We’re (sort of) Back!

Recently I haven’t had much time to post here. In the last six months we’ve moved from Maryland to Georgia for graduate school, and things have been pretty hectic. Hopefully everything will slow down in a few weeks, at which time I’ll start updating this again. There are a lot of nice places to both hike and camp in Georgia if you’re willing to drive a bit first, and we’re excited to explore the state this summer!


Buffy explores her new home

Buffy explores her new home

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Buffy vs the cat

Buffy vs the cat

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Camping trip!

So it’s been a while since I’ve updated.  This is partially because not a huge amount has been going on with Buffy, and partially because I’ve just been too busy to update.

Recently, Buffy, Andy, and I went up to Rocky Gap State Park in Md to go camping. We ended up spending a few nights there and went hiking and canoeing, both which were new experiences for Buffy.

Wondering what's going on

The first night we set up she was pretty nervous. We tied her out using a 15ft line during the day, and at night she slept in the tent in her crate because of the fearless wildlife in the area. The next morning she seemed much more adventurous, and we went on our first hike!

Starved for attention

The hike ended up being around six or seven miles. During it Buffy tried to catch some fish (She wasn’t very successful).

Trying to catch us some lunch

About four miles into it we came across an interesting bridge. Andy crossed it, but it wasn’t very stable. I decided not to follow him, but Buffy tried to and was lucky she didn’t slip through the moving planks. You can’t really tell in the picture, but the bridge was about fifteen feet above the rocky ground below.

Attempting to cross a terrifying bridge

After about the sixth mile she was finally getting tired. The next day we decided to go canoeing, with Buffy sitting in between us, unfortunately because we were afraid to bring a camera, there are no pictures.

Buffy got more attention during this trip than in all of the other times she’s been out with us combined. Whenever we were near other people they would comment on how small, and cute she is. Two people knew that she’s a shiba; however, one of them was hoping she was a male to breed her to his female (“their puppies are like 1k a pop!” :/   )and was surprised to find out that she’s average weight for a female.

By the end of the trip she seemed very at-home in the mountains, and looked a little sad to be packed back into the crate for the long drive home.

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Dog Aggression

I know I haven’t updated recently. Everything is going fine, I’ve just been super busy at home. In the next few weeks expect posts on:
– FreshPet Select final review.
– Pictures from Easter of Buffy off-leash


UPDATE: Looks like she gets growly while off-lead, but that’s it. She stays calm and simply warns the other dog off. Still trying to work on both on-lead and off-lead, but it looks like it should be (hopefully) less of a process than I initially thought.


Buffy has always been reactive to larger dogs when she’s on leash, but I figured she would never try anything, and would just bark at them; however, I found out last week that I was wrong.

On Easter we decided to take Buffy for a walk around the lake near our house. There are usually a lot of dogs there, but the owners all seem pretty responsible, and I feel safe bringing Buffy there. Last weekend we had just made it to the start of the loop when I spotted a greyhound and it’s owners. One of the owners reached over to pet Buffy, which brought her greyhound closer to her. She didn’t ask before petting her, but Buffy does really well with all humans and it was the greyhound I was more concerned about. I thought about saying “my dog is really mean to other dogs,” but decided to keep my mouth shut, thinking that the breed already has a bad reputation for aggression. After being pet Buffy slowly moved to the greyhound to sniff him. There was no growling, so I let her proceed. Then, a second later she gave two menacing barks and started trying to nip at the greyhound’s face. I quickly pulled her back and we started walking again, but I felt like I had done her (and the other dog) a disservice by ever letting her get close enough to the greyhound to try to bite it.

This picture is not frpm the trip I mention :p

Picture taken by Anna Lee on a different outing

Buffy has never been around a dog while off lead, and I’ve heard that dogs can sometimes be aggressive just on-lead because they feel trapped (when the fight or flight response kicks in they know they can’t escape), but how should I go about figuring out if she’s aggressive off-lead? She’s never been to a dog park in the few months we’ve had her because I’ve feared aggression to other dogs, but I’m not sure if she would be without her leash and I don’t really have a good, safe way to test this.

Her socialization window has, to my knowledge, pretty much closed, and a behavioralist is out of the question right now, so I’ve decided to get a few books on the subject:

Feisty Fido: help for the leash-reactive dog
Aggression in Dogs: Practical Management, Prevention & Behaviour Modification
Fight!: A Practical Guide to the Temperament of Dog-dog Aggression suggested by Jason

Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated!


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Yesterday morning Andy woke up to vomit in Buffy’s crate. Of course, I was worried (like always), as she was acting lethargic and didn’t eat much. After much snuggling she finally ate a bit more (with some coaxing).


Today she was acting like she was feeling much better. No vomit and a lot of jumping around and excitement. I’m not sure what happened, but I’m glad she’s back to normal.


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Trying something new- Updated with the final Freshpet review

When I first got Buffy I knew very little about dog food. I had a vague understanding of what constituted bad food, but very little knowledge of ingredients or dietary needs. In fact, last week, when giving out Buffy’s information to receive a review product from FreshPet I said she eats grain free food, then went on to say that she’s currently on Wellness Super 5 Chicken Flavor… Which is not grain free. Whoopsie. In my defense, I meant to say it is wheat free.
Since then I’ve decided to take a closer look into what I’m actually giving her, and hopefully find a happy medium between her dietary needs, and my need to pay rent.
Over the next two weeks I’ll be learning as much as I can about dog food, which will hopefully culminate with a comprehensive review of FreshPet’s slice and serve line of foods.

Here is my first impression:

Early this morning I was woken by a knocking at the door, which turned out to be my review package! I quickly ripped it open, and inside found a cute insolated bag, and three of their Slice and Serve Meals.

The entire package

Initially I was confused about what their guidelines for recommended feeding meant (Dog’s 5-20lbs eat ¼-1/4 lbs? what?) until I saw the handy measuring chart on the side of the package.

Easy weight measurement

The product itself is fairly easy to cut into, and is very, very lightly cooked. It has a good, firm, consistency, and can be sliced quite thin. Inside various fruits and vegetables popped out from the meat, which was heartening to see.
Here is a picture of the inside of their Vital line, which has no grains:

mmmm, looks good!

You can see Buffy in the background already sitting in anticipation!
For day 1 I used the Vital line mainly for treating, and I’ve honestly never seen Buffy perform tricks faster.

She'll do any trick for a slice!

In a few weeks I’ll be posting my final review. Right now things look good, but I haven’t given her much yet. Today I supplemented it with her normal Wellness Super 5.

Try not to notice how dorky my house is.

My fast little girl.


UPDATE- Final Freshpet Select Review:


Well Buffy absolutely loved this food.  It’s still the only food she’ll eat immediately and get excited over. The slice and serves she tried have high moisture content and are lightly cooked in order to hopefully remove parasites (which, as someone who has worked with common food and water borne parasites, this is a nice addition) while maintaining the food nutritional integrity.


Products tried:

Vital line– This is the more expensive of the products tried. Buffy seemed to like it more than the basic Freshpet select slices line, but honestly, not by much. She loved them both.

Freshpet Slices: The other slices she tried. Unfortunately while in both a Petco and Petsmart that carried the line, these products were not among the ones that they carried. She loved these too, and they’re considerably less expensive than the Vital line.


Final Line– If Freshpet wasn’t out of my price range I would definitely give it to Buffy everyday. She loves it, and it’s the only food that she’ll gobble down immediately, no matter how much I put in front of her. I think for camping this year I’m going to grab some of the basic Freshpet slices to give to Buffy because I think she could benefit form the increased moisture content while doing an increased amount of physical activity, and also I like how quickly she eats it. Then the food will have to sit out for less time, and I should (hopefully) be able to keep it well refrigerated in the meantime.




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The problem with pulling


Last Monday I did end up taking Buffy out to UMBC with Kate and Andy. The trip was fun, but Buffy never did stop pulling, no matter how far we walked, and how accustomed she go to the area.

I found it difficult to stop and just let her keep pulling without moving forward because it go to the point where she was actually choking herself.

Yesterday I decided to take action and went to Petsmart to look at different collars to hopefully remedy this problem.

Buffy currently uses the martingale, a collar I love due to the fact that Buffy has virtually no chance of escaping from it (and she’s a little escape artist).

Here’s a closeup of her current collar:

While there, one of the trainers showed me, and fitted Buffy for, an Easy Walk harness. While I’ve only had the harness on her for a few days, there’s been a definite difference in her behavior. Now instead of being on the end of her lead at all times, she’s constantly at my feet.

The harness does fit her a bit strangely, as the main part is not entirely vertical when viewing her from the side, as seen in this video:

So far our experience has been 100% positive (though I have to admit, she hated it at first), what has everyone else’s experience been with shibas pulling? Has anyone found their dog has escaped from this type of harness? Currently I have it finagled so if the harness fails the martingale will prevent escaping, but it’s kind of a hassle.

UPDATE (4.6.11)

After she got used to it, the harness did only a okay job at deterring her from pulling. She still pulls a good amount, but she’s gotten smarter about it, and twist herself in such a way where I really have to stop dead in order to stop her. She’s not choking herself anymore, which is a good thing, but her behavior is still going to require more work.



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Walk around the lake

So we all decided to go for a walk around the lake last friday after work because it was super nice out.

I also wanted to see if Buffy was dog aggressive. I already knew that she wasn’t really people aggressive (including small children), but was pretty sure she didn’t like most other dogs.

Well, besides pulling like crazy for the first hour, she also tried to pick a fight with no less than two pitbulls. I am a little afraid of letting her come close to dogs, to meet them, especially since she definitely growled more than once during the trip; however, I wonder if my body language may have somehting to do with her aggression.

For the first few dogs we went past I pulled her off the trail and stood in once place, watching the other dog walk by, and this elicited a strong negative response from her. Later I would ignore and just walk by the dogs, and she would do the same, or would just try to sniff them. Hmm.

Tomorrow I’ll either be taking her on campus (University of Maryland Baltimore County, which we live very close to) or to a local state park.

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More of the same

So in my last post I said that we were going to transition Buffy over to Blue Buffalo, but we ended up getting a sample of Wellness Super 5, and she absolutely loved it, so we’ve decided to transition her over to that instead. She’s been a litte bit gassier on it, but it’s not too bad, and I think the transition is just a little harder on her stomach right now.

Since she seems to be settling in so well I’ve decided to start training her. Right now she’ll easily do “sit,” “up (Which gets her to jump),” “stay,” and “come.” But it’s a little tougher to get her to do them outdoors. Luckily it’s supposed to be warmer here on Friday, and I’m not working then, so we’ll be taking her to the lake for a few hours of walking and socializing.

Hopefully she won’t pull too much, and it’ll be a nice chance to see if she’ll obey me in the new environment! Expect lots of pictures!

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Finally eating

So Buffy has been home for a few days now, and I think she’s finally settling in.

She’s started to consistently eat (but isn’t consistently pooping yet…), and I think in a week I’m going to try and switch her over to Blue Buffalo Chicken and Rice for food and in the meantime I’ve started free feeding her. Yes, I know it’s discouraged, but I’ve found that when I do that she actually eats everything she’s supposed to, and she’s had no accidents in the apartment, so I see no reason to discontinue this method until she’s at least gained the weight I’d like her to.

I also bought her pig ears, dental bones, and some other things for her to chew on (with supervision) to keep her teeth healthy. Turns out, with the exception of the pig ears, she hates them (And I’ve only caught her nibbling on the pig ears once!.  So I’m kind of getting discouraged with finding her treats/toys she actually likes.

I’m picking up her heartworm medicine tomorrow and I’m little nervous about getting her to actually eat it.

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