Coat chart. (by me)

Coat chart. (by me)

Some dogs have thin fur for warm climates. Some dogs have thick fur for cold climates. All dogs shed fur in the summer and grow it in the winter. Coat colors are important to dogs, as far a camouflage and heat trajectory goes. Hairless dogs and cats are from climates that are so warm coats would just get in their way. True, coats could protect them from the sun and exterior heat, but they would also trap heat produced form the animal.

This is a chart that shows the thickness of some Japanese dog’s coat. Hokkaido dogs have a much harder time hunting in southern Japan because their thick coats keep them so hot. Their fur traps the heat that they generate when they run, and it is already much warmer where they are if they hunt in southern Japan. Imagine running through mountains on a hot, summer day wearing winter clothes. (You don’t stop running until you catch up to what you’re hunting.)

Kai, Kishu, and Shikoku have about the same thickness of fur. Some dogs in these breeds may be bred to have thicker coats, different colored coats, thick scruff (Juno’s father was bred to have it) or whatever you breed them to have, but the breed as a whole has about the same thickness as the other two.

Akitas do not have the thickest fur, but they can have the longest. All of these breeds have a long- furred variety, but the Akita is the longest furred. They can also have very thick fur, though nothing to match the Hokkaido. I know someone who has an Akita that has so much fur that you can brush one of his legs, throw out the fur ball, vacuum, and there will still be dust bunnies of fur floating around.

Puppy Cache

Juno has a few toys that she really likes. These toys tend to be small, plush, and have squeakers that she hasn’t broken yet. These sometimes appear in strange places: under throw rugs, between dog beds, behind the couch… She caches them. We know that this behavior is not her being protective for many reasons, one being that she doesn’t mind if we move the toys. When she is caching something, she will pretend to bury it and then push invisible dirt over it. Here is a cute video of her caching something. Sorry the quality is so bad:


Dog Nutrition

Just like humans, dogs and other animals need a healthy diet. Some foods can be very bad for your dog’s health. Read the ingredients list. If you see “Corn” as the first item, “Meat” (from unidentified sources) or “ground (animal) meal”, then it probably isn’t good for your dog. Think about what dogs would eat in the wild. If all you ate was corn, you would only get the nutrients that were in corn and become very sick and unhealthy. It’s the same with dogs. No, there is more on the ingredients list than just corn, but being first, there will be more of it than anything else in the food. Dogs can suffer from malnutrition just as humans can.

Likewise, you have to be careful about other ingredients. Foods with too much protein or other nutrients can be harmful as well. You have to be very careful when choosing food for your dog. Look at the Nutrition Facts to see if anything is too high.

Dogs can’t eat some things that humans can. This is why you shouldn’t feed your dog food from the table (first of all, it teaches them that they can beg, and secondly, you may accidentally feed them something harmful). Some poisonous foods include: grapes and raisins, onions, chocolate, unidentified mushrooms, Xylitol, and many other things. (Xylitol is a chemical that comes in gum, toothpaste, and mouthwash.) Some of these foods are fatal for dogs as well as cats. Be sure you don’t let them have any.

You have to prevent your dog from getting into poisonous foods. First, you should keep these foods out of reach, so that they will not get into them by mistake. Second, you should teach your dog “Drop It”, so if they are eating something, you can have them spit it out. Make sure you have something to trade them that they want more than what they’re eating, like a special treat. Third, If “Drop It”does not work, you may have to reach into your dog’s mouth and remove the item. This may sound daunting at first, it is worse to have the dog die or have to pay a vet bill. Don’t worry- your dog will probably not bite you, and you can always wash your hands afterward.

Tail to tail

This is a curl tail. Art by me

This is a curl tail. Illustration by me.

Tails are very important to a dog. They allow them to express themselves and keep their

This is a sickle tail. Art by me.

This is a sickle tail. Illiustration by me.

balance when they run. They help US recognize their breed. Japanese dogs have certain types of tails. These include the sickle tail, which is a long tail with a slight curve in it so that it touches the dogs back, the curl, in which the tail is looped and its tip touches the base of the tail, and double curl, where the tail is curled together in a tight swirl.

The Nippo standard for tails (of all Japanese dogs) is the tail is strong and thick, is distinctly a curl, sickle, or double curl. The tail must be able to droop down to their hock (heel) in length. Tails that do not meet these standards are disqualified form Nippo dog shows. These standards vary slightly depending on the breed, but that is the basic overall standard.

This is a double curl tail. Art by Me.

This is a double curl tail. Illustration by Me.

Puppies tails don’t start to come out until about 3 months old. Juno’s tail was very thin when we got her, but as she grew, thicker fur began to come in to her tail. I know this was not adding undercoat fur because of the seasons because it was becoming spring when she come here.

Works Cited:

Japanese dogs by Michiko Chiba

Cat Problem

Our dogs have learned to coexist with the cats well enough to tolorate eachother. Photo by Me

Our dogs have learned to coexist with the cats well enough to tolorate eachother. Photo by Me

Juno doesn’t seem understand that cats hissing means “stay away!”. She wants to play with the cats and bounce around and bother them. They are too old to have to be expected to deal with this, because once Juno gets going, the other, larger dogs will start bugging the cats, too. The cats reaction to her wanting to play would be yours if your neighbor comes into your house with a chain saw and starts wrecking things.

Both my cats are 16 years old. The male cat is large and skinny, and is physically very old. The female one is small and fat, and mentally still a kitten. When Juno angers her, she will flatten her ears and swipe with unsheathed claws, hissing. Juno may take this as a form of play, and will keep nosing and jumping at her.

This is a complicated problem. No one can solve every problem at the same time. We manage the cats and Juno so they don’t have to deal with each other until we can train Juno to leave them alone. We don’t want Juno to be hurt by them, or them hurt by her. The cats will still live for years, and we can’t separate them that long. It is worth it to teach Juno “leave it” and “wait”, because Kai have a strong prey drive and a hard bite (as opposed to retrievers, who need a soft bite so they don’t damage prey).

Kai Puppy- Adjusting

Juno in the airport waiting room! Photo by me

Juno in the airport waiting room! Photo by me

It’s 9:00 at night at the airport and I’m waiting for a kai puppy. When she comes, she is crouching in the back of the crate (that’s not too big for her) and looking around, worried. She was just shipped from one edge of America to the other in the cargo section of a plane. We gently coax her closer to the opening of crate with treats (also unfamiliar) until she has two paws out on the linoleum floor and two in the soft padding in the crate. She doesn’t know us, and any sudden movements will send her to back of the crate.

After a while, she will walk around outside of her crate. We take this opportunity to clean out the bottom- the water container she had had flipped over- and put a blanket in. She doesn’t let us touch her yet, but she will take treats form our hand (as opposed to we put the treats on the ground and she eats them). We take about half an hour getting her relaxed in the waiting room. We take her to the car, and I decide to sit in the back seat with her. After a while of open- crate interaction, she will let me pat her. She is kitten soft and a little mouthy, but at least she has calmed down.

We decided to name our dog Juno. The only downside to this name is that most people immediately think of the movie, which is not why we named her.

We have to stop and stay at my grandmother’s house for the night, because our house is four hours away (hers is one) and we would have to have Juno adjust at a very late time to snow, trees, carpets, closed windows, cats, and other larger dogs. My grandmother greets us with a “Where’s the puppy?”. As soon as she comes in, My grandmother’s camera is out and flash is on full. Juno doesn’t like the sudden, bright lights, but deals with them better than Seiji, my “reactive” dog. eventually the camera goes away and we are ready for bed. Juno gets crated while we sleep. She whines and yelps for about five minutes, but falls silent as we ignore her.

Reilly! Photo by Chrys C.

Reilly! Photo by Chrys C.

In the morning, on the car ride back home, I choose to stay in the back with Juno again. three hours later, we drive right into an ice storm- and our driveway. We go inside and put the dogs and cats away before we let Juno in and unpack. She is wary at first, but soon she is bouncing around like a crazy dog.

Our first step is to introduce Reilly. Reilly is a tall, strong greyhound mix who has piles of dignity and hills of respect (from other dogs). She greets Juno outside in the yard (the fly- over ice storm had stopped) with much sniffing. Juno leaned up to sniff Reilly’s snout, and Reilly snapped at her. This is typical of her… Like I said, dignity!

Next comes the hard part. Reilly easily excepts any respectful dog, but Seiji is afraid of things he doesn’t know as well as other dogs. So we put Juno in the crate and let Seiji sniff her through the bars. He did very well! No barking, lunging, or growling, but instead he sniffed politley and whined for her to come out and play. eventually, we let them be in the same room all together (Reilly, Seiji, Juno) and let the cats run loose in the house. Juno still doesn’t know about them too much.

Akita Inu

I have talked a lot about kai ken. But there are a lot of other breeds of Japanese dogs, too.

Akita Inu: Akitas are a type of Japanese dog that a lot of people in America know about. They are large dogs that come in many colors: red, fawn, sesame, brindle, and pure white. Kai are considered small, smaller than Akitas but bigger than shibas. Akitas are 24–26 inches tall at the shoulder. They are named after Akita Prefecture, in Northwestern Japan (a bit south of Hokkaido), which is where they are from.

American Akitas are very different form Japanese Akitas. American Akitas have larger face features and a black “mask” on their face. Japanese Akitas tend to be smaller and less heavy. If you do a quick image search for “American akita” then “Japanese akita” you will immediately see the differences. Japanese akitas have more fuzz, less face.

Akitas are know to be intelligent and loyal dogs. One Akita, Hachiko, waited nine years for his owner (who had died of a heart attack work) to return at the train station. Every day he would wake up and wait for his owner until he died. Hachiko’s popularity brought back akitas from the brink of extinction, and a statue was carved in his remembrance.

They get bored easily and can destroy things or become aggressive if they are too bored. To prevent this, you need to give them lots of exercise. Like all dogs, akitas do best if they are socialized as a puppy. They tend to be slightly more aggressive towards smaller dogs, but are not known to be dog- aggressive- dogs. Akitas DO have a reputation for being good house pets, though.

works cited

Hunting with kai

 Tyson with a bird! Photo by Dave.

Tyson with a bird! Photo by Dave.

Kai are good hunting dogs. They are bred for a certain job in hunting, too. They will corner whatever they are currently hunting and bark to alert the hunter, who will shoot it, as I have mentioned before in other posts. Shika kai are bred to hunt deer, and shishi hunt boar. But what happens if you train kai to hunt other animals?

Tyson is a year-old kai who hunts. He was trained, by his owner, to hunt birds. He started training Tyson when he was 3-4 months old. Kai who hunt boar and deer have to start later, being 8 months to a year old, because their prey is more dangerous. Kai retire from hunting at 8-10 years. Tyson has to still be trained, even though he hunts often to re-enforce what he already knows.

In Tyson’s training, his owner has to do a lot of things to train him. Live birds with clipped wings are planted in a field for Tyson to retrieve or flush. Fake birds are dragged through the grass to leave scent trails. Tyson has to follow the scent trails. His owner cannot have bird scent on him or Tyson will associate his owner with the smell of birds. He also has to hide the birds in a wooden box to plant them so Tyson doesn’t see them.

All of Tyson’s training was done with all positive methods. You can easily train dogs to hunt with positive methods, because it is a natural reward for most dogs to chase prey. You have to reward them yourself, though! If you don’t, your dog might think he’s happy, but you aren’t.

Tyson used to be very gun shy. While he was eating, his owner would shoot a cap gun in another other room. Slowly, over the course of weeks, he would get closer and closer to Tyson and he would become less afraid.  Now, His owner can shoot a shotgun over his head without him reacting.

Being a hunting dog doesn’t make him any less good a pet. The only problems arise when he takes walks- Tyson will chase lots of other animals on walks. Also, he doesn’t always chase birds when he hunts. Sometimes Tyson will get sidetracked and chase other animals.

Works Cited

Dave, Tyson’s owner

Breeding Kai

There are not very many kai in America, so bringing kai in from Japan to breed is important because the American kai gene pool is so small. The biggest difference between American kai and Japanese kai  is that Japanese kai are a more refined breed. Some people bring in Japanese kai into America to expand the gene pool.

There are 3 different kinds of kai. There is the American kai, which is the least refined type. There is Shika kai, who hunt deer, and Shishi kai who hunt boar.

Haru is a shishi kai, who hunts boar. Photo by Brad A.

Haru is a shishi kai, who hunts boar. Photo by Brad A.

Breeders breed for many different reasons, such as for temperament, show, hunting, to diversify the bloodline, or just to breed. Breeding just to breed is not a good reason, because it is just accumulating dogs who you need to find homes for, and if you have too many dogs, you might give them out to just anyone who may or may not treat your puppies well. A good criteria to use to know who is safe to sell puppies to is if they are open to learning, exercise their dogs often, and will not lose patience with them.

Puppies usually come in 2-4 puppies in a litter, (with a possible 1-2 litters a year) and they open their eyes at about 8-9 days.. Their ears stand up at varying times, some puppies may have upright ears at 3 weeks, others at 5. Do not worry if a puppy doesn’t have up- ears for a few weeks. most kai start to walk at 3 weeks old. A good time to introduce kai puppies to other dogs (besides their mother and siblings) is around 8 weeks when their ears are up, eyes are open, and they can walk.

works cited:

Brad A. kai breeder

Reactivity continued

There is a lot you can do for your dog to help with their reactivity. Some different products can help as well as non- product help in the other post.

1. Thunder Shirt: Seiji gets scared of many things, like loud noises from washing machines and thunder. We put him in a thunder shirt. It doesn’t make him completely normal, but without it he would be very scared. Thunder shirts work the best when you put it on BEFORE your dog starts reacting.

2. Martingale Collar: These collars are special because they are supposed to fit loosely on your dog, and when they pull on the leash, the collar will pull tight, but not tight enough to choke your dog. Seiji has been able to pull himself out of many types of collars, but not the Martingale.

3. Use a strong leash! Chewing on leashes can weaken them. Thick leashes tend to be reliable, but some normal sized leashes have not stood up to the test of Reilly, my non- reactive dog who has a high prey drive. Braided leashed are not always the best because if a dog chews through one strand, the leash is done for.

4. Ruff Harness: Seiji has a few harnesses, and he has one that is the most helpful. One of the points of a harness is having different places to hook your leash. On the Ruff Harness, there are many convenient places to hook your leash so that your dog won’t trip on it if they bauk, as well as a handle- like thing on the top so that if your dog somehow escapes the leash, you can grab it instead of something like your dog’s tail.