Monday, March 31, 2008

Why buy from a responsible breeder when I could have a puppy NOW?

Right now, I'm LiveJournalling like a fiend, trying to convince a friend of mine why choosing a breeder who tests is so important. She wants a Japanese Chin, a breed prone to patellar luxation, eye problems and heart problems. She can't find a breeder who does testing on their dogs. She's getting frustrated and wondering if she should go to a breeder who doesn't test, on the assumption that "all dogs can have health problems; it's just the luck of the draw". I sent her a few links detailing why that isn't the case, but despair of actually explaining effectively enough so that she sees the risk factors.

It's hard to show a non-dog-educated person how the dog world works. I don't mean to sound supercilious; Dog knows that I'm not the first person to ask about the merits of buying a SUV vs. a hatchback. However, it seems to me that a lot of people are approaching buying a dog like they would a stack of plates at Wal*Mart. They don't really care where it comes from as long as it does the job. If a plate breaks, well, back to Wally World to buy some more.

However, it's been proven that dogs are not like plates. It does matter where they came from. If someone buys a dog from an irresponsible breeder who doesn't test and doesn't carefully consider each breeding, they are going to be at high risk for getting a dog that will cost nearly $2000 to address its health issues. If you break a plate, you generally don't care very much, but when Pookie is unable to go for the walks she loves because her knees are too painful, you generally are unhappy that Pookie is hurting and because she can't function as the companion you bought her to be.

To NDE people, you generally have to speak in terms of money, not ethics. Again, not a lot of people care where their stuff comes from, if it's the right price. A lot of people are wondering, "But why do I have to pay all that money for just a DOG?! Why should I wait for the right puppy instead of seeking out someone who has what I want in stock? Why should I be anal about whether the puppy's parents have the right testing and that the breeder isn't just tossing a male and female in the same pen because they both have pricked ears and curly tails?

The answer that everyone can relate to is money. After spending around $1000 for a dog, finding out that you have to shell out $2000 for a preventable genetic condition, the charm of buying cheap is somewhat tarnished. Spending two grand because the dog escaped from the house and lost an argument with a Honda Civic is a lot different then money that you find out that you might have avoided spending if you hadn't bought that puppy at Puppies R Us.

The biggest hurdle to get over is the fact that you can test your dogs clear of everything under the sun and still end up with a puppy with problems. I usually use some analogy involving kids... like if you were going to buy a car seat for little Eggbert Throckmorten III, apple of your eye. You see two identical-looking seats. The only significant difference is that one of them has been tested to make sure that the model's straps are solid and that the seat won't break and send little Eggy through the windshield at an inopportune moment. Which one do you buy? The one coming from a plant that regularly tests its products may still fail, but at least you know that measures were taken to prevent failure instead of the sunny assumption that, "well all our seats are safe!"

It's late, I'm tired, I'm depressed and I'm quickly losing patience with the wilful assumption that dogs are somehow the same as inanimate products on the market.

Happy Birthday, Tierce!

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

I found a stuffed Shiba toy... I think

Trudging along in Wal-Mart, just before the joyous Easter season descended upon us, I espied this:

Note that this is a product of THE DOG CLUB. Their claim to fame is pictures that bring the dog's nose into closeup - there's a term for it, but do you think I can remember? - and look really cute and all that. Look, I did it with Tierce:

If you look closely, you can see what I saw:

Could it be a Shiba? The basket was 12.95. Yes, I spent 15 dollars for a cheap made-in-China Easter basket with a crappy colouring book and shitty candy, just for the sake of this damned stuffed animal.

And look what I got:

Okay, the markings look... somewhat like a Shiba toy's might... but let's see.

Its markings are on the top of its head. Its head could accommodate its entire body. The tail does not curve, curl or do anything other than act as an afterthought. I think THE DOG CLUB should stick to pictures, because this thing is hideous!

Well bred Shiba vs. PuppyMill Shiba. Buy from a responsible breeder or your dog could end up like the dog on the right!

So, Tierce, what did you think of your new stuffed counterpart?

Friday, March 21, 2008

Remember Buddy?

The Shiba who gnawed his leg down to the bone has had some closure.

Owner of dog who gnawed own leg takes plea deal

Honestly, didn't the guy ever hear of Elizabethan collars or muzzles? Duct tape is one of Dog's gifts to mankind, but it isn't the solution to a medical problem like this.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Shassi and Tierce love Violent Acres

Well, Shassi and Tierce couldn't give a rat's ass about Violent Acres. But I do. The latest posts that V has written concern how to train children to behave. It's excellent reading on directing positive and negative reinforcement to effectively modify behaviour. In fact, it's very close to clicker training, which is a very effective behaviour modification technique.

Training children to behave on cue

Effective Negative Reinforcement

Effective Positive Reinforcement

The last is, I believe, the best of the three. Shiba owners will find a lot of effective strategies here. First, set the puppy up to succeed. If circumstances are such that he can't do anything but engage in a desired behaviour, he will develop that into a habit. Incompatible behaviour training is effective in situations like meeting people - if the dog is taught to sit for a treat, then taught that all strangers feed him, he will automatically sit when he meets a stranger. Enthusiastically praise, to the point of absurdity and beyond, a behaviour that you want to reinforce.

And check out the rest of Violent Acres.

Monday, March 10, 2008

No, you can't play.

Tierce: What are you doing?

Bravewolf: Nothing.

Tierce: But it looks like fun.

Mischa: Never mind.

Tierce: But you're
playing. In the bed. Under the blankets.

Bravewolf: Yes. We are. Glad we've sorted that out. Now. Get. Out. Of. The. Bedroom.

Tierce: Can I play?

Bravewolf & Mischa: NO!

Tierce: I like to play under blankets.

Bravewolf & Mischa:

Tierce: Well you don't have to be so mean about it.

Mischa: Apparently we do. Now get out of the bedroom before you get escorted out with some propelling force.

Tierce: Fine!

Tierce: ...


Tierce: Your foot is salty.

Bravewolf: GET OUUUUUT!

Tierce: But now you're PAYING ATTENTION TO ME! Why should I stop now?

Mischa: Apparently the philosophy of 'ignore him until he performs the correct behaviour' is not applicable to this case.

Bravewolf: Agreed.

Tierce: gets escorted out of the bedroom with some propelling force.

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Why do we go through this?

Occasionally I meet up with people who say, "Well, why did you get a dog if you knew that it wouldn't listen to a thing you say?" Sometimes I play along and say, "I'm a masochist. I enjoy pain, but don't want to scar myself, so I got a Shiba instead of indulging in BDSM."

Some people just can't function without adversity. If angst was a career, I would be writing this on my private jet. And it seems I can never give myself a break. So it stands to reason that I would not get a dog that makes life easy. I would not be truly happy with a dog that obeyed my every whim. I can only be happy with a dog who, when he obeys a command, makes it seem as if he is giving me the Holy Grail.

As soon as a Shiba responds to a command, the Shiba owner's mind is immediately flooded with a plethora of endorphins, each one shrieking, "Did you see that?! He came/sat/flicked his ear!" For that one instant in time, it doesn't matter if you're broke or depressed or worried about life - by Dog you told your Shiba to something and he did it. Suddenly you can do anything. If you can get your dog to acknowledge your existence as something significant to him, you can get your boss to give you a raise, campaign for mayor, get to the top of that mountain and learn to parallel park all in one day!!!

People with border collies just don't know what they're missing.

They're probably glad.

Friday, March 7, 2008


The subject today is beds, bitches and gentledogs... specifically which bed would Tierce sleep on from this website.

Now, if a Shiba could pick, choosing a bed would be done carefully. It's not just the comfort that a bed provides, it's also chewability and the chance that a human could be ejected so that the Shiba could sleep in the queen or king-sized bed more comfortably.

Therefore, it is my opinion that the discriminating Shiba would pick the Verona bed frame. Note the curled ends of the bed, allowing for maximum chewability. Nothing beats expensive, perfectly tanned leather for promoting healthy Shiba teeth! Also the sides of the bed allow people to slide easily in and out - in if the Shiba should prefer some warmth and out if the Shiba should prefer to stretch out.

Keep in mind that the ideal Shiba bed is something that provides both comfort and entertainment!

Thursday, March 6, 2008


Another game featuring a Shiba is on the market!


A Shiba has won the utility group at Crufts!

But that's not all - Tango, the Shiba, won under some interesting speculation. Bookies suspended betting at Crufts due to rumours of inside information. The above article mentions suspicions tending towards a poodle as winner. However, judge Keith Nathan chose Ch Janeryls In The Line Of Fire, owned by Mrs J Bannister from Telford in Shropshire. If you don't normally pay attention to England's biggest dog event, then this year it's worth keeping an eye on Best in Show on Sunday.

Congratulations to Tango!

Tuesday, March 4, 2008


I have not signed Tierce up for pet insurance. One of the reasons is that I'm cheap and think that I can beat the game of Dog Health Roulette. However, I am seriously considering this move. I fully intend to research the best policy for my money before throwing my credit card at some lucky company. After all, nothing's too good for my Shiba, but it would be better if the things that are not too good are not too expensive.

When you look at one Canadian pet insurance estimate for Tierce, an 11 month old Shiba inu, the prices seem to be disturbingly reasonable; between 11.95 and 87.57 a month. Depending on which policy I choose, this can be a relatively cheap way of ensuring that a good chunk of Tierce's vet bills will be paid should he ever be in the position to play chicken on the highway.

The thing is, for people who take the time and money to get and maintain insurance for their pets often don't need it as much because they are already investing time and money in their pets' health. Tierce comes from a long line of dogs that have outstanding health and temperaments. I also don't walk him without a lead, meaning that he doesn't get a lot of chances to see if he can outrun Ferraris on Highway 19A. I am already beating the odds.

There is something to be said, however, for the comforting voice in one's head that reminds you that you don't have to worry about the cost of veterinary care simply because you gave up a latte or two a week. If I were to save 87.57 every month, the aggregate would only amount to 1050.84 every year. This would pay for one moderately expensive surgery. With the insurance, I can get coverage for all accidents and illnesses. When you consider that some surgeries can cost anywhere from 2500 to 5000 dollars, this suddenly becomes very appealing.

So it looks like I am going to seriously consider insuring Tierce for a moderate amount of money. Dog knows that he is planning to find a way for me to involuntarily spend money to keep him healthy - why not this?

Van Insurance
This link has nothing to do with pet insurance at all, but the company (UK) does insure dogs and cats. Go here to find out more about their pet plans.

Monday, March 3, 2008

It's that time again!

Bravewolf: Guess what time it is?

Tierce: Time to give me that hamburger defrosting on the counter?

Bravewolf: No.

Tierce: Time to go out for another walk?

Bravewolf: Nope.

Tierce: Time to play with my Kong?

Bravewolf: (Holds up nail clippers)

Tierce: ... (runs away)

Bravewolf (grabbing Tierce): Trust me, I hate this too.

Tierce: NOOOooooOOOOOooooOOOOoooo!

Bravewolf: Look, just hold still.

Tierce: No, it feels icky!

Bravewolf: If you hold still, it'll get done faster!

Tierce: No, you're gonna cut meeee!

Bravewolf: Only if you move.

Tierce: If you touch my feet again, I'll-

Bravewolf: You'll WHAT?

Tierce: Nothing.

Bravewolf: That's what I thought. Don't fucking move.

Tierce: moves

Tierce: Ow!

Bravewolf: Oh, shit. Now look what you did.

Tierce: That pinched!

Bravewolf: Because you moved. Where's the styptic powder?

Tierce: Over there, where I knocked it over.

Bravewolf: You little shit.

Tierce: You hurt me! I hope you burn in hell forever!

Bravewolf (sticking the nail in some powder): Hell can't possibly be more fun than this.

Tierce: You suck.

Bravewolf: Oh, I'm gonna suck more than you ever dreamed if you don't stay very, very still.

Tierce: leans back in martyrdom

Bravewolf: There, that wasn't so bad. Good puppy!

Tierce: Now can I have some hamburger?

Bravewolf: No.

Tierce: Not even after you hurt me?

Bravewolf: Not even after I hurt you.

Tierce: How about a walk?

Bravewolf: I don't feel like it.

Tierce: Fine, I'm going to race around the house, wear the styptic powder off my nail and paw at your good clothes in the closet.

Bravewolf: Let's go for a walk to take your mind off your recent trauma.

Tierce: Yayyy!