Tag Archives: shiba inu

Backpacking Gear for Loki the Shiba Inu

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Over the past weekend, we took Loki with us on our first backpacking trip to Desolation Wilderness, CA. This isn’t the first time we’ve gone hiking with him up tall mountains, the tallest being Mt.Tallac also in the Tahoe area. Turning 2 years old this August, he has boundless energy and no trouble keeping up with us on long, strenuous trails. If you are looking for an outdoor dog, shibas are for you (but don’t expect them to follow commands anytime soon ūüėõ )!

Staying true to his shiba nature, he still doesn’t have the greatest recall in the world. Yet, we manage to keep him “off-leash” on long hiking trips after recognizing his preferences:

1) When its potty time, he pretty much ignores all and runs off to do his business, but always returns
2) He prefers to hike faster than us, but always stops to keep us in sight
3) On hot days, he runs off to find a water source to cool down, but always returns

With long backpacking/hiking trips, bringing the right gear for your dog is a must. Below is a list of my favorite products that we frequently bring for Loki.

1) Gulpy Water Dispenser – $8
The gulpy makes it incredibly easy for us to give Loki his water. It saves you the hassle of finding his water bowl, dispensing water, drying out the bowl, and packing it away. We love his gulpy!
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2) Bear Bell – $5
Doubles both as a bear bell, and as a location tracker for your dog is. Highly recommended if you hike in the wilderness and let your dog off leash.

3) Doggy Backpack – $40-80
If the temperature is relatively cool, we like to make Loki carry his own water/treats with a doggy backpack. It reduces the weight that we carry and tires him out a bit more. With backpacks, it is important to bring your dog to the store to try on the backpack. Relying on measurements alone can be difficult because you want to judge how comfortable your dog looks with his backpack on. At 29lbs, Loki fits the REI ultra dog pack pretty well.

4) Doggy boots – $30-60
If you are a serious hiker, you probably take your dogs on more difficult, rocky trails. This can really mess up your dogs paws. I’ve heard stories of hikers having to carry their dog mid-hike because their dog refused to move another inch. On our Mt.Tallac hike, the terrain was rocky near the summit, and Loki started showing signs of discomfort. This was when we decided to purchase doggy boots. Again, it is important to try out the boots in store before you purchase. The ones that fit Loki were Ultra Paws in XS. However, they did start sliding off after a while, so I am curious if there are better options.

5) Any 6ft lightweight leash – <$10
This only applies if you have shibas with not-so-good recall. We usually have him drag a short leash on trails, so that its slightly easier to catch him if necessary. On the end of the leash, we cut open the loop so that it doesn’t catch on rocks/branches. Works pretty well with Loki!

The view from our backpacking destination, Aloha Lake, was amazing ūüôā
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A big dog trapped in a shiba’s body

I’m continuously amazed at the bold and stubborn personalities inherit in most shibas. Ever since Loki was a pup, he has never backed down from fights with other dogs, regardless of their physical size. This has led to quite a few scuffles with dogs who are equally as stubborn.

ler Loki likes Leroy. His ears pointing back shows signs of submission

Our house was packed with relatives coming over for thanksgiving last night. They also brought along 2 well-behaved boston terriers, Mack and Leroy. Boston terrier’s are quite mellow, but Mack wasn’t a fan of Loki’s excitement and started growling. Loki, never one to submit, responded by snapping forward to instigate a fight. Now boston terriers are quite powerful, and I have no doubt he could shred Loki apart if he wanted to. Instead, Mack backed down and started avoiding Loki because he was afraid! When my cousin picked him up after the fight, the poor guy was actually shaking! My entire family now thinks Loki is a bully =(

“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 ūüôā 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?

Dog park fail: resource guarding goes wrong

My experience taking Loki to local dog parks has been mostly pleasant. Loki turns 1 next month, and I’ve been noticing signs of his growing intolerance towards other dogs at dog parks. More¬†specifically,

1. He snarls/snaps if other dogs sniff his face/butt, but tolerates it if he sniffs first
2. He prefers smaller dogs or dogs his size over larger dogs, and will assert dominance against larger dogs
3. He resource guards balls, toys, and especially sticks on the ground

The breaking point came today when I took Loki to our usual dog park. The moment he entered the park, he was unusually snappy towards dogs venturing into his space.¬†In normal circumstances, other dogs take the hint and leave Loki alone when he snaps…but not this time. A persistant pitbull decided he didn’t like Loki’s snappy behavior and quickly pinned him down. No dogs were hurt, but I had to wedge myself between two snarling dogs to scoop Loki away from the pitbull.

Pitbull’s owner quickly called her dog away, and we waited a while before letting Loki down. He played with a smaller dog until he found something similar to this:

20130710_172657Loki: Back off ya’ll, this is MY stick

The problem is, I don’t know how to train him to stop resource guarding stuff around the dog park. I can easily take a ball or frisbee away…but a stick? A stick as big as this?! Reaaalllyyy?

Here is a video of him guarding against a friendlier dog, who simply backs off when Loki snaps.

A couple curious dogs come by to check out his stick. As usual, Loki gets snappy and the dogs back off…until Mr. Pitbull rejoins the crowd. No amount of distraction would take Loki away from his prized¬†possession. Before I knew it, I was surrounded by dogs going berzerk from the brawl between Loki and pitbull. It was the first time I actually felt scared at a dog park, trying to manage a dog capable of easily biting my fingers off. Despite pitbull’s apparent size advantage, Loki had the nerve to lunge forward against him. As one lady put it, “hes a TRUE shiba!”

I was lucky that Andrew was nearby, who quickly picked Loki up by the harness and separated him from the pack. That was the last straw. We left the dog park with no injuries, but its clear after this incident that something has to change.

I’ve been debating all night with Andrew about this incident, unable to conclude which dog was more at fault. Was it Loki for being snappy over his resources? Was it the pitbull for responding aggressively to his snappy behavior? I don’t think there is a clear cut answer. I’ve read on shiba forums that many owners face the same dilemma.

Has anyone had success training their dog to stop resource guarding? Or are we doomed to avoid small dog parks all together?

How do you safely travel with your dog?

Ever since Loki was a puppy, we’ve allowed him to sit on top of my lap during car rides in the passengers seat. This seemingly innocuous habit is quite dangerous if we ever got into an accident *knock on wood*. As he grew older and heavier, we tried to keep him in the backseat with no success. I had subconsciously conditioned him to remain calm by sitting on my lap instead of the backseat. Nowadays, he remains calm during rides around town, but the moment the car hits the highway, he flips out and will do ANYTHING in his power (even strangle himself) to sit on my lap, or hide beneath the driver’s feet! @_@

20130608_192111Loki: I’m not a backseat doggy!!

Needless to say, we’ve had to make a few rules when traveling with Loki. So far, we still haven’t found a method or product that completely works. Below are some reviews of products that I’ve purchased for Loki so far.

Deluxe Quilted and Padded seat cover for Pets – One Size Fits All 56″Wx94″L Taupe¬†– $40

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To any shiba inu or sheddy dog owners out there: this cover is absolutely necessary to prevent your dog’s hair from overtaking your car! This dog seat cover lined the backseat of my 2010 Prius perfectly. Since we take Loki out on hiking trips a lot, having the cover is essential in keeping his dirty paws away from my seats. What I love about this product is that the cover is coated with waterproof material, so you can see beads of water rolling off the cover. TIP: Read the instructions on how to hand wash it correctly.¬†Rating: 9/10

P26o Adjustable Pet Cat Dog Safety Leads Car Seat Belt Р$4

Works surprisingly well given how cheap this is. You should hook this onto your dog’s harness and not the collar to prevent chocking. It works well if your dog is calm and sits steady in the backseat, but not so much if your dog freaks out on highways ><¬†Rating: 9/10

I’m considering giving the¬†Petego Pet Tube Kennel, but I’m a little taken back by the $110 price tag. If anyone has recommendations on products to keep your dog secured and safe in the back, do share!

Loki’s first camping trip

The past weekend was an exciting one for Loki. Perhaps a little too exciting. We camped for the night in South Lake Tahoe, home to one of the most beautiful scenic destinations in Northern California. When it comes to camping, most sites require reservations in advance. Unfortunately for us, we were left with few choices by the time we made reservations. This mistake led to the discovery of¬†KOA¬†camp sites, a rather comfortable alternative to traditional camp sites. I was surprised to find clean bathrooms, showers, laundry, and even WIFI! Yes, I myself thought it was silly to camp with these¬†amenities.¬†But when you’re dying to use the bathroom at 3am during a THUNDERSTORM, that clean bathroom comes in mighty handy.

So how did Loki fare? At first, he was enjoying the pine cones and bouncing around like a silly little fox.

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stalker Soon after, we started the campfire and got our cooking on. Mmm, I LOVE cooking camp food!

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And this is when Loki decided that he didn’t like camping anymore. He was afraid of the SMOKE coming from the campfire ūüė¶ We literally had to drag him from underneath our car.

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scared2Loki: I love camping so much, I’ll stay right here. Kthxbye.

Oddly, Loki didn’t flinch to the sound of intense thunder and lightening later that night. I was freaking out more than him. This little guy makes no sense sometimes.