Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Round Worm

Pretty much all the Shikoku pups that come through my house need to be dewormed. Kennels will always say they have given the pups dewormer, but it's often not on a schedule, or it was only given once.

I just picked up a pup the other day and was told he had an averse reaction to the vaccination I asked he be given before being sent to me. Stools were loose (but okay when I picked him up), he's thin, coat looks a bit dry especially on the sides of his body, and while he's eating, his appetite is less than stellar. I was assured he'd been dewormed.

Stool check. Round worm.
He's got a lot of energy, so it's not too bad, but a serious infestation can be very dangerous.

YouTube Video

MyDogDNA: Koyuki

So Koyuki is the Shikoku I ordered a DNA kit for from MyDogDNA. She's obviously got some nervous system disorder going on, and I was hoping it would be an easy diagnosis of gangliosidosis. Unfortunately it didn't work out that way
I'm not sure if that profile is visible to the general public, but it doesn't matter because the test told me absolutely nothing of worth. Anyway, back to square 1.

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Rant, Rant, Rant

I get this a lot:

I would like to import XXXXX breed. Please send me the best quality dog as I will show it and it will be great promotion for the breeder. Many people will see this dog and it will be great business and advertisement for you and its breeder.

This rubs me the opposite of the right way. And now that I've had a beer, and received this mail for the billionth time, I'm ready to rant (about this and many other things).

IF I was in this for the money, and made my livelihood off of selling dogs, this MIGHT motivate me to send you a better dog. If you have read my blog at all, or even looked at my export site in its entirety (something I hope you're doing if you're trusting me to send you a dog), you might have picked up that I'm in this for the preservation of the breeds. If I like you, and think that you share at least some of my goals, I'll help you, and I will do everything in my power to send you a dog that you will be happy with, and will be happy with you. If all I get from you is that you're running a business and want to win shows, you're turning me off already.

I choose which dogs to send where based on a lot of criteria, but basically I'm looking for the best home for each individual dog. This is based on what the owner wants to do with their dog, and the temperament and type of each dog. And moving right along, us NIPPO members in Japan, while we are happy to see our dogs doing well overseas, our goal is to produce dogs that are correct according to the NIPPO standard, that do well in the NIPPO ring, and to preserve the dogs in Japan. Basically that means the best dogs will almost always stay in Japan (barring special circumstance or large wads of cash). Our 'market' (for lack of a better word) is in Japan, not overseas. We want to impress other kennels and judges here in Japan.

I hope you understand that while you're trying to dangle a carrot if front of our faces, we don't eat carrots.

This is a blanket statement, and I'm generally talking about NIPPO here. AKIHO is another matter since there are a lot of professional breeders who make a living selling Akita. There are also a fair few Shiba breeders who do the same.

Another unrelated issue I'm having to deal with a lot now is helping work out issues with regard to dogs that have been imported. We have different standards, no health testing, temperament we are looking for is different etc etc, so there will often be a gap between what someone overseas was hoping for, and the puppy they receive.

First off, if you're buying a dog over the internet, from someone you found on the internet and have never met, have never visited their kennel, and are using google translate to communicate with them, you've put yourself in a high risk situation. When there's another layer of separation (for instance when they're buying a dog from someone else to sell to you) that creates even more issues.

In Japan, especially when it comes to dogs, we generally have a buy it and shut up culture. The dog is presented as is, and if you decide to buy it in the condition it's in, whatever follows is your responsibility. Dogs are living creatures, and especially with the lack of health testing we have here, issues will arise. In that case we often just deal with it as part of the risk of breeding dogs. If we feel that there was malice on the part of the person who gave us the dog, as in they knew about the issue but hid it, we probably will not work with them again. If we feel they probably didn't know about the issue, depending on how deep our relationship goes with that person we MIGHT discuss it with them. If however you constantly make a big scene about issues that pop up in dogs you purchase, people will just stop working with you. These things happen, and we here basically try to avoid trouble and troublesome people.

Ok. This is also a rather negative tangent, so to swing it the other way, what can you do to find a nice dog? Take time to build personal relationships. Don't be impatient, don't waste people's time, communicate clearly, and make an effort to show you are interested in building a lasting relationship with a kennel and that you want to learn what they have to teach you. Explain why you want to work with them, why you've chosen their dogs. And please, please, please, if you don't speak Japanese, hire a translator. Don't rely on translation software as you can only carry on the most basic rudimentary communication.

In all things, be patient. Take the time to learn, gather as much knowledge as possible. Build positive relationships, build your plan and breeding program. Reputation, show wins, amazing dogs, these are things that follow if you do things the right way.

Theo Jansen

Yesterday I met up with a chick off Tinder for the first time. Tinder's been an amusing experience as everyone who knows me on FB has probably noticed.

Anyway, I was early and she was late, so I wandered as I am wont to do, and stumbled onto Theo Jansen giving a demonstration/exhibition of some of his work. Absolutely fascinating stuff and man, and it was wicked to meet him in person (yup got his autograph too)

if you don't know who he is and haven't seen his Strand Beest, check this out.

Friday, April 24, 2015

Hey Jude

When you get free tickets to see Paul McCartney, just say yes.

YouTube Video

This is the first time I've been in Tokyo dome for a concert, and while I prefer smaller venues, a huge one like this can be a bit of fun as well. Especially when you get the whole audience singing an extended version of 'Hey Jude'.
Can't believe how hard he's rocking at 70+

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Momo: Baron x Hime

So this is Momo out of the Baron x Hime litter.

Momo is sitting at 40lbs and doesn’t appear to have the same issue as her siblings in regards to keeping weight on.  She has a pretty good appetite that hasn’t changed since we got her.  Momo has generally been healthy and we haven’t run into an issues that require a visit to the vet other than her yearly checkup.  Personality wise she is still very curious about everything, we’ve found that this makes her easily excitable.  Momo is still pretty sticky but because she is a lot of faster now added with her curiosity we don’t let her off the leash as much.

As Momo has gotten older we noticed that she seems to have lost all sense of personal boundaries with us for example whenever we sit on the floor she likes to sit right behind and will purposely scoot back so that she is back to back with us or she will crawl under our floor dining table so that she can put her head on our lap.  In terms of meeting new people Momo has gotten a little more cautious but can be easily won over with treats.  Momo has also recently graduated from staying a pen to free roaming the house when we are at work.   

It's good to see all the pups are doing well in good homes.

Monday, April 20, 2015


This is what happens when dogs are judged by how they stand in the ring and how their faces look, with breeders losing focus on proper structure.

I see a lot of Akita in a sorry state like this young female on the right.

Friday, April 17, 2015

Chacha's Hips

I had her hips checked during a routine check up at the vet I usually go to, and her hips did not look good. But, since these are all done without sedation, I had one more round done the other day at another vet I use. Different vet, hips look better in the pictures than last time, but still not good.

Bleh, Chacha's a beautiful female with the best temperament I've ever seen in a Shikoku female. She's great with other dogs, never gets snarky, has a lot of energy, and is quite friendly with people as well.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Kotomi Go

So I showed Mei (Kotomi Go) at the NIPPO Tokyo branch show on Sunday. She wasn't standing properly in the morning, kept looking back at me and moving her ears. It was unfortunate because her coat is in better condition than last time. She'll probably come into heat soon.

Of course this is a great picture, but brownie points to you if you can find all the flaws in my handling, and in Mei. Go for it in the comments!

Anyway, we took third place again on a beautiful spring day. A photographer from the biggest dog magazine in Europe came to take some pictures of the Nihonken, so I was busy helping with that as well. Hopefully the pictures will make it into the magazine. We were going to try to get some hunting pics as well but it has been raining all week, so that didn't happen. Bummer.

Why Do I Live Out Here?

Well, for the dogs and the hunting, but mostly for the view!

Tuesday, April 14, 2015


It's been raining. A LOT. Now I know things don't get to you unless you let them but mopping the floors everyday and trying to keep everything slightly clean when you've got 11 dogs running around is tough. Excuses, excuses, but I am just about ready for some good weather. Rainy days can be nice and cozy up here at the cabin...

...but I want to get some work done outside before the real rainy season starts.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Car Alarm

A lot of my pictures end up on my FB before I post them here, but here they are anyway.

The dogs came down with me to the beach, and were perfect angels protecting the car. Moo is big and loud, don't tell anyone, but she's a big wussy.

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Creepy Crawly

A lot of people tell me how awesome my place is, but they freak out about the bugs. You don't get the mountain man life without dealing with the critters.

YouTube Video

Thursday, April 9, 2015

We Refuse To Get Up

After being on the go from 9am to 2am yesterday I refuse to get out of bed. It's 11:30 now and Baron's climbed the ladder (yes he's figured that out, just don't expect him to climb back down) to join me in this endeavor.

And you know what? Not a peep from the other 10 dogs. Friends complain all the time about how their dogs wake them up every morning at a certain time. Well, your dog has you very well trained sir. Dogs are creatures of habit, and if you always do things a certain way, they come to expect that, and also they get worked up knowing it's coming. I don't walk the dogs on a schedule, on a certain route, in a certain order, or feed the same way. Everyone is rewarded for being calm, and corrected for being loud or getting hyper. There's a balance between not letting the dog get to a place where he's so worked up that a problem behavior (like barking for instance) starts, ignoring it (no reward for barking), and correcting/redirecting. Anyway, those are my thoughts this morning as I enjoy listening to the sounds of the birds outside.

My last thoughts to dog owners everywhere: crate train your dogs.

Sunday, April 5, 2015


So there's a new statue of Hachiko up at the Tokyo University and I had a chance to snap a pic the other day.

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Cherry Blossoms

So the Sakura are in full bloom. I've said it before and I'll say it again, this is something to see firsthand. It's beautiful and a great time to be in Japan.

Everyone in the entire country heads out to 'view' the Sakura (it's called Hanami which translates to 'looking at the flowers'). The viewing is more of a block party where everyone gets out their picnic mats and beer and drinks it up with friends and family.