Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Water Safety: Sink or Swim

Anyone who knows Niko knows that water is not his favorite element. During Niko's first summer, when we introduced him to the kayak, he did okay. We didn't let him touch the water; we just put him in the kayak and rowed away. He was very curious because he sniffed and looked around.
Four Months Old
Fast forward to his second summer (last year), we did the same thing. This time, Niko jumped ship! It gave us quite a scare but to our surprise, he swam to shore very quickly. We learned that he can swim.

1 Year Old
But, we're not going to take our chances. We are contemplating doing a camping trip where we have to kayak and hike to our camp site this summer. In preparation, we bought Niko a life vest. We are months away from camping season, but we want to be sure he's ready :)
To his confusion, we put the vest on him at home. Of course, he's not a fan. We plan to do this every so often so he gets used to wearing it. He doesn't know it, but it's for his own good. He loves the outdoors and this is one sacrifice he'll have to make.
We have seen little backpacks for dogs to carry on their backs. Maybe Niko will have to pull his own weight on the camping/hiking trip by carrying his food and water. Just kidding, we won't do that unless he balloons up to the size of a husky by summertime. 
"Ugh, I look like a banana"

Monday, March 14, 2011

Niko's Prey (Killer Instinct)

I have seen Niko go through enough furry toys to make some important observations. 

He picks up his prey by the head with his mouth of course. He shakes his head violently with the poor animal in his mouth. This is to knock it unconscious. Next, he works on the eyes. He doesn't give up until the eyes of his prey are gone. All his toys are eyeless. With the eyes gone, he's now found a hole where he proceeds to take the stuffing out. Depending on the quality of the toy, it could take him a few minutes or a few hours to get to this point.
After this, he may let go of the toy or we take away to try to make the purchase last more than a day. When he comes back to it, he chews the head pretty good. Often, if we get to the toy, the head is unrecognizable and the tail is almost untouched. 
The animal pictured on this post is a squirrel. 
Vital organs missing

Looking innocent
Perhaps it is in his nature to know how to "kill" in order to survive. Shiba Inus have a history of being bird hunting dogs in Japan after all. Interestingly enough, Niko was out in the yard on the tether yesterday. I looked out the window and saw a live squirrel hopping around. I went outside to check on Niko because he always lunges toward squirrels to chase them. I found him up on the hill by the deck cowering back and looking at the squirrel. Not so vicious after all, are you Niko?

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Snow Excitement

We are approaching the end of the winter season. Fortunately for Niko, we are still getting tons of snow every time we think there is no more. The white stuff gets the little guy very excited. He is extra bouncy and playful.  He prefers to have someone to play in the snow with him. Every time he sees me gathering snow in my gloved hands, he runs up to me, fixated on the snowball. He likes to chase the snowballs we throw and he also likes when we gather snow in our arms and throw it up in the air. When Ed tried to build a snowman, Niko barked at the ball of snow that was being rolled around. The snowman didn't get formed because of Niko's  dislike of it. He also dislikes the inflatable snow tube. He chases us as we slide down the hill, but when we walk back up with it, he barks. 

Niko jumps a lot higher when we play in the snow. I think it's a combination of his excitement over snow and the soft landing from his jumps.

Kangaroo pose