Our cross country flight

On Sunday, we took a red-eye flight on United out of Los Angeles International Airport to Dulles International Airport. We opted for a red-eye because of temperature conditions for Loki. Even though United did not have any hot weather restrictions for us, we figured it was better to travel at night when the temperature is cooler.

We got to go to a special check-in counter, which was good because the lines for regular check-in were really long. At the special check-in desk, the customer service representative said that we were supposed to arrive 2 hours before our flight to check-in our dog. Unfortunately, I forgot this and we arrived late, only 1.5 hours before our flight. Luckily, the customer service representative didn't mind and we didn't have any problems at check-in. Then, we had to take Loki out from his crate so that TSA could check it. You know, to make sure that we weren't smuggling drugs. When they were done, we put Loki back inside and I tied down the door of his crate to prevent it from accidentally opening. Lastly, we had to say our good-byes.

I've read online a lot of suggestions about how you should watch to make sure that your crate gets on the plane. I found this difficult to do, as it was at night and boarding is often done earlier than luggage gets put on the plane. United has a process in which there is a pink tag attached to the dog crate and when the crate is on the plane, they bring you the bottom half of that tag to your seat on the plane before the doors are closed. While this does require owners to trust the plane handlers, it did give me some assurance that Loki was indeed on the plane.

Although I was a nervous wreck, I did manage to get some sleep on the plane. That helped pass the time. Finally, we arrived at Dulles and the first thing we did was go to the specially designated area to pick up Loki. We nervously waited, and watched employees dump over-sized luggage items there. We hoped that they wouldn't just dump Loki there too. Finally, an employee wheeled Loki out in a luggage cart. Good thing, they didn't just dump him like the over-sized luggage.

I'm pretty sure Loki did NOT like the plane at all. His crate smelled awful, like he either peed or vomited in there. He never messes up his crate and is pretty fastidious about being clean, so the only reason for him to mess it up must be the stress. Poor pup. At least it's now all over.

Workshop training reminds me of Loki

During the Naaap Convention, I attended a workshop called 'Negotiating with Strength'. Here, I was sitting in a packed room with smart people, all with good careers, listening to the speaker, and all I thought about was Loki.

"Be bigger," the speaker says.
"What do you mean?" an audience member asks.
I know what he means! I think to myself. Be like Loki. Loki thinks he's a BIG dog. Loki lies in the middle of the room, every room. He needs a queen-sized bed, all to himself.

"People tend to respect authority," the speaker explains. He demonstrates how often times in car sales, you negotiate directly to the junior salesman, who then inevitably has to ask his "manager". This makes the "manager" seem like an authority figure, making the buyer give in to this "manager". Yeah, Loki has no respect for authority... unless you have food. He has respect for food.

"Establish your superiority and others will defer to you," another tip the speaker offered.
Superiority? Definitely a Loki trait.

"People tend to be compliant," the speaker says, and demonstrates this with a volunteer from the audience.
The speaker says, "Follow me," in an authoritative voice to the audience member, who of course follows the speaker all over the room. People are compliant. Clearly, Loki is not. Do you have any idea how many times I've embarrassed myself at the dog park trying to get Loki to come? And if he weren't on a leash, heck, no way, is he going to follow me, just because I told him to.

Next time, Loki should lead the workshop... if only he could talk.

Calling for Local Recommendations

Hi! Are you from the Northern Virginia area?

We are looking for recommendations for a good vet, dog walker, and also boarding location. Most importantly, we need a vet and dog walker. (Or, if you had a bad experience, let us know who to stay away from as well.)


Nomads living at the Hyatt

We lived at the Hyatt in Century City for four nights, since we were homeless & also attending the Naaap Convention.

I suppose that I shouldn't be so surprised by how dog friendly Los Angeles is, but I was. The hotel not only allows dogs, but also brought a dog bed & food/water bowl to our room upon check-in. While I was impressed, Loki was not. He wanted nothing to do with that dog bed, which probably smelled of hundreds of other dogs.

The back area of the hotel even had a "pet exercise area." Really, this just meant a patch of grassy area. For decorative purposes, the hotel had a section with bamboo. Loki started chomping on the bamboo right away. He gobbled it up. He sure is an Asian dog.
Yummy, yummy.

Holding it

Most dog owners have the problem of their dogs peeing and pooping in all the wrong places, especially when visiting new places. I get the opposite problem. Loki just won't go.

At first I thought it was wonderful that my aunt & uncle had a very well-fenced backyard. We could leave Loki there and not worry about taking him out to poop or pee. That's the great benefit of having a yard! Unfortunately, Loki mostly refused to poop or pee in my aunt & uncle's backyard; he just held it in. Once, he claimed ownership of the land, he didn't want to mess it up. He didn't even want to pee in the front yard! He gladly peed in all of the neighbors' yards. Pooping was another story. He just held it in for over a day, until we came across an acceptable pooping spot far, far away.


Moving your stuff across country takes a considerably longer time than local moves. The movers estimate 1.5 - 2 weeks. This means the only things we have are in suitcases (mind you, these are the heaviest suitcases I've ever packed). No bed, no table, no fridge, nothing.

We stayed at my aunt & uncle's home for a few days. For sure, Loki thought, this must our new home. And boy was he happy about it. We certainly got his stamp of approval. As soon as he walked in, he decided that he owned the place. Seriously, owned it.

He barked at my aunt & uncle as if they were intruders on his territory. We might hold alpha status over him (by a small margin), but everyone else is beneath him.

Loki loved the residential upgrade, and especially loved the stairs. They are carpeted, so he raced up and down them as fast as he possibly could until the very last step, on which he very gingerly placed his paws, because of the hardwood floor.


As if the entire moving experience wasn't bad enough, we had a thunderstorm the night after the packers packed up our stuff and before the movers came.

Thunderstorms are so rare in Southern California that earthquakes are more common.** Luckily, Loki didn't seem to be much bothered by it. He came out of his crate and stared at the window for the thunderstorm, just watching the storm. What a good pup!

** Disclaimer: Not a scientific fact. Don't quote me.

Moving Across Country (Part 4) - It's Packing Day

We are very fortunate to have a company pay for professional packers & movers. I imagine that this must be much more stressful for a dog than if we moved ourselves. This morning, Loki's exercise pen got reduced to half it's normal size & he was locked up. He's still locked in there as I type. Good thing I put him in there before the packers came. He growled at them. I've actually never heard him growl before.

He settled down soon enough. I just told everyone to ignore him. Still, I'm sure that he's feeling stressed out with all the chaos around him.

It's super difficult to implement Cesar Millan's suggestion of taking him for a loooooooong walk. Unfortunately, I have a zillion other things to take care of and exercising Loki gets pushed down the priority list.

Dogs are Expensive!

I've been extremely busy trying to find an apartment in Northern Virginia from California, and I'm astonished at how expensive Loki is! Every apartment complex I've called charges a pet fee of $300 - 400. It's not an extra deposit that you can get back if you leave the apartment in good condition. (I can understand an additional deposit. This is what we have now at our current apartment.) It's a non-refundable fee just for having a pet. Three to four hundred dollars! It's price discrimination that landlords can get away with; no one is going to legislate otherwise.

I say, Grrrrrrrr, to the landlords.

More Socializing

Loki is not too bad with strangers. He's friendlier towards women than men. But given enough time, he warms up to most people. But, he's still kind of shy, and, we can do better.

Now, how am I supposed to socialize him, when I was not properly socialized as a puppy? I find it rather awkward to solicit strangers to meet my dog. People are usually in a rush to be somewhere else. Also, some people don't like dogs or are afraid of them. And while Loki's stunning good looks does attract a lot of attention, somehow, it's not enough or not effective.

This morning we went to a coffee shop with free Wi-Fi and put up this sign:

I stayed there for about half an hour.

Loki successfully met two men this morning this way. He wasn't shy at all! Yay!

I'm not sure if we should find a higher traffic area. I don't want to overwhelm Loki, but I was hoping to get more than just two people. Still this place is nice, because they offer free Wi-Fi and an enclosed outdoor area, so that there is no glare from your laptop.

Where's Loki?

Can you spot Loki?

There he is!

Big Brother (... er I mean Shiba) is watching you!

Response to "Does he bite?" Comments

Thank you everyone for your comments and suggestions.

I'm sure that there are plenty of shibas that do not display such behavior at all. If you have such a well-tempered dog, just be glad and don't press your luck.

The Dog Whisperer episode that some of you were referring to was "Marley and Piper" in Season 4. I actually haven't watched the whole episode yet, but I saw a clip of it on You Tube. I hope to catch the entire episode during re-runs.

As for the comment about not taking bites personally, I know this rationally. However, not taking it personally is difficult for me, as I bet it's difficult for most dog owners. I try my best, but I don't always succeed. The ironic thing is that the more frequently he bites me, the better I get at not taking it personally. I bet I'd be pretty good at not taking it personally if I've been bitten as many times as Cesar Millan has.

As for the comment about picking my battles, I'm now trying that. I'm not entirely convinced that it's the best course of action. The way I see it, a dog owner should have full control of her dog under any and all circumstances. Whether it be removing a chicken bone from his mouth, tending to dangling poop, or cutting nails. But in light of the fact that I know I will get bitten, maybe it's not worth it to insist so heavily on a "perfect" dog, or at least not a perfect dog immediately. Today, Loki found a small piece of hamburger on the ground. I let him have it. It wasn't going to hurt him like a chicken bone might. So I decided to pick my battles and this wasn't one of them.

Regarding the comments about how Loki is still young and in adolescence, I think you are absolutely right. He has yet to fully trust us, and I'm slowly working on that. His behavior goes in waves: sometimes an angel and sometimes a devil. I think part of me was hoping that because we were on an angel wave for so long that maybe he was done with his adolescence. But that was silly wishful thinking.

Lastly, I did watch a couple YouTube clips of the SATZ method, which I've never heard of before. It seems very similar to clicker training, which Loki and I learned last summer. The one thing she did that I may try more of is talking to Loki. He's much smarter at picking up human vocabulary than I thought. Cesar Millan never uses words or encourages the use of words, because he says they don't understand. But Loki definitely learns certain words (like treat, walk, and sorry) even without us actively teaching him. I'm sure he can pick up more words as long as I use them consistently.


About a year ago, I posted about how Loki was afraid of various things such as the laundry room, manhole covers, and children. He's been making good progress on all of them.

  1. Laundry Room. I tried various methods of getting him in there. I tried clicker training in the beginning & also luring him inside with treats. In the end, I didn't seriously pursue this task too diligently, as there wasn't a read need for him to be in the laundry room. And he was doing just fine walking around other smooth surfaces, such as in PetSmart.

    Then one day, I had him with me and I really wanted to check on my laundry and see how much time was left. With my focus entirely on how much time is left on my laundry loads, instead of Loki go in the laundry room, we entered the laundry room successfully. He resisted initially, but definitely not as much as I thought he would. We repeated this exercise with my focus on the laundry itself, and Loki entered with only a small amount of resistance. Now he seems perfectly fine with it. It's so interesting how not thinking about getting him in the laundry room actually got him in there successfully.

  2. Manhole covers. In the past few months, I've taken to the idea of herding. When we approach a manhole cover and Loki resists moving forward, I herd him from behind. This technique works wonders! It's SO much more effective than pulling, coaxing, clicker training, or luring with a treat. It's really quite amazing. It doesn't hurt him, like constantly pulling might, and it works very quickly. After a few repetitions, he no longer stops at the manhole covers.

  3. Children. This one is still a work in progress. Because I take him to the school yard and park often, he's now accustomed to children's noises. He's typically calm around the playground unless the kids run toward him. Once in awhile, we have a good experience with a confident kid. The more confident the child, the more comfortable Loki is. The first thing I tell kids is to not pet Loki and to let him smell them. Then I give them treats to give him. If we encounter a nervous or apprehensive child, then Loki starts barking and I have to turn the child away.

    Today was a good day. We met a cheery, confident girl, who let Loki sniff her all over. She listened to all of my instructions and I gave her treats to feed him. I wish we met more kids like her.

Moving Across Country (Part 3)

The dog crate arrived this morning! I put his blanket in there and put a handful of his breakfast kibble in the back. He ate the kibble by putting his front paws in, but keeping his back paws out. He hasn't taken too much to the new crate, but I think I won't make a big fuss about it. I'll try feeding him in there and dropping treats randomly in the back of the crate. I hope two and a half weeks will be enough to get him used to it.

As mentioned before, to get Dog.com's not-really-free-shipping "free shipping" deal, I also bought a $1.19 dog toy. I gave it to Loki, but he didn't really play with it. Instead, he's simply taken possession of it. There's no doubt that he understands the concept of "mine".
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...