Curiosity nearly killed the cat

June 20, 2012 Leave a comment

One dark night, I decided to talk Loki for a walk when I noticed he was tracking something.  Curious to see what it was, I let him continue the track.   So we work our way around the house, when he switches from tracking mode to stalking mode (his ears go back, he puts his head down, and walks very slowly).  At this stage I had no idea what he had noticed, but I was still curious what he was after.  Next thing I know he pounced.  There was no scream, no cry for help, just a pounce and before I could react he was locked onto a cat’s neck.  The cat couldn’t do anything but try, desperately to breath.  I grabbed Loki by the harness and pried the cat out of his mouth; it ran off never to be seen again.

Loki honing his cat murdering skills on a rope toy.

Loki honing his cat murdering skills on a rope toy.


Before anybody accuses me of raising a vicious dog, you have to understand Shiba Inus.  They have high prey drives; they were bred for hunting wild boars in Japan.  Dogs with high prey drives like to eat things.  This can be a wild boar, or your neighbors pet cat.  If it is smaller than them, and it will run away from them, they will kill it and eat it.   Now, a retriever may have fetched the cat, a mastiff might protect it, a collie would probably herd it, Shibas will kill it.  The exception here is when they are introduced at very young ages.

Loki stalking a bug

Loki stalking a bug


I’m considering a second dog.  My first thought was “cool, i’ll get another Shiba”.  When I told my family this their first words were, “here is the number for a good shrink, call him”.  I absolutely love Shibas, but I think I have decided to go with a Siberian husky for my second dog; perhaps one of these gals.  Siberian Huskies are Intelligent and Independent, which are qualities I love in Loki.  They can be just as stubborn, and sometimes aloof.   They are generally more people friendly, however.  I want a people friendly dog to help balance out the pack.  On the other hand, if I combine the mischievous nature of a Shiba Inu with the strength and power of a Siberian Husky, I could be in trouble.

Categories: Life, Loki, Uncategorized

Loki and Zizou

February 13, 2012 Leave a comment

This weekend one of my friends came over with his 5 month old boston terrier.  Zizou, the boston terrier, has way more energy then he needs, which is great for a tireless dog like Loki.  Being curious how Loki would handle having a dog in his territory (which is considerably different to meeting new dogs outside) I decided to schedule some playtime between the two.  Initially things didn’t go very well.  It didn’t go badly, just not well.  Zizou instantly wanted to play and Loki wanted a few minutes to get the ritual butt sniffing out of the way.  Being deprived of his ass sniffing time made Loki nervous, but he quickly got over it.  Unfortunately, by the time Loki was ready to play, Zizou was more interested in raping Loki.  Zizou is a very small dog, and didnt have much success in this endevour as he was left in want of a stepladder.

Before I go any further, I would like to clarify that it was not really a sex thing; it was a clear dominance move on the part of Zizou.  Puppies usually get a pass on things like this, so Loki let it slide even tho you could tell he was visibly annoyed.  Unfortunately, the other dog did not give up easily.  Loki pinned Zizou on the ground and held them there; the mounting stopped after that, and the rest of the play time went smoothly.   I think it is important to let dogs sort out dominance issues themselves, so long as they are not trying to kill each other anyway.  Fights tend to happen when we get in the way.  The only thing i’m concerned about is that both dogs accept that I am higher in the hierarchy then themselves.  Where they are positioned after that is inconsequential.

I am planning to eventually buy another shiba puppy to eventually serve as a playmate for Loki.   This was a very useful experiment to determine how he would deal with an unfamiliar dog in his space, and he handled it well.  Adding a second puppy to the pack should not be a problem.

Categories: Life, Loki

Trekking across monte sano state park with a shiba

December 5, 2011 Leave a comment

I decided, since Loki is now 6 months old, to take him hiking. This involved two separate hikes to gauge his fitness level. The first hike was short, but over different trail difficulties. The second one was long, but over relatively easy trails.

The first hike was about 2 miles of easy trails, with about a half mile of double black diamond level. Loki did excellent over this, and the Shiba’s ability to jump 4 feet in the air from a standing position helped him conquer the obstacles that were in our way. He rather enjoyed the challenge, and seemed to have more energy at the end of the hike then at the beginning. Some of these climbs were rather hard, with 45% grades in some spots, but he held his own and never needed to be carried over the obstacles.

Loki checking out the view on a double black diamond trail

The second hike, was to gauge his stamina, instead of his athletic ability.  And as such, it was a combination of two trails (North and South Plateau Loops)  for a combined total of 5 miles.  He did outstanding for the first 4.5 miles, but I had to carry him for the last half mile as he just ran out of steam.  Now that I know his limits, I can start working on getting him in better shape.  Eventually, I expect, this Shiba will be able to out hike me, but he has a long way to go.  I am going to start planning hikes every weekend towards this goal, and planning long 3 mile walks during the weekdays which I expect to help.

It actually amazes me how unprepared people are on these hikes.  I met an older pair of women on a 3.6 mile trail, not long by any means, who carried zero water with them.  I met them on the trail and had to donate some water for them and their poor dogs.  Dogs dehydrate quicker then we do, so you always want to bring water with you on hikes.  Coming prepared is also a good idea if you get lost.  Even on day hikes I like to carry food (bring kibble for your dog) and water like I’m staying overnight and bring things like a rope, axe and shovel, and other supplies I’d need to survive if I wound up lost.  These things generally don’t weigh that much, often less then 10 lbs total, so its not a big deal and will help develop your core muscles.

In closing, hiking is a wonderful activity, and a load of fun for both you and your subservient quadruped, however please, for the love of god, don’t go into a forest unprepared.  It’s bad for both you and your dog.

Categories: Uncategorized

[#Jira-314159] Food Packet with invalid payload can cause a buffer overflow in certain K-9s

November 8, 2011 Leave a comment


Type: Bug Status: Unassigned
Priority: Major Resolution: Unresolved
Components: Canis Familiaris Fix Version/s: Future Release


When a food packet with an invalid payload is entered via the mouth input subsystem of the unit, a buffer overflow may occur in the gastrointestinal buffer. This buffer overflow leads to corrupted output.

Categories: Life, Loki

The Taming of the Shiba Part 2

October 24, 2011 Leave a comment

Obedience training made house training a lot easier, as it allowed me to condition a word to mean good,  I use “yes” and/or a clicker, while negatively associating “no” in order to mark good behavior.  “Loading” the word “yes” was trivial.  I sat on the floor with Loki, watching him, and every time he did some behavior that I would want to train later, I would mark it, and treat.   I would do this for about 5-10 minutes per day for about 3 days.  You’ll know its working when he starts salivating when you use your clicker or your “mark” word.  Training a non-mark was way more difficult.

In order to train the non-mark, I had to correct him.  When he made a mistake, I used a loud “no” in as deep a voice as I could muster.  Sometimes, when he was getting really obnoxious, like when he bit me, I would grab him by the scruff of his neck, get one inch in front of his face, and say “no” in a loud deep voice.  Note, this is not shouting, its just talking with authority.  Eventually he caught on that “no” was undesirable.   Now, if I tell him no, he’ll stop doing what he is doing and look back at me.  Its almost like he’s wondering, “well, what do you want me to do instead”.  I’ll then give him a “mark” for stopping the behavior.  Its important to follow the non-mark with a mark so he gets rewarded for listening.  If you fail to mark that behavior, you will wind up with a dog that ignores you  (I made that mistake at the beginning).

Loki Sitting Like A Pro

The first thing I taught him was to sit.  I did this by filling my hand with his favorite treat, and putting it above his head.  Most of the time his head would come up and his butt would go down.   When it did, I would mark it and treat.  I did this for about 3 days before he got the hang of it indoors.  That is when I moved my training to outdoors (which is basically like starting over).   I learned, by watching several Leerburg videos, that distractions are important when teaching your dog.  There are different levels of distraction.   A level one distraction would be inside your house with no-one else around;  Sitting outside might be a level 3 and the dog park is more like a level 10.  You have to do training with different levels of distractions in order to get your dog to reliably listen.  Think of it like you are telling him “yes, you also have to listen to me while you are playing”.  Earlier today A big dog was approaching and Loki wanted to play with him.  This is a training opportunity!  I told him to sit, and he did it immediately.  Had Loki not been through distraction training he probably would have ignored me.

Loki performing a down in the grass

Once I got this command down, reasonably well, I decided to teach him to “down”.  In order to do this, I would put the food in my hand, and close a fist around it, putting it on the ground right in front of his face.  He would be extremely confused by this, realizing that he is expected to do something for this food due to the “sit” training which preceded this training.  He would start trying random stuff.  He would sit, sometimes he’d jump on me, other times he’d just lay down.  He was experimenting to figure out what he could do to get his food.    Any time he’d lay down when I said “down”.  I would mark and treat.  Eventually he caught on.  He is currently going through distraction training with this command.  Next on my list is to train him to down stay, sit stay, and come.  Stay tuned until then!

Categories: Loki

The Taming of the Shiba Part 1

October 24, 2011 Leave a comment

I have been consistently making progress in Loki’s training. Thus far, he can reliably sit, down, and he is house trained; for varying values of house trained. He does still have to occasional accident when he’s scared, but what dog doesn’t. Training him has been more about training myself, and less about training him.

I would like to make a few points starting out.  First, timing of your marks is important.  If your timing is off, you will just confuse him.  So your marks and non-marks need to happen during the behavior.  That said, you can not correct your dog for something he has already done; you can only correct him while he is doing it.  So house training means paying attention, paying lots of attention, to your dog.  If you can’t watch him, don’t let him out of his kennel.

The first complaint with regard to this method of house training is, “its cruel to keep your dog in a kennel for 8 hours a day”.  Well, its fine for a puppy, since he will just sleep all day anyway however, if you are seriously that concerned about it, get an exercise pen.  Just be warned that if the space is too big, he will just section off a portion of it to pee and poop in.  In fact, I never give Loki free reign of my apartment.  If he is out of his exercise pen and kennel he is always on a leash; I will let him drag it around.  Your dog is going to be way faster then you, even as a puppy.  If you can not get to him immediately to give a correction you are going to miss a lot of learning opportunities.

Loki watering the lawn

The next complaint is, “I don’t have time to take my puppy out 8 times a day”.   Honestly, in this case, you probably do not have time for a puppy.  Luckily Loki was 4 months old when I got him, so he could basically hold it until lunch.  Loki’s routine is basically as follows:

  • 6:00:  Wake up (or get woken up) to go pee
  • 6:05:  Get fed (usually kibble)
  • 6:30:  Get taken out to poop
  • 7:00:  Get taken for a walk
  • 7:45:   Get stuffed in an exercise pen
  • 11:45:  Get taken out to pee and walk
  • 12:15:  Get stuffed in an exercise pen
  • 17:30:  Get taken for a long walk / training / play session
  • 18:30:  Get fed (usually a Raw Meaty Bone / Organ Meat)
  • 20:30:  Get taken out to Pee
  • 22:00:  Get taken out to Pee and Poop

So what is Loki doing in between those times?  Sleeping, that’s what.   He seriously sleeps most of the day.   That is the life of a puppy.   The important thing is to keep a strict schedule, so you can predict when your puppy is going to have to go.  Based on this schedule,  I know when he is going to have to go before he does.  With that knowledge I can be prepared to offer treats / rewards for going in the correct spot.  That is basically all there is to house training a puppy.  You simply give him a reward when he goes outside, and non-mark when he goes inside.  In fact, grab him, pick him up (while he’s peeing) and drag him outside.  Most puppies will stop urinating or pooping when you grab them.  This accomplishes two goals, you show him that going inside is acceptable while teaching him that he gets a reward for going outside.  This will make him want to trade his urine and feces for a treat later.  Remember to always be consistent and fair.  You want to set your puppy up for success, which means maximize the opportunity for success while minimizing the chance of failure.  If he makes a mistake inside, it is your fault not his.

Categories: Loki

Public Service Announcement: Dogs love to chew

October 7, 2011 Leave a comment

After giving up all hope of ever seeing my security deposit again, I have learned a valuable lesson.   If you own a Shiba Inu, it is not good enough to use baby gates to lock him in the kitchen; these dogs love to chew.  They will eat anything, including things they shouldn’t, like your baseboards.  I took this route in order to keep the dog from urinating on my carpet.  I have since discovered that this was a bad move.  The correct response would have been to get a exercise pen (about 50$) along with an strip of linoleum (about 20$)  to protect the carpet; this is cheaper in the long run.   So learn from my cautionary tale, and get an exercise pen for your dog.

Categories: Loki