April Update For Max

Here is a wonderful update from Max’s foster Mom:

If I had to pick one word to describe Max, it would be ‘curious’! He loves sniffing things and checking everything out more than any dog I’ve ever met. He is very interested in all the people we pass on the street. He doesn’t jump up on anyone but he stops and looks up at them and is just very interested. When people want to interact with him on the street, I’d describe him as ‘tolerant’. He is perfectly well behaved, but not exactly forthcoming. I tell people to pet him from below instead of above and usually he allows a few pets. He doesn’t seem to particularly care either way. He has been fine with all sorts of people – young children, men, women, etc. I’ve only had one person over to my apartment since he began living here – a man – and Max has been fine, though aloof. He’s definitely crate-trained too. He had no problem from the start. He isn’t trained to go to his crate on command, but I kept him in there when I was out and at night for the first week (and once or twice since then) and he had no problems. He is aloof in general, but follows me around – he likes to be in the same room as me even though he’s sleeping most of the day (I feel bad waking him up when I’m running back and forth!). He’s starting to become a little affectionate only very recently, and only occasionally. And by affectionate, I mean he will cuddle up next to me in exchange for belly scratches!

The only thing he clearly knew was “No” when he got here (which is sad!) but he picked up “Sit” and “Down” in about a day, so he’s very quick! I’m working with him on walking on a loose leash and he’s gotten much better, but he still gets over-excited when there are a lot of people around and starts pulling again. I feel like that is a part of him getting underfoot (which only happens when we are on walks, really) – I’m trying to make sure he is checking in with me while we are walking. He is nervous in new places but it seems to manifest itself only in him sort of freezing up. His tail gets low and he just sort of lets things happen to him. The stuff with other dogs is my biggest concern with him right now. It didn’t happen at first, but I think he is getting territorial at the park. I can’t figure out the pattern of when he gets aggressive – it almost always happens with a rude dog who runs right up to him (understandably, and which I try to prevent) but small, big, male, female. it seems kind of random and I can’t quite figure it out. I’m trying to work on this in conjunction with leash training him because he gets so much more agitated when the leash is taut, and either avoiding the dog altogether or trying to get him to just sit quietly.

He doesn’t seem to care one way or another about birds, but is extremely fond of squirrels! He definitely tries to chase them. We haven’t come across any cats yet, so I can’t speak to how he reacts to them.

He slept in his (closed) crate the first week, and then I let him have the run of the place and now he sleeps on my bed. He is a fantastic alarm clock. He’s probably his most adorable in the morning when he crawls all over me.

From everything I heard about Shibas I was expecting to come home to a ruined apartment the first time I left him alone when I went to work, but he was just fine. When I’m at work I’m gone from 8:30 to 5:30, and that’s the longest I ever leave him alone and the worst that has happened is he ripped up a magazine.

I close the door to my bedroom/office because it has all the things in it I don’t want to risk being chewed on, but other than that he has free reign. Though, when I go to sleep, I leave the door open, so in theory he could go crazy then, he never has. As far as I know he doesn’t bark during the day (at least my neighbors haven’t told me so, and I’ve never heard him from the hallway). Like I said above, he hasn’t destroyed anything except a magazine.

It took him a while to start to play with toys. I think maybe no one played with him when he was young. He is only just now starting to play with them, and still only by himself. The first thing to get his attention was a squeaky rubber ball. He doesn’t care much for Kongs (though just this morning I saw him carry it around for a minute) or plush toys or nylabones or things like that. He spends the most time chewing on his antler.

This guy is obviously young and needs a lot of exercise. He should not go to anyone who can’t handle at least 2 hours of exercise a day. That might change if he is ever able to be trusted in the dog park (I haven’t tried it yet because he’s not cleared to be around other dogs by the vet yet as well as his aggression issues) because he clearly has a lot of energy he just wants to burn off running! I walk him 45 min to an hour in the morning and again when I get home from work, and sometimes a little jaunt around the block before bed. The park I take him to is very hilly and I try to tire him out there!

The best home for Max would be a family who really enjoys engaging with a dog and both has and wants to spend the time not just putting him in the backyard, but exercising him personally. Not the sort of person who is talking on a cell phone while walking him. He’s young and seems to be in that testing phase so he needs someone who wants to be a part of training and exercising him, but he seems able and willing to learn. Since he doesn’t know how to play with people and for the time being can’t go to the dog park, walking him seems to be the only way to get him to burn that energy off. I don’t feel comfortable recommending him for a home with other pets yet, though I do feel like if he is introduced properly he would be ok with some other dogs (he’s been fine with some other dogs – just not sure why!). As soon as he’s gotten the all-clear from the vet, I can try to take it slow and introduce him to some of the dogs I know might know more, but for right now I’d say he’d be best as an only pet.

There was a period when he freaked out about the harness being put on him so I tried him with a martingale collar. It became apparent he just hated the noise of the leash being clicked as it attached / the harness as it clicked shut (I also bought him a soft mesh harness just to be sure it wasn’t pinching him) so I just gave him lots of treats and now he seems to be fine. Since he’s still learning leash training I feel like we have better walks with the harness, but he’s ok with both. He only barks when he’s playful, but he makes some weird noises when he gets frustrated. The first week he was here he howled like a lonely little wolf once or twice. He now hates baths.

Max 2

Max 1