Tjido Header

Tjido Header

Saturday, December 8, 2012

First snow!

Tjido is exactly five months old today! And it was a beautiful day for a walk in the Amsterdam forest area.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Home Alone

In previous posts I have told you how we had some 'issues' when leaving Tjido alone. First he would bark at us when we entered the toilet (and closed the door), or if someone left the house (me, Joost or who ever was visiting) and leaving him alone was unthinkable.

For the first two problems: well he got over the fact we closed the door of the toilet. But he will still wait close by for you to come out. When people left we gave him treats and praised him so he's now happy with people leaving the house, although treats are still in the picture.

BUT HOME ALONE! That was tragic.. for us.

We tried crate training, but didn't really work (today I know why..)
So when we finally decided to really make a schedule and get over our own anxieties, and we did the following:
(how we came to this method, I will explain below)

  • Take Tjido for a nice walk so he can relieve himself, play & get tired.
  • Back home prepare a Kong or a chewy thing.
  • Turn on a recorder or a camera (we later installed the webcam to record)
  • Leave the house for 10min. Come back without a big fuss. 
We repeated this 2 to 3 times a day. First few try-outs we gave him dry meat. When we came back he was still chewing, so it was fine. 

We then went to 15min, and had a small peeing accident, but no barking. We freaked out a bit, but decided to continue training and started using the Kong (as well as getting the video recording app on the computer). From 15 we went to 25 the next day. 

When we got to 30min we decided to keep this a few days instead of continuing increasing. We realized that he wasn't barking and he actually fell asleep. Again, after a few days we increased yet again to 40min- 1 hour and latest to 1 hour 15min. Second try on this ultimate record, he peed in the house again. But we now had footage! He looked quite relaxed playing with his toys, lying down and then he just had to pee. So yeah, his bladder is not that controlled apparently.

- Take a breath, make a schedule and take the big step! 
- Try and get a recorder, camera or whatever, this helps allot to assess your dog's behavior when you are gone and can help you relax as you can see when things go well (or bad..). 
- Remove the Kong from your dog when you get back, so he keeps longing for it and understands that it is a great thing that he gets when you leave/ are away.
- Read how to stuff a Kong properly; there are many recipes on the internet, and some as simple as peanut butter + kibble pushed hard and peanut butter to close it off.   

My biggest tip would be to get over your own anxieties. I read the very helpful book of Patricia McConnell I'll be home soon Her website. This helped me to understand that ours wasn't a lost case of separation anxiety, but just a very sensible dog that has to learn slowly how to be alone. It was through this book I realized why crate training didn't work either: Tjido likes his crate but not when closed, because when we closed it, we would leave the room. Now we know we should have added the kong and build it up from there.

I know that every dog is different, but that's why you should get as much information as possible. Also like Veronica pointed out, there are always facebook groups and forums or other ways to talk to more experienced people with your specific breed. In this case Icies are known for being cry babies when left alone. Follow your instinct as well, you know your dog best!

I am happy to report that Tjido does not bark when left alone, he has no signs of anxiety and we will let you know when we hit the following mile stone!

Monday, November 26, 2012

Using Public Transport

Hello dear readers!

First of all, thank you, this blog has surpassed the 500 views yay! :D

Today I want to talk about public transport. As you have read before, we don't have a car, and well, there are just many places you cannot reach with a bicycle... So how to take your dog in public transport?

I was looking for advice in the internet, but didn't find much so hence why I want to share our experience.

When we got Tjido, on the first week we tried to take the metro with him. But we basically did everything wrong... We were stressed, we carried Tjido and tried to sooth him, didn't have any treats with us, and just to make it more fun.. it was rush hour... So half way our trip we aborted the mission and had to go home. Since then we avoided public transport because of our own fears.

On Saturday we decided to get over it!

We had to visit Joost parents, that means a bus ride (20min) and then a train ride (a bit more than 20min).

  • We took a nice walk so Tjido could do his business before getting in the bus.  We carried him in.
  • We made him sit, but realized he was a bit anxious so we gave him some dry meat to chew. This lasted until the end of the ride. 
  • At the station we had a nice walk and he relaxed enough to pee again. 
  • In the train he got a second dry meat.
The first time in Joosts' parents house, he didn't relax at all. Now we has better, less barking, but still wanting to sniff everything and going outside and inside the whole time. He finally fell asleep after a few hours. 

On the way back we did the same, although he now got his evening meal in a kong at the train.  We also decided to take the metro back. And it went great! This with only sweets and a bit of training. 

So my tips to you: 

  • Do take a walk before you enter the mode of transportation. And if you have to take two like us, take your time, let him relax (mostly, when they finally pee it means they are relaxed) and don't forget to give him water
  • Carry your puppy into the bus/train/metro. Most dogs tend to be scared of the tiny gap and this means they get petrified, then you get stressed because your train will be leaving etc... Not nice.
  • Get some nice treats your dog can chew on. Carry more than you think you need! This also makes you feel relaxed at the thought that your dog can chew and feel happy for hours if necessary ;)
  • Try to sit somewhere were he can lay down and not be constantly alert of everything around him. When we sat at the metro he had to sit under my legs and I think this made this ride more successful. 
I would have to say that if you can, you should start slowly. We will continue travelling short distances as to make him more relaxed and not so dependent on his chew yummies. The goal will be for him to be in any public transportation and feel relaxed enough to lay down and hopefully sleep!

To end this post I leave you with a more decent video of Tjido (he was still quite small then)! Enjoy!

If you want to leave a comment but don't have a blogger account, you should be able to leave comments as anonymous or openID :)

Friday, November 16, 2012

Autumn Fun Ideas

Well before autumn stops for good and winter kicks in, I wanted to share with you some fun games to play with your dog outside and that help allot with re-call exercises. As you know, if sniffing at that tree is more interesting that us, puppy won't even turn to look for us. So we have to spice things up!

Apart from rewarding Tjido for coming to us when called (as well as when he comes on his own) we have started doing the following games (I decided to give them fun names):

Sniffing the Leaves Game! 

You put some leaves together in a smile pile and throw treats in it. Meanwhile dog has to wait.
Then he can sniff them out!

What's on the Tree?

Push some treats on the bark of the tree, so they stay put. Ask your dog to find them!

The classic "come" game

If you are outside with another person you can play the come game, where you stand in front of eacht other asking the dog to come (he gets a treat) and getting further apart every time.


Why not train with your dog in a challenging environment?

The reason I want to share these games is because normally you could fetch or play tug with your dog outside, but I have found that Tjido being a curious puppy, gets too distracted for a proper game.
These are nice ways to give treats in a playful manner. Especially the first two games are very good because your dog needs some self control when waiting and the sniffing is great as mental exercise!

 If you have more ideas leave a comment! :D

 PS: Funny story! We have a strange population of parrots in Amsterdam (.. yeah the green tropical ones) and they have migrated to our small park area. Man they are aggressive! Every time they see Tjido they attack us! And well, this icelandic sheepdog just stares. I thought he would go ballistic but he's like "hey guys, what are we playing at?" haha I made a video so I'll post that later!

Monday, November 12, 2012

Things that are working for us: Part 1

Hello readers!

I'm sorry for the very late post! I have been quite busy but have found a spare moment to update you!

So we have sadly ended our puppy classes.. which is really a shame! We are now looking for a continuation, but many dog schools are very far from our house and we don't have a car. But we are continuing with training :) - I hope I can make a small video soon!

I think today I want to proudly say that Tjido is housebroken! We had some minor accident especially when lots of people come to our house and he gets very excited, and we tend to loose track of time. We trained him to "ring the bell" in order to go outside. In our case we have done this at the balcony, he likes to sit down and look at the cats and birds, but it also helps us and when he rings the bell we check the time and lead him to the door instead for a walk. It is working pretty well. I think when he can walk down the stairs and gets the "going out of the house/building" we will arrange a similar system.

We have made progress in the leaving him alone. With a stuffed kong, he has been relaxed for 15min while Joost when to do shopping and I sat outside in the stairs looking at through a webcam and my mobile (love technology). When he finished his kong he did walk to the door and made two solitary barks before lying down. I decided to go upstairs then in order not to push him over his threshold. So after a few rounds and increasing time, I think we will leave for a bit longer and keep 'recording' what he does... Sadly we are a bit bad with this training, since we are both spending so much time at home.

Finally after giving 2 baths to our dog, I can give some useful tips (I know you should not bath icelandic sheepdogs that often, but when he got to our house he was stinky as hell and the second time he fell into a pond...):
  • To prevent the bath being slippery, I put in a towel. 
  • Tjido was scared of the shower head, so the second time I used and old school, bucket and container to pour the water slowly. 
  • Giving treats makes it a nice experience. 
  • Making drying-off with a towel a game makes it fun and then relaxing for your pup -> dry blower was definitively too much. 
So even though I will not do this often after knowing more about their coat, if you were looking for apartment tips, voila! 

Tjido thought he could walk on water... 

I will stop here in order not to make huge posts! But I will leave you with a great toy tip: Get a plastic container, make holes and put treats/food inside = fun fun fun! 

Monday, October 22, 2012

Puppy Classes!

As promised, I took some pictures at Saturday's puppy lessons :)
We are happy with the one we found. It starts at 10am, its in the city (many are in some field out there- hard for us to get there on a bike...) and of course, positive reinforcement!

On Saturday it was our 4th lesson, and we  have 2 more to go! We are lucky that it's only Tjido, a Jack Russel and a Spanish water dog. So there are enough distractions but not too many! Our teacher is there with her cute dog Roef, a Friese Stabij, and he keeps a check on the little ones ;) one bark and they're back in their place haha.

I'm glad we can ask her tons of questions. She gives good tips, thing to read and ideas. The behaviors that the dogs have to learn are for us quite easy (not arrogant intended!) because since day 1 we have been doing our best to systematically train Tjido on obedience 3 times a day. This is because when we decided to get a puppy, we got all nerdy and started researching about everything haha. And well the famous videos of Kikopup are just very motivating!!! (What? You haven't seen them?! GO NOW)

But even though Tjido can do them, being there in a garden with more dogs makes it a new challenge! Yes, the first 2 times he barked and whined to no end in order to play, but now he doesn't bark so much and calms down easier.

In the subject of barking, I am happy to report that barking to other dogs on the street has diminished to acceptable levels: only barking when he hears other barking dogs, but no longer "tunnel-vision".

About the barking in the house before me or my boyfriend leaves: after some tips and ideas, I decided to give him a tasty-tasty chewy thing as I left, and even Joost went out the door. Tjido did-not-care! Yeah! We have decided this week to try it out with a Kong, both of us leaving at the same time and record him (I'm curious what he will do when he finishes the Kong and we're not there...) So thanks for the supporting comments on this issue. We are working on it! It's just hard when you hear millions of different versions of the "right" way to do it.

To end this post and not make it longer, I have subscribed to the "Icelandic Sheepdog Fans" on facebook :) And found an aunt and a cousin of our dog haha. Hope to see your comments on puppy classes and barking! 

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Amsterdamse Bos

This will be a bit embarassing, but I have lived in my current home for 5-6 years and have been twice to the Amsterdamse Bos (a huge forest/park) which is less than 10min cycling from my doorstep...

But thanks to Tjido :P we now have been three times, and have decided to make it our weekly trip on sundays. He goes on the bike, so he can have the real walk in the forest.

We keep him on leash until we enter the forest path and leave the grass areas. Here he can go off leash and we train re-call with yummy stuff. But he is a good herding dog ;) keeps an eye on us.

Encountering other dogs has actually helped diminish his barking on-leash in our neighborhood, since in the forest he now goes, sniffs, and leaves. Or other dogs approach him, in most cases when he is very concentrates with digging. So he understands he shouldn't make such a fuss, or that's what we tell ourselves!

After we come back, the rest of the day he sleeps :)
And I must say that I enjoy these days the best!! The walk in the forest is incredibly enjoyable.

I made a small video the other day with my iphone and uploaded it to youtube (1st video ever uploaded haha) so I'm sharing it although quality is not awesome or anything.

I wanted to write about our puppy classes, but I would prefer to have some pictures to make it more fun!

We are also keeping track of the barking, we now have realized he barks for:
- Attention
- Frustration at 'smart' toys or training
- When the door shuts downstairs
- When one of us leaves -> which is worrying us as we don't know how to handle separation anxiety that well.

So this topic will be a completely new post! - Yay for more ideas to keep the blog going!


Monday, October 15, 2012

Pedigree Tjido

This weekend we did some googling to find the ancestors of Tjido:

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Amsterdam Life 1

Hello readers!

Today I would like to describe a bit our lifestyle.
Even though we have a herding dog, we live in the city. Amsterdam, as many know, is a compact city with a high density. Flats are here the norm, and we live on a 2nd floor.

Living in an apartment made us doubt about having a dog. So many people would say "poor dog, you are crazy". And although they are not completely wrong, I have to give my own personal experience. Back in Mexico I had Daschunds in a big garden. They lived outside, since the weather was perfect and my mom hated animals inside the house. I loved my dogs but never took them out to walks, and thorough high school I did not spend much time with them. I am being honest here, because in the journey to get a pup I have realized how I grew up in an "old school" way of treating dogs: Dog are animals, full stop.

Having a dog in an apartment is intensive. But I think it also creates a close bond and you really have to go all-in for your pet. For example, you have to go outside to the street for potty training, and think about traveling a bit to get to the park or forest.

So this is how we have to adapt to city life with a dog.

  • Since our home is not that big, Tjido has his own area and we make sure he knows that it is his. Closing it off and walking away is impossible (barking & whining to the max..), but at least there is a sense of boundaries. 

  • The balcony serves for some birdwatching and a good breeze.

  • Our stairs are a bit steep, so we currently cary Tjido outside. 
  • There is a very nice 'island' close to ours house where the dog can be off-leash, since there is only one bridge to get off it. Here we trained recall off leash for the first time.  

  • To go to puppy classes, we have to bike there. Tjido has a front seat ;) we put a towel and with a short leash hold his harness loose enough for him to stand and spin but not jump off. 
  • To go to the forest we also bike there. Hoping that later we can bike-run there!
  • We are lucky to live in a city where dogs are welcome almost anywhere, and although Tjido cannot be still for long, he has been able to relax when we have a drink or lunch at a terrace (even with pigeons flying by!!!) but this is something we will be working on. 
  • Public transport: our first try in the metro was a disaster... we haven't tried it again, but maybe we will start with trams - less fuss.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Who is Tjido

Tjido the icelandic sheepdog!

Well his real name is Elron von den Kinnwies.. but Tjido is so much cooler! :P

His family comes from Germany, close to Siegen. A small town called Dietzholztal. This is the website of his breeder, a sweet woman who loves her dogs. She is recognized by the DCNH and VDH, the authorities concerned with the breed in Germany.

These are his parents: Fakur fra Klettakoti and Bergdis von der Kinnwies :) 

We have some pictures of his family ;) haha, you can also see mom a bit skinny after taking care of 7 pups! And finally a playful game with one of his sisters. 

He has declaws in all four limbs and double declaws in his hindquarters. He is slowly changing colours so i can't say what his fur will be like (i do think long haired..), but definitively reddish. Great temper & playful. Obsessed with birds. 

Double Declaws :)
Well, that's the official stuff! Next post I will tell a little bit of our little monster's life in Amsterdam!

Friday, October 5, 2012

Week 1

I have been trying to think a good topic to start out this blog, and I end up with so many ideas! But which one should I pick?

It finally came to me: The 1st week.

The main lesson I have learnt is: Do not take for granted your puppy's attitude in the first week at home!

It might sound logical, but the first week has felt like a month! You are paying attention, having short nights, running outside to keep the dog housetrained, reading all the articles you once found about dogs etc.

As you get used to your new schedule, your dog is also getting used to his new home. As to make this point clear, I will give some examples of our surprise moments:


  • Treats: Tjido did not seem very interested in food, which made a me a bit sad because I really wanted to start with clicker training. He even rejected sweets from the owner of the animal shop (which resulted in the old man opening all sorts of bags to find something yummy.. )
  • Barking: Everyone commented on how incredible it was our dog did not bark. The neighbors even asked if we had done something to him (?!) He only barked when he saw a dog and really wanted to go and play with him. 
  • Peeing: We had some trouble at the beginning to get his rhythm, but we realized waking up from naps = going outside. This worked like a charm the first week. 

  • Treats: Food driven dog 100%! Ha! he's learning allot by clicker training, and if we go on walks with treats he's awesome. We try to mix it up since we might not always have yummy thing for him. 
  • Barking: Since 2 days ago he has found his voice... he now sometimes lets out a bark when he gets a bit frustrated/excited at training, on random occasions when the bell rings and hearing a dog bark sets him off as well. The last is the most annoying and we are doing our best to work on it, but he gets in a "tunnel vision" or in a "zone"... 
  • Peeing: Since he's becoming more active and comfortable in the house, sometimes we loose track of time, and this has caused some accidents in the house. 
 I don't know how other things will develop but I can say that it is too easy to describe your dog, but we forget that he is just a puppy and his first year will bring many changes. 

Some things haven't changed yet, and we try to praise these as much as we can! For example, at home he likes to lie down and relax = petting!!! Chewing? Only his toys and mainly on his carpet = petting & playing with him!!! He sits when the door opens to let us go in first = extra good boy praise! 

Hope you liked this first post, don't forget to leave a comment :) Did you have a similar experience? Any tips for the barking part? Do you have an icie and are laughing your ass off at our amateur reactions? :P
Next post I will properly introduce Tjido! Have a great day!

Thursday, September 27, 2012

First post: Introduction

Hello everyone,

I hope that if you landed in this blog it's because you are interested in knowing more about the Icelandic Sheepdog. There are many websites that give you breeding standards, the history and/or common attributes of these dogs. But what I found that was missing is more "owners" point of views of the dog as a pet in a home.

The inspiration for this blog is many, beginning with these two blogs that I found when we though we would get a Shiba Inu (they are full of useful tips for any type of dog).

Mac the Shiba: very nice blog, amazing pictures and lots of funny stories!
Shibashake: Owners have a Shiba and a Husky, so you can read differences in breeds, lots of training tips and more!

 Later, we were so lucky to find the website of Veronica and her Icie: and this one, is really the blog that made me want to start my own. Animal House

So what will you find in this particular blog?

Of course information about Icelandic Sheepdogs, but mainly:

  • Why did we choose this breed?
  • How did we find the right pup?
  • Puppy-hood
  • Training tips
  • General tips

And then I will keep adding stuff as Tjido grows up :)
He is right now 11 weeks old.

I hope this can help more people get an idea of what this breed is. For us this is also an adventure! So stay tuned and please let us know any comments or personal experiences! If you have a cool dog blog pass it on :)