Basti

Basti at 1 months

Basti: Blue Eyed Siberian Husky

December 15, 2008. Basti was 5 months old when I got him. I was considering a different puppy prior to acquiring him. The other puppy’s name was “Jericho”. He too was a male Siberian Husky, and was 3 months old at that time.

Luckily, the shop where Jericho was at was still closed when I came to see him, so I looked around a little and found “Kenji” (that is Basti’s registered name). He was in a crate with his “aunt” (“Lanie”). When I bent low to check out the couple, they both looked at me as if pleading to take them home. But I only have enough for one dog, and even if I had enough for both of them, I wouldn’t – I couldn’t. Because I had plans of breeding Sibes and in-breeding can’t be good. The off springs might suffer certain genetic abnormalities.

Anyway, so there he was, pleading with his icy-blue puppy eyes and was all up and about as if to show off. The keeper let him out of the crate and let him run around his just polished shop floor. He was jumping and was running around like he was a contender for the Iditarod.

The keeper informed me that he ate both dry and wet food, so I won’t have any trouble feeding him. I pet him and he responded joyfully. He was very friendly yet a little hesitant. The keeper added that the puppies just arrived from the breeder the night before.

It was love at first sight. I made firm resolve that I shall take this blue-eyed puppy home.

But before I did, I bought a few things that he will need. High-protein kibbles, a stainless steel bowl, a thick blue leash (to match his eyes) and a harness.

He wasn’t all fluffy and heavy like most people would imagine a Siberian husky puppy would be. In fact, he was light and was molting at that time. His ears were missing a few spots of fur, his tail wasn’t as bushy, but it’s alright, I don’t mind. He’s my new buddy now, my long awaited friend.

Now there’s the matter of introducing him to his new “pack”, first off, Maxi. He’s a male Lhasa Apso who lives with my girlfriend in her apartment; although a year old at that time, maxi was a little too cautious when it comes to other dogs. He wasn’t properly socialized as a puppy and is now having a bit of a social issue when it comes to meeting new dogs. He’s great with people, but doesn’t do too well with dogs.

So I took Basti home to my girlfriends’ and he met maxi. There was the usual “I-sniff-your-butt-and-you-sniff-mine” routine, a little rough housing and the likes and oh, did I mention that Maxi was socially challenged? Well, with Basti he was more curious than hesitant. Overall, it went well. Although Maxi was of course a little territorial because it is in a dog’s nature to be so.

There wasn’t much space in the pad, so Maxi stayed in the room while Basti got a feel of everything from the bathroom. Plus the fact that he might pee or poo just to tick his new master; so I went a step ahead and resolved to have him stay in there as a safety measure – because he actually did both when I went out to get a rag from the clothesline.

Basti was a little scared of walking with a leash and a harness on. I had to carry him out to the cab when I took him home and carried him out of the cab to my house when we finally got there. It was a wonderful introduction – I had him explore the house and led him upstairs. He doesn’t know how to use the stairs yet, but got a hang of it pretty quick. Well, the ascend part, at least. I had to encourage him with treats to descend. I opted not to get a crate because of his size and it would take up more space in the months to come.

He also met the family’s long time house guardian. His name is “Jebs”. Aptly named, because when he was still a puppy, he would poop just about anywhere around the house.

Jebs is an old fart that likes his peace and quiet. Like most oldies, he doesn’t play too much, is irritable to noise, and is not very patient with the younger ones. But that doesn’t mean he doesn’t like Basti. He just gets irritated when Basti gets too rowdy or too noisy. Jebs doesn’t like being disturbed when he’s doing his job – that is guarding the house. He likes to sit and look alert on the front porch and blows a fuse (mildly) when Basti starts chewing on his tail.

Jebs and Basti

All that changes during walk time though – I lead Basti on a leash, while I let Jebs run around freely. He likes it better that way, plus, he can be trusted that he won’t run into some unfortunate mishap while we’re out walking. The tables turn and Jebs makes sure that he teases Basti by running around us while we steadily keep our pace. Being that Basti loves to play and all, he gets agitated and starts pulling. Lately, I had to get him back on the choke chain to reduce his instinctive need for pulling and make it easier for me to teach him to “heel”. Tsk, it’s one obedience command he can’t seem to get right until now. But, no worries, I understand that Basti and his long lineage were bred to pull and stay ahead (in front) of the master. A big task, indeed, but not too big to a loving friend.

Basti’s first bath was a walk in the park. He made no objections and actually loved the water – except when I spray his rear end (snicker).

I noticed that he loves to chew. He loves chewing so much, that he would chew on anything. My old shirt that I turned into his towel to dry him off, his rope leash, the plastic dipper, the pail, everything!

To this day, when I play with Basti, he would start off by chewing my hand. I don’t mind, though at times it would hurt a little. He gets really excited when I arrive home from work.

His first meal was a success. He finished a bowl full of rice and kibble mix. Boy, does he eat a lot!

Basti also likes getting his ears cleaned with baby wipes (they’re unscented and alcohol free) and having his coat brushed. He would lie down contently and chew on my old shirt or his favorite toy – no, not my hand, although most of the time, he prefers to know where my hands are by constantly checking on them; and by checking, I mean play – biting.

In hopes of trying to divert his chewing habit from my hand to something else, I chanced upon a really nice chew toy that I got from (of all places) a book sale. Yep, you read right, a book sale. You know those temporary kiosks that they set up in the middle of a mall and would sell books and cards and gift items, and stuffed animals? That’s where I got “Praggy” (a name warped from “froggy”). Praggy is a stuffed frog with chew ropes for arms and legs and has a squeaky ball in his belly. Plus, it was being sold for only 90 Pesos -Perfect! I also got a stuffed gray Siberian Husky toy that was dirt cheap and a few other things.

When I first introduced Praggy to Basti, I squeaked its belly and threw it a short distance and, Voila! Instant love! Basti can’t get enough of Praggy. He would chew on it all day long and when he gets tired of it, he would leave it wet and soggy. But that doesn’t mean he wouldn’t pick it up later – like he hasn’t seen Praggy for ages!

Basti and Praggy

It kind’a makes you feel like a proud parent when you see your dog achieve even the littlest of things. Like, when Basti learned to sit on command. Or the time when he learned “down”. It’s all a matter of patience and love. Dogs love to get rewards and treats, especially when they’re hungry or when your prepared treat is yummy. When I taught Basti “sit”, I used pork barbecue. He loves it! But I make sure that he gets just enough so that it doesn’t spoil his appetite for lunch or dinner. I reward him the very second he performs a desired action or something close to it. Now most of the time, you don’t have a bag of treats handy. So what do you do? You lavishly shower you dog with praise and affection and tell him that he’s a “good boy!” – Works all the time.

Patience is key when training your dog. Anybody can train his or her dog. Not only will it save you a lot of money from hiring a professional trainer, you will also make your bond stronger.

All it takes is a lot of love and patience. Plus, it helps “to think like a dog”.

How does one do it? Well, first of all, you must understand how a dog thinks – specifically, the breed of your choice. A lot of research prior to taking home a new puppy is key.

Siberian Huskies for example is free spirited breed. They were bred to run and are born athletes. They have a lot of energy and are easily bored when they have nothing to do.

Now most dogs think this way – “what’s in it for me?”

You have to understand that dogs do things out of purpose. They won’t chew your favorite pair of loafers just because they want to. Your puppy might be teething or is bored and your shoe is the closest thing they can get to in place of you. Your dog misses you and your shoe has your scent. So, in your place, the shoe will have to do until you get home and spend time with him.

Never punish your dog. Positive reinforcement is far more fruitful than “punishment vs. reward”.

Anyway, back to Basti.

I’ve always wanted a Siberian Husky since I was very young. I never thought I’d realize this “childish” dream. But here he is – and I’m happy.

He’s actually right beside me, playing with his stuffed bear and football while this entry is being written.

Basti likes hugs, belly rubs, a good chest scratch, and a lot of running. He likes chasing anything that moves. Like, his own fur ball (after a good session of coat brushing), blown by the wind. Flies, other insects, leaves, paper, anything! He’ll chase ‘em like it was intentionally playing with him and tear it to pieces!

During afternoon walks, I notice that Basti prefers to walk on grassy areas, like grassy sidewalks. I guess, it’s easier on his feet or is cool to the feel. He would also freely scent mark a lot of spots. I remember before he turned a year old, he used to pee like a female dog would. On his first year, right on his birthday, he scent marked a telephone pole with one hind leg raised! I couldn’t be prouder.

Now this can mean a few things. In a wolf pack, only the alpha male and alpha female urinate with their hind legs raised – to show power of position. This may also be attributed to confidence or age. The more confident or older your dog gets, the more it displays its new found strength. So don’t worry if your male puppy is urinating like a female. In time, it will show you how a real dog pisses.

Basti can finish off almost half a pail of water after a long afternoon walk. It usually takes us a minimum of 30 minutes to an hour to walk around the complex. Jebs drinks fairly little compared to Basti, he can probably drink an estimate of 1 glass of water after a walk.

I always make sure that my dogs get clean water to drink. I replace it every chance I get. A good cue I use is when the dogs pant heavily, and are looking thirsty, but won’t touch their water. I change it immediately. It’s either, they don’t feel like the water is fresh, or there’s something in it that they don’t like.

Clean bowls are important too. So make sure you wash your dog’s feeding bowls after every meal, so as the food doesn’t spoil in it and it doesn’t grow unwanted bacteria. After all, you wouldn’t want to eat on a dirty plate now, would you?

Basti has grown from a sickly looking pup (although he wasn’t really sickly) to a regal looking Dog. He gets a lot of attention wherever we go. People would stop and pet him, have their photos taken with him, ask about him, etc. He’s like a celebrity!

I’d love to hear about you dog’s story. Leave me a message and I’ll get back to you as soon as I can.

Thanks for swinging by and reading.

“A dog is all heart and stomach – sometimes, I’m just not sure which one comes first though.”

4 Responses to “Basti”

  1. basti is super loved.😀 from the pictures, it seems he really loves his home with u. congrats, d!

  2. i wish i could see him personally. bringing him to the office won’t do any good, either. i already have left eper. tsk. see you soon, d.🙂

  3. Kris,

    Good Hunting!

  4. Nyl,

    Yeah, he’s havin’ a real good time.🙂

    He just has this habit of howling loudly when he misses me. :p

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