Re-Training Shio

We never used to worry about Shio running out the front door into the street. Was it because we're bad dog owners? Nope. It's because he would have to run out the front door, down the hallway, wait for the elevator, ride the elevator to the lobby, run out the building's front door and then get to the street. In case you're wondering, yes, potty training was very difficult! Now that we moved and have a front door that leads to the street we are very careful about teaching Shio sit-stay before charging out the door. In this new place, we also gained an unfenced back yard. This would've been a dream if we had an area dedicated for Shio to run around in but we've been training him not to run out when the door is open to the back because it's not fenced. He's not allowed to run out for squirrels, birds or even a toy that accidentally rolls out the door.

We  have neighbors that live upstairs and often here them walking around their hardwood floors. Shio is slowly adjusting to the sounds although he does have his freak out moments where he goes into a barking fit if he hears our neighbor's door slam shut. Every once in a while, he can hear voices upstairs and has been on edge about that.

We also have the mail man, UPS/USPS/FedEx package deliveries that come through our front door. We had the luxury of a doorman accepting all of this for us previously but now we're on our own. So far, Shio hates all of them.

On the up side, we've made a new Shiba 8 month old friend name Boozer from the dog run. They play and fight like brothers! They also dig like Shibas and have created many ditches in the dog run in their attempts to get back to save their friends in Japan.


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's First Subway Ride

Happy to report that we had our first NYC subway ride today and Shio did very well! I had taken Shio down to the subway platform so he could get used to the noise underground when he was 7 months old but never followed up with a ride up until today. We have an annual checkup tomorrow and instead of taking a cab, I figured we could train it instead.

Being that Shio is too large for his Sherpa bag, his head was poking out and he attracted a lot of attention and smiles from the other passengers. It's really amazing how the presence of a dog can make people smile, even in NYC. A 10 minute subway ride and lots of treats later, we managed to make our way back home.

Shio and his Bag

Wherever Shio's travel bag goes, Shio is sure to follow. Why you ask? Because he knows that when we bring out the bag, he goes somewhere fun.

We bought Shio's bag for him when he was a mere 3 months old. It's the large Original Sherpa bag that will hold a dog up to 22 lbs. At the time, we figured that Shio would be no bigger than 23 lbs and boy, are we wrong with that assumption. Turns out that Shio is a big-boned Shiba and is up to a whopping 25 lbs already! Yikes! Not to worry though, this does not deter him from trying to fit into his Sherpa bag.

We didn't intentionally train him to follow his bag around. Initially, I tried to lure him in with treats and toys and that didn't work. Eventually, we just forced him into the bag for taxi/train journeys and Shio started realizing that when he emerged from the bag after the trip, he would wind up somewhere he loved (Central Park! Places with grass to run on! New dog run! Long Island!). So as a result, Shio gets super Shiba excited when he sees us bring the bag out and will try to fit his 25 lbs self into a 22 lbs max bag.

Normally, I would object to this but its really better that he curls himself into the bag for trips because:

1. I have not found any other pet bag carrier company that will make bags to hold dogs >22lbs.

2. Our only other option would be to lug his giant plastic crate around for trips. I am too feeble to carry this giant plastic crate around and my handbag and other accessories for the trip and it is a giant pain to figure out what to do with if we are just taking a taxi up to Central Park to walk around.

Luckily, most train conductors and taxi driver are okay with the dog's head sticking out of the bag as long as the body and legs are contained in the bag. So I usually wind up with a Shiba whose head is popping out from the top of the bag or a Shiba whose head is coming out the side of the bag.

Evidence below:

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[Btw, we highly recommend Sherpa bags. They are constructed well and are reasonably priced.]