Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Take a hike!

Last weekend, Koji and I drove down with two of my friends and two of their dogs to take a hike around McKinney Park in Austin. It was a great day that left Koji's tail wagging while he walked toward the end of the trail that stretched a couple miles. A little cool during the day, but comfortable with a few shirts and a scarf protecting me from the slight chill, and seemed perfect for all of the dogs there. I was also proud that Koji did not pant in his crate the whole way down, as he did to the Alamo. He seemed a little more calm and relaxed, with only a few panting episodes, which is most definitely an improvement. He already gets excited by being in a car, and is a little nervous in crates in general (though will calm down after a few minutes to go to sleep when not in addition with the car.) Again, the dogs were all zonked for the ride home, and Koji didn't wake up until the race in the complex where we went over a few speed bumps (oops!).

The only tragedy was that Deshi, one of the Shibas, apparently is going through a Teenaged-Turd age and just suddenly decides he doesn't like some dogs sometimes, but is okay a few minutes later. It resulted in Baker's ear being bit, a little blood, and a few angry barks at Deshi (who completely deserved a telling off) but she didn't seem bothered with the injury and let us touch and handle it to help the clotting. I think she was just more surprised and upset more than hurt.

In other news, Thanksgiving at the in-laws actually went really well since we let Koji off the leash in the house. He was very well behaved, stayed nearby most of the time (except when he just HAD to run on the stairs) and got spoiled with lots of turkey. Maybe we need to just let him off leash in houses more often and he might behave better. Still going to take it slow and not have him go over all the time, though, for my sanity at least. Test #2 of off leash sleeping went REALLY well last night (as opposed to the first time we tried and he ate my favorite sandals...), he stayed in his bed the whole time and only came out of the bedroom when we called him out. I'm getting proud and pleasantly surprised with the small steps of progress my little fuzzbutt makes in being a well mannered member of our family.

As always, photos of the meetup can be found on the meetup page here: McKinney Falls Hike

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

I remembered, you rememberd?

This past weekend, I conned two friends of mine to drive the 5 hours down south to San Antonio and visit the Alamo with a bunch of other Shibas for a meetup. Koji did very well, though he hardly got an ounce of sleep the night before (motel freaked him out a little) and he was a nervous little leaf until we actually started walking on the Riverwalk, he was well behaved and greeted some of the Shibas as old friends he hadn't seen in quite some time, which was great to see. I made Texas flag bandanas to show off our proud Texas doggies at THE Texas landmark. I replaced the star with a paw.

We took pictures at the Alamo, walked along a scenic river, got asked what dogs we had countless times (and even overheard someone remark that we were a Corgi club...) and ate lunch out on a patio, where Koji insisted on sitting in my lap for a while, though he can never stand to do that at home. By the time the meetup was over and all the pictures had been taken, we walked back to the car, chatting up with Carina (the meetup coordinator and who I picked Koji up from those months ago) Koji was more than eager to get back into the car and his crate, despite the fact he panted the whole way down the night before. My little guy was so tired that he pretty much slept in the car next to his buddy, Dug, the whole ride up to Austin (for a few detours and dinner) and almost the whole ride home north of Dallas. I think he had a great day and was even tired the day after. Can't wait until the 5th for that hike we'll take at McKinney Park in Austin, I know he's going to have a lot of fun.

Some of the Alamo pictures can be seen here: Alamo Meetup 2009. You can tell which one Koji is since he was the leggiest and skinniest of all the Shibas there, as well as the one with the uncurliest tail. Everyone else seemed to have more of a donut tail while Koji was one of the only ones with a samurai tail (Crockett had one, I believe, though his is kept curled more than Koji's ever is.) He is average weight, too, so I don't know what to tell you. ;)

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Takin' a break.exe

Friday nights at my in-laws has been a family tradition for years, now. It's a time that my husband and I go over in the evenings, usually with a few other friends, and we hang out, eat dinner, watch a movie, play games, swim in their pool, and otherwise just relax and unwind from the week. Since these hang out days were important to us, we looked for a rescue that could get along with other dogs (and possibly cats) so that he or she could tag along with us.

Enter Koji, the ideal house guest! Well, sort of. He plays well with my in-law's dog, Goose, and wants to play with the cats (waggle butt and all) much to the dismay of Reese, but they pretty much leave each other alone. We let the dogs go nuts in the back yard, which Koji enjoys more than Goose, and usually stays out longer, and when they come in they rough house a little bit. It's the Shiba style of play, a little rough, rather mouthy, and full of funny vocalizations. While it sometimes looks like Koji is beating up on Goose, the mini Schnauzer usually charges right back in to try again, and they are usually broken up before anything gets bad, but we know they both have a good time since they are just DYING to get to each other to sniff butts and generally see how life has been since they last met.

Unfortunately, after Thanksgiving, I don't think Koji will be coming over with us for a while. It has little to do with my dog's actions and more to do with the other people's reactions.

With excitement and new people, Koji will sometimes think that humping is a good idea. It happened, he got caught in the act, promptly taken off and carried to time out in a closed bathroom. 10 minutes later, he was able to come back out and rejoin the fun and he did not try that again with anyone, proving that my method works (and I was paying attention to him throughout the night, as well.) But while Koji and Goose play fight all over the living room, with Koji on his 20' lead and Goose having free reign, people felt inclined to break the two up occasionally as Koji looks, well, downright mean when he plays. I have no problem with that, but the problem I have is the way they break them up then only punish Koji, with rough shoves and alpha rolls. One offender in particular will break them up, Koji will stop and move on (either in thought or physically move on) and then this person will shove Koji after the fact and when it has no relation to him of anything he was doing the 30 seconds before.

What happens when you shove Koji (or any Shiba?) That's right, they shove back harder, which ends up in Koji not respecting these people and I saw a few instances of him motioning to mouth people as he was coming back for more. What's more surprising to me is how my in-laws have NO IDEA how to deal with this kind of dog even though they've had several American Eskimos and used to work with the rescue. Didn't Hawk or any of the million Angels they had in their home have similar tendencies? But I feel it is immensely unfair that my dog gets shoved and forced to the ground while their dog goes away free, though he instigated many of these "problems" as well and was just more quiet about it. I mean, don't get me wrong, when a bop on the snout is what is going to stop him from playing rough with people (for instance, he kept trying to charge and mouth one of our friends, because unfortunately Jeff allows it with him) then sure. He certainly didn't try that again, but was still content to sit near us and have us pet and mess with him in a nice way. But bullying my dog around, yelling and pulling and pushing him to the ground is NOT okay, and I don't feel like I need to babysit the actions for two dogs and 6 other people.

Why don't I just speak up right then when it happens? I don't believe they share my same training thoughts and I don't feel I am ready now to stand up to them and be prepared to take the negativity. And while I keep an eye on him, if I'm not doing anything, I don't see it as a problem, because I know my dog, and I know their dog better than my in-laws do for that matter.

So, until I feel more okay with these people, my friends and family, who tend to use aggressive Cesar techniques that would never work with my dog, he can relax at home in his bed while we're away. It's just not worth it right now, and I'm uncomfortable raising the point with them that what they are doing is essentially taking my child out back for mouthing off and slapping him upside the head instead of letting me take care of it with methods I feel more comfortable with and I know that work. Koji still needs some more work and training, I know this, but he actually does fantastically well and is only a year and a half. Though I still believe that this has more to do with the people than the dog.

Next weekend, Koji and I visit the Alamo to meet up with other Shibas and have lunch, and it's inevitable that he should be with us at Thanksgiving, being it's an all day family affair and we might be staying over till that Friday evening. Perhaps instead of going over to their place, he'll get to have more dog park time. I just wish I was strong enough to say something.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Intelligent Conversations

Our conversation got cut off by a phonecall, but it was still fun. I'll see if he's more talkative tonight.

Also, trying to spread more smiles in light of all this awful news lately. I'll let you know how that turns out.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

For those in the know: Jerk Wad

Made a doll for my niece's costume for Halloween. She wanted to be Coraline this year and when my sister said that she was outbid on a doll on eBay, I stepped up and said I would make it for Megan, no problem! This thing was more work than I expected, and didn't come out exactly how I had pictured, but I think I got pretty close.

The body of the doll is a pre-made blank muslin doll that I painted the shirt and stockings directly on. The face, bow and boots are made out of Wonderflex, a workable plastic that you mold with a heat gun that I seem to have this unhealthy relationship with. I make almost everything with this stuff. Perhaps the face should have been made wider, but I was feeling a bit rushed sometimes. Hair is out of yarn, skirt is from a sheer trim that I was able to make look like a layered skirt, and the jacket is out of a yellow duck cloth. No patterns, and it's a good thing I've made many shirts and jackets in my costuming days, otherwise I might not have had a clue. I just eyeballed it and sketched it out with pencil, though the hood ended up just a little small, even after doing it over. Everything was painted with acrylic paints and was made over the course of a total of maybe 2 days with many a Psych and Hell's Kitchen episodes.

And though I might not be 100% happy with it and it doesn't look exactly like the one from the movie, my 5 1/2 year old niece saw the picture I texted to my sister and had to call me up right away to say how excited she was to get it, and that made everything perfect.

Saturday, October 24, 2009


So, it's been about two and a half months since we brought our fuzzbutt home. He already had a solid "sit" when we got him and now has a fairly good "wait" that we can rely on him doing about 85% of the time (with a continual repeat of the command, he will wait at the door or away from his food.) Of course he's also a Shiba, so sometimes he knows what we want, I can see that ear of his acknowledging me, but he'd rather not. Frustrating at times, yes, but he's catching on he still has to do what I ask before he can get what he wants. Rarely he just figures he doesn't need whatever I will reward him with that badly and will forget the whole thing. Stubborn little cat-dog.

For about a month now, my husband and I have been trying to teach him "paw", where he'll touch one of our hands with his paw, almost like a shake. He doesn't mind us touching his paws terribly much, and I see his leg move back at the command, but it's like pulling teeth to get him to do it. I usually have to start poking on the back of his leg before he'll move it, then I say the command again and give him his treat. I'm thinking maybe his reward needs to be better, but there's only so many pieces of cheese or hot dog I'd be willing to give him. Been looking into other treats, but I want something he'd like, wouldn't be terrible in larger training quantities, and isn't chicken. Also been meaning to teach Koji other tricks like "down", "crawl", and "make dinner" though I feel the last one might be left to dreams and fantasy lands.

I've been thinking of picking up a book on clicker training and wondering if that might help in letting him know faster that he just did a behavior we want. I feel like I might be confusing him a little (on top of his stubborn nature) so perhaps a more clear cut clicker answer might be what we need, though I'd have to read up on how to use it, first.

On a different note, I think Koji is starting to shed. :(

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

What have I been up to?

So I start this new blog and then don't post in it! I'm 50 kinds of lazy and only 25 kinds of forgetful. Here's hoping I can make this some sort of weekly thing to update. But here's what's been going on for the past, holy cow, two months:

We adopted a dog through the Texas Shiba Inu Rescue (sort of). I say sort of, since he didn't technically go through rescue, but we were contacted by rescue volunteers on this owner surrender. Koji is about a year and a half old, neutered, and unfortunately is already showing early signs for luxating patellas. He's been with us for about two months and is an absolute sweetheart and everything we expected him to be, if not just a little easy for a Shiba. No total horror stories as of yet, save my favorite sandals being killed by my own fault of leaving both him and them out together late at night.

Next, hubby and I celebrated our first year of marriage with old cake and leftover champagne.

The cake was alright, if not just a tiny bit dry, and the almond flavoring was becoming overpowering after a few days, but not bad. Champagne was still excellent. We gave each other old magazines from WWII (paper anniversary, afterall) and Jeff bought me new computer speakers while I promised I'd get his old Royal typewriter fixed in working condition.

Texas State Fair!

Went to the "Fried Food Capital of Texas" and had a great time. Tried Fried Butter, had my Chocolate Covered Strawberry Waffle Ball, sat in a few cars, tried a new beer, and witnessed history in the making when we had the fine people at Flecher's Corny Dogs deep fry a cheeseburger. It was damn tasty (and the people there rocked our socks off!). Truly a great day which ended with taco soup at the in-laws.

Made a Halloween exchange box for some friends on the Dogster Shiba Inu forum with homemade treats inside.

Also made a bed, a decorated treat jar, and a toy for the Midwest Shiba Inu Rescue's Halloween auction. Should go up on eBay on the 25th.

Tried going to Barktoberfest, but ended up getting rained out, so Koji and Dug had fun messing around at a nearby dog park (thanks to Nicole!). Ended up going to a last minute meetup that benefitted a local no-kill shelter here Carrollton/Addison way called Operation Kindess. Won an XXL shirt from a raffle, ate food at an English pub, got some awesome free water bottles and showed off Koji's costume:

The back actually has Zero's likeness from Nightmare Before Christmas ala original Ghostbusters logo. We didn't win, but had lots of positive comments about it. Yuki-san and Jiro (shiba buddies) were also there as Bolt and a fire dog, respectively. They looked pretty amazing, too.

Now that we're up to speed, it's time to get cracking on more things. Making an Other Mother Coraline doll for my oldest niece for Halloween, going to try and make something special (Tinkerbell?) for second oldest niece, clean, make an awesome Katamari for a contest, and wait for Koji's custom leash and collar to get finished. Been keeping busy, but it's nice to just slow down and enjoy a great clear day like today in Dallas, low 70s, cool breeze, warm sun. Mmm, just like California.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Royal Rainbow!

So a good friend of mine just had her birthday last week, and about two months ago, I demanded to do her cake. I really love to bake and figured I could use this opportunity to better my technique, show off some things I learned in my Wilton classes, and maybe enter into that Threadcakes competition. Well, didn't end up doing the Threadcakes, but I did end up with something pretty amazing.

A hint to what it might be?

It was pretty fun getting into the whole long involved baking thing. I haven't really done that for a while (save the Wilton classes) since it's been so busy so far this year. I followed this recipe by Smitten Kitchen. Super delicious and I'd suggest anyone to give it a try.

Here you can see some more fine Wilton methods, though for the edge I got lazy and just used a cut piping bag. Made a quick and dirty border, but the chocolate ganache was absolutely amazing with this cake.

If you don't recognize the face in the middle, well SHAME ON YOU! No, seriously, that's the King of All Cosmos from one of my favorite game series Katamari Damacy. If you have a PS2, a 360 or a PSP, definitely pick up one of the four games in the series, though the best are probably the first two. Anyway, a trademark move of the King (besides speaking in the royal we) would be his ability the Royal Rainbow, in which he'll call back his son (The Prince) and his completed Katamari to be judged. I had a few comments on how I should have added rainbow candy or something similar since I clearly advertised a rainbow but there was just nothing there!

It's almost like a toy surprise inside, isn't it?

I had honestly planned on making her birthday cake because my husband and I were poor as dirt at the time, but since landing my job, we were able to get her a few other little gifts as well, such as a playable Boggle keychain and a gift certificate to our local Korean market. Though, I must say, if this was going to be our only present to her, I think she still would have appreciated the colorful wonders inside.

I also have to say that this is not my own brainchild, but something I heard about from a food subforum and knew I just HAD to try. I didn't realize it would be the perfect opportunity to use it for the party until I was at the store (and good thing, too!)

Oh yeah. I'll do it again.

Monday, July 27, 2009

I'm no good at these things...

Finally getting around to starting up something new. This blog is open for any and all who care to read, so long as they don't mind delving into some everyday things such as weight training, pet care, birthdays, baking, costumes, video games, trips and anything else that might come up.

So, a little about me, I am a 23 year old newlywed and newly grad that has some things to write down for my own intents and purposes. I was born in a suburb outside of Houston, grew up in a suburb outside of Los Angeles, then moved to Dallas the summer before I turned 20 for school and love, I guess. Now I'm currently working at my first REAL job outside of college and trying to experience the real world without two month summer vacations and midterms. Hopefully I can better chronicle my life than what I have been doing on other blogs in the past and have some fun along the way!