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In need of some serious honest advice
  • KimuraKimura
    Posts: 191
    We've had our puppy Kimura since mid-August. She's now 7 months old. She's a gorgeous, fun dog. She's completely house trained, she's very well crate trained, she's well-socialized and loves playing with other dogs, she's even great with people. But we've been struggling with one major problem. Of course she nips a bit more than average when playing and steals stuffed toys, but those are normal puppy concerns.
    The one major issue we have is resource guarding. It started early, but not right away when we got her. But within 2 weeks, the food guarding and aggression were bad enough that we sought help. Sadly, not knowing enough then, we went with Cesar-type training and wasted a couple of months. We noticed and I read here that it was not going to work, and we called the positive trainer in town. Since then, it seemed that we were making progress with a bit less aggression (although we still have to hold the food bowl). But in the past two days, she's become a lot more aggressive, guarding her "spots" in addition to the food.
    It's no fun but I think we could deal with it, if it wasn't for the fact that I have a 5 year old son on the autism spectrum. She sees him as a litter mate and therefore plays with him with a bit too much nipping, but yesterday she growled at him a couple of times because he sat too close to her and startled her or because he came in an area she was guarding, and in the end she even bit his foot and made him fall. She's also been chasing her tail and leg more than usual.
    I wonder if the holidays and the change in schedule are really bothering her. I walk her as usual (our usual being 30-40mn in the morning) and play with here and train her, but she did spend a few hours at my brother-in-law's house with the gentle leader on, to avoid her playing too rough with their children or their aggressive senior yorkshire terrier.
    So I understand there are circumstances that lead her to being worse, and I also wonder if her age might not help...
    But I worry because I can't live with the constant thought that if anything bothers her, she might snap at us, or at my son, or at anyone else for that matter...
    My husband and I are wondering if our home is just not a good place for her, not because we don't love her, but because the energy level and the unpredictability might be something she can't adapt to. My son is loud, hyperactive and impulsive, and as sad as it is to say, she's the one who has to adapt to that. At this point, we just wonder if she can at all, and ever will really. It would be unfair of us to ask her to do that if it goes too much against her nature... We're wondering how much time to give her to adapt before we recognize that we're not a good fit.
    I know that in the back of your head, some of you are wondering why on earth we got a shiba in the first place. I'll address it so that you can give me the best advice. We wanted a breed that was mid-size, because my son might hurt a smaller dog by just tripping over him or her and he seems a little afraid of big dogs. So a mid-size, sturdy dog was the idea. We loved what we read about the lack of barking and the fast house-training, and I have to admit I also thought they were beautiful really cool dogs. The problem is that we were somewhat misled by a couple of breeders who said they didn't think there would be a problem bringing a shiba to our household, with an hyperactive autistic young child (I now believe better breeders would have advised against it) and we acted partly based on grief as we had just lost our mini-dachshund and I wanted a dog right away. And to top it all off, I believe that the grief clouded my judgment and I convinced myself the guy we got her from was honest but many details make me think he was far from what you'd call a "reputable breeder".

    So I guess I need your advice on the current situation. Does anyone have experience with a shiba with aggression towards humans? Do you think she'd plainly be better off in someone else's home for her sake? Do you think that's the case for our sake, because she'll never lose this guarding instinct? Do you think she'll grow out of it? Could something in her health cause all this (thyroid problems, maybe)?
    Just give it to me straight!

    [mod edit: re-categorized due to addition of new category]imageFrom Poppylium
    Post edited by sunyata at 2013-06-06 10:01:58
  • lindsaytlindsayt
    Posts: 4786
    Well, because you are asking to tell it straight:

    Rehome. It's ok, don't feel guilty. You could have probably gotten away with having a high care child and a more forgiving breed, like a golden or lab, but unless the Shiba is particularly calm and forgiving, I would say that it is unrealistic to expect her to adapt that much to what could be a very stressful and ever changing situation. IMO, she is being very good for giving the growl warnings, but is that something your son will respect and can you always be there to supervise their interactions? If not, than rehoming is likely a good solution for both.
    "Common sense isn't so common"
    photo c5d87957-61b6-48af-a440-4187cbfc861b_zps88ccdf88.jpg
  • kumaDUDEkumaDUDE
    Posts: 1259
    I agree that rehoming is ideal. Trust me, I would act the same as you if I were in your shoes. If Kuma had bit my daughter or son, i would try to make things work, but if the constant worry keeps nudging me or my wife, I would hve to rehome him or send him back to his breeder.
    I am having a similar issue, but I decided to work with friends and forum members. I had to ask them for help due to my living and work situation, I have to bring Kuma with me to the Bay Area. all because rainy season started and 4mo old baby + being sick + rain won't bode well with a puppy needing to potty. Luckily this forum and friends are always there for their support and recommendations.

    But as @lindsayt suggested, rehoming seems best, if your breeder does not wish for her back. I wish you the best of luck and please don't feel bad.
  • The situation sounds quite stressful for her. I would contact your breeder. If they will not take Kimura back, then the closest Shiba rescue to you to gain some assistance in placing Kimura in another environment that would be less pressure.

    In the mean time, for the safety of everyone, please keep your Shiba in a spot away from others as you work through it. Use and ex-pen or crate or spare bedroom when everyone can not be fully supervised.

  • jennajenna
    Posts: 154
    In addition to checking for the nearest Shiba rescue group, you can also courtesy list your Shiba for adoption at
    jenna -> founder of nyc shiba rescue, inc.
    snickers -> master of shiba mind control
  • I also think you're better off rehoming the dog. It's a difficult decision, but best to come to it now, when she is young and it will be easier to find a new place for her. If your breeder is, as you say, not actually that reputable and you worry about sending her back to him, I would work with Shiba rescue exclusively. (But if the breeder is ok, that's the first step).

    I also don't think a dog guarding space is a good thing, and it is a sign that work needs to be done with that dog. My dogs that did this ended up having much more serious issues that needed to be worked through (with limited success). So in addition to being the wrong breed for you, she is probably wrong Shiba too.

    I think in this case, rehoming is best. If you get another dog, I'd go with Lindsay and suggest a larger, sturdier dog with a more forgiving temperament.
  • You've got a lot of votes for rehoming here, but if you have the means I think you could also take a middle step before going all the way to giving up Kimura - having a dog behaviorist (a real one with a degree in behavioral science, not just someone who claims that's what they are) in for a home visit to do an evaluation and give you an assessment of the dog-child interaction, the dog's temperament and prospects for learning to accept the child's temperament, to give you some ideas for mutual adaptation at home, and a general timeframe for when it's time to concede that rehoming is the best option. Since Kimura is still a puppy, I think it's possible that this is a salvageable situation - the real question is whether you have the time and means to invest in fixing it. She may need your *help* in adapting to it, doing that might not be something she'll do on her own (at least not in a way that works for you - her staking out "safe space" in your home, for example).

    You might also talk to your son's play therapist (or whichever kind of professional is working with him to help him function better with the autism) about the kinds of opportunities Kimura presents for helping your son with his needs; her happiness and well-being might be a great motivator for him if you explain to him that you need his help. I don't know where he is on the spectrum, but I have a friend with an adult son who has pretty severe autism and his dog is the most important thing in the world to him. Through his commitment to caring for the dog in the last 10 years, he was able to develop more independence and self-care skills, and to get his own apartment in his mid-20s. She thought he'd never be able to live on his own, but the dog made it possible. She has wondered if getting a dog sooner might have helped him do better as a child, he didn't get the dog til he was a teen.

    Teaching children to train their dogs helps autistic youths develop key skills:

    So I think it is possible there are resources to help you find the opportunities and positive growth outcomes from having Kimura - for her, for your son, and for your whole family. Some day you might look back and say that the relationship between the child and dog was really positive, because it helped the child to develop his empathy skills and emotional bonding, and helped the dog to become more well-socialized and accepting of disruptions.

    Again, I say these things not knowing exactly where on the spectrum your son is - if that seems quite unlikely perhaps rehoming really is the better option, but I'd advise you to listen to a dog behaviorist who has met the dog and been in the home, and to listen to your son's therapist - those people will be in a MUCH better position to advise you than this internet discussion board.

    My .02 - whatever you decide, I'm sure it will be the right choice. I just wanted to propose something a little more holistic and less snap-judgey. Kimura's future is yet unwritten - I would not assume this is something she can't do or can't handle just because she is a Shiba. There is a wide range of temperaments even on the Shiba spectrum, some innate and some the result of the home environment and family interaction. She is still a puppy. I'm not totally wild for the significant negative breed typing that goes on. I think people end up using negative stereotyping of the breed to make excuses for other problems. Not all Shibas are alike. Dogs are still individuals.

    Their breed has an impact, but it is not the full sum and scope of who they are or who they will be - just like how not all children with autism behave identically. Recognizing that there is a spectrum and that there is room for nurture as well as nature to influence where individuals will come out is just a better way of thinking, IMO.

    If you do decide to rehome Kimura, you can find lots of resources on getting pre-trained service dogs for children with autism just by googling - children autism dogs. People who train service dogs for autistic children, a friendly dog trainer who is willing to work with your child and dog at the same time (like Kathy Santo) might also be a great resource for you in terms of figuring out if Kimura can grow up with him.
    Post edited by Kitsune1 at 2012-12-26 22:32:14
  • I agree with the others on rehoming. I have a son with high function autism and he does well with Nikita, she actually took more to him then anyone else in the house, and we just have him stay away from Toby. Toby stays away from him so we do not have any issues since Toby does not like fast jerky motions like my son makes. I believe if Toby did not avoid him and my son did not follow the rule of no touching we may have had to visit some trainers but he has never bit anyone or tried only a growl or a bark. I would suggest also looking at adopting an adult dog that your family has spent many visits with especially with one visit being on his bad day. There are others on the forum that have kids with autism and a Shiba so its not impossible but it depends on the dog and extent of the childs abilities. Sorry your family has to make that kind of a decision but like shibasmistress said better while she is young and easier for a rescue to place.
  • @KitsuneArcher looks like you posted while I was typing. Talking to the son's therapist may help and depending they may even let you take her in to see how he interacts. However, I know there are some dogs that my son approaches that give a signal to back off and I make him do so even if he really wants to pet it and the owner says ok (I have upset some people doing that before thinking I was scared of there dog but it was in everyone best interest) and there are others that walk up to him tail wagging and want to play with him but once he pets them once they take off because of his jolting behavior. We have some dogs in the family he has to stay away from and others that will curl up on his lap and let him pet him so again depends on where he is on the spectrum and the individual dog. The neighbors lab for instance does not like him but loves my other kids and my sister in laws chihuahua loves him and will try to nip at other children, so breed does not always matter.
  • It's nice to see someone else weigh in with a favorable attitude toward kids with autism and Shibas. I don't think she has to give up her dog unless it's absolutely necessary, and I don't think she has hit necessary yet. That may come, but there are some thoughtful actions that can take place first which might make it not only unnecessary, but potentially valuable for the dog and child to have each other if this transition point can be passed successfully. If not, so it goes - but if possible, it could be the beginning of a really meaningful and beneficial child-dog relationship. With the right positive support from the relevant professionals. I am surprised to see so many people immediately jumping on the "give up now" bandwagon.
    Post edited by Kitsune1 at 2012-12-26 22:33:09
  • KimuraKimura
    Posts: 191
    I appreciate all your comments and honesty.
    @StaticNFuzz: the situation may have seemed worse than it is in my post, they are always supervised when together and she only guards after meals, so we'll be fine until we resolve the whole situation.
    @kitsuneArcher: thank you for offering another view, we are trying very hard to modify everyone's behaviours and the environment, so everyone here is comfortable, we just can't seem to have balance so far... but thanks for your ideas which I will definitely consider. I agree with you on a lot of points, like the fact that the breed is not everything and the nature-nurture debate, which is why we made the decision to bring in a shiba, thinking the individual dog could adapt if it was done well, and I also agree very much about having a dog around my son and the fact that it can help, he loves dogs and I absolutely want one around. We are looking at companion dogs, but the wait is 18 months to 2 years and I hate the idea of our house without a furry friend... Lots to think about!
    I also should mention that both Kimura and my son really want to play together, they just haven't figured out how, nor have we figured out how to teach them how yet, but we are trying, so I appreciate your ideas on it.
    @tobysmom: it's good to see others here have children around shibas and vice versa and even experience with children on the spectrum... Is Nikita a shiba as well?

    And for extra info, the closest and only shiba rescue in Ontario is in Toronto (8 hours away), so if I do decide to re-home her, we'll have to see if that's even an option...

    Off to sleep on it, but I'm open to more honest opinions!
    Post edited by Kimura at 2012-12-26 22:48:02
  • I'm glad it was helpful. I've got my fingers crossed for you! You might contact Tim or Elise at this site: -- from the blogs on the site, it seems that they have worked with parents who are training dogs that aren't already in service. They might be able to recommend resources or know professionals in your area. Good luck with everything - it's clear you have the best interests of all your family members (including Kimura) in mind so I'm sure you'll be doing the right thing, whatever you land on in the end.
    Post edited by Kitsune1 at 2012-12-26 23:28:47
  • CaliaCalia
    Posts: 3664
    I hope you are able to resolve the problems you are having with Kimura, whether it be through extra work or re-homing.

    You have been saying that both Kimura and your son would like to play together, which made me curious as to how interested she is in playing catch. If she shows interest in chasing after balls, what about getting your son to toss a ball with her or finding other non-contact games. Though with fetch games, you would have to take the initial time to teach her to release on command as well as making sure she learns that the game isn't played unless she's calm and sitting.

    Another idea is getting your son involved in basic obedience training, such as helping him to teach Kimura how to sit. Done right, obedience training can become a fun game for both human and dog, and much of it can be pretty low key. This could also help associate your son with good things, allowing Kimura to bond better with him. If you're afraid Kimura may get nippy during training, you can toss the treats instead of handing it to her.
  • KimuraKimura
    Posts: 191
    Thanks for the infos and ideas. She's been much better the past couple of days, and I don't want to rush into a decision we will regret either. We have invested a lot of time and energy in training her and she is making progress... I just wanted to know if there was a possibility she might adapt. Now, I think we'll take a little time to see if she gets better and better or regresses and I'll keep all you comments and opinions in mind in deciding whether to rehome her.
    @Calia: your comment made me smile, because that's exactly what I do! Kimura has a tendency to bring her toys to my son and nip him so he'll play with her, and she's always super happy to see him when he comes home from school, so I know to some degree she's bonded to him. So for a good while, at least once a day, I've been taking Cédric on my lap and we throw the ball for her together, then when she comes back, I can protect him from the nipping and get her to drop the ball, and he gets a chance to pet her a little too. Unfortunately, he's not verbal or compliant enough to really train her...

    More thinking to be done and people to call to figure things out... but I appreciate all the input.
    And @KitsuneArcher: thank you for this comment "t's clear you have the best interests of all your family members (including Kimura) in mind so I'm sure you'll be doing the right thing, whatever you land on in the end."
    Post edited by Kimura at 2012-12-27 09:52:10
  • CaliaCalia
    Posts: 3664
    LoL, that's cute that you two will play with Kimura together. With the nipping after fetch thing, you may want to work on her impulse control, that may help teach her that nipping won't get what she wants. There's a few ways of going about it, you can do it during fetch sessions (probably best to start off without your son) or leave it training.

    With fetch sessions, only throw the toy when she sits nicely. If you've taught her to sit on command, you can tell her to sit first and the toy becomes her reward for listening. Sometimes dogs do get frustrated that they have to do something before the toy is tossed, so it's best to practice the ground work without your son.

    Here is another training exercise that should involve just you for now. Being that she resource guards, make sure the treats remain in your hand. Basically, you take a treat and close your hand around it, making sure she's aware that it's there. she'll try to wrestle that treat out of your hand, but do not give it to her until she stops even if but for a split second. When she gets the idea that wrestling the treat out of your hand gets her nowhere, slowly extend the length she has to wait before giving her the treat. With practice, she will learn that the way to get the treat is to ignore it and that patience is a virtue. This should help teach her to be calm during fetch sessions with you and Cédric.
  • SayaSaya
    Posts: 6678
    Re homing is an option, but if you can work things out then go ahead and try it.

    Saya loves playing fetch or chasing after toys I throw. :)

    Coarse keep your son's safety in mind at all times. Calia has given some nice advice.

    I hope things go well Kimura is such a cute shiba maybe she'll mellow out as she grows along with continued training and exercise.
    Nicole, 5year old Bella(Boxer), and 4year old Saya(Shiba inu)
  • lindsaytlindsayt
    Posts: 4786
    Good! You've reconsidered :)

    Reverse psychology wins again ;)
    "Common sense isn't so common"
    photo c5d87957-61b6-48af-a440-4187cbfc861b_zps88ccdf88.jpg
  • Glad you are going to try to work on things.

    Nikita is a black and tan Shiba we got her when she was two yrs old, Toby was over 10yrs old when we got him and not very playful that was why we looked for a second Shiba and found Nikita and her and my son hit it off the first visit. My son that is on the spectrum is 6 yrs old by the way. I do also have a 9 yr old, 8yr old, 4 yr old, 2 yr old, and one due in March so the house can get a little crazy that is why we never were interested in a puppy plus all dogs I had growing up were adult rescues.

    I second Calia on teaching the leave it training. It helps when Nikita gets worked up a little to much with playing catch.

    Also we have a small rug my son stands or sits on and she is not allowed on it (trained that with leave it) if she gets on the rug the game is over for a few minutes and the toys are put in her bin. It also helps keep my son a lot calmer too if he gets off the rug he is done we explained it is for his safety so she won't knock him over (my 2 year also has to do this). He can move from siting to standing when ever he wants while playing however he has to stay on the rug. Nikita only likes to play catch for about 5 min at a time but they play about 5 times a day.
    Outside we use the porch swing since with Toby is always on it only 1 other person can sit on it. We don't allow the little ones to take the toy from her they tell her drop it and she releases it they tell her sit then pick up toy and throw it. She has always dropped the toy close to there feet so they can reach it.

    My older kids and husband like to play tug of war with her and we do let them play that but she has certain toys for that game that are not in her toy box she or the little ones can get too.

    Also you said something about the holidays may have caused some of the behavior. That is possible. She may have fed of the excitement your family was showing. When we have family come over I remind the kids they have to stay calm or Nikita will get to excited which upsets some people. We have also worked with Nikita because if I have 5 kids jumping around in excitement I can't expect her to be on her best behavior. With us being gone 5hrs a day for 3 days in a row Toby was even playful the last two days so I think that that may have caused some of the miss behavior.

    I would keep working with the trainer (positive reinforcement one) on the guarding that sometimes takes a while from what I have heard and if she is only 7 months old I am guessing you have only been working with the positive trainer for a month or may be two.
  • tatonkatatonka
    Posts: 1210
    I will go down with this ship
    I won't put my hands up and surrender..
  • KimuraKimura
    Posts: 191
    @Tatonka: I love that song!! And "I'm in love and and always will be" and certainly don't want to give her up...
    I wasn't planning on surrendering, but I have to say I don't want anybody to truly "go down" either, so just trying to be realistic. That said, we just had one really bad day and a half and it brought doubt. As things are going much better now, I think we're ready to work hard on it again and see where we go. So I'll be around for a while... :D
    @Lindsayt: sneaky!!
    @tobysmom: first off, all my thumbs up to you (I only have two, but I'm using my big toes too), 5 soon to be 6 children (one being on the spectrum) plus two dogs, it way more than I could chew and I truly admire you for handling all that. Thanks for all your tips. We have been and still are working on "leave it", "drop it", I'm now making her sit and be "calm" (no opening her mouth at all as I slowly pet the side of her neck) before I throw the ball, every time. She only plays a few minutes, just like Nikita and if she does nip we're trying to turn around and leave for a minute or so. We'll see how it progresses!
    @shibamistress: (if you're still reading this thread) can I ask what other issues you got from the dogs who did do some space guarding, just so I know what to look for and work on it sooner rather than later if it were to happen?

    Thanks again to everyone :D
  • @Kimura - just a word of encouragement - my Koji was a complete spastic devil maniac as a puppy...I worked diligently on "leave it" and being calm before he got ANYthing good in life...

    He's so mellow now it's almost too mellow...He's borderline lazy/lathargic sometimes...!!!!not much phases him and he looooooves kids...

    Shibas are in general I think very difficult puppies...but there is light at the end of tunnel..Would recommend lots of socialization and classes and behaviourist and all the other good advice you've received and until you know can trust - be very careful about supervision...crates are your friend! :)
  • What I was talking about with space guarding is that it is a more extreme kind of resource guarding, an that if it is not dealt with, can become very problematic indeed. I've seen dogs (Shibas) move from guarding a tangible resource (food for example, and then perhaps a bed or other place they like to lay), then going on to guarding much more intangible areas of space: say the dog lays down in a certain part of the floor, and decides that no one can walk within three feet of that space. They usually do this to other dogs, and it is a kind of bullying, which can escalate if not dealt with.

    I saw this in my own dogs, but at the time, wasn't experienced enough to understand what was going on and what a warning signal it was, and I also didn't really know how to choose a good behavioralist at that time, so I just let it go. Eventually, it got worse and led to a very bad fight in which I nearly lost one dog.

    So my point is, this kind of guarding often gets worse if it is not dealt with, and that is why I said it is a warning sign.

    The reason I suggested rehoming--and I still think that is an option for you, though of course I would be thrilled if you were able to make things work!--is because I know from experience that it can be a very long hard road to behavior modification. A behavioralist will come up with a training program that will slowly modify the dog's reactions. It is not a quick program by any means, and may or may not be successful. (In my case, we finally realized that my aggressive female was not a good candidate for behavior modification because she was/is so unstable and has so many other problems. In my case, we've had some success with medication, but that's because she has other health issues. The two dogs in question are still never able to be together). It can often be a slow and expensive process, and if you're not up to it, well, I certainly wouldn't blame you.

    I wouldn't write this off as a puppy issue either. While it is true that Shibas are devils as puppies, and some of that mouthiness does, thankfully, fade as they get older, resource guarding is not something that will go away without intervention, and will likely to get worse, not better, with age, unless there is a training program to stop it.
  • InoushiInoushi
    Posts: 555
    when she gaurds spots, are they spots with her possessions in it? If so I would remove all of her things and put them in one spot that is an off-limits zone for your son. Even if you have to lock her in, that would be good, and it will offer her space to go when she wants be alone.

    I would also suggest doing training with your son present. I think a look at me command can help, so that when she is being overstimulated by your son, you can grab her attention. Even having your son just randomly toss her treats (only he gives her) will be good, because she will associate treats with his presence alone, meaning she will try to behave to earn them.

    The key thing will be to take it slow and try to work within both of their limitations. I feel that because she is still young, you have a better chance of changing things, but some dogs just have temperments that wont budge regardless of the work you put into them. I trust you'll make the right decision regardless of the way you choose.
  • KimuraKimura
    Posts: 191
    So for anyone curious, here's where we are and the plan as of yesterday.
    She was getting slightly better at nipping and remaining the same for resource guarding. But yesterday for some reason, she bit me really hard when I took the food away and then after I thought she was back to normal, she bit my son on the shin and left teeth marks and a long bruise. So I was pretty discouraged.
    I felt the plan we were using was obviously not working, so I read Mine! by Jean Donaldson in its entirety to see if her techniques were something I could use, and I think I can give that a chance. Cédric goes back to school on Monday, so I'll have more time to really work on everything during the day. And we've decided to give ourselves until the end of January to see some encouraging improvement and keep working or rehome her if we haven't seen any signs of success.
    The emotional yoyo sucks and I still see pros and cons in both keeping and rehoming her for both us and her...
    I'll update as we work through it (incidentally, and I guess appropriately, or if we fail, ironically, January is "train your dog" month over here :D )
  • Good luck with everything. The Donaldson book is helpful. I know how hard it is too, with the desire to keep trying and the need to see if rehoming might be right.

    I had decided to rehome my female Shiba after she nearly killed the male (of course, I actually still have her!), and it was hard, but also kind of relief to have made the decision. The thing is, it takes a long time to find a suitable home (obviously we never did!), so you never know what will happen: it may be that you make that decision, and keep working on training, and you may end up making progress and feeling you don't need to rehome her after all. So even if you decide you want to try to find a new home, it doesn't mean that's absolutely what you're going to do.

    Take your time, work on training (and really a behavioralist would be a good call, because they can often see what we can't, and can give you a better sense of what's going on and what might be the best course of action), and see what happens. Its a hard place to be in, no doubt about it, but I think you're handling it well, trying different things, but also being honest about the fact that in the end, a new home may be the right thing (or not! But at least you're looking at all the possible solutions). Good luck, and keep us posted!
  • lindsaytlindsayt
    Posts: 4786
    Have you brought in a behaviorist? I think that definitely needs to happen, since what you are trying on your own is resulting in bites now.
    "Common sense isn't so common"
    photo c5d87957-61b6-48af-a440-4187cbfc861b_zps88ccdf88.jpg
  • KimuraKimura
    Posts: 191
    @Lindsayt: What we were trying was a plan from a registered positive dog trainer. She doesn't call herself a behaviourist per se but she does follows the same philosophy as what I read in Donaldson's book.
    She's come over 4 times and leaves us with "homework" to help with resource guarding, general training of "leave it", "drop it", etc, proper play manners, greeting guests,... I live in a town of 45000 people about 8 hours away from bigger centres so unfortunately I think that's as good as it gets for my location...
    @shibamistress: thanks for sharing your experience, every bit of advice, encouragement, and past experiences helps make me feel better about the whole thing.
  • KimuraKimura
    Posts: 191
    We have sadly decided that our match if just the wrong one and that Kimura will be happier with another family :(
    The new training showed promise for a little while, but we've hit plateaus and regressions since, and there were more instances of growling or snapping at my son and husband. Our trainer came and was very honest that of course there is hope for her, and that she can overcome her guarding but that it will be a very long road and that it will always be somewhat present and the worry that she will hurt my son is just too stressful for us at this point.
    We've drafted a very careful ad for her and we'll be very selective about who we let her go with in the end.
    And I will do my best to convince her new family to join this awesome forum :D
  • roxanneroxanne
    Posts: 83
    Wow, what a wild ride. I just read most of this thread, and feel for you so much. I think you made the right decision. You and the dog deserve a good match, and I'm sure you both will find it. A dog would be wonderful for you and your son, but it really needs to be one of those calmer, gentler types. My Shiba is requiring quite a bit of time with his mouthiness... I don't like it, but in this situation we are able to work with him. a lot. whew! Good luck to you. Let us all know how it ultimately turns out. I wish I could adopt him, but one biter is enough for now!!!!
  • InuzooInuzoo
    Posts: 215
    I'm sorry that you've had to make this decision. There are times I think Zooey is more than I can handle, but Shiba's are just a lot of work in my case. Our trainer is a behaviorist and had made it crystal clear that if we see any signs of resourse gaurding to let her know right away because it is a challenging situation that can't always be fixed. I'm sure your heart broken and have tried to protect your family as well as Kimura. You've done the work and have made a thoughtful choice. I hope you're able to find a good home for Kimura.
  • KimuraKimura
    Posts: 191
    Thanks everyone.
    We actually already have a person in mind. She was the first to contact us and I don't want to rush anything, but she sounds perfect (22 years old, educated and still a student, but living in a huge house with her parents and her mom is always home, right beside the dog park, avid runner and outdoorsy, has wanted a shiba for years and knows a lot about the breed, well-off so she can afford to spoil her rotten and has said she would!).
    It has been a very hard decision to take and every minute of play with her, every cuddle she allows, every smile, is heartbreaking and I change my mind and want to keep her... I've cried a lot today and I'm probably not done, but we do believe this is best overall!
    Post edited by Kimura at 2013-01-13 19:07:04
  • I'm sorry that's it come to this. I was hoping you'd be able to work through this relatively quickly but obviously that's not been the case and you do have to worry about your child. Best of luck rehoming her.
  • InoushiInoushi
    Posts: 555
    Its unfortunate that you were not able to work through the issues, but I think you are making the best decision. By re homing her early in life, you'll have an easier time getting her a good home. It may also save her life, and your son from any serious injury. Don't feel bad, your doing whats best for your situation, even if feels horrible now. Hopefully you can still maintain somewhat of a relationship with whomever you choose to be her new owner. Good luck finding her a good home.
  • Shibas can be really tough. I got mine from a well known breeder and he's got a temperament of gold - however, he wasn't always so good. My husband had never owned a dog and he went straight to "advanced dog" level. Our dog (while still a youngster) bit him hard twice, drawing blood, while resource guarding. And this dog was his BFF - or so we thought. The dog had never tried anything with me, but I was the one doing all the training. So, I put hubby in the driver's seat for awhile and the dog really is his BFF now. I lost my dog to my husband, but it was worth it.
    The biggest mistake he was doing in the beginning was rolling him when he went into guard mode. That led to bite #1 and I didn't blame the dog for that one. The 2nd time though my husband went into the coat room, where the dog bowl was, and the dog bit him when he reached to get his coat. I felt the same as you do now. We were afraid we were going to have to give him back to his breeder.
    First thing I did was move the dog bowl into the middle of the kitchen. It was in the way, but the kitchen was mine and he didn't even try to guard it there. I left it there for years! He didn't guard the water bowl so that stayed in the coat room.
    My husband was able to find a few things that he was able to enforce consistently, like stay, come, in areas of the house where the dog couldn't just ignore him. The new training turned the dog around almost overnight although he still goes through the rituals even today. It's been 9 years since my dog has even grumbled about anything.
    I do hope you can work through the resource guarding, but I certainly understand why rehoming may be the best option. If I had had a child in the house while my dog was being a nitwit, then I don't know what I would have done.
    Post edited by orangedoggie at 2013-01-14 10:42:25
  • KimuraKimura
    Posts: 191
    @orangedoggie: our situation is pretty similar to what you went through and we would totally just keep working and keep her if it wasn't for my son and the fact that we can't see a way for him to do any training and gain Kimura's respect... She sees him as a litter mate and plays with him like one, and because of that she guards from him like another dog I think and him being young, none-verbal, etc. we just don't see how to break that cycle. It makes me really sad and it feels like a giant failure and like I'm giving up, but I really think when it comes down to it, it is best for all of us :(
  • That is a tough situation. Don't feel like a failure! I would most likely rehome if I were in your situation. Unfortunately, I don't have any ideas on how to get your Shiba to leave your son alone. I wish I did. Well, maybe one thing...
    Have you tried trading a better treat for whatever she's guarding? My dog will let me take anything from him because I taught him "give". I can take chewies, toys, whatever. I just trade him something better - like a piece of ham. He's a complete sucker for ham.
  • KimuraKimura
    Posts: 191
    Yes, we're working with that, giving yummy treats, and I can really take anything from her. But she guards space from my son, if he passes too close when she's guarding the kitchen (he runs around in the space between her cushion and her food bowl area, and whether we leave the bowl or remove it makes no difference) or if he comes to sit beside her in the kitchen or in the stairs in the basement...
    I'm waiting for news from the girl who's interested in her after we Skyped yesterday night.
    I also have someone here offering to take her for a few weeks and then give her back, but I don't see how that would help...?
  • While you're still waiting to rehome her, I would stop allowing her into the spaces she guards by blocking them off. She can't guard them if she can't get to them.
  • KimuraKimura
    Posts: 191
    So in the whole roller-coaster that this has been, we had a great candidate to re-home her, to whom we spoke on Skype yesterday and who was willing to drive 8 hours twice to come and get her, and from whom I'm waiting for an e-mail to confirm if her parents are on board... And today, a person offers to take her, and it turns out she's the VP of the local park and she fosters dogs and rehabilitates them using behavioural modification techniques (she called it dog psychology :D), she doesn't have a foster right now and wasn't planning on one, and she would do it all for free!!

    So now I'm torn between re-homing with the girl who sounds like she would be better for Kimura than we are (young, outdoorsy, no kids at home, financially comfortable...) or taking the chance to give it one more effort with the risk that it fails and that we end up back where we are, without the awesome girl to take her :(

    And as I SUCK at making decisions, this is really tough!
  • InoushiInoushi
    Posts: 555
    well one thing to think about is that since this is a young person, what if she decides to have kids later? So if you have a chance to make it work with this person, there is really little loss, and even if it still doesn't work out, it'll make her a better dog for whom you choose to rehome her with. Just stuff to think about.
  • BootzBootz
    Posts: 3495
    It all comes down to you.

    I know it sucks to have such an opportunity come up when you have already settled on having such a great candidate take her in. Do you want to optimistic and give it one last shot? Or do you think it will not work out and you will eventually have to let your shiba go?

    Whichever decision you decide, please keep that candidate in the loop. If she is as great as you say, she would understand your situation. Also she should be able to wait patiently to see if it works out with the VP before moving on :)
  • BitiBeaBitiBea
    Posts: 234
    I second what Inoushi said. Just because there are no kids at home now doesn't mean there won't be in the future. Young and single can indicate a lot of future changes. Marriage, moving, kids etc.
    ¸.•´¸.•*´¨) ¸.•*¨)
    (¸.•´ (¸.•` Kismet & BitiBea~*.
  • redcattooredcattoo
    Posts: 1960
    @Kimura, I can tell you really care and take responsibility for loving her. It is hard for anyone not in your shoes to give advice. I don't think rehoming her now is the wrong thing, especially if the girl you found checks out with you after checking any references and getting comfortable she is prepared to work with the issues. The only problem is that it would be nice if you could visit the girl in her own setting and really see in person what her situation appears to be. It sounds like that would not be easy to do if 8 hours apart.

    Maybe talk to the girl and mention that you have been offered another opinion on what you face keeping the dog. See if she would give you a couple weeks to work with the lady so the lady can give you insight into what the road ahead would be keeping her. Then work off of the vibe you get with the girl, maybe she will be understanding and willing to wait a few weeks for a final decision.
  • lindsaytlindsayt
    Posts: 4786
    Is the person who does "dog rehabilition" a certified behaviorist? If they are in any way thinking that Dog Whispering is going to resolve this dogs issues and go at it cowboy style, I would not put my dog anywhere near that type of situation. That last one sounds dubious.

    Take your time screening homes and really, probably the best thing for the dog at this point is to work with a noted breed rescue in your area. Also consider drafting a contract of sale where the new owners are required to notify you if they end up not wanting the dog, instead of flipping it or taking the dog to a shelter.
    "Common sense isn't so common"
    photo c5d87957-61b6-48af-a440-4187cbfc861b_zps88ccdf88.jpg
  • KimuraKimura
    Posts: 191
    Thanks everyone!!
    I completely agree with all of you that "young and single" is not set in stone and it was my first question to her. I asked if she wanted kids and what she would do if our situation happened to her then! She says she's still in college and has her eye on a career as a sports newscaster on TV, so kids are about a decade away... And she lives with her parents who would more than likely be able to take Kimura if it happened to her and she had to re-home her too. The other thing is that she's in Toronto and therefore there is a shiba rescue (so if it doesn't work with her, knowledgeable people can help re-home)...
    You're all right that she might wait, I know she's been looking for a few weeks, and I think she likes the idea of slightly older pup as she asked if Kimura was past the teething stage...
    I think it comes down to what you said, @Bootz, we have to decide with out heads and guts whether we think it can work or if we're just delaying the inevitable!
    Off to think some more ;)
  • KimuraKimura
    Posts: 191
    @Lindsayt: I plan on calling the girl and asking her about the techniques she uses, but I doubt it's "whispering" style. She's an absolute dog lover who donates her time to foster and to organize the whole off-leash dog park and I get the feeling it's positive training (but she did say it was dog psychology rather than training and I will make absolutely sure it's not that type of techniques as I know they don't work with Kimura!). The closest rescue is 8 hours away (where the re-home candidate lives) and a contract is a very good idea!!
    Thanks for all the input!
  • wufanwufan
    Posts: 78
    Is your dog the one in the picture riding another dog? I showed that to a friend and he was like, okay.. photo of the year. I am sorry to hear about little Kimura has to go away. You maybe were right about the breeder. It's very important to know about the parents and better see them for self (just my guess). As to resource guarding, anytime my shiba shows a sign of guarding, I push the bowl aside and hand feed him. So he knows the food is from me and I have no desire competing. So thing only thing he does for little bit of guarding is running away with things from me (it does not qualify for guarding just normal puppy behavior). But again, my shiba is not aggressive at all and I knew that before taking him home. His father was even a bit timid when we visited the kennel and his mother was super nice and gentle with smile on her face all the time. Anyway, I hope things work out for Kimura.
  • KimuraKimura
    Posts: 191
    @wufan: yes, she was the one riding another puppy at the park :D

    @Lindsayt: you were dead on about the offer to "rehabilitate". The lady was going to get Kimura, no speak to her, ignore her altogether, not give any treats or anything, and "make Kimura realize what she's supposed to do", then she was going to re-introduce her under "her command" to our home, thinking that Kimura would then know what was okay and what wasn't (and she was hoping to get in done in a couple of weeks)... Yeah, so, no!

    It's therefore been decided that Kimura is going to go to a really great girl who really sounds like she'll love her and provide all that is needed. She's flying to meet us Saturday, spending the day with us to meet Kimura and see if Kimura likes her (which is very thoughtful and smart), spending the night over as well to allow for a walk, a run, a visit to the park, witnessing a meal and hearing all about Kimura's habits, and flying back with her Sunday morning!
    I've suggested she joins the forum right away, so you might get to meet her and keep following Kimura's progress (fingers crossed :D).
    Post edited by Kimura at 2013-01-15 09:46:19
  • ArcticArctic
    Posts: 513
    @Kimura, I'm so glad you talked to that lady, that sounds awful. I wouldn't want my dog or former dog subjected to that, not to mention that won't work with a Shiba. She'll just piss them off!
  • I'm sorry that it had to come to this,b ut I think you're doing the right thing for your family and for your dog right now.

    I was highly dubious about the "rehabilitator" too--there are plenty of those people who love dogs and volunteer, but are not going to actually help many dogs with their archaic training methods. Because Millan calls what he does "dog psychology" too, I'm particularly dubious about those terms being used.

    Keep us posted on how things go with her new possible home, but I'll be wishing you all well!
  • Came across a blog post by Dr. Sophia Yin on the subject of "rehabilitation" and thought it is worth sharing here.

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