Shikoku Ken Discussion
Koharu Updates - Pic Spam!
So it's been about 5 weeks since Koharu's joined us and I thought I'd start a thread for my pup! I've been putting a bunch of pics on my Instagram (located over at
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starlightjellyfish in case anyone's into the social media) because I think she's the most adorable puppy in the world, haha. She and I and the boyfriend are settling into a routine and getting to know one another, and I think it's been going pretty well.
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We imported Koharu from Japan, and since I barely did any of the work (super special thanks and probably my eternal gratitude to Shigeru!), my experience centres solely on picking up her up from the airport. We drove ~4 hours to Detroit to pick her up and she was super cheerful and she weathered it beautifully! All the people working at the cargo desk loved her, too. Something that I will note, though, is that when we crossed back over the border into Canada, we had to pay taxes on her. We told them the amount we paid, but didn't look at the actual paperwork before going back home (it was like 11 PM and we had a 4 hour drive ahead of us!), and we ended up paying way more in taxes than we needed to. Our mistake, but if anyone else is doing the same, it's something to look out for. The Canadian border agent even came out on her break/while we were paying the taxes to meet our puppy because Koharu is just too cute - the boyfriend says it's the first time he's ever seen a border guard smile! Anyway arriving home at like 3:30 AM after like 8 hours of driving + a full day before that + an energetic puppy who is now wide awake is not pleasant... If I had to do that again, I would do it differently!
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In the first few days of having Koharu, the boyfriend and I described her as the calmest puppy we'd ever met. Even other humans she met described her like that. She wasn't even afraid of the vacuum! We joked that if she stayed that way, we've used up all our puppy luck for the rest of our lives. As she settled in, she started acting up and pushing boundaries (now she tries to attack the vacuum, and she's learned how to jump onto the couch and bed) but she's still exceptionally calm compared to other puppies we've met. I'm still sure we've used up our lifetime puppy luck, and still hoping that dog puberty doesn't change her too much! Her personality and temperment are just exactly what we were looking for, even if she's sometimes a brat (but from what I hear, all puppies are brats anyway!).
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At first, she took a while to warm up to new dogs. She loves meeting new humans but was wary of new dogs. Now she's realized that other dogs are fun to play with and tries to play with all the other dogs! When we go out, she'll try to run to every dog and human out there, so it's something for us to work on. We had our last puppy class earlier today, and she typically played nicely with all the other puppies! One sort-of problem we do have is with the boyfriend's mom's 2 year old standard poodle - that dog has all the puppy playfulness but the energy/stamina of an adult dog, so when Koharu's done playing, the poodle still wants to run around and bother her. Not really much of a dog problem but it's something we have to watch out for until Koharu is big enough to hold her own.
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She's pretty wonderful with regards to being handled - she's fine at the vet (everyone loves her there!), has no issues being poked or prodded anywhere, whenever we brush her, good with her paws being picked up and touched... The only thing that we can't really do easily is get to her teeth. But, she has such a soft mouth! She'll put my arm in her mouth and gently mouth it, and while her jaw's gotten stronger, it's still very gentle and there's barely any pressure. She's started teething and chewing on strange items like the bars of her expen or crate (she's not trying to get out of containment since it's all open). I think she's also learned that chewing on certain items, like the couch, gets her attention from the humans... something for us to work on.
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Speaking of, I've started leaving her alone at home for longer increments and it's been going swimmingly. When I was first starting, I was a bit worried, since she would bark continually while in her crate. Now that we've gotten a bigger one and given her free reign of her expen as well, she just lies down to nap or will chew on her various toys while alone. She'll excitement pee sometimes when I come home, but I'm assuming that'll stop once she gets better control of her puppy bladder. If I get her out before she gets too excited, we can avoid the excitement pee, but sometimes she just is too happy to see me again!
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Also, she practically house-trained herself. We watched her very closely the first few days and so the only accidents she had were ones where we thought she didn't need to go (such as when she just came back in from a pee) and that was more on us since she was giving us the right signals. We tried to teach her to ring a bell to let her out, but she quickly learned that the bell means she gets let out and after a night of zoomies when she desperately wanted to go out to play, we removed the bell... Now she sits in front of the door to be let out, lol. She also sleeps through the night, although she sometimes asks to be let out if we forget to take her water away before putting her to bed.
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With regards to food, she has become pretty spoiled. She has moved from shoving her meals into her mouth and me being able to use kibble for training to turning her nose at a bowl full of kibble and becoming bored if the training treats aren't higher value! And this is at home, too! It's frustrating because I don't want to fill her full of high value treats, but I also want her to get basic obedience down. I think she might love peanut butter more than anything else. I made pumpkin peanut butter cookies for her a couple days ago and she'll come running to me every time she thinks I might give her one. She also adores dried fish skin chews and fish in general. Her poops are inconsistent at best but she's her usual self and the vet told us it's nothing to worry about, so I just keep giving her pumpkin and hoping she gets more regular, lol.
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Her training has been going decently, though. The first things I taught her were sit and come, back when she still took kibble regularly during training sessions, so she's pretty good at those now! The boyfriend has a 100 acre property a couple hours north of us, and over the May long weekend, we went up to try some off-leash work (well, more like leash-dragging) and recall. She was about 50/50 on that - you could see her look at you and gauge whether or not the treat we had was better than whatever fun she was having! We came across some fur that she ran off to sniff, where I had to run into a bunch of growth to catch her (good thing for our bright leash too - she blends right into the woods!), but that was the only real issue we had. Otherwise, if we let her do her thing, she'd eventually get her fill and would continue when we asked her to. She also loved jumping into the river, so I think she'll be a great canoeing companion!
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I've seen a bit of her prey drive, but mostly in that she wants to chase leaves, ants, and flying insects (which she's caught and eaten because I'm not good at catching insects, lol). Whenever we walk past the (MANY) Canada geese, she also perks up at them and wants to chase them, but sometimes she just pays them no mind. When the boyfriend took her for a walk the other night, they walked right past some deer and she didn't even notice them! When playing with toys, it took a while for her to tug on things - her mouth is so soft that she didn't bite down hard enough on toys for us to play tug, and she'll chase balls and sometimes bring them back, but not want to drop them! Things to work on, haha.
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She's about 50/50 on getting carsick or not. She's only thrown up once but she gets very drool-y when it's bumpy or there's lots of turns.
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My place is currently covered in her fur. I'm not sure if this is her losing her puppy coat or her blowing coat or both, but I vacuumed yesterday and you can't even tell. I'll pet her and fur comes flying out. She'll shake herself and fur is ejected everywhere. The wind blows in through a window and, that's right, more fur. I expected the whole fur covering all of my possessions bit, but I'm constantly amazed at how much fur such a small creature could possibly lose without becoming completely bald! She's also growing more guard hairs on her neck, while her head is still very soft and fuzzy. The boyfriend adores her soft fuzzy head and would love it if she kept that for the rest of her life, hahaha.
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Anyway, that has been my wall-of-text update on practically everything going on with Koharu. It's been a difficult adjustment for me, not having much dog experience before her, but I can't imagine not having her with us. She's adorable and I can't wait till she gets the all-clear from our vet to go to more dog-busy areas (just another week or so, I believe!). Here are a bunch of pictures:
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