Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Dog Owner Training - Kona (6)

Why does Kona sometimes bark at a dog and sometimes not bark at the same dog when she sees it?

It was a mystery.


Kona barking at a dog when she saw it.


Kona not barking when seeing the same dog.


Our trainer, Masumi-san, gave me her psychological explanation of Kona’s behavior.

In pic1, the dog was walking ahead of the person.

In pic2, the same dog was walking behind the person. In other words the dog was in a submissive position relative to its owner. The fear Kona felt differed depending on the other dog’s mentality or posture.

When Kona saw dogs walking ahead of humans or pulling humans, she felt much more fear and tended to become aggressive in self-defense.

Before, when I saw other dogs walk toward us, I just casually glanced at them. But after I learned Kona’s psychological reaction, I started to observe people and their dogs more carefully to try to assess their state of mind and how that would affect Kona.

To put it another way, if Kona walks submissively behind me, it lessens the fear other dogs feel from Kona, which means it lessens the chance of other dogs barking at Kona. This way of walking has many advantages!


Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Dog Owner Training - Kona (5)

Kona’s trainer, MASUMI, lives in the US and she is not in Hong Kong. (Watch her video)

We agree with her philosophy and knew that she was the one for Kona. But the US is too far to take Kona to meet her.

So we decided to do the training remotely.

You may be skeptical whether a dog trainer can train dogs without seeing them.

However, Kona’s problems are not solved by teaching commands, they stem from the bond between Kona and us. One cannot build a trusting relationship with Kona by leaving her at a trainer or sending her to a dog training camp. So we resolved to do it ourselves by following Masumi-san’s advice.

There are detailed emails I received from Masumi-san during the last 2 weeks. The great thing about doing the email sessions is that they are saved so I can review them again for reference.

Kona’s improvement proves that dogs can be transformed even if the dog trainer doesn’t see the dog, provided that its owners change their attitude and behavior. I think it would be great if Kona’s example could give hope to other dog owners who are facing the same problem as Kona’s.


Monday, September 28, 2009

Dog Owner Training - Kona (4)

What we did for Kona’s training is very simple. We just changed the way we walk Kona.

Previously, we taught Kona to heel. When heeling she walked by our side.

We allowed her to walk slightly ahead if she didn’t pull us.

She sometimes gave us a big smile while we were walking. We never thought that we were walking her the wrong way.

However, in Kona’s case, our way of walking was not right for her...

Although Kona walked next to us, we learned that she was not focused properly on us and was easily distracted.

Kona’s training consisted of making sure that she always walked behind me. While walking Kona we were taught to change direction immediately if she tried to walk ahead of us. This method keeps Kona alert and focused so that she always pay attention to the person walking her.

Every morning and evening, while following me…

following me…

and following me…

Kona developed the sense that she has to keep up with Yumi, stay connected with her, and trust her completely.

Let’s keep training together, Kona.


Dog Owner Training - Kona (3)

My dog owner training began with understanding more about our own dog.

Our trainer analyzed Kona’s psychology and explained it to us in detail. By trying to understand Kona’s state of mind, we are able to see what we needed to do to train Kona.

Kona’s problems resulted from my lack of leadership.

Kona is a naturally good follower. She feels comfortable following a leader. Therefore, when Kona is forced to become a leader, she goes through a lot of stress.

When she is in a normal relaxed state, she is a trouble-free dog who comes to heel. However, even though she sees me as a leader when there are no other dogs around, once she sees other dogs and feels scared, she forgets I am there. Without a leader, the only thing she can do is become aggressive to protect herself.

Our training task was to make her develop the sense that I am always there for her. But how?



Saturday, September 26, 2009

Weight Check III

When we went to town with Lupikona, we popped into the SPCA to weigh them.

Don’t move, Lupita!

Lupita weighs 20.54kg.

Kona’s turn was next.

Kona weighs 20.52kg.

Shorter and stockier Lupita is about the same weight as Kona, who is taller but thinner.


Friday, September 25, 2009

Dog Owner Training - Kona (2)

Two weeks have passed since Kona and I started training. She made a lot of progress. She seems like a different dog!

【BEFORE】 Two weeks ago when Kona was beginning her training.
(Video: Please click the ▶)

When she saw other dogs, she became scared and aggressive.

【AFTER 1】Kona yesterday.
(Video: Please click the ▶)

You can tell that her mind was still on me even though other dogs walking by.

【AFTER 2】Kona yesterday.
(Video: Please click the ▶ )

She followed me calmly and submissively even with other dogs around.

The reason why I was so happy yesterday is because of the Kona’s transformation. When she saw other dogs, not only did she not panic, but she stayed calm and relaxed. More than anything, I was relieved that I could reduce some of the stress that she felt everytime she saw other dogs and became aggressive.

There are still some kinks to be worked out. We will keep up Kona’s training to try to make her feel relaxed.

You may want to know what kind of training we did or who the trainer is, etc. Stay tuned for updates.

“Hey Yumi, you didn’t publish my violent video on your blog, did you?”
“Hmm, I think she did.” Lupita said.


Thursday, September 24, 2009

Happy Day

I had a really happy day today with Kona. I was so happy that tears welled up in my eyes.

Thank you, Kona.


Wednesday, September 23, 2009


Although the weather in Hong Kong is getting a little cooler in the morning and evening, the temperature reached 32 degrees Celsius during the day today. It’s still summer here but it seems Lupikona’s autumn shedding season has started.

When I took out a broom to sweep up their loose hair on the floor…

Kona escaped behind the sofa. Kona is scared of brooms.

Lupita is afraid of almost nothing. Even if I showed her the broom or…

swept her with the broom, she wouldn't move.

This is how Lupikona position themselves when I sweep.


Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Cloth Frisbee Toy

This is a special toy that we keep out of Lupikona’s reach – a cloth Frisbee toy. They each love this toy in different ways.

Lupita playing with the toy with Scott.

She can catch this toy.

“This is fun ♪”

Kona is scared of flying objects even they are made of cloth.

Kona reaching tentatively for the toy…

“I’m not scared when it’s sitting on the ground…”


Monday, September 21, 2009

Sunday Nap II

Scott and Lupita were taking a nap.

The tip of her tongue was showing.


Sunday, September 20, 2009

Foot Pillow

Kona came to Scott and…

laid down with her head on Scott’s foot.

Scott held still for Kona. Lupita copied Kona’s pose.


Saturday, September 19, 2009


Scott and I started jogging yesterday. We jogged with Lupikona this morning. I am so out of shape, that when I felt like I was sprinting, Lupikona were walking!

After the jog, Kona and I were sharing a little sense of achievement.


Friday, September 18, 2009

Please Take It Easy

When Kona returned home from training, she plopped herself down by Lupita who was home resting.


“What’s wrong, Kona?”

“I’m completely exhausted from training.”

“Yumi! It’s okay to try hard, but please take it easy on Kona.”


Thursday, September 17, 2009

Hug & Kiss

Lupikona hugging.



Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Typhoon Koppu

The typhoon hit Hong Kong.

A tree was knocked down by the strong wind.

Even after the typhoon passed, the wind was still strong.

Lupita standing in the strong wind.

For your information, we don’t call typhoons by number here in Hong Kong as they do in Japan; typhoons are given Asian names instead. This typhoon was given a Japanese name, Typhoon Koppu.


Tuesday, September 15, 2009

I Mean It

“Hey Lupita, please play with me!”
“I’m sleepy, maybe later,” Lupita replied with a yawn.

“Come on! Here I come!”

“One, two...”


“Let’s play!”

“C’mon! If you don’t play with me, I won’t play with you!”

“I mean it!”

“I really really mean it!”