At The Ranch
"Shibas in Two Worlds"
From the ranch to the ring and back to the
ranch - sometimes all in one day. On my mountain ranch, Shibas live a lifestyle that
goes back thousands of years. As a pack, they chase bobcats and bears, and kill
rodents in the garden, while protecting their horses, birds, and human friends. The
pack mentality governs all their social interactions. Eight to ten dogs (or as many as 16
when there are visitors) share a common food dish and living space, and all ride together
in the back of the truck. At the annual Shiba party near Jacey's, they all share one pen,
often with visiting friends or strangers.
There is no provision for separating dogs - everyone is expected to cooperate, even in the raising of pups, which are born in the base of a special puppy chair in my living room. From birth, they are surrounded by the other dogs, many of whom share babysitting and cleanup tasks so that the mother has time to get away and run free outside.
It's a lifestyle which requires considerable training - everyone must learn what they are allowed to chase, who to bark at, how to stay in the back of an open truck when riding about the ranch, and how to integrate new and old friends into the social structure. Most of it they learn from older dogs, but what makes it all possible is that the pack chain of command is clear - the boss or Alpha is always a human.
They travel widely for breeding, fitting in well in all sorts of households. When showtime comes, they jump into a car to Jacey's house in Lodi , get a bathing and brushing, are fitted with a collar, and make the transformation to a civilized show dog. For them, it's just another part of living in two worlds.
More pictures from the Ranch.
Click on the thumbnail to view full size.