Bringing Home a Shiba

Eskimo Kisses

Since Emi's arrival to our home 11 months ago, we've received a number of readers contacting us directly through the 'Contact Us' form submission on this site. Thank you all for the kind wishes and sentiments! We've also received more general questions from readers who've stumbled upon this site and I usually like to answer them through a public post since it's likely that other people also have the same questions. Most recently, we've had readers contact us for advice on bringing home a new Shiba. The closest we've ever come to a blog post highlighting tips was back in April 2010, where I listed the Top 3 Training Tips we received from other people. Two years and two Shibas later, I finally feel comfortable dispensing our own list of must-dos when bringing a new Shiba puppy home. As a disclaimer, this is purely based on our own experience with Shio so please take this advice with a grain of salt!


1. Crate Training

This was a lifesaver for us when we brought Shio home. He was 3 months old when he came home with us and not fully potty trained and didn't know the house-rules so we crated him to keep him out of trouble when we couldn't watch him. He cried bloody murder in the living room for the first two nights that we crated him but we ignored him (sorry neighbors!). Shio adjusted to his crate quickly and it helped save our apartment during the potty training and teething process.

2. Socialize, Socialize, Socialize

Knowing that Shibas can be aloof, we had Shio meet as many people and dogs as we could. Most of the dogs were from our neighborhood and luckily very tolerant of puppies and allowed him to jump on their faces but corrected him whenever Shio went too far. By meeting and playing with so many dogs, he learned what was and was not appropriate behavior. Shio was stopped by a lot of people outside our apartment building because he was so little and fluffy at the time and socialized with adult humans in that way. We were more particular about the children that were allowed to approach him because we didn't want him to have terrible experiences with kids and kids to have bad experiences with dogs. In the end, Shio wound up becoming aloof as he entered adulthood but that's something that's our of our control.

3. Training and Exposure

It's never too early to train a Shiba puppy basic obedience commands. They're very smart and the sooner you train them to listen to you, the better. We also exposed Shio to as much as life as possible when he was young. From sitting on a park bench to bringing him down to the subway tracks, I took him everywhere with me so that he saw everything that I saw. He learned to master  riding escalators, traveling on trains, watching fireworks, and shopping with me by the time he was a year old. We saw that Shio loves to figure things out by watching our physical behavior and the elements so we kept him busy by showing him everything we could.

4. Martingale Collars

Though there are many different opinions on collars/harnesses, we personally stand by martingale collars. We find it the best at helping us control Shio during walks and also the only type of collar/harness that he hasn't managed to slip himself out of when used and sized properly.

5. Set the Ground Rules

Rules of the home with a new puppy should be established prior to the puppy's arrival. Bullet point the rules on a list and post them on the wall in your home for every family to see and memorize. Nothing is more confusing to a puppy than mixed signals. For example, J and I established that Shio would not be allowed table scraps so we never gave him scraps from the dinner table no matter how much he begged. Correct unwanted behavior the moment that it happens even though the pup will inevitably be adorable when ripping the toilet paper roll to shreds. :)

Hope this is helpful to those who are bringing a new pup into their home.

Good luck and congratulations to you all!


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.

Back to Basics

Our foster, Goo Goo 2, will be here in an hour! In preparation for her arrival, we've gone back to the basics.

1. Crate for training

Having very little idea of Goo Goo's background, we are prepared to crate train her, just as we did with Shio. When Shio was a puppy, he was only allowed out of the crate under supervision and was crated when we were out of the apartment and bedtime. I remember for the first two nights after we picked up Shio, he wailed all night. If Goo Goo does the same, it'll be a loooong weekend.

2. Potty training

Not sure where to start with this one. I'm sure that Goo Goo will experience some sort of anxiety and her whole system will be thrown out of kilter for the first couple of days. If she's 11 months old, I anticipate four breaks a day like Shio had when he was that age.

3. Leash training

Being that the NJ-22s did not have room to run and were not walked, I've been told that though they are generally good dogs they lack the training for walking on a leash. We've stocked up on treats for that!

4. Puppy proofing 

Spent all morning making sure that the things that are touching the ground are moved to higher ground or run the risk of having it destroyed. Fingers crossed for this one!

Wish us luck!

Thanks to our little Shiba community for the well wishes. Hope you are just as excited to meet her as we are!

PS - Please consider donating to help with medical expenses for these Shibas on the NYC Shiba Rescue site:

Shio @ 7 months

Shio turned 7 months old yesterday!

The single major change that we've seen in Shio is his change in willingness to cuddle with us. He used to struggle and jump out of our arms but lately, he's stays in our arms... that is until he finds an opportunity to escape!

Lately, he's been fascinated with teething on his plastic crate. I'm sure that when we bring him to the airport in his crate they will think that we have a rabid dog on our hands.

Shio's bad habit of teething on our floor continues.  :(

Shio @ 3 months

Shio @ 7 months

Shio vs. Floor

As part of the aftermath of "Freedom for Shio," we have noticed he has picked up the habit of chewing on the floor -- there are now markings of his teeth on the bamboo floor of our apartment all over... In order to prevent this from happening further during the day when he is in the crate, we have redesigned his crate:

Crate v3.0

Hopefully, Shio will no longer be able to pull the cloth from under him to expose the floor for further redecoration...

(Needless to say, Ting is pretty pissed about this new hobby of Shio's...)