Equipment for the care and feeding of the new Shiba:
- Crate (Vari Kennel 200 or any crate that is approximately 28x21x21 inches)
- Exercise pen (Tierce has a 30 inch high one)
- Ex-pen roof (for when your Shiba learns to climb)
- Identification Tag
- Puppy food
- Food dish
- Water dish
- Training treats
- Chew toy(s)
- Nail clippers
- Dog toothbrush and paste
A crate and an exercise pen can save your dog’s life and your sanity.
You dump Pookie into the ex-pen and let him play with his toys and stare beseechingly at you while you post “Pix of my new puppy!” on your Livejournal and Facebook.
You let Pookie run around for “just a minute” and find him eating your Wii five minutes later. You shove him into the kitchen and frantically Google “i want to kill my dog but feel guilty”. After several pages of information on the subject, you go into the kitchen to find that Pookie has gotten into the garbage. An hour later you rush him to the vet because his intestines were perforated by chicken bone slivers and a sheet of plastic wrap has caused a blockage. Around $1000 later (if he survived), you spend roughly $100 for a pen that would have prevented the whole incident.
You pop Pookie in a crate after his last walk of the night. It is right beside your bed so that you can hear if he needs to go out. He whines and carries on and needs to be taken out in the middle of the night. He settles down after a couple of nights, but needs to be taken out in the middle of the night for the next six weeks. You sleep in 4 hour shifts until he is old enough to sleep the night through. You still say goodbye to sleeping in for a long, long time.
You give Pookie his own little bed, right next to yours, just for him. Halfway through the night, you get up to go to the bathroom, slip on a still-warm pile of puppy crap and hit your head on the side of the dresser. After the half-hour that it took to stumble to the bathroom, bandage yourself, change your pajamas and wash the parts of you smeared with Pookie’s last meal, you (unable to sleep now) trudge down to the computer and discover the meaning of “defenestration” via Wikipedia while a homesick Pookie screams in the bathroom. Upon returning to bed, you find that Pookie has gleefully scattered your clothes for the coming work day all over the room, chewed through a sock and narrowly escaped electrocution by severing the cord of your electric toothbrush. Repeat for the next three to six months unless you cough up the $85-$150 that a crate costs and enrol Pookie into Tough Love 101.
Yes, I know that there are plenty of people who’ll say, “Well, MY dog never needed a crate…!” That’s wonderful. For the majority of dog owners who want to make housebreaking as painless as possible, a crate is the best tool to invest in.
Get a cheap collar at first. Pookie will grow out of it in a matter of months, so wait until he’s got his full growth before splurging on the one dripping with cubic zirconia.
An identification tag is invaluable. Your dog’s name and your phone number can mean that your dog gets returned to you directly instead of dropped off at Animal Control. Take note of the licensing laws in your town and at what age your dog needs one.
The lead should last you your dog’s whole life, unless you aren’t paying attention while he quietly chews through it. Six feet is the standard for training and comfortable for walking.
Retractable leads allow the dog some autonomy and don’t require the owner to frantically haul hand-over-hand to get the dog back. Note that just because your dog is “on a leash” does not entitle it to visit Mrs. Snigglesworth’s roses or take up the entire road. Flexis are for spaces where your dog will not intrude upon property or disturb others.