Now that we are one week into fall, it seems like an appropriate time to officially introduce you to Aki. (In Japanese, Aki means fall/autumn).
This is Aki, my shiba inu. She joined our lives at the end of July and now is four months old! I have always wanted a shiba inu since I was in high school. I always knew that “some day” I would get one, I just didn’t know exactly when.
My life had previously been jam-packed with traveling. And, if I was home in Seattle, I’d be off running a trail race nearby or hanging out with friends.
Just like many people during quarantine, now seemed like the perfect time to have a puppy join our family. I started reaching out to various rescues and breeders. I continued to do my research on the shiba breed and dog ownership in general. (I grew up with a cat, Bryce grew up with a dog).
I’d be lying if I said it was easy. All puppy owners know it’s not those first few weeks. She’s cute and fluffy but it wasn’t all cute and fluff all the time.
The first week we had to just get her acquainted with us. She was really nervous. Luckily, she took to her crate right away. So, she spent a lot of time there. Then, bit by bit, day by day, we made progress.
As the weeks went by, I stopped having to wake up anywhere between 4 and 5 am to take her out to pee. We’d make it to around 6:30 or 7 am. Bit by bit we started to learn her behavior. She learned that if she needed to go potty, she would go sit by the door. Shibas are known to be very clean and easy to housebreak than other breeds. Of course there were accidents in the house, but we figured out a routine quickly.
Being together for two months now, I can’t imagine my life without her. She wags her tail and comes running towards me when I come home after going on a run. She loves to play fetch with her tennis ball. She loves belly rubs. She loves the beach and exploring.
At the start she was also very nervous around strangers/people. But, we socialized her (as much as we could considering we are in the middle of a pandemic). I enrolled her in puppy kindergarten, which really helped her open up and gain confidence. At the start she was so scared she wanted to hide under my chair but by the end of the six weeks, she didn’t want to leave and loved playing with the other puppies and learning new commands with me.
We still have a lot more work to do (ahem, proper leash walking at all times and meeting new people), but I am so proud of how far she has already come. She’s also grown so quickly she’s looking more “adult” and less “puppy” day by day. But, she will always be my little shiba pup.
We love you, Aki.