Archive for September, 2011


September 30, 2011 Leave a comment

In other news, I’ve also taken up gardening.  I had a few problems involving caterpillars (which ate every single one of my carrots) and aphids.  But as you can see from the photos below, its going pretty good.  There are carrots, lettuce, broccoli, spinach, and tomatoes in those photos.

Categories: Life

Shiba Inu Loki Part 2

September 30, 2011 Leave a comment

I am not entirely sure who is getting trained here, me or the dog; the correct answer is probably that we are both getting trained.   A more accurate way to word this is that I am learning how to get the dog to understand what I want.  Loki is turning out to be the most challenging dog I have ever dealt with.

The fault here lies entirely with me.  I am not used to keeping a strict set of rules, and routine, but that is exactly what I have to do to keep Loki from doing the wrong thing.  He will constantly test me to see if the rules that are in place still apply, and if the consequences of such actions are still undesirable.

Shiba Inus are a very dominant breed of dog, and convincing him that I am in charge is hard enough by itself, but it is a logical first step.  It is worth noting that dominance in dogs seems to be situational; he may accept that you are in charge when you are handing out food, but not when you are taking him for a walk.  For instance, sometimes he will roll over on his back wanting a tummy rub which is a rather submissive position for a dog, and he is happy to let me do it.  But there is no chance on this side of hell that he will let a stranger, even one he trusts, touch him from a submissive position.  But on the other hand, I still can not get him to reliably walk on a leash.

This is what makes Shibas so challenging.  They have such a remarkable strong will that it is a waste of time to try to force the dog to do anything; you have to make him want to do it.  With Loki it is all about attention, if you praise him every time he follows the sit command, he will sit on command quite reliably.  I’ve also managed to get him to stop jumping up on me, and he is much better with regard to biting by simply not showing him any attention at all, “No Talk, No Touch, No Eye Contact“, while he is doing something I don’t like—Eventually he catches on that he doesn’t get what he wants until I get what I want.

Sticking to a routine, and obedience training has been slowly helping the problem, but this has to be a change I stick to for the life of the dog.  If I ever slack off on the rules, he will slip back into his old ways.  This is why obedience classes require both the dog and the owner.  The behaviorist isn’t there to teach the dog; he is there to teach you how to teach the dog.

Categories: Life, Loki

Shiba Inu Loki

September 29, 2011 Leave a comment

A “Normal” person is the sort of person that might be designed by a committee.  You know, Each person puts in a pretty color and it comes out gray.  ~Alan Sherman

Meet the newest denizen of my apartment, Loki. Loki is a Shiba Inu puppy who is 18 weeks old; for the uninitiated towards shibas, this breed is extremely intelligent, and extremely well versed in trickery and trolling–they also make excellent drama queens (as we found out during his first bath). I swear my neighbors probably thought I was torturing the poor puppy.

Nothing has taught me more about the illusion of control more then this furry quadruped; you quite literally can not force him to do something he does not want to do, you have to convince him that it was his idea to do it.   An example of this is when I am taking him for his morning walk.  He will want to go one way and I will want to go the other.  In protest, he will plop down on the sidewalk and not budge; his entire body will just go limp.  If you pick him up and put him on his feet he will refuse to engage whatever muscles keep a dog standing, and collapse back onto the concrete.  I have yet to come up with a reliable way to get him moving again.

On a more positive note, he is usually pretty good about not redecorating the kitchen floor–which is where he is generally placed if I am not watching him.   Shibas are generally very clean dogs.  He spends most of his time grooming himself, or someone else.  In fact, he tried to groom a dog at the vet last Saturday, which was, incidentally, a bit more personal than the other dog cared to get, causing the other dog to snarl at him.

Overall, he is a good dog.  He is quiet, playful, and clean.  But he is also cunning and stubborn, making training this dog a unique experience.  Of course, the only thing more stubborn than him is myself, so we will just have to see who comes out ahead in this test of willpower.

Categories: Life, Loki