Art In Island - Dog Friendly Wooden Cabin in Gangwon-Do, South Korea

Art In Island - Dog Friendly Wooden Cabin in Gangwon-Do, South Korea

It only took us 3 years, but we finally found the perfect little wooden cabin in the mountains here in Korea. And the best part, they are dog friendly (not just in the cabin, but in the surrounding campsite too!). I am always looking for get away places here in Korea, and even before having a dog and needing to worry about places that would allow him, I hadn't found much in terms of 'western style' cabins that didn't cost the earth. Stumbling upon Art In Island was one of the highlights of our stay here in Korea, and the place itself exceeded all of our expectations.

Art In Island is a delightful little corner of the Korean countryside, surrounded by mountains and a river (great for fishing!) and great for hiking and exploring too. As you can see from the photos below, we headed to the cabin in winter (the snow made everything magical) but I can tell that this place would be just as wonderful in all seasons.

The cabin owned by the most friendly man, Hao, who was great to communicate with before and during our stay. He replied instantly to all my messages and both him and the local manager went out of their way to make sure we had a comfortable stay. Hao speaks perfect English and really was wonderful to communicate with, even though he lives in Seoul, he often visits the cabin and is a great guy to hang out with and get to know. And the fact that he was so friendly to our dog, Shadow, made us like him even more!

If you own a dog here in Korea, you'll know just how hard it is to find dog friendly accommodation, especially if you own a 'large' breed dog. This cabin was everything we hoped it would be and will definitely be going back before we leave Korea.

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Dog Friendly Accomodation in Gwangju, South Korea. Hertz Guesthouse

Dog Friendly Accomodation in Gwangju, South Korea. Hertz Guesthouse

Owning a dog in Korea is so much harder than people realise. Korea is not very pet friendly, and although this is improving, small dogs (or rather teeny, tiny handbag size pooches) are far more accepted and approved of than big dogs.

I own a 'big' dog, although he would be termed medium size in any other country. 

Shadow, my 1.5 year old Korean Jindo, is a rescue dog whom we found on the side of the road in September can read more about him by clicking here

But, after lots of trial and error, I have found some great places that allow 'big' dogs that don't cost an arm and a leg and are near the popular areas of each city. It's no fun having to stay miles and miles away from where you want to be, as having a dog shouldn't be a huge hinderance.

This post is about Hertz Guesthouse, an awesome place to stay right in the heart of downtown Gwangju.


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iskhan dog food: Where to buy Grain Free Dog Food in Korea

Were to buy grain free dog food in Korea Iskhan

Owning a dog in Korea has had it's challenges, one of them being trying to find a good quality, grain-free dog food that doesn't cost the earth. I am so happy to say that I have found a local Korean brand of dog food that is great quality at a fantastic price.

If you're looking for a really good site that reviews god food, head over to Dog Food Advisor. They rank dog foods from 1 to 5 star, and recommend feeding your dog food that is over 4 stars and above. Dog Food Advisor do thorough testing and have all the info you need to know more about the different brands of dog food.

Why Grain Free dog food? 

Grain-free dog food has become a trend in the dog food industry (just like the term 'Organic' is for human food). Even though a lot of companies are jumping on the bandwagon to market their food as grain free (and charge a fortune!) I do choose to feed my dog a grain free food. Most of the popular (ie cheap) supermarket brands of dog food contain a lot of nasty fillers in their formulations. This means that you think you are buying a good quality food with lots of natural ingredients, when instead the proteins are last on the ingredient list, with a filler like corn being at the top of the list. Not only are a lot of dogs allergic to wheat (just like a lot of people) but there are lots of other nasty things inside those cheap foods. That's why I choose to feed Shadow a grain free formula. Another plus to grain free, high quality food is that your dogs waste is a lot smaller, 'tidier' and less smelly. If your dog is eating a poor quality food with lots of fillers, they tend to have those huge, smelly poo's as their bodies aren't absorbing the good stuff from the food (because there isn't much goodness actually in the food).  The smaller and more 'compact' your pups poo, the more nutrients he is absorbing. That's a good way to see if the food you are feeding your dog is good for him/her.

Grain free dog food in korea

Where to buy dog food in Korea

So the next biggest challenge, after finding a dog food you think will be suitable for you dog, is to find out if it's available in Korea. A lot of brands ARE available in Korea but you WILL pay a fortune for them, due to the high cost of companies importing and shipping them into Korea. A lot of vets and big pet stores stock the higher quality brands, and the big marts like Emart & Lotte Mart sometimes stock certain brands too. But as I don't stay anywhere near any one of those kind of stores I have had to buy online. 

Iskhan grain free dog food in korea black tan jindi

Before I found out about Iskhan, I was buying Taste Of the Wild online. Taste of The Wild is one of the brands of grain-free, high quality food that is recommended by a lot of dog owners. TOW (Taste of the Wild) is an American brand, and so the prices here in Korea are sky high. I fed Shadow the Salmon & Sweet Potato puppy formula for the first year which cost me W90 000 for a 13.5kg bag which lasted about 2 - 3 months. I just accepted that if I wanted to feed him a good quality food, it was going to cost more. I did also try the Kirkland Signature Nature's Domain brand from Costco (which I had read is actually made by the same company as Taste Of the Wild and supposedly has a very similar formulation) but I wasn't a big fan of it. It was just about half the price (about W40 000 for a 15kg bag) but we don't stay anywhere near a Costco, and the one trip we did to Costco to track down the food, they didn't have any in stock. So I reverted to paying the exorbitant cost of TOW. 

Another problem I have with dog food is that my dog is an incredibly fussy eater. I wasn't sure if it was because he didn't like the food, or whether we was just being a typical Jindo. Jindo dogs are known for being picky eaters, choosing to eat and not eat at will. A lot of JIndo owners free feed their dogs (ie leave a bowl of food out for the dog to help themselves to) as they generally don't over eat and will only eat when they are hungry. Shadow would often go the whole day and night without eating anything. I learned not to worry that he was sick, and just leave his food out for him to nibble on. I did also try adding all kinds of tasty treats, bribing him to eat his food. But that just got ridiculous. The amount of time I spent boiling bones, cooking broth and fussing over adding coconut oil and other treats to his food was just crazy. When he was about 5 months old he would wolf down his food, so much so that we had to get him a special bowl to make him eat slower. Once he got to about 8 months he started being picky, refusing to eat unless his food was covered in coconut oil, or smothered in broth and meaty chunks. 

I thought Shadow was in great condition while eating TOW. I thought his coat was shiny and soft, and that he generally looked healthy. That was until I met up with a friend and her husky and I touched her husky's gorgeous coat. It was silky smooth, softer than my own hair. I couldn't get over how amazing her dogs coat was. I asked her what she was feeding her, and how much it cost. She told me she was feeding her husky Iskhan Performance and that it only costs about W40 000 for a 15kg bag. She then helped me order it right away and I've just received our second order.

Iskhan grain free dog food korea

I am so happy to report that Shadow loves the Iskhan food. He still sometimes won't finish the entire bowl but he is now ALWAYS at least interested in his food and waits in his room at meal times (something he didn't do with the TOW). His coat is incredibly soft and shiny, his eyes bright and clear and he has filled out and has stopped looking like he has an eating problem. I am very happy with the food and highly recommend it. It's also great to support a local Korean company, rather than buying from imported brands. 

Iskhan grain free dog food south korea

Iskhan is made by Daehan Feed Co & ere is a little blurb about Iskhan from their website:

NEW ISKHAN - Holistic Pet Food with fresh deboned chicken meat and superior natural ingredients.

"NEW ISKHAN" product is made with superior natural ingredients such as fresh deboned chicken meat, flaxseed, kelp meal, fructo-oligosaccharides etc to give your dog healthy skin, a shiny coat, clear eyes and overall good health while reducing wastes.

Iskhan has a lot of different formulations (they are numbered 1 - 4 with #1 being for young puppies and 4 being for older dogs) and I have just seen on their website that they also make a grain-free cat food formula too. I fed Shadow the Junior formula, and have just ordered the adult range, Performance, pictured above:

Grain free dog food in Korean Iskhan

I also like that they include English descriptions on their packaging, with their ingredient list being in English too. Here is a link find for Iskhan on Gmarket (click here). It's listed at W50 000 for the 15kg bag of Performance (adult formulation). I have a Korean friend help me order it from a company Wellcares. I just send them a a text message with my address and they send me their bank details to pay and then they send it to me. It's not much cheaper than Gmarket (I pay W43 000 for the 15kg Performance) and would suggest using Gmarket unless you have a Korean friend to help you order each time. 

Here are some photographs of the Junior formula packaging so you can see the entire ingredient list. This is what I started Shadow on. He is now around 18 months old and as my order of Performance just arrived, that's what I will switch him to now.

Just a note when switching food, make sure to start off slowly with the new food. If you feed your dog a cup of food, start off with 1/4 of new food, and 3/4 of his old food. After a few days slowly increase the amount of new food and decrease their old food. The whole process should take about 2 weeks to transition them and let their tummies adjust to the new food. If you don't transition slowly your dog will have a very sick stomach and you'll probably have to deal with a lot of diarrhea until their bodies adjust to the new food. This is natural, but can be avoided by going slow.

I hope you found this post helpful. Click the images below to read my other posts on owning a dog in Korea: 

An afternoon in the Damyang Countryside

Damyang House dog friendly accommodation in Gwanju South Korea

I spent the day in and around Gwangju this weekend, and ended up at the Damyang House for an afternoon stroll with a great group of fellow rescue dog owners. Sean & Jo-Jo own the gorgeous Damyang House, a beautiful (dog friendly) holiday home for rent in the surrounding Gwangju countryside. You can find out more about renting the Damyang House on Airbnb by clicking here

Sean & Jo-Jo often arrange get togethers at their dog friendly rental holiday home, and I was very happy to be able to join in this past weekend. Having a dog in Korea isn't easy, especially when your dog dwarfs 90% of the other Korean dogs, and so to be able to go a place that gave him plenty of space to run around and socialise with other dogs is a real treat. 

Sean & Jo-Jo own two rescue dogs, Soonie & Gauda (the small black and tan & the regal looking white pup) and we were joined by Meg & Ben who own Millie (the little, long haired black and white rescue dog) and their friend Ryan. I also met a lovely Korean lady, Jiseong, who brought along her two little Maltese rescues, Coco & Gucci. Of course, Shadow (the big black and tan Jindo mix) was a bit of a handful for the smaller dogs who weren't too interested in his playful advances, giving him a run for his money through the mud and farm lands. He had a ball regardless, none too phased by the barking and chasing he received when he tried to get too playful with them. 

Gwangju Dog Park 'Pet Theme Park' {광주애견테마파크}

Gwangju Dog Park

Socialsing a dog in Korea can be really hard. Unless you have friends nearby who own dogs, the chances of your dog being able to play with other dogs is slim. There are dog cafes in the bigger cities that allow you to bring your dogs to them (like this one in Gunsan) but cafes and parks that have outdoor space for big dogs to romp and play are few and far between. I was so happy to hear about the 'Pet Theme Park' dog cafe in Gwangju which features a swimming pool, air conditioned indoor area and a really big fenced off outside area. 

The Dog cafe is located about 20 km west of the centre of Gwangju, so isn't in the city itself so it might be harder to get to without your own car. But if you have a friend with a car or your dog is small enough to take in a carrier on a bus & taxi, the trip is definitely worth it!

Gwangju Dog Park

There is even a big swimming pool for the dogs when it's really hot. When I was there, the pool area was closed off for what looked like a private lesson for a very sweet looking spaniel. I think the pool is open to all when it's really hot.

Here's a quick video I made of Shadow having a grand old time with his new Corgi friend (as well as two Huskies). It also gives you a bit of an idea of what the inside of the cafe looks like. There are snacks and drinks available to purchase, as well as coffee and tea to order.

The whole cafe is set up in such a nice way, with lots of scented candles and soaps which really make it smell wonderful, rather than 'doggy' as most dog cafes can't help bit smell like disinfectant and wet dog. The cafe also offers a 'dog hotel' service and the accept dogs of all sizes to stay. I think the prices for overnight stays are around W30 000. For the use of the cafe it was W7 000 per dog (at least for my dog it may be less for smaller dogs) and W7 000 per person. It's a little pricier than other dog cafes, but it was worth it for the huge amount of space they have for your dog to run around safely. 

Here is their (Korean) website: Gwangju Dog

Here is their Facebook Page: Pet Theme Park

Address: 300-1, Daesan-dong, Gwangju

Tel: 062-941-5880

Dog boarding for Big Dogs in Korea - 4MenDogs, Daejeon

Dog Boarding for Big Dog Korea 4MenDogs Daejeon

Having a dog here in South Korea is both wonderful and challenging and delightful and frustrating all at the same time. If you have adopted/rescued/own one of the small breeds then you're life here will be infinitely easier than those of us who have larger dogs. Just to be clear, it seems that anything bigger than 10kg's is deemed big/large here. I have had lots of people back home in South Africa say to me that, "Oh, Shadow is actually quite small" and I have to remind them of the fact that the majority of dogs kept as pets (especially kept indoors) are of the maltese/Pomeranian size. When we rescued Shadow he was a measly 2kg's and we had no idea how big he was going to get. He has grown into a rather handsome and healthy 19kg (medium in Western standards) dog.

My husband and I came here to Korea with the goal of traveling to as many places as we can, and having a dog was definitely not part of the plan. We also go away a lot, although we have swopped hotels for a tent so we can now accommodate our pooch.

Camping with a dog in Korea

But, as much as our lives have had to change with him in them, we still go away on holiday and have had to find a place for him to stay. I know a lot of people feel that leaving your dog somewhere if you go away is stressful for the dog, I have to say that every-time we have picked him up from the boarding establishment he barely seems to have noticed we have been gone. We may be very lucky to have a very independent, self sufficient dog, but I think it also has a lot to do with all the training we did with him when he was younger. He sleeps in his own room (if you don't have another room here in your apartment you could section off part of your apartment or use a crate). This really helps with separation anxiety as your pup gets used to the fact that you aren't around 24/7. If you get them used to their crate they should be able to travel anywhere, and at least have their crate as a place of safety for them to retreat into if they feel scared or stressed. 

Big Dog Boarding South Korea 4MenDogs

4MenDogs in Daejeon

I have done extensive research into boarding/dog hotels for my pup and the reality is I just can't justify spending a small fortune on him every-time we go away. I found that most pet sitters/hotels will charge anything from $30 - $50 a day. If I was just going away for the weekend this wouldn't be so bad, but for extended periods of time (like our vacations which are 2 - 3 weeks) this amount is just too much. I know pet sitters work hard for their money, but as it costs us close to $4000 to take a 20kg dog back to South Africa we are on a strict budget.

I was thrilled to find out about 4MenDogs in Daejeon who cater for all sizes and breed of dogs in their rather large establishment on the outskirts of the city. Shadow has stayed there twice now (once over a weekend and then for our winter break of 2 weeks). Both times he hardly acknowledged our arrival wanting to carry on playing with his friends and came back just as happy and healthy as when we dropped him off.

It has been a little difficult communicating with the people who run 4MenDogs as they don't speak much English but you can make a booking via email with a very nice English speaking lady (details posted below). We decided to visit the place before Shadow stayed the first time and two of the staff members were super helpful and had their phones out to translate any questions we had and they explained to us the schedules for the dogs. 

What I like most about 4MenDogs is that they have a number of large, outdoor enclosures in which the dogs are rotated around throughout the day. The dogs are crated overnight (so you need to supply your dog's crate...another reason to crate train them before hand so they get used to being in there and will feel safe and comfortable while in here for a post on where to buy a crate online here in Korea) and then they are crated again at lunch time. 

4MenDogs are able to hold a lot of dogs as they have a big warehouse type set up where the crates are kept, as well as outdoor pens (pictured above nder the shadoe cloth) where I saw different dogs kept during my visits to drop off and pick up Shadow. They also offer training and grooming.

Another great thing about them is when we arrived the first time they put Shadow in an enclosure fenced off from the other dogs to see how he behaved and how the other dogs behaved towards him. It was noted that one male was quite aggressive to Shadow and they moved that particular dog and then put Shadow in with the other dogs. So they really are careful about placing dogs with even temperaments. This should put your mind at ease if you have a very shy dog or one who has not had much socialising with other dogs. They also separate the male and female dogs and will ask you whether your dog is fixed or not. This may be a pre-requisite for boarding. 

I did have a Korean friend phone for me to make our first booking and they had asked a lot of questions about my dog before hand. Things like whether he had stayed apart from us before, and what his eating habits are like when he is away from us as JIndos are known as being very picky eaters (Shadow did go on a 3 day hunger strike apparently when we were gone but then went back to eating normally after that). 

4mendogs boarding daejeon

4MenDogs use their website (click here) to upload photographs and videos of your dog so you can see how they are doing (see pictures above). This was great and something I really appreciated being a very soppy dog mommy I missed my pup rather a lot, and seeing him having such a great time with other dogs helped put my mind at ease. 

As they don't offer a drop off/pick up service you will need to think about getting your dog there and picking them up. We have a car here in Korea and I'm not sure how anyone manages without one if they have a big dog!

I've posted the nitty gritty info & prices below. Please do have a Korean friend call them if you have any specific questions relating to 4MenDogs. This post is my personal opinion of the place, and I have been very happy with them. Please note that we, as bigger dog owners can't really be too fussy about places like 4MenDogs as there just aren't that many places that accept big dogs for longer periods of time without charging the earth. Please note, there was a recent complaint from someone that their dog contracted Canine Influenza at 4MenDogs but as a responsible dog owner you should be vaccinating/titre testing your dog annually if your dog spends time with other dogs. I hope you find this post helpful, and at the end of the day it helps you with finding a place to board your pup.

Dog Boarding big dogs Korea 4MenDogs

More Information from the Animal Rescue Korea Site (this information is current):

Address: 421-5 Yongsan-dong, Yuseon-gu, Daejeon.
It’s about 15 minute walk from North Daejeon IC (북대전 IC).
There is a bus of 704, 301, 918 & 5 you can take and should get off bus station 북대전IC네거리.
Pick up service available from the bus stop to the center.

For a pick up, (010-2236-4004)
For further inquiry, (not a trainer, for English communication)
You can visit your dog anytime from 09:00 am to 19:00 pm (please call ahead to give them warning)
For urgent enquiries, you can contact in advance and visit your dog anytime since at least one of 4 trainers stays at night everyday.

Price for boarding:
*Per day / More than 10 days / Per month / Normal Discounted for ARK
Small 15,000  10,000  300,000 450,000 400,000
Medium/large 20,000 10,000 300,000 500,000 450,000
*No pick up service available for boarding.

Prerequisites and things to bring
* Dogs should be up to date with vaccinations.
* For a male dog, he should be neutered.
* A small bag of hard food your dog eats and things such as toys, blanket which help your dog feeling a bit at home.

There are 4 trainers who all majored in animal training area. Mr.KWON, Gyung-geun has more than 3 years of experience in a training facility in near Seoul. Other 3 have junior level of training experience. Most of all, all of them love dogs and are passionate about training dogs.

Training Style
The trainers use positive reinforcement training techniques using clickers, treats and ball. Choke collars are used upon the request of the owner, or when the trainers deem it necessary for safety.

Payment is preferred by cash or bank transfer. You’re asked to pay it on the day your dog starts training or boarding. Please inquire the account info if needed.

Other services (Playground open from 12:00pm to 19:00pm)
You can bring your dog and use the playground everyday except for every Thursday.
It is 5,000won per person and it doesn’t matter how many dogs you bring together. The dog should be fully vaccinated and not aggressive or sick.

Microchipping your dog in Korea

Microchipping dog in Korea

A microchip is a small device (about the size of a grain of rice) which is implanted in your pets skin. There are no batteries, no tracking technology and no radiation involved. The chip is implanted under the skin between the shoulder blades and contains all your information (phone number, address etc). The needle used is a bit bigger than those used for vaccinations, and so some people prefer to have their pet microchipped while their pet is undergoing another anaesthetic operation (such as neutering) to avoid any unnecessary pain. However, most pets tolerate the procedure with little or no reaction (Shadow included).

Once your pet has a micro chip, your vet will then scan the chip and load your personal info onto a data system, thereby registering you as the owner. South Korea is clamping down on dog owners, imposing heavy fines of up to KRW 1million on unregistered dog. So many pets are abandoned in Korea (after they loose their puppy cuteness or when their irresponsible owners realise how expensive it can be to own a pet) registering the pet allows those owners to be traced. 

Microchip pet in Korea

There are three methods of registering your dog in Korea;

  • an embedded RFID chip (Radio Frequency Identification)
  • an electronic tag
  • or an ordinary dog tag

Microchipping your dog in Korea is a very simple process. The only thing you need to research is what kind of micro chip is used in your home country, or the country you plan on taking your pet to when you leave Korea.  Different countries have different chips/scanners, and so depending on where you will be taking your dog when you leave Korea, you need to keep this in mind. As Shadow will be returning with us to South Africa, we needed to make sure his micro chip was an ISO (International Standard Organisation) either ISO 11784 and ISO 11785. South Africa, Canada, Europe & South Korea are countries that I know have 15 digit ISO chip and so getting your pet chipped here will mean they will be able to be scanned in those countries. I have been told by my local vet that I will be able to change my information and address easily when I get back to South Africa as currently Shadow has been registered with my address & phone number here in Korea. In most countries, pet microchips adhere to ISO to promote compatibility between chips and scanners (this refers to the 15 digit ISO chip I mentioned before). In the US, however, there are three different types of chips other than the international standard. Click here for more info on the different chips and scanners.

Microchip Dog in Korea

South Africa (our home country) have a very strict import policy with animals and as such, pets have to be microchipped. For travel to the US, I have read that your dog doesn't have to be chipped (do check with your travel agent to be sure). Also, having your dog chipped and registered here (or any country) just gives you peace of mind, knowing that if they get lost for any reason, they have a much higher chance of being returned to you. A lot of dogs are able to get loose of their collars, and so there is a chance that an electronic tag on a collar could get lost.

All vets will be able to chip your dog. I live in a very small 'rural' town and my vet was able to do it for me quickly and effectively, and all with his very limited English and my even more limited Korean. As I live in a small town, the cost of veterinary services is much cheaper than the bigger cities here in Korea. Micro chipping and registering cost me W25 000 (about $25) but W40 000 ($40) seems to be the going rate in bigger cities. The actual procedure was very quick. It just involves a needle and the chip is implanted into the base of the neck, just below the skin. The needle was large though, that was a bit scary, but it was over in a few seconds and Shadow didn't even notice anything afterwards. Afterwards I was given a certificate as well as a few copies of his 15 digit chip number. It was so easy to do and I can't urge pet owners, especially those here in Korea, to get one done for your pet. I have also heard of people who have ordered their own chip from the US and then simply asked their vet to insert it for them. You are then able to configure the chip to your home address in the US. That option might appeal to you if you are leaving the country soon and know where you are going to be living when you get back home. As we will still be in Korea for at least another year I need to have my Korean address and phone number set up on my dogs chip.

Have you had any experience microchipping your pet? Please leave me a comment below, I'd love to hear from you!

Camping with your dog in Korea

Camping With a Dog In Korea - where to camp with a dog in Korea

Owning a dog in Korea isn't easy. Especially if you own one of the larger breeds and you can't carry them in your handbag or in a pet carrier. This is why we spend a lot of time camping (click here to see more posts about camping in Korea), as finding pet friendly accommodation is pretty near impossible. If you live in Seoul you have a much wider selection of places you can easily visit and stay at with your dog, but if you live in the smaller country side towns in Korea, camping is your best bet. It's also the perfect time of the year to head outdoors, and so I hope this post is useful for you if you have a dog here in Korea and want to head out in search of an adventure.

Camping in Yongdam... click here  to read more.

Camping in here to read more.

Camping in Gangwon... click here  to read more

Camping in here to read more

Of course, having a car makes the whole camping experience that much more enjoyable as you can transport all your gear easily, but it's not a pre-requisite. Although, I can imagine carrying/walking your dog and your camping gear would all together be quite a feat!

From what we have gathered, you can camp pretty much anywhere in Korea, as long as you clean up after yourself. We have camped on tennis courts, closed off and abandoned roads, in river beds and in Museum gardens (that last one being a very late night find). Camping with a dog is slightly trickier, as if your pup is anything like our Shadow, he likes to explore his new surroundings and this often finds me running around like a headless chicken trying to catch him.

We have stayed at one actual dog friendly campsite in Yongdam (near Jinan, South Jeolla here to see a full post on it) and have also stayed with him the National park in Muju (click here to see the post). Dogs are not allowed (legally) to stay or be in National Parks according to the National Park website, but with a lot of smiling and our broken Korean we were told that he would have to be on lead and kept in the car. I think as long as your dog doesn't terrorise the neighbours and you keep them on lead, you shouldn't have any problems. Shadow just sleeps with us in our tent at night and so no one really notices him.

You might have a problem if your dog is very yappy or barks a lot as people will probably complain. Just keep that in mind and just use your common sense. We like to camp off the beaten track and so haven't had any problems so far with anyone complaining about us. We have also just bought a very long roll of rope to create a kind of extension running lead set up so we can keep an eye on him but Shadow can still move around. 


Overall, camping in general is really fun and being able to do that with your canine companion just makes it even more so.

I hope I inspire you to try out camping with your pooch.

If you come across or know of any great camping spots that are dog friendly, please leave me a comment below!

Crate TRaining & How to choose an airline approved crate for international travel

How To Choose IATA Approved Crate for International Travel

If you adopt or rescue a dog here in Korea like we have, chances are you will at some stage or another have to get your pup back home. To do this you are going to have to get a dog crate (or carrier if your dog is small enough to fly in cabin). Crates come in all shapes and sizes and it is so overwhelming trying to decide which is the right one for you and your dog. I hope this post makes your life a little bit easier when choosing a crate or going about crate training.

Crate Training

Whichever crate you buy, you are going to need to spend a lot of time (and patience!) getting your dog used to the crate and hopefully comfortable enough in it that they choose to sleep in it if given a choice. There are loads and loads of great youtube videos on crate training but the best tip I can give you is to start small and work slowly. Give yourself enough time (preferably months) to successfully get your dog used to his or her crate. Ideally, crate training should start the moment you bring your dog home but understandably this is not always possible if you rescue a dog unexpectedly (like we did). Also, we only gave him toys and treats inside his crate (if he took them out we would pick them up and place them back in his crate until he stopped bringing them out). Also feeding your dog in his crate will ensure he associates his crate with positive experiences. Make it rain treats inside the crate, and you will slowly be able to work on a command that goes along him going inside the crate. Pretty soon you'll be able to put your dog to bed with just the command. But remember to start slow and be patient. I'm pretty sure we would also hate being closed off in a small space and left unattended for hours at a time. I highly recommend the following dog training Youtube channels for training:

IATA Airline Approved Dog Crate

Crate training was hard. Listening to my poor pup crying all night because he wanted to be close to us was horrible BUT it has been the best thing we have ever done for him.  We work all day and so Shadow is left at home alone for up to 8 hours a day. To protect him, and to protect the rest of our house, we kept him closed in a spare room with a baby gate on th door from the first night we got him until we got a crate. It took him about 10 days to acclimatise to being left alone at night, and boy oh boy did he cry. It was SO hard hearing him cry and not going to him and picking him up. But, it stopped eventually and he started to sleep through the night. We were also able to quickly pick up whether he was crying for attention or crying to go to the bathroom.

Crate training is also a wonderful tool for housetraining your dog as their crate becomes their home or their 'den' similar to something they may have if they were left out in the wild. Because of this, dogs are really reluctant to dirty their sleeping area, and so housetraining them to either use a pee pad or to go outside is made much easier. We live in an apartment here in South Korea where Shadow is an inside dog. When we go back to South Africa he will be an outside dog and so we trained him right from the start to go to the toilet outside. This was harder for us than for him, and involved lots of late night dashes outside in the snow and the rain when his was only a few months old. He was able to make it throughout the night without needing to go to the bathroom after he was about 5 months old. He only pooped in the house once, the first night we found him at 2 months, and after that he only peed in the house a handful of times. Crate training really works!

Another benefit to crate training is that your dog has  safe space to go to if he feels frightened or stressed. If you have small kids coming over and your dog isn't too fond of being grabbed touched, they can put themselves into their crate until they feel safe again. Having them crate trained also helps if you need to transport them anywhere, be that in a car, train or on an airplane. 

Choosing the right crate

If you have a puppy and you aren't sure what size crate to buy because you're not sure how big your dog will get, buying a wire crate is usually cheapest (unless you can get a regular plastic crate second hand). 

Wire Crate

You can use anything 'crate like' to crate train your dog, but bear in mind that if you plan to travel internationally on a long flight, it will help to give your dog some time to get used to/familiar with his airline crate a few weeks before you make the trip. 

Crates like this wire one pictured above are not allowed on airplanes but work well to help get your dog (or cat) used to being confined. I found Shadow cried more if he could see us when he was locked in his crate. If this happens with your wire crate you can try covering it with a blanket at first so your pup feels less like he is missing out on the fun.

We bought a sturdy airline approved crate (pictured above with Shadow at 6 months) within the first few weeks of finding Shadow, and I had hoped that it would be the crate we sent him home to South Africa in. Unfortunately his ears have grown so big and with another year to go before we leave I have had to buy another crate and and just hope he doesn't out grow this one. Buying crates here in Korea is expensive. The sturdier, airline approved crates cost anywhere rom W100 000 up to W300 000 (-+$100 - $300) new. And so the decision over which crate to buy is one that needs some thought. I'd suggest buying something cheap to begin the crate training with, and then once your dog is used to that, and depending on when you need to travel, but a crate closer to your time of departure. 

Airline Crate Regulations

Crates that are approved to fly have to be IATA (International Air Transport Association) approved. This means they have to fill a number of regulations.

Basically the crate has to have:

  •   ventilation on all four sides
  • be sturdy
  • metal bolt fasteners
  • handles to allow it to be picked up
  • The floor must be solid and leakproof. 
  • The door must form the whole of one end of the container and can be either sliding or hinged.

There are a few more regulations but those are the basics. Here is an easy video showing you how you can easily modify a plastic crate to be airline approved. 

Choosing the Right Sized Crate

Airline Approved IATA Dog Crate

Your crate must have enough space for your pet to turn about normally while standing, to stand and sit erect, and to lie in a natural position.  In the pictures above you can see that the crate is too small for my 1 year old Jindo. The measurements of this crate (the IRIS ATC-870) are 87cm x 62cm x 65 cm and although he isn't a very large dog (he only weighs 17kg's and this crate was designed for labradors apparently), he is quite tall and has large ears. 

IATA Airline Approved Dog Crate

As you can see, his new crate (an Extra Large Vari Kennel) with dimensions 100cm x 67cm x 75cm is much better for him. I just hope he doesn't grow too much in the next year before we go home! I bought this Vari kennel here on gmarket for W170 000. 

For international travel there are a number of other things that you need to prepare (food bows, water container that can be refilled from the outside of the crate, live animal stickers, releasable cable ties etc). That information can be found on the the IATA website by clicking here

Do you have any other questions or advice for crate training or choosing a crate? Please comment below, I'd love to hear from you!

How to Groom a Shedding Jindo Dog - a guide for double coated dogs


We found Shadow at 2 months old, wondering on a dark road late at night here in South Korea. Because we have no idea who his parents were, we really can't be sure if he is a pure Jindo or a mix (although it is unlikely that he is a pure Jindo's as the pedigrees are incredibly expensive and it's not likely his owner would have been as irresponsible with him if he was a pure Jindo). In any case, the majority of 'Jindo' looking dogs that are in shelters/roaming the streets/abandoned/those that have been rescued from meat farms here in Korea are mixes of some kind. For those who have only seen white Jindos before, the Jindo actually comes in 5 different colours; white, brown, tan, yellow, grey, black & tan, & brindle...Shadow is of the black & tan variety.


The Korean Jindo is a hunting dog native to South Korea. They are double-coated dogs whose coats consists of an outer layer of guard hairs and an inner layer of undercoat. The undercoat is what keeps these dogs cool in summer and warm in winter. The guard hairs are shiny, stiff, and water-proof while the undercoat hairs are soft, slightly crinkly, and insulating. The guard hairs are lifted somewhat away from the body and can give an overall harsh feel to the coat. These guard hairs are the ones that make up the dogs hackles which usually stand on end when a dog is anxious or nervous.  Double-coated dogs generally shed their soft undercoats twice a year,  although some individual dogs might shed constantly or only every 10-12 months.

From what I have read, shedding can take anywhere from three weeks to two months. This is Shadows first shed and the first experience I have had with a shedding dog. Growing up my mom was always alergic to animals and so we had Standard Poodles (the big, graceful poodles not the small yappy kind) as pets.  Up until we found Shadow I would have said that I was also rather allergic to animals, touching them would always lead me to break out in a rash. I have yet to have a reaction to Shadow, and even now that there is hair ALL OVER our house, I am still allergy free. I'm not sure if this is due to his very course guard hairs, or whether I have simply developed an immunity to his coat. Either way I am rather happy to not be allergic to my dog.

Shedding Jindo How To Groom double coated dog

The amount of hair that is coming off Shadow is pretty frightening. I brush him twice a day, and with each stroke of the brush a small sized dog is produced. At first it was funny, but now it's terrible frustrating as the hair is just everywhere. Whenever I look up I see little puffs of hairballs making their way across my floor in search of the perfect hiding spot. 

Here are the tools I have been using to help keep on top of the shedding. I'm hoping it ends soon and I can go back wearing my light coloured clothing again.

  • ShedKiller (a 'Korean?' knock off of the popular furminator brush) which has a two sides; a thin toothed razor like brush and then a wider toothed comb
  • Slicker Brush (I found this at my local vet)
  • Rubber Grooming brush (bought at my local mart here in Korea)

I have has success with all three of these brushes at different stages of his shedding. When it first started a few weeks ago, the slicker brush worked fine. Then I found the slicker just spread the hairs and made them so static that they just flew around and were impossible to collect. The rubber brush works well when outside. I have been using the wide tooth comb over the last week as it really gets down deep into the undercoat to remove the clumps.

If using a brush like the furminator/shed killer (you can buy the Shedkiller here in Korea online through Gmarket by clicking here), when using the razor like end, be careful not to brush too hard. The razor can remove the guard hairs and end up pulling out too much of the top coat. A lot of husky owners recommend NOT using the furminator for this reason. But I find as long as I'm careful and work slowly, and don't use it more than once week it's been great with Shadow's coat. 

Shadow doesn't enjoy being brushed, in fact he always tries to go after my hand/the brush whenever it's time to groom him. As Jindo's are generally fastidious about their general coat cleanliness (they tend to groom themselves like cats) I have to be very sneaky, and arm myself with lots of treats to keep him occupied while I go to work. I have read that bathing is also recommended for shedding, but as my dog hates bath time I'd rather stick to the brushing for now. Let's hope it ends soon!

Do you have any tips for dog grooming? I'd love to hear from you in the comments below!

Rescuing a puppy in Korea

RescuePuppyInSouthKorea what you need to know

While out on an early morning walk on Monday this week, my Korean rescue pup Shadow (the black & tan one above), found a tiny crying ball of fluff, discarded in a drain alongside a forest road. I took a closer look and saw a terrified little puppy, huddled under a pile of leaves and branches. I also saw that there was another white ball of fluff further up the drain that wasn't moving and was covered in flies. I had no idea what to do. We already have our own rescue dog, who is going to cost us a lot of money to take back to South Africa (we are talking $1000's, so please think carefully before deciding to adopt a dog here in Korea!) but at the same time I couldn't just leave here her. In Korea, if you find an animal and take it to the vet, legally the vet has to keep it for 10 days to allow time for their owner to claim them. As it was clear this little one had been abandoned, my very kind vet didn't ask too many questions.  You can imagine what happens to them if they aren't claimed after 10 days. 

After much deliberation, Farmboy and I both decided we couldn't just leave her there to die and went back to get her. Knowing we couldn't keep her I jumped on Facebook in search of a foster/forever home for the shaking puppy. We took her straight to the vet and apart from a flea and mange infestation and a bacterial infection she is fighting fit and ready to live. 

Regardless of your view of social media, it does one thing better than anything else, and that is network and connect people. Within a few hours I had so many people offer to foster her and a number of people willing to take her permanently. Thanks to each and every person who shared my Facebook posts this little puppy has a loving home to go to next week. 

Here are a few photographs of where we found her, and what she looks like now, a couple of days after finding her. Shadow just adores her and he won't be the only one misses her when she's goes next week. 

As we have been through this whole process before, I have written a couple of blog posts on owning a dog here in Korea. If you have been thinking of it you might find these posts useful:



From all my Facebook & Instagram posts it may seem like owning a dog in Korea is the easiest thing in the world. Please remember that I, just like most other people on social media, showcase the highlights. Owning a dog here in Korea is hard work, and you need to be prepared for not just the expenses of owning a dog (the vaccinations, neutering, dog food which is sooo much more expensive than back home & of the course the final cost of taking the dog back to your home country) but also what daily life with a dog is like here. We have a 'large' dog for Korean standards and deal with terrified neighbours and kids running away screaming on a daily basis. Koreans just aren't used to keeping dogs as pets, especially big dogs and are always horrified when they hear that Shadow lives in our apartment with us. Also, Korea isn't built for pets, so finding a place to exercise him is always an issue, finding a place for him to go to the bathroom without Koreans chasing us away from their beloved veggie patches is always a nightmare, finding places to stay that will accept dogs here in near impossible (we camp A LOT) and of course taking your dog around if you don't have a car is a huge challenge if they aren't small and able to fit in a little carrier. We wouldn't change our experience with Shadow for anything in the world, but I do wish we had known from the beginning exactly what we were in for when we found him. If you have any questions about owning a dog here, please feel free to email me or leave me a comment below. Also, there are sooooo many dogs and puppies needing homes here in Korea, if you have been wanting to get a dog please consider adopting rather than buying from the pet stores.

Below is a website that lists all the dogs (and cats & other animals!) available for adoption, as well as Facebook groups where animals that have been rescued are also posted. There is also a group called Everything Paws which is a fantastic resource for pet owners here in Korea. I've also included the links for buying and selling second hand pet items and information on traveling abroad ie. back to your home country with your pet. 

-Everything Paws: Tips & DIY Ideas for pet owners in South Korea  

-Rescue Korea adoption website

-Buy & Sell Pet Related Items in Korea

-Airborne Animals

Do you have a pet here in Korea? What has been your biggest challenge so far? I'd love to hear from you!

#ShadowTheJindo likes to chew


7 months ago, a small bundle of black and brown fluff came into our lives and turned our world upside down. Owning a dog here in Korea was never part of the plan, but then again, when exactly does life go according to plan?

Shadow is a black and tan Korean Jindo, a breed of dog native to Korea, and very much unknown to the rest of the world (click here to read more about Jindos and how we rescued Shadow from the side of the road).

But, he is a puppy, and so no matter his breed, he likes (or rather loves) to do what all puppies love to do...CHEW.ALL. THE. THINGS.

Up until now, he hasn't done too much damage, mostly because he stays in his room while we are out at work and he hasn't been big enough to reach things on my desk. Well, I guess it's safe to say nothing on my desk is safe anymore.


Have you ever come home to any 'surprises' while owning a dog? I'd love to hear from you! 

Dog Park in Jeonju, South Korea

outdoor dog park in jeonju korea-01.png

Having a dog here in Korea means that we have had to sniff out all the local dog friendly places to spend afternoons and weekends at. We were surprised to find an awesome Dog Cafe in Gunsan (click here to read more) that allows you to bring your dog to play with the other pups, and so were even happier to find out about this dog park in Jeonju. 

This park is located in the Southern part of Jeonju, above and away from the busy road in the apartment laden Hyojadong 4-ga area. There aren't many places where dogs can run around freely, and off leash, and so this park has been a wonderful find for us and our black Jindo pup, Shadow (you can read more about him by clicking here).

***UPDATE as of a few weeks ago the police have been monitoring this park and banners have been up to warning people that any dogs off leash will be fined W50 000. Someone complained about all the dogs 'running wild' and ruined this wonderful place for everyone. People still take their dogs here but everyone is on edge worrying about the police. It's terribly sad and I hope we are able to do something about it soon.


The park is busiest on the weekends, with Sundays being it's most popular day. There is a small convenience store on the road below the park where you can load up with coffee and snacks and then just enjoy the afternoon while your pooch has a ball playing with his new friends. 

There are also public bathrooms where you can fill up water bottles for your dog.

Sometimes the smaller dog owners can get a little 'iffy' of bigger dogs, but there has always been at least one bigger dog for our pup to play with. Last weekend he developed a particular fondess for this golden lab (pictured below). 


300-1 Hyoja 4-dong, Wansan-gu, Jeonju, Jeollabuk-do

Do you know of any other dog parks or dog friendly places here in Korea? Please drop me a comment below, I'm always looking for new places to take my pup!

Owning a Dog in Korea {Part 2} Health Check Ups & Vaccinations

Owning A Dog In Korea Health Check Ups Vaccinations

This is a follow on post from Part 1 in this series Owning A Dog in Korea.

In Part 1 I talked about all the things you need to have to make sure you and your pup are happy. Nothing in the guide is compulsory by any means, but rather is is written from my experience. Keeping a dog in an apartment here in South Korea is hard, and so that blog post is filled with ideas of items you may want to buy, as well as links to places you can get hold of them. Things like where to buy collars, harnesses, crates & toys for larger dogs. I hope you find it helpful!

ShadowTheJindoHuskyPuppy (6 of 7).jpg

We have had our rescue pup, Shadow, for just over 6 months (click here to read more about how he came into our lives) and had no idea what needed to be done in terms of health check ups. This post will hopefully provide you with enough information about what your pup needs to be healthy and happy.

The first thing you need to do with your new pup/dog is to take him to the vet to have a thorough health check. This basic check up will determine whether your dog has any diseases. Depending on whether your pup had a previous owner, you may or may not need to have vaccinations. We rescued Shadow from the side of the road when he was tiny, and so he needed to have every test done as well as all his vaccinations.  You also need to ask your vet to check for Heartworm which is a very nasty disease very prevalent here in Korea.

If you have rescued a puppy you need to be very mindful of Parvo virus which is incredibly contagious and deadly to young dogs. Parvo is spread through the feces and vomit of infected dogs and puppies. This virus can live in feces for about two weeks and can survive in the environment (areas on floors and cages) for many months. This survival rate allows it to be passed along by hands, clothing or shoes of anyone who comes in contact with it. We were warned by many dog owners not to let our puppy go outside until he had had all his shots, but this just wasn't practical for us. When we go home to South Africa, Shadow will be an outside dog and so we needed to toilet train him outdoors. I know many people here in Korea who use pee pads, and it works for them but is a personal and situational preference (if you live on the 20th floor of a sky rise building, it might not be practical to take out a young puppy every 3 hours). Getting up at all hours in the freezing cold to go outside was hard, but it was something we decided and have just put up with. 


What to Do if your dog Tests Positive for Heartworm

I don't have any experience with treating heart worm and so I asked the local dog owning community here in Korea for some advice. I just want to say thank you to each of these ladies for taking the time to respond to me and offer help and advice to dog owners who may have to go through heartworm treatment.

"Finding out your new foster or adopted pup has heartworm is awful. This happened to me in January 2013. All dogs in Korea need to be given monthly heartworm preventatives as heartworm is rampant in Korea.
At first the vet will just do a quick blood test to determine if your dog is heartworm positive or negative. If it is positive, the most important thing is that you ACT QUICKLY!
You do not have time to save up for a month or so! Find a vet that will do a payment plan if money is an issue. Heartworm is more difficult to treat the longer it progresses. There are 4 stages of heartworm - you will find out which stage your dog is by having scans done. If it's stage 1 or 2 - it's treatable. Stage 3 and 4 treatment options are not as successful and will depend on your dogs health.
I have experience with treating stage 2 heart worm. My dog was given two rounds of injections 24 hours apart. After the first injection, she cried for a solid 8 hours. It was agonising to watch. The second one was a little better but still awful.
The dog must be kept calm during the few weeks following treatment - their heart rate needs to stay steady.
About 4 months later we retested my dog and she tested negative! We were really lucky! I have heard it can take up to 9 months for a negative test result. Or worse, the treatment may need to be repeated" Julie

"Our dog, Sue, had to have 2 rounds of Immiticide before she tested negative for HW. For Close to 4 weeks each time, she had to be quite still and not have too many walks.  She was a bit lethargic and tired after the injections. Each round of treatment was 400,000won.  I did not check around as I wanted her to have the treatment right away.  My vet also kept her over night on an IV to give her fluids and monitor her.

She was rescued from a shelter, nearly dead, from malnutrition and she had just given birth. The initial injection causes them to be in quite a bit of pain and sometimes they writhe around on the floor and you feel completely helpless as you watch.  they don't understand what is causing the pain and you can't help them at all. It is usually 1 injection and then you wait for the medicine, which is essentially poison to kill the worms near the heart and hope it does not kill the dog in the process.  We had to get Sue to a good weight and moderate healthy before she could even have the injection. One round just did not kill all the worms and we had to go back and do it again" Erin


"From my experience, once my dog tested positive, we did blood test to find out if he had any worm eggs in his blood. My vet also did an ultrasound of the heart and he was able to see the condition of his heart and adult worms in his heart.
Next, he staged his heartworm given his symptoms. This is an indication of how advanced the heartworm is. It goes from Stage 1 through 4 (1 being the mildest and 4 being the most serious).
It is important that dogs are at a normal weight and try to maintain their weight during the treatment. My dog was underweight. So, we had to wait some time for him to gain weight before starting actual heartworm shots. Being arsenic based, these shots take a lot from a dog’s body.
While we were waiting for him to gain weight, he was on antibiotics (2 rounds). My vet also put him on puppy food for a month as puppy food is higher in protein and calories to help with his weight gain. He had poor appetite, which is one of the symptoms of heartworm disease. I bought him My Beau nutritional supplement, salmon oil for dogs and some wet food to mix in his dry food alternatively to encourage him to eat more. I also offered him a hard-boiled egg once or twice a day.

I tried to offer 3 or 4 mini meals when I was around over the weekends to help with his weight gain. I weighed him every other day so that I could see my progress.
We gave him pills with Greenies pill pockets as he didn’t want to swallow them otherwise. I have heard people mix them with a bit of jam/peanut butter/bread as well.
Some of the other symptoms of heartworm disease include: cough, shortness of breath, labored breathing, lethargy, swollen/distended abdomen, and edema of the legs.
Once heartworm shots are initiated, the most important thing is to restrict exercise. Dogs should only be brought out for the toilet and always on a leash. We have to restrict things which increase heart rate such as running, jumping, playing ball, climbing steps/stairs/hills, barking a lot and mating.

Also, it is important that the day dogs get an injection not to rub/massage the area even if they may be in pain. It is very important to do everything possible to keep them calm" Dee Dee


As heartworm is such a problem here in Korea, Vets advise giving dogs heartworm preventatives. These are given once a month and come in tablet form. You can take your dog in once or month to your vet or buy a couple of months supply to give your dog at home. The tablets aren't that expensive and most definitely worth doing. 



Here in South Korea vets give dogs the following vaccinations:

  •  DHLLP (Distemper, Hepatitis, Parvovirus, Papainfluenza & Leptospirosis (x5 shots)
  •  Corona Virus (x2 shots) 
  • Kennel Cough (x2 shots)
  • It's also a good idea to get the rabies vaccination done too.

Some people feel very strongly about not over vaccinating their dogs, and lots of websites suggest having a Titer Test (anti body test) after about the 3rd or 4th round of DHLLP. I trusted my vet, and as Shadow is a larger breed than most dogs here in Korea I took my Vet's advice to have all 5 rounds of DHLLP.

Vets usually administer 2 shots together, 2 - 4 weeks apart. In my case Shadow had the following:

  • Round 1: DHLLP & Corona
  • Round 2: DHLLP & Corona
  • Round 3: DHLLP & Kennel Cough
  • Round 4: DHLLP & Kennel Cough
  • Round 5: DHLLP & Rabies

Each visit to the vet cost W22 000 (I do live in a small town so I think the prices are slightly less than in bigger cities). The rabies shot was a little more and was more painful for him than the others.

After the initial vaccinations, you are advised to take your dog in for yearly booster shots.

All of the above is very important to bear in mind before you get a dog. There are so many abandoned pups on the streets here in Korea, but before you just pick them up make sure you know what you're getting into financially.

A few numbers to chew on:

Heart worm treatment: +-W400 000 a shot (often times you may need 2 or even 3 rounds) basic Basic Vaccinations: +-W150 000

Neutering: -+W200 000 (male) can be as much as W400 000 for a female

Spaying: +-W400 000

And thats before the food and toys and bedding and treats. And of course the final cost of transporting your pet home.

Even with all of the above, we can't imagine our lives without Shadow. He has brought so much joy to our lives and we don't regret picking him up off the streets one bit.


Do you have anything you want to add, or is there something I've left off here? Please drop me a comment below or email me and I will update this post. Thank you!

Owning a Dog in Korea {Part 1} What you need to keep you and your pup happy.


Our lives changed in September 2014 when we rescued Shadow, then a tiny black and brown ball of fluff. We had no plans on having any pets while living here in Korea, but we have very little control over who and what God places in our lives.

We spent 3 weeks deliberating over what to do with him, mainly because it costs thousands of dollars to take a dog back home to South Africa, and also because we had no idea what owning a puppy really meant.

This post will hopefully help you with the basics of what you need to keep both you and your pup happy while living in an apartment here in Korea. I am by no means a dog expert, but I have spent countless hours watching youtube tutorials for training dogs, and have had the past 3 months (not a huge amount of time but a LOT of time when you get a puppy) to learn a few things.

These things will also be useful for anyone getting a dog (not just a puppy) but there will be a few things you won't have to worry about if you live in a house with a garden. Here in Korea we live in relatively small apartments and so choosing to have a dog needs to be well thought out and planned process to ensure minimal stress for everyone. 

*I will be doing another post on getting a health check for your dog here, heart worm medication as well as all the vaccinations they need*



Farmboy and I live in a relatively large apartment, and so have converted one of the rooms we have into the dog den. Not everyone will have this luxury, so I suggest getting a 'play pen' of sorts to contain your puppy/dog while you are out the house or can't keep an eye on him. This has been the most important thing we have done, and has really helped us relax when we are gone to work 8 hours of the day. We bought this dog gate off Gmarket (W45 000 or $45 click here for the link) which means he can see us, but he can't escape. He cried a lot the first few days we locked him up, but now he is happy to be in there and just sleeps when we aren't at home. This keeps him safe, as well as protecting the rest of our house from puppy mayhem. This also helps with housebreaking your puppy, as they tend not to mess where the sleep (the same is said for crate training...see below). 

His crate goes in his room as well as a cheap little bed we found at Daiso. He doesn't like blankets or anything that most dogs like to snuggle in. Even now with it snowing outside, he doesn't like the underfloor heating and chooses to sleep on the cold stone floor by the front door when he isn't in his room....strange pup.

I had never heard of crate training before, but as we will one day leave Korea, Shadow will have to travel in a crate for over 20 hours and so getting him used to it as soon as possible was very important for us. The sooner your pup gets used to the crate (and hopefully to see it as a happy and safe place to be) the easier it will be when they really have to be in it. There are lost of great videos on crate training (just google it and you'll find hundreds of great resources) and it took Shadow a while to be comfortable being inside it. He still doesn't like being locked in it for hours at a time, but he is getting used to it and it's only to help him in the end. We feed him in his crate, and put him inside it with some treats while we watch TV. He will eventually fall asleep in it and then we leave him in it over night. With crate training it's important to start off slowly, and progress gradually. Don't rush it or your poor pup will start to hate it. Also, never 'banish' your pup to his crate when he is naughty. You want the crate to always be a safe and welcoming place for him to be in.

Finding the right size crate can also be difficult. We had no idea how big Shadow would be and so had to make a guess. Crates are also super expensive here (this is one of the largest sizes and cost W165 000 or $165 on Gmarket. Click here for the link). If your pup is going to be traveling by air, the crate needs to be sturdy, IATA approved, and your dog needs to be able to stand up and turn around comfortably. Our crate is still a little too big for Shadow, but he is probably going to grow into it and we would want his journey home to be as comfortable as possible. 


This has been a tough one as there are soooo many different opinions and different kinds of foods. I had done a lot of research and decided that I wanted to feed Shadow grain free food (a lot of the super market brands use grains as fillers, leaving far fewer nutrients in the food and leading to huge poos). We were feeding him Taste of The Wild grain free puppy food until the stockist ran out on Gmarket and have resorted to Kirkland Nature's Domain food for all life stages until we can order more Taste of The Wild.  Click here for a great comparison of dog foods as well as star ratings for quality and nutritional value. 

We buy in bulk and store the food in large kimchi containers to keep it fresh. I got this 13litre containers from Daiso. 



You can go wild with all the fun things you can buy for your dog here in Korea. Shadow loves his homemade toys the most (the tennis ball alien thingy that Farmboy made using old rope and a drill) and the grey t-shirt. We bought lots of toys that have rough edges on so he can chew away and help relive his itchy gums now that he is teething. 

Here are the links for the toys above:

Blue Ball thrower, Green squeaky ball, rope

Red Fireball Bento Treat Chew Toy

Black Squeaky Food/Treat Dispenser (this makes dinner time fun and keeps them occupied and their brain stimulated as they have to work out how to get the food out).

Ball Thrower

Purple food dispenser: bought at a pet shop in Gwangju

White nylabone


I mainly use treats for training (I follow Clicker Training which is based on positive reinforcement). You can find treats online through Gmarket, or at most marts and all pet stores here in Korea. When we leave the house for the day we also always make sure we give Shadow a Kong (the red toy pictured above) which will save your lives and keep your pup entertained for a good amount of time while you are gone. You fill the kong with treats, peanut butter, cheese, meat, carrots, bananas apples etc and the pop it in the freezer over night and voila! One very happy pooch! Click here for a link to them on gmarket. 


I found all of these things at my local DC mart. The orange brush helps to really scrub and remove the dirt from Shadows thick fur. I also have a bunch of old small towels for drying him off after baths and for putting over his bed when we give him frozen bones. That just stops the yucky bits of blood and tissue from the bones messing everything. 


I have been very strict with Shadow from the moment we got him and it has led to us having a very calm, well behaved dog. He doesn't jump on people, he has good manner, waits to be let in and out of doors and most importantly doesn't snap or grab things from people. It hasn't been easy but it has been worth it, and using a clicker (pictured above) has been life changing. This being said, we have only had him for 3 months and it's important to stick with your training, especially when you feel like your dogs knows all the tricks you have taught them. It's especially important to keep changing up the environment in which you ask your dog to do things for you, thereby helping to cement their learning.   I can highly recommend Kiko Pup on youtube & Training Positive.  Clicker training used food based rewards, but these videos give lots of advice for weaning your pup off the treats and ensuring your dog continues to do what you want him to do even without the treats. 


One of our biggest challenges has been to train Shadow to walk nicely on the lead. Using a harness instead of his just his collar has helped a lot but he still pulls and is a bit of a pain to take on walks. We do have a car, so luckily we can drive off to a field to give him his exercise but lead walking is a very important skill your dog needs to know how to do, and to do well. Click here for the link to where we bought this harness. It's soft and padded and doesn't cut into him like other harnesses have. They also have all sizes and colours and so you should be able to find one to fit your dog.

We only use the extension lead when we take him out to go to the bathroom.


Deciding where or how you want your dog to use the bathroom is another big decision to make. A lot of people use pee pads for their dogs, but we don't want our dog to get used to those and then have to be re-trained to go outside when we move back home. It's not easy having to wake up in the middle of the night in the freezing cold and take your dog out for a walk in the snow but it's a decision we have made. Shadow was pretty much housetrained from the moment we got him (something that is a common trait of Korean Jindos) and only pooed in the house on the first night we got him. Since then he has only had a handful off weeing accidents, mostly due to us not taking him out after he has eaten, slept  or been playing. Puppies should be taken out to the bathroom after each meal, ,nap, or play time until they are about 4 months old. 


Shadow is growing like a weed and has outgrown two collars already. This is one I found on Gmarket (click here) for him that included laser engraving for his name and for my number in case he gets lost. It comes in a variety of colours and sizes (it can be very hard to find a collar for larger dogs and this company were super easy to deal with!).

There is alot more I am still to learn about having a dog, but these are the basics that have helped us over the past 3 months. Do you have any other suggestions of tips for having a dog here in Korea? 

Shadow our Black & Tan Korean Jindo rescue pup

ShadowTheJindoChristmasInKorea (1 of 1).jpg

We've had little Shadow for 2 months now, and boy have our lives changed. The first 2 weeks of having him were an absolute nightmare. We really had no intentions of having a pet while living here in Korea, not just because of the logistics of keeping a pet in an apartment, but also because of the costs associated with bringing them back home to South Africa. But once we started getting into more of a routine, around the 3 week mark, and of course once we decided that we could keep him, he has brought us so much joy.

You can read the full story of how Shadow came into our lives by clicking here, but to sum things up, we found him wondering a dark road late at night. He wasn't in bad shape when we took him in, he was obviously owned by someone, whom we later found out had to get rid of his dogs to go to the military. There's pretty much only one place an unwanted pup ends up here in Korea, and that's in the soup pot. Dog meat is an age old tradition here in Korea, especially in the more rural areas like where we live. It's too easy to judge people for their cultural differences, and so have just learnt to accept that eating dog is a part of the older traditional culture here in Korea. We may not agree with it, but that's not to say that the Koreans are wrong in their ways.

Anyway, here are some of photographs our little pup. In the first few we had just got him and he was about 2 or 3 months old. The last few photographs are of him from the past few weekend, he is about 5 months old now and growing by the second. I have been taking weekly photographs of him which I will share here on the blog in the next few months. It's been such fun watching his little legs grow and his ears get bigger and bigger and floppier and floppier.

Owning a puppy or dog here in Korea isn't easy. But it can be done with proper training and a lot of patience. I'll also be sharing a few more puppy related posts in the next few weeks for anyone thinking about getting a dog. In the mean time, I hope you enjoy these pictures.



Shadow & Nami {Puppies in Korea}

Today my four month old Jindo puppy Shadow, had his first play date with another pup.

Nami is an 8 month old Golden Retriever who lives with his humans (Tom & Mairead) in a town nearby called Namwon. Nami was also a rescue pup like Shadow, found on the streets of Korea. Unfortunately there are too many unwanted dogs littering the streets here, but his and Shadow's stories are happy ones.

Poor Nami was absolutely terrorized by Shadow, who is a little bundle of energy with razor sharp teeth. But they had a ball nonetheless, and even kept still long enough for me to take a few photographs. Here are a few snaps from this afternoon in the golden Autumn sunlight in Jeongeup Park.

Shadow our Korean Jindo puppy


World, meet Shadow, our +-2 month old black and tan rescue Jindo puppy. We think he is a Jindo from what we can found out on Google (Rotweillers and German Shepards are extremely uncommon here in Korea) so this seems like the most likely option considering his colouring.


Farmboy and I found Shadow 3 weeks ago wondering around a dark road, late at night and narrowing avoiding oncoming traffic. He had no sign of any owners, so we picked him up and took him for the night with no intentions of keeping him. We have since found out that his owner had to go to the military and aren't sure whether he was being sold for food (eating dog meat it is an age old tradition here in Korea) or whether he was destined for a life chained up outside a kennel.

Jindo dogs originate from Jindo Island, a small island off the West Coast of South Korea. Jindos were bred for hunting and are most well known for their fierce loyalty and brave nature. Mainland Koreans keep Jindos as watch dogs, and all of the ones we have seen are chained up outside their homes. We have only ever seen 4 or 5 Jindos being taken for a walk by their owners in the 2.5 years we have lived in Korea. Space is a big issue here in Korea, and that is why when Koreans choose to have dogs as pets they favor the small breeds, like Chihuahuas, Toy Pomeranians, Maltese Poodles and Pekingese. 


Jindo's grow to a medium size, similar to the a Border Collie . We don't think Shadow's original owner would have been as uncaring as we was if he was a pure Jindo pup, so depending on what mix he is he might be smaller (or maybe even larger!) than a sheep dog. Jindos come in 6 different colours. White, Yellow or Brown, Black & Tan, Grey, Tiger Brindle and solid Black. White and Yellow are the most prized and popular colours.

As I have spent the past 3 weeks scouring the internet for information on this unusual breed, I thought I'd share some facts with you about them:

1. They are pretty much housebroken automatically - We just though Shadow was super smart II'm sure everyone thinks this about their dog), having only pooped in the house on the first night we had him and then only peed once or twice since then if we ignored his winning in the early hours of the morning.

2. They are super-clean. Like most northern breeds, they have self-cleaning coats. Dirt just falls right off, and they are super fastidious about the condition of their fur and groom themselves like cats. They also have no doggy odor. 

3. They are aloof with strangers. Jindos are incredibly loyal and loving to the people they know and love, not just their owners. But a correct Jindo temperament means that they will ignore or avoid attention from strangers - Because of this we are trying to socialise Shadow as much as possible with our friends so that he gets used to being petted and stroked by people. We have also read that Jindos only bond with one owner in their life, I'm not sure just how true this is, but it has been the most consistent thing Korean friends have mentioned to us when we tell them we think he is a Jindo. 


4. They are quiet. Some dogs yap or bark for attention. A socialised Jindo only occasionally barks when he feels it is absolutely necessary - Shadow only has barked a total of 5 times since we found him.

5. They are wonderful guard dogs. They have a strong sense of territory and will work very hard to maintain borders and to protect their families. 

6. They are incredibly intelligent. This dog was bred to think for themselves. They have very strong problem-solving capabilities, and if left in a backyard 24/7 will find a way to entertain themselves and escape. Also, they are so smart and independent that although they pick up obedience commands very quickly, they don't always listen. Similar to cats. But on the other hand, they are super-submissive to their owners. A harsh word can bring them quivering to their bellies. In that sense, they are a soft breed that needs very positive training techniques. 


7. They are very quiet and calm inside the house. As puppies they can be destructive like any other breed, if not excercised enough, but as adults, you hardly notice they are there until they come by to check up on you. They don't even like to go on furniture. This is a common trait  with fellow Jindo owners. You invite them to sit on the sofa with you, but once you're done petting them, they prefer to be laying next to your feet.  So the upholstery stays clean. - We gave Shadow all kinds of blankets and pillows, and yet he prefers to sleep on the floor

8. They are the best independent hunting dogs. They were made to hunt their prey in difficult terrain. They will range over large territories in pursuit of game. This is part of the reason why they are known for "wandering" if not kept indoors - This is why we are okay with keeping him inside our apartment during the day when we are away at work. We make sure to walk him twice a day and play with him whenever we are home, and so far so good. 

*Thanks to The Jindo Project for the above information.


However, having a dog in Korea is not ideal. It's not ideal for any dog to be kept inside alone all day. But we are making it work. We are very lucky that so far we haven't had a problem with any barking, and so have had no complaining from our neighbours. This has been a big problem for a lot of our friends who have dogs here in Korea. And the fact that we are now 'tied' down, and can't just jet off for holidays has been something else to consider. Luckily we have a car here in Korea, so we are able to take him with us when we go away for the weekends (we usually camp and so have had no issues so far with here for more posts on camping in Korea).


The last hurdle we have had to deal with is the cost of taking him back with us to South Africa when we leave Korea in 2016. It costs A LOT to take a dog to SA (they have to go into quarantine, they need blood work sent back and forth to Korea and SA, the cost of the flight alone is ridiculous...we're talking thousands of $US). But, to us he is worth it, and we are simply going to make it work. We had never planned on having any pets in Korea, we knew the costs and the apartment living situation wouldn't be good for any animal, but Shadow came into our lives the night before our two year wedding anniversary. And well, he just feels right. 


So please bear with me as I flood Instagram and Facebook with images of #ShadowTheJindo. I'm sure the puppy pictures will once again make way to stationery and other pretty things, but for now I hope you can understand that with a blogger and photographer mom, he is going to be one photographed pooch!