Wednesday, August 27, 2008


each dog is different (duh)...but it's amazing how different the same breed can be sometimes.

sumo = motivated by food, any food, any snack, the hint of food
chibi = not so much motivated by food

going out time without the dogs means the dogs go into their exercise pens and get a treat to enjoy while we're gone. when we get up like we MIGHT be getting ready to leave/go, sumo runs into his pen and just sits waiting. if we go by the treat jar, sumo runs over to the jar to see if we're grabbing something, then BOLTS to his pen and gets in. chibi will get in, but requires some additional attention.

bedtime in the house usually means the doggies get a snack in their crates before sleep. sumo has embraced bedtime. usually when the tv goes off, he runs to the dog gate anxious to get to our room and get into his crate. gate opens, he bolts to the room and runs into his crate and sits waiting for us to catchup. chibi, not so much. must be coaxed into the bedroom and into her crate (but still enjoys the snacks).

Monday, August 18, 2008

Good To Know

well, had our favorite dog behaviorist (trainer) come by this weekend and give some input on sumo's new found dumbness. i had emailed her earlier in the week about the new barking he's been doing in his 8th month, and asking if it's something we need to be worried about or something that she can help us correct.

luckily, the answers were:
  1. based on his age, the behavior is about right. between 6-8 months, a male puppy may begin to have the terrirorial and/or scared/untrusting behavior that they had with things that bugged them as very small puppies. it could be either unsureness/fear or it could also be protecting/warning (himself, chibi, and the rest of the family)
  2. it isn't anything to get too stressed about and we have a few new items/techniques to help correct it

the general idea is to try to get his attention focused elsewhere. given the intense focus that shiba's (esp our 2) tend to have once they get set on something, we start by backing them further away from the stimululs until we can get their attention again (using a 'high value' treat). they are rewarded when they can focus back on us. we gradually get closer to the stimulus until they can focus on us by command and/or ignore it altogether.

we also can try a new command. "touch". "touch" rewards the dog for putting their nose on your hand (thus focusing away from what they were looking at). we had to use 2 fingers (instead of open palm -- which is already conditioned for their "high five" paw). so far, sumo "gets it" (though his "touch" also includes a subsequent "lick the hand and fingers" also). chibi seems to have no interest in the command (nor the treats that she gets when she does it)...however, chibi also doesnt bark at everything that moves, so we'll work on it, but not with the vigor that we'll try with sumo-dog.

fun fact of the weekend: sumo managed to "tunnel" underneath his doggie bed, get stuck underneath, then walk around with it on top of him, looking like a turtle. chibi then saw the moving dog bed with legs, and pounced on him, knocking the turtle flat :)

Friday, August 15, 2008

Changing Times

well, it's been a while, had some more pressing issues, but thought i'd post about some subtle changes that have been happening.

sumo is starting to bark/whine at most everything when he's excited, or not happy, or happy

he's decided it's a good idea to bark at ANYBODY we see while walking, sometimes a sprinkler head, the occasional trash can, the random pinecone on the ground, and definitely anybody who comes to visit at the house. he's also become quite the crying whiner. instead of just tapping on the door/gate of his crate (like chibi), he's decided to cry/whine about getting out.

since chibi never did (and still doesnt) really bark at all at people. it's tough to figure out how to deal with it. it's a little embarassing frankly, but we'll have to start looking into techniques to stop it.

this is about the age that chibi hit her "max crackhead stupid puppy dog" mode...hoping this too will pass :)

ah yes, and furball #2 has finally started to blow his puppy coat and make a mess in the house just like big sis chibi lol

on a sad note, chibi and sumo's friend (14 yr old yellow lab Kona) was diagnosed with cancer. she's not in pain right now, but doesnt have much time left with us. the family is preparing with the little time they have left. she's the original sock eating dog (way before sumo).

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Socks Socks Socks

chibi used to love our socks. she'd leave them chewed on, and slightly mangled...but still useable.

sumo has a talent for destroying socks. his razor shark-like ninja teeth tear holes in the toes, heels, etc. all that's left is a slobbery wet dust rag.

i just picked up 2 new bags of socks.

im thinking it may be time to do some specific "these are MY SOCKS" training with sumo around :)

Friday, August 1, 2008


i owe chibi an apology, it was SUMO who ate our rockband drumstick!

sumo's poop issues are gone today, and we now know what was causing the issues. i came out of the bedroom this morning and noticed a small "poop-sized" nugget of something on the area carpet. it was a little ball of woodsplinters, mixed with fur, mixed with hair, mixed with animal toy stuffing, etc. (think cat furball)

hope you werent just eating :)