Saturday, January 30, 2010

Niko's Vacation

¡Hola! We are back from vacationing in Mexico for a week. We minus Niko, that is. No pity for Niko, though.  He spent the week with Ed's parents, which sure beats Niko's usual humble abode.  The house is bigger, there's 60 acres of land (about 59 acres more than what Niko has at home), and his pal Sandy, a yellow lab.

The feedback we received was that Niko's very independent, active, and fun.  As with most Shiba Inus, Niko has a tendency to wander off and is very curious, especially when he is outside.  His ability to come when called vanishes once he is out the door. Due to a scare during Christmas where Niko went off on his own into the woods, we are all hesitant to let him off the leash. Sandy on the other hand, is a great role model, she runs to you when you call her.   
Mr. S tried different techniques to allow Niko lots of outside time while looking out for his safety. He connected Niko to Sandy with short leash. He also tied Niko to objects that would slow him down a little, such as a paint can. The paint can didn't slow Niko down at all. A bucket and PVC pipe were also employed.  Here's a picture of Niko and the PVC pipe.  The pipe made it easier to spot Niko out in the wild.  

Being away from Niko for a week was tough, but knowing he was in good hands and that he was on his own little vacation definitely helped.  His experience is way more fun compared to his usual routine of being crated while we are at work.  It was a great feeling greeting him when we returned. He greeted us with a ton of excitement and wagged his tail and let us give him lots of smooches and hugs.

Monday, January 18, 2010

The Igloo, a cool abode

One of the most common breeds Niko gets mistaken for is the husky. The resemblances are there- the curly fluffed up tail, pointy ears, the intelligent facial expression, and brave stance.  Huskies are arctic dogs.  As such, Niko now has an igloo as a dog house.  He enjoys it very much.  He huddles in it, digs, and graciously backs out with his hind legs.

Sunday, January 10, 2010


Lately, Niko's been crying wolf.  Perhaps it is his affinity for snow that makes him want to go outside all the time.  He shows signs that he wants to go outside by standing up and touching the door with his front paws and points his nose to the door knob. There are times when he sits on the welcome mat, guarding the door so that he would not miss an opportunity when the door opens.  At first, whenever this happens, we would leash him up and take him outside, thinking he needs to go potty.  Well, not quite. A lot of the times, his goal is to run around and play with the snow once he's outside.
Having said that, we don't let him out every time he goes by the door unless it's been a couple of hours since his last potty break.  
Sidenote: Niko sleeps in his crate in a spare bedroom.  In the morning, he lets the world knows he's awake and ready to get out by digging/scratching at the gate.  His digging action causes a noisy rumbling noise.  I prefer this noise over barking or yelping.

During the middle of the day, I heard that rumbling of the crate noise. I thought to myself that it was strange because we didn't put Niko in the crate and he almost never goes into the crate when it's not bedtime. I go look at what's going on and Niko is in the crate scratching. Next, he runs down the hallway and goes to the door. Ah hah! He found a way to tell us, "I'm not kidding this time, I really do have to go potty!" Sure enough, he did his deed as soon as he was outside.  Niko learned that scratching the crate causes us to give him attention and letting him out of the crate. I don't think this was a coincidence because he's done the scratch-the-crate-alert twice this weekend and both times, he kept his word/scratch.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Cleanup Dog

Happy New Year to all.  As many of us make resolutions to exercise more and eat healthier, I want to say that having a dog sure helps.  The obvious reason is that you have to take your dog out for potty breaks and walks, requiring you to go outside no matter how cold it is.

Having a dog also means having a shadow whenever you're eating...for me at least.  Every time I eat, Niko drops whatever he's doing and sits patiently, waiting for scraps.  He bats cleanup for me during meal times. Which means, as soon as I feel full, I stop eating and give the rest to my buddy boy Niko.  This helps me eat lighter and makes Niko a happy dog.

Niko is also a part-time dishwasher.  His appetite also aids our dishwashing process.  Give any dish that has a light layer of sauce or hard to get out scraps to Niko and he will lick it clean for us. It's amazing really.  Today, I made a yummy tuna casserole that left me with a glass pan with gooey Campbell's cream of mushroom soup.  Niko spent a good 10 minutes on it and there was not a smudge left!  Who knew? Having a dog also helps me be greener because I save water by skipping the pre-rinse step of washing my dishes.