Top 3 Favorite Shiba Training Tips

Upon getting a Shiba, we've received a ton of great and not so great advice from people. Here's our Top 3 Great Advice:

1. Get a martingale collar for your Shiba. Shio has the fat neck and little skull syndrome. Just like a greyhound. When we had a regular collar for him, he would slip out whenever he decided that he didn't want to walk and freedom is dangerous for a little Shiba if he runs away from you!

2. Never let him run out the front door without your consent. We are lucky when it comes to the fear of Shio running out the door because we live in an apartment building. The furthest that he will be able to run is into the hallway. However, J and I have a friend who used to have a Shiba and lived in a gorgeous house in San Fran. One day, his Shiba ran out the front door and was hit by a moving vehicle. Motivated by this story, we trained Shio to never run out our front door when we open it unless he is invited to come out with us.

3. Work on your recall command from day one. If there is only one command that any dog should know, it's his recall. Not that ours is perfect, but we worked on our recall for months and months when Shio was a puppy. We've tried several different techniques and will continue to work on it. What has worked the best for us so far is calling his name and giving him one super delicious treat that he only receives when he comes to us when called. Then we also work on the squeaky toy recall which has saved us many times... the only drawback to that is that we have to remember to bring a loud squeaky toy whenever we go out. We always always always make sure to make it a fun and happy experience for him to come to us when we shout his name. I used to make the mistake of saying his name when he was doing something wrong but no more of that! Only awesome things will be associated with the word "Shio!!!".

Shio the Escapee Part 2

Looks like we've been having our share of mishaps these last couple of weeks. Yesterday, I took Shio out for his morning walk and while we were only a block away, he pulled back and slipped out of his collar and started running in the other direction. My instinctive reaction was to step towards him to lunge for him but something made me stop. Maybe it was because when I stepped towards him, he trotted in the opposite direction while looking back at me and I realize after much experience that he would continue to run away if I chased him. So I stopped, he looked, I called him name in a rather panicked voice (I could've lost him forever!) and he continued to look. Then a light bulb in my head went off and I realized that I had stuck a squeaky tennis ball in my pocket this morning and reached for it. The moment that I started squeaking the ball, he came running back.

Squeaky toys are truly his Achilles heel.

Shio the Escapee

I'm glad that this is a story that I can look back on and laugh today. On December 19th, I had traveled back to Long Island with our precious little munchkin to visit my family before our holiday trip to Hong Kong. I needed to leave Shio at my parent's home while we went out to watch my niece's evening piano recital. I put up a gate in the hallway so he had some room to run around while we were out without room to be destructive. During this time, my sister went home and upon opening the front door, Shio bolts out and runs into the front yard. He had hopped the gate while we were out. My poor sister (who just got over her fear of dogs) starts chasing after him while screaming his name over and over again. True to his Shiba nature, Shio ran away from her because he didn't trust this "stranger" and ran in circles around the house. After a frustrating 10 minutes, sis finally gives up and calls me to tell me that she can't catch the dog and I need to come home and deal with him.

I hop into my car immediately and drove home to find my sis sitting in the freezing NY cold staring into the backyard. I walk over and yell "Sheeeeeeeee-ohhhhhhhhhhhh" and our little lamb comes trotting out from the darkness into my arms. Though my sis was happy that Shio was safe, I bet she was cursing us both out inside.

In the end, we both missed the recital (sorry Grace) and learned a big lesson. Never open the front door without sticking your foot in first.

My parent's neighbor, who heard the commotion from the chase, later went up to my sister and asked, "Was that even your dog?"

Shio Home Alone

While out in Long Island, we left Shio tied to a piano bench in the house alone so that we could go run some errands (and Ting needed to go to Tanger Outlets...). We thought the piano bench was heavy enough, and that given Shio had been running around in the yard for a while, he would just fall sleep anyway. Boy, were we wrong...

Upon our return, we found him loose in the house! He was very excited to see us -- and gave us the "OHMYGODYOUDIDN'TABANDONME!" dance.

Ting searched the house for damage (refer back to Freedom for Shio post), and much to our surprise, there was no trace of wreckage!

Today, we left him alone in the apartment (purposely) for the first time, and he did just fine.

Shio sure is growing up...!