Tuesday, December 27, 2005

The end of the line...


Meet my Dud. Appropriately named Don Juan - Conformation champion, OFA Excellent, Agility titled. A shiba that has never met another dog that he did not like. The sweetest, cuddliest male shiba around. The only dog that will let my 5 year old son haul him around like a rag doll. Full dentition, no allergy, thryroid, or heart problems. He is bright, spunky, and sweet natured. Sounds perfect right?

So wouldn't you want to continue all those wonderful traits by keeping puppies from him? But as we just found out, Don Juan isn't perfect.

Everyone in his line is too old to produce. He is the last unneutered and unspayed dog from his direct line. When he was younger he did his part to produce two litters of 5 puppies. All in good homes, all now spayed and neutered. So this past year, he has been vacationing in sunny Arizona in the hopes that he would have a son or daughter to carry on the Don Juan line. But unfortunately, He has been bred 6 times in the past year plus twice a couple years ago with no puppies resulting. It's sad for all of us who would like to see more shibas just like Don Juan.

But alas, it's just not going to happen.

His breeders, John and Carold Calder, found out this week that the last female that they had bred to him is not pregnant. They had a canine fertility specialist assist with the breeding, and all the tests checked out before and during the breeding, but for whatever reason, Don Juan is not producing puppies. So some people have studs... I have a dud. But that's perfectly fine with me. I love him for all his good traits. And who knows, someday when technology allows, maybe I'll clone him (can we erase the fence climbing/crate escaping gene?).

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Three Puppies!

I had Tama x-rayed yesterday to see how many puppies she is carrying. And the answer is THREE! The vet said she saw a shadow that could be a 4th one, but for sure she has 3. I'm just thrilled. Her due date is January 3rd!


Monday, November 28, 2005

He's baaaack...

Last March, Don Juan flew off to Arizona with me and did an extended stay with his breeder while I returned back to Western Washington. Today I picked him up from the airport. He's home for the holidays!

Sunday, November 27, 2005

So, is she? Or is she not?

As you might have read in a previous blog entry, Tama flew off to Oregon last month to visit her arranged boyfriend for a couple weeks. And now we are just waiting... will there be puppies in our future?

Tama is a conformation champion that finished with 5 majors including one 5 point major. She has a pretty incredible pedigree. The male is a really nice japanese import who I've had my eye on for awhile. I think they will make gorgeous puppies.

One more month to go!


Show Ring News

This morning, Sace (Kishi-Tibbs Legally Red) who is vacationing in sunny Arizona, took the 4 point major at the Sahuaro State Kennel Club Show going Best of Winners over her littermate, Tatsu, who took Winner's Dog. Both of them getting their first points at the same show...

This is a little reminiscent of Tama and her littermate Johnny getting most of their points together and finishing at the same show! But how awesome is that!

This is really a special treat for me since I am down as the breeder on both Sace and Tatsu. And this was my first "official" bred-by litter. So it's very exciting to have two dogs in the show ring that are doing so well.

Anyway, It's been an exciting weekend.

Saturday, November 05, 2005

And she's home...

I picked up Tama from the airport earlier today. She looks really happy to be back home and she doesn't seem to be pining or broken hearted over her lost love. We'll see what results from their little trist.

Ed's new nick name for her is ho-bag. A very appropriate name for a litter born near the holidays...ho, ho, ho.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Popular Puppy...

Jazz went trick or treating downtown with us on Monday. Many people stopped to pet her or to comment on how cute she is, or how well behaved she was in the HUGE crowd of people and kids in costumes. Little did they know she had her own agenda. She was campaigning for a placement on the front page of our local newspaper by playing for the camera and kissing up to the photographer. And much to my surprise, I opened the paper this morning and THERE SHE WAS! Front page center. OK, so they got the story a little wrong. They reported she was dressed as a pilgrim, when in all reality she was really a witch. Either way, Jazz has had her 15 minutes of fame. And all this time I was hoping it would be in the breed ring!

Monday, October 31, 2005

Happy Halloween!

It's the witching hour... Beware of the canine!

Thursday, October 27, 2005

One birthday after another...

Let's hear it for Jazz. Age 2 today. Anyone know a jazzy birthday song you can sing?

Monday, October 24, 2005

All is well in Oregon!

I dropped Tama off at the airport today. She has been received on the other end safely. Funny thing is, by the time I dropped her off, drove back to the ferry, waited for the ferry and made it home, she was already there.

She's was introduced to her new boyfriend. And I heard a rumour that she thinks he's kind of cute.

Sunday, October 23, 2005

It's your birthday...

...and it's her last day here with us until she flys off to Oregon for a couple weeks. Happy Third Birthday Tama.

Now get your booty off my sofa.

Friday, October 21, 2005

Tama's finally blessed us...

The little girl has been holding out on us. Ten months after her last season, Tama is finally "in". Which means the virginal little girl will soon meet the man of her dreams... Ch. Mamba Go Ryuukyuu Uruma. She's jetting off to Oregon on Monday for her little fling.

Below is a picture of BeeJay (the stud)...

Monday, October 17, 2005

Canine Fest

I spent the weekend at the Puyallup Fair Grounds for the annual Canine Fest. If you love dogs, you'd love this event. There were vendors, booths, and canine demos, pet psychics, and dog washes. You name it and it was probably there. There was even an International dog show. I enjoyed being able to compare the difference between the International Show and an AKC show.

A shiba friend of mine invited me to join her in the shiba booth. It really was fun meeting all the people that wandered by our booth explaining about the breed and their shiba-tude. Most people had never seen a shiba in person and were very intriqued by their fuzzy face and expressive attitude. I took Tama and Jazz with me. For two days they happily greeted everyone who walked into the booth. So much so that our booth took 2nd place in the People's Choice awards. But I have to give special credit to a very cute 5 month old puppy, Danny, who coincidentally is Tama's half brother (same father) who made everyone "Oooo and Awe" over him.

So by winning the 2nd Place People's Choice Award, we get a free breed booth next year. Looking forward to it!

I also have to add, one of the highlights of my weekend was trying a "Fair Scone". I heard it was a Western Washington tradition! And to tell you how good it was, Miss Jazzy helped herself to the rest of mine while I was explaining what a great dog she is! Those shibas!

Click on the photo to see the other photos taken at the Canine Fest!


Thursday, October 06, 2005

Happy Birthday Kishi!

October 6th is here again. And Kishi is now 8 years old. I say that with a bittersweet smile. I'm very happy that she has made it 8 years with all her health problems. It has not been easy, that is for sure. Yet I look at her and already see a dog that should be full of vibrance, starting to slow down. The medicines, the allergies, the hypothyroidism, all taking their toll on a bright and very wonderful little dog.

I saw her playing with a toy the other day. I saw the spark of enthusiam she once had. It lasted only a few minutes and then she curled back on her bed and slept for a couple hours.

The one thing I love the most about Kishi is her attitude. She respects me. But she's not afraid to let me know exactly what she is thinking. And sometimes that leads us to butt heads. Girl vs Dog. Dog vs Girl. But there is no other dog in this world that I click with like I do Kishi. Trust me I've been on the search for another just like her. No matter what, she's still my favorite dog. My canine soul-mate.

Happy Birthday, Kishi.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Jazz Time

One of Jazz's favorite things to do is to go for walks. She's a fearless explorer. Today we explored the old boardwalk in Manzanita Park. If you haven't been there, be prepared to hike through mud and slippery boards, and TONS of really awesome scenery. Jazz definately has the makings of an agility dog. She walked every downed log in the forest.

Thursday, August 04, 2005

An update on the Partner's Tragedy...

It's still a sad situation. I feel for the owners of all those dogs. My own personal dogs spent many weeks there while I vacationed. We trained almost daily there. And I never felt like my dogs were at any risk. It is a good school run by good people.

Updated Partner's Tragedy

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

And you think you're in control

While you, as an owner, are training your dog, the dog is also training you. We call this shaping... and dogs are naturals at shaping human behaviors. Your dog barks at the cabinet, you give them a treat. They sit by the door, you let them out. While some shaping makes for a good relationship between you and your dog. For example, you'd rather your dog sit next to the door to go out than pee on your carpet. But there are other shaping behaviors can be misunderstood and can create problems.

Before you get mad at the dog for something it did, ask youself if you have been shaped into creating a reaction. For example, if you don't have a doggy door and you leave your dog outside for a period of time, and the dog barks to come in. The first time, it will be a quiet yip, the next time louder until the dog gets your attention. If you wait until that point to let the dog in, then the dog will know where your limit of tolerance is for letting him inside. The next time, he will get to the limit quicker. Now, am I saying rush out on the first yip to let your dog in? No, but I am saying you need to understand what the dog is doing so you don't get angry with the dog. If you have children, you can relate this to a child begging for a cookie. The first time, it might even have a please behind the request. The next time, you'll be lucky to hear the actual words behind the whine. And finally it will be an all out cry-fest. And your blood pressure rises, and it's a lose-lose situation for both of you. But you don't necessarily need to give in. You do what's best for your child. And the same applies to the dog. You do what works best for both of you.

That is what control is all about. You have control of some aspects of the dog/human life, but the dog has just as much control over you. It's a relationship. Not a dictatorship. And you use your control to make the relationship better, and you also need to know what parts of your life the dog controls so you can use them to make your relationship even better.

So with the example above, you have two options, let the dog bark through it (annoy your neighbors in the process) and let them in only when they are quiet so that you reinforce the quiet behavior and not the barking behavior.

Or you can just deal with the barking, knowing what your limit is, and knowing that the dog will push that limit quicker each time. This is a decision you need to make with yourself. You will need to decide if you want to be at the beck and call of your dog, then let him in, and just come to the understanding that once the dog knows your limit, he will use it to control you in other manners.

So, just when you thought you were in control, now you know. It's not about control. It's about give and take. And chosing your battles.

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

14 and still going strong.

Chelsea is 14 years old today. She walks a little slower than she used to. I'm not so sure she hears as well. Although she may hear me but doesn't listen any more. But she's still going strong. Part chow and part the neighbor's dog, she has always been sweet tempered and a valued family member since she joined us when she was 5-1/2 weeks old.

Happy Birthday, Chelsea.

By the way, this picture of her is after her grooming appointment. She prefers a lion cut for her summer do.


Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Do you hear my heart breaking?...

I know this training facility well. I know the people that work there. I know the owners. I am so sorry to hear that this happened. The heat in Arizona, even inside a building, can be devastating without air conditioning. Eleven people have died in Phoenix this week due to the heat, and now this. Breaks my heart.

Partner's Tragedy

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Survived the 4th...

I have to say this is my favorite time of the year. So it really bugs me that Farley is scared by fireworks. While we were gone at the local Parade, Farley tore through his metal crate and was running loose through the dog room. His stress level when we got home was very high. I didn't put him back in the crate. Instead, I kept him with me and kept going through my daily chores, like taking out the garbage, picking up the house. Even threw a few balls for him. He was sticking pretty close to me just out of fear, so I ignored his stressing and went about life.

By the end of the night, when the fireworks were the loudest, he was doing fine. Not entirely calm, but for anyone who knows Farley, this dog doesn't know calm, so as long as his tounge was back in his mouth and he was more like his normal self, I felt like we came along way in overcoming this fear. Or at least surviving it until next year.

But I have to give big KUDOS to Miss Tama. This dog is bomb proof. I took her to the parade with us. So that included about 5 miles of walking, being touched by hundreds (and I'm not kidding on the number - HUNDREDS) of people, both adults and children. She not only handled it with her special style of grace and dignity, she actually ate it up. She loves to meet people. I actually had several people walk up to me while we were walking in the Parade and walk down the street with me asking about her and her breed. She is a really special shiba, with an exceptional personality. And a great representative of the breed. She greeted the last person with the same tail wag and shiba smile as she did the very first one.

Saturday, July 02, 2005

Dogs and Fireworks

Last year was the first year that I had to deal with fireworks being close enough to my house that it bothered my dogs. Before we had lived in rural Arizona (out with the cactus and the snakes), and other than professional displays, fireworks were not allowed.

But here, for a month before Independence Day, fireworks stands dot the landscape like Starbucks in the City. These big behemith shacks full of explosives are packed with people waiting in line to spend money on things they are going to blow up. I understand how fun fireworks can be. They are fun for me to watch, too. But not for dogs. My dogs were scared out of their mind last year.

Farley, my aussie, tried to get out of the gate when one of our neighbors sent up one of the whirrling works with the boom at the end. He latched on with his jaws and was shaking the gate. And before I could get out there to save him, he had chomped down on the fence and then pulled backwards and pulled out several of his teeth. This was a dog with full dentition-some of the most beautiful pearly whites I have ever seen in an adult dog. GONE. All that remains are empty sockets. A reminder of our first 4th of July in Washington.

So after that, I brought him inside and put him in a crate to calm down. We left for a little while and when I came home, he had destroyed his metal crate in a panic and had a pretty good slice next to his eye.

So before you spend alot of money on fireworks, think of your pets, your neighbors pets, the dog down the street. And go enjoy the big professional displays that the communities are putting on. I've heard they are wonderful. I wouldn't personally know. Because instead of enjoying the professional displays, I'll be sitting beside my dogs this year helping them make it through this scary night.

Friday, July 01, 2005

Crate Training

I can't believe how many times I hear people say, "putting dogs in a crate is cruel, and I just won't do it". And my response is always to each your own, but don't come asking me how to fix your problems if you won't try my solution. Crating dogs is only cruel if you leave them in there for long periods of time, and allow them to soil in their crate. If you crate train correctly, it is not cruel to the dog, and may relieve your stress at the same time.

Before domestication, dogs lived in dens. They used their dens for safety and protection. Naturally they kept their dens clean by soiling outside their living area. Crate training is based on the concept that puppies will do all they can to avoid soiling their living area.

Steps to crate training:
1. When buying a crate, make sure it is the correct size for your dog. For a puppy, an adjustable crate is the best. For an adult dog or a small dog puppy, you should size the crate so they can stand up in it and can turn around easily. If the crate is too big, your puppy may find a corner of it to potty in, and it will make housebreaking more difficult.

2. When you have the puppy and the crate, begin by placing a soft towel in the bottom of the crate for it to sleep on. Make sure that whatever you put in there is washable because no matter how diligent you are about taking a puppy out to potty, there will be accidents. You may also want to put a shirt that you have worn (and that you don’t care that it gets chewed on) in the crate to help comfort the puppy for the first few weeks.

3. Very young puppies need to potty every hour. Under a year old, they do not have full bladder control. To begin teaching them to go outside, set an alarm for every hour and carry them outside to the place you want them to potty. As they are looking for a place to go, use a word or phrase that means “go outside and potty” so they get used to hearing it. When they potty, praise them with a high-pitched voice and play with them with a toy. As the puppy gets older you can stretch this time to an hour, then two hours, then three (if necessary). At night while they are sleeping, you can stretch this 2-3 hours. They puppy will usually tell YOU when they are desperate and need to go.

4. After the puppy has gone potty, it is OK to bring them back in the house to play. Keep a close eye on them for sniffing and any signs that they may need to go back outside. If you can’t supervise the puppy, put it back in its crate. The idea is that you don’t want to give the puppy the opportunity to soil in the house until they absolutely understand that outdoors is the place to go.

5. On the occasions that you can’t take the puppy outside every hour. Never confine your puppy to its crate for more than 3 hours at one time. Like I said earlier, young puppies don’t have strong bladder control and they don’t like soiling their crate. After a year old, it is not uncommon for a dog to be able to go 8 hours between potty breaks, but don’t expect a puppy under a year to be able to do that.

6. Never scold your dog for mistakes, especially in young dogs, it is not their fault. It is the owners fault for not supervising them close enough. And not responding to the clues the dog is giving that it needs to go outside. As an owner, start watching for those clues. Most puppies will want to go outside after they wake up, after they eat, after playing and throughout the day at least every 3 hours. Watch for sniffing, running to the door, and a boost of energy followed by a pause. Always take the puppy outside after eating and sleeping.

Getting your puppy used to a crate:

Although dogs are den animals, your puppy will want to be with you instead of being alone. It has spent it’s entire life surrounded by litter mates, it’s mother and now you and your family. It does not want to be alone. Here are some tips to make the crate transition easier...
1. Before you put the puppy in it’s crate, take it out to potty. Then give it a good amount of exercise, so it is tired. If you put a puppy back in it’s crate when it’s wide awake and wanting to play, you’ll never hear the end of it...

2. When you put the puppy in it’s crate and it immediately starts to cry, ignore it. The puppy wants you to come back and let it out. If you break down and run in there, you’ve given in to the puppy and the next time it will cry even louder and longer. Don’t yell at the puppy either. Just go ahead with your daily activities and ignore the cries. Eventually they will stop.

3. If the puppy has been quiet in the crate for awhile and then you hear it crying, it may need to go potty. Try to get to the puppy before it starts crying for very long. Don’t wait it out to see if it will stop. If you do that, then all you’ve done is taught it that if it cries long enough, eventually you’ll come get it. This is especially important at night. Most people don’t want to set an alarm at night to take the puppy outside on a regular basis, so they wait until they hear the puppy crying. The quicker you get to the puppy and get it outside, the quicker you’ll get back to sleep. At night, after the puppy goes potty, it will most likely want to play. You have two choices, play with the puppy (consistent to what you are doing during the day) and wear it out before putting it back in the crate, or putting it back in wide awake and listening to it cry. Either way you’re not going back to sleep until it does!

4. The crate should be the puppy’s house and safety area. The puppy should eventually want to go in there on it’s own when it’s tired and wants to sleep. Never confine a puppy in crate for punishment. And don’t leave it in it’s crate for long periods of time. Puppies need exercise and interaction with your family to become well-rounded dogs.

Thursday, June 30, 2005


I was asked how to go about moving a dog from the bed to the floor.

I will tell you that it will take some patience on your end. From this moment on, the bed is off-limits to the dogs. They can not sleep on it during the day, or even jump up on it with or without you in the bed. It's about consistency, and dogs don't understand why they are allowed on the bed at one time, but not the other. So if you've made the decision to oust the pooch from the bed, it has to be for all times. Paws belong on the floor.

I would suggest as a first step to wash or change your bedding to remove the dogs scent from the bedding. This is important because as long as their scent it on the bed, they will think it's theirs. OK, this is an opportunity to go shopping if you want and buy that really expensive comforter that you've always wanted. The one that you saw but didn't get because "the dogs sleep in bed with us". (Thought I'd throw that incentive out there...)

Next, buy the dog a super comfy bed, and put it near your bed. I throw a couple of old baby blankets on the bed so they have something to dig around in. Dogs like to play with their blankets, so why not. As an added benefit, take an unwashed old t-shirt and put it in the bed too. Your dogs also like to be near your "smell".

From that point on, every time the dog starts to jump on the bed, give them a firm, "no" and then show them to their bed. Pat it and tell them "go to bed". Be firm with the "no", but happy and excited and use a higher pitched voice on the "go to bed". Make their bed fun, and your bed a very uncomfortable place to be. If your dog is used to sleeping with you. You will be repeating this over, and over and over. But eventually they will understand.

Certain dogs understand but will challenge you. Why should they give up sleeping with you? For the challenging ones, you may have to get a crate, and make it nice and comfy, and repeat all the steps above, locking the dog in the crate at night.

I can tell you now, the dogs you have to crate will do ANYTHING they can to get back into your bed. They will cry, whine, whimper and generally keep you awake all night for that final chance in your bed. Don't give in. As soon as you do, the next time it will last twice as long.

And the dogs you don't crate, will try to sneak in bed when you are asleep. As soon as you catch them crawling in bed, firmly tell them "no" put them back on the ground and tell them to go to bed.

It's like breaking up a long-term relationship. Kicking a dog out of the bed is probably one of the most difficult things to do for both human and canine, but in the end, it's for the best.

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

The Kiss

Dog's don't make good bed fellows!

With the discussion of Boundaries, I just have to mention one thing. Don't let your dog sleep on your bed. Dogs in the wild have a hierarchy. The higher they sleep, the more alpha they are. So simply put, if your dog sleeps in your bed, you are allowing them to be YOUR equal. While this might be just fine for some people and their dogs, I have seen many times where the dog takes advantage of the owner in other aspects of their life, and changing this one behavior and putting the dog back on the floor will alter the negative interaction between dog and human.

So if you are having trouble with your dog in other aspects of your life, and your dog sleeps in bed with you, try putting the dog in a crate or pet bed next to your bed. You may have a few sleepless nights as you get used to this new arrangement, but don't give in. It will be beneficial to both of you in the long run.

Dogs and Boundaries (Personal and Physical)

So after establishing clear communication with our canine friends which includes repetition and consistency, boundary setting is another important training aspect. Our parents set boundaries for us as children, and we set them for our children. Then why don't we do that with our dogs. Dog definately have the intelligence to understand boundaries, they set boundaries for themselves and their young. At a young age, puppies learn quickly how far they can push before the mother corrects them, they learn how far they can wander off, and when they are allowed to eat and when they aren't. These are boundaries established in the wild.

So, why don't we set boundaries for our dogs?

How many of you put food in a bowl for your dogs and just walk away. If you do that you are missing a great opportunity to teach boundary setting. The first type of boundary is a personal one. I don't want my dog to invade my personal space. I want them to have manners and treat me with respect. So, to train the first boundary, put the food in a bowl, the dog must sit quitely in front of you as you set the bowl down, and it may not eat until you give it the command (I use OK - my release command). I vary the length of time the dog has to sit there staring at the bowl before I give the command. But I make sure the amount of time is doable for both of us. I'm not trying to make the dog fail. I just want the dog to understand that I'm in control of the food bowl, and there will be no jumping on me to get the food, eating out of the bowl on the way down to the floor, or any other activity besides a clean sit stay. Then they get their reward, which is their food.

While this is easy to do with dogs with a little bit of training, you may have a more difficult time with small puppies. BUT it's best to start as a puppy. The puppy waits for his bowl to be placed down, and then give them a very short amount of time before you give them the OK command. Then add to it once the dog has learned to sit.

With some of my dogs, I even ask for more. A sit, a dance, a wave, a rollover, then you get to eat. Why not make it a little training session to get their bowl of food. I trained weave poles for agility that way. I set them up outside and the dogs had to do a clean set of poles to get their dinner.

Another boundary is a physical one. I don't like my dogs upstairs. It's saves on cleaning time, makes it easier on our family because the kitchen is up there and I don't like dogs mooching people food, and when people come to our front door, I don't want the dogs to charge to the door barking. So we've set a physical boundary that they can come to the top step, but no further. Setting a physical boundary is simple, just repetition training, and alot of me getting into their space when they put a foot past the top step. This type of boundary setting is really important for you to maintain control of the canine/human relationship. There are simply places that dogs SHOULD NOT be. When you were a kid, did your parents have one room that was off limits to the kids? A fancy room with all the breakables? Its the same premise with your dog, they don't have to have access to the whole house. As long as they have access to the areas that you spend the most time (for us, our downstairs, office, craft room and tv room), it is perfectly fine to deny them access to areas that you don't want them.

One thing to make sure if you are establishing a physical boundary. The boundary may never change. If you pick the top step, then don't think you can change it mid-stream to be the bottom step. If you want to keep the dogs out of carpeted rooms, but you will occassionally let them in the family room on movie night, then you can never again expect to keep them out of the family room. If you set a boundary to keep the dog in your yard, then you can't expect the dog to stay in your yard if you take them outside of the boundary (other than in a trip in the car). Walking the dog out of the boundary, offers the opportunity for the dog to break the boundary because you have done it once. Once the physical boundary is set, it is set for life. Otherwise, you will be retraining it for the rest of the dog's life.

Monday, June 27, 2005

Communicating with your dog.

There is no such thing as a bad dog. There are dogs that don’t understand what is expected of them by humans. Most of the problems people experience with adult dogs come from lack of socialization and bonding skills as a puppy. Puppies that haven’t been given guidelines to follow and haven’t learned what is or is not acceptable to a human are the ones that end up in the pound branded as a “bad dog”. Most of these dogs have a willingness to please and want a human companion, but simply have not been given the appropriate instructions to make their behaviors compatable with living with humans. In short, it is simply a lack of communication between the dog and the owner that creates some of the behavioral problems.

It is important from the time a dog leaves it’s mother that a puppy understands and respects your space. Before a dog leaves its mother, the mother has trained them in sharing personal space; you get too close to me and I’ll growl at you, you get in my way and I’ll run you over. The mother controls space and after a while the puppies learn to respect her space. While the puppies are playing they also learn to respect and control space of their littermates. So when the puppy comes into your home, it is an expert in respecting/controlling space. But humans are not. We think very little about our personal spaces unless someone invades it. And even then, you may get an uncomforable feeling, but not think much of it. When a dog invades your personal space, most people feel nothing. Many people welcome that invasion. But a dog uses that invasion to control and to shape you into doing things that they want.

For example. A dog controls your space by making you take a step back or out of the way. When a dog jumps on you from the front, they have learned that you will take a step back, opening up your space to them. Giving them the control. Even if you say “no”, the dog doesn’t care, because your body language said “yes”. To stop this behavior, instead of stepping back, saying nothing, charge forward, knocking the dog out of the way with your legs and body. Keep walking with conviction and power, and don’t look back. You just said to the dog, I don’t give up my space. A couple times doing that, the dog won’t jump on you. It now respects your space.

An understanding of space can solve many problems. Teaching a dog to “come” has long been a difficult part of obedience training. With a little understanding of space, you can get a dog to have a very consistent come command.

A change of the dog blog...

Since I'm taking a break from going to trials and shows, I've had several people ask me to help them train their dogs. I thought I'd post some dog training tips on my blog. Ideas that maybe will help you understand and train your own dogs. With over 25 years of dog training experience, and dogs that were competing in the highest class possible in agility, and have titles in obedience and flyball, I'll post my ideas and thoughts about training on this dog blog.

Thursday, June 23, 2005

New Dog Club on Bainbridge!

I met with a dog friend today. We were talking about how there is a huge lack of dog events on Bainbridge Island.

Just look at the farmers market, or walk downtown by the coffee shops, this place is packed with dog owners that love to take their dogs out in public. You would think with all the dogs here, that there would be more things for people, families and their pets to do. If you've read my earlier blogs, you will see that I started training dogs as a child. It's a good family oriented hobby to get into. It gives your child and your dog a job. Training makes pets better family members, and reduces the number of dogs that end up in the pound.

So during our discussion we decided that we needed to start a Bainbridge Dog Club. Not a stuffy old dog show type club, but a fun club that offers different types of games and sports, get-togethers, training, and just plain old fun. We're all proud of our dogs and want ways to show them off, socialize them, and socialize ourselves with other dog people, so why not?

If you are interested post here, and watch this blog for more information. Our wheels are turning, so if you have any ideas or suggestions, we'd love to hear them.

Sunday, June 12, 2005

Pictures of Kishi (allergy dog)

Pictures of Kishi... of course we didn't have the elizabeathan collar on her at the show, but this is how bad she looks right now. I think she is allergic to grass. Wherever her body would touch grass outside is where she is missing fur and is red and itchy. (She was tested allergic to Bermuda grass in Arizona. I haven't had her tested in Washington)

Saturday, June 11, 2005

The reason I'm done with dog shows.

I want to start this off by saying, people who know me know I'm not a quitter. Sometimes I can be too competitive, but I roll with the punches and take the wins with the losses. I never get mad at my dogs because I know they are working for me at the best of their ability whether we have a good or bad day. There is always another day... another win or another loss. Competing is about me spending time doing something with my dogs that both of us enjoy. It's my philosophy for training and competing.

But lately there have been many show days that I haven't enjoyed being there. Or I spend the whole time wishing I was at home watching my child play T-ball, or seeing a movie with my husband. I had been considering taking a break from agility which takes alot of time in training and trialing. But I had decided to give Rally a try with Kishi and if I liked it, I would then try to title Farley and Tama. Rally is a sport that can be trained at home with very little equipment and just some basic training skills.

Well, today is the straw that broke the camels back.

Now being competitive, I understand and accept if I make a mistake in the ring and we are disqualified. I never argue a judges call, because I know they could be seeing something I'm not as the handler. I may not agree with them, but it gives me a chance to watch out the next time and correct it or keep it from happening again. Like constructive criticism that I just paid a $25 entry fee for (it's better than therapy - right?). But what I don't understand is how a judge can look at my dog and disqualify me before I walk in the ring. But before I get into that, let me give you some background.

Kishi has allergies. And I have to admit, they are bad this year. She has very little hair and elephant skin under her arms and along her butt and tail. She is itchy. But she's had them all her life, we do our best to keep them under control, and we work through them. She has agility and obedience titles that she has earned looking as bad or worse than she does today. She is my most trained dog with a variety of really awesome tricks and strong obedience skills. She has a resume of achievements longer than mine. AND, she is so excited to be back out in the ring. She thrives on attention and loves to work. And Rally is the perfect sport for her. It's positive and it's what she likes to do.

So today at the show we showed up at about 9:30am for a 10:10 show time. They told me when I checked in that they were running a half hour late. At 2:00pm our class was finally called to go in the ring. A few HOURS late. Kishi was ready. Her sits were quick, she had that sparkle in her eye that I recognize as her "I'm going to do a good job" look. I was psyched.

We were the next dog up, and Kishi started to rub her butt on the floor. She does that when it itches. If her face itches, she rubs that on the floor. I'm so used to her doing that that I didn't think anything about it. We weren't in the ring yet! Then the judge looked at us and called us in the ring. I went to the start line, thinking she would say "Are you ready". Instead she said, "What is wrong with her, it looks like anal glands to me. I don't want her in my ring. You're dismissed."


I told her "NO! She has allergies, please don't dismiss us. Give her a chance to show you what she can do."

And she said "I've made my decision, you're dismissed. This is a novice class and if she has anal gland problems it will distract all the dogs"

"It's not anal glands. Please let us try."

"No, you're dismissed."

So I went to the superintendant of the show. They said they couldn't do anything, to talk to the AKC rep. I talked to the AKC rep who said that it was judges decision who shows in their ring. If they witness a dog throwing up outside the ring, they can dismiss them. If a dog is limping, they can dismiss them. And I guess if the dog has an itch on their butt, they can be dismissed.

OK, so I paid the money, I drove there (paying for the ferry both ways), waited, waited, waited... for what? To be told that I was dismissed because the judge, who is not a veterinarian, thinks my dog has "anal gland problems", which she doesn't, before I even crossed the start line!

Does this make you want to go to dog shows? Does this make you want to compete? And lately it has been one little disappointment like this after another.

So today, it's official. I'm done with dog shows. I wish I could say I ended on a high note, but such is life. It was quite a disappointment. With a total of over 20 AKC titles on 5 of my dogs, do you think AKC will miss me?

Saturday, May 14, 2005

When all else fails...

Farley's advice of the day is "When all else fails, carry a big stick!"

Sunday, April 10, 2005

The Rally O Book

I just received my Rally-O book and the AKC signage that have all the exercises on them. I ordered it directly from Charles Kramer, father of Rally Obedience. I highly recommend this book if you want to train for Rally-O. It shows every exercise and explains it in detail. If you order the books, spring for the signage that he has done.The signs are nicely laminated and sturdy and can be used immediately for training.

Friday, April 08, 2005

Sace's growing up

Sace's in that wierd teenage phase where her ears have grown but her head hasn't caught up. Even so, she's as cute as ever. She's just now starting to lose her baby teeth. Watch for her in the show ring in a couple months.

Tuesday, March 29, 2005

Rally Obedience

It almost seems like another life time. I was a teenager when I first started training dogs. Back then, we had a young german shepherd, Misty. Misty and I were both a little out of control and I think my parents figured out giving us both a job might be a way to reign us both in. And it worked.

My first dog training instructor through the Manhattan Kennel Club was Dr. Charles L. Kramer. We learned alot, but I can't say my dog training skills were ever perfect back then. We did go on to compete at state, and we went to many dog shows and had a great time. And these were skills that I carried on the rest of my life.

While I grew up and went on to train dogs as a hobby, Dr. Kramer went on to invent a form of obedience called Rally Obedience. In it, the handler follows a course set up with different stations. At each station is a sign. Simply, you and your dog do what is on the sign. Before you try this with your dog, you are able to walk the course as many times as you can fit in to the allotted walking time. It helps you to figure out your flow and what commands you want to use with your dog at what time. Then it's time to try it with your dog.

Recently, Rally Obedience was accepted at an AKC Titling Event. In the Novice Rally Obedience class, everything is done on-leash. This makes it possible for any breed to compete. You can talk to your dog, use your hands, even repeat stations that you've done wrong. It's a postive way to train and one both handler and dog will enjoy.

Saturday, March 26, 2005

Kishi's New Job

I brought Kishi out of retirement and entered her in Rally (kind of a cross between agility and obedience) this weekend. The past few years Kishi has been plaqued by all kinds of health problems, so I was really uncertain if she would perform, but her health is doing better and she seemed to be doing fine at home, so why not give it a try?

Well, we got to the show and she began shaking... cold? nervous?... nope! We got into the building where the ring was and she let out her excitement scream, wiggling all the way!

The girl is back! She watched me the whole time and was really excited to be back in the ring doing something. And Rally is such a positive sport, she loved it. She got her first Q in Rally (novice B) today. And I couldn't be more pleased. We try tomorrow for another leg.

If you haven't tried Rally with your dog, I highly recommend it. What a great sport!

Thursday, February 10, 2005

Puppy has a name!

Kishi-Tibb's Legally Red
Her call name will be Versace... Sace for short.

Thanks, Maggie and Renee for the suggestions!

Wednesday, January 26, 2005

Introducing puppy "no name"

My first official bred-by shiba litter produced this stunning little girl (and two boys). A big thanks to John & Carol Calder and Diana Smiley for making this happen for me. I'm really excited about her.

Right now, "No name" is staying with my friend Renee. So also a big thank you to Renee and Yuki (her American Eskimo) for their unending dedication of socializing shiba after shiba even when they really "don't like" the breed. Even Renee will admit that this puppy is hard not to like!

OFFICIAL CONTEST: Name the puppy. Email me names for the puppy and if you win, I'll name the puppy with that name. OK, not much of a prize, but I would really like a good name for this puppy and I'm just not good at coming up with ones.

Suggestions so far - call name in ( ):
Kishi's Mischief Maker (Mystik)
Kishi's Born to Shop (Versace, Sace for short)
Kishi's Kokapelli (Koko)

Friday, January 07, 2005


I kept hearing whining coming from the other room so I went to investigate it. I thought maybe Kishi needed to go outside. It's cold here. Today it's 40 degrees. So I doubted seriously this was the reason since she hates cold, wet, rainy weather so passionately.

This fall we bought a new propane heater for the downstairs. It is set on a thermostat so it turns the fire on an off as it heats up the downstairs. I found Kishi staring into the blackened fire box waiting for the fire to come back on - whining. Then once she saw me she ran to her bed, bit at it, ran back to the fire, back to the bed, a couple of whines, she made a lame attempt to pull the bed, back to the fire. Now, it doesn't take much to read what Kishi was asking... move the bed closer to the fire... and after a few barks, a couple more times between the bed and the fire (for my own amusement, and because I knew it was making her mad that I just wasn't "getting" what she wanted), I moved the bed next to the heater.

A true Kishi-ism: reflections of a spoiled shiba princess.