• RathorianRathorian
    Posts: 12
    Hi all! So, if you're on the I Love My Shikoku Facebook group, then you'll likely see where I posted part of this question! I figured it might be better to post it here though, as I figure I may get more responses and information out of you all here than on Facebook!

    So! I have a few questions for you guys, if you don't mind? :)

    So, I've 100% decided this will be my next breed and so now I'm looking to further my knowledge on them and what living with one would be like. Everything from diet to training.

    One thing I keep seeing is that this isn't a breed that should be let off leash due to their hunting nature to roam out a distance and possibly out of distance, and and only check in every so often. But I see a lot of you with off leash dogs? Is recall training and off leash hikes/walks a possibility? If so, when you were training, how did you do so?
    I know hunters use collars with a built in mic sort of thing, so if the dog is out of hearing range, you can radio into the dog's collar to recall them. Would this be a good investment for recall purposes?

    If the dog can't be off leash, that's fine! My current dog has a solid recall but is almost always on a leash unless we're just brushing up on her training. I just like having that added back up of the recall just in case something were to happen like a breaking leash or he gets out of the door somehow!

    Also, everyone says to meet this breed in person before completely deciding, but I'm not positive I can do so? To my knowledge, no one has a Shikoku in Tennessee. I think the closest I've seen was in Virginia. Is anyone in or around Tennessee that would be willing to meet up for a hike or meet up so I can experience this breed first hand?

    How do Shikokus get along with other dogs? I have a two year old (will likely be 4 or 5 by the time I get my next dog) Shelter Mutt (really don't know what she is, but I typically refer to her as a texas heeler mutt --for those who don't know what that is, it's a cross between a Border collie and an Australian cattle dog or an Australian Shepherd and an Australian cattle dog). She's a very 'submissive' and timid dog and doesn't have a mean bone in her body, she was raised with a pretty intense, dog reactive Lab mix and that coupled with her already "oh my god I love you, let me live to please you" attitude just made her all the more soft. When she plays she is intense though, but would a Shikoku be able to live with her? She's a very high drive, high energy dog... Just a very soft dog.

    What is training a Shikoku like? I've worked with a number of breeds before (from Chihuahuas to Australian Cattle Dogs to Bull Breed Mutts and so many more) but I have a feeling those guys are nothing compared to what a Shikoku is like. Can you give me an insight as to what I can expect in the first few weeks of having one, the first few months, and beyond? How was training? Are they stubborn, easily trained, a median of the two? And what kind of diet/feeding amount/schedule to they typically do best on? What are some healthy issues prone in them and what sort of health testing ought to be done by the breeder on the parents?
  • yo_eddyyo_eddy
    Posts: 90
    I'll see if I can hit a few of your questions. We have Yuki and two chihuahua's. He gets on fine with them. He is very reactive with other dogs. I'd guess a Shikoku would get on fine with your other dog if you are bringing the Shikoku in as a puppy. They can be a bit relentless though. Yuki will pester the chihuahua's to play constantly. They aren't all that interested in playing with him, so we need to keep on top of it to give them a break.

    Training him was overall very easy. He picked stuff up almost immediately. Short reps as if you did things too many times he would just look at you like "I got that about 10 min ago". First few weeks were very easy as well. He didn't really need to be house trained. He has had one or two short periods where he challenged everything; we just needed to be patient and consistent. Keeping him active is important to a quiet evening. He gets lots of walks, hikes, and yard play. My wife runs with him once in awhile. If we don't get him out for some reason or another I'll need to throw a toy for him in the house. That can literally go on for a couple hours if I let it.

    We feed him twice per day and just use the manufacturers recommendation for amounts. Right now we have him on kibble and freeze dried raw.

    You can do a search on this site for a few health threads. Yuki has been very healthy. He did have a short period where he would limp a bit when getting up. Evidently not that uncommon. Most grow out of it, and Yuki has done so as well.

    He has been a great addition to our family. They are great dogs and we are glad to have him

  • Well diet wise, Inu self-regulates on kibble -he will leave some in the bowl. The raw gets destroyed. :) Breakfast/dinner.

    Off-leash- yes they are not reliable off leash, they are far more interested in chasing and smelling and marking everything then coming back to you. They move fast so they are gone in seconds. I don't thing hiking off leash would be much fun unless you live on lots of acreage, cause you would be wondering where they are and tracking them down the whole time. Unless you live in the middle of nowhere, it's not worth the risk. It doesn't matter the dog or breed, if their recall is not 100% off leash it is not worth the risk.

    Looking back, as a puppy Inu was a monster, with teeth and non stop energy. The question is not "will a shikoku be able to live with her?", but "will she be able to live with the shikoku?" Her intense play can do well with a shikoku. Bottom line -you will need to run interference when she tires of the shikoku puppy -which will happen often, cause they are persistent.

    Training-except for recall, was real easy, -very food motivated. I believe as a breed they don't like to mess in the house. Inu did great with clicker/food training/praise.

    Reach out to the two breeders and ask about possible owners closest to you. Driving a few hours to meet a pup, isn't a bad idea. It is a big investment and commitment.
  • RathorianRathorian
    Posts: 12
    @yo_eddy ::

    - Thanks for responding! :) Roo has a pretty intense style of play when she gets into it, so I have no concerns about her being able to handle it! Should she get tuckered out then I'd definitely be running interference and remove her from all the excitement and handle the play myself!

    -- Was yours more food or toy or praise motivated? How much exercise do you give yours a day, and as a puppy how much did you give it a day? With Roo being the mix that she is, she has a very high energy so we spend hours outside playing fetch, inside working on various tricks/behaviors, and every weekend (my weekends are 4 days long, and I work 3 days a week at 12 hour shifts. I would be living about 5 minutes from work when I bring the puppy in, so for breaks and lunch I'd be going home to have a potty break for the puppy and such. I also have it lined up to get a puppy sitter for those three days in the first few months :) ) we go for anywhere from 5-25 mile hikes.

    When Yuki was limping, was it Pano (Panosteitis)?

    @scoobylicious ::

    - Thank you for responding! And thanks for the info on the diet and off leash!

    -- I'm sure Roo would be fine given that she is an intense player, and I'd definitely be running interference with them when she did tire out! For training, what did you start out with in regards to the basic foundations (sit, down, stay, wait, leave it, drop it, ect) and when did you move up to the harder things, like tricks (roll over, play dead, back up, spin, ect) and such? And for exercise, how much do you do daily and when did you start doing more exercise wise? I have no issue driving a few hours, it's more of that I can't afford at this moment, due to my car (I'll be moved and in a better position by the time I bring the puppy in, with a better car) being a piece of junk and not being able to make it too far out. I'd be too nervous to take it too far away from home right now in case it were to break down!
  • yo_eddyyo_eddy
    Posts: 90
    Yuki is very food motivated. Praise works to some extent, but treats are a sure thing.

    He gets two 30-60 min walks a day during the week and longer walks/hikes on the weekend. Most days we will play in the yard either training or fetch. He loves to fetch. Not so good on the drop it. He is also out in the yard most of the time when we are home on rabbit patrol or keeping an eye on the walkers that use our street.

    When he was a puppy I had taken some time between jobs so was home most of the time. About the same time and number of walks, but more yard play/training time. He goes nuts for a lunge whip with a toy on it, or taking him down to the lake to run around in the water are all things that can tire him out nicely. I may try him harnessed to my mt bike (likely short lived if he crashes me) and try lure coursing this summer.

    I'd work up to the longer hikes, probably the longest we take him on is 10-12 miles and he seems pretty tired after. Some of those are just with my wife, and she race walks him a bit so that likely tires him more. I'm sure he could handle longer, but you will want to work your puppy up to it.

    As for the limping, he was never diagnosed with Pano, but I'd guess based on the symptoms that it was. I'd say it was mild for him; he would only limp for a few seconds then be fine. I think two separate periods where we noticed it, but he has been fine for months now. We limited activity and he was on an anti inflammatory for a bit as well.
  • We took Inu right away at 8 weeks to puppy training/socialization, after a visit from the vet. He caught on quick. Our instructor stressed using hand signals instead of voice commands. Sit, stand, lay down and stay were the basics. Then we moved on from there. I think we practiced everyday when we gave him a treat to reinforce the basics. Also started leash training early on too.

    Leash training -on a walk he was very interested in moving forward, so if he pulled the leash we just stopped moving. I would have him come sit next to my heel, wait a second, then start again. If he pulled then we repeated the process. Cause he was interested in going somewhere he learned to not pull quickly. I didn't mind if he walked in front, just didn't want him to pull the lead. It's important to stress that during this leash training you aren't in a rush or plan it as your walk/exercise, cause you won't make much progress distance wise the first few times, but it works. And there is no need for a yelling/choke/shock/collar etc....very passive training.

    Inu is pretty hardy healthy wise. Didn't start serious running till he was a few years old, due to moving to an apartment with no yard. Now I take him for runs regularly, 5/7 or 10 milers, about 5 days out of the week. He loves it!!!! He runs like he could go for 50. Loves runs and hikes through snow as well. He will start to pant after awhile if it is 55-60 degrees (with no wind and higher humidity) and above. I run early morning/late night to avoid 75+ on a sunny day with him. Exercise in general though, the more he gets the happier he is.
  • KajaKaja
    Posts: 216
    One thing I keep seeing is that this isn't a breed that should be let off leash due to their hunting nature to roam out a distance and possibly out of distance, and and only check in every so often. But I see a lot of you with off leash dogs? Is recall training and off leash hikes/walks a possibility? If so, when you were training, how did you do so?

    My shikoku is shown off leash because often I take pictures while in the yard, or at daycare, or at a fenced in dog park. if you have a nice big fenced/gated dog park nearby it is a HUGE boon! Especially for training. I've let her offleash ONCE while at the farm, and it was fine, but she was also a puppy at the time and I was still nervous about it. Peer pressure made me do it! Honestly though, 50 foot lines are the answer when a gated dog park isn't available :)

    Also, everyone says to meet this breed in person before completely deciding, but I'm not positive I can do so?

    I hadn't met a shikoku before I got Kaja, either. But I had a pretty good idea of what to expect, and if anything the only surprise I got was how much more elegant and regal looking she is than I imagined. :P

    How do Shikokus get along with other dogs?

    As pointed out, sometimes it's not really how the shikoku gets along with other dogs but the other way around! My shikoku LOVES dogs! She would play with them ALL! But they don't always wanna play with her! Hahaha. We have a corgi/chihuahua and they get along well enough, but Kaja can be a bit too pressing and obnoxious when she wants to play, and her poor older sister is about 7 years old now and not appreciative of being pounced on or her butt bitten or her face smacked with a playful paw. Chasing is ok though. They chase. ;)

    Kaja has had a TON of socialization with other dogs and this has helped her be a good dog's dog as she's grown. She IS growly/barky but it's in a playful way and sometimes you gotta tell the other owners that so they don't get all scared.

    What is training a Shikoku like?
    Super easy. Suuuuper easy. Kaja is a year and a half and currently knows sit, kiss, come, stay, paw, other paw, hi five, speak, fetch, drop it, touch, lay down, play dead (bang), spin, crawl, and wait. And then she also knows what I mean when I say "this way", "car", "walk", "brush your teeth", "what's this", "bed time", "time to go", "go get it". and "leave it". She lets me know when she wants to go to the washroom, and the only times she's pooped indoors is when it was my fault and I had to leave her home all day. Even then, though, she does it by the door like she was waiting to go outside. For tricks, the important ones came first, unless she did something and I was trying to capture it. I keep on meaning to capture her 'bow' but I never have a treat handy at the time. Ah well, it's on the list.

    "What's this" is also code for "Kaja look at this spider please and kill it". She is our resident spider slayer. Even the super fast ones!

    SUPER EASY. A fun activity is every other week try training something new. They're so smart it's actually something possible whereas with my other dog, it would take a lot more effort. And she is very treat motivated. Very toy motivated. Even somewhat praise motivated.

    The trick is keeping the sessions short so you keep it fun.

    Post edited by Kaja at 2016-05-15 06:38:28
  • haalumnihaalumni
    Posts: 45
    I'll jump in and share some nuggets I've learned from having Miya the last 8 months...

    first let me say, she is hands down the best dog I've ever owned! She is super sweet and smart. God willing, I plan on adding more shikoku to the pack in the future!

    Off Leash: I started trying to train Miya off leash in small, controlled areas at 10 months old. As long as I have treats and lots of praise she does ok. However, if there is even the slightest distraction it's a gamble. Prey drive is very real! Even on leash Miya will bolt to chase something. That said, She LOVES to be off leash in the yard or the dog park.

    speaking of dog park.... on the subject of other dogs: Miya loves to play with other dogs and is not in the least aggressive. She barely even barks at other dogs (or people). She is however SUPER hyper and does play rough. Rough enough that I don't feel comfortable with her playing with smaller/less active dogs. I even had one dog owner try to accuse Miya of attacking his dog when she clearly was just excited and jumpy. Miya just turned a year old but has ridiculous energy. She gets along really well with my girlfriends heeler mix but will wear him out after a few hours and I have to redirect her. So final verdict, in my experience they do great but know your dog and keep an eye out until they settle down.

    On training: Miya learned: turn around, the other way, roll over, hi-five, with me, and how to use the doggie door all within 3 hours. Other than recall and "stop chewing my iphone cables you crazy nut", she has been super easy to train. To date she has only ever had 2 accidents in the house (one the 1st day in got her home, the other b/c I was away to long due to being stuck at work). Btw she only chews my cable to get back at me for working too many days in a row.

    Things I was not expecting:
    - She is sooooo picky about her food. she demands variety. I have to alternate her kibble and mix in wet food or she will go days without eating. Also non grain-free makes her super constipated. scheduled feedings is key too.
    - Shedding!!!!!!! Miya really didn't shed until she blew her first coat. now it snows fur on a regular in my house. plan on getting a good vacuum.
    - Car sickness- Miya gets insanely car sick. I tried everything and nothing really helped. Only after a 23 hour car ride and weekly car trips over the last 4 months has she started getting better. I'm now able to get the 9 miles to my girlfriends place and back without incident. Just be prepared.

    If you're ever in Texas or want to meet up in Arkansas, we could set something up.

    Good luck!
  • RathorianRathorian
    Posts: 12
    Thank you guys so much for all the great information! :D

    Another question I have -- on average, what is the best size crate to get? What about Collar sizes?
  • jigzzorjigzzor
    Posts: 125

    So we have 2 shikoku we currently own atm. I can tell you that raising them both has been a completely different experience. We have a boy(Katsu) and a girl(Miyuki), 1 of them is 1 year and almost 10 months old, and the girl is 8 months old.

    We got them both at very different ages, We got our girl(Miyuki) at 8 weeks old. She became very bonded with us from an early age on. We actually started to train her the day we got her. We started her off leash and kept her off leash till she was about 5 months old. She has excellent recall and can be off leash if we feel like it. Training Miyuki has been a very easy experience. Very food motivated, Good with dogs, Great with humans, and also forgot to mention she's still intact which i'll get to shortly. She is the complete opposite of Katsu our boy and our experience raising him she loves us fiercely and will show it by waking us up every morning giving us kisses or sneaking in to spoon us without us noticing.

    We got Katsu at 4.5 months old so we missed some valuable time establishing some boundaries with him. Katsu is not food motivated, He doesn't get a long well with strangers, does not like being handled or pet and doesn't like new dogs. He is also very likely to not get a long with the same sex. He does however like females dogs, This is most likely due to him still being intact. With Katsu we have to work extra hard to get him to do what we want. He is not great off leash and will get really far from us if he see's something interesting. We're still working on him extra hard to this day and he's definitely not a dog for a beginner to handle. Fortunately I've got years of experience under my belt to know how to handle his mannerisms. He's progressed significantly and will eventually get to where i'd like for him to be. He's definitely the more interesting personality, loads of fun, and plays very well with his pack. I feel like everyday I do things with katsu is more interesting because of his outlook on the world. Where as miyuki is more like a yes man.

    Now as far as training goes, I think they're pretty stubborn but are very smart and can learn very quickly. Miyuki is very food motivated so she was VERY easy to train. Katsu not being food motivated was harder to deal with but we had our methods that worked pretty well. I want to make sure you understand this but shikoku are 100% better at being trained with only positive reinforcement and you should never take him to a trainer where they enforce things like prong collars or anything that is dominance related It's a recipe for disaster and mistrust in your dog.

    One thing you do have to note is i've read a lot on the forum and there are a lot of shikoku with poor eating habits. Katsu has started to fill out and has been getting very lean as of late ever since we started home making his food. Before that he hates kibble and will starve himself for days and eat tiny bits of kibble to sustain himself. He looked terrible for a while but he's finally put on some weight and is looking quite dashing these days. Home making food is just about the same price as high quality kibble as well, so we don't really mind it, it just eats up some of our time in the month. But it's become a routine so we're fine with it.

    We use a martingale as well as a harness the brand of harness we use is ruffwear. They both fit a small. So that should give you an idea. http://www.amazon.com/Ruffwear-Front-Harness-Campfire-Orange/dp/B00LHY0BNO/ref=sr_1_1?s=pet-supplies&ie=UTF8&qid=1464461971&sr=1-1&keywords=ruffwear

    Anyway please ask more questions and i'd recommend getting yourself on the wait list if you're serious about the breed. Also word of advice... Get used to telling people they're shikoku, not shicoco.

    Katsu at 1 year 7 months old

    Miyuki at 6 months old
  • yo_eddyyo_eddy
    Posts: 90
    Thank you guys so much for all the great information! :D

    Another question I have -- on average, what is the best size crate to get? What about Collar sizes?

    We have a large crate for Yuki (22W x 34L x 28H internal dimensions). It's perfect for him now, but would have been too large as a puppy. We had an inexpensive smaller crate when we picked him up, but you could always block off the back of a larger crate.

    I'd wait until you have a puppy or dog in mind for the collar. The breeder can let you know what size to get. We used an adjustable martingale which worked well as he grew.

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