Mac the Shiba Inu I am a classy Shiba that enjoy long walk on the beach… IS THAT CHEESE?

5May/130

Review: Dog Backseat Hammock – Zone Tech, Outward Hound

We made the switch from a quilted backseat cover to a backseat hammock (Amazon: Zone Tech Back Seat Pet Hammock), Mac seems to like it a lot better. For folks that are in the market for a seat cover, I did a quick video review over the weekend, hope this helps somebody!

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20Jan/13Off

Review: ZiwiPeak Air-Dried Raw Dog Food

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This is the third bag of ZiwiPeak (link opens in new window) that I fed Mac, I figure it is finally time to write a review of this product.

It all started after Mac stayed with his sister Suki for a week, Suki's mom sent Mac home with a bag of ZiwiPeak letting me know that Mac really enjoyed the food. I remember talking to Suki's mom about food in the past but I ultimatel

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y decided not to try ZiwiPeak due to the cost - $33 for 2.2lb bag!! Due to their generosity we finally got to see what the rave is all about.

On Mac's delicious food ranking chart, ZiwiPeak definitely ranks right up there with raw, which I suppose makes sense since it is technically air-dried raw. The only difference is that you don't have to deal with the mess and it does not have strong odor. While this brand's cost borders ridiculous, once I started trying it I realized that due to it's richness, I don't actually need to feed as much each meal and it lasts a bit longer than expected. I now also don't exclusively feed ZiwiPeak each meal, I would rotate between ZiwiPeak and regular kibbles (Ouijen) and sometimes sprinkle some ZiwiPeak over the kibbles to give them some extra flavour. Overall Mac and I are both very happy with the product and feel that while the cost is high, it does offer raw food in a convenient no-mess form without sacrificing taste and quality. If the cost per bag is something you can swallow, I would recommend getting a 2.2lb or sample pack to try and see how your friend responds to it!

PS - If you are debating between flavours, Mac seems to like Venison the most!

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5Mar/12Off

Review: F-Stop Guru Backpack

I know quite a few of you enjoy outdoor adventures as well as photography. In my search for the perfect pack to hold my camera equipments on longer trips, the F-Stop Guru came highly recommended. I did a quick first impression video

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for those of you who may be considering this backpack but wanted a more in-depth review. Hope this helps!

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7Feb/123

Book Review: Canine Body Language

A page of: Canine Body Language: A Photographic Guide Interpreting the Native Language of the Domestic Dog

Calling this a book review may be a bit premature, but after reading through most of Canine Body Language
over the weekend and peeking through the remaining pages, I believe I can give it a solid 4 stars rating with a strong recommendation.

Do you know the difference between Play Bow and Pounce? The only difference lies in the tail, when the tail is straight up the dog is ready to pounce. Have you wondered why your dog always scratches himself in a social environment with other dogs? It is actually a signal to other dogs that they are intruding into his personal space. How about when your dog does those funny full extension stretches? You know, the one where he rocks back into a Play Bow stretch and then he would lean forward to stretches out the back legs? I thought this was just a stretch, but apparently this stretch carries a very significant meaning!

This is a pretty good sized book with each page being dominated by a large photo of dog(s) trying to convey a message. The author then breaks down each posture in a no non-sense fashion to tell you exactly what the dog is trying to communicate. If there is something that could not be determined just from a picture without context, the author is not shy about admitting it which I appreciate. The writing is light and easy to digest and the book covers a huge range of communications from dog to human to dog in a pack.

I found the first portion of the book very relevant, as I was reading it I could relate to all of the described body language in the book - Mac has displayed all of them one time or another. The dog with dog communication break-down is a bit more complicated due to all the variables, but it also offered a lot of great insights along with photos showing exactly what the author is talking about. I would recommend picking up Canine Body Language if the $27 price tag does not put you off.

12Jan/127

Shiba Puppy at the Pet Store

There is a puppy store called Just Puppies near CZ's family restaurant that I would visit from time to time. The strong odor hits you like a freight train as soon as you walk in and unsurprisingly, there were a lot of negative feedbacks on Yelp - it is hardly a decent place to keep a puppy.

On this visit, I was surprised to see a Shiba Inu. According to the staffs, Shiba has been rare and they were usually sold as soon as the dog touched down. Maybe due to the rise in popularity more are being "imported"?

Time and time again you hear people say "Don't buy from a pet store!" and there is truth to it. It is common knowledge that most pet store buys from puppy mills or less than reputable breeders. To me, it is not so much the health of the puppy in question (obviously there is a higher risk of health issue due to the parents over-breeding and having all these dogs in one unsanitary location), but more the treatment of the parents that bother me. Their life contains only eat - poop - sex - sleep. Sounds great right? But do all that in a small wire cage your entire life, probably not so great anymore.

To me it is not even about the breed standard, it is about basic animal well being. If you decide to buy (or rescue) that cute little puppy from a pet store, the pet store will know there is a demand and will order even more puppies from the mill. For just that reason alone I would highly recommend you not support this cycle and go to a reputable breeder.

* Somewhat related - Since people ask for Shiba breeder recommendations from time to time, I recently started a Mac's Reputable Breeder List so I can quickly refer them to great breeders. I will slowly populate this list with breeders that I find trustworthy and truly care for the well being of their dogs. A shit list is probably coming too, in fact, I think that list may be even more important.

25Dec/110

Review: Chewy Louie Dog Biscuts

This was a shot in the dark for me. During Black Friday I needed a couple extra dollars to be eligible for free shipping so I picked the Chewy Louie Dog Biscuits. Since then Mac gets one biscuit every 2 or 3 days and it is definitely one of his top choice for treats.

Since I have not actually tried the biscuit, I cannot comment on the taste. But if Mac's eagerness to do all sorts of tricks for it is any indication, I think it tastes pretty good! It has crispy cookie as a "container" with different types of fillings in the middle (surprisingly very few arrived broken in the bag, most are perfectly intact). I especially like the size of the biscuit because it is substantial, sometimes if I know we will be having a long day I would feed Mac this for a little extra something in his stomach. The bag I ordered is beef flavour, I think for the next patch I may try peanut butter flavor.

Bottom line, if you see this at your pet store's shelf, or happen to be shopping at Amazon, while the packaging looks a bit err... give Chewy Louie Dog Biscuits a try!

30Oct/117

Bark!

Bark! has been my favorite local dog supplies store for awhile. They stock all the higher end dog food and treats I cannot find at PetCo and their price remain reasonable, they also host dog related events from time to time. If you live around Maryland, swing by one of their stores sometime and check them out!

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24Oct/112

It’s Shedding Season! Quick Tools Overview…

Had fun playing with the brushes... tools: FURminator and Safari Slicker Brush! I would highly recommend the Sarafi Slicker Brush, it's the perfect sized brush with fur ejecting feature for only $8, can't really beat that!

23Oct/111

The Whale Warrior: Pirate for the Sea

I have watched every season of "Whale Wars," it is a documentary on Paul Watson and his Sea Shepherd crew on stopping the Japanese whaling fleet from hunting whales. There are a lot of gray areas, the Japanese technically are hunting them legally for scientific reasons, but it is pretty transparent that that is just an excuse the world agreed to use to justify the otherwise illegal hunts. While everybody settled on turning a blind eye, not Paul Watson and his crew.

Initially I am not a fan of Sea Sheperd's methods, they were clearly provoking the highly-tolerant Japanese fleet for a respond, which in turn they would sensationalize. Even after watching the last season, I still find myself sometimes rooting for the Japanese fleet simply because I found some of Sea Sheperd's actions to be too irresponsible. However, after doing some research and watching "The Whale Warrior" documentary, I have grown to really respect the guy.

While Paul Watson's argument may be just, his methods are extreme - finding loop holes in laws, provoking the whaling fleets, ramming the other ships (and made a huge deal if the other ship returned the favor). He understands the power of media and he has extreme wit, but most importantly, he is extremely well spoken. Some of the things he said clearly did not make sense, but it was hard to call him out on exactly what did not make sense. He also knows how to leverage the media and market his campaign in such an attractive way that he gets funding, supports and admiration from people (including a lot of young people looking for adventures, which is crucial), and the ability to wield the media as weapon as well as shield against his enemies. This guy is a marketing and strategy genius.

The Whale Wars series did not do him justice at all. The series painted him as some kind of maverick out to wreck every whaling ship out there haphazardly, which in turn made him two dimensional and dim. The series spent way too much time on the action and not enough time on Paul Watson's philosophy. He turns out to be an extremely insightful man with a strong opinion on something, and he understands that there is a limit to what negotiation can do, and the world needs somebody that acts.

Paul Watson is Bat Man.

I think the following quote sums up my view for Paul Watson:

"You have enemies? Good. That means you've stood up for something, sometime in your life."
Winston Churchill

I hope Paul Watson and his Sea Shepherd crew keep doing what they have been doing. While I do not agree with all their methods, sometimes people bending the laws need to know that there are others on the opposite side willing to bend the laws as well.

For a more complete view of Paul Watson as a person, take a look at The Whale Warrior: Pirate for the Sea, I highly recommend this film.

1Sep/116

Review: Dog Toy – Kyjen Puzzle Platypus with Eggs

I would have loved to tell you how much Mac likes to play with this toy, unfortunately Mac was never interested in the toy so we gifted it to his sister Suki.

Mac's personal preference aside, I can honestly tell you that this toy is very well made and is one of the few dog toys which I thought was worth the money (especially at Amazon's discounted price): Kyjen Egg Babies - Platypus

The gimmick of this toy is that the well reinforced Platypus holds three soft balls with squeaker inside it's stomach. If that is not enough, it comes with two additional replacement balls! Talk about value.

It is unfortunate that Mac find no interest in the Platypus, I would imagine a foraging style toy like this would be a major hit with the more inquisitive dogs!