Poor Kenji stepped in it tonight…literally. We were out for a dusk-time stroll when he started to convulse like a maniac. After flitting his leg several times, his paw went limp. In cases like this, I grab his paw, remove whatever is under it and he goes about his business. Well tonight it was a big fat juicy turd - lucky us!
After “the incident” Kenji was spooked; weirded out in the way that only a Shiba can understand. We raced home (me dragging him) and I wiped his paws and scrubbed my hands clean.
It’s been an hour and Kenji is traumatized. Looks like a case of Shiba Inu coprophobia. Let’s hope this latest fiasco doesn’t have legs. Last time he was bothered by some ice melt, it took a good three weeks of TLC to get him comfortable outside again…
After several weeks of sustained cold weather and grounded snow, Kenji is back! I’m not sure if it’s another unexplained “Shiba Shift” or the rise in atmospheric temperature, but for the past few days, Kenji has displayed some serious puppy-like energy. This dog wants to play, chew, play, chew and play some more. He’s tugging in all directions outside and greeting every person who passes with his patented “Kenji Clap.”
I was thinking this morning about all of the Shiba Inu blogs I read before we got Kenji and they were right on the money. This breed is not for the weak of heart…but if you want to laugh several times a day…it’s totally worth the work.
Seemingly overnight (after hearing a car skid out on the snow), Kenji is no longer himself. His tail is between his legs, he’s virtually immobile outside (his favorite place in the world) and he is skittish with every little sound.
As far as his vitals, he’s eating, drinking and eliminating, but he needs coaxing to do each.
The odd thing is that when we have company over he gets excited (almost like his old self) - but then reverts back to being a scaredy cat.
I’m very concerned - but want to save him the poking and prodding of a vet if this seems to be a mental issue. There have been no household changes and I am at a loss…
Last week poor Kenji must have gotten his mouth on some contraband (or he picked up a cold at the groomer). The result was a round of puking on the sofa. The microfiber, super-absorbent sofa!
Two shampooings, one stream clean and tow bottles of Febreeze-like spray bottles later, and we are officially announcing the passing of our couch.
RIP, Red Couch From Macys (2003 - 2010)
Kenji seems to be back to his old tricks…but he had a few days where it seemed like there was something irritating his throat.
The old couch gets tossed tonight; the new one arrives on Friday. If there is something stuck in Kenji’s throat, all of the howling he’s about to do should dislodge it! Mr. K is also about to lose his old chair, the one he leans across for hours waiting for us to get home. Sorry, Kenji…hope you like leather!
My feelings are hurt. I thought Kenji loved the way I rub the top of his head! But after Googling “Why Dogs Yawn,” I now see that it is nothing more than a calming mechanism…which means he must hate it!
The last thing I want to do is make my boy feel threatened. So from here on in I’ll lay off the head rubs…but I won’t give up fondling your ears!
Somewhere along the way I acquired one of those whistles that is so loud, it can be heard a gazillion feet under water.
I never blow the thing at full force, but simply placing it in my mouth has created a new game with Kenji…”ROUGH TIME”
Mere sight of the whistle gives Kenji the green light to play rough. For several seconds, or minutes (depending on how rough he gets), I let Kenji get away with murder. He normally will go for my right hand, biting it harder than he will during normal (no whistle) play time. He grunts, whines and moans like it’s the time of his life.
As soon as the whistle goes away, the game stops.
I am constantly amazed by the Shiba Inu’s ability to bite and play with such restraint. He knows when and where certain behavior is appropriate. If only I could say the same for a lot of the humans I know!
Kenji lives to go outside, and that’s a trait that is endemic to the Shiba Inu personality.
Yes, Shibas love their belly rubs and their couch time. But nothing makes them happier than a nice long walk amongst the squirrels and trees.
When my first Shiba Inu is ready to do his business outside, he’s not bashful about letting us know. I’m not sure how your Shiba Inu communicates, but here’s how Kenji talks to us when it’s “time.”
FIRST ATTEMPT: The Stare Down First from a distance (by the front door), and then right in my face, Kenji will stare at me. he must feel as if his eyes will lift me out of the chair and directly outside. It’s an intense stare - one that shows no signs of humor.
SECOND ATTEMPT: The Sigh When the stare down falls short, Kenji will let out a colossal exhale from his nose. It sounds no different than when a human “huffs and puffs” about something.
THIRD ATTEMPT: Scratching Himself A newcomer would think this Shiba is giving up, but that’s not the case. Kenji will settle near you and scratch himself - usually behind the ear. This is his final “nice” attempt to get me to take him outside.
FOURTH ATTEMPT: Stare and Cry This is the same as the first attempt but coupled with a pathetically weak whimper.
FIFTH ATTEMPT: The Grunt Similar to the sigh, this is when Kenji snorts like a bull. His entire head moves and he let’s out (what is supposed to be) a threatening groan.
SIXTH ATTEMPT: Scratching Me At this point, since my Shiba can’t talk, he resorts to physical contact to convince me that it’s “time.” He will jump up where I am sitting and paw at me. It’s not a gently “paw” - it’s a “hey buddy, let’s move now” type of scratching. It doesn’t break skin, but it ain’t pleasant.
SEVENTH ATTEMPT: The bark Kenji is the strong and silent type, rarely exhibiting a bark. And he never barks at me. But if he feels ignored by my wife, and steps 1 - 6 haven’t worked, Kenji will bark. That’s his way of showing he’s not “crying wolf.”
Kenji lives the good life, and he rarely has to go through his entire bag of tricks to get our attention! The only time my first Shiba is not interesting in going outside is when it rains. That’s when I take a cue from him and lure him outside using the same tricks that he does!
Step 1: Take his/her favorite treat Step 2: Insert treat into an old sock Step 3: Tie a knot so the treat is trapped Step 4: Say goodbye to your Shiba for 2 hours
Kenji will work endlessly until he has ripped through the sock and released his treat. How long it takes him depends on the thickness of the sock. We’ve bought dozens of dog toys, but nothing pleases a Shiba more than a crummy old sock.
Thinking of getting a Shiba? Well think about the rain. We’re due for another weeklong rain event here in New York, which means several days in a row of being wet and cold as I wait for Kenji to do his business. The poor guy drops his ears and looks like he’s being tortured by each drop. You would think he would eventually learn that the sooner he does his thing…the sooner we go back inside!
Rain also means that our relatively odorless Shiba turns into a stinky pup! I’ve had to make game called “Attack the Towel” in order to dry him off. Shiba life is so much fun (and so much work!).