Thursday, December 22, 2011

A New Fearful Behavior from our Tuff Guy

I've been meaning to post this for some time and just haven't had the chance. I'm looking for suggestions and ideas around a new behavior Zuko has been showing.

Obligatory cute photo of Zuko

I don't know what triggered what, so here's the full chain of events:
  • Zuko has always been fine with other dogs in his house. Usually we have the first meeting be outside and even if there is an initial growl, things are fine after. He doesn't mind other dogs playing with his toys, sniffing his food bowl, drinking his water - he's a very polite host in general. 
  • On a Friday in October he had his teeth cleaned. This involves being "put under" but the vet reported no issues. He was fine that night but only eating soft food.
  • The next day he seemed a bit lazy but fine, so our friend came over with his dog "L". Zuko and L had never met and she is a rescue dog with issues of guarding her human. We could not do the intro in the backyard because it was dark and pouring down rain. There was some serious growling and snarling when L came in the door (she was still on leash) and then Zuko spent the rest of the visit trembling behind my legs and L's human's legs. Final note: L peed in the kitchen before she left. 
  • A few days later we met a boston terrier at a restaurant we have visited with Zuko many, many times. It has an enclosed patio and we sat in the same spot we always sit. Zuko has meet "P" before and had no issues. This time he freaked out. Snarling at first encounter then he was hiding and trembling behind my legs and trying to escape out the nearby door. Finally I had to put him in the car where he went to sleep.
  • About a week later we went to Mendocino with friends and stayed in a rental home. Their dog "T" is also familiar to Zuko - they've met several times in both her house and ours. This rental home was new to both dogs. Zuko started the same behavior - when T would come up to him he would dip his head, look away and move to another area. Part of the issue was T would not leave him be - she was in his face always. When we would put him in the bedroom and shut the door, he would calm down and be fine. This is also the weekend he ran away - details are here
  • Another week went by and our friend came over with her boston terrier puppy "W" who Zuko also knows -- and he knows this friend very well. She has watched Zuko for us in the past when we traveled. Same behavior - Zuko was trembling and was scratching at his hudad to do something (we don't know what). Except this time W was not even near Zuko. He was off exploring the toy box and left Zuko 100% alone. 
So what do we know for sure? Enclosed spaces are an issue except his daycare - they report no problems there so it may be enclosed spaces with either his humom or hudad. Dog parks seem fine and he was fine on the beach with other dogs until he lost his off-leash privileges (we have not been to the beach since). One other note: all of the other dogs involved in the above incidents are very high energy. 

We have puzzled over this - what was the trigger to cause it to start (if any) and what is the "in the moment" trigger? Is it us? Is it the other dog? How do we get past this? We have a trainer lined up who works at Zuko's daycare but I wanted to reach out to the Shiba community and see if anyone has had a similar experience. Our fear is we try this, try that, try something else and just confuse Zuko even more, so while we know about Thundershirts and the Comfort herbal things, we have not tried them. Any insight is appreciated!

-- Posted by Prince Zuko's Puzzled Humom

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Happy Shibamas!

Happy Shibamas to all my furiends out there! I iz looking forward to shredding open my gifts in a few days and eating noms like turkey and cheeze.

"I can haz gifts now?"
This year the 2011 International Secret Shiba went big with 50 Shibas sending gifts far and wide! As part of the deal, my humom promised to donate $3 for every gift delivered on time. The chosen charity wuz NY Shiba Rescue to help cover costs for the "NJ 22" - the 22 Shibas rescued in New Jersey. (Shio's new sisfur, Emi, is one of them!).

Congrats #Twibas! Enjoy your gifties and know you helped a few Shibas too!

-- Posted by Prince Zuko

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Zuko vs. Banana Slug

Apparently slugs are beneath the notice of a Shiba Inu.

Oh my gosh! A huge Banana Slug!

Slug iz gonna getcha!
Zuko: "huh?" 

Zuko! That slug is gonna getcha! 

I tried to get Zuko to look at it, sniff it. Nothing. He sat and watched the woods for more dangerous things. After the slug's antennae touched Zuko's foot, the slug retreated a bit. Zuko was still looking around at the woods and looking at me like I was an idiot.  

The he stood up and before I could stop him, he stepped on the slug's head. THEN he noticed it for a second and trotted away.

"There are more dangerous things for me to hunt out here. Slugs are not important. Now where did that squirrel go?"

-- Posted by Zuko's mom. I regret that a slug was harmed in the making of this blog post.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

I haz Zuko-cam!

Broadcasting will be on / off for a few days but humom is testing stuff for her company, Veetle. And now I haz a live Zuko-cam!

If the video no work for you, try installing the plug-in from here:

-- Posted by Prince Zuko. Where is my Emmy Award for Best Performance of Power-Napping?

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Shibasquatch No More: Trust Revoked

Last weekend we headed up to Mendocino County with some friends to a dog-friendly vacation rental on the coast. This should have been the perfect weekend.

Wild Shiba on the rugged coast
The night we drove in it was horrid weather - rain, fog, long winding roads in the dark. Bleh. We finally get to the house and Zuko immediately goes into "weird" mode - he decided he was terrified of the dog he's known all summer. Granted, she was very, very much in his face and would not leave him alone, but normally he'd just snarl at a dog being that rude. This time he decided to be terrified. (More on this new behavior in another post coming soon - looking for advice!).

The next day the weather cleared and we headed to a nice, secluded beach. Since Zuko had been so stressed I decided to let him off leash so he could burn off some energy. He's a confirmed Shibasquatch, so while I was a bit nervous because he was off his game, I knew there was only one way off the beach. It would be fine, right?

And there he goes....
I snapped the above picture just as Zuko made the turn and headed for the the beach. My hubby was up the path before I could even react and had Zuko stopped just above the beach - but not caught. Zuko bolted again and ran up to the road - at which point, any attempt to remain calm on our part ended. 

Zuko "played" in the road, causing us to put ourselves in the middle of the country highway to stop traffic. At one point, I was sure he was gone for good. All the usual tactics failed us - sit, wait, here, touch, throwing treats at him, running away from him ----- nothing worked. At this point we were frantic and we all know that heightened "energy" from humans does not help, but when your little dog is running TOWARD a car like a brainless idiot, calm and zen go right the fuck out the door. 

Finally, we came to another dirt road that met the highway and I shouted at my hubby to try running away (again) and Zuko FINALLY followed him. Relieved he was at least off the highway, we chased the little monster up the hill and into a farmer's courtyard area. Zuko's hudad decided to just sit down in the dirt and see if that calmed Zuko down a bit. And finally, finally, the little jerk came back to me for a treat, did a sit and I tackled him with more force than was probably necessary. 

The Runaway was captured. And we both wanted to hug him and shake him senseless at the same time. I guess that makes us bad people but the sheer terror of nearly losing our little dog messed up our brains too.

"Iz all lies. I was sitting here the whole time being a good dog."
So what happened to make our trusty dog run off? We have some theories about stress and the other dog driving him insane, but I'll save that for another post. Zuko has no idea what he has done, but his status as a Shibasquatch is fully revoked. 

-- Posted by Zuko's mom and the leash that will be attached to him the rest of his life

Monday, October 31, 2011

Ghosts of Halloween Past and Present

One of the reasons I adore Zuko's doggie daycare: they take time with all the dogs and do fun things. Like dress them up for Halloween and take pictures. Zuko has been going there for three years, so we have three years of Shiba Humiliation. 

Year 1 (Zuko is just one year old): Johnny Rotten. Seems appropriate..

Year 2: It's as if they knew we call him "Demon Dog"

Year 3: Our little boy is all grown up and has to work a 9-5 job in a tie just to earn his kibble. 
-- Happy Halloween!

Friday, October 28, 2011

Secret Shiba - All the cool Twibas are doing it!

Hey! Prince Zuko here. Check out the new Tumblr about the Secret Shiba project. This is how Shibas get extra noms for Shibamas.

Need proof? See what I gotz last year? Cheeze!!

-- Posted by Prince Zuko!

Monday, October 24, 2011

A Puppy in Yosemite

A few weeks ago we took our first ever trip to Yosemite with my parents. It was a short trip and we decided to take Zuko with us so I could snack on his Shiba ears during the car ride.

"Someone please save me"
Lodging in the Yosemite area is fairly limited if you want something without canvas walls, but we did find Tenaya Lodge which was close to the south entrance of the park and is dog-friendly.

Zuko checks out the view, surrounded by his gifts from the Lodge
Yosemite isn't the most dog-friendly park, but compared to other National Parks, it does have some areas you can travel with the pup. It isn't well documented though and can be a bit vague. From the Yosemite site:

"Pets are only allowed in developed areas, on fully paved trails and roads except trails signed as not allowing pets (pets are not allowed off the floor of Yosemite Valley, including the trail to Vernal Fall)...
There are a few additional (very obscure and unsigned) places where pets are allowed: Four Mile fire road in Wawona, on the Carlon Road, and on the Old Big Oak Flat Road between Hodgdon Meadow and Hazel Green Creek."

Clear as a bell, right?

Basically what I figured out was if it is handicap accessible, it is dog-friendly. So Zuko got to see Bridalveil Falls, Lower Yosemite Falls and the top of Glaciar Road. Areas like the Sequoia Grove are 100% off-limits but it appears that if you just slap a service vest on a dog, they will let you pass (I'm talking about you, Italian Grayhound that was clearly not any kind of service dog whatsoever - not even an ESA. ESA dogs do have some training). 

Two great wonders of nature: The Shiba Inu and Half Dome
At the top of Glacier Road, Zuko climbed up on a rock and stared out over the canyon. I swear he was really meditating on the majesty of the view - it was difficult to get him to turn around, even for treats.

"Don't disturb me"
Dining in the area was a bit more difficult - outdoor dining is limited and not really pet-friendly. We did resort to leaving a tired dog in our room while going out to eat (thus violating the pet policy) but he was a good dog and no one caught us. ;-)

The last day we received a surprise and Zuko was granted one of his life-long wishes: SNOW!

"My feet are wet"
He didn't seem to mind it - it wasn't very deep and was more wet than fluffy. I'd still love to see him in snow up to his chest and see if he bounces along or freaks out. 

You can see more of Zuko's adventures in Yosemite here on Flickr

-- Posted by Zuko's mom

Monday, October 10, 2011

Happy Three Years to Zuko

Our little monster is three years old today. The time has really gone by fast - Zuko's hudad and I spent yesterday morning trying to figure out how it could have happened so quickly!

Zuko - five weeks old
Three years ago we were first time dog owners. Our vet mentioned that a Shiba Inu is not a "beginner dog" (for the record, he actually loves Shibas, just knows them very well).

Now, he's a huge part of our life. Every day he makes us smile. He makes us get outside of ourselves and he in return shares plenty of Shiba fur with us. ;-)

To make his birthday even more awesome - it is one day before our wedding anniversary. He was clearly meant to be part of our family. 

Prince Zuko - 3 years old and at Yosemite
We LOVE YOU Prince Zuko! (And yes, when you get back from your walk, I will have some cheese ready for you). 

Love - "Your Hoomans".

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Belmont Twin Pines: Adventure

Somehow even in a small city park, I can lose the trail. I am not really sure how I do this, but Zuko and I get lost  and / or end off the path when hiking all the time. Luckily the Shiba Inu is a mountain breed originally and Zuko loves climbing hills, rocks and whatever. Usually he's at the top waiting for my on my pathetic two-legs to catch up with his superiorness.

It was raining a bit in the Bay Area today so we went to Twin Pines in Belmont. It is less exposed and more covered, but very small. There is a creek area and this is where I lost the trail.

Let's go! 
We crossed the makeshift bridge and came up the other side - and there was no trail. Oops. We blundered through and found it again. We kept going - and what would be a hike with Zuko without finding some random oddity? We found ruins of a building at the end of the path.

These fall colors help me camouflage, right? Oh - and there are ruins here. 
We did manage to safely find our way back to the car. ;-)  But given our natural "tendencies" when hiking, our upcoming Yosemite trip should be very... um, interesting....

-- Posted by Prince Zuko's "the road less traveled" humom. 

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Off-leash Rant: Continued


And again today...we were in a park, I hear someone yelling "Tilly! Get down from there. Tilly! Get over here!". And so on. I'm thinking someone has a very out of control kid. Then I see the first dog up above us on the trail - a big one. (Of course). Then I see another one and a man. I yell up "My dog isn't friendly on-leash". The guy gives me a horrible look and starts to leash up one of the dogs and I hear him say to someone "it's HER dog". Meaning me and Zuko.

By this point the first dog has already gotten very close to us but the path sort of split so you could go around a big rocky section on either side. So we take the other path and as we climb I see a woman...and another dog. Yup. These folks had three big dogs that were off leash and under no voice control whatsoever.  After we passed the couple and got to the trail above them, I hear them start up again "Tilly! Max!" and so on. They had unleashed the two dogs as soon as I passed. The first dog never got leashed, just kept going.

So. These people spent their whole hike yelling at their dogs (to no result) and disturbing the peace of the park and most assuredly not cleaning up any messes their dogs made. This clearly frustrated them, if their body language and facial expressions were any reflection of how their morning had went. And I had to position MY dog as the Bad Dog just to get them to do the right thing.

I. Am. So. Pissed.

-- Posted by Prince Zuko's annoyed mom who promises the next post will be happier with cute pictures of Zuko!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

It's Time for Another Rant: Off-leash Dogs

::::Begin Rant:::::

I've blogged a fair bit about Zuko's on-leash growly behavior with some dogs and at Shibapalooza I started to get to the bottom of it (face-sniffing and rudeness). In general on our walks, things have been fine this summer.

The Prince
Gratuitous cute photo of Zuko

While Zuko is a confirmed Shibasquatch at a lake near our house and at the beach, he is on leash all other times. Recently on a walk back up from the lake, two very large dogs come bounding down the trail. These dogs were big - as in at least 70 pounds each. Zuko was on leash and there were no other humans in sight nor could I hear any walking / talking on the path up ahead.

Of course the dogs run up to Zuko. OF COURSE. I immediately get between him and the dogs, turning my back to them and moving to keep them away from Zuko (and watching Zuko's reaction). The dogs would not leave off and I had to keep this going for a couple of minutes before they lost interest and took off for the last leg of the path to the lake. Please note: still no other humans in sight / sound.

We walk on. A ways up the path I see two guys with leashes draped around the necks. I asked them if they had lost two big black dogs because they were down at the lake. The guys looked at me like I was speaking gibberish, grunted something and continued their conversation and their nice morning stroll to the lake. At the pace they were proceeding, they would arrive at the lake about 7-10 minutes after their dogs.

A lot can happen in ten minutes. I was furious, but I was also clear-headed enough to know that if I confronted them, it would make no difference.

The other recent incident was with a golden retriever. After big adventures on the beach, Zuko and I were coming to the top of the sand stairs. An off-leash golden was standing above us on the stairs in the "I challenge you" stance (as I call it, here it is called the "dominant" posture): tail slightly up, making eye-contact, stiff-legged posture. We had to pass him to get to the parking lot and of course - face sniffing happened. I tried to relax and ease Zuko away but I wasn't fast enough and massive snarling started on both sides and the golden began lunging and barking. I got between them (the owner is meanwhile calling his dog from down the stairs - no effect at all) and I even felt teeth on the back MY leg during all of this. Luckily I was in jeans and it wasn't even enough to leave a mark or bruise -- but the owner is damn lucky there wasn't more to it than that.

Again I stayed between the two and herded Zuko away from the situation. After calling the dog's name (Rusty) about 15 times, the owner got the dog's attention and Rusty took off.

Zuko's Shiba friend Sinjin has had recent issues with random dogs attacking him and drawing blood. I don't really understanding humans NEEDING to allow their dogs off-leash at all times, but if you NEED to allow your dog to run around to fulfill some inner need of your own for freedom, then do it responsively. Make sure your dog responds to your commands. Otherwise, you are a lawsuit waiting to happen. I happen to know a VERY good lawyer - she's a Twiba mom too. :-)

::::End of Rant::::

-- Posted by Zuko's mom

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Shio the Rock Star

My Twiba friend, Shio, is like a total rock-star. He's been a guest star in Shibal Inu comics lately and has been known to stage a lay-down / sit-in protest wif firefighters. He also totally rocked out at Sephora one day. (Humom says this iz still the funniest video she's ever seen).

So - imagine my surprise when he wanted to interview ME for his blog! Like, wow!

You can get the full story here. Enjoy!

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Exciting Day at the Beach

Zuko loves the beach. I love the beach because he can run and be a little monster off-leash (a.k.a. a Shibasquatch) and he gets very, very tired. Depending on the day, we may go to Ocean beach in San Francisco or stay a little more south and go to the Ft. Funston dog beach. Ft. Funston requires that I am in a mood for a work-out - the sand stairs back to the parking lot are a killer.

View about 1/4 the way down the sand stairs. Notice how tiny the beach looks?

Normally the beach has a fair number of dogs running around, but on this day we arrived and there was no one on the beach. Except....the wildlife.

Zuko likes to chase the seagulls (he believes them to be pterodactyls) and they always fly away from him. This time though, there was something new:

Will you be my friend?

I was pretty amazed - Zuko approached the Cormorant very carefully and was allowed to sniff its tail feathers. Not kidding. I didn't get a photo of him that close because I was busy hurrying over to shoo him away so he didn't get his eyes pecked out. The bird did not like me and would disappear into the water as I got closer. Zuko nearly braved a few big waves to follow his new friend into the ocean and thankfully thought better of it. 

We moved on and suddenly Zuko turned around and ran back. The Cormorant was back on the sand again. (Insert visions of a Shiba being attached by a bird with a hooked beak). The bird again tolerated Zuko but left when I got closer. Zuko got more sniffs in and really seemed to think this bird was going to play with him. 

Zuko shows his warrior stance
We can play now?

FINALLY I get him to move on down the beach. He chased some seagulls and ran around, peed on everything and wore himself out. We headed back to the sand stairs and Zuko ran up on a crab in the surf. The crab, on its back, was waving legs and claws everywhere and Zuko rushed right up to it. Thankfully I was close and got him away from it but I was now having visions of Zuko lifting his head with a Shiba Scream and a crab dangling from his nose. 

No leash. No photoshop.
What's that over there? More dangerous stuff? I'm on it!!
We move on...oh geez, there is the Cormorant again! Shit ... I managed to get a leash on Zuko and once I did he spotted ANOTHER crab flailing around in the surf and charged for it. This time I managed to get a photo: 

Can I play wif this? It's moving!
Will YOU play with me??
By this point my nerves were done and I still had to face the sand stairs. Awesome. Even Zuko was dragging a bit on the way back up the stairs. Ha!

Tired pup
-- Posted by Prince Zuko's frazzled mom 

Friday, September 9, 2011

I iz #Shibaquatch

Breaking news! I, Prince Zuko, iz the mysterious Shibasquatch that haz been seen on the beaches of San Francisco this summer!

Want more proof?

Here is my hudad trying to catch me when I iz off-leash. I am too fast for him tho.

And what iz this? I come running back to my humom! (She had turkey pepperoni - seriously, that stuff is GOOD).

-- Posted by Prince Zuko, #Shibasquatch

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Touring the SF Bay Area

My hudad's sister wuz in town this past weekend and we did the tour of San Francisco! Auntie wuz biten by a dog when she wuz a little kid, so she wuz kind of scared of me at first but I'm just so darn cute she came around!

It iz August here, so it iz very cold and foggy here!

Golden Gate Bridge. See it? Through the THICK fog! BOL

This fog bores me.

At the beach cliffs in Half Moon Bay. WHAT IZ DOWN THERE??

Iz horses down there! They look smaller this time. 

At the Palace of Fine Arts, I met a swan. I iz sure he wuz scared of me.

Been a long day! I iz tired. Can't even keep my tail curled up!
-- Posted by Prince Zuko, SF Tours Inc.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

A Day in the Life of Prince Zuko

  1. Get up. Stretch. Scratch at mom and dad. If they refuse to get up, play the "puppy jumps on the bed, puppy jumps off the bed" game. 
  2. FINALLY get breakfast. Snarf it down quick!
  3. Go outside to potty. 
  4. If it is a doggie daycare day, refuse to get in the car and make dad pick you up. Then beat up other dogs at doggie daycare. 
  5. If it is not doggie daycare day, bite at mommy's ankles until she takes you for a walk or plays bouncy ball with you. 
  6. Take over the couch and commence massive shedding. 
  7. If it is sunny outside, stare at mom until she opens back door so you can bake on the bricks. Come inside, cool off, drink water and commence baking again. 
  8. Everyone is home! Make them chase you. Dad throws the bouncy ball while mom attempts to cook dinner while you are running under her feet. 
  9. Stare at humans to give you dinner and cheese. 
  10. Stare at humans who are eating their dinner. If they do not share, stare harder. 
  11. When mommy starts cleaning the kitchen, that is your clue to go bug dad for a walk. 
  12. Lose your mind and get zoomies, attacking the pillows and linens on the bed. 
  13. Pass out in the center of the big bed and make the humans work around you so they have a tiny sliver of bed and a scrap of covers. 
--- Posted by Zuko's mom

Monday, August 15, 2011

Another Shibasquatch sighting!!

SAN FRANCISCO BAY AREA - At Water Dog Lake park this weekend, a streaking Shibasquatch was seen off-leash at the lake. Only one image was captured of this amazing event. Sadly, our ace photograph did not get a good print of the Shibasquatch willingly getting into the water and getting his feet wet.

This black and white infrared image does a good job of showing the Shibasquatch, even though he is a bit far away.

Run Shibasquatch!

Stay tuned for further developments!

-- Posted by the Chief Shibasquatch Liaison.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Wedding Bells

Zuko attended his first wedding today! Our friends had an outdoor wedding and being proud parents of two chihuahuas, of course they made it a dog-friendly event. 

Bluebell and Cinnamon's pawrents got married today! 

Zuko was brushed and spritzed and put on his best attire for the event. 

Prince Zuko

Another wedding guest - she barked at Zuko, he snarled

Hoping for cheeze

Zuko was much admired - the bride had many Japanese friends and family attending and for once, just about everyone knew he is a Shiba Inu. 

Cinnamon and Bluebell arrived late, dressed in pink tutus. Bluebell and Zuko sniffed, but the other chihuahuas were either terrified of him or barked at him. The little lady in the photos above tried very hard to impress Zuko that she was badass! Later, she did sniff him and let him get close to her. For about three seconds. ;-)

I was a proud mommy - he did well, didn't pee on anything he shouldn't have, didn't try to snack on the little dogs and even let some people pet him. 

-- Posted by Prince Zuko's mom

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Flashback - Zuko as a wee pup

Five weeks old and already showing attitude 
Sleepy. Hard work charming me to pick him!

First weekend home. Fearless. 

Loofa dog is bigger than Zuko pup.

--- Posted by Prince Zuko's mommy

Friday, August 5, 2011

Breaking news - Shibasquatch again spotted

San Francisco CA - Breaking news! An off-leash Shiba Inu was spotted today on the beaches of Ft. Funston. This phenomen, knows as a "Shibasquatch" is very rare. Our ace reporter and photographer was on site and captured the following images of this rare event. WE BELIEVE!
Run Zuko, Run!
Is that a Shibasquatch? 

How far will he run?
How far will he run without a leash to contain him?

We managed to catch the Shibasquatch investigating his surroundings. Shhh....don't scare him!

Happy, sandy dog
Close encounter of the Shibasquatch kind!!

--- Posted by Prince Zuko's Ace Reporter ;-)