Monday, July 13, 2009


Friday's post was apparently premature.

Because that afternoon we found our match.

Kumiko is a two year old Akita-Chow mix. She's pretty much what you would expect from that blend, including very, very fluffy, but a little on the small side at 75 lbs. We met her Friday evening, slept on it, and went to pick her up in a pouring storm when the shelter opened at 1 on Saturday. Nope, she's not bothered by thunder.

She plays very enthusiastically, including fetch. If you aren't around to throw it, she tosses things into the air and catches them herself. This is very loud. Particularly when she does it with the extra-hard large-dog nylabone. She has nominal interest in chewing the thing, but loves tossing it in the air and hearing it go BANG against the wood floor.

She has very good house manners, and a good sense of what things are hers and what are not. When her ball landed in the wires behind the computers, she was extremely careful picking it out, and has been very responsive to 'no' for off-limits things (the counter, my knitting basket, the houseplant).

She seems to have a very good sense of personal space, and doesn't mob people. She also seems to intuitively understand that the cats are people too in that sense. While I wouldn't say she was afraid of Fuu like some of the dogs we've babysat, she won't approach her without an invitation, and is very cautious. (Fuu is just starting to give these invitations by Monday morning). She will be actively tossing her ball around, but stop when it rolls by Fuu and wait for me to get it for her. Fuu, on the other hand, is a jerk, and bats the ball around herself - even the one almost as big as she is. We're watching very closely for now and keeping her crated when we aren't home, but it looks like things will be ok on that front. There was a minor altercation this morning where Fuu and Mickey were wrestling and Kumiko went over to investigate. Oddly, Mickey was the one who didn't appreciate it, and yelled and swatted her and ran to the other side of the room, but Kumi held still and didn't chase or react at all. Perfect.

Training may well be a struggle. She seems pretty smart, and doesn't go out of her head, but is a bit difficult to motivate. (again, typical to both breeds). Sometimes she is interested in plain kibble, sometimes she is indifferent even to treats. We probably need to do some guess and check on alternative treats, like cheese, hot dogs...she seemed interested in pretzels at one point. So natural house manners will get us somewhere, but the rest will be a long haul. The only command she knows even a little is sit, and she's not strong on that one. She also seems to think touching her bottom is part of the command, since she goes right down without any pressure if you do that, but is not nearly so good with just the word. On the other hand, the only really bad habit is she pulls on walks, so we can get by while she learns. Classes start in August.

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