Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Red Heads

Now that the herding dogs are gone from our house, we are a pack of redheads. Here are Don Juan and Tomo nose to nose and ready to play. And below that is Don Juan, Jazz and Tomo slip-sliding on the new floor. And yes, I did color coordinate my floor to match my dogs.



Uncomfortable corrections

Whenever I have a dog that I don't want to do something... it doesn't matter what...jumping, nipping, etc.... instead of giving a correction, I make it uncomfortable for them to do it. Dogs won't continue behaviors that aren't comfortable for them. You can apply that to almost any bad behavior.

For example, the over-zealous eater or a puppy that is play biting, I would give them my hand in a fist to bite down on. Which props open their jaw and is uncomfortable. If you hold the food between your thumb and the side of your forefinger then your hand is already in the fist. When they take it too rough, then instead of pulling your hand away (which is human instinct and dogs read that as they are in control), give them more hand than they were expecting. So say I am feeding them kibble, and they take a bite out of my hand or grab a finger while eating. Then you know that they are going to do it again. The first time was just a test. So the next time I'm prepared and when they do it again, as much of my hand that I can fit in their mouth goes in their mouth. I hold it in there while they struggle for a few seconds. Next time when they take the food nicely, I praise them. If they grab my hand again. They get what they wanted - my hand. This works with puppies. I wouldn't try it with a dog with biting or aggression problems. For play biting, I put my thumb on their tongue and hold it down while grabbing the bottom jaw with the rest of my fingers. You kind of have to set them up for it so they nip the right place and your thumb is right there. While it might sound mean the way it's described, it's really not a correction, instead you just let them have exactly what they wanted - a hand to chew on- but they get a little more than they bargained for. It's uncomfortable, so they stop doing it.

Another example is when a dog jumps up on you. Human reaction is to back up. If you walk toward them as they start to jump, it breaks their momentum and it's uncomfortable. It doesn't take long for them to figure out that they don't want to do it anymore. Some people raise their knee up, which never works on a shiba since they are so small. So walking toward them is the best method. And don't be shy about it. I always say "oops" when I make something uncomfortable.

Friday, December 01, 2006

Hand Feeding

I've had a couple people ask me about hand feeding and why I recommend it so highly.

Hand feeding isn't the answer to all behavioral problems, but it is a way to take a dog that has trust issues and turn them around. So whether your dog has a specific phobia or is shy around people, hand feeding is the first step to changing those behaviors. For people that are training to do competition dog sports, hand feeding is the way to get the dog to bond to you to the point that they never take their eyes off of you. For people that just want an all-around great pet, hand feeding is one of the steps I recommend. It's for any dog, any owner that wants a special bond with their dog.

Pick up all the bowls (except for water). From the time you make the decision to hand feed food only comes from your hand. Meaning not even a kibble of food is eaten out of a bowl. It all is fed to the dog from people's hands. What I do is measure out the amount of kibble that I would normally feed the dog and throughout the day I hand the dog a few kibbles here and there. Sometimes I ask the dog to do something for me - like sit or down, dance or speak. Other times, I'm just a Pez dispenser feeding my dog. When guests come over, then they get to offer the dog food. Kids, friends, everyone.

So in the beginning. Just hand out the kibble here and there without asking the dog to do anything. If the dog naturally comes to you, immediately give the dog some of it's kibble. If it is sitting there staring at you or the place you are storing the kibble, then give them a few pieces. My only pet peeve is that if you give a dog food that is jumping up and misbehaving then you reward that bad behavior, so I ask that the dog is standing or sitting patiently and not being obnoxious before you hand feed them. Once the dog has the routine down, start asking the dog to do things for the food. So in the end, they are working for every kibble they eat. Dogs want a leader, and they want a job. By doing this, you accomplish both.

What this does is increase trust and bonding. It doesn't have to be just one person in the house that is feeding the dog as long as the food is premeasured so you don't over or under feed the dog. Kids do really well with this. And you wouldn't believe the bonding and understanding that kids and dogs have when they have hand fed. This will also help with the recall. A dog that is hand fed will almost always come to your hand if you put it out. You just better not try to trick them too many times by not having food in it or they get wise to this trick.

Have you ever seen the dogs that never take their eyes off their owners? Hand feeding is the way to accomplish that.

Yes, hand feeding can be a pain. And yes, you have to be committed to doing it for months to make it work. But once the routine is established, then it becomes much easier. And you will have a much better dog because of it.

Some people start to hand feed and then after a few days they call me and say, "but my dog isn't eating". I tell them to just continue to do it. When the dog is hungry enough then they will take the food from your hand. Dogs that don't want to eat from your hand are controlling the situation. And they may go several days without eating anything. If you can work through that, offering food without asking for anything, then eventually the dog will take it from you. You have to be more patient than the dog. The dog won't starve itself. If the dog goes a couple days without eating then I cut up small pieces of Natural Balance rolls and I mix that in with the kibble and offer that. But that's the most that I will do to try to encourage a dog to eat. When they realize the bowl isn't going to be back in it's space. They will eat.

By the way, this is an excellent way to start off puppies. If you do this for the first 6 months of a dog's life, you will have a dog that is more bonded to you than you have ever had before. Training will be extremely easy with those dogs. It's just getting people to actually do it. Most people say they just don't have time. But it doesn't take much more time than putting food in a bowl for the dog - especially for a shiba who doesn't eat much during the day. A handful here. A few kibbles there. And you're done.

I have actually seen it change shy or scared dogs to become outgoing and very people friendly dogs. Dogs with trust issue will straighten out. Many times people will tell me their dog is scared of something. Most of the time, that dog has put itself in a leadership position and it can't handle the stress of the position. It doesn't feel like it can look to you for leadership. By hand-feeding you are actually putting yourself in a leadership position and the dog begins to relax. You can work through the phobias by using the hand-feeding near what the dog is afraid of. Start by feeding the dog in a place they feel safe. Slowly move toward what they are afraid of. In one case the dog was afraid of the sound of a running dishwasher. I started handfeeding in a different room and moved closer and closer to the running dishwasher over a period of days. When I finally got to the dishwasher, the dog was aware of it, but no longer afraid of it. Over time, the dog forgot all about the dishwasher.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Saying goodbye to a dear friend...

November 5, 1996 - November 20, 2006
We will miss you forever.

The sky was a wonderful blue, grey, black color as I drove home from work. It was the color of Farley's fur. I knew it was a sign from him that he is pain free and playing frisbee in the sky.



The most amazing sound...

The howl. Farley's howl. It used to throw the whole household in a tizzy yelling "Farley, "NO" It was his annoying voice that let us know that he was separated from the ones he loved and was dedicated to. Whether it was getting himself locked in the bathroom, or in a crate at a dog show, at the groomer or the vet. If he was alone, and he thought someone was within earshot, he'd let out this "HOWWWWWLLLL" It was pretty much a mix of a coyote meets a firetruck. And it was annoying as heck.

But I woke up this morning to his howl. Long and low. His cry for company. And it sent a sense of comfort through my body. He's still alive. He's still with us. I found him trapped between the treadmill and the wall. His back legs aren't strong enough to hoist his body up and over the treadmill. And he couldn't get turned around.

The howl. It's amazing how perception changes. What once used to annoy me is such a comfort to me right now. My Farley is still here. And he still needs me.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006


For those of you who have been touched by Farley, my australian shepherd, please say a prayer for him. Last Thursday, we had two lumps removed from him. Yesterday I noticed a new one forming. And today we got the results back from the vet on the first two lumps. They are Hemangiosarcoma. It is the type of cancer that starts in the spleen. The vet is not expecting him to live more than a month or so. He started limping on his back leg a couple weeks ago. It is because there is a tumor in the leg as well.

But as I write this, he is happily chewing on a tennis ball. He greeted me at the door with his aussie stub of a tail wagging. He wanders around looking for someone who will just throw the ball one more time. None of us will. He turned 10 years old just a couple weeks ago. Not much of a birthday present for any of us.

He is one incredible dog. I have been lucky to have him in my life. I have been blessed to have him as my agility and obedience partner. I can't imagine life without his furry face, his obnoxious howl, and his spirit and energy that kept me on my toes. I have many great memories of times we shared together and all his crazy antics, and that is what will keep me going. Looking at him, if the staples weren't shining from his incisions, and he didn't have that stupid cone on his head, it would just be any other day. He doesn't look or act any different from normal. I guess that is what is such a surprise to all of us.

Please pray that he won't suffer. And that we will know when the time is right to let him go.


Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Take a walk...

Sometimes you just have to get outside and commune with nature even if it has rained constantly for 2 weeks. Here's Jazz in the fall leaves...


Thursday, November 09, 2006

Lumps and the leg

Poor Farley. He just turned 10 years old on Monday, and as a Happy Birthday gift to him, he got to celebrate at the vet office with surgery to remove two lumps, one on his side and one on his shoulder. And they x-rayed the leg that he hasn't wanted to put any weight on for the past couple weeks. It looks like there is a problem with his knee. They have him in Rimadyl while we are waiting on the results of the x-rays.


Wednesday, November 01, 2006


It wasn't tough to decide who gets to go downtown trick or treating this year...

Chelsea's too old.
Farley is not walking on his back leg
Kishi's still a mess (although doing better than last spring).
The crowds downtown would be Don Juan's nightmare.
Jazz went last year (and made the front page of the newspaper)
our buddy, Tomo, went with us on 4th of July.

Guess that leaves Tama. It's her turn. So very last minute I went through my costumes and found one of my old favorites - A bomber jacket given to me by my friend Tamberlyn. It's at least 7 years old and I used to love to dress Kishi up in it when she was doing her skateboard trick. That and a pair of sunglasses used to make everyone laugh.

So, I dressed Tama up in it. The jacket is falling apart. The faux leather started flaking off. By the end of the night, there wasn't much left. So, I'm afraid this is the end for the bomber jacket. It has had it's final strut down the catwalk.


Friday, October 06, 2006

The LUMP...

As I mentioned earlier, Farley has a lump. It's not a little lump either. Even the vet admitted that this lump scared her. The test results came back that the lump is not cancer. The vet thinks that it might be caused by trauma or something that is embedded under the skin. But until they open it up and look inside we won't know. I haven't scheduled the surgery yet. But will post what happens as soon as I know more.

It doesn't seem to be bothering him for now.

Update on Squeekers (Kiko)

It makes my day when I get updates on Tama's puppies. Now 9 months old, Kiko is still a tiny little thing. She weighs in at 8.9 lbs. From only minutes old she has always had a big power to tug at people's heart strings. This hasn't changed. She's a little girl with alot of people wishing her the best.


Happy 9th Birthday Kishi.

In a way it's bittersweet that Kishi is celebrating number 9. She has struggled with her health since she was 3 years old. Going from a vibrant, outgoing little dog to being miserable with chronic allergies. The past few years have been horrible battling the allergies and the yeast problems associated with the allergies. In the past 17 weeks, with diet and using the Nzyme treatment, I have seen an improvement in her overall itchiness. The redness is gone. The sores are gone. The smell is not nearly as bad as it was. She doesn't chew on herself anymore. And because of that she was able to lose the plastic cone that she wore around her neck. Her attitude that everyone knows as "kishi-tude" is back in full force. The skin on her stomach is back to a pretty pink color instead of the - disqusting to touch and even worse to smell - bright red that it used to be.

I'd like to say she's all better. But I can't. The years have taken a toll on my beautiful little girl. She doesn't look anything like she did before all the problems. Her skin is black in places and the hair doesn't seem to be regrowing in those areas very fast. I suspect that she has some blindness and possibly cataracts. And her hips are very weak and unstable. But I'll take what I can get - whether it's a month of seeing her feel better, six months, or another 5 years. I'm just glad that my special girl has a little bit of relief when she can get it.

So, as I promised, here are updated photos of my 9 year old. It seems like almost a life ago that she was a puppy jumping around at my feet.




Happy Birthday my Kishi.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

I'm a little behind on the news...

I've had several emails asking how Kishi was doing. Kishi is doing better. Her 9th birthday is Oct. 6th and I'll give you a full update then. Her hair is growing back and the spunk has returned to the girl!

Other health news, 10-year old Farley, my australian shepherd has a lump. Right now it's about the size of a golf ball and still growing. So I took him to the vet on Friday and we are waiting on the results of the tests. It's definitely not a fatty tumor (per the vet). Otherwise he is perfectly healthy. And still can chase a ball, stick or frisbee like no other dog. So keep him in your prayers.

I hate when dogs get older.

But for some happier news. A couple weeks ago, one of the puppies, Piggy, won her first major in Prescott.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006


New photos of Tomo... isn't he sweet!



Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Escape Artist

Here is what a shiba inu can do when they put their mind to it. Don Juan is a professional escape artist. It doesn't matter what type of fence, crate or containment I put him in. If he wants out, he will quickly find a way. Thankfully he is also a professional mama's boy and doesn't run off. He only escapes to come find me. It's part of his personality that I have come to tolerate.



Sunday, August 06, 2006

Pictures of Piggy (now Shimiko)

Now 7 months old, I finally got a couple pictures of Shimiko. She's grown up and I'm so amazed at how much she looks like Tomo. From birth the two of them could have been twins. She's still my little Piggy. She right at the top of the standard for shiba girls and she weighs 25 lbs. She is absolutely as cute as can be.



Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Tomo's first points

This weekend we went to the Hurrican Ridge Dog Show in Sequim. Tomo won winner's dog both days for a total of 2 points. He's on his way, slowly but surely, to Champion!

Friday, July 21, 2006


Azuki is visiting us this week while his owners are on vacation. It's fun to have him around. He really likes to play with Farley. And he is the only dog that has been able to outrun Farley for a toy. It's good for the old dog (Farley) to have a younger dog challenge him. Keeps him young and in shape.





Week 6: The Kishi Experiment

I wish I could say Kishi is doing better, but she seems to be itchier than ever and now the goop had reappeared in her eyes. I am keeping her and her eyes very clean in hopes that this will soon pass. She has been able to get her cone off her head a couple of times and she's chewed holes in her back again. So where she was growing back hair is now all scabby. She hasn't started smelling, so I'm still holding out a little hope that this is the period they were talking about on the Nzymes website where the dog gets worse before they get better.


Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Weeks 5: The Kishi Experiment

I'm getting a little frustrated. While Kishi doesn't seem to be getting worse, she also doesn't seem to be getting much better. She chewed a small hole in her body yesterday in a place I didn't think she could reach with her cone on. She's been rubbing her face on the carpet and has worn off the hair where the cone doesn't cover. The good news is that the yeast smell isn't very strong. It used to be that I would give her a bath and the next day she'd smell. Now she goes 2-3 days without a bath, and she doesn't smell. I'm still spritzing, still giving her the Nzymes. She's still eating the Steve's Raw Meat twice a day with a Tablespoon of yogurt and parsley.

I'm going to keep trying. That's all I can do at this point. Nothing else has made her even this comfortable.

Friday, July 07, 2006

Weeks 3 & 4: The Kishi Experiment

While I think I see some improvement in hair growth these past two weeks. I don't see much improvement in the itch factor. Kishi still trys to scratch and chew despite wearing an elizabethan collar 24 hours a day. Her smell is much better. I can still smell a slight yeasty smell but I have to be really close to her. Our basement smells much better! She did get her collar off one night. It's just fastened with velcro and she must have been rubbing her face on the carpet and it came undone. By the time I woke up that morning, she had bloodied two places on her back by chewing them. So just when the hair was growing back and looking better, we're back to square one with scabs and needing to grow the hair back.

The Nzymes website warns that the dog may get worse about this time in the treatment as they are shedding the yeast from their body. I am hoping that is this phase and it doesn't get any worse than this.

I've decided to continue the treatment for another 3 months since I have seen some progress in the past month. I'm glad I've taken pictures throughout because looking at her now, I would say there wasn't a huge improvement. But then I look at her original photos and I can really see the difference especially around her face and on her chest. So the photos have been a great help in documenting the changes.

Judge for yourself... do you think she's looking better?



Wednesday, July 05, 2006

In Rememberance of CH Prescott J's Mr. T of Tibbs

Today Don Juan's father passed away. He was 14. He had a wonderful show career, taking several BOB's and placing in groups which ranked him in the top 20 shibas in the nation that year. Although he never produced many puppies, he left a legacy in quality, not quantity. A few of his puppies went on to be Champions. But what impresses me the most is that both dogs in a litter of 2 (Don Juan's litter) received titles in agility. Don Juan's littermate also has a CDX in obedience.

He will be missed terribly by his owners, John and Carol Calder, who have loved him dearly since he was a puppy.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Fourth of July...

And here's the way to humilate a 6 month old shiba inu. Dress him up and make him walk in a parade with thousands of people watching. Just like his mother in previous years, Tomo did just fine. He greeted everyone with a tail wag and a smile.



It's a happy 4th for us, a scary time for our pets!

Happy 4th of July everyone! This has been traditionally one of my favorite times of the year since Childhood. It ranks right up there with any holiday that I get gifts! Nothing says summer than a 4th of July picnic, warm weather, and fireworks.

But for two of my dogs, this is the scariest day of the year. Farley and Don Juan are both terrified of fireworks. I actually didn't know that until we moved from Arizona where people weren't allowed to shoot off fireworks to a place that we were allowed. When my neighbors set off a whole string of firecrackers, poor Farley grabbed ahold of the gate to our fence with his teeth, getting his teeth and jaw stuck in it, and before I could get to him to help him, he had broken off several teeth. Other times, Farley will bark and howl repeated because he is worried about the sound.

Don Juan, on the other hand, has anxiety attacks. He runs around looking for places to hide, or some free arms to climb into. His tail is down and he whines.

Both dogs exibit slightly different behaviors when it comes to the fireworks, but overall it's the same - they are frightened. Unbelievably, my other 4 dogs could care less about them.

So, if you are shooting off fireworks this year, please be considerate to your neighbor's pets.

Monday, July 03, 2006

Happy Birthday Puppies!

Boy #1: Now named Tomo... Tomo's first show is the end of this month in Sequim.


Girl #1: Now named Shimiko (which means Island Girl for the place she was born)...Photo is MIA. I'll post it when I get an update. She is doing fine. Still the Piggy. She's at the very top of the standard, and her new owners are praying that she doesn't grow even a hair more. They are planning on showing her, have been taking her to Saturday conformation morning classes. And she's doing great in the classes. She very sturdy with good bone, and from what I'm told, she's also very, very cute.

Girl #2: The puppy that everyone asks about. Once named Squeekers, she is now Kiko. Kiko's owner reports that she is doing just fine. She is blind in her right eye. She has seen a Doggy Ophthalmologist who prescribed an eye drop that is keeping her comforable. She has a puppy best friend Taiyo, and two little girl companions to play with. She is still as sweet as ever. Here she is with her buddy Taiyo...

Boy #2: Now named Azuki... Wow, Azuki is one great dog. He's the sesame in the bunch of redheads. 'Zuki has been working on his obedience, and I have to say I'm really impressed at how far he's come in the past 6 months. He has drive. He listens. He does great recalls even with distractions. I know he's made his family proud and he'll continue to do so.

Monday, June 26, 2006

The Kishi Experiment: Update

Today was bath day. Definately not a highlight in Kishi's day. But I did notice something unusual – Little pieces of that disqusting black skin came off in the shower. It was almost like scabs, but not as dense. And underneath where they came from is pink, healthy skin.

So while it may be a strange observation, to me it's a sign of good things to come.

Friday, June 23, 2006

Week Two: The Kishi Experiment

So the experiment must be working at least a little bit. We experienced Kishi-tude this week... What is that you say?

Kishi-tude is when the dog knows what you want but does it her way instead... for instance, If you say come, she runs the other way. You say sit. She pretends she didn't hear you. Remember, Kishi has more obedience training than any of my other dogs. She has agility and obedience titles and a couple legs in Rally obedience. It isn't that she doesn't understand, or know what I'm asking her to do. She's just being mischievous. It's pure Kishi-tude. Kishi has always been the most challenging dog to train. But she is also the brightest dog that I have ever met. She picks up on things so quickly. I only have to show her something once or twice and she gets it and remembers it. But she's also the first dog to try to challenge me and see if she can bend the rules. So when she had a little Kishi-tude this week, I had to smile. It was good to see that spark back in her personality. She has been a miserable lump for too many months.

She's still itchy. Although the yeast smell isn't as bad as it was previously, but that could be because of the two baths she's had this week, and all the spritzing of the Ox-E-Drops/distilled water mixture. Her hair on her back is beginning to grow back. And the hair on her face is coming in. It's really white. I'm so used to seeing the black skin under it, that when i look at her she almost doesn't look the same. So while she's not cured, and it's not a drastic change, I am noticing a slight difference.

I just hope it's not wishful thinking on my part.

I started adding in the Nzymes Fortified BacPak Plus on Wednesday. We'll see if that makes a difference this week.

Here are her photos.

Friday, June 16, 2006

Week One: The Kishi Experiment

So Kishi is now eating only Steves Real Food. She's had it before in an attempt to solve the allergy issue. By itself it didn't work, but she does love the food! I also added in yogurt - about a Tablespoon. And I added a little fresh parsley to each meal. Right now she is getting the Nzymes Antioxidant Treats, Nzymes Ox-E-Drops, and the Nzymes Tincture of Black-Leaf mixed in with her food. Next week I will begin adding in Nzymes Fortified BacPak Plus as directed in the instructions from NZYMES.

I also used the Ox-E-Drops and distilled water to make a spray that I use on Kishi several times a day. So really, the only thing that has changed in Kishi's life was the addition of the Nzyme products and the yogurt and parsley. She's always been on a holistic, quality food of one brand or another. When dinner time comes she makes a bee-line to her bowl.

She is still taking her thyroid medication and her antidepressant.

What I've noticed this week: She is underfoot much more than in the past. Before, I always knew where she was - hiding under my desk like a big smelly lump. Now she is much happier and more alert and around us more. I have noticed that she doesn't smell as bad. The goop in her eyes is gone. And I don't see any red spots on her. She still scratches, but I haven't seen her rubbing her face on the floor or skootching her butt across the carpet. All are good signs.


The Kishi Experiment

Once upon a time I had a beautiful red shiba. This dog had personality, trainability, and an attitude to boot. She was my child before the human child. I was the doggy soccer mom, driving her to all her activities. We were buddies, partners and she was (and still is) my once-in-a-lifetime dog. Then at almost 3 years old, one week after the human child was born, I rushed Kishi in to the vet with a rash. The vet said it was allergies, and that very pivital day in our lives started 6 years of testing, antigen shots, antibiotics, antihistimines, anti-fungals, and prednisone and a variety of other drugs. The symptoms would disappear for a couple weeks after the medication ended, and then she would end up looking worse than she ever did before. It was not seasonal. It was something we dealt with everyday, all year around.

Black elephant skin took the place of her once beautiful orange-red coat. She would chew holes in her body, so she was forced to wear a cone around her neck around the clock. When the chewing became really bad, she had to wear a muzzle. I gave her baths with medicated shampoos several times a week. It almost feels funny to take a shower without her in there with me. And the worst thing... she smelled... BAD. So bad that when you walk downstairs in my house, you could smell her without being near her.

The vets seem at an impass. There is nothing left to do that hasn't been tried already. The latest thing, I think I mentioned on the blog was trying an antidepressant to see if that would break the chewing cycle. After 3 months of usage, I have noticed a difference in her attitude. She no longer hides. She wants to be with us and greets me at the bottom of the stairs (the dogs are all trained not to come upstairs). She's like the old Kishi again. But it didn't seem to break the chewing cycle.

So now I'm grasping at straws. She's almost 9 years old. What should I do to make her comfortable in her senior years? I was reading online about allergies and I ran across a website written by Linda Arndt, who calls herself The Great Dane lady. She had some good articles on holistic treament of allergies. One of them peaked my interest. It was all about systemic yeast. They showed photos of dogs with the exact same symptoms that Kishi has.

Great Dane Lady articles

I followed a link to another website.


I read each and every story about the dogs with yeast infections and every story sounded like Kishi's story. I researched back in Kishi's medical files and I found out that all of her problems started after a round of antibiotics that she had to take after she and my chow got in an arguement and she had a puncture wound on her leg. At the same time she received her yearly vacinations. I believe the two of them together overloaded her immune system and with all the additional antibiotics that she has had over the years, the yeast growth has just taken over.

So I ordered the yeast kit from Nzymes and I'm following what they suggest to the T. You can follow it on this blog and see if it works. I will update it once a week with photos of her progress.

These photos were taken the very first day of medication. Kishi is miserable. You can see it in her eyes. What you can't experience is how bad she smells. It smells disqusting. And very much like yeast.

This shows her belly and how bad it looks. The red spot is in an area she can't reach, so it wasn't caused by chewing.

Here is the spot on her back that she will chew a hole in without her cone around her neck. It has healed since the last time she got to it, but the hair has not grown back.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Is that a fox?

Why yes it is... I've heard that question so many times when it came to the shibas, and I always wanted to answer "yes" and see the person's reaction. So today as I was walking and came upon these adorable fox kits, I was able to say "yes, this is a fox" And how on earth do you confuse the two... shibas are way cuter and a little more wild!

I just had to share the photos... these kits pose for the camera even better than the shibas do. They sat still and looked right into the camera! Cheese.



Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Beautiful Day on the Beach

The one great thing about living on an island is that we have lots of beaches to visit. We went to Ft. Ward park today and took a walk through the woods and down on the beach. You could hear the sea lions off shore calling to each other. And we saw several young bald eagles practicing hunting for food. Tama likes to go to the beach and chase the waves in and out. She doesn't like to get her paws wet, so if she miscalculates the wave timing, then she gets this insulted look on her face like she can't believe the wave got her.


Sunday, May 14, 2006


What doesn't mix well with a 6-year old boy and a bat and a ball?

Well, that's an easy answer. A ball-crazed australian shepherd.

I probably don't need to go any further in my explanation. You can infer what happens when a small child throws the ball in the air and attempts to hit it with a metal bat. And at the same time, the dog goes after the ball.

And all I heard was this loud, ringing thud. Followed by a very painful "yelp". And as I ran around the corner of the garage, there was Farley, blood dripping from his mouth, with a tooth laying on his back, looking very dazed. I waited a few minutes to see how he was. Shock must have set in, because he started weaving back and forth and shaking.

Ed wrapped him in a blanket while I called the emergency vet. Away we went to sit in the veterinary emergency room for a couple hours. All in all, Farley is a tough old boy. He had a concussion, and one tooth missing and another one cracked, some bruising on his jaw and mouth.

The vet recommend getting the remaining tooth removed, feeding him canned food for a few days, and watching him for signs of sluggishness from the concussion.

Funny thing is, by the time we got home. He seemed fine. He even grabbed a cookie from Don Juan and ate it on the sore side of his mouth. So much for needing to feed him the canned food. If he's able to eat a cookie, he's able to eat kibble... oh, well. Maybe he'll get a canned food treat just for being a good old tough dog.

Happy Mother's Day!

And at 4-1/2 months old, Tomo is now as big as his mother, Tama. And it's a really good thing that he didn't inherit her TOUNGE! Happy Mother's Day!


Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Enough of the puppy pictures...

The big dogs are stomping their paws and demanding some blog time. After all, this blog is about them - right? So today Don Juan and I took a little walk. Conveniently I had my camera along and caught a couple of cute pictures of him next to the pond. We played in the park, chased birds and saw a mommy duck with her babies on the pond.




Thursday, May 04, 2006

Azuki- 4 months

Here's Azuki at 4 months (boy #2). There's alot of little black hairs beginning to peak out. By george, I think we have a sesame! He's doing just fabulous. He's smart, he's fun-loving and he really can pose for a camera.



Friday, April 21, 2006

For the naughty little ankle biters...

A couple of the puppies are having an issue with their new owners about grabbing at pants legs and biting ankles, so I wanted to offer a couple of solutions. Try the first one and see if it works, if not, then try the second one. Always follow up with the "no" and a down stay. These puppies are almost 4 months old. They have been through one obedience class already. So at this point it's time to put an end to this behavior whether it's play or control.

First: When he goes for your pant legs, take your foot and stomp it really hard and say "no" in a low voice. You need to try to surprise him by giving him a negative reaction when he goes for your leg. Don't be shy about the stomp. It needs to be forceful and right by him. Wait to try it with children until you see how he does with adults doing it.

Second (if the first doesn't work): The other thing is whenever he gets close to you, I want you to try to walk into him. Dogs have a personal space that they don't like invaded. And by biting at your ankles, he is invading your personal space, and in a way, he's trying to control or manipulate you. He probably has figured out that when he grabs at you, you back away or pull away and then he gets what he wants - a little more control over your space which in his eyes means he is controlling you. You see this alot in herding dogs. That's how they move the sheep by taking away their personal space. So your dog is really just thinking of you as livestock. If whenever he comes toward you in the biting mode, you turn directly into him and bowl him over by walking briskly into him, you are taking over his space and taking control of the situation. Once again, don't try this with children until you see how he reacts. I'll tell you, I learned this in a seminar with my aussie who was controlling me in the agility ring by herding me and nipping at my heels, and the first time I got into his space, he bit me. My aussie was 6 years old and was purely trying to control me, so I doubt that will happen with a puppy, but be aware of it. While I want you to be forceful when you walk into him, even pushing him aside with your foot or leg pretty forcefully, just be careful. You are going for an element of surprise more than you are trying to harm him or put yourself in any danger.

Follow up: If there is something you don't like that he does, you need to let him know that. That means using a low voice to say "no". (low pitched voice means he's in trouble, high pitched voice is praise, and in the middle is the voice you give commands like heel, sit , down, etc), and following up with a punishment. For a punishment, I put my dogs in a down stay (which is a submissive position) just like a time out for a child. Even if that means standing on the leash for the 3 or 4 minutes that he is in a down stay. He needs to learn there is a consequence for misbehavior. And you need to do it consistently until he understands that you aren't going to take it.

If you are home, and he is out running around where you can watch him, I'd leave his leash attached to his collar for a few days when you try these methods, so you can step on the leash to stop him from running away when you tell him "no". Once you do it and put him in the down stay, then the next time he'll realize the consequence and most likely he'll want to run off. When you say "no" step on the leash so he doesn't get the opportunity to run. Just be careful if you can't keep an eye on him, that you don't leave the leash on him so he doesn't get tangled.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

More cute shiba pictures...

Here's...hmmm.... Popeye, Bear, Chase... and now officially, TOMO. This poor puppy has more names than he is months old. No wonder he doesn't know his name yet. Anyway, he is absolutely adorable at 3-1/2 months old. Watch for him in the show ring in July!