Boarded again

Well, I just dropped Loki off at his breeder's to be boarded for 11 days while we go on vacation. I hope he has fun there. He'll get to run around & play with other shibas there... and even a couple of little kids! *Gasp* I told his breeder that he really wasn't good with kids, so she said that maybe this experience will be good for him. I figure she knows what she's doing & can probably do a better job socializing him with kids than I could.

Shiba 500 on a leash

I apologize to my blog readers for the lack of recent posts. I was super busy in the past two weeks, but now I'm happy to report that I've filed my dissertation and am finally graduating!!

So what has Loki been up to? He's been attempting to do his Shiba 500 while leashed on our walks. I don't get it. Doesn't it hurt? He ends up hitting the end of the leash, jerking his head the other way. But he still keeps on going and going. Sometimes I don't know what to do with him. Do I let him run? Do I stop him immediately? If I let him run, he just keeps hitting the end of his leash over and over and over again. If I try to stop him, I need to shorten his leash all the way to his collar, before he will stop. Even with 6" of slack, he'll keep trying to run. If we're close to home, I try to head home and then he can do his run inside our apartment. What a silly dog.

Things I learned from having Loki

  1. Patience. I thought I was a patient person. Then I got Loki. Training him out of some of his aggressive behaviors was one of the most trying tasks I've ever done.
  2. A little dirt is okay. Prior to getting Loki, I would have described myself as an uptight person. (I bet some of my family & friends would say that I still am.) I'd worry about keeping our home clean and feel guilty for not keeping it cleaner. I worried about spills, accidents, dirt, and crumbs. But now I've become so much more desensitized to a little dirt, accidents, and a lot of dog hair. Living in a sterile environment isn't all that healthy. Accepting a little dirt in your home does wonders to your mental health and might even make your immune system just a little bit stronger.
  3. Being assertive. With a shiba, you don't have a choice. If you are not assertive, your entire life will be taken over by a dog.
  4. Living in the moment. When Loki is super cute, I better rush over to enjoy his cuteness; such moments do not last long.
  5. Walks are just as beneficial for humans as they are for dogs.
  6. Confident around all dogs, except for the large drooling ones. Drool is scary.
  7. That despite being a liberal minded woman, traditional gender roles dominate.
  8. It's easy to talk to strangers when you're talking about your dog. I have a tendency to be a bit shy and reserved. It's not easy for me to talk to random strangers. But when talking about your dog, it becomes really easy.
  9. Some people really, really, really don't like dogs & can be very mean about it.
  10. Not to wear anything black.
This list was inspired by Nakita on Dogster.

Where's the bottom?

Tonight, I gave Loki his dinner in the Tug-a-Jug toy. I was watching TV & not really paying attention to him. Then I look over, and to my absolute amazement, I see that Loki got the bottom off. Wow! Seriously? How did he get that bottom off?

Potty Post

In response to a comment from Dani & Frank, I'll offer my advice on potty training a puppy. It is what I did to potty train Loki. Obviously, it is not the only way, and you have to adjust methods to fit your own situation.

I am a graduate student and spend most of my time at home. This means that I had the luxury of watching a puppy almost all day long. Most people do not have this luxury. If both Yun & I were working full time jobs, I probably would not get a puppy at all. I would adopt an older, already potty trained, dog. Dog experts suggest that if you do get a puppy, that you then take all of your vacation time so that you can potty train your pup. To me, this sounds terrible. If I only have 2 weeks of vacation a year, there's no way that I would take it just to potty train a puppy.

Put your puppy on a strict schedule. For example:
7:30 am Morning potty break
8:00 am Breakfast
8:30 am After breakfast potty break
9:00 am Crate time
11:00 am Potty break
12:30 Play time
1:00 pm Lunch
1:30 pm After lunch potty break
2:00 pm Crate time
3:30 pm Potty Break
5:00 pm Play time
6:00 pm Potty Break
6:30 pm Crate time
8:00 pm Dinner
8:30 pm After dinner potty break
9:00 pm Play time
11:30 pm Night potty break

This is just a random schedule I made up. You have to adjust it to your life & your puppy.

To figure out how far apart your potty breaks need to be, the rule of thumb for a puppy is that they can hold it for as many hours as they are months old. So a 2 month old puppy can hold it for 2 hours. A 3 month old puppy can hold it for 3 hours. Etc. Personally, I found that Loki was able to hold it for an hour longer than that rule of thumb. So at 3 months, he could hold it for 4 hours.

Watch your pup like a Hawk
At all times, your dog should be either in his crate or being watched with 100% of someone's attention. This is important, because you must catch your puppy in the act of having an accident. You actually WANT accidents. This is your opportunity to teach your puppy where NOT to go. As soon as you see signs of your puppy wanting to go, or even if your puppy starts to go, immediately pick your dog up and off of the floor. I found this to be the most effective way to get Loki to stop. Yelling, "Nooooooooooooo!" from across the room doesn't actually work. But running over and picking him up always worked in stopping his stream of pee. Don't be mad. Don't yell. Be calm and just give a firm "No", "Uh-uh", or "Shhh". Then put your puppy down where you want him to go.

When your puppy goes in the correct spot, praise & treat. Personally, I found that Loki didn't care for treats after he pooped. My guess is that there is probably an aversion to eating immediately after pooping. There's a reason why poop jokes are not acceptable at the dinner table.

I think it took maybe a month or so for Loki to be at an accident rate of 1 accident per week. Then he remained at the rate of 1 accident per week for 2 months. In the end, he wasn't fully potty trained until 5 months of age.

Even the best trained/trainable puppies are still puppies. And puppies sometimes have accidents because they don't have good control of their bladder. Loki peed on a couple of our friends the first time he met them because he was so excited. And well, you just have to hope that your friends are dog friendly and don't mind too much.

Edit: You should never reprimand a puppy if you found the accident after the fact. The puppy will not understand. Dogs only understand associations when the associations are formed at the same time. They do not have memories and cannot associate something in the past (like having an accident) with something in the present (like your reprimand).

A Diet !?

Loki went to the vet today for annual shots. He weighed in at 25 lbs. A normal weight for a Shiba.

But then the vet said that Loki was getting a bit fat and should go on a diet. *Gasp* Really? Less yummy food?

I guess it wasn't so much the pounds on the scale that determines if a dog should go on a diet, since 25 lbs sounds reasonable to me, but rather how much fat you can pinch on the body. And I do agree, you can pinch a bit of fat on him.

Poor Loki. Less food.


Loki's starting to shed again. But the sad part is that he's only starting to blow his coat. Having gone through his blowing coat last fall, I now know that this is only the beginning & it's going to get much worse. In fact, the spring time should in theory be worse than the fall time. So I don't even know the worst of it! Time to get the brush, Furminator, & vacuum cleaner out.

Dog Sitting

Loki's going to have his very first overnight dog sitter this weekend! Oh boy, I hope he behaves.

I wrote up a 2 page document detailing everything to our dear friend, who will be dog sitting for us. I hope I'm not forgetting anything.

Topics included:
Vet Information
Emergency Vet Information
Location of food
Food Supplement
Water (Tap or Bottled?)
Potty Breaks
Poop bags
List of commands that Loki knows
Location of Leash
And lastly, a word of caution: don't let children pet him.

If the trip was longer, we would take him to his breeder's place to be boarded. But we'll only be gone for 2 nights. I hope Loki will be good.
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