Tag Archives: shiba

Backpacking Gear for Loki the Shiba Inu


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!

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


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.


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?

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


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!

One bone to rule them all

When we first brought Loki home from the breeder, she mentioned that she gave him cow hoofs to chew on. Perhaps this is why Loki is biased towards these bones. Over the past few months, I’ve noticed that cow hoofs are by far his favorite chew toy. And how many chew toys does Loki have? Well…


The squirrel house that we bought him 5-6 months ago¬†is surprisingly¬†still intact! He doesn’t care too much for plastic chew toys, and he regained his interest in attacking the squirrel house again. Perhaps its the taste of animal bone that hes attracted to? Even then, when it comes to chewing on bones, there are few types that we bought him.

bonesFrom left to right – cow hoof ($1.75), bully stick ($5.99), deer antler ($10?)

As I’m typing this blog, Loki is chewing away on his cow hoof behind me. You can smell how foul the hoof is a few feet away @_@ I’ve read pros and cons on dog forums about giving your dog cow hoofs. For now, I’ll stick with it because its the only thing that distracts him from chewing up my house. Thank goodness its a cheap and effective toy!

bullyl’ll just sit here with my cow hoof, thank you

A Hot Sunday Morning

Farmers Market
The farmers market opens every Sunday near my house, so today I decided to take Loki there to meet some new friends. Despite arriving at the market around 11am, I was already starting to feel the afternoon heat beating down on my skin. There were a lot of dogs sitting outside the market underneath the shade, none of which Loki was interested in because of all the distractions – new smells, noises, people, and dogs! Getting him to walk alongside me had never been so difficult. Unfortunately, I was politely asked to take Loki outside of the market due to health regulations. I should have known beforehand, but there weren’t any signs!



I scored some amazing homemade pesto to pair with naan that I bought at Trader Joes, as well fresh granola packaged in the cutest little bag. Can’t wait to try it!

Brushing Loki’s Fur
Brushing Loki’s hair used to be a painful experience, but I today I made a breakthrough! I was¬†able to brush him for a full 15-minutes without him grring or snapping at me! He only tolerates brushing with the Kong zoomgroom brush. I suspect that the rubber teeth doesn’t feel as uncomfortable against his skin, in contrast to the GripSoft Softpin¬†brush that I bought a while back.


This is a 2-in-1 brush that you can use to lather shampoo during a bath, as well using it as a grooming device. I definitely recommend this to shiba owners.

hairIs that really my hair??

Learning to trim a dog’s nails

Loki has grown quite drastically since the inception of this blog. His fur coat grew thicker and softer, which is nice to touch but makes it challenging to do outdoor activities in the middle of the day. Believe it or not, Loki is 8 months old and he never had his nails trimmed before! Wait – I take that back. I did buy a pair of doggy nail clippers before, but I am terrified of cutting his nails too short and hurting him. We all know how difficult shibas can get when they associate an object with pain…

After digging around amazon, I finally settled on the Dremel 7300. It isn’t marketed for dogs, but dog owners who bought the doggy-version Dremel insists that this model is more powerful, therefore reducing the amount of time you need to grind your dog’s nails.


I actually haven’t used the grinder on Loki yet. I’ve been trying to get him comfortable with the sight and sound of the dremel. I’ll turn it on for a minute, give him a treat, and wait for him to approach me with the dremel running. So far, so good.


dremel3^ the dremel isn’t running! Don’t panic.

In fact, it worked SO well that when my dremel was laying on the floor, Loki decided it was his new toy and started chewing the base of the dremel =( Well, I suppose its a good thing. I’ll continue to this for the next few days so that Loki has no negative associates with the grinder. Only then will I start using it on him, can’t wait to see how that goes… (sarcasm).

So I finally used the dremel on Loki…and guess what? He didn’t freak out! Grinding his nails is a 2-person job though, and I’ll tell you a little trick. Andrew was holding Loki and distracting him with some honey on a spoon while I used the dremel to trim his nails – he didn’t even flinch! I have harder times brushing his coat than I do trimming his nails. I love how fast and easy it is to use this grinder – takes literally 1 or 2 swipes to round out his nails. Definitely would recommend this product!