Jericho Comes Home

I've never had a cat before but have been looking forward to bringing my husband's cat home. Now that Jericho has been with us and able to settle in, I have a much better appreciation for 'cat people' than I could when I was better defined as a 'dog person'.

lounging Jeri

My husband did a really excellent job with raising Jeri. He tolerates all kinds of handling very well and is a very affectionate cat. He was even very well behaved on the long drive from where he was in New Mexico to where we live in Colorado. He's becoming more playful and energetic as he settles into his new home and I look forward to having him around for a good many years to come.

Having a cat is requiring a lot of learning though...

How do you train a cat? They don't seem to be wired like dogs who will perform a task in order to please or will work for food at the very least.

Connected with training, how do you properly reinforce behaviors and boundaries? Praise, affection, treats that work with dogs can't necessarily be applied to cats.

What ingredients/amounts/ratios are ideal in cat food. How do you know if you are feeding the right amount? How do you determine ideal protein sources for your cat?

What is the best way to introduce Jeri to Ki when he comes home in February? What should we be doing now to prepare for that event?

With my husband's help, and a lot of research, I'll be cat-knowledgeable before you know it. Until then, I'll continue to get used to the differences in dog and cat, and you'll start seeing posts from Jeri!

Snow and Progress

We had a few days of light but steady snow here in Colorado. It made me so excited to have Ki out here soon to run and play. He's going to love it.

We're moving into our rad apartment this weekend and picking up Jeri the weekend after that. So much happening! I'm so excited about all of it. :D

C-BARQ Assessment

I saw Maisy's results on the Shiba Inu Spirit: C-BARQ post and thought I'd give Ki a run.

I made an account on the C-BARQ website (created by the University of Pennsylvania - Veterinary Medicine Department) and I did two runs through the test. One that shows his score based on the behavior he displayed during his first year with me and one for his current behavior levels.

I've included the Score Key below for reference (and color-coded the results for ease of comparison):

  • Gold Star - A score within good-normal range.
  • Red Flag - A less favorable score than at least 75% of dogs tested.
  • Double Red Flags - A less favorable score than at least 90% of dogs tested.

Ki's Old Score (based on behavior displayed after adoption at 1.5 years of age):

  • Stranger-Directed Aggression - Red Flag - 84th Percentile
  • Owner-Directed Aggression - Double Red Flags - 91st Percentile
  • Dog-Directed Aggression - Gold Star - 12th Percentile
  • Trainability - Red Flag - 22nd Percentile
  • Chasing - Gold Star - 71st Percentile
  • Stranger-Directed Fear - Double Red Flags - 95th Percentile
  • Nonsocial Fear - Gold Star - 61st Percentile
  • Separation-Related Problems - Double Red Flags - 96th Percentile
  • Touch Sensitivity - Red Flag - 85th Percentile
  • Excitability - Double Red Flags - 94th Percentile
  • Attachment/Attention-Seeking - Gold Star - 72nd Percentile
  • Energy - Double Red Flags - 94th Percentile

(The rest are based on single questions and may be less reliable.)

  • Mounting - Double Red Flags
  • Begging - Red Flag
  • Food Stealing - Double Red Flags
  • Pulling on Leash - Double Red Flags
  • Marking with Urine - Double Red Flags
  • Hyperactivity - Double Red Flags
  • Tail-Chasing - Red Flag
  • Barking - Red Flag
  • Grooming Self - Double Red Flags

As you can see Ki needed a lot of work. I remember times when I questioned whether it was possible to change his bad behavior...times when I considered whether it would be better to let him live out his days at the rescue because he couldn't really be a good housemate. Ki had 11 Doubles and 6 Regular Red Flags (Maisy has 12 Doubles and 6 Regulars).

But it turns out that sticking with him and learning as much as I was training was worthwhile! While Ki's current scores are still far from perfect, he's made so much progress and is continuing to make even more as time goes on.

Ki's Current Score:

  • Stranger-Directed Aggression - Red Flag - 79th Percentile
  • Owner-Directed Aggression - Red Flag - 80th Percentile
  • Dog-Directed Aggression - Gold Star - 12th Percentile
  • Trainability - Gold Star - 35th Percentile
  • Chasing - Gold Star - 71st Percentile
  • Stranger-Directed Fear - Double Red Flags - 92nd Percentile
  • Nonsocial Fear - Gold Star - 61st Percentile
  • Separation-Related Problems - Double Red Flags - 94th Percentile
  • Touch Sensitivity - Gold Star - 70th Percentile
  • Excitability - Gold Star - 66th Percentile
  • Attachment/Attention-Seeking - Gold Star - 41st Percentile
  • Energy - Gold Star - 73rd Percentile

(The rest are based on single questions and may be less reliable.)

  • Escaping/Roaming - Red Flag
  • Mounting - Red Flag
  • Hyperactivity - Red Flag
  • Tail-Chasing - Red Flag
  • Grooming Self - Red Flag

I want to do the test again in another year to see how the scores change, because I believe we'll see even more improvement. I do know that some dogs have problems that mean they can only really fit in certain homes and situations, but I hope that Ki's progress gives hope to those that are working with a difficult dog. Especially for people like Jen at Shiba Inu Spirit that are going into the situation with so much more knowledge and experience than I had when I started with Ki (and likely more than I have even now!).

Of Thanks and Home

We've been back in the US for awhile and it's been awesome. We're still working at getting properly settled out here but it feels really good to be working to that end. It's difficult for us to wait on bringing the critters out but it's really important for us to have the right place so that our pack can live as harmoniously as possible. Once we've done that, we can bring the animals into their new home.

In the meantime we are staying with a couple of our awesome friends here and getting our dog fix with Annie, their rescued mutt pup,
Annie (Miss Pants)

and Harry, a border collie who is visiting for the holidays.
Harry paying attention

We'll be posting more as we settle in and begin planning for bringing the pets home so be sure to check back soon!

From Desert to Snowy Mountains

We finally have a date set and flights booked for our move back home. 'Home' is Colorado which is nice and snowy compared to the still 90+ degree temperatures here in Kuwait.

Going home is very exciting. It's very easy to take being near friends and family, having resources and services you are used to, and being a citizen of the country you live in and what that means for granted. Now, after many months away from everything that is 'home', we're heading back. It still hasn't fully sunk in that it's not just for a visit...that we are really going home. As we get closer to 'go time' we are talking a lot about what we are looking forward to. Sometimes it's something like a food or restaurant that we miss, but usually it's about the people and animals that make us feel at home.

We've been talking a lot about our excitement at working with Ki on his training, goals that we have for our work with him, the road trip we'll be taking with him to bring him from California to Colorado (the official start of Typing with Paws), introducing him to snow, and introducing him to the new people and new places that will make up home. We've been talking about picking up Jeri, how we'll introduce him to Ki, how we'll setup our place so he has his own proper spots.

For both of us, our animals are very much part of the family and part of being home. Give your animal and human family members some love. You'll hear from us again when we're back in the US!

Adopt-A-Shelter-Dog Month

Jen at Shiba Inu Spirit blogged about October being Adopt-a-Shelter-Dog month. She's fostered and otherwise helped a number of shelter dogs so that they could find forever homes with families that were right for them. Her new pup, Maisy, is even an adopted shelter dog like me!

I wanted to help spread the word about Adopt-a-Shelter-Dog month. There are so many animals in shelters and with animal rescue services that need homes. If you have the resources (this is important because we do require money, space, and YOUR TIME!) consider adopting an awesome dog to be your companion. If you don't have the resources to adopt, consider donating just your time or some money or even requested items to a local shelter or breed rescue that you want to support.

Dogs like me wouldn't have had much of a chance without shelters and rescue efforts to place us in good homes. We also wouldn't have a chance without responsible humans who are willing to make a commitment to us for the rest of our lives.

Shelter dogs dream of "happily ever after", too!
sleepy Ki
  • Want to learn more about Adopt-a-Dog month? Check out the ASPCA or American Humane pages dedicated to this special month.
  • Want to see dogs available in your area? A search on Petfinder can show you dog in shelters and breed rescues near you.
Spread the word! Help give shelter dogs a chance at finding their perfect human during Adopt-a-Dog month and every month.


Scary-Looking Dog

I live in the San Francisco Bay Area. It's a very diverse place and that allows for a lot of fun (and food!) but it has also allowed me to experience something that is a problem for other dogs I know.

People are afraid of me because of the way I look.

I'm a spitzy-boy...
fat Ki look

Some people think I look like a dingo:

[photo by Ogwen on Flickr]

There are so many cultures here that I even get mistaken for a dhole (not everyone would know what those are!):

[photo by Guwashi999 on Flickr]

Whether they realize it or not, this 'wildness' in my look often makes them afraid. People have even gone so far as to bring their children inside when I walk by. They don't know that I love children and that attention is good for me. Rainy says good interactions reinforce good reactions. There are so many people that don't even give me a chance. Smaller dogs are seen as 'cute' but larger or 'primitive' looking dogs are often considered 'aggressive'...just like that! There are even laws passed that ban breeds completely! Even if a dog is a certified Canine Good Citizen they could be forced to leave their home or even euthanized if they are found to be a banned breed in an area where they aren't allowed. This kind of thinking really hurts us dogs and doesn't resolve the issues that can lead to a dog behaving aggressively.

I'd like to invite everyone to consider the dogs they might see as they are out and about. If you've ever avoided saying hello to their owner just because of they way they looked, maybe you should re-think it. I'm not saying that you should run up and hug every dog you see (I think I'll teach you about how to say hello properly in the next entry), but talk to a dog's humans and learn about them as individuals. You may be surprised at what you learn, and you could make a friend out of a dog and their human who are so often avoided.

Remember that the breed doesn't make the problem! Bad situations, bad handling, fear and stress can make a dog react aggressively. These aren't reactions that occur because of our skeletal structure, fur color, or size. Small dogs and big dogs of any breed can react aggressively without proper care, handling, and training. Small and big dogs of any breed can also make great pets, good friends, and happy members of your community.

Make understanding dogs as individuals a habit! Support owners in their quest to foster balance and happiness in their dog and report those who abuse them.

Maybe I'll give you a high-five on my next walk.


An Early Intro to the blogDog and Typing with Paws

Hi, I'm Rainy and I'm one of the few humans you will see on this blog. Although most of the posts here will come directly from the dog's paws, I wanted to give an introduction to the blogDog, Kitsune. We want you to have a better idea of who the blogDog is before he starts posting about what he's up to.

Kitsune has a rather mysterious background. From his genetics to his history before he wound up in an animal shelter...all we can do is guess. He's likely a mix that includes Shiba Inu. The rescue thought he might also be a Jindo mix. He's definitely got a lot of asian spitz influence in his look (and behavior). Oh, you want to see him?

Here is Kitsune, the blogDog.
(It's an old picture so don't tease him. He's lost weight since then.)
fat Ki standing

Ki was not properly socialized with dogs or people before he ended up in a shelter. This made his chances of adoption rather slim. Luckily, a Shiba Inu-specific breed rescue picked him up to give him visibility with those interested in the breed and prevent him from possibly facing euthanasia as an 'unadoptable' shelter dog.

When I adopted Kitsune he was already 1.5 years old (as estimated by the vet) and it was obvious he would need a lot of help to work in and enjoy a world so full of people, animals, and things to explore. What I didn't know, is that he could teach us so much of the same.

Learning with Kitsune (and really, pets and animals in general) is really the inspiration for and focus of Typing with Paws. Most of the updates here will be posted from Kitsune's perspective and detail his adventures in training and life. We'll share how we have and are continuing to work with difficult behaviors, cover topics central to living with a dog in the wider world (finding a vet, where can you take your dog, etc), give ideas for activities and hobbies you can share with your pets, talk about our favorite toys and gear, and generally provide a perspective on what it takes to grow and work in the world. As well as being a record of our adventures as a pack, we hope that our experiences might help other dogs (and people!).

Although we'll have a few entries up over the next few weeks, the official start of Typing with Paws will come as we prepare to move Ki from his old home in California to his new home in Colorado. We'll post photos and videos whenever possible, and once the adventure starts we'll also add Ki's twitter and other social/contact information so that you can follow him on all of his favorite online communities.

Thanks for reading and welcome to Typing with Paws!