Sunday, November 13, 2011

Things I love about my shiba

Shiba Shedding Time.

As far as I know, I'm the only shiba owner who loves Shiba Shedding Time. If you're not a shiba's personal assistant, you may not be aware that shibas blow their coat twice a year, spring and fall; and as they have a double coat, this entails a considerable amount of hair. Shiba Shedding Time typically lasts for several weeks, during which you will be vacuuming at least twice a day. And when you think you're done vacuuming, you turn around and you can't even tell where you've vacuumed and where you haven't.

Most shiba people whose blogs I've read (I don't read any currently because they displeased me) have some kind of super-aggressive grooming tool to try to rip off most of the old coat in three brushings. That sounds like exactly not what a shiba would like. I, on the other hand, have just a simple brush. I brush Tinky-Winky very slowly, for a few minutes a day. Usually I only get to do one side per session, because she lies down on her side for brushing, and when she's had enough she stands up and walks away. I find the best way is to brush gently against the coat at first. This will lift up clumps of the undercoat that are ready to come out. Then I focus on those areas, brushing against the hair to lift it and then with the hair to remove it.

You see, Tinky-Winky is not a cuddly dog. She only likes to be petted in her own time, which is generally while she's waking up in the morning. It suits Her Majesty that I should get up quickly and then attend her for twenty minutes while she eases out of sleep. That being said, she didn't start this tradition until we had been together more than three years; in fact we were together 2 1/2 years before she ever willingly showed me her belly. But when she's shedding, she's actually quite willing to be brushed. It's the only time when I can go to her and start handling her and she won't walk away in seconds.

So, I love Shiba Shedding Time because I get to spend much more time petting my shiba than any other time of year. (And also, I keep the dead hair, then some day I can have it spun and knit myself a... toque, probably. If I wanted a sweater, I should have got a bigger dog.)

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