Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Pack Hike - Sweeney Ridge

My humom dragged the whole pack out for a hike this past Sunday. It was LONG - like, over five whole miles. It was uphill the first half. Being awesome, I led the pack and on the way back I dragged them back to the car.

This hike is cool tho cuz not only iz it dog-friendly, but it has so much plant variety. There are scrubby bushes to pee on, wildflowers to sniff (and pee on), some redwoods and eucalyptus trees and then the ruins of an old Nike missile site. At the top of the ridge, on a clear day, you can see the Pacific Ocean to one side and the SF Bay on the other.

View from the top - Pacific Ocean

Me and hudad

Climbing that hill wuz tuff work!

Everything looks better with a Shiba tail in it, right?

Tuff dog in the missile site ruins

What? How much longer till we get back to the car???
-- Posted by Prince Zuko the awesome

Monday, July 25, 2011

Surf City: No Dogs Allowed

For Shibapalooza, the Twibas from out of town decided to group together in Huntington Beach because it has an awesome dog-beach and was voted one of the most dog-friendly cities in California.

Unfortunately, since then, a few things have changed.

What would Snoopy do?
There is a blog post here on the "no dogs allowed" in Huntington Beach, along with @Tokyoshiba blog post here about the dog-friendly hotel that is in the heart of the Main Street area. 

What Zuko wanted me to share with you is what he feels every place should have: 

Now that is more like it!
Lazy Dog Cafe is just outside HB in Westminster and they were very accommodating (as you can see). The patio was fenced in (@Tokyoshiba made an amazing jailbreak move and got out) and there were two gates in case it got crowded and you needed to get out without making everyone else move. 

The didn't have a doggie menu like some places do, but overall, it was a good experience. The food and drink prices were average and the food was decent. Zuko and Taro really, really enjoyed the chicken tenders. ;-)

-- Posted by Prince Zuko's devoted typist.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Shibapalooza: Even more photos!

Prince Zuko pupular demand, I'm posting more photos of Shibapalooza. Some of these mom pulled off the group meet-up site and isn't always sure who posted them. She thinks @walkingyuki mom and @_tar0_ hudad might have posted some of them!

If you want to see lots of photos, visit Taro's website. His hoomans weren't busy controlling a 30 pound snarling ball of fur (hey! typist, no editorial comments!!) and were able to take photos.

Me doing a perfect down - stay cuz mom had noms in her hand

My brofur Taro!

Brofur and sisfur: Rinji and Mika

Mika and ?

Taro - looking cute and doing tricks for noms!

Queen Tokyo

Mika, sisfur to Rinji

Backyard at the howse in HB. Good zoomies area.


Hiding and snacking on grass in yard. All the Twibas enjoyed this spot and the fresh greens.


Mom getting snuggles from Rinji. Sort of. 

Gift bags of nommy noms from Tokyo!

More zoomies in the yard. I so fast the camera couldn't catch me!

Please feed me. 

Taro's hudad is strong and can actually pick me up. Now give me noms. 
-- Prince Zuko!

PS: My typist needs to do something like a Flikr or Picasa. Any good suggestions which way to go? She needs a better place to put pictures of all my awesomeness.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

More Shibapalooza: My furiends

Hi there - iz Prince Zuko! I really enjoyed Shibapalooza, even though I was a bit grouchy at times. Stoopid leash. Mom can totally trust me off-leash, I don't need that thing. (hee-hee)

I wanted to share some fotos of all my furiends from this weekend!

Kyuubi & hudad, me, me chasing Taro, Mika, Taro the Twiba, the two Mikas, Rinji with his sisfur Mika in background,  me sniffing Mika, me chasing Tokyo, Taro and his hudad

More to come!

-- Prince Zuko - woof!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Shibapalooza: The return of Snarly McGrowly

I've blogged extensively about Zuko and his challenges on-leash with other dogs. It is hit or miss - sometimes he's fine, sometimes he's not. A few clear problem areas are dogs who run up to him, stare him down or obsessively face-sniff him.

"Who me? I'm a good dog!"
Now - let's define how Shibas act based on what I observed at Shibapalooza:

  • They are nearly all face-sniffers (considered rude doggie behavior). 
  • Many of them like to obsess on things, like staring at another dog.
  • A Shiba may do these things, but typically will not tolerate another dog doing it to them. Especially another Shiba. 
So guess what happened at Shibapalooza? Zuko snarled at a few dogs while on leash. Shocking! But then, there was a lot of snarling, growling, barking and snapping going on. ;-)

However, there was a very sweet cream Shiba named Katsu who completely ignored Zuko. Katsu didn't even look at him - and Zuko never snarled at him once. It was interesting to watch the body language. Katsu had great manners and was not rude at all, which meant Zuko had nothing to get all macho about. 

Very polite Shiba - Katsu
With all of this, you would think bringing out food would just escalate the issues and cause a massive melee of Shiba furballs fighting. I was shocked to see that THIS is actually what happens:

Good dogs all around
For a brief moment in time they were all just being good dogs. 

This fits with what the trainers at Zuko's daycare were suggesting and what I've been working on with him: the "look" command to draw his attention from whatever he's obsessing on and move his focus back to me. Also, I continue to reward good behavior like proper butt-sniffing and moving him away from other dogs before it gets "growly". 

The event was a wonderful time - it was amazing to meet the other hudads and humoms of Shibas and to see so many adorable dogs ... but it was also exhausting for me and Zuko. Towards the end of the picnic he went after Rinji for like the 400th time and my patience finally cracked and he got the "just knock it off already" tone from me. 

Off-leash Zuko did very well - which also wasn't a surprise. Off-leash he is free to move about and display the body language he wants and to play. But, this weekend did bring a question to my mind: how much of his on-leash issue is related to him guarding his humans? I wonder...

-- Prince Zuko's mom


Monday, July 18, 2011

Shibapalooza: The #Twibas

Hi everyone! Iz Prince Zuko here. Mom is working on a few blog posts for Shibapalooza, but I wanted to share two things with all my Twibas! First: the Twiba bandana: 

Pink Twiba bandana modeled by Tokyo Shiba (@tokyoshiba)
The ruff and tuff camo Twiba bandana as modeled by me!

Taro (@_tar0_) shows tuffness comes in all sizes. 
Mom found these at K9 Design online. The are nicely stitched and the lady who runs the shop was very sweet. Mom first requested #Twiba, but Betty wrote back and said her machine couldn't do the "#" sign, so mom went with just Twiba. The bandanas arrived three days later! They aren't cheap, but mom said she couldn't find anyone who would just do one bandana at a time so it was worth it. She couldn't afford to buy in packs of 100!!

Next up: Mom was the "Shiba Whisperer" this weekend because she had so many pawesome treats. And we Twibas are a sucker for good noms. You can see some early photos of all of us lined up being good here on my sisfur Suki's hudad's blog.

So what were those tasty noms?

And there you have it! Noms = good. Twibas = pawesome. 

More coming soon!

-- A very tired Prince Zuko

Monday, July 11, 2011

Zuko and Other Dogs: On-leash update

A year ago, I was writing about our troubles with Zuko being growly on-leash. We went to some classes and learned a things like how to properly meet and greet other dogs and we talked with the folks who spend time with him at daycare. We made some progress.

Once we moved, we saw even more progress.

"Who me? I iz a good dog!"
Over the past few months, the incidents of him lunging and growling at other dogs have been very rare and ALWAYS start with the other dog lunging and snarling first. As most Shiba owners know, they think they are a big dog and won't back down from a rude or aggressive dog. So I've been watching the body language of other dogs much more closely and I have become less concerned about Zuko's. Out in the parks, it still tends to be two types of dogs that cause issues: small yappy dogs who lunge and snarl at everyone and everything, and the big dogs who just like a challenge.

The small yappy dogs actually seem to humor Zuko a bit. He's almost tolerant - to a point. If they get too close he'll snarl back. The big dogs are more interesting - they see Zuko and they will stop, stare and focus on him. Clear warning signals that I now know to look for.

Any time I spot a potential problem, I immediately go for the treat bag and start doing "look" with Zuko. I keep him to my left and the other dog to HIS left - meaning if he's looking at me, he can't see the other dog. I use to always shorten the flexi-leash as I did this but I've noticed an odd thing in recent weeks - Zuko will sometimes naturally fall into a heel position when a big dog shows up ahead of us on the trail. I can't be sure, but it seems like he has started to associate "big aggressive dog up ahead" with "Zuko gets yummy treats, hang out next to mom". Now I keep the leash slack but I have the trigger finger ready in case the other dog lunges (see above: Shibas don't back down from a fight).

We had one pretty nasty case recently and frankly - it was 100% the other dog. We were out front with Zuko and he was tied up on a long leash to avoid he disappearing after a cat or a squirrel. He was in his driveway, being chill when another dog who was off-leash came BOUNDING up to Zuko before we could get the owners to call the dog off. Zuko was impressive - lots of big body language and fierce  snarls and huge Shiba teeth flashing. My husband and I both barely reacted - we could see that Zuko was putting on one hell of a show, but he wasn't making contact with the teeth. The other dog got the hell out of there as fast as possible and the owners gave us some pretty nasty looks. In our opinion, they were at fault. They let their off-leash dog charge up to another dog on his own territory. Idiots.

This weekend we head to Shibapalooza. At the recent very rainy, very cold NorCal Shiba picnic, we had to scurry under some cover. I didn't hesitate to bring Zuko in to the shelter and he (of course) snarled at Sinjin. Once. Then they all just stood there wet and miserable as only Shibas can look when they aren't getting their way.

So, I'm feeling pretty good about Shibapalooza and about Zuko behaving like a Prince and not a monster!

-- Zuko's optimistic mom

Friday, July 1, 2011

Zuko @ Work

Zuko is a great office dog. He's pretty mellow and doesn't jump on anyone and rarely barks. Only if you are really weird is he going to bark at you (yeah - looking at you weird lady who decided to creep up on him). He's gotten better with other dogs while on-leash and we've gotten better and noticing which dogs are going to be an issue in an on-leash meet and greet.

Zuko supervising his hudad at work

Until today, Zuko could go to work with his hudad (human dad). The small dot com company was always super dog-friendly (there is even another Shiba there) but they were bought by a big Silicon Valley company a few years ago. And as with all acquisitions, the mother ship started enforcing their rules, finishing up with enforcing the "no dogs" rule, effective today. 

Luckily for this budding Shiba CEO, my work is still hip and cool (even though we are also in the process of being bought by a ginormous company). Our open office workspace (warehouse) freaks Zuko out and he tends to be a real scaredy-cat. 

"Not hiding under desk, I iz protecting mom!"

And then there is just random weirdness such as this:

"Please explain to me why there is a dinosaur on the wall. Anyone?"

But in general, he is still the perfect office dog. I leave him at my work spot without his leash attached, tell him to "wait" and walk over to the kitchen. He can see me the whole time until I turn into the kitchen to get some coffee or whatever. I come back out and he's still sitting there, at my work spot, watching for me. 

The folks at work love him and everyone wants to pet him - but, being a true Shiba CEO, no one gets that honor. Not even my real CEO - Zuko snubbed him. (If I don't get my bonus, I'll know why and Zuko will be eating Puppy Chow instead of his expensive raw diet mix - ha!). Of course, this also means most people don't even know he's there at all - which is a good thing in a work environment. 

Finally, here is his official Shiba CEO stance on meetings and conference calls:


-- Posted by Prince Zuko's dedicated worker bee