Last night, I noticed that Loki had a small spot of blood on his face in between his eyes. I asked Yun, did Loki and Juju get into a fight? I didn't remember hearing any screaming. Yun also replied in the negative. And why would he be bleeding on his face between the eyes if he got into a fight with Juju? It's such a weird spot.

So what happened to Loki?

This morning I found my answer in the form of a dead mouse in our backyard. EWWW! Gross! Yucky! Waaa! Yun doesn't know it yet, but he's going to be the one removing that thing.

Actually, Yun informs me that it was a chipmunk. Poor little guy.

Juju ate a spoon

Um... that used to be a spoon. Really! Baby threw it on the ground after dinner, and I neglected to pick it up right away. By the time I found it again, the head of the spoon was gone. Uh-oh... At least it's BPA free.

Advice for a shy shiba

From time to time, I get emails from blog readers asking for advice. Last week, I got an email from Kelly and her pup Anubis. She wrote
I got him under unfortunate circumstances because his previous owner abused him badly. Upon first getting him he was extremely hand shy, but that seems to be getting better day by day.  Also, he has scars from what looks to be cigarette burn marks on his hips. I took him in knowing Shiba Inus can sometimes be difficult to handle if not trained properly since I have had experienced with my pitbull (Harley) who was also badly abused and poorly trained. As far as behavioral issues go surprisingly, that's not an problem.
He is really shy and timid because of it being abused. It took him a good couple of months before he was able to fully trust that I would never lay a hand on him. I'm coming to you, an experienced Shiba owner, in hopes you can give me some pointers on how to help him socialize. Other animals are fine (he gets along with my moms pitbull like they've known each other their whole lives). However, when anyone comes into my house its under the bed he goes (his safe spot) while growling and barking and I don't want to force him to be social. My mom and roommate are the only two other people Anubis will go up to. I personally feels as though he wants to be social he's just scared because as long as 'mommy' holds him other people are fine to pet him.
My response to her was:
I am not a dog expert. I am just a dog owner who happens to blog from time to time. I'm not a vet, not a trainer, not a behaviorist.
With the above disclaimer said, I think that you can help by not forcing socialization onto your dog. Use lots of treats when someone comes over. If Anubis goes under the bed, just drop treats along the floor just outside of the bed. And just leave him alone. Don't force him out. Be calm and don't pay too much attention to him. And most definitely, have your friend ignore the dog completely. If you have the time and energy and friends available to devote to training, then I suggest you do this A LOT. So, friend comes over means that treats are dropped all over the ground (and the friend does not interact with the dog). I'd say, do this everyday, but few of us have that kind of time and that many willing friends to help out. So, maybe once a week? Obviously, the more the better.

When your dog stops retreating under the bed, I then suggest moving it up a notch. If your dog comes up to sniff your friend, have your friend continue to ignore the dog. Just let the dog explore the new smells without having to worry about being looked at or being petted. You can drop the treats on the ground near your friend.

When your dog feels safe with approaching your friends, I then suggest that you have your friends offer treats. I think it's easy to think of this step first, but I think of it more as one of the later steps, after you've gotten your dog more comfortable with the idea of your friend in the house.

I also do not recommend that you hold your dog  and then let your friends pet your dog. I am positive that your dog is uncomfortable with this situation. If on his own will, he wants to crawl under the bed, then there is no way that he is comfortable with being restricted and forced to socialize.

I do agree that your dog probably does want to socialize, but he is afraid. And fear is extremely powerful. You have to go slow and on his terms to show him that there is nothing to be afraid of. It takes time to build that new positive association.

And even after you've done a lot of work with him, please keep your expectations realistic. He might never be a very social dog. It is possible that the best he'll do is tolerate your friends. It's possible that he will take to certain friends and not others. We humans don't always get along with every other human. Some we like better than others. Your dog may also be selective about whom he trusts, and that is fine. I think a resonable goal at the moment for you is to get him to not retreat under the bed and bark, and to get him to a point where he will at least tolerate your friends, even if he doesn't necessarily socialize.
So what do you think? Do you have any other tips or advice for Kelly?

More Barking

Between Loki and Jujube, Loki has always been our resident guard dog. He'll let us know whether we have visitors, whether the neighbors are checking their mail, whether children are playing in the street, and whether a leaf is blowing in the wrong direction. Luckily for us, Baby doesn't wake up from Loki's barking. But just because it doesn't bother Baby doesn't mean it doesn't bother our neighbors. Yeah, nowadays, every time we let him out into our backyard, we hope and pray that he doesn't bark, lest our neighbors complain... again. We brought up the issue of barking with our dog behaviorist.

"Has Loki barked more since Baby was born?" she asked us.

"Huh, I don't know. I never really thought about it in relation to Baby's arrival." I thought about it for a minute or two and then assented, "I guess so."

"Sometimes dogs bark more with the arrival of a new baby because there is now an additional person in the household. A new baby to protect."

Huh, weird. So Loki barks more to protect our baby and yet things like this happen? Huh, okay. That's kind of interesting.

To help with the barking, the behaviorist recommended that we let Loki bark for a couple seconds, then go to the window and check out whatever is going on, reply to him with "oh, it's only the neighbors," and then tell him to stop. The idea is that it's Loki's job to alert us, but then our job to actually take care of any potential harm. So we should acknowledge that he's done his part and then we do our part.

I imagine that if we ignored his barking and told him to immediately stop, then his anxiety would escalate and he would think, "But no! Really! Listen to me! You have to come look! There's a man with a machete and a ski mask running down the street towards us! We are all in mortal danger! You have to listen to me! You have to listen to me!!!" So, you actually have to check out what's going on in order to calm him down. Now, this rationale may or may not be true. I've just made it up. But it makes sense in my head that the more you ignore, the louder the alerting barks will be.

Have any of you had a similar experience? If you have had a new baby join your (dog) household, have you found that your dog barked more?

Signs of improvement

We're seeing some signs of improvement in Loki's behavior as it relates to Baby (who is more of a toddler at this point, but let's still call him Baby). In general, Loki moves away when Baby approaches him. The other night, Baby got too close to the dogs while they were eating their dinner (we were right there, don't worry). In response, Loki backed up without having finished his dinner and just moved away. Unfortunately, Juju took the chance to be opportunistic and gobbled up his food. We scolded her and then gave some more food to Loki. I'm not sure if I buy all of the dominance/submissive theories of dogs, but if there is any truth to that, then I think that Loki walking away from his food is a sign of submission to Baby. Also, it seems that Loki has gotten better as Baby started to walk. Baby now stands taller than the dogs. Not much taller, but still taller.

Our approach has included all of the following:

  • Identifying triggers, namely, the couch. We no longer let the dogs on the couch at all. When we are away, we just block off all access to couches.
  • More management. We bought a few more baby gates. That way, we can section off entire rooms to separate the dogs and Baby when we can't actively watch all of them. The dog behaviorist had suggested a crate or a dog pen, but Yun thought that such a small space would make Loki guard that particular space more and potentially become even more aggressive about his crate or his pen. An alternative solution that we agreed on was to use baby gates to section off entire rooms. The space is larger, and if we constantly mix it up, then Loki isn't likely to regard one space as his own to guard. Still, we try to minimize separation. We want the dogs and Baby to mix as much as possible; we just make sure to watch closely when they do.
  • Positive reinforcement. When mixing dogs and Baby (which we try to do as much as possible), we offer Loki treats. We try to make it as positive of an experience as possible. We also do some training with him, so that his focus is not on Baby. Like I said, Loki has been consistently moving out of Baby's way these days
  • More exercise. This one is self-explanatory. More exercise is always good.
  • More training. We are doing more training with both dogs. It helps Loki because it gives him focus and direction, which reduces his overall anxiety. It helps Juju, because she's a stubborn dog who doesn't like to listen to anyone.

Why is Juju in the bathtub?

Recently, Juju has been hiding in the mornings. Where does she hide? In the bathtub.

Yun tells me that she goes there after I've left for work in the mornings and after he's gotten out of bed. Why does she go hide in the bathtub? Or is she trying to tell us that she needs a bath? Any ideas?

Any advice for housetraining?

A couple weeks ago, I received a comment on a very old post on housetraining.
Hi, we are also having trouble with our 8 week old Shiba. We live in an Apt in New York City, and can't take him out until he's vaccinated. What is happening is that when he has to go to the bathroom (and this is after he is holding is for a long time), he get's so frustrated/anxious that he runs around the apartment biting us! Finally after 10 minutes of this he'll finally just go on the floor. 
Any tips on how to get him to use a pee pad, calmly?
We were actually never very successful about potty training Loki until after he finished his vaccinations. Once, he could to on the grass and trees and bushes, he was good to go. Before that, we were getting accidents at the rate of maybe one a week or one every two weeks. After he was done with his shots, he became very reliably potty trained. So, given our poor track record, I'm not sure if I am qualified to offer tips.

My advice would be to always praise and treat when your dog goes on the correct spot. Throw a potty party! Never scold your dog for going in the wrong spot.

Use crate training. The dog goes in the crate (with toys and treats and maybe a kong) whenever you aren't able to watch his every move. Or you can tether the dog to you, so that you'll know if and when he feels like eliminating.

I think the rule of thumb is that a dog can hold his pee for as many hours as he is old. So a 2 month old dog should be given the opportunity to eliminate every two hours. If I recall correctly, Loki was able to do more than that. I think I added on an additional hour to his age in months. When he was 2 months old, he could hold it for 3 hours. Etc. I think by 5 or 6 months old, he could hold it for 8 hours. And generally, even now, I don't ask them to hold it for more than 8-9 hours, even though they probably can.

At one point, I used to give out the advice of picking your dog up. That worked well for us. If I caught Loki peeing in the wrong spot, I immediately raced over and picked him up mid-pee. He would stop peeing and then he's finish after I placed him down at the correct spot. Unfortunately, I've heard that this advice doesn't work for everyone, and for some people, pee just got everywhere. So, you can try it, but it might not work for you.

Anyone else have tips to offer?

Happy Birthday Jujube!

Happy birthday, Juju. She turns 6 today. Gasp! I can't believe she's already six. The time sure flies.

Loki and Juju: Opposites

Despite the fact that Loki is our problem dog, he is really easy to train. It sounds strange to say, but he's actually a really good dog ...  aside from the fact that he bites. But, no really, he is! I'm not entirely sure why, but he is so easy to train. He's willing to please. He's willing to listen. He just gets it faster. I even think that he really enjoys training. He loves it that we tell him what to do. He feels more secure when we do. And that is exactly what we want -- for him to feel secure and safe.

Juju, on the other hand, is incredibly difficult to train. We've been working on "down" with her all week long, and I still don't think she gets it.

So, we have one dog who is really easy to train and is very well-mannered, but has a bite history. And a second dog who is frustratingly hard to train, has no manners, but is a complete sweetheart. A baby and a vet can do anything and everything to this girl, and she won't complain. But don't try asking her to give you a "down" or to "come" or anything else for that matter. She is one stubborn dog. She wants to do what she wants to do and no one can convince her otherwise. Or she's stupid, but I don't think so. A stupid dog wouldn't do this or that. She just doesn't like anyone to be the boss of her.

Two dogs as opposite as opposite could be.

A Dog Trainer

We recently decided to hire a dog trainer to help us with Loki, and well, Juju could use some training too. We didn't agree about the dog behaviorist. I thought the dog behaviorist was fine, but Yun didn't care for her and moreover, felt that she was way too expensive for what she provided. It was hundreds of dollars for a consultation. From what I had gathered her services and fees were market price for a dog behaviorist.

Anyways, given that obedience training is always suggested as a way to help an aggressive dog, we thought a trainer might be a good alternative solution. This time, I let Yun do the research and pick one out. He found someone to do a set of private lessons for us at a reasonable price.

Today was our first session. She was a tall, mild-mannered lady. (We're short people, so everyone seems tall to us.) Actually, she sort of reminded me of our dog walker. She went over some basic commands, like come, sit, down, focus, and settle. We signed on for a set of seven sessions in total. It's not so much that we don't know how to train our dogs, but rather that having the structure will help ensure that we keep up with the training. Also, she'll help us do exercises outdoors where there are more distractions.

The source of Loki's problems is anxiety. He is a very anxious and insecure dog. I'm hoping that the obedience training will give him more confidence and trust in us. Surely, it won't hurt. And as an added bonus, Juju will get some training too. We never taught her anything other than her name, come (which isn't reliable), and sit.

Loki is one very lucky dog in that we have the resources to hire all these specialists for him.

Why do dogs rub against smelly scents?

Both of my dogs love to rub their whole bodies against random smelly scents. At least it seems random to me. Why do they do it? The explanation that I've always been given was that dogs are trying to hide their own scent. But is that the real answer?

Slate reports something different. I thought their explanation was pretty compelling, and certainly much more convincing than "hiding their own scent". What do you think?

Sigh... another fight

That there is Juju. She's hiding in the corner behind my glider. She is sporting a pink bandage on her front paw and the cone of shame.

The pups got into a fight this morning. It's been a while since their last fight. The two of them were outside in the backyard, and I think they were chasing a chipmunk or something like that. It must have been running around inside the gutters. Anyways, the two of them would make a horrible pack in the wild. They don't cooperate to get prey; they compete against each other.

Her paw was bleeding and we took her to the vet. It's a good thing that she is so well-mannered with people, so that she could be checked out and treated. Loki is also sporting some damage to his face. But his cuts weren't as severe as Juju's, so we left him alone. And well, if we really had to take him to the vet after a fight, we'd have to crate him to be transported and then he'd probably have to be sedated just for the vet to check him out.

To say I'm frustrated with Loki is an understatement. I was frustrated two years ago. I'm way past frustration now. I feel like I'm just surviving with him. Trying to make it through the day with him, one day at a time.

Baby Playing with Jujube

Jujube is a such a sweetheart. She puts up with Baby wonderfully. I caught the two of them playing under our dining room table. She tolerates his clumsiness so well. At least I have one dog that I don't have to worry about.

Different Parenting Styles

Do opposites attract? Well, the science may say no, but when it comes to doggie parenting styles, it seems like Yun and I are as opposite as can be. Perhaps we aren't that different, but in these past few days, it feels like we're miles apart.

We had our consultation with the pet behaviorist a few days ago. I desperately wish I could say that it all went wonderfully well, that we have a clear game plan ahead, and that we are optimistic about our future with Loki. But I can't. How well it all went depends on whom you ask. I thought it went very well, but Yun thought otherwise. After the behaviorist left, he said that he didn't like her, that he didn't like her after the first time, and that he had apparently forgotten that he didn't like her.

When we initially picked out a pet behaviorist, I did the research and I picked her out. Therefore, her philosophy was more in line with mine, and not at all in line with Yun's. I've always been  much more inclined towards positive reinforcement, and through the years I've become even more so. Yun thinks that positive reinforcement certainly has its place in training, but you can't do everything with just positives and no negatives. Yun and I just don't see eye to eye on this. We never have, and I don't think we ever will. The way I see it is that Loki is an extremely sensitive and anxious dog, and anything negative is detrimental to his well-being. Another difference is that I tend to be in favor of more management (similar to the behaviorist) whereas Yun tends to dislike management. Our disagreements are more nuanced than just this, but anyways this gives you an idea about our differences.

We both love Loki and are trying to find some common ground. We're trying to pick and choose from the behaviorists suggestions to find something that is acceptable for both of us. I think if it were up to me, I would have implemented all of her suggestions. But Yun feels strongly against some of them. And so, we are left trying to piece together a solution that can work for both of us. We definitely are trying to work towards a common goal. I just wish it weren't so hard.

Jujube escaping again

Juju decided that my life was too boring. Everyday, she woke up next to me and saw that I went through the exact same routine. Hit the snooze, get out of bed, wash up, check on baby, feed her (and Loki too), and walk her (and Loki too). How boring!

To bring some excitement into my dull life and get my heart pumping, she decided to slip out of her collar (it's even a Martingale collar!!) this morning and run around the neighborhood. Boy did she RUN. We went behind all sorts of places that we've never gone before. Exploring new smells is tons of fun.

Unfortunately for her the fun stopped when she squatted to pee and I snatched her up.

Baby has forgotten

For all those who wondered or thought that Baby would be traumatized, he seems to have completely forgotten about the incident. Today, he played with both dogs just as before. He practically trampled Juju this morning. I told her to move, but she didn't want to. She was lying down and didn't want to get up. So she just tolerated him. Interestingly enough, Baby figured out how to maneuver around her, albeit clumsily. She didn't move an inch. Completely non-reactive. I wish Loki were that good.

Baby also seemed to have no fear approaching Loki. We practiced more food sharing between Baby and Loki. Tonight, it was string cheese! Yum, yum.

On Commitment

A few years ago, I had a great idea for a blog post. It was going to be a post on commitment. My idea was to write about the one thing that matters above all in getting a dog -- commitment. Whether you get a male or female, where you get the dog from, and what breed you choose is all irrelevant when compared to one's commitment level. Shibas are a terrible breed for first time dog owners. And Loki was not an easy first dog. But, we were committed to making it work. We were willing to do whatever it took to integrate Loki into our household. We were willing to do whatever it took to also integrate Jujube into our household. We weren't going to give up, just because the two of them didn't initially get along. And you know what? Our commitment paid off. The two of them are now fine.

But I never did write that blog post. I didn't because I was unsure about the future. What if I wrote such a post, sounding all high and mighty, but then had to sheepishly go back on my word some years later.

And now I'm glad that I never did write such a post. After many tears and great sadness, I admit that for the first time in Loki's life, I've actually considered not keeping him. I bottled up that thought for a few hours last night, as I felt helpless and powerless. I didn't want to say it out loud. If I voiced it, then it would be true. Unfortunately, it is true.

We're not there yet. We're still going to try and make this work. I'm going to call our pet behaviorist and also our vet. We may try some drugs. We may try some more training. We're going to try everything we can.

Diaper Cream Yum!

After dining out this afternoon, I returned home to this:

With two puncture holes, it looks like a vampire got to the diaper cream. Ah, but I know that they weren't vampire fangs. They were two vicious canine teeth. Two vicious canine teeth that belong to a cute furry animal named Jujube. We're not sure how much she ingested, if any. It's definitely not digestible, but she seems okay. No vomit or diarrhea. And apparently, I'm not the only one.

Note to self: Next time pick up the diaper cream from the floor each and every time Baby throws it. Wait, that might be tiring. Pick up the diaper cream from the floor the last time Baby throws it and before we leave the house.

Baby and Juju

At the age of 15 months, this morning was one of the first times that I’ve seen Baby play with one of our dogs. It was a beautiful sight, full of giggles and tail wags. In the rush of this morning, when we typically race against the clock, time stood still for a few moments. I was facing my closet as I was getting dressed when I heard the clink-clink of Juju’s collar. I turned around to see Baby holding out a stick of cardboard for Juju. It was one of those sticks of cardboard that dry cleaners put on metal hangers for hanging up pants. True to my uptight personality, my first thought was “No! Stop!,” but then I realized that there was no harm in a flimsy piece of cardboard. Baby clumsily poked Juju with it as she bounced all around him. At time she licked the cardboard, which elicited tons of laughter. And at other times she tried to take the cardboard with her mouth. This too was hilarious to my little one. As an adult, I don’t know what was so funny, but I smiled at the two of them, cheerfully playing with each other.


This is Loki's "Why are you neglecting me in favor of that little squirmy crawling thing?" face.

Loki and tonight's thunderstorm

Tonight we had a little thunderstorm. It wasn't even that big or long. But Loki was a wreck. He desperately whined and pawed at the baby gate at the top of the stairs. So, I opened it and let him up. I thought maybe he wanted to be near me. He went straight into his crate. I thought it was because he felt safer in his crate. Then he proceeded to empty his entire bladder in his crate. Loki's always been so good about potty training. He's just progressively getting worse with thunderstorms.

Of all places...

Dear Juju,
Of all places to pee this morning, did it have to be in our bed?

And of all places to poop this morning, did it have to be on Baby's play mat? (Well, it could've been Loki, but I know it was Juju who peed on the bed, so she's bearing the brunt of my frustration this morning.)

Baby's play mat, washed, and put out to dry.


Loki has gotten progressively worse with thunderstorms. The first time wasn't too bad. The second time (which I erroneously thought was the first time again) also wasn't too bad. But it's been thunderstorming here for the past week or so. Loki is not happy about that. It's near impossible to get him outside to pee. He barks up a storm, waking Baby up. I thought that more frequent exposure would desensitize him, not stress him out more. Ugh! What a pain!

Going to the vet

Today, we went to the vet. Loki was due for his rabies vaccine. And, I had been negligent about giving them heartworm prevention medication, so, I had to have them both tested again. From what I've read, if a dog does indeed have heartworm, it is very dangerous to give that dog the heartworm preventative medication. So you should make sure that your dog doesn't have heartworm before giving the preventative meds.

Here the pups are getting attention from the vet tech before going into the exam room. Loki is totally soaking up the attention. Juju's thinking, "What are you so happy about?"

Here's Loki in the exam room. He's oblivious to the horrors coming to him.

A treat box on the exam table.

Here's a funny picture of Juju.

Here's Juju being examined by the vet. Doesn't look too pleased, but she's very well behaved.

And Loki being examined by the vet. The opposite of Juju in temperament, he's not so well-behaved.

And those were our adventures at the vet!

Baby Gates

Poor pups. Baby gates means that they no longer have full freedom of the house. If we're not paying attention, then the pups get trapped on the stairs. But Loki doesn't mind, does he? He likes to lounge on the stairs. And will only complain if he's missing out on food or treats.

I tried opening the gate for him. But he didn't care. He didn't budge. He makes it seem like, he's not trapped. He freely chose to lounge right there.

Juju escaping in

Shibas are notorious escape artists. Juju, not only escapes out, but she also escapes in. We recently installed baby gates at the top of our stairs. When I left the house, I locked the baby gate. I figured this would keep the dogs out of our bedroom. Prior to the gate, we closed our bedroom door. I thought that the gate would be sufficient. Well, Juju proved me wrong. Never underestimate a shiba! When I arrived home, Juju didn't greet me. Why not? She was stuck upstairs. The gate was still locked.

Juju, how did you get upstairs?

Ah, I think this is how she got upstairs:

Now, she's made us a bit more wary about whether baby can fit through those side banister bars. Probably. We haven't done anything with that area, and we're probably not going to, but I'm a bit more cautious in watching him when he's by that area. Thanks Juju, for showing us our baby proofing oversight!

Loki marking Juju?

The other day, I took the two furry kids out for a quick walk. Juju squatted to pee. Most of the time, Loki likes to pee on top of her pee. This time, Loki didn't wait until she was done. Yikes! Of course I yanked him away, but I'm not sure if I was quick enough. Was Loki trying to mark Juju? Poor Juju.

Baby and Loki

Baby and Loki seem to be developing a very good relationship.

Baby almost always feeds Loki some of what he's eating. And it's not just feeding in terms of throwing a mess of food on the ground. Baby will deliberately pick up some food and hand it over to Loki. Loki knows to sit on Baby's right side, as whoever is on that side gets more food. From time to time, Baby will also throw over some food on his left side to Juju. But whoever is on his right side gets most of the food.

In turn, Loki will let us know if Baby has a poopy diaper. How might you ask? Well, just take a look:

Still, despite the fact that I think Baby and Loki are going to have a great relationship, I'm still always cautious about the two of them together, due to Loki's history. I had my first scare the other day, when Loki barked at Baby. Loki was sitting underneath the dining room table, and I guess Baby was getting too close to Loki. Luckily, no one was hurt. It must have just been a warning bark. I'm very glad of that. Warnings are always good. A million times better than a bite. Loki has his particular triggers, and being underneath a table is one of them. When he's underneath the table, you leave him alone. (Or you can not leave him alone, but pair that with some yummy food.)

I'm hopeful that this can all work out. I do think that Baby and Loki will have a great relationship. Still, I can't ever let my guard down. I have to always be cautious. It's tiring -- this always being cautious thing. But it's worth it.

End of Loki's good streak

I'm very sad to report that Loki's no bite streak ended. We celebrated a year of no bites in January of this year. And I was hoping that we would forever be done with Loki's biting. But alas, no. Maybe we'll never be truly done with his biting and maybe we just have to learn to forever be cautious.

So what happened?
We had a couple of house guests visiting this weekend. Loki had seen both of them before. The very first time he met our female house guest, he did growl. But this time, he was familiar with her and greeted her with tail wags and airplane ears. He was happy to be petted and scratched by her throughout their visit.

One evening, we were all watching a movie with all the lights turned off. With only the glow from the screen, our female guest saw that Loki was approaching her as if to just sniff. So she extended her hand, and as she did, he bit her.

The damage itself wasn't too bad, but it made us very apologetic and very upset.

I don't really know why he bit her. It was dark, and so, I guess that taught us to always be careful with Loki when you can't clearly see his facial expressions. Yun thinks that maybe it was redirected aggression due to Juju, as Loki is still prone to growling at her from time to time. Between the two dogs, the growling no longer escalates to full contact fights. It hasn't since July of 2009. We're pretty confident at this point that fights between the dogs are over with.

And I wish that I could say that bites from Loki are over with. But we can't. We still have to remain ever vigilant and cautious.

Random Shiba Links

Taken from Cute Overload, here's a shiba with volume control! I wish I had volume control over Loki.

Random Dog Links

The Los Angeles County has passed an ordinance to better protect animals.
"Under the new rules, breeders will be required to:

-- wait until dogs are at least 12 months old before breeding them;
-- keep puppies on premises until they are at least eight weeks old;
-- separate pregnant females at least three days before they give birth;
-- and provide nesting boxes for the moms and their pups."

From the NY Times, Forget the Treadmill. Get a Dog.
"If you’re looking for the latest in home exercise equipment, you may want to consider something with four legs and a wagging tail. 
Several studies now show that dogs can be powerful motivators to get people moving. Not only are dog owners more likely to take regular walks, but new research shows that dog walkers are more active over all than people who don’t have dogs."
Personally, I think that it's not the dog that makes people more active, but rather that people who are more active like to have a dog. If you are not an active person, I don't think that you should get a dog. You might have good intentions on walking that dog, but over time, your true sedentary personality will prevail. And that dog just won't get the exercise he or she needs.

$1.5 million paid for world’s most expensive dog
"An 11-month old pup named Big Splash (“Hong Dong” in Chinese) recently sold in the Chinese city of Qingdao for 10 million yuan — about $1.5 million in U.S. dollars."

Earthquake Help for Pets

Many people here are trying to help those in Japan who were devastated by the earthquake last Friday. Of course we want to help the people there. Everyone does. But often overlooked are the pets. They are often separated from their families. They are often lost. They are hurt. They too are in need of help.

If you'd like to help the pets of Japan, I recommend donating to World Vets.

About World Vets, from their website:
World Vets is a non-government organization (NGO) providing veterinary aid around the globe in collaboration with animal advocacy groups, foreign governments, US and foreign military groups and veterinary professionals abroad. Our work spans 25 countries and 6 continents and addresses not only veterinary issues, but also human health issues impacted by zoonotic diseases in developing countries. World Vets is a 501c3 nonprofit organization.


Just for fun, Yun tied a balloon to Juju.

She didn't like it much and tried to run away from it. But she was unsuccessful. Yun had to remove it for her.

Then Yun tried to tie it around Loki. This he did successfully, but it didn't last. Loki ran downstairs to the basement, and ran around the couches until it came off on it own. He didn't need our help to get that darned thing off.

Everything is Juju's fault

In the world according to Loki, everything is Juju’s fault.

The other day, I accidentally nicked Loki’s paw while closing the back door. I felt really bad and said sorry to him, but he didn’t hear and/or didn’t understand me. Instead he went after Juju. He ran towards her barking up a storm. I was afraid that they were going to get into a fight, even though it’s been well over a year and a half since their last fight. Luckily, they have decided that barking/growling matches sufficiently announce their displeasure and they don’t get physical.

Then last night, we were watching TV. Loki sat on floor on the left side of the couch, and Juju was on the right side. All of a sudden, Loki lunged and ran over to Juju while barking ferociously. He did this a couple more times before we realized that it was a particular ding of a bell on TV that set Loki off.

Yes, Loki. Apparently anything and everything that might be wrong in this world is Juju’s fault.

Every time Loki goes after Juju, she always stands her ground and barks/growls back. She doesn’t go after in him return, but she doesn’t back down. I imagine her saying “What’s your problem?” to him. Poor girl, she gets blamed for everything.

Sharing a blanket

We had a most strange occurrence this evening. Our two dogs shared one doggy blanket. Don't let the picture fool you. It wasn't a peaceful sharing of the blanket.

Juju was there first and Loki then took it over and treated it like it was his. He growled and barked at Juju every time she moved. He did not want to share. And yet, she was there first. She was happy to share, but not with a growly dog. Juju might be a lovable dog, but she's not a pushover. She doesn't let Loki boss her around. She'll bark right back at him. And so, they got into a barking/growling matches. We had to break the tension by directing them to something else and getting them off the blanket.

Who's buried?

Guess who this is! Loki or Juju? What do you think?

Answer will be revealed later...

Loki under the blanket

When Loki gets grumpy, Yun's solution is to play with him. Sometimes he'll take the dog blanket and throw it over Loki. Some dog experts use the time it takes a dog to get himself out from under a blanket as a measure of dog intelligence. I'm not sure if I buy that theory. What if the dog just doesn't care? Well, anyways, this works pretty effectively in getting Loki out of his funky moods.

Here's Loki looking sad that he's under the blanket.

One ear up and one ear down.

Let's play again! Yun throws the blanket on him with the other side up.

He's looking at YOU!

Interview with Nicole B.

Nicole adopted Jiro, her first shiba, in August of 2007. She must have really loved shibas, because not a year later, she adopted Yuki-san. She volunteers with the Shiba Inu Rescue of Texas (SIRTx), helped get the organization 501(3)c (non-profit) status, and currently sits on the board of directors. She's helped over 30 shibas since 2008. Way to go!

I'm very glad to have had the opportunity to interview Nicole.
  1. How did you first become interested in shibas?

    When I was a kid I was in love with Huskies, I always wanted one but we would end up with mutts (I use that term lovingly, I know sometimes it has a bad rap). They were great dogs but my longing for a Husky never abated. So when I was finally able to have a dog of my own, I was in my last year of college and no longer living with roomates, I knew it was the perfect time. But I also knew I wouldn't be able to have a Husky still. I knew they didn't do well in apartments and while I had time to devote, I didn't think I had enough time to properly exercise a Husky knowing what high energy dogs they were. I knew I wanted a spitz type dog. So I starting looking around not knowing what would be a good fit. That's when my husband (then boyfriend) suggested Shiba Inu because of friend of his (Erin) had 3 of them. The more and more I read and researched the more I realized they were perfect for me. Pretty much everything I was looking for in a dog (smart, loyal but not overly clingy, clean, a spitz, primitive). Then one day we ran into Erin out with Kitsune, and I was sold. Turns out she was looking to rehome Jiro because he and Kitsune weren't the best of buddies. She found Jiro in the local Animal Shelter by accident when she was there with her boyfriend looking for a dog for him. It was his (Jiro’s) last day, despite wearing a collar with tags; the owner wouldn't come for him. Since she knew about shiba, she paid for him with the intent of finding him a good home. A year later she still had him; when I expressed interest in shiba she asked if I wanted Jiro and the rest, as they say, is history.

  2. Why do you love this breed?

    Oh man, where to start with this one? Like I mentioned previously I've always been drawn to primitive, spitz breeds. I love that they are small enough to pick up should you need to or want to (torture them) but big enough that they can handle anything mother nature wants to throw at them (or think they are big enough to handle it). I love that they can think for themselves but still yearn to please you in small ways. And I'm not going to lie I love the look of the breed, puppies/adults/seniors, they are all adorable. They have to be, they are so much of a brat that their cuteness is their only saving grace.

  3. Why should someone looking for a shiba consider a rescue?

    This is going to sound weird coming from me, who is so heavily involved in rescue, I don't think you should consider a rescue unless you are certain that's what you want. Let me explain: Puppies from a great breeder, with known linage and testing, are a wonderful thing. You know what you are getting, or at least you have an idea of what you are getting. I would love to have a puppy from a great breeder someday, but I know that time is not now. I know I cannot handle a puppy or puppy training. I once fostered a puppy and was so happy when she was adopted. Potty training is a nightmare when your trainee can only hold it for a couple of hours. I fully support breeders who do things right and the people who buy from them.

    On the flip side, should you want rescue think about all the pros and cons. The cons are you will get a dog will an unknown history and lineage; you have no idea what you'll be getting, and it's a crap shoot at best. I love my boys and wouldn't trade them for anything, but it would've been nice to know that Jiro's linage has issues with allergies and Yuki-san's had LP (luxating patella) so I could've been financially prepared. It's a risk going with a rescue, but it does pay off. Jiro and Yuki-san are amazing dogs and are so well bonded with me.

    I've heard many a people say a dog won't bond with you unless you get it from a puppy. Hogwash, I say! Jiro is my heart dog, that one in a million that comes along and knows you better than you know yourself.

    Another pro about rescuing is that you can see the dog's personality before opting to take it home. Whereas with a puppy you can meet the parents, but there's no guarantee it will be exactly like either parent or even a good mix of the two.

    There are numerous reasons to rescue a dog, most importantly is that there are so many animals in shelters and there shouldn’t be. I think when it comes to adding a member to your pack, whether it is your first or tenth, you should really think about what you want and why you want it. No one can tell you one way or the other is better. All I will say is please don't support unscrupulous breeders (back yard breeding or puppy mills). Personally, I think rescue work should involve more education than cleaning up after these people, but the sad truth is we sort of have to. Education goes a lot further than pulling dogs and placing them in good homes. It’s equivalent of the old saying “Give a man a fish and he'll eat for a day teach a man to fish and he'll eat for a lifetime”. Truth be told I will be happy when rescue organizations are no longer needed. Of course world peace will be abound and pigs will fly when all this happens (yes, I am being sarcastic with that last sentence).

  4. What would you tell someone who might be interested in helping out with a shiba rescue, but doesn’t know where to start?

    Best place to start is to contact whatever organization you want to help with and find out what they need. Also know your limitations. Do not let anyone talk you into things you are uncomfortable with. I give this warning because I've heard too many horror stories as of late. It's sad because some of us are trying to do good and nearly everyone has good intentions but I think some people have lost sight of that goal.

    I know my rescue will gladly welcome anyone and everyone who wants to volunteer. Foster homes are what we are always in need of, but I know not everyone can foster. We could use people who can transport or pull dogs from shelters, many of our volunteers have M-F/8-5 jobs—unfortunately, that's when shelters are open too. If you are good with legalese, figuring out 501(c)3 applications would be a big help to a rescue looking to get not-for-profit status. Also, if you can help file taxes after obtaining not-for-profit status. If you think you can help fundraise or brainstorm ideas for fundraisers, please do! Can you help at local pet expos? Talk to people? Educate about how and where to buy/adopt a dog? Educate about how to be a responsible owner? What I'm trying to say is volunteering with a rescue isn't just about fostering. The possibilities are endless. Chances are you have a skill that we/they can use.

  5. Tell me more about the CGC.

    CGC is the AKC Canine Good Citizen Program. It is a way of proving that you are a responsible owner and you have taken time to train your dog. Many of the tests are things everyone strides for in teaching basic obedience. There are 10 small tests:

       1) Accepting a friendly stranger.
       2) Sitting politely for petting.
       3) Appearance and grooming.
       4) Walking on a loose lead.
       5) Walking through a crowd.
       6) Sit and down on command and staying in place.
       7) Coming when called.
       8) Reaction to another dog.
       9) Reaction to distraction.
       10) Supervised separation.

    They are easy enough and it's useful because it is a building block for many other titles such as obedience titles or therapy work. While Jiro had no problem with 9 out of the 10 tests, #8 - reaction to another dog, gave us some problems. Jiro has leash aggression. He is fairly reactive when he even sees another dog (barking, stiff posture, snapping at the air or at Yuki-san). What we had to do for us to pass this was to approach another handler and their dog from a distance of 20 feet, shake hands, exchange pleasantries and then continue on our way. Like I said, Jiro would have not been able to do that when I started the training. I went through private lessons with Jiro because the class I signed up for never had enough people to become a class. We trained at the local dog park, starting 100 feet from the fence and teaching him the command "Watch me." Every time he looked at me, I would treat him until he would hold my gaze while we walked. We slowly worked up the distance until we could walk next to the fence without him becoming distracted by the dogs inside the park, and he kept his gaze on me. On the day of the test, we were able to greet the other handler and Jiro didn't even notice the other dog. The "watch me" command also helps with loose-leash walking because he'll pause and refocus on me. I admit I haven't been great on keeping all this fresh in our minds, but he still retains it. It was my hope to get him into therapy work, but life has a way of happening. March 2011 will mark a year that he's been CGC certified.

    Yuki-san is not CGC certified, right now he would fail tests 1,2,5,8 & 9. I really should train him.

    For more info on the CGC program, please visit the AKC site.

    Lastly, I would like to thank Vi for interviewing me. You posed some great questions and made really think about my answers. If anyone has an questions or would like to contact me you are more than welcome to at

Baby finds dog bowls

Yun let Baby crawl around on the hardwood floor today. He seems to have an easier time moving around on the hardwood floor as opposed to the carpet. He's not exactly crawling in the classic sense yet, but he's quite mobile. Unfortunately, a mobile baby gets into A LOT more stuff, like the dog bowls! Ack! I hope I never see the day when Baby tries to drink from the dog bowls, though I've heard such stories from other parents with dogs.

Loki and Jujube with another child

Last night, we had a couple and their two year old boy over for dinner.

How did our pups do? Well, Jujube was an angel, like always. She's such a sweetie and we're so glad that we have her. For one thing, it's so nice to say to a child that while you can't touch that one (referring to Loki), you can pet and hug this one (Jujube).

Loki is slowly improving with kids, but he's still quite wary. He didn't bark at the child as much as he has in the past with other kids of that age. But he did growl on two occasions.

The first growl came when the boy went to pet Loki. Growl. I had to explain that he could pet the dog with the pink collar, but not the dog with the green collar. Good thing this kid already knew his colors.

The boy was having quite a bit of fun with Jujube. She stood there and let him do pretty much anything to her. Pet her, hug her, follow her around. After he had his fun hugging Jujube, he suddenly went to hug Loki. In that split second, my heart simultaneously raced and stopped. Loki let out his warning growl, and we all shouted at the boy to let Loki go.

His mom asked, "Oh but he won't bite, right?"

I immediately replied that Loki might. Even after a year of no bites, I still remain cautious about Loki, especially around children. I do tell people that he will bite. I sense that Yun may disagree with me on this. Yun probably wouldn't want to alarm people the way I do. But I absolutely do not want any kids getting bit by Loki, and a good, honest warning will prevent that from happening.

In the end, I think Loki was great. He gave the boy warning growls with nothing more. The boy heeded those warnings and Loki learned that a warning growl is a sufficient to communicate his displeasure. Of course, I'd prefer Loki to be more like Jujube in his friendliness towards children, but I'm happy with what I've got so far.  Loki may never truly be good with children, but with ever experience, he gets just a little bit better.


What nicknames do you call your dog(s)?

For Loki, we got
  • Loki-boki
  • Lokkers
  • Lokkers-bokkers
  • Puppers-snapers
  • Lo-bo
  • Roki
For Jujube, we got
  • Juju
  • Ju-be-joos
  • Juju-boo-boo
  • Juju-bunny
  • Juju-bus
  • Ju-bo

Great video from CuteOverload

Over at CuteOverload, there is a great video of a black and tan shiba. Too cute!! I had to share.

Baby feeding Juju

Baby thinks it's funny when Juju licks his hand. Juju thinks rice cereal is yummy. These two are going to develop such a great relationship.

Happy Birthday Loki!

It's Loki's fourth birthday today! I can't believe he's already four!

But more importantly, we're celebrating the fact that he's not bitten anyone for the past year! One full year of no bites! We used to have aggression problems with Loki. (See here and here and here and here.)

After we hired the dog behaviorist, we changed our approach with Loki, and his behavior improved. Her assessment was that Loki had fear aggression, not dominance aggression. And we should respect the way he tried to communicate to us. Thus, if he showed his teeth or growled, we'd respect that rather than try to correct it.

I remain cautious around Loki and cautious about when the baby is near Loki. I try to make sure that Loki has positive associations with the baby, and I don't think that he'd do anything to the baby, but I also don't let my guard down.

Anyways, a big fat YAY for a full year of no bites!

Interview with Jenna Gates

Jenna was always surrounded by dogs as well as horses until she moved to NYC in the 1980s. Then, after over 15 years without a pet, she welcomed Snickers, a shiba inu, into her life. A couple years later, in 2006, she founded a shiba meetup group in NYC. Then after about a year, Jenna founded the NYC Shiba Rescue (NYCSR). She is a past president and a current member of the board of directors for NYCSR. In addition to her work in Shiba rescue, Jenna also educates the public about shibas and responsible pet ownership. She helped to establish The Anipal Times. As if this weren't enough to keep Jenna occupied, she also does therapy work with Snickers, and they are registered pet partners of the Delta Society.

I’m honored to have had the opportunity to interview Jenna.

1. How did you first become interested in Shibas?

Honestly, the breed choice was mostly my daughter's decision. Snickers, my first Shiba, was originally meant to be her dog. Like most kids, she wanted a puppy from a very young age. When she was about eight years old, we moved into a dog friendly apartment, so I told her to start researching breeds and we would get a puppy. My mom gave her a "dogalog" - a book of dog breeds with history, typical personality information, and info on grooming, energy level, etc.

She initially picked out 20 breeds that she thought were cute. Then she went through that list and eliminated breeds that (1) wouldn't do well in the city, (2) couldn't stand the summer heat or winter cold of NYC, (3) required a lot of grooming, or (4) wouldn't do well in a small apartment. That narrowed the list to about six breeds, so we went online and did more in-depth research on each of those six. She managed to cut the six down to two: the Cairn Terrier and the Shiba Inu - two very different breeds.

She made notes of pros and cons of the breeds, but she couldn't decide between the two. I have always had a strong preference for Spitz-type breeds and I particularly like independent-minded dogs, so I asked her if I could make the tie-breaking decision. She said yes and I chose the Shiba.
2. Why do you love this breed?

As I mentioned above, I've always had a fondness for spitz-type dogs. My first dog (who was mine as opposed to a family dog) was a Norwegian Elkhound my father gave me when I was a teenager. His name was cacci and he was my best buddy. I love Huskies and Malamutes and the other Nihon Ken breeds as well. I grew up around my mom's Pekingese dogs. After cacci came to live with us, my dad and I would say "Those (meaning the Pekes) are pets, but he (meaning cacci) is a DOG." That sort of explains how I feel about the spitz breeds; they're DOGS. They're closer to their genetic roots. So many of the "pet" breeds, and even many hunting breeds, display so much neoteny. The spitz breeds seem more real to me. When we were researching breeds, I was very enamored of the idea of an "apartment sized" spitz.
When Snickers came to live with us,
it was like a part of nature - something primitive -
had moved into our Manhattan apartment.
He changed our lives in so many good ways.

3. Are rescue shibas good for first time dog owners?

I don't think there is a single answer for this question because there is no single "rescue Shiba" personality. I believe that there are two reasons for this:

1. - Rescue Shibas are not clean slates like puppies. They've had experiences - some good, some bad, some horrible - before arriving in rescue. These experiences have already had an impact on their personality and temperament beyond their genetic breed predispositions.

2. - I haven't crunched any numbers to prove this, but my impression from experience with multiple rescue Shibas is that rescue Shibas are statistically less like the standard Shiba personality than Shibas from reputable breeders. My theory is that since so many rescue Shibas are mixes or poor representations of the breed from puppy mills and back yard breeders, they come from a much more varied (non-Shiba) gene pool, which results in fewer Shiba-like personalities.

NYC Shiba Rescue has rescued about 80 Shiba Inus and Shiba mixes over the past few years. A fairly high number of those were dogs that would definitely NOT have been good for first time owners. Rescues can be fearful and reactive - a combination that should only be handled by experienced owners. On the other hand, we've also had a number of incredibly well socialized, easy-going Shibas who were adopted out to first time owners with great success. We've also had a few older, more sedate, fosters who were perfect for first time and/or less active owners.

The beauty of adopting a rescue dog from a foster organization - for first time owners especially - is that, for the most part, you know what you're getting. These dogs have been living in foster homes, interacting with others, being observed and trained and socialized. I actually believe that a Shiba Inu puppy is a terrible choice for the majority of first time dog owners, but the right rescue Shiba can be a fantastic first dog.
4. Why should someone looking for a shiba consider a rescue?

Other than the advantages of rescues that I mentioned above, most Shiba puppies are EXTREMELY CHALLENGING. Unless it is a special needs dog or a dog with behavior issues, getting a rescue will be much easier than raising a puppy.

Saving a life is always a good thing.
Every time a rescue dog is adopted,
a foster home is freed up for another dog at risk.

The wait for a puppy from a reputable breeder can be long. Buying from anyone other than a reputable breeder is directly supporting the ongoing abuse and neglect of dogs in puppy mills. There are rescue Shibas all over the country looking for someone to love. Why wait?
5. What would you tell someone who might be interested in helping out with a shiba rescue, but doesn’t know where to start?

Start by finding the Shiba rescue nearest you. There is an up-to-date list of Shiba rescues in the US here -> Contact the nearest rescue and find out what they need. Rescue groups are all run by every day people volunteering their time to do whatever they can. They'll be grateful for your efforts.

Fostering, of course, is the cornerstone of rescue work. I understand that some people can't do it, but I'll never understand the people who simply won't do it... the ones with excuses like "I'll get too attached." I've never quite understood how letting a dog die in a shelter is better than getting "too attached." Fostering is an incredible experience for humans and dogs alike. Anyone who really loves their dog, should be able to spread that love and squeeze in a temporary resident every now and again! A rescue group without foster homes is basically spinning its wheels. You can help to some degree, but not very much. Foster homes are CRITICAL to saving dogs from shelters and abusive/neglectful owners.

That said, yes, there are jobs for people who can't or won't foster. Anyone who cares can help with whatever skills they have and should contact their local rescue group. If they don't HAVE a local group - and they're really motivated and ready to work - they can start their own! All it takes is a few people who want to save Shibas and some will power and motivation.
6. What are the best and worst aspects of rescue work?

The single BEST aspect of rescue work
is knowing you've made a difference.
I am proud to have helped every dog that I have assisted with rescuing - by evaluating dogs, doing home visit, processing adoption applications, training volunteers, driving transports, fostering dogs... each task has directly affected dogs at risk and made their lives better. There is nothing better than getting an email from a past adopter with photos of a happy, spoiled dog who WOULD HAVE DIED if not for the efforts of rescue. Honestly, it just doesn't get any better!

There are other benefits as well. I've made some of my BEST friends in rescue. When dynamic people with a shared interest and goal come together, awesome things can happen and that's a rewarding experience. I've learned more about dog training, health, veterinary care and nutrition than I would have otherwise and I put that knowledge to use for my own Shibas every day.

The worst aspects are (1) knowing you can't do it all and (2) learning to accept that some people just aren't going to help. It's hard to come to terms with the fact that we can't rescue every dog (Keiko for example) and can't necessarily rehome every dog we rescue (Lola for example). It's also really difficult when you're working your ass off and people around you aren't willing to do anything. (I don't mean people with different causes. My own parents, for example, have never made a donation to NYCSR, a 501(c)(3) started by their daughter! Dogs aren't their thing though; they give all their money to their church, which I understand. Another friend of mine understands my obsession for saving dogs, but he spends his time and effort helping runaway kids and female victims of domestic abuse. We have different causes and I can respect that.) It's the people who claim to love the breed but then make no effort to help who will make you CRAZY after a while in rescue. You just have to learn to let it roll off of you so you can keep going.
Each dog saved is worth all the frustration.

Jujube chasing her tail

From time to time, Jujube chases her tail. Sometimes she does it in conjunction to her Shiba 500 or when she's playing with Loki. Loki doesn't chase his tail. Such idiocy is beneath him.

It's only 5 seconds, but it's the best I could do:

Loki, my protector

In our family, we joke about the fact that Loki is my protector. I don't really know how he feels or what he thinks, but it sure does seem like he's my protector. If Yun and I kiss for longer than a second, Loki will come marching in and start barking at Yun. Nothing seems to get him off the couch faster.
"Bark, bark, bark! Stop attacking my mommy!" (Or at least that's what we like to think.)
Sometimes, when we are being playful and Yun's teases me by picking me off the ground, I yell out, "Loki! Come save me!" And sure enough, he does. He's my faithful servant.

Do your dogs react when you kiss your significant other?

Interview with Jen on rescue dogs and fostering

Growing up, Jen was always surrounded by dogs. There were Irish Setters, Hounds, Poodles, German Shepherds, Terriers, Dalmations, Huskies, and mixes. As a child, her first dog was a Beagle/Basset mix named Woodsie. Interestingly, no Shibas. They came along later in her life -- in her early twenties.

 "I’ve always felt so connected to dogs, drawn to them.
I learn a lot about myself through them and feel like I'm more humane (yes, humane!) because of them."
-- Jen of Inu-Baka

During her early teens, Jen's godmother introduced her to the world of dog rescue, and Jen began fostering Chihuahuas for a week at a time. Through the years, she has fostered for a no kill shelter, on her own, for a Basset rescue, for a Shiba rescue, then all breed rescue, and now for her local shelter. All the while, she blogs about her experiences with dogs at Inu-Baka, which means "crazy about dogs." Yes, Jen is.

I admire her passion for rescue work and am so glad to have the opportunity to interview her.

1. How did you first become interested in shibas?
It all started with a neighbor. Yuka was a marvelous, beautiful, interesting older woman who lived on the same block as one of our previous apartments. She started talking to me because I was always with a different dog, and she wanted to know why.

We got to be pretty good friends, she taught me how to roll sushi and pronounce words like domo arigato and itadakimasu. One day she asked my husband what he thought of our “revolving door dog habit” and he told her how he was more of a cat person. She then told us about her family’s dogs – Shiba Inu - cat like, independent, fussy, loyal, and treasured dogs. It was enough that we started researching them and found Tsuki within 4 months. Yuka named Tsuki. My husband has since declared himself a dog person!
2. I've followed your blog for awhile now and you seem to have a love / hate relationship with shibas. Why is that?
Honestly, I really don’t know. I certainly have an appreciation for the breed, and I have a definite soft spot when one is in need (like with Rudy)… but all in all I don’t want to live with more than the two I have now. If that makes any sense. My inus are well adjusted, awesome dogs. I’ve met more shibas that have attitude & quirky behavior issues (normal for shibas) than I have well adjusted (as dogs go) ones. So, maybe I’m just comfortable with my two as they are now.

The more foster experience I have, the more I realize that maybe I’m not as true a “shiba person” as I thought. I’m just a dog person.
3. Are rescue shibas good for first time dog owners?
I think so. Wonderful inus of all ages are displaced due to human circumstances. Most times if any “issues” are present, they are also due to human error (like a shiba that isn’t yet housebroken, etc). More often than not you get a dog that just needs a few weeks of adjustment, proving to be a really awesome dog thereafter.

A prospective owner just needs to be fully aware of what a Shiba is and can be (the good and the bad), and be ready to dedicate themselves to their dog. Same as if you were buying a puppy, I’d hope.

Even if I don’t want any more shibas in my life, my Kitsu (adopted by us when he was 1y/o) is the epitome of devotion and love in a dog. The bond we share with him is so special, because he is now forever home.
4. Should someone looking for a shiba consider a rescue?
Absolutely. There can never be any guarantees when raising a puppy or finding an adult dog. You have the perfect example with your dogs, Loki is probably a lot different than you anticipated he would be, and Jujube fit in very well as an adult.

The benefit of rescue is that someone is telling you what you will likely get with this individual dog. So, really, you might be better prepared for your dog if you go through a rescue that fosters its dogs.
5. If someone is considering adopting a rescue shiba, is there any difference in getting one from a foster home versus one from a shelter?
Yep, see #[4]. Shibas in the shelter deserve the same consideration as those in rescue. I think for a less experience shiba person, or someone who may never have owned a dog before, adopting from a rescue who fosters their dogs can shed more light on that dog’s needs, limitations (like diet), quirks, likes, dislikes, etc.
6. What would you tell someone who might be interested in helping out with fostering a shiba?
Go for it. Honestly, what can you lose? If you have enough interest to consider it, just do it once and see if it’s a good fit for you. Getting involved with an organized rescue group can help ease you into the transition of fostering. It’s just like getting another dog, except maybe you don’t have to pay vet bills!
7. What are the best and worst aspects of foster work?
Best? Getting to bond with so many amazing dogs.
Worst? The bittersweet goodbyes. I have an easier time knowing these dogs are getting an upgrade from my care, their very own home. So, even the worst aspect isn’t all that bad!

Happy New Year!

I think its cute when the dogs use the crates on their own. It's like they know where they are supposed to go even when no one tells them. And this doesn't happen too often. Just sometimes. Most times we find the dogs in our bed or on the couch.
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...