Leo is One!

Leo is already one year old!  Time flies!

Here are some pictures of our little whirlwind of naughty (so-christened by a friend from the Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab forum).

Baby Leo:


Leo today:


Leo still enjoys agility, and though this picture is from the early fall, when he was younger, he’s still just as eager to run through a tunnel or over a jump, or go over the A-frame (his favorite!).

Leo in the tunnel at his agility class

Leo in the tunnel at his agility class

We’ve found agility to be great for general training too–in some ways!  He got off leash one day on a walk, and my heart stopped–there have been too many lost Kai.   So I said “let’s go” which we say in agility and pointed the direction I wanted him to go and started walking, and he came running, and sat.  I clipped his leash back on.  Good boy, Leo!

Of course, he also sees most of the furniture in the house as part of an agility field now, and happily jumps and climbs on things whether I want him to or not.  I think he’d have done that regardless; Kai Ken are climbers.  But now, at least, he’s quick to jump off something if I want him to, as he’s used to watching my hands and responding to commands.


Leo in a rare moment of repose (on the back of the sofa)

He starts a new group class tomorrow:  advanced obedience, which is only really as advanced in that he had to have another class before it.  I don’t think he’ll enjoy it as much as agility–at 1 year old, he is still puppyish in many ways, including impulse control.  I don’t think he’ll enjoy stays, for example.   But it will be good practice, and then we’ll go back to our agility trainer later in the spring.

I took him to a loose leash walking seminar recently too, because he pulls like crazy.  They used a gentle leader head collar on him, which worked quite well.  In fact, in about 5 minutes he had stopped pulling, and was heeling like a champ.  One of the trainers remarked to the other how smart he was, and how clicker savvy he was, and how he watched my hands so attentively.  We talked about his agility class, and how good he is, and just as I was congratulating myself for having a brilliant boy, the trainer suggested a change of venue.  We went outside.  Leo saw some agility equipment and started pulling like a sled-dog, even in the head collar.  All semblance of focus on me was gone.  Ha!  Now that’s more the Leo I know!

Why do we call him the whirlwind of naughty?  Because he’s always into something:


Like that!  He just jumped right up on to the table in front of me, because wow, that mouse looks tasty!  (Leo loves to chew plastic).  He’s also a crafty little planner:  he often checks things out to figure what he wants to steal, and then if I go out of the room (even for a minute!), he’ll grab it.  This means he can’t ever be unsupervised, because he’ll get into something!  Library books, cameras, phones, my kindle–these are all favorite targets.

I think he wants to read.  Maybe he’s heard that Toby writes and he wants to try too!


The Nihon Ken forum? I have things to say!


Thoughtful Leo
















But naughty or not, he’s a wonderful dog.  He gets along with the other dogs, and is a little peacemaker.  He is smart and funny, and more loving than the others, and he is endlessly entertaining.  He even tries to charm the other dogs into giving up things he wants (like the toy Bel has) and though it never works, it is fun to watch:


Silly Leo

Happy birthday, Leo!  We’e so lucky to have you in our lives!

And thanks to Brad and Jen Anderson at Yamabushi Kennel for entrusting him to us!


Toby’s State of the Shiba Address

Toby here.  I haven’t checked in for awhile, but that doesn’t mean I haven’t been reading and thinking.  I have.

And a lot of what I’ve seen distresses me.

The state of the Shiba is not good.

I have to admit that even I, in all my magnificence, have had some better times.  I got bit by the little crazy bitch dog Bel way back in the spring, and my fur still hasn’t grown back, so while I’m still a very handsome Shiba of course, I have looked better.  And I also have to admit that it may be time to rethink my goal to be the world’s largest Shiba.  All this weight is making it hard for me to run around, and I’m not even enjoying my walks that much these days.   I think I may have to leave the World’s Largest Shiba to someone younger, with more stamina.   I am not only magnificent, but I am magnanimous, and am willing to pass the title on to someone else.   And don’t tell my person, but I don’t actually mind my “spa diet” she feeds me of fish and veggies.  I was also getting too big for the sofa (but I’ve lost some weight since then):


But my real concern is not with me.  I’m concerned for the state of the Shiba in general.  Those of you who know me, know that years ago, when I was a young, innocent puppy, I wanted to send to Japan for more Shibas.  Well, of course, that went bad wrong with Bel, but she wasn’t from Japan anyway.  These days, I think the Shiba might be too popular.

Because too many are coming from places like where the little crazy girl came from.

I’d heard my human talking about mills before, and saying the “squirrely girl” as She calls her, came from a mill.

I didn’t know what that was, so I decided to look it up, and I read some terrible things.    Some of these Shibas never get out of their tiny cages.  They don’t know what it’s like to walk on the ground, even, and they certainly don’t get to lay on the sofa or have their own nice chairs like I do.  They don’t even have names–they just have numbers.  I read how some Shibas were injured because they left a bunch of Shibas in one cage and they fought with each other.   This shook me up, because I know what it is to be scared of other dogs.  I don’t like to be around any other dogs because of how Bel has hurt me, and it scared me just to think of being locked up in a cage with other Shibas!

I know my human gets very frustrated, because I hear her talking to her friend (the one with the tasty looking birds), about how some people try to justify their puppy mill purchases.  She says even after hearing about how unhealthy these dogs can be, and how badly the dogs are treated, they don’t care, which I find that hard to believe.  No one who loved Shibas would want to support a place that is so cruel to Shibas, would they?

Well, I think if people just knew about these places, they would not buy from them.  So here’s some things I read:

ShibaScout Rescue on the mills

TriState Shiba Rescue at the dog auctions

Those two are rescue organizations, by the way, and if you have any extra money after making sure your dogs get lots of food and toys for Christmas, you should send some money there!

I also found this blog about puppy mills, (by someone who has a Shiba and a funny looking non-Japanese Shiba with short hair.  My human says that other dog is NOT a Shiba, but a Basenji, whatever that is, but I just don’t believe that):

Shibasenji on puppy mills

And of course, I live with one of these dogs from one of those places.  And she’s crazy, and she nearly killed me, and she’s sick a lot of the time!  When I said I wanted more Shibas, I never thought my human would get a Shiba who would almost kill me.  And I never thought humans would be so cruel as to treat other Shibas so badly.

It makes me sad.


Toby says NO MORE mills!

On a lighter note, though, the human got this other dog that she says came from Japan.  Or his parents did or something like that.  (My father came from Japan too, of course, and he is very handsome indeed, like me!).   I don’t hate this dog, because when the other dogs tried to attack me, he didn’t.  I don’t like him, but I don’t hate him.  But he is by far the ugliest Shiba I have ever seen in my life:


His tail does not curl at all, and he’s too long, and he has funny stripey fur.  The human says he is a Kai Ken, whatever that is, but like I told you, I don’t believe everything she says.   Next time I am at the other human’s house, I’ll take a quick peek in her dog book and see if I see such a thing.

Ok, that’s my State of the Shiba address.  Toby out!