Tuesday, December 25, 2007

A Very Shiba Christmas

Merry Christmas! Or Happy Holidays. Or whatever...

Things have been progressing. We have stopped feeding Tierce regular meals - he gets food for obeying commands (especially "Front!"). I have also made efforts to ignore bids for attention in favour of giving him attention when I want to and also when he comes when called. I'm hoping that regular applications of this by both Mischa and I will get him into the habit of looking on us as the source of all things good.

Lastly, I have decided that we will give the dog park a miss. Tierce has been getting bad about demanding toys (sticks, balls, broken pieces of plastic... whatever) that another dog has or is playing with. I think that it's time to give the dog park a rest and socialize him one-on-one with other dogs without toys to complicate things.

To compensate for the dog park exercise, I am taking up jogging. Tierce seems to get a lot out of running and, with my growing stamina, I hope that we will both get into great shape this new year. I've been trying several methods to encourage him to keep a steady pace. One is running in a zig-zag pattern when terrain and safety permit. This makes Tierce think and look to me for guidance. Another is stopping to play with him every so often to keep his interest and enthusiasm up.

My New Year goal (one of them) is to have Tierce used to running, screaming children. He has been socialized with all sorts of children, but is still nervous about being in the middle of a noisy horde of them. I aim to make him used to this by bringing food for him to the local schoolyard and, if I am not carted off under suspicion of being a child molester, getting the kids to feed him.

Damn, I'm tired.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Custody of injured Dover dog delayed until owner's trial

More on Buddy, the Shiba inu who chewed up his own leg. The trial will be held on January 22 next year.

This posting is late because my mother was struck by a staph infection in Burnaby this past week. Luckily she's okay - but since she is 73 and not in the best of health, it was a near thing. We got reports from my cousin James, who looked after Shassi, that Shassi insisted on lying on a sweater of Mom's and arranging it herself. Tierce started looking for me in the middle of the night so that Mischa had to put him in the crate (Mischa was letting Tierce sleep with him in the bed again, silly man) at around 12 to 3, which is the time I usually come up to bed when I'm working late.

It's funny how these dogs, who couldn't care less if you're there, seem to miss you when you've gone. Maybe they're closer to humans than we think.

Today Tierce needed a good shaking. He took offense when I insisted that he pay attention to me instead of some crows who were walking around a parking lot. A flash of the fang and BAM! he was shaken and flat on his back, screaming like he was being slowly dissolved in sulphuric acid. I didn't look around to see who might be phoning the SPCA. A much more subdued Shiba walked beside me for about five minutes before turning into his normal macho self. This is definitely not a dog for the faint of heart but I will not have a dog tell me what he will or will not do.

Speaking of macho, Tierce is starting to become possessive of toys in the dog park. I haven't brought any there because I'm not sure it's a great idea. Unfortunately Tierce starts chasing dogs who have balls and sticks in their mouths and sometimes gets really snarly when they won't give them to him. Today he was having an argument with another 8 month old dog that turned into a shouting match and we had to separate them. So I'm starting to think that I'm going to have to give the dog park a miss and socialize him one-on-one with other dogs.

Tierce's obedience is abysmal - he ignores commands that he knows I can't enforce, like coming when called. We're going back to obedience classes in the new year. I've been practicing "Front" (come) with him, but I don't see it having much effect. We're keeping at it, though. And he does listen to me more than he listens to Mischa.

Tierce is doing better with the pulling - our run today went better than last time. I think it's because I'm stopping at intervals to play with him and that keeps his interest. I'm going to try this again and see if it doesn't help him keep focussed if he knows that he is going to get time outs to play and sniff things and have fun during a run.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Shiba movie!

A Shiba movie!

Warning: serious tear-jerker, if the trailer's any indication. I so want to see this. It's based on a true story about Mari, a Shiba inu and her three puppies who were left behind when their owner was evacuated due to an earthquake.

These links brought to you courtesy of Loki's blog AKA The Misadventures of a Shiba Inu

I've got to say that I can't imagine leaving Tierce alone to fend for himself. However, people leaving dangerous situations often cannot bring their pets with them - Hurricane Katrina was an example. Another is people leaving abusive partners and not being able to find shelter that will accommodate their pets, who are then at the mercy of the abuser. This holiday season, for those of you making donations to battered women's shelters, etc. see if you can find shelters that support people with pets who need to flee unlivable situations.

Saturday, December 8, 2007

And the debacle in Dover continues...

Dover man pleads not guilty in animal cruelty case

On Oct. 30, Buddy bit his leg, resulting in a small wound. Laurion treated the small wound and wrapped it with cotton and gauze, putting duct tape around it. Two days later, Buddy chewed his foot to the bone because police say he couldn't feel it. The foot was amputated Nov. 3.

Is it just me and my silly ways or wouldn't any sane person have Elizabethan collared/muzzled the dog to make sure that he didn't chew his leg further? There's something really weird going on here. I know that some dogs can lick themselves to the point where they have red, angry sores on their legs, but not very many dogs chew their own feet off.

Friday, December 7, 2007

Oooh, shops!

I've added some more stuff to the Store... or stores. Now I'm going to have a bath and read me some Philip Pullman.

Here is your daily cute:

Tuesday, December 4, 2007


Scenario: You have an older dog and a younger Shiba (8 or so months old). You buy another Shiba puppy. The older dog does not like the Shiba puppy. You decide to put the puppy up for sale (you don't like the breeder, so don't want to bring the puppy back). You're not going to go to a trainer, animal behaviourist or any other person who might have strategies to bring about a happy pack (but you've "talked to people and read").

You have had the puppy for less than a week.

This was the gist of a post on another Shiba group I occasionally participate in. My eventual response was that I didn't think much of the commitment of people who had a puppy for less than a week and didn't bother any strategies to get the older dog to accept the puppy. Her response was "... so don't tell me anything about our commitment, thanks." As of now, the entire post is deleted, seconds after I posted back.

I'm expecting a "goodbye cruel forum" post any minute. At least I might get a snarky comment on my next post. Or maybe she'll cry herself to sleep tonight.

Just about every forum has experienced a person who is shocked and insulted because someone called them on a blatantly obvious fault about the issue they are posting on. They didn't come here to get criticism! They came here for hugs and kisses and to justify whatever horribly irresponsible and careless action that they did/are doing/are about to do.

A lot of the time it's the I-think-my-dog's-pregnant-what-do-I-do? poster who is shattered to discover that the great majority of responses involve getting the dog spayed and what the hell were you thinking, allowing her to breed with no genetic tests or proof of lineage. Sometimes it's the people who are wondering whether they should beat their dog with a stick or a padded tire iron. Sometimes it's person like the above who can't understand why I would be so mean as to criticize her family's five-minutes-and-give-up attitude.

Morals of this story:

1. You are responsible for researching the breed that you want. Also, you are responsible for educating yourself concerning breeding, pack dynamics, training and troubleshooting.

2. Rome wasn't built in a day and neither was Lassie. In order to have and keep a dog, you need patience, dedication and the awareness that there are some things you can't fix or make better (i.e. some Shibas are just dog-to-dog aggressive and will never change).

3. Before introducing your tragic tale about how you just have to breed/give up/beat until it can't stand/kill your dog, take a good look at yourself. If you see yourself bursting into tears or writing a yerstoopidandmeanandugly response at any hint of criticism, confine yourself to your private journal. And by "private", I mean "not available to the public". If you post on your journal that is open to all the world, that's public.

4. Employers look you up on the web and often make judgments about hiring based on what they find. If they find FUCK YOU YOU DON'T UNDERSTAND WHY I HAD TO DEFENESTRATE MY LITTLE POOKIE, they might pass you up for that counselor's position.

5. Remember that part about research and dedication? Yeah, just checking.

Monday, December 3, 2007

Tierce VS the Spider

I forgot to post this stirring adventure that I filmed a couple of days ago.


For those of you living in non West Coast environments, snow may be just another annoying/fun/inevitable part of winter. However for us Vancouver Island peoples, it's occasion for MAJOR ISSUES. In Nanaimo, Malaspina University-College shuts down almost as soon as the first white flake dusts the Arts building. Drivers don't comprehend that a sudden dump of snow and freezing temperatures mean that they should take their foot off the gas pedal. Children are liberated from school and adults take out their pristine snow shovels and start resentfully clearing their driveways. This is Vancouver Island, not Whistler. It's not fair.

I had to work. Since I bicycle everywhere, I am at somewhat of a disadvantage when it snows so deeply that my tires won't bite anything. So my boyfriend drove me to work. Some hours into showing yet another eager customer towards the doggy coat racks, my boyfriend phones me. Tierce had refused to come in and was bouncing out in the snow.

Tierce stayed out there for five hours. Mischa threw snowballs at him, which he chased and ate. He ran up and down the compost heap until he wore his own track. Then he chased himself around the yard... again.

When Mischa drove me home, having finally persuaded Tierce to delight in the comforts of the house, I immediately dug my cross-country skis out of the closet, attached Tierce to my waist belt and headed outdoors. We went down the road and back. I am afraid that Tierce's sole skijoring moments were confined to random lunges towards the deep, fluffy snow on the lawns that we passed. I guess that he needs more lessons on how to be a good sled dog. He did pull my creatively snowified boogie board up the hill, though.

It wouldn't work by itself, so I had to duct tape some garbage bags to it. Tierce seemed to have a good time running beside it as I whipped down the hill and using his harness to pull me off balance. I think that it's gonna be a few more months before he starts channelling Yukon King.