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What I've learned on the NK/Shiba forums
  • shibamistressshibamistress
    Posts: 5171
    x-posted from NK side with a few changes....

    I had the opportunity to reflect on what I've learned in my time on this forum (and the NK side) and damn, it's a lot! This was triggered by an exchange with the trainer in my puppy class, who after hearing me recommend a book on resource guarding (Mine!) and talking about Oskar (AA) "handicaps" when playing with the puppy, she asked me where I'd learned the stuff I knew about dogs. She asked if I'd learned from Dani, a local behavioralist that I actually learned about on the NK forum. I had to say, no, that most of what I learned about dogs I'd learned from a really great online forum!

    So this got me thinking about how much I have grown in my understanding of dogs. If I wanted to, I could go back and find my first posts, but I'm afraid I'd be too embarrassed to do so right now! I do know that I was asking, then, about adding an Akita to my house of quarrelsome Shibas, and I talked about Toby as "dominant" and quickly got a lesson in dominance in dogs. I also remember suggesting a spray bottle to stop Shiba biting, and then I learned about what aversives were in training. I now know that the idea of dominance in canines is not a sound theory, and that it is not useful in discussing dogs at all.

    I really learned about positive reinforcement training from the forums (The two sides of the forum, Shiba and Nk, were more linked then than they are now--still two separate forums, but there were less people on the Shiba side and more people participated in both sides). Since then, I've read work by Donaldson, Pryor and Miller, et al and most of the recommended books, which has taught me a lot--really entirely changed the way I view dog/human relationships and what the possibilities are in training. I learned to read dog behavior and communication from watching Brad's great videos on the NK side.

    I learned a ton about canine health, as well as had great support through all my dog's health crises from the people on this forum. People really helped me a lot with learning about thyroid issues in particular, siezures, etc. and this is still one of my go-to places when I have a health issue, because I know people will have experiences to add to my knowledge or can recommend links.

    And I learned, sadly, a whole lot about puppy mills and what happens there, and also from my own experiences with my puppy mill girl. I didn't even know the place I got her was a mill until I joined the forums. As the Shiba forum has grown (hugely!) I see more and more people who end up with puppy mill dogs, and it's one of my goals to help educate and spread that education so less people support these cruel businesses.

    I learned how to look for a good breeder, and though I didn't get the healthy dog I hoped for when I got my Akita, at least I know I did that search right, and am now able to help join in with suggestions on how to find a good breeder.

    And finally, I learned about the other NK breeds, which resulted in yet another dog! I'm delighted to have learned about Kai Ken here. I'd never even heard of them before, and didn't even really know there were two types of Akitas, Japanese Akita and American Akita.

    So huge thanks to you all who have helped me learn--it's totally changed my relationships with dogs, and made them a huge a focus in my life! And a special thanks to Brad for making these forums possible (if you all don't know, BradA1878 is the man who makes these forums possible by paying for them, and he deserves a ton of thanks for that!) And also another round of thanks to Brad for allowing me join the Kai Ken madness--our Leo was bred by Brad.

    I'd love to hear what other people have learned here too!
  • koyukikoyuki
    Posts: 1244
    @shibamistress well said! I actually read my first posts the other day and cringed! I feel like i have learnt such a huge amount from all the wonderful people here, and really strengthened my love for a breed that prior to Nocember last year, i really knew nothing about.
    I honestly think i would be a little bit lost if i didn't have the opportunity to read and learn from the forum.

    I have LOVED researching raw feeding, and seeing the immediate changes in my beautiful shibas. I am so thankful for everyone being so generous and sharing their advice and experiences and sticking with me through my ignorance :-)

    Learning about the invalidity of the 'pack/dominance' theory has been great, and im glad that i have started out on the right foot there. It is very hard when alot of people with immediate interaction with my dogs believe in ' showing your dominance' over the dogs, and im thankful that i can educate people in how MY family us structured.

    I love that i can read my dog's body language now and i know them so well, which im sure is a result of educating myself a little bit on the breed itself!

    I never expected that being a part of a community so passionate about the breed would actually help me in sooo many ither aspects. Ive been inspired to have the same relationship with my horse (its going GREAT-she no longer wants to kill me!), and made it my mission to help my family understand canine behaviour with the resources that have been extended to me on this forum.

    Since the arrival of Takeo and Koyuki into my life i have since been called 'dog crazy' and even 'snobby' lol. But to be honest, ive never felt so close to any of my pets before (ick i actually feel yuck saying 'pet').

    I now have a huge passion for the Shiba Inu and the Shikoku Ken, which i hope to add to my family one day.

    Learning about the severity of puppy mills and BYBs, i try my best to spread the word to those i know, in the hope that people will take the initiative to educate themselves and not add to the problem.
    I recently applied for a job with the local 'Royal Society of the prevention of cruelty to animals', and i really hope i can be in the thick of it, saving animals and helping promote responsible pet ownership.

    So, to sum this all up, THANKYOU to everyone that has given their time and shared their knowledge and experience with me. I am so grateful, and so are Takeo and Koyuki! :-)
    Koyuki - red female
    Takeo- cream male
    Kenji- black and tan male
    Suma- sesame female
    Haruki-brindle Japanese Akita Inu
  • LosechLosech
    Posts: 2516
    Well said Lisa!

    I've learned quite a bit about canine behavior, some about nutrition, but most importantly, about training. I joined these forums knowing about positive reenforcement training, but it didn't really hit home until I started reading other people's stories and advice. I can really see the difference in how my dogs interact with me during training sessions based on what type is used.
    Conker's stranger fear was, and still is, a problem. But it was very bad when I first got him. These forums are what helped me get him on the right track. I think he'd probably still be an emotional mess if I hadn't stumbled upon them and learned what I have from the amazing members of these forums.

    Also, those kickass Nihon Ken. I don't have another one yet, but I am very very close to putting in for a Kai pup. Many people have told me to already, but I need to finalize a couple things in my life before I can commit to another dog. Anyways, this forum has taught me a lot about these awesome breeds and how to go about analyzing a dog and deciding if it is right for me or if I should just admire from a distance.

    Thanks Brad for making that possible by hosting these forums for us. Thanks everyone else, for creating the best online dog community I have ever participated in! Without all of you, this community of crazy Nihon Ken and dog lovers might not have been as awesome as it is.

    (X=posed on Nihon Ken side)
  • curlytailscurlytails
    Posts: 2779
    Ditto on the valuable information about improved diets and training options that go hand-in-hand to make your Shiba (and any dog, really) a happier, healthier, and more well-rounded individual on a day-to-day basis. The amount of inappropriate, incomplete, and unreferenced advice on other dog forums is kind of astounding in comparison to what I've learned here! But we all have to start somewhere. Overall, forum members new and old have been very kind and generous in sharing knowledge, experiences, and of course, pictures.

    Perhaps the "worst" thing that I have learned since joining is the extent of the puppy mill problem as it pertains to our breed. When we first got Bowdu from a shady breeder/broker seven years ago, I found few sources online to turn to -- a LiveJournal community, the NSCA portal and what limited information they had available to the public, and the Misanthropic Shiba kept me from completely drowning in throes of OMG WHAT HAVE I DONE?! Since then, it seems like the number of puppy mills offering Shibas has multiplied, and solid knowledge has not kept apace with the breed's popularity.

    So at the risk of sounding like a repetitive stick-in-the-mud about screening your breeder and choosing wisely and all that... I keep at it, because I wish there had been this abundance of information available when I started!

    Dittoing kudos to the forum owners for what you started and having established this as a nurturing, educational environment from the very beginning. Not that I was there, but I read back from time to time.
    Bowdu 寶肚 (Shiba) and Bowpi 寶媲 (Basenji) with M.C.
  • bobc33bobc33
    Posts: 287
    Practically everything I now know about Shibas, and dogs in general, comes from here. Before getting Scout, and a year later Shadow, I was your typical naive first time dog owner. Unfortunately I didn't discover this forum early on, and consequently made quite a few "classic" mistakes. But once I discovered this forum what a difference it made. I'm amazed at how most of my friends and their advice turned out to be so old school and NOT appropriate for Shibas, nor I think for any breed.

    Scout, Shadow and I have perservered and are at a decent place now. I wouldn't want to think about where we would be without this forum.

    Though all the technical advice and resources here are great, I am most grateful for simply having you other Shiba owners out there to discuss things with, who are concerned, and who are encouraging when things were/are tough.
  • Both the Shiba and Nihon Ken Forums are an incredible gift. I've learned a lot about dog training, canine diseases, breeds, hunting--and I could go on and on. I appreciate the civility, companionship, and "professionalism" of the forum members (both sides). I'm the organizer for the Sacramento Shiba Inu Meetup and over the past couple of years, I've routinely encouraged Shiba owners or potential owners to join both of the Forums.
    (Cross posted from the NK side.)

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