Monthly Archives: December 2012

Ticks and aggressive behavior

I’ve been waiting for Andrew to continue where I left off, but he has been working and haven’t had time to continue my stories of adventure. My post today isn’t about the trip we took to Vancouver. Instead, its about a weird incident that happened yesterday.

Hiking Through Tilden Park
I joined two of my friends on a scenic hike through Tilden Park here in Berkeley. It was the perfect day to go hiking through the wilderness, and the panoramic view of the bay was amazing. Loki had a blast sniffing and exploring new territory, gaining himself new admirers and doggy pals along the way.


I don’t trust Loki off leash. In fact, I doubt many shiba owners trust their dogs off leash unless they were older and have perfect recall abilities. Loki is still getting used to the word ‘come,’ and I’m trying to wean off the use of treats with commands. For hikes like these, I prefer using the flexileash to let him roam around more freely. He roamed around in the dirt, grass, bush, and everywhere he could get his little paws on soft soil.

Ticks and Sudden Aggression
After our hike, the first thing I did was SHOWER TIME! He desperately needed a shower to get all the dirt off his fur. It wasn’t until I was towel drying him that I noticed the much abhorred tick near his genitals. I freaked out and didn’t know what to do, especially since I saw signs around Tilden Park warning dog owners about ticks and lyme disease.

I scrambled to watch youtube videos on how to remove ticks. Found my tweezer and brought in my heavy duty camping light to see what I was getting myself into. Its one thing to remove a tick on fur, its another thing to remove tick on his underside near his balls. I flipped him on his back and gently touched the tweezer near the tick, and he screamed and kicked like I’ve never heard him scream before…repeatedly. I didn’t even TOUCH the tick at this point.

There was no one around, and no way I could remove the tick without accidentally pinching his skin. The moment I put him down, he started behaving very oddly. If I touched him, he would growl, bark, and nip in an aggressive manner. When I gave him a treat to calm him, the moment I tried to take the treat away, he acted out again (he is not territorial over anything). Here is a video that I took during this behavior. Although the image quality sucks, you can tell by the low tone and intensity of his voice that he REALLY didn’t like me. He never bit me to draw blood, but it was getting close to that point.

Desperate and concerned, I took him to the vet to remove the tick. Afterwards, I left him alone for a couple hours to have dinner, and he was back to his normal self again. I’ve been trying to figure out why his behavior changed so dramatically, and I suspect that his lashing out is a consequence of pain aggressionBasically, Loki thinks that I’m the one causing him pain, so he lashed out to protect himself and minimize the amount of pain he is in. I’m not sure how much pain I could’ve given him by gently touching my tweezer next to the bite…but I’m guessing it wasn’t comfortable.

Overall, a scary experience for a first-time dog owner 😦


Cruisin’ up the coast – Part 1

We’re back! We took a hiatus from updating Loki’s blog because we took a mini vacation and drove up the coast, from San Francisco to Vancouver B.C. Along the way, Loki was exposed to a bunch of new surroundings – beaches, woods, heavy rain, hail, and snow!

The first stop of our trip was a place called Sea Ranch Lodge. We Airbnb’d most of the places along the trip, and 95% of the time we were satisfied with the experience. Our first stop was the priciest, but also the most beautiful of all locations. Sea Ranch Lodge is a cabin tucked in the middle of nowhere surrounded by redwood trees. The cabin was completely furnished with everything that you would need on a cold winter day…except for hot chocolate 😛 Okay, I can’t complain because they offered complimentary wine with our reservation. At $150/night, I would recommend this place for honeymooners or couples who want a nice getaway.


Don’t worry, we drank all the wine before Loki got to it 😛


Having a working fireplace makes things so wonderful! The smell of burning wood, the sound of Christmas carols, and the wood furnishings throughout the house adds to an experience that I’ll never forget.

Most of the night though, Loki was just doing this:

IMG_2928and this:

IMG_2946and this:


Pull up to the scene with my collar missin

One of the first things we learned about Loki when picking him up was he HATED collars. We slowly got him adjusted to it, but a lot of the time at home he would just prance around naked like this was some kind of hippie commune. Fortunately, those days are over, but we’ve had to try out a few collars until arriving at one that seems to work. Initially he had a cheap collar to hang his tags on that wasn’t strong enough to attach a leash to – so we had to get another for walks. The second was a bit heavy and seemed to get in his way a lot, plus Julie often worried that it put too much strain on his neck. So finally, we got him his “Puppia” doggy harness, which as worked out great so far. Here he is showing it off for the first time on a trip to the vet.

I'm ready for my shots!


Speaking of the vet, he got his 3rd set of shots this week, so he’s free to roam all over the city, including dog parks! We’re taking it a step farther, and going on a trip up the coast, so we also had to get a health certificate for crossing the Canadian border. Interestingly enough, these certificates are only good for 10 days now, so we have to be sure to come back by the 17th or Loki will be a permanent Canadian citizen! (Or we might just have to make a second trip to a vet up there.)

After the vet trip, I walked him around some more in his new harness as well as his relatively new flexi-leash. I know you’re not supposed to let them walk too far ahead of you, but sometimes I like to let him go at his own pace so that he can get some extra exercise and wear himself out a little. I’ve noticed that although he likes to walk a bit faster, he always stops every 10 feet or so and check to see if I’m still behind him.

What's the hold up?

We will also be using the flexi-leash to let him run around on the beach during our trip! We even have some new “fetch” toys for him to chase around. So far he’s fetching much better than I had expected.

Loki is sure to have some awesome adventures during the trip, although updates may be sparse depending on how much Wifi access there is. Until then, here’s a video of Loki trying to get along with his BFF Mochi.

Update: Loki + Mochi’s Playing

Its been two days since I came home to babysit my sister’s dog Mochi. If you didn’t read my previous post about Mochi, you should read this first.

Slow but Steady Progress
I’m starting to see progress on their behaviors. Its incredible how fast they are learning, but I still have to monitor their behavior 24/7. I keep Loki’s leash indoors at all times, and hes learning to stop chasing/nipping Mochi inside the house. It seems that socialization with other dogs is crucial to develop doggy manners right now, so I will be taking him to more doggy socials.

As much as Loki’s behavior is annoying, I’m realizing that Mochi isn’t super well behaved either. Hes smart enough to obey commands for treats, but I’ve realized that he is food, territory, and toy aggressive. Not towards humans, but to other dogs. If Loki ventures near his spot in the kitchen, Mochi will start growling. Taking Mochi on walks have been challenging as well. He is at least 20-25lbs, and he pulls hard without regard to where I want to walk. I suspect that my sister and parents simply follow wherever he wants to go, so Mochi has learned that he is the leader. I’ve been spending a lot of time training Loki not to pull on the leash; hopefully he won’t grow up to walk like Mochi.

Playing Behavior
With careful supervision, I’ve finally managed to engage Mochi to play with Loki. As long as I throw the toy at Loki, Loki will snatch it and run around to get Mochi to chase him. If I watch them too closely, Mochi focuses too much on me. If I pretend not to care, Mochi sometimes starts chasing Loki for the toy. The moment Loki starts to nip at Mochi, I immediately step in and tell Loki to sit for a treat. Whenever I correct a behavior, I always end it with something positive like a treat.

Puppy + Adult Dog = Chaos

I’m about to have an aneurysm.
I currently have my parent’s house to myself. Its a large two-story house with a sizable backyard, perfect for dogs to run around and play in. My sister also left her two-year-old pekapom Mochi for me to babysit. I was initially excited for Mochi when I first got Loki – he finally has a friend to play with! But after their first encounter, I quickly realized that introducing a puppy to an adult dog is very, very stressful.

20121201_124748I’m the man of the house.

Puppy playfulness, or dog aggression?
Loki gets really annoying around other dogs, especially around adult dogs who aren’t as patient with puppy behavior. The moment Loki enters the house and sees Mochi, he will immediately:

– Run frantically around the house
– Jump ontop of Mochi
– Stick his face into Mochi’s face and try to nip his mouth
– Bark and yelp at Mochi if he doesn’t reciprocate playing
– Chase him around until Mochi is backed into a corner

Mochi immediately turns into defensive mode: tail down, body stiff, and ears pinned down. He is clearly not enjoying Loki’s “playfulness” and starts growling if Loki gets close. This doesn’t seem to detour Loki either; it actually starts to excite him more.

I’ve been searching forums to learn about puppy playing behavior, and people recommend allowing the older dog and puppy to dish it out. Unfortunately, even this method doesn’t work with Loki. The few times that I’ve tried letting Mochi bark/growl/nip at Loki, the two break out into a full-blown dog fight. Even though Loki is just a puppy, he is almost as physically large as Mochi. I still don’t get why Loki doesn’t understand Mochi’s body language. The more Mochi growls and nips at Loki, the more Loki lunges ontop of Mochi. Its freaking retarded.

Temporary Solutions
The only time Loki and Mochi have successfully played along is in the backyard. Theres enough space for Mochi to make a quick getaway if needed. Indoors, the two run around until Mochi gets backed into a corner, and then things get ugly. There are too many things inside the house for the dogs to fight over – the toys, the bed, the food, the slippers, etc. It doesn’t help that Mochi is territorial over his space (the kitchen) and his things.

I’ve resorted to keeping Loki locked up in his play pen most of the day. The house is too big and its the only way I can monitor both dogs. He doesn’t like this much. Another method I’ve been trying is keeping Loki’s leash on indoors. This seems to slow him down and its much easier to catch him this way. To keep him close to my side, I’ve been wearing the end of his leash on my foot, or looping it through something heavy like a kitchen table leg.

20121201_152402Stay away. Stay far, far away.

20121201_190717Am I chaining Loki to me, or is Loki chaining me to him?

For now, this will have to do. I’ll continue to keep the dogs separated indoors at all times. Hopefully, a few more positive encounters outdoors will bond the dogs closer together. It is a lot of work to train Loki to play nice =(

*10 minutes after I typed this, Loki nipped at Mochi and another dog fight ensued. Sigh.