Friday, March 30, 2012

Collar Tantrums

Kai HATES it when we try to put on or take off his collar.  He tantrums and Shiba screams.  It's like we are trying to KILL him.  He sometimes will sulk for hours afterwards.  Such a drama queen!

We had to take his collar off the other day because it was starting to get a little snug for the rapidly growing puppy, and neither Chris or I wanted to attempt putting it back on after the drama Kai put up when we took it off!  But we can't take Kai anywhere without a collar/leash.  So Chris was able to be sneaky about it this morning, after I left for work.  Chris held the collar at his side, and when Kai's back was turned he quickly snuck the collar on.  Chris said that Kai didn't even scream!  I am very impressed, because it's usually difficult to get that collar on the pup even with two people.

Chris sent me this photo after he successfully collared Kai.

This collar is a standard nylon Lupine.  I just ordered a martingale collar for Kai because I'm worried about him being able to back out of a standard collar.  Right now, his head is bigger than his neck, but I've read a lot about how Shibas can back out of collars once their head and neck are about the same width.  It would be very traumatic to lose him on a walk that way.  I guess Chris will have to use his ninjalike sneak attack on Kai again once we get the new collar!

This photo has nothing to do with collars, but it makes me laugh every time I look at it.  Kai fell asleep on the couch the other night on Chris's lap, and somehow his head ended up resting in Chris's crotch. 

an interesting place for a puppy nap

Monday, March 26, 2012

Leashes #1, #3, and #4

Leash #4
After writing about the sad demise of Leash #2, I thought I'd follow up with some photos of the other leashes that have been in Kai's life.  Here is Leash #4, made from repurposed climbing rope.  Hopefully this will survive the leash eater!  I just got it in the mail today.

We were leashless for a bit after Kai chewed through Leash #2, so I bought one on sale at REI.  It's probably the ugliest leash I've ever seen.  But it was only meant to be a spare leash.  And it does seem sturdier than Leash #2, so it might last a while.  I was hoping that it was too ugly for Kai to eat, but he still wanted to steal it.

Kai immediately ran off with ugly Leash #3

Kai is offended by the ugliness of this leash.

Purple animal print with fluorescent edging?  Please.  I am a Shiba and above such atrocities.

Here is Leash #1, for posterity's sake.  Kai doesn't discriminate when it comes to leash eating.  This leash is lightweight, only 4' long, and Kai chewed 1/2 way through it in the first two weeks that we had him.

This leash doesn't stand a chance.

always leash nomming
And here are all three leashes.  Hopefully at least one will survive.

Many leashes

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Leash Eater

Leash Victim #2
Kai has chewed his way through two leashes in one month.  Quite impressive for a sub-10 pound puppy!

His first leash victim was a lightweight lead, about 4 feet long and 1/2" wide, that we purchased more to get him used to the feel of a leash than anything else.  He HATED having a leash on at first and would just thrash around like a fish on land.  We let him drag the lightweight lead, attached to his collar, around the house on and off for about a week, and he got more used to it after that.  We used that lead a few times when we took him places, but he soon chewed about 2/3 of the way through that, so we retired it.

Leash Victim #2 was a green six foot item, seemingly much sturdier than Victim #1, and wider (about 3/4").  You can see its sad demise in the photo above.  It lasted about two weeks.  Sigh.  The final blow for this leash was when we took Kai to a local upstart brewery tap room last night.  We brought some chew toys for him to stay occupied while we visited with friends, but he managed to do quite a bit of damage to the poor leash.  I wouldn't trust this leash anymore after what it's been though.

It's fun to eat leashes at breweries!  It's also fun to rip a piece off your Sun toy.

I have Leash #3 on order now, which I hope will last longer.  It's made from re-purposed climbing rope, so (in theory) it should be tougher for him to chew through.  And also we clearly need to train him so that he doesn't chew his leashes!  I found the leash on Etsy, and I hope it is shipped quickly.  I'm thinking we may need to pick up an interim leash, though, because we can't be leashless with him for more than a few days. 

It's always fun to see everyone's reaction to the cute puppy.  I have talked to more strangers in this past month than I have ever talked to in my whole life, I think!  I have the "speech" down by now.  Everyone asks the same things.

ADMIRER:  oh, what a cute puppy!  What breed is it?
ME:  he's a Shiba Inu.  (if they look confused, I add)  it's like a small cousin of the Akita.  (most people seem familiar with the Akita)
ADMIRER:  he looks like a (choose one or more of the following:)  chow/fox/stuffed animal/teddy bear!  How old is he?
ME:  three months old.  His name is Kai.
ADMIRER:  how big will he get?
ME:  about 20-25 lbs when full grown.  Not too big! 
ADMIRER:  I have a (fill in the blank) dog, etc.  OR  My roommate/sig other/parents/etc. have a (fill in the blank) dog.  This is followed by a story about the aforementioned dog.

It's fun to introduce people to Shibas, since many have never seen or heard about them!  (Little do they know that behind that adorable facade lurks a ferocious MONSTER!)

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

ANOTHER accident?!

Two days in a row, two accidents, after a month of being so good?  WHY?!

Kai had just been outside, less than 15 minutes ago, when he decided to wander into the dining area.  I walked in there after him and there he was, peeing on my area rug.  Once again, I grabbed him and said NO and put him outside.  It's always fun to put your half-eaten dinner aside and let it get cold while you soak up puppy urine.  Sigh.

I wish we had something that we could gate off that area with, so that he can't wander over there when we're in other parts of the house.  All his accidents have been in the same area of the dining room, so I'm starting to worry that he thinks that the dining room is his indoor toilet.  I am NOT okay with that.  I've been using Nature's Miracle to clean up the messes, but he still keeps going back to the same general area when he decides he wants to be a bad boy.

We are going to try removing his water bowl around 7pm to see if that helps with the evening accidents.  And I think we'll have to not let him hang out in the dining area for a while.  He likes sitting under the table to chew his toys, but he'll have to use a different spot for that.

I just don't understand why he was so good about not pottying in the house for the first month, and then now he's done it twice in two days.  So basically I'll be buying two new area rugs next year, I guess... he has eaten three holes in the living room rug and pottied a few times on the dining room rug.  Oh well.  You can't get a puppy and expect all your stuff to survive unscathed!

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Three Months Old!

Three months old!
Kai is three months old!  How time flies.  He's definitely changed in the last month that we've had him.  His muzzle is much lighter on top (still fairly black underneath), he's grown, and his legs look so long now.  His ears are almost up... at times, like at this photo, they are nearly standing, but most of the time they are sort of halfway up and halfway floppy.  He knows sit, down, and touch (a targeting exercise where he touches a hand with his nose).  He's gotten more used to his leash, although we still need a lot of work there.  He's pretty good with potty training, in general... he's never had an accident in his crate and has never pooped in the house.  He has taught Chris and I how to know when he wants to go outside:  he bangs on the cat door.  He does the same when he's out and wants to come in.

Kai did have an "accident" last night.  We were watching TV, and Kai wandered over to the dining area.  I went to see what he was doing, and he was just standing there peeing!  I was like "WTF Kai?!" and said NO and took him outside.  I don't know why he didn't tell us he needed to go out.  Obviously he doesn't totally have it down yet, and we need to be more diligent about letting him out periodically when he's awake.

I hope we did a good job with socialization over his first month, which they say is the most critical time period.  We took him to our climbing gym three times, kept him backstage during Pirates of Penzance for three performances, brought him to five different houses (Chris's parents, my parents, Chris's sister's, and two other places) and had people visit at our place.  He's had a couple of puppy kindergarten classes so far, and more on the way.  He's met a handful of dogs, and has spend a decent amount of time with three of them.  We even took him to a cafe with outdoor seating, and he sat nicely while we ate lunch.  So with all that... we really did try to get him out as much as we could.  He's a fearless little bugger, and seems unfazed by new people and situations.  And of course, whenever we take him anywhere, we get many "Awwwww!"s and "Oh so CUTE" types of reactions.  It's funny how even the most rugged, tattooed, buffed out dude slaying V10s at the climbing gym will turn into mush when he sees the cute puppy.

Kai got to meet Abby, my parents' dog, last weekend.  It went pretty well, although I think Kai's playing style is more suited to Vinny than Abby. 

Kai meets Abby

Chris and Kai have a lot in common.  They are assuming the same tired pose in this photo.

like father, like son
Chris has his own patented version of the Shiba scream.  He is very smart and very stubborn, just like a Shiba.  I let him get away with stuff more often than I should because he's cute and funny, and makes me laugh.  Here is Chris working on "sit" with Kai.

attentive puppy
I still joke that we should have named Kai Chris Jr.  Ha.

many zzzzzs

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Paw Scare and Vet Visit #2

Over the weekend, we had a little scare with Kai.  A friend of ours accidentally stepped on Kai's back left paw (Kai has a problem with being underfoot) and Kai yelped and was limping around for a bit.  He seemed better after a few minutes, so we didn't think any more about it.  But later in the day, we took Kai to visit his Cousin Vinny, and while they were playing Kai suddenly yelped very loudly and was crying for several minutes, holding his back paw off the ground.  I'm not sure if Vinny stepped on Kai by accident, or if Kai hurt himself by jumping the wrong way on his already sore paw.  But we had never heard Kai cry like that before, and he was definitely hurt.  I held him on my lap for a while until he calmed down, and then we put him to rest in his crate for about a half hour.  After that, he seemed better, although he was favoring that foot for the rest of the evening.  Chris's mom (who is a RN) looked Kai over, feeling his paw, leg, and hip, and he didn't yelp, so it seemed like he was ok.  Still, he gave us a bit of a scare there!

The next morning, he was running around like usual.  I'd sometimes see him favor the paw for a few seconds, but it didn't slow him up at all, and by the evening he was completely normal.  Whew.

Kai being a good boy at the vet office.
We had our second vet visit with Kai this morning.  He was due for his 2nd set of vaccinations.  He was a very good boy, and didn't even cry when he got his shot.  He weighs a little over 9 lbs now (he was just over 6 lbs a month ago).  The vet had told us on our last visit that one of Kai's testicles hadn't descended yet, and on this visit it's still the same.  The vet isn't concerned, though.  He said Kai doesn't have much of a scrotal sac yet anyway, so there's still plenty of time for things to come into place.  We will be getting him fixed, anyway.  But of course, I want him to be healthy and have all his parts where they are supposed to be!

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Cat vs. Puppy

Molly getting ready to bitch-slap the monster
We have had Kai for nearly a month now, and not much has changed on the Molly front.  Kai still wants to play, puppy style, with Molly, and Molly would greatly prefer to pretend that Kai is not actually in the room.  Molly is tolerant of Kai, to a certain extent, but when he starts barking and/or pinning her down, she hisses and starts swatting.  I get worried about her getting a claw in Kai's eye, so I remove him when it gets to that point.  But then I wonder if I am preventing him from learning.  And part of me wonders if they actually ARE playing, both of them, and I am the one who doesn't understand.  Molly never gets that puffy tail or arched back with him, like cats do when they are really upset.  But she definitely doesn't sound happy when she's hissing at him!

We did have a nice moment with the two of them, though, last night.  Kai was getting sleepy while watching tv, so I brought him on my lap to sleep a bit.  He eventually rolled so that most of his body was on the couch.  Molly (who usually gets the lap) came over after a while and decided that the lap looked okay, even with the monster puppy near it.  So she claimed her space.  It was so cute!  Kai even woke up after a while and started licking Molly's face.  She wasn't really into that, though.  Maybe someday they will be friends...

temporary truce.
Kai giving Molly kisses!

Molly didn't really enjoy the kisses so much.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Kai and Cousin Vinny

Kai finally got to meet his giant Cousin Vinny the other night.  Vincent is a 100+ lb Bernese Mountain Dog owned by Chris's parents.  Vinny is a little over two years old, I think?  He is a great dog.  But GIANT.

Giant vs. Tiny

Vincent was so excited to meet Kai, and immediately went into full-blown play mode!  At first, it was a bit unnerving to see such a giant dog bounding around tiny Kai.  Kai seemed unsure at first, but after a few minutes he seemed to get more comfortable with Vinny.  We left Kai to play with Vinny, under Chris's parents' supervision, while we went grocery shopping (a suggestion the dog trainer gave to us was to start leaving Kai with family/friends for a few hours or even overnight, to help him overcome any Shibalike antisocial tendencies that he may naturally have... not that we've seen anything like that in him yet!).

 The two dogs were still running around when we got back, although Vinny was getting pretty pooped by the energetic little puppy.  Vinny was SO good with Kai.  He was very aware of his size in relation to Kai, and didn't ever overdo the puppy play.  It was very cute and funny to see them interact.  I think Kai was sad to leave his new friend at the end of the visit.

Kai is about the size of Vinny's head!
 I am so happy that we know that Kai can get along with Vinny.  That means that he should, in theory, be able to play with any socialized dog who has the energy to play with him in his style of fun.  He still has to meet my parents' dog, Abby (a Rhodesian Ridgeback mix) so hopefully we can make that happen in the next week or two.  And I hope that Kai and Dylan (our friends' Golden Retriever) can find a way to talk the same language.  Dylan ended up getting puppy abused by Kai during their one visit together, because Dylan was too mellow to correct Kai and not really interested in puppy play.  And Kai didn't have the manners to understand that.

New Friends

I think I am getting more used to life with Kai.  Getting up at 6:30 is getting easier to do.  We are going to bed a little earlier now, which helps.  We got some bitter apple spray for some of the furniture/rugs/shoes, and that REALLY works.  Yay!  He's responding well to the clicker training so far.  We are planning on trying some leash work with him today, and he will have another visit with Vinny (and probably with Dylan too) this weekend, and also his puppy class.  I know there will be lots of hurdles in the upcoming months, but I am still very glad to have him in my life.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

When Kai is Good, Life is Good

cute puppy playing in the backyard
Kai was being such a good boy today when I went home for lunch.  He ate all of his lunch (hand fed, with a few broken up treats mixed in, while doing some clicker training drills), didn't harass Molly TOO much, didn't try to eat my shoes/clothes, and played fetch with me quite nicely in the backyard.  He didn't whine when I had to crate him and go back to work.  On a nice sunny day like today, playing with a cute puppy who is not going berserkers and chewing the world, life is good.

Clicker training... that is a new thing for us.  We took Kai to his first puppy kindergarten class in Davis last Sunday and learned that it's a clicker training class.  I wasn't sure about the concept at first.  It seemed like a pain to always have to have a clicker handy, when you could just use your voice instead.  But when the instructor explained the reasoning (you can't SAY the same praise the same way, but the clicker always sounds the same) and also after doing some of my own research, I am on board with this form of training.  I read some things that said clicker training is especially effective with Shibas.  And it's not a device that you have to carry around forever.  Once the dog understands the commands, the clicker can be replaced by your voice, or gestures, or whatever you like.

Anyway, Kai did decently at his first class, and even played a bit with a couple of Basenjis that were there.  the Basenjis were owned by breeders, who also teach the advanced puppy class.  And Basenjis apparently have quite a bit in common with Shibas, both size and personality-wise!  One of the Basenjis will be going to his new forever home this week, but I think the other one will continue in puppy kindergarten, which will be great.

Kai meets the Basenjis, temporarily named "J" and "K"

Tonight should be interesting... we are planning on introducing Kai to his giant cousin Vincent (a Bernese Mountain dog owned by Chris's parents) after work.  Kai is about the size of Vincent's head right now.  The dog actually weighs more than I do, I think!  So that is a little scary.  But Vincent is a good dog, and very well socialized.  I really hope they get along well.  It would be wonderful to be able to drop Kai off to play with Vincent from time to time!

Friday, March 2, 2012

The Meltdown

I am not proud to say that I had my first Kai-induced meltdown the other night.  I guess it had to happen sooner or later.

When I got home from work, I was really tired, and of course Kai was being super energetic after having been crated during the afternoon.  He seemed hungry but Chris is the dinner man for Kai (since I feed Kai morning and lunch meals) so I wanted to wait.  Chris wasn't going to be home for another hour.  Kai was bouncing off the walls, trying to chew everything, including me, and chasing Molly.  I took him outside twice to help release some energy.  I was so, SO tired.  All I wanted to do was lie down for 20 minutes.  I was literally counting the minutes until Chris got home, so that I could have a little nap.  Finally Chris got home and let me nap for 30 minutes while he watched Kai.  Chris was also tired and wanted a short nap of his own after I was done.  I got up after my 30 minutes, still very tired, and tried to play with Kai a bit more.  I laid down on the carpet in the living room and Kai immediately was biting my hair, my hands... I sat up and he bit my butt through my jeans!  That one actually hurt a bit.  I had to put Kai in a time out.  After I closed the door to the time out area (the bathroom) I just lost it.  I started sobbing out of tiredness and frustration.  I felt like a bad puppy mommy, that I didn't understand Kai and didn't know how to make him understand me.  Chris was great and made me feel better.  I ended up going on a short run to help stabilize my energy, and then I watched Kai while Chris got his nap. 

I was thinking to myself that Kai probably is going through a lot right now, too.  He is used to playing rough and tumble with his sisters, and suddenly (less than two weeks ago) he was removed from them, and doesn't have anyone around him now to play in the only manner he's accustomed to playing.  And he's still very young, only 9 1/2 weeks.  I know he will eventually learn.  I just really, really want to do him right.  I've read so many articles which state that the 8-12 week period is so important for the pup's future development, and I don't want to make any big mistakes which might cost us later.  (I know I will make lots of small mistakes-- but that is life.) 

Kai is actually being good for a moment!

Fortunately, Chris found what sounds like a great dog trainer through his connections at the UC Davis Vet School, and we will be taking Kai to his first puppy class this Sunday.  I have high hopes for this class.  Kai should be able to finally get some playtime with other puppies, and hopefully the trainer can train all of us!  I know that I need training as much as Kai does.

And I keep reminding myself how good he has been on many levels.  He continues to be great in his crate, sleeping quietly through the nights, and napping during the day when we crate him.  He rides in his crate in the car without complaint, and he's been very good with meeting new people.  I just want to be able to play with him without him eating my hair!  And I want to go walking with him.  Soon, I hope...