Our Christmas visit to my parents' home was the second time that Loki got to live with the cat. This time was much better than last time. They were able to co-habitate peacefully with human supervision. Yay! We were all very glad the two of them were able to lay calmly in the same room.
The cat still didn't like Loki much. He would hiss and meow when Loki came within a yard of him. But as long as there was some distance between the two, they were fine with each other. Loki was still curious about the cat, but we made sure that the cat had his personal space.
Also, as long as there was human supervision, Loki never ate the cat's food. Loki only tried once. After he was prevented from eating it that one time, he never tried again in our presence. But one morning, the humans who didn't sleep in went out shopping, and the human who did sleep in let Loki roam freely in the common area. Upon returning home, the cat food was gone. Bowl licked clean. Poor cat.
Loki wishes everyone a Merry Christmas today! He's very grateful that we aren't subjecting him to silly reindeer antlers or a Santa hat this year. We are spending the holidays at my parents' home, and we hope that all of you are spending time with your loved ones too.
Someone asked for my advice on finding a Shiba Inu, so here it is!
Many dog lovers will recommend that you adopt a rescue. The reasoning goes: Why buy a puppy when there are so many abandoned dogs in need of a loving home?
I actually do not recommend a rescue, if you are dead set on a Shiba Inu and you are a first time dog owner. With a rescue, there is a great deal of uncertainty. You do not know how it was raised, socialized, trained, or bred. You also do not know of any health risks. I think this uncertainty is more manageable with other dog breeds than a Shiba Inu. You have to be realistic about your own ability to raise and train a potentially difficult dog. An improperly socialized Shiba may require rehabilitation, and you need to be prepared for that possibility. Cesar Millan certainly makes dog training/rehabilitation look easy on TV, but even he took Marley for himself to deal with (ep. on March 28, 2008). Raising a dog is a skill that you learn from experience, not from reading or watching. Therefore, if you have plenty of experience with dogs, especially primitive breeds (Siberian Husky, Basenji, Chow-Chow, Akita, or Alaskan Malamute), then by all means, go ahead and consider adopting a rescue.
Otherwise, I recommend finding a reputable breeder. The first place to look is:
http://www.shibas.org/breeders.html. Next, look at regional clubs: http://www.shibas.org/clubs.html.
I found Loki’s breeder on the webpage of the Shiba Club of Southern California. But now that the webpage no longer exists.
Loki’s breeder is Kari-on Akitas. As the name implies, she breeds Akitas as well as Shibas. She is located in the dessert in Southern California. She also boards and grooms dogs. I highly recommend her.
I have also heard good things about Copperdot Shibas (Northern California) and Jogoso Shibas(Southern California), but I have no experience with either of them.
Breeders are a good source for both puppies and adults. As you may have noticed, I looked for a young adult for our second dog, not a puppy.
Lastly, I’ll state the obvious, just in case it isn’t obvious, don’t buy a puppy from a pet store, at least not in the U.S. Puppies in pet stores are supplied by puppy mills. Dogs from puppy mills are not necessarily of good health and are not necessarily treated humanely.
P.S. I do believe that it is theoretically possible to mass produce puppies in a humane way. The problem isn’t the mass production part, it’s the humane part. I have heard that in Japan, it is common and acceptable to buy a shiba at a pet store. These pet stores are supplied by good breeders and the industry is well-regulated, possibly by the government.
I picked this one out at our local retail store. Isn't it cute?
Then I got home and showed Yun. He didn't say anything.
I asked, "Don't you like it?"
He replied, "It's a purse."
Right, I guess men don't really want to carry cute, little purses as poop bag holders. Whoops, didn't think of that when I was making my selection.
Now that we have moved into a colder climate, Loki is FLUFFY! I've never seen his coat so full. His belly is also completely fluffy. In the past, you could see his pink skin on his underside pretty easily between the sparse hair.
Consequently, he looks bigger. But really, it's just all fur.
(living in So. California)
(living in DC Metro area):
Can you tell the difference? The camera can't quite capture the thickness of his undercoat. But he definitely is fluffier now than ever before.
Hm... does that mean that the spring time blowing coat season will be worse?
He doesn't look so happy with the paparazzi in this picture.
Before we got Loki, we prepared a few items for his arrival. One of these items was an exercise pen. I ordered it from www.digitpet.com along with his wire crate and a top for the exercise pen. Shibas are notorious escape artists.
Loki usually isn't, but just the other day, we were puzzled as to how he managed to open our back door and let himself inside our home when we clearly put him in the backyard and closed the door. Well, I guess that's not exactly escaping out, but rather escaping in. Anyways, I digress.
I suggest that if you want to use an exercise pen, buy one that is at least 48" high or buy a top. I opted for the latter. Loki's pen is actually only 24" high. Pretty short. But we used the top to ensure that he couldn't climb out. There are 8 sides to it, so I typically made it into a square of 4 ft. by 4 ft. But it's possible to shape it into an octagon, like in the picture. (If you get the pen top, then you have to shape it like a square in order to fit the top.)
We used the exercise pen during his puppy days for potty training and also as a place for time outs. In terms of discipline, it was just a place for him to calm down and be ignored. As for potty training, in the early days, I put down a sheet of plastic and then a piece of carpet. The plastic I got from a local fabric store. It was near the section with vinyl table cloths. And the carpet I got was indoor-outdoor carpet from Home Depot. This was all to protect our carpet from accidents. I suppose that it helped, but in retrospect, I think I was overly protective of our carpet. It's really not a big deal if your carpet gets soiled. You just clean it up.
We used the exercise pen for potty training in the same manner that you would use a crate for crate training. Many experts don't suggest this, because the area is too large, so a puppy will soil one corner and then retreat to the other end for sleeping and eating. In my one experience with potty training Loki, using the exercise pen for potty training wasn't a problem.
I used an exercise pen, because I felt that it was more humane to confine him in an exercise pen rather than a crate. I know some would say that a crate is perfectly fine, and I'm not going to debate that. I'm not a dog expert. Loki is my first dog. So maybe a crate is fine. But in any case, I mostly used his exercise pen for confinement in the way you might use a crate.
Perhaps we became over confident in Loki’s potty training. Perhaps our new house is too big. Perhaps it’s just a fluke. But we found a peeing accident in our basement a few days ago. We found it in the same area that Loki had his pooping accident from when he ate too many almonds.
Perhaps we became over confident in Loki’s potty training. When we moved into our new home, we did not take precautions to ensure that he didn’t have any bathroom accidents. We were confident that he was well potty trained. He has done very well living in a variety of places (two different apartments, two homes of relatives, and a hotel room). I’ve read material from dog experts saying that dogs do not generalize. Just because a dog is trained to not potty in your house doesn’t mean that it is able to generalize that concept to not go potty in all indoor facilities. But after living in a variety of places and seeing that nothing bad happened, I let my guard down. We didn’t keep a close eye on him while in our new home.
Perhaps our house is too big. We moved from an apartment of about 700 sq ft to a townhouse that is triple that in size. Loki hangs out mostly on the main floor (which has his preferred couch, the kitchen, and dining room) and our bedroom. He spends the least time in the basement. He doesn’t eat there, sleep there, or play much there.
Perhaps it’s just a fluke. We understand that the almond incident was unique and not Loki’s fault. We washed the area down as best we could. We cleaned the carpet by hand, sprayed on Nature’s Miracle, and then even rented a steam cleaner from the grocery store to steam clean the area. Either there was still some smell that lingered even after we washed it, or Loki decided that the basement is still the best place to go because that’s sufficiently far from his living quarters. I don’t know.
The lesson today, pups, is that it’s always possible to have a bathroom accident, even with the best of dogs.
Generally, he doesn't seem too affected by weather - rain or snow. He just goes about his business as usual.
See, not much snow. In fact, I'd bet people in colder climates wouldn't even count this as the first snow.
Sniff, sniff, sniff. Does it feel cold on his nose? I don't know. I would think so, but he didn't react any differently to it than normal.
We are absolutely delighted to announce that our search for a second dog has ended. We have decided to adopt Essie from Loki's breeder. She is 3 years. In her last pregnancy, she only had one pup and she had to have a c-section. Apparently, when you only have one pup, labor is harder, because there are no other pups to help stir labor. (But what happens to the last pup of every pregnancy? Isn't that the same?) In any case, there were sufficient complications that she required a c-section, and consequently, she will no longer be bred.
Right now, she is still being a mother to her little pup, so we will have to wait a couple of months before we get her.
He barked lots at our guests. And I mean LOTS. It was infuriating, annoying, and frustrating. I felt bad for both him and our guests. He was very stressed, and I was afraid that our guests felt unwelcome by all the barking. In the beginning, I think that he perceived our guests as intruders. Or maybe he was just barking because there was too much chaos and commotion. Who knows?
Yun's parents stayed for an entire week, and Loki kept barking. We speculate that perhaps he felt that these people were now part of our pack, and he could move up the social ladder. We don't really know what goes on inside his head. But slowly with time, he did improve. It took a bit more patience than I had. Definitely by the last day, he was pretty good, but still not 100% calm.
Here are some resources for dog owners about the holidays:
We hope you have a safe and enjoyable holiday season!
Is he sick? Does he have worms? Wait, we don’t even know if excessive pooping is a symptom of worms.
His poop had lots of nuts in it. I know that Yun’s mom had been giving him almonds as a treat. But she only gave him one or two. He’s pooping nuts left and right!
Every time, one of us took him out, he was pooping multiple times. And much to our chagrin, yesterday was the very first time that Loki has had a pooping accident in our house. (Well, technically, he did have one small poop accident on plastic in his exercise pen during his first week with us as a 9-week old. But we don’t count that one. Shh.) He had such an impressive record before. We loved boasting about how he’s never had a pooping accident. Now we can’t say that anymore.
Where in the world were all these nuts coming from? Again, we inquired with Yun’s mom, but she said she only gave him one of two. Finally, it dawned on me to ask if Loki’s getting access to nuts that he’s not supposed to. Yun’s mom didn’t think of it originally, but yes, that must be it! She brought something like 3 lbs of almonds with her. (Leave it to an Chinese mother to bring pounds and pounds of food while she visited over Thanksgiving, as if we were starving children.) And now that she thought of it, she did notice that her supply had suddenly dwindled. That solves the mystery of the excessive poop. Who knows how much he ate?
The morale of the story: Dogs cannot digest almonds.
Don’t try this at home. You’ll get lots of poop.
I was away from home last Thursday evening for work. Friday morning, I get a voice mail from Yun, telling me that if I got home before he did, I should take Loki out to poop and hopefully he will poop out aluminum.
Aluminum? What?! What kind of message is that? I left for only one night. One
I call to ask what happened.
Thursday night, they both went to bed at the same time; Loki taking over my spot on the bed. Friday morning, Yun wakes up and sees Loki sleeping innocently next to him. But as soon as Yun steps into the basement, he sees paper and aluminum foil shreds all over the place. Apparently, Yun left his half-eaten burger on top of a box, and it was within Loki’s reach. So it’s possible that Loki ingested aluminum.
Luckily, Loki is not displaying any symptoms of discomfort or other problems. Without seriously digging through his feces (because doesn’t that sounds like fun), I did notice some very, very small particles of what looks like aluminum. So, it seems to be passing through his system just fine, without any major problems.
And well, humans aren’t that smart, because just a couple days later, I made the exact same mistake. This time, it was quarter of a bagel wrapped in paper. Again, on top of a box. Our home is full of boxes, in various stages of being unpacked, no tables, and a kitchen that reeks of paint and turpentine.
I haven’t always been happy with my life. And I’ve always put my hopes in one thing or another to make myself happier, usually to no avail. For instance, I’ve always thought that changing my surroundings would help. When I was in high school, I thought, going to college will make me happier. I’ll have a new start. No one will know me, and I can begin a brand new happy life. This sort of thinking was pervasive, and it never worked. I wasn’t any happier when I went to college. I wasn’t any happier when I went to grad school. I wasn’t any happier when I got married. I was still me. Changing external forces doesn’t solve internal problems.
But the one exception to this rule was getting a dog. Even though getting a dog is an external force, it most definitely did make me happier. The question is, why?
- Most depressive feelings are self-indulgent and self-centered. What’s wrong with me? Why don’t others like me? Am I fat? Am I stupid? Me, me, me, I, I, I. When you have a dog, you have to take care of it. The focus is on another being. There are two effects. One is that you don’t obsess over you own failings. Or at least, you can’t spend as much time obsessing, because you are forced to care for your dog. The second is the act of caring for another creature is satisfying. You feel important. This helpless creature depends on you for his livelihood. Even if you don’t matter to anyone else in the world, at least you are the most important person in the world to your dog.
Having a dog makes you less uptight. You let go of the small stuff. It’s no big deal that the dog chewed up your glasses case (like Loki did this weekend). It’s still useable, sort of. And even if it weren’t usable, I could just buy a new one. The world isn’t going to come to an end. The little things don’t matter anymore.
You live in the moment. Cesar Milan always touts this point. It’s true. Yun and I have many moments in our daily lives where we drop everything we are doing to look at Loki simply because he is SOOOOOO cute. For just a moment, I forget about all the stressors in my life. I forget about my “to do” list. I forget about past anxieties. For just a moment, I live in the present and enjoy Loki’s beautiful smile.
Having a dog helps you get to know your neighbors. When you own a dog, you have to walk him. For me, walking Loki meant saying “Good morning” and “Hi, how ya doing?” more often. Soon enough, you the same faces over again, and you end up knowing your neighbors and service workers. While you might not be the best of friends with these people, a friendly smile always brightens up anyone’s day. And aside from that, it’s nice to have some sense of belonging in a community.
A dog isn’t a cure all. I’m not a psychiatrist and I’m not prescribing getting a dog as a miracle treatment. A dog is also hard work. Some days Loki’s behavior frustrates me. Some days caring for him adds yet another task on my endless “to do” list. But the net effect is definitely positive.
I searched for "hypoallergenic cat" on Google and the first entry is Allerca. I went to their website and was absolutely shocked. The cheapest one is $7950!!! And on top of that there is a 6 month waiting period. I don't suppose this is a breed that you'd find in shelters.
Not having any graphics software, I asked Yun to do it, who outsourced it to Siew Ling. Thank you Siew Ling for a great job making Loki into the Firefox logo! What do you think?
The first time we took him to his yard, he promptly peed on a couple of the trees. The second time we put him there, I think he didn't pee at all. I'm afraid that once he learns that it's his yard, he will refuse to pee in it. Perhaps he's already learned that this is his yard. Grrr... that was the point of getting a yard for him - so he could pee there!
Good thing we don't want a garden or grass or any other sort of vegetation, because Loki's already started digging a hole.
At one point, he stopped, sniffed the doors that enclose the laundry machines, and was about to mark, while Yun and I gasped and yelled, “No!” Luckily for us, he understood us. Phew!
We opened the backdoor and let him into the small fenced yard. Wow, he was in heaven now. He marked both the big tree and the little tree. Then did his Shiba 500 with a huge smile plastered on his face.
Afterwards, we proceeded upstairs to the main level, which had hardwood flooring. Loki didn’t seem to mind too much. He really hates tile floor, because he slips on it. But he was confident enough on the hardwood floor.
It didn’t take long before we lost him. Where is he? He’s got to be in one of the carpeted areas – the top floor or the basement? I yelled for him to come. Looks like it’s the top floor. He looked so cute as he stood at the top of the stairs, looked down at me, and cocked him head to the side, as if to say, what do you want? I’m busy exploring here.
He explored the house faster than we did. He’s not one to stick close to his humans. He wants to explore on his own. What fun!
We’re not exactly sure when move-in day will be, but it’ll be soon.
My husband and I are looking to adopt a young adult shiba. We currently have one neutered male, named Loki, who is a year and 9 months old. We are looking to add a second shiba to our household and hope to get one between the ages of 6 months - 3 years. We want a young dog, but do not have the time for potty training. We got Loki as a puppy and I fully understand the time committment needed to potty train a puppy. Back then, I was a student and had the time, but now I work full-time.
I figure that breeders might have such young adult dogs available for adoption if the puppies were kept as show potential dogs, but did not necessarily grow up to be of show quality.
Please let me know if you have any dogs available or if you can refer me to other responsible breeders who might have such dogs available for adoption. My husband and I live in the Washington DC metro area. Thank you!
What? Next week is the Washington Shiba Inu Meetup!
Where? Shirlington Dog Park in Arlington, VA
When? Saturday, October 25, 2008 at 1pm in the small dog area
Why? Because butt sniffing is so much fun!
Not in the Washington DC area? Search for your own meet up group at Meetup.com!
- I love it when he smiles.
- I love his soft ears.
- I love how he rolls onto his back when he plays with a toy. He’s so catlike.
- I love how he practically falls over because he’s leaning so much into my hand when I scratch him behind the ears.
- I love it when he goes into a hunting pose, ready to pounce.
- I love how Loki flaps his ears like he’s flying when greets us at the door.
- Even though it’s frustrating, I love how he sometimes refuses to get out of bed early in the morning.
- I love watching him learn something new, like when he learned to get food out of a bottle.
- I love his look of complete shock when something is out of place, like when Christmas decorations go up.
- I love how befuddled he gets at inanimate animal-like objects, like stuffed animals and small garden sculptures.
Loki hasn't had an accident of any sort for over a year! Why would he go in our bed? (Don't mind the fact that we are sleeping on an IKEA futon and don't make the bed.)
I sniff it. It doesn't smell like anything. No smell?
I dab at it with a paper towel. Nothing. It's completely clear. Not the slightest hint of yellow.
Hm... I bet it's not an accident. I bet he was just licking his paws there. Silly cat.
Ellie & Aidan, meet Loki.
No, Loki, we don't welcome our friends by growling at them.
While visiting my parents this past weekend, Loki got to meet two Cavaliers. All of us humans were on high alert for the first 10 - 15 minutes, since Loki growled quite a bit in the beginning. Yun was especially good about controlling Loki and holding on to him when necessary. In due time, Loki accepted our two furry guests and happily sniffed them all over.
I'm taking over this blog today. This past weekend, I had to ride in the car for a very, very long time. Then we arrived at a wonderful house. It's so much larger than our previous house, and it had a very large yard. I approve.
The only problem with this new place was a funny looking creature, called a cat. I tried to sniff it all over, but it didn't seem to like that very much. He hissed at me.
We were mostly kept separated, but we still had staring contests through the screen door. Can you spot my two little ears in this photo?
Then, when no one was looking, I gobbled up all of the cat's food. That'll show the cat to hiss at me. Yummy in my tummy!
- You want deep roots
- You're going to stay put
- You want a home unavailable for rent
- You want creative control
- Your home is your castle
- You're handy
- You want to accumulate equity
- You have a dog
What? "You have a dog"? Who buys a house for a dog? Oh, right, we do.
You can view all the contest entries here.
Of all the picture category contests, this is the one that Loki excels in.
We met three other Shibas there in the small dog region. Not as many as I hoped, but it was raining a little bit today.
Loki made it all down the rocks himself. Very cautious the first time. But after that, he was bouncing up and down real fast.
The shiba with the red harness, named Noble, was the most dominant one among the bunch. He was still entact & was a very in-your-face dog. Loki & Noble made good friends, and enjoyed a good game of chase.
We'll have to try out some other dog parks in the area.
All the experts recommend that a couple (or family) agree about how they are going to raise their dog and be consistent. Easy advice for them to dole out!
Yun and I have vastly different training & discipline philosophies when it comes to Loki. We try to agree, but when we can't, the best we do is just agree to disagree. I stick with my philosophy and am internally consistent. He sticks with his and is internally consistent. Loki just eventually learns that we are different. And yes, Loki behaves differently.
I know that all the experts say that the entire family has to be consistent and have the same philosophies about raising dogs, but realistically, I don't think it's going to happen. So we do our best to make it work for us.
For example, Loki will beg for food from Yun, who loves to give him table scraps. Loki never looks at me when we're at the dinner table; he knows he doesn't get anything from me.
Yun’s philosophy is that the act of eating human scraps is natural and instinctual to dogs. Dogs are scavengers; being cute and friendly to humans allowed them more access to our scraps and ensured their survival. I, on the other hand, subscribe to the idea that a dog’s nutritional needs are best met with appropriately selected commercial food, and that you should never feed a dog human food. We simply disagree.
My advice is: pick your battles wisely & be willing to compromise. I do my best to emphasize that all table scraps must be healthy for the dog. If it's a piece of meat with no seasoning, then I'm fine. If it's cheese, then only a very small piece is allowed. If there's any garlic or onion in the seasoning, then I veto. So we compromise. Yun gives table scraps as long as they are healthy for the dog.
This post was inspired by someone seeking advice on the Dogster boards. I realized that I’m not alone in having spousal conflicts about raising a dog, and it might be useful to blog about the topic.
Here we have a clip of Loki bouncing after the frog!
Condos? Definitely not, there is no yard.
Townhouse? Only if it has a fenced yard, or at the very least a yard that can be fenced.
In fact, we fell in love with one particular townhouse this past Sunday. It was completely us, much more so than any of the 20-some other open houses we had visited. From the open, contemporary floor plans to the pre-wired audio-visual entertainment closet, it fit us so well. But alas, there was no yard at all. So we crossed that one off of our list.
Detached single family houses? They typically have a much larger yards and many are already fenced. But then the questions become even more astounding: are there enough large trees to provide adequate shade for Loki?
Wait a minute, when did we become Loki's buyer agent in the purchase of a really expensive dog house?
We selected a 20 lb. bag of California Natural with Herring.
Then we dropped off the food and the dog at home before rushing off to the DMV.
When we arrived back home, I was very happy because we successfully completed all of our DMV tasks. I began preparing for dinner and asked Yun to feed Loki, but Loki was not at all interested in dinner. ?!? This is strange. He's always interested in dinner, why not tonight?
This is why:
Since his stupid humans didn't put the bag of food away, Loki chewed a hole through it while we went to the DMV. Who knows how much food he ate?
I hope he didn't eat so much that he'll throw up later.