Today Aiko had her first bath. She did not complain or squirm too much, with 3 big humans around her, she had no choice.
After the wash, she was dried in a couple of towels. We tried using a hair drier set at low heat, but she does not like that.
When she was dry, the coat was fairly easy to comb - the japanese spitz really does have a low maintainance coat.
GI has been talking about getting a dog for many years. Now that the kids are starting to leave us, the time seems to be right to get a dog.
It really started during our summer vacation, we were using our camper to drive around the west coast of Norway. We ended the trip with a stop at our cottage a friday night. Saturday we listened to the radio, and heard that there was going to be a large dog show in Oslo that day and the next. So of course, we had to go home on saturday, and go to the show on sunday.
Of the breeds that were shown there, we fell in love with a Shiba, and it was time to start reading.
The Shiba is a very independent breed, almost cat-like, and needs large amounts of walking - at least more than we are prepared to give it. And it can never be left off leash - the hunting instinct is strong, and it will ignore its owner if something interesting is to be pursued. Regrettably we had to admit that this is not a dog for us.
Next candidate was a Pug. We actually visited a breeder to look at their puppies, but again - not quite what we wanted. A Pug is short haired, and will shed more or less continually, and the short hairs will stick to carpets and furniture.
Next was Basenji - but this one needs walking, and has a habit of chewing everything in sight to shreds.
And then there was Boston Terrier and French Bulldog - but both of these have small litters, and frequently needs caesarean, which both drive the availability down and the price up.
Finally we looked at the Japanese Spitz, and the search was over. It is small to medium sized, has a pure white double coat that is dirt repellent. If it gets dirty, the dirt will normally fall off when the coat dries, or it can easily be brushed out. A thorough brushing once a week is enough to keep the coat in good shape. It will shed twice a year, but the sheding period is fairly short.
A japanese spitz is mainly a family dog - it has no hunting instinct, no great need for long walks (it can, of course, but it is not mandatory), and what it wants most in this life is to be together with its human family.
A search for breeders was started. An online ad for puppies caught our eye, and we called to enquire about them, but alas - we were too late by hours. They had been sold that very day.
There is a club for this breed in Norway, and GI started looking at the breeders that are listed there. She called one of them that she liked the look of, and made an appointment for a visit. This breeder expected to have puppies in November. Unfortunately the breeder had to cancel the visit for medical reasons.
Anyhow - I continued scanning the online ads, and I spotted one for two puppies where the reservations had been cancelled. The ad had only been online for an hour, so I asked GI to call them and arrange a visit. Searching the net for information about this breeder satisfied us that they were serious about the quality and disposition of their dogs.
On sunday July 27, 2008 we bought Aiko, a bitch born May 12. She was 11 weeks old when we brought her home - slightly older than normal on account of the cancelled reservation. We named her ourselves, and with the kid's fascination with anything japanese, it would have to be a japanese name. Aiko fits the bill - 'ko' is used as a suffix for girls, and 'ai' means 'loved one', and it is easy to say to call the dog.
The start was a little rough on GI. The bitch would pee and poo anywhere! No toilet training whatsoever! The peeing was worst - she would go about her business, and suddenly she would squat for 3 seconds, and the continue whatever she was doing, leaving a small puddle behind. Frequently she would step in it, leaving wet footprints in her wake.
After a few days we had to remove all carpets. We also got a cage for her, but we couldn't make ourselves lock her in there for long - after all, she would in periods need to pee once an hour. After a week we got an enclosure for outdoor use - the store only had the tallest kind, but we could not wait. This enclosure was erected in a way that the cage had one door to the living room, and another into the enclosure, that occupied a small part of the living room, including the door to the terrace. Newspapers were spread liberaly in this area.
After two nights locked into this cage/enclosure (I slept on the couch to keep her company), she seemed to get the idea that her toilet is newpapers on the terrace. The third night she cried so pitifyully, that GI relented and let her come out of the cage. But she seems to have gotten the idea - she will reliably go out to poo, and most of the time to pee. Only when she is excited and following us around 'accidents' still happen. But she is still not able to hold her poo until she is walked outside.
At 12 weeks she had her shots, and soon we can start bringing her out to meet other dogs.
Our apartment building has a nice back yard, with sitting groups and a lawn. This area is completely closed, so we can let Aiko run free there. She knows this, so when we bring her down, she will head straight for the back door, instead of going out the main door. The other day I let her run around while watching, and after a while she calmed down and started sniffing around. She had found something, and started eating it. I wasn't too sure she should be doing that, so I went over to inspect. EEWWW! She had found a dog turd, and was eating it! I had to clean the remains out of her mouth and bring her up to clean her up as best as possible. My hands need two scrubbings to get rid of the smell.
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