while I went through a paw/nail handling exercise. I moved in incredibly slow baby steps over months. But always had trouble at the final stage, which is actually just barely touching his nail to the Dremel with it on. After four months of doing a paw/nail handling exercise 5 out of 7 days a week, I'm giving up on the positive reinforcement idea, specifically, giving up entirely on the idea that he will voluntarily stay. Loki will have to be restrained somehow. We're determined to figure out some sort of solution; we're just not sure what.

    Many people have suggested that we take him to a groomer, but I don't really see how a groomer could handle him. Loki will scream, thrash, and bite. I don't need to pay someone to have Loki bite him or her.

    Loki's breeder can handle it, but she is a good 90 miles away from us.
I've gained a tremendous amount of experience in handling dogs just from raising Loki. No amount of reading, studying, or observation can teach you as much as experience itself. I would even venture to say that Loki has made me stronger as a person. He pushes me to my limits and forces me to be more patient, more understanding, more creative, and more confident.

Paper shredder

Who needs a paper shredder when you have a dog?
Instead of always locking Loki up in the exercise pen when we are gone, I've been slowly moving towards leaving him alone with free reign of the apartment when we are gone. I leave him alone for up to 1.5 hrs. with free reign.

Today, I was only gone for half an hour. When I came home, he brought the shredded advertisement to me. He seemed so proud. It's hard to teach him otherwise, because he's not normally destructive when we are home.


Tonight we put on a couple bandannas on Loki. It's not really a Halloween costume, but maybe we can say that he's a cowboy! Now, I don't usually like to write from a dog's point of view. But with these pictures, I couldn't resist! So here are the captions in Loki's words.

Grr!!! What IS this? Get it off! Get it off!

Help me!

Maybe if I close my eyes, it'll go away.

Ooh, did you say cheese?

Okay, I won't tug at the stupid bandanna if you give me cheese.
I'll even smile pretty for the camera.

High-five! Yay!
Okay, now give me my cheese!

P.S. What color do you think is better? Blue or red?

Empty Food Bag

Inspired by Aya on Dogster, we gave Loki his empty dog food bag. At first he didn't really know what to do with it. He was very skeptical. We then tried to coax him into the bag by tossing one of his balls inside. Once inside, he remained for a very long time. We finally took the bag away when he started to tear it up. That would not have been fun to clean up.

The video is 1:37 min. In fact, for a very long time, Loki just lay inside the food bag. And that's rather boring to watch, so I edited out most of the video.

Where's my pizza?

Loki's not allowed to eat our human food, unless we specifically offer it to him. He knows the rule and he's actually pretty good about obeying it.

I left a couple bites of pizza on the coffee table this afternoon. He was perfectly well-behaved in respecting the rule. He was sleeping on the couch & showed no interest in my pizza. Even when I went into different rooms and sat by my laptop for awhile, he obeyed the rule perfectly fine.

Then I went outside the apartment to put in one load of laundry. I was only away for a couple minutes. When I returned, the pizza was GONE. Plate licked clean!

Gee, I thought he was sleeping... he's tricky...

No Walk for Loki Today

The sky is orange! The sky is orange!
Reuters reports:
LOS ANGELES, Oct 21 (Reuters) - A California wildfire fanned by powerful winds burned out of control on Sunday in the celebrity seaside enclave of Malibu, forcing hundreds of people to flee and destroying a handful of multimillion-dollar homes.

The fire burned nearly 1,000 acres (400 hectares) by 11:30 a.m. (1830 GMT) and destroyed six buildings, including a landmark castle-like house and a Presbyterian church. No injuries were reported.
Here is a picture outside of our apartment around 1pm.

Here we are at around 2:15 pm.

Here's a picture with the flash. It's snowing ash! Yummy!

In conclusion, no walk for Loki today.

Dominance and hierarchy

Of what I've read about dogs in books/websites and on the Dogster Forums, there seems to be a debate about whether humans should respect the hierarchy that dogs establish among themselves or if humans as pack leaders should set the order.

Some believe that if you own multiple dogs, you should simply let the dogs figure our their own order and then respect that order. And by "respect that order", I mean feed the more dominant one first, greet the more dominant one first, etc. I've read claims that if you don't respect that order, more fights may ensue.

On the other hand, some (like Cesar Millan) believe that the human as the pack leader sets the hierarchy.

Yesterday, I witnessed some interesting behavior at the dog park in favor of the Cesar Millan camp. Loki was humping a Jack Russell Terrier. A slightly larger black dog (it kind of looked like a Jindo to me) for some reason didn't want Loki doing this. I have no clue why the Jindo didn't like this, but it clearly didn't. The Jindo was about 30 feet away in a separate cluster of dogs and people. As soon as it saw Loki start humping, it raced across and herded Loki away from the Jack Russell Terrier. And every time Loki started going back for the Terrier, the Jindo would herd Loki away again. After a couple times, Loki just stopped going for the Terrier.

It seems to me that if a more dominant dog does not like some behavior (such as Loki humping the Jack Russell Terrier), it can and will stop it. I don't know what motivated the Jindo to do this. It didn't want to hump the Jack Russell Terrier and it also didn't want to hump Loki. The Jindo just didn't want Loki to hump the Jack Russell Terrier. And after it was done herding Loki away, it went back to its original cluster of dogs and people.

One possibility is that the Jindo and the Jack Russell Terrier are in the same family, so one was protecting the other. But they didn't appear to hang out together much. And it didn't appear to me that they were owned by the same human.

To me, this behavior was evidence in favor of the pack leader having some limited ability to establish it's own hierarchy. I say "limited ability", because while you can make a more dominant dog exhibit less dominant behavior, you can't make a more submissive dog exhibit more dominant traits.

Isn't this uncomfortable?

Silly Loki. He can sleep in the oddest positions. Looks uncomfortable to me, but he does it all the time.

Bad Day

Everyday is different with Loki. Most days are good Loki days, but some days are bad Loki days.

Yesterday was a bad Loki day.


Today was Loki's very first time walking around in a store. I took him to PetCo, since I needed to buy more treats and Nature's Miracle enzymatic cleaner. When he was a wee little pup, we did take him to PetSmart once, but we carried him in our arms. Today he got to walk around. He was very scared and hesitant to walk into the store, so I had to pick him up and bring him inside.

After he got over his initial fear, he had great fun. There was food everywhere!!! Too bad they were all packaged up. But a couple times, he found random dog biscuits on the floor! What a fun place! I let him sniff everything, but carefully watched to make sure he didn't pee on anything.

Blowing Coat

Blowing Coat + Bath =

(Well, actually, you might be wondering what is that really gross thing? That is our bathtub drain after Loki's bath. Good thing we have a rubber hair catcher.)

Chasing a wet dog

Unfortunately, Loki got his poop smeared on his butt fur this afternoon. He was pooping as usual, but the last bit was hanging off of his butt. So what does he do? Run around in circles, freak out, and sit down.

So now that it was smeared into his fur, we had to go straight home for a mini bath. As I started to give him a bath, I made the terrible mistake of forgetting to close the bathroom door. Uh-oh...

All of a sudden, I am no longer by the bathtub, but rather running around my apartment trying to catch a wet dog. Loki looks like he's having the time of his life. The more frustrated I am, the happier he seems to be.

In the end, I caught him and we completed his bath with the door closed! Yes, I learned my lesson.

Ancient Dog Breeds

From the wonderful world of Wikipedia, I learned that the Shiba Inu is among 14 ancient dog breeds. However, if you dig into the source of the study, it gets even more interesting. The study was done by Parker et al. published in the journal Science in 2004.

Here are a couple of pictures from the study. I cropped out the section of the picture that identified the 14 ancient breeds and their genetic variation from the Gray Wolf. What I conclude from the picture is that the Shiba Inu, Chow-Chow, Akita, and Basenji have less genetic variation from the Gray Wolf than the other ancient breeds.

I'm less sure about how to interpret this next picture. I also don't know what the numbers mean. It looks like the initial break from the Gray Wolf was the Shar-pei and the Shiba Inu/Chow-Chow/Akita. But if you look at the previous picture the Shar-pei seemed to have more genetic variation from the Gray Wolf, so I'm not sure how to reconcile that with this tree, which shows that the Shar-pei was part of the initial break from the Gray Wolf.

Hence, although I am confused about the status of the Shar-Pei, I conclude that Shibas are at least in the top 5 most ancient dog breeds.

Why does all of this interest me? I like to think that Shibas are special, as I'm sure most dog owners like to think their dog's breed is special. And this study offers more conclusive evidence of the Shiba really being unlike other dog breeds. It makes me feel better about being ignored by my dog. And makes me feel that I'm not such a bad dog parent when Loki does not have the innate willingness to please its human owner that other dogs seem to possess.

A quick update

Here is a random funny picture of Loki.

We had to board Loki last week with his breeder. What did we see at the breeder's place? A cutie pie puppy named Emma. Puppies are so much fun!

Being boarded isn't so much fun.
Ah... home sweet home!
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...