• The time has come..!

    Obi is just over 3 months old and we're collecting him from the Egmato kennel in two weeks. Extremely excited (and a little nervous) to finally have him with us in London.

    We've signed him up to a puppy class. The teacher is a bit worried that we've missed some valuable socialisation time due to him being close to 4 months by the time we get him. Do you think there is some validity in her concerns? I know we'll have a slightly uphill battle at the beginning but I'm hoping with hard work and lots of praise/rewards we can get him used to life in the big city ;)

    I'm wondering about off-lead park time and how to best start that process. Most dogs play off-lead in the parks here and obviously I'd like Obi to be able to do the same (fetch, running with other dogs, etc) but also slightly worried about him bolting off and never coming back haha. Or getting aggressive with other dogs. At this point its all conjecture as we don't even have him here but I'm thinking the primitive nature of the breed might have some effect on his behaviour off-lead. Thoughts?

    Any help is hugely appreciated!

    And here are some photos of the little guy :)

    image

    ^ 1-2 weeks old


    image

    ^ with his sister Miyausi


    image

    ^ with his other sister Lilo


    image

    ^ playing in the snow, about 10 weeks old


    More photos on his instagram @obito_inu!
    Post edited by van_der_ende at 2016-03-30 05:53:03
  • First, he's adorable!

    Secondly- you may get away with dog park stuff for his youth, but as he matures you will find that he becomes dog-park inappropriate. This is just what having a Nihon Ken means. So, my advice is to NOT make dog park the best thing in his life from the get-go.

    Advising people not to go to dog parks with NK seems to have no effect, as people disbelieve this - can't happen to me, not my dog- until it happens to them, and then it's "my dog is reactive and overwhelmed and he just wants to play and I don't understand... he used to love it there... all the OTHER dogs are the problem." It's a familiar song around here. Which is not even to say that other dogs are not A problem, because they certainly can be- in fact are almost guaranteed to be... Which is why surrendering control as to who teaches your puppy what unfamiliar dogs mean in his life to the thugs at the dog park - generally also checked out from their owners- is like dropping your child off at Lord of the Flies Island and assuming they will have fun just being boys, adventuring and building forts, unencumbered by boring adults and their silly rules and figure it all out without you.

    So... start from the beginning with teaching him to focus on you, and to really enjoy long walks, biking at the park, that having a great time always begins with You. (vs checking out from you and the best fun comes from out of control party time with dogs and "hey, watch me get this other dog riled up- it's hilarious! You'll save me, right?")

    Take him out hiking on leash so when he's grown he can carry a pack and hike with you on weekends. Or teach him to be an awesome, savvy city dog. Picture the dog you want him to be as an adult and teach him to be THAT, bit by bit. Take him to lunch at an outdoor table, show him trains and the river and what you want him to do when he sees bicycles and children. Meet a friend and their dog for a long walk twice a week. stuff like that.

    You may feel that the dogs in the dog park look like they are having so much fun and don't want to deny your pup something that seems so wonderful, but the best favor you can do him is to give him *various* kinds of fun, so that when he outgrows dog park I assume you are going to take him to anyway, the transition is easier when you have to stop doing that.

    Dogs like and need only a few good dog-friends, and often feel really pressure meeting new dogs in volume all the time, in 360° of intense play. Teach him that in the city, he will pass a million dogs and he can't play with almost all of them. Teach him that the polite quick sniff hello and goodbye is normal and is how he will interact with most dogs he meets. Frankly, shikoku (all NK, really) are Not for Everyone, and Not For Everydog, either. You can't rely on whatever dogs happen to appear in the crucible of the dog park on any given day to be willing to learn the hectic Shikoku play style and attitude and adapt themselves accordingly. You can't count on one hand the number of shikoku over the age of two years old who successfully enjoy the dog park, or are ball-crazy enough to fetch with you vs chase the roughhousing hordes.

    Find a few dogs who seem to 'get' his vibe and understand 'that's just how he plays' and who don't take it personally. Have meet ups with them for free play at someone's yard, take him to classes and playgroup at the training center where things are moderated and playmates consistent. Meet those dogs for walks together so he does get safe, smart dog-dog relationships. Don't set yourself up to rely on the dog park. You will minimize the "Dogs are exciting! I HAVE to get to that dog! This is so frustrating! YOU are what's holding me back from the thing I want!!" lunging and reactivity later. Teach him that YOU are his ticket to the quality experiences in life.
  • mdokicmdokic
    Posts: 1020
    I second the limiting of dog park exposure and focusing on "controlled" interactions with close doggy friends. With my oldest Kai, I took her to the dog park quite frequently, thinking exactly what chrystal said " the dogs in the dog park look like they are having so much fun and don't want to deny your pup something that seems so wonderful", but what i didn't realize was the mosh pit it really is.. she got overwhelmed pretty easily, and it took much later and some bad experiences to realize this. I feel fully responsible. I've gotten her to trust in me and understand no dog will rush her in public, so she's a great dog out in town, at breweries, on hikes, etc..

    With my younger one, I avoided dog parks, and focused on controlled play from puppyhood.. when the pups got too rambunctious we had them take a breather, time out, then try again, repeat. I've had little dogs over at our house, bigger dogs, but all dogs I know are friendly and play well. Those are the only dogs she's had free interactions with, and I think it's a good thing. I let her say hi to almost every dog we meet on hikes and that's all she really wants to day, stop, say hello, and move onward!

    Do her and my older one have very different personalities inherently, yes. However, I think I could have done a better job with my first, and there's a lot I learned there. I hope some of this helps, and i'm very excited for you and your new pup!! Let the adventure begin!!
    Michelle, with Kai girls Kona and Kimber
    DSC_6037_NEW_banner
  • aykayk
    Posts: 1979
    Which is why surrendering control as to who teaches your puppy what unfamiliar dogs mean in his life to the thugs at the dog park - generally also checked out from their owners- is like dropping your child off at Lord of the Flies Island and assuming they will have fun just being boys, adventuring and building forts, unencumbered by boring adults and their silly rules and figure it all out without you.


    Chrystal,

    I never get tired of reading your writings, but this one has to be one of the best!
    Post edited by ayk at 2016-01-15 14:11:19
  • OMG. @WrylyBrindle Can I quote that (maybe shortened a little bit for clarity)?
    「怪獣荘秋田犬」Kaiju Kennels Japanese Akita and Hokkaido, Claire Matthews
    http://www.facebook.com/PoetikDragon
    http://www.facebook.com/KaijuKennels
    http://www.kaijukennels.com
  • sure, Claire- you can quote whatever you find useful in what I've written!

    Thank you, Ann. :)
  • "hey, watch me get this other dog riled up- it's hilarious! You'll save me, right?")

    OMG this is exactly how Miya is. We have a small dog park in our apartments and there are only ever really a couple of dogs there at any one time. Miya is always the quite one but loves to run up full speed and jump all over the other dogs so that they'll chase her. Most of the time she's the fastest thing on four legs, but when they get too close she'll tumble over like "Just kidding, Not it!". Then she'll find another victim.

    And if that dog happens to not want to chase, her attitude is "you! you WILL play with me!" and paw at the dog until they're ready to chase her. She is such a punk, but glad to know it's not just her!
  • Congrats on the new pup Van!!! super cute!


  • jigzzorjigzzor
    Posts: 112
    Hahaha everyone on this forum will always tell people to avoid the dog park. No but serious avoid the dog park, and safely expose him to other dogs. Puppy socials and dog classes are a very positive way of introducing, and exposing him to all types of situations. POSITIVE association is the best and only way to raise your shikoku.

    Now as far as age goes, I have two shikoku, one that i got at 4.5 months old, and the other at 8.5 weeks old. The difference is significant, katsu( 1.5 years old currently ) the older one started off with us as aloof and was very cautious of humans. Miyuki( 17 weeks ) the younger one loves humans, and gets a long well with other dogs very fine, she does stance a little but warms up really quick and has bonded with us much more than katsu. Fast foward a year and a half with katsu, and he's still very aloof with humans and has gotten worse since( though this is completely my own fault for not socializing him enough ) I spend several hours a day with miyuki training her and because of this she has become a lapdog, and I feel as though this is a trait she will keep for the rest of her life. I will continue to positively socialize her and hope that she becomes a GCG dog.

    One tip is you cannot take owning a shikoku casually, they require a lot of attention and effort to raise. You need to spend a lot of time for the next year and a half to socialize him properly and make sure that you do it in a safe and positive manner. They do not respond well at all to anything old school style of dog training, No prong collars, choke collars, shock collars, none of that. This is not the breed where you can train for like an hour or two a week. It's more like at least an hour a day doing many different things if not more.

    Now another really big tip is, when you get him don't feed him a bunch of random things, and absolutely do not free feed. Katsu was free fed and is now very picky with food. It's gotten better but basically don't leave food laying around. If he finishes eating, take the dish away, and do not bring it back for a few hours. It gets them into the notion that food will come from and by you and it must be finished otherwise they'll have to wait.

    Lastly, find at least 3 types of treat rewards and a chase toy. The 3 treat rewards should be like, love, and romantically too in love with in terms of favoritism. You'll know what he'll go crazy for. Just don't present the options all at the same time. Use those rewards to your advantage, when socializing and he meets something or someone new, give him loves rewards, if he for example comes running to you when you call his name. Give him the inappropriately too in love with rewards. I'm pretty sure you get the drift. The chase toy I use for fun outside, so that he see's that you're not the boring dude tugging him to go wherever you want.

    Good luck and most important of all have fun! Shikoku are a very fun breed to have, great outdoors, an very loving at home. Katsu despite his issues is definitely someone i consider to be my best friend, and we have a relationship i wouldn't trade for even if i had a choice to save our planet, or save katsu. Katsu to me wins every time.

    Bye bye earth.
  • KajaKaja
    Posts: 195
    Such a handsome guy!

    If you want your cute little dude to be a good city dog, then you do that bit by bit from the get go (as WrylyBrindle so eloquently put!). Do all that stuff mentioned: cafes, trains, etc. Walk by construction sites, and down streets with people on them. Do you have dog friendly shops? Bring him in! Desensitizing your pup to these otherwise strange or seemingly scary things will go a long way to making him easy to deal with in and around town! Reward him LOTS for his tolerance!

    Regarding dog parks:
    Okay. I'm one of those people who won't tell you not to go to a dog park. We really like them. My shikoku is still in her teens, though, so that might change as time progresses! Thing is, and this addresses your concern about him running off: we only ever go to dog parks that are fenced in... and that's the only sort that I'd have confidence recommending. Mine loves to play ball, so that's usually what we do. She runs after the ball, our older dog runs after her, and then sometimes they just run after one another. Behaviour-wise? She will wrestle with other pups her own age, play ball or keep away, but will usually ignore the older dogs. Again, take this with a grain of salt.. because you have counter-advice listed above and, like I said, my shikoku is just a teen right now (15 months old). We also don't have doggy mosh pits here... and numbers can vary. Sometimes we've been alone! Sometimes there have been a dozen dogs, but no more.

    For socializing it is good to have a variety of flavour, though. Some good stuff has been listed above by others. Classes are good, because it's all a controlled social area. Go do activities with friends who have good-role-model-dogs -- hiking! Camping! Doggy day cares can be good, too, if you find the right one and trust the people there. Kaja spends time at a (highly screened) day care sometimes, and she absolutely loves it.
    Post edited by Kaja at 2016-01-16 02:27:55
  • GrayJJGrayJJ
    Posts: 264
    Congrats! Obito is looking handsome :)

    I second the others, but I also don't do dog parks anymore. It's just that the Shikoku really don't understand other dogs the same way, and I found it challenging with Owner who already don't exercise their dogs to socialize with mine. But basically, I took him to the off-leash parks for as I could see it being a success (for me, this was from puppy to about 1.5 years).

    Echoing above: important to find activities you enjoy outside of the dog parks.

    I personally don't think 4 months is "bad" at all, you will have to put in extra effort to expose your dog to more things and people, but it's never too late! Everyone has given great examples of socializing ideas, and I think you do everything you can to set your dog up with socializing both environments and people - and keep practicing whenever possible, no matter how old your dog gets :)

    My only advice would be to never settle in a routine, keep life exciting, go to new places, meet new people. If you go to one place with certain sounds, try to go to another the next day; if you walk on a path, try and go in the opposite way the next time to keep things different.
  • CrimsonO2CrimsonO2
    Posts: 2211
    It's not that Shikoku don't understand other dogs. They do and they just don't care.;) They want what they want when they want it. Shikoku give in to their impulses and instincts very easily and more readily than other dogs.

    Can't object to anyone else's advise so far. Tire your dog out, train them, socialize them, set them up for success.

    Thanks,
    Jesse
    Jesse Pelayo

  • Thanks for all the advice!

    I will probably stick to the normal parks and country/seaside walks. We don't have many dedicated dog parks in the UK as there are very few places dogs are not allowed off-lead. Which I think creates a much more relaxed environment. You usually just get a few groups of dog friends dotted around the park. No doggie mosh pits!

    What do you use for really high-value treats?
  • KajaKaja
    Posts: 195
    Thanks for all the advice!

    I will probably stick to the normal parks and country/seaside walks. We don't have many dedicated dog parks in the UK as there are very few places dogs are not allowed off-lead. Which I think creates a much more relaxed environment. You usually just get a few groups of dog friends dotted around the park. No doggie mosh pits!

    What do you use for really high-value treats?


    One thing to be aware of for the UK then, and probably goes without saying, is to be wary of walking trails where livestock might be around. This goes for all dogs, obviously... but many shikoku like to chase things. xD

    If you want your guy to run around the trails a little more freely while still being tethered, though, there is a way! I would highly suggest investing in a 50 foot long line. Bonus of this tool is it is excellent for training his recall while outside, too! For Kaja we would even drop the line and practice recall 100 feet out or more. If we saw a distraction coming toward us, we just do a little jog and stand on the leash before she can get anywhere. :)

    For treats? Store bought treats that smell chemical-like are 'low' value treats for Kaja. She has good taste in food I guess, haha. The store bought treats that are more natural and need refrigerated, she likes those. Her high value treats include hot dogs, chicken, and cheese!
    Post edited by Kaja at 2016-01-17 06:52:33
  • akodo1akodo1
    Posts: 32
    that's a fine looking pup
  • Update!

    Obi is just over 5 months old now and definitely entering into his rebellious teenage stage ;)

    He's so sweet at home (although he loves to pester the cat!) and really great playing with other dogs. Some older dogs can get annoyed as he's quite full on when he wants to play and won't give up even if they tell him off, but I'm hoping that will get better as he relaxes / learns how to communicate with other dogs.

    His recall is getting better every day, but if there is something across the park that he wants, there's no calling him back... Any tips on training a solid recall? Right now he's totally testing boundaries which makes it even harder, but I'm confident we can get him there one day.

    Also wondering when the best time to neuter a Shikoku is. I've read a lot of conflicting things online. Some say around 6 months to prevent unwanted aggression and testicular cancer etc. and others say wait until he's done growing to prevent bone/joint development issues. We will definitely have him fixed, we don't plan on breeding him or showing him and it makes sense living in such a big city where he is interacting with strange dogs on a daily basis. The question is, when?

    And now for some photos!

    image
    about 4 months old

    image
    4 months old, soaking up dem rays

    image
    5 months old, first trip to the forest!

    image
    new harness!

    image
    love train rides, so much to look at!

    image
    *flop*
    Post edited by van_der_ende at 2016-03-30 05:56:55
  • WhoBitMeWhoBitMe
    Posts: 1912
    Obito is soooo cute! :) Meitou's recall is not perfect, but we practice sometimes when there are no distractions around. My sister trained a pretty good recall on her chihuahuas in two ways. The first one she and her husband stood apart and took turns calling the first chihuahua and giving her praise when she came. The second one they may have done that, I don't know. But to help him learn his name he was given cheese (which he loves) every time he looked at someone saying his name and somehow that turned into him coming whenever his name was called.
    1 Human + 1 Hokkaido
    RIP Amy (Border Collie)

    “Anyone can love a thing because. That's as easy as putting a penny in your pocket.
    But to love something despite. To know the flaws and love them too. That is rare and pure and perfect.”
    --Patrick Rothfuss, A Wise Man's Fear

    "Life before death. Strength before weakness. Journey before destination."
    --Brandon Sanderson, the First Ideal from The Stormlight Archive.
  • KajaKaja
    Posts: 195
    Such an adorable pup! He's got such a full face.

    For a solid recall, I find the trick is to know what motivates your dog (toys or food), and have a word you won't misuse. A fail safe word. If you train them with 'come' be aware that strangers/relatives might use this on your dog and misuse it (ie: not enforce it). Thus, it becomes less fail safe.

    I think it's probably a good idea to train 'come' as a general use recall, but have a fail safe word as well that your dog KNOWS he is getting a yummy treat when he runs back to you. For some people that fail safe word is just 'treat'.

    It goes without saying (but I'm covering everything I can think of here, so bear with me): Never ever recall your dog if he did something bad and then punish him (example: he ran away, you recall him, he comes, you yell at him for running away).

    I echo what WhoBitMe said above. We did the back and forth with two people doing recall, using the long line I mentioned above. We practice in a soccer/football field, starting only a few meters apart, and then expanded to as far as our voices could carry. The long line is only there for guidance if they get distracted, you don't have to be holding it (it can drag behind the dog). Use HIGH VALUE treats or toys for this, to keep your dog motivated. :)

    Training recall is something you will have to constantly train and enforce if you want it to be fail safe, though. Even when your dog is 6 years old you should still be practising/rewarding it. I will 'pop quiz' Kaja and she will be on the third floor of the house but come running all the way down to the basement for her favourite treats. In the park she is pretty sticky, so I have less opportunity, but I will call her over when she is playing with another dog to test her recall as well (but only if I'm confident she's not overwhelmed/will listen). She gets rewarded and goes back to playing, so it's win-win for her.

    Also try playing the 'hide-and-seek' game, where one person holds the dog while you go hide and then call them, as it rewards them with a search game as well as a treat! We did this with trees to hide behind, so it made it more fun.
    Post edited by Kaja at 2016-03-30 12:38:25
  • Yeah we've been doing the back and forth thing. He zooms from one person to the other so fast haha. Although, after a few times, he figures out the game and just runs back and forth for the toy/treats before we have the chance to call him! Sneaky...
  • KajaKaja
    Posts: 195
    Yeah we've been doing the back and forth thing. He zooms from one person to the other so fast haha. Although, after a few times, he figures out the game and just runs back and forth for the toy/treats before we have the chance to call him! Sneaky...


    LOL Kaja did that too. Smart little buggers.

    In that case, no treats were given, I'd just ignore her/not praise (except for maybe giving her a pat pat... certainly not anything high value though). Then the person furthest away would issue a recall again and carry on xD
    Post edited by Kaja at 2016-03-30 12:33:07
  • Played hide and seek with him this morning and he LOVED it. Great idea!

    I've also started giving little bits of sausage whenever he responds to his name on a walk / when there are distractions around and it's definitely improving his focus.

Howdy, Stranger!

It looks like you're new here. If you want to get involved, click one of these buttons!

In this Discussion