Back from Vacation

Picking up the pups...

Bathing them ("Shiba Abuse")...

Grooming and pulling out extra fur + special Japanese treats from Hong Kong...

Then finally, some marrow bones for the teeth...

Can you tell that we really missed our pups while away??

Photos taken with OM-D EM-5, M. Zuiko Digital 14-42mm f/3.5-5.6, and DG Summilux 25mm f/1.4.

Shio's Birthday and NYCSR Christmas Donation!

Happy Birthday to our Shio! I can't believe that he's already 3 years old! Time flies when you're busy getting owned by a Shiba.

Shio and Emi a huge bone to celebrate Shio's birthday. And by huge, we mean bigger-than-Shio huge!

In honor of Emi's Gotcha Day and Shio's Birthday, we previously held a small blog post commenting fundraiser to earn money to donate to NYC Shiba Rescue.

Thanks to our friends and family for taking time out of their busy days to comment. You've helped raised $200 to donate to NYC Shiba Rescue!

Thank you also for all the well wishes for Emi's adoption. I'd like to point out that our favorite post was from Joanna, a volunteer at NYCSR. Her comment was, "Great story and beautiful pictures! I have already spoken to one couple who found the rescue, NYC Shiba Rescue, from reading your blog and have since applied to foster to adopt! Thanks for being out there and spreading the word for beautiful shibas looking for loving homes like yours!" In the beginning, we created this blog to document the process of raising Shio so we had something to look back on. As time passed and we met more and more people around the world with Shibas, it became a way to share our Shiba stories with the world. I'm so happy that we are now helping others that stumble upon this site to experience volunteering and fostering experiences through our eyes. Fostering is really a priceless experience!

Funds are still needed to help pay for the 10 of the NJ-22 Shibas rescued through NYCSR. If you would also like to make a Christmas donation, you can do so through this site:

Photos taken with Leica M9, Summicron-M 35mm f/2.

The Other Side of Shio

J and I rarely discuss any serious behavioral issues that we have with Shio on this blog because there haven't been any... until recently. We've always noticed that Shio has some aggression towards his "high-value" treats. This category includes Merrick Flossies and fresh marrow bones. The aggression can be as simple as him growling at dogs that try to take his treats away to getting angry with us for taking it away. We've managed to desensitize him from getting angry with us when we take his treats away and we've tested him when other people take his treats away. So far, so good. Until two weeks ago.

One night, we gave Shio a marrow bone as a treat and he was happily gnawing it all night. We stopped him at 10pm to take him out for his usual "last potty before the day is over" run. We saw the other Shiba that lives in our building and he's the same age as Shio (they were both born in the same month). Even though many dogs don't get along well with this other dog, I've always been happy to see them because Shio gets along so well with this other Shiba. But that night, Shio snapped and started baring his teeth and lunging at the other Shiba whenever we came near him in the lobby. I was very upset and couldn't figure out why. The owner said that it happens frequently because his Shiba has not been neutered and I had to accept that explanation since there was no other apparent reason. Shio went back upstairs and finished his bone and went to bed. This was two weeks ago.

Tonight, I saw the other Shiba while on our walk around the neighborhood and cautiously approached the Shiba and his owner. They winded up playing for 5 minutes outside and behaved nicely. I was shocked and so happy!

My guess is that he was trying to protect his unfinished marrow bone that was upstairs while he was downstairs for his last potty run. I'm surprised that he would be so protective when I don't associate the rest of the apartment building as our home, but my friend said that Shio does so he was protecting his bone. It's possible I guess. Definitely something that we have to closely monitor whenever we give him a marrow bone.

Shio vs. Squeaky Toy Sounds

Squeaky toys are Shio's inedible equivalent of marrow bones. He's becomes so fixated on the squeaky sounds that we actually use toys to aid in training him rather than treats. I've been finding inspiration from school projects by researching Pixar's animations on my computer. While watching the short animation, "For the Birds", Shio hears the squeaky noises that the birds sitting on the power line were making and immediately ran over to find the new squeaky toy.

My very confused dog sat there looking at the computer desk and started searching underneath the desk and in his crate for the new squeaky toy.

Poor little pup.


Shio's Dental Hygiene

Okay, so as Josh mentioned, I'm a little crazy about Shio's dental hygiene. Maybe it was because my friend scared the bejesus out of me when she told me her 3 yo Chihuahua had half his teeth removed because they failed to care for his teeth or maybe because I'm just crazy. On a serious note, here is why I pay close attention to Shio's dental health:

"Because dogs have been domesticated by man, they no longer use their teeth to tear through a skin layer in order to feed. As a result, their canine teeth become disused and prone to plaque buildup and yellowing. Infections, kidney and heart disease can result when poor dental health gives bacteria an environment to enter your dog's body. Bacteria in the dog's mouth break down food particles and converts them to plaque and excess acid. The plaque can become mineralized to form a hard deposit on the tooth surface called calculus. The excess acid damages the gums resulting in gingivitis. Unchecked gingivitis results in periodontitis, the leading cause of tooth loss. "

Here's a quickie on what I do for Shio's teeth and the products we use:

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Dental Fresh for Dogs I throw a capful of this yumminess into Shio's water bowl every single time it gets refilled. The product protects teeth and gums, removes plaque and tartar, brightens teeth, and freshens breath. I've used it since Shio arrived at our home and he's always had nice breath. One week, we ran out of Dental Fresh and his breath started to stink like a dog's. Next week, we had Dental Fresh to add into his water again and all order was restored. Besides, who can resist the Scooby-Doo looking fella on the label?

Petdental Natural Toothpaste for Dogs (2.5 oz.) Brush brush brush! We brush Shio's teeth with Four Paws Petdental Natural Toothpaste at least twice a week with a special dual headed toothbrush. He loves to lick the toothpaste off of  the toothbrush but does not enjoy the brushing. That is why we give him a "special" Greenie treat after the brushing.

Greenies Treats for Dogs Sigh. Greenies. Before anyone yells at me for giving my dog Greenies, Shio is very careful with what he eats and chews thoroughly before swallowing. I know that Greenies has a bad rep in the past but they have a "improved" formula. Yes, it is a risk and so is everything that you decide to give to your dog. He seems to love them and anything he loves, we buy. Yes, we are suckers like that. He only gets a Greenies treat after the teeth brushing and the treat is supposed to reduced tartar and plaque as well as provide a healthy supplement of vitamins and clean your dog's breath.

Rope Toys There are both social and dental benefits with having your dog play with rope toys. We play tug of war with Shio and that helps build our relationship with him. As far as dental benefits, the rope toy will act as floss on Shio's teeth when he's pulling at the strings. As the strings fray, I take the toy and cut the loose strings, so he can start all over again. It keeps him happy and busy, but freaks him out when he ingests the string and it comes out the other end. See this post for more details on that.

Natural Bones J and I will go to the neighborhood butcher shop and buy bones for Shio with the marrow still inside. Shio loves this treat and the chewing on the bones help toughen his gums and clean his teeth. We boil the bone for a few minutes before giving it to him to prevent the spread of bacteria and germs. After the bones cool off and we give it to Shio, he goes nuts. We actually needed to train him to "be nice" with sharing the bone because he became quite aggressive when anyone tried to take it away from him. I don't blame him though... they are quite yummy.

Rawhide I'm a little more cautious about giving Shio rawhide treats because they break apart and the jagged pieces could get stuck in Shio's system, but we do give this to him as a treat once in a blue moon for the same reasons why we give him natural bones.

So those are the basic ins and outs on what we do for Shio's dental health. Hopefully, he'll keep his pointy pearly whites for many years to come!