12/29/2010 08:40:00 PM

Smart doggie, trouble doggie

Mom, how could you do this to meeee???

There are advantages and disadvantages of having a smart dog, and I am totally getting a crash course on why Shiba owners say that raising a Shiba is like a full-time job.  At the end of the day, there is this lingering suspicion that in a Shiba's eyes, they own their handlers, not the other way around.

I will be honest and say that I would rather much prefer a dumb dog that just wants to be a lazy lapdog all day (Japanese Chin?).  Being mentally challenged at work, I am not prepared to be mentally, emotionally and emotionally challenged at home - by a puppy no less!  When Katsu's good, he's really good.  And when he's bad, well... in the past week there's been a couple of times when I found myself looking forward to going to work to see some of my most difficult, borderline, Axis II patients. ;)

In the meantime, through these ups and downs, Eric and I have mutually decided that he would take Katsu for now on the weekdays.  Having the threat of the bloodcurdling Shiba scream always looming close by makes it hard for me to consistently train Katsu in an apartment setting (especially in one where I can hear my neighbors talking on their phones upstairs - I can only imagine what they are thinking when they hear Katsu's bratty yet epically operatic wailing).  The plan is to intensively use the weekends to socialize Katsu to people and other puppies as we get set up with a private dog trainer (more on that later).  

Now I understand why Shiba owners are so crazy about their pets... it definitely isn't a hobby, but a lifestyle!

12/23/2010 10:47:00 AM

The Katsu Diaries: Day 6

Do not let this picture fool you.

Cratetraining Katsu for housebreaking has been a roller coaster ride.  Generally, Katsu's been a very good boy in terms of doing his business outside.  Leaving him in a crate though while I'm away or going to bed is another story.  He employs what Shiba owners label the "Shiba scream" - a mix of whining, high-pitched shrieks and agonizing barks.  This morning, it was very very bad and (I am ashamed to say this) I got mad at him.  If I were raising him in a house, I would not be so anxious, but since I am in an apartment I'm always worried about his barking and screaming becoming a nuisance to the neighbors.  Moreover, I feel like people who don't know about the "Shiba scream" misinterpret those sounds as proof that I'm somehow abusing or neglecting Katsu, when that is not the case at all.  Shibas are drama queens, and Katsu in particular is very good at it!

My theory about why he was so bratty this morning is probably because I'm giving him too much freedom to run around in the evening. It will be a relief when the bigger crate comes in.  As hard as it will be for me, I will have to limit his freedom to the bigger crate until he is more well-trained.  I think if he's used to being in a more confined space, he may not resist so verbally when I do put him back in his carrier between my work hours, lunch, and getting home from work.  Also, he's starting to bark at strangers when he's out - for now he gets away with it because everyone things he's "oh so adorable" - but that's not going to be the case when he grows up to be a bigger fox-wolf hybrid. :P

If anything, the silver lining in this is that I am really starting to see my own deficits as a "strong, firm, and positive" leader.  Nothing like a rambunctious puppy to test the limits of your patience.  Please pray that I can positive reinforce Katsu to not be so "dramatic".  He's a good puppy, but obviously he doesn't know how much trouble it will cause if the neighbors complain!  I am planning to start puppy kindergarten with him in February (can't do January as I will be away the last week in Taiwan), but there's still a month to go in which I should have lots of opportunity to address his behavior.  If anyone has any tips for me, I would appreciate them!

12/21/2010 09:34:00 AM

The Katsu Diaries: Days 1-4

Hi everyone, I'm Katsu!

Eric got me a puppy on the 28th (duh statement).  Right now, Eric is fostering Carmen while Katsu and I adjust to living together in CT (I also didn't want to deal with a new puppy and a potentially crazy cat in the same car).  Katsu has been an affectionate puppy; I took him to my coworker's house, and he seems like he's more bonded to me now since he stays close to my side.

Cratetraining has been tiring, but not as stressful as I thought.  My main concern is leaving him during my work hours.  I have had to pleasure to hear Katsu's version of the "Shiba scream," and it ain't pretty.  I don't want my neighbors complaining, because that would most likely end up in Katsu not being able to live with me.  Good thing these two weeks are holiday weeks, so things are slower and I can spend more time with Katsu.

I can't wait to bring Katsu back to New Jersey and meet everyone.  He's a very shy boy and having lots of socialization will do him good!  If you have a dog, please bring him/her to meet Katsu!