|Barked: Tue Jan 8, '08 3:47am PST |
|Mitsu is 4 months old in a few days, so my experiences are very limited. We've had her since she was 9 weeks old. Here's what I've learned so far...
I found toilet training was very easy. I think the breeder had done a great job in teaching the pups to go outside. We only had a few accidents in the first few weeks, and now we've been accident-free for about a month!
I recommend using a crate. Mitsu only cried the first night we brought her home and crated her . Since then we have been able to put her in the crate overnight from 10:30pm to 6:30pm with no accidents or crying. She will never foul her crate as she likes it to be clean - when we come down in the morning, and let her out she'll run to the door and pee or poo outside! In fact, nowadays, she sometimes demands her breakfast first before going outside, (indicated by sitting by the food bowls) -so that's almost 9 hours of holding her pee.
The crate is also great for chill-out time. We never use it as punishment, but if Mitsu gets too feisty we will calmly pick her up and put her in the crate. After a couple of minutes, when she has calmed down, we will let her out again.
As Mistu is so calm and feels so safe in her crate, it makes car-travel a breeze. She's normally asleep within a few minutes of setting off. We have done 5 hour car journeys with her in the crate, stopping only once for a pee and some water to drink.
A couple of weeks ago, Mitsu stopped biting so much, as I think she started to mature a bit, but then the teething started in earnest and she started mouthing again! I generally try to replace objects I don't want her to bite with her toys so she knows what to bite on. If no toys are to hand and 'no bite' doesn't work, I will try holding her mouth gently shut and saying it. If that fails, some crate time is in order!
I'm not sure if this is typical of all shibas, but Mitsu never tires on her walks. I have taken her for walks of 2 to 3 miles and when we get home she'll do the shiba-500 round the garden for 5 minutes afterwards! We tend to do one big walk, or two smaller walks a day. We haven't missed a day of walkies since she has been fully immunized. She is a lot calmer if we have done more exercise.
Mitsu is lazy in the morning, and once she's done her business outside at around 7am, she will go back to sleep on the sofa, or by the radiator, until about 11am, when she'll perk up a bit and pad around the house calmly. By midday she's ready for her first walk. We have friends with German Spitzs and they say their dogs exhibit the same pattern. After the lunchtime walk, she'll sleep again for a few hours in the afternoon.
I agree with Iz, that you need to play with your shiba a lot. I tend to spend about an hour in the evening playing fetch with a rubber ball (in the house), or tug of war, or getting her to do tricks. Mitsu learned 'sit', 'stay', 'down' and 'come' quite quickly, but will only do them if she sees something in it for her (i.e. food!).
I also agree that firm, fair and calm discipline works the best. If we let anger or frustration creep in to our voices, it sends Mitsu even more crazy than before we tried to discipline her! Cesar's calm assertiveness really does work.
Mitsu has met loads of adults, children and dogs, and loves them all. She is very excited for the first few minutes, but soon calms down and although she can sometimes be a bit mouthy, she is very affectionate with strangers. We're going to puppy school starting this week, so that will be yet more socialization.
Edited by author Tue Jan 8, '08 3:52am PST
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