Tiny bits of training success!

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Last night, Loki had another accident. Its becoming increasingly easy to tell when Loki has to go potty. He runs up to the front door and obsessively starts pawing, jumping up to trying and scratch his way out of the window. We took him to the backyard at least 5 times before giving up…the guy was way too distracted by his surroundings to go potty.

I set up a play pen in our tiled room to be used as the ‘time out’ room. I thought that by giving him time out, he would calm down enough to go potty again. I also put a puppy pad in case he had an accident. After 1/2 hour of crazy nonstop shiba screams (praying that upstairs doesn’t complain on us), we come back to discover both pee AND poo on the puppy pad >< So I’m learning that Loki is capable of holding his bladder for a really long time, and prefers to use the puppy pads over our carpet. We cleaned up the mess and did not scold him.

This morning, we woke up a super whiny Loki trying to get out of his crate. We take him out to the backyard 3-4 times and…nothing. It scares me when he keeps running to the corner bushy areas because there are many insects and (possibly) dead rodents around. I try to keep him restricted to his ‘potty zone,’ but he is obviously distracted by smells and noises. I gave up, and put him back in the house, where he proceeded to whine nonstop and scratch at the front door.

And so, we decided to take him out for a walk around the neighborhood. I was really nervous because the breeder advised against taking the puppy outside before his 3 shots are done. But after talking to the vet yesterday and getting his second shot, she gave us more practical advise. Depending on where you live, its probably better if you take your puppy out and socialize him during his age. Loki is 12 weeks old now, and it is critical that he gets exposed to different sounds, noises, people, and dogs. Otherwise, the poor guy will grow to become a fearful dog. What you should look out for is animal feces, so make sure that your puppy isn’t sniffing or eating anything resembling feces. We are fortunate to live in a semi-affluent area, and the vet had never seen a case of parvo in this area before.

There is only one problem – Loki hates the leash, and he hates following on a leash. He seemed to want to go in every direction but ours. I realized quickly that Loki does not respond well to gentle leash jerking, and treats had no effect on him outdoors. If we tug on his leash, he would snap after several tugs and start attacking his collar. The poor guy hates this thing ūüė¶

And so, I tried another trick. My boyfriend held onto the leash and led the walk, and I would walk over Loki and pick him up, and then gently nudge and redirect him towards the right direction. I kept doing this for the entire walk, combined with¬†TONS AND TONS of praises (Good boy! Good Loki! You’re so good!), and he began to get the hang of it! It only took a block of this technique for Loki to stop at the bushes and release the most¬†ginormous¬†piece of crap I’ve ever seen…no wonder he was freaking out at home.

So we continued walking around the neighborhood using this method, and by the end of the walk, I didn’t even have to pick him up anymore! He knew who to follow, and gentle jerks finally worked in redirecting him towards. I am SO proud of this boy and the progress he has been making in merely 3 days! Lessons learned:

1. Shibas do NOT respond well to aggressive techniques (shouting, leash jerking, any kind of physical force). Instead, use lots and lots of praise and gentle persuasion when trying to correct a behavior.

2. Potty training – do shibas prefer going in big bushes? Maybe thats why he doesn’t like going in our backyard.

3. His new favorite spot for loud noises is under the bed / dresser.

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