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 😦


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