I Am Shiba.

Dedicated to momentary thoughts and musings of A Shiba Inu.

Monday, April 28, 2008

April 25, 2007

It has been a year since Michael Vicks went under investigation for dogfighting. On December 10, 2007, he was sentenced in Federal Court to 23 months in jail for dogfighting across state lines, and potentially being involved in the death and torture of dogs. He received his to due a plea bargain agreement, but he still awaits state charges for many of the same charges of animal abuse and dogfighting.

In the U.S., dogfighting is considered a felony in every state except Wyoming and Idaho. Despite that fact, according to The Humane Society, it's estimated that somewhere between 20,000-40,000 people in this country take part in this multi-billion dollar industry. American pit bull terriers account for 99 percent of the species involved in dogfighting, and a pit bull puppy can cost as much as $5,000. An average dog fight carries a $10,000 purse.

Forty-eight dogs were rescued from Michael Vick's dog yard "Bad Newz Kennels", and while only one was euthanized (for medical reasons), most have been placed in sanctuaries while a few are being re-trained for adoption. Most are unadoptable (for obvious reasons) but will live out their lives without fear of the ring. The few that are adoptable were taken by several organizations to be fostered and taught how to be dogs. Some were sent as far away as Utah in order to find individuals who could undertake this difficult task of rehabilitating dogs who have been taught to "do or die."

Michael Vicks is still in jail as I write this. For the sake of all dogs, I hope he stays in there for a lot longer.

I Am Shiba. I Have Spoken.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Cave Canem!

I Am Shiba. Ask Not at Whom the Shiba Barks; I Bark at Thee.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Spring has Sprung!

My screen door is open again!

The Woman left without me again!

But within one day, her tulips blossomed, and she seemed so happy!

There are rides in The Car, Yard Clean-Up, Lawn Seeding, and Lunches on Terraces.

Life is Good again.

I Am Shiba. Tomorrow, We Barbecue.

Saturday, April 05, 2008

The Dog Whisperer Might Be Right This Time

The other day, there was an episode involving a rescued Shiba. Well, of course, I had to sit down and watch, as I have a personal interest in this topic.

What ended up happening completely surprised Me, The Woman, and That Guy. The Dog Whisperer told them The Couple that they needed to get rid of their dog.

His reasoning? "Don't get the Dog you want. Get the Dog you need!"

The Couple had rescued a Shiba, and almost immediately a variety of problems appeared. Everything from food aggression to attitude issues (yea, like I have THAT problem) to the eventual problems with other household animals and biting the people in the house. The Shiba in question developed into a fearful, aggressive dog who received mixed messages from his people regarding how to behave. At the end of the episode, The Dog Whisperer told The Couple that he would take the dog, and gave them a dog better suited for their needs.

While I personally do not agree with The Dog Whisperer's training techniques (I am not one who responds well to a pulled leash, shushing, or soft tapping), I do agree with him that while Shibas are cute, bright, adorable and highly evolved, we are not a fashion accessory nor are we for the feint of heart. The first seven months of living with My New People, I made their lives very difficult as we all attempted to establish the hierarchy of command. I knew that The Woman was Numero Uno but That Guy and Those Felines, well, that is where the difficulty arose. But I admire My People for their consistency.

- They seldom yelled at me.
- I was included in all activities, whenever possible.
- I was consistently instructed where I should be during their dinner time or snack time.
- I had a definite bedtime.
- I had a usually usual rising time.
- I quickly learned when my dinner time was, and when snacks were distributed, and under what circumstances I could anticipate a snack.
- If I snapped or growled while eating my food, I lost my food privileges until I calmed down. Or one of them gave me little pieces at a time. I have permanently lost my bone privileges due to my inappropriateness (The People call it "food assertion issues"); it's only recently that I have been allowed to have smoked tendons which I can chew down in less than an hour. And at any time, The Woman or That Guy can come and take it away, ask me to sit, and then they always give it back to me. It's bothersome, but it reminds me that to get good stuff, I have to be good.
- I am not allowed to snap at a dog if I am on leash (unless they smell my butt without my permission- I just hate that!!) If I do, the walk is over.
- I am not allowed to growl or act macho toward another dog while I am on leash, even if they are loose. Or in my park. Or on my street. Or just somewhere in eyesight. If I do, the walk is over.
- I have been taught that on leash, there are rules. (God, I hate it when The Woman makes me Heel) If I do not abide by these rules, I am left at home. I do not like to be left at home. Hence, I have learned to follow the rules.

There are other rules in the household that I consider ridiculous but The Woman and That Guy consider necessary. Like I am not allowed in the kitchen when The Woman is cooking (she drops stuff and I am supposed to clean it up!!) nor I am not allowed downstairs where That Guy works and The Remaining Feline stays. I have to stay at a certain point when my food is being placed in my bowl and I am told when it is okay to approach my bowl to eat. Ridiculously, this is done with a hand signal so like I have to pay attention when all I want to do is EAT THANKYOUVERYMUCH! And I do not understand why The Woman gets frustrated when I destroy boxes delivered by the evil intrusive MailMan. It's fun to tear cardboard into little tiny pieces. Now, The Woman places the cardboard boxes on the counter and I have to wait until That Guy brings me the box to destroy (and then we have alot of fun together ripping it into tiny little pieces). Then The Woman complains about vacuuming, and . . . well, you get my drift.

It is very hard for Shibas to follow rules. We are not a "generalist" breed; a Shiba requires a rule for every specific situation. I am not allowed to chew this book because That Guy told me I could not, but he did not tell me that I could not chew this one! What ends up happening when People and Shibas meet is that we all come to a point of understanding and acceptance with the added entertainment of my breeds continued inventiveness while the rest of the household learns to keep things off the floor.

So the question becomes, who really needs a Shiba? People who don't want slobbering Labradors or high maintenance Poodles or energetic Hounds or overly bred German Shepherds. The People who need Shibas require just a little bit of chaos, an aloof attitude regarding the household hierarchy, and a furry beast that shows its love and adoration by simply sticking around.

Unless there is a squirrel, of course.

I Am Shiba. Get the Dog You Need, Not the Dog You Think Looks the Best.