Tag Archives: recall

“Off-leash” shiba fun

“NEVER LET YOUR SHIBA OFF LEASH” they say. That is, unless your shiba is uncharacteristically obedient and actually listens to you. Loki isn’t quite there yet, but hes definitely getting better.

It wasn’t always this way. 6 months ago that we were still using 50ft leads on hikes to train his off-leash recall. On several occasions, we were both chasing him down because he was so distracted with the environment. Now that Loki is a bit over a year old, he is still independent but has learned not to stray too far way from us. So what did we do?

1. 50ft leashes to start. We went on many hiking trips using this leash, and he gradually learned that running far away = nono.

2. Dog beach. I was terrified the first time I let Loki completely off at the beach since dragging a leash around sand isn’t fun. But the thing is, there just aren’t many places they can run off to. We also brought beef jerky, the only treat that he goes crazy over. Works every time 🙂 If worse comes to worse, bring a friend to help shorten the catching game.

3. Doggy backpack – It does a great job at slowing him on hikes. He gets more exercise, carries his own treats and water, and its harder for him to bolt at small animals. Just make sure to get it fitted in store before you purchase online, its a bit tricky!

Nowadays, Loki has graduated to a much shorter 5-6ft thin leash. We bought ours at target for under $5, the extra thin kind meant for tiny dogs. It is much lighter for him to drag around, but it still serves its purpose when we need to catch him.

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Side-by-side comparison with our flexi leash. I guess it doesn’t look too different, but it is much lighter than your regular 6-ft, 3/4″ leash for shiba-sized dogs.

Do you trust your shiba completely off leash yet? How old is your dog?

SurvivorPup

A tired puppy is a happy puppy

Yesterday, we took Loki to the beautiful Briones Regional Park  to explore new hiking terrain. If you haven’t already noticed, we are big on hiking on weekends to let Loki unleash some of his puppy energy. Considering how much we hike, I’ve actually considered creating a website that reviews all the hikes we’ve been on. Perhaps this could be the future of our blog – half doggy training, half hiking!

Our hike started around 1pm, which is a bit late if you are planning to go for long. We started with every intention on taking a well known trail, but decided last minute to head up longer trails since the sun was still up. That was our mistake.

Long Leash Training
Before I turn this blogpost into a recap of how utterly stupid and lost we got on this hike, I want to first talk about long leash training. I’ve been working on Loki’s recall for a while now, but he only responds 50% of the time to the ‘come’ command. When we go on long hikes, we don’t like keeping Loki on a short leash. For one, it doesn’t train him to prefer staying by our side. Two, it just gets annoying holding onto a leash for long periods of time. The solution to this problem? A 50-foot long leash for Loki to drag around. I bought the Guardian Cotton Web Training Pet Lead Leash and it has worked great so far. During this hike, there were only two times that we chased Loki back towards the right direction. The long leash makes a huge difference in how easy it is to catch him. Here is a video of him on his long leash.

Getting Lost in Briones Park

Loki pondering life

To continue from where I left off in my story, we got freaking lost on this hike. We decided to increase our hiking distance by using smaller, windier trails around 2:30-3:00pm. On the map, it looked fairly intuitive on how to get back. But on the trails, we came across increasingly steep trails, intersections with two paths, and fewer signs were available to direct hikers. Within two hours of hiking, I think we saw only two or three groups of hikers left. Wild cows and bulls that were 1/2 miles away were now 5-15ft within our trail. By the time it was 5pm, we had backtracked two trails and the sun was starting to set. Our hiking backpack contained 1 bottle of water, a pack of granola bars, two cell phones with 30% battery life, and no survival equipment. I was seriously contemplating the likelihood of us reenacting an episode of survivorman out there!


A beautiful and majestic sight

By 5:30pm, we walked past a ‘private property’ sign infront of a pavement road at one point, and decided to turn back towards this road when our trail was cut off by a fallen tree. When in doubt, always follow the pavement road! The road eventually led us to a house right along the park, where we thankfully found help from the locals who lived there. They were stunned at how far and lost we had come. It took 21 minutes and 20 miles of driving back to our original parking lot!

Needless to say, from now on, we will be carrying survival equipment whenever we go hiking in big parks like this. It might seem like an overkill, but I never want to go through that experience again!