Six Months, Six Books

I have six books on my bookshelf that I’m going to challenge myself to reread over the next six months and review for the website.  Here they are:

Akita: Treasure of Japan Vol II. by Barbara Bouyet

Dog Man: An Uncommon Life on a Far Away Mountain by Martha Sherill

The Canine Clan: A New Look at Man’s Best Friend by John C. McLoughlin

When Pigs Fly: Training Success with Impossible Dogs by Jane Killion

Japanese Dogs: Akita, Shiba, and Other Breeds by Michiko Chiba

SuperPuppy: How to choose, raise, and train the best possible dog for you by Jill & D. Manus Pinkwater

While this is mainly a Shiba blog, I think it’s worth it to study the origins and development of other breeds of dog, particularly other Japanese breeds.  This provides a fascinating insight into the environment that shaped these dogs.  I can’t wait to read Dog Man, but I want to reread Akita: Treasure of Japan first.

The behaviour books are ones that I’ve picked up when trying to understand my Shibas and their attitude better.  I’m ashamed to say that I haven’t worked with Tierce according to the principles advocated in When Pigs Fly, so in this next few months, maybe it’s a good time to start doing that.  Damn clicker trainers – they want you to actually work with your dog and stuff.

The books fall into two main categories, I noticed – behaviour and origins.  The two are closely intertwined, in my opinion.  Behaviour is affected by the purposes that a breed was created for. Training and environment have a huge effect on an individual dog, but they serve only to constructively channel the natural inclinations of the breed, shaped by years of more-or-less selective breeding.

You can’t expect a Shiba to act like a Shetland Sheepdog, no matter how many hours you spend in socialization efforts and obedience training.  Of course, we’re assuming here that if you did not want a Shiba and the glorious madcap whimsy of owning one, you would have not gotten a Shiba.  However, you can, hm… blunt some of the more, hm… less positive character traits of the little darlings through ongoing training and behaviour modification.


  1. A little review of Dog Man:

    Remotely related to our inus, you might also enjoy Edgar Sawtelle and a mysterious breed of dog, possibly descended from Hachiko, with supernatural powers:

    And if you’re up for a little manga, there’s inu pup Nagareboshi Gin:

  2. I would like to say that I have found many positive character traits from shiba that Shetland sheepdog usually misses. But I agree that training a shiba is many ways different from a sheepdog. I find training a shiba very interesting and revarding. Unlike many shelties that I have seen it’s really nice that I can leave my shiba lying down while I go out of room without that my dog gets really nervous being left alone.

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