Puppy Obedience Training –
How to Care for a Puppy

Set up a schedule and carefully supervise our puppy.

The little puppy is very curious and will get into trouble every chance he gets.

To save ourselves a lot of pain and to save our puppy from stress, we want set up a fixed schedule which includes crate time, play time, walk time, as well as handling and grooming time.

When our puppy is out and about in a non-dog-proof area, we need to supervise him closely. Close supervision will give us the opportunity to teach puppy right from wrong, without too much damage to our furniture and belongings.


If I do not have the time,

  • I usually crate puppy, when he is home alone, or
  • I put puppy on a tie-down, when I am home but unable to fully supervise.

If you are concerned about crating your puppy, here is what the Humane Society of the United States and the American Dog Trainer’s Network have to say about dogs and crates.

When I am away for a long period of time (> 3 hours), I put puppy in a long-term enclosure. This can be a secure puppy pen or a safe room (e.g. kitchen). I make sure there is nothing in the enclosure that my puppy can destroy. I also put in some bedding, a water bowl, puppy pads, and safe chew toys.

As a general rule, the longest time to crate a puppy is (age of dog in months) hours. For example, an 8 week old puppy can be kept a maximum of (2 month old) = 2 hours in a crate. Note that this is just a general guideline for the maximum crate time.

Most puppies need to go outside more frequently than that, for exercise and potty training. I take my puppy outside as soon as he wakes up, and right after any kind of vigorous play. In the beginning, Husky puppy Shania needed to potty after about 10-15 minutes of play. Here is a more detailed table of maximum crate time.

At night, I crate my dogs in the bedroom. Sleeping together helps with the bonding process, and shows them that they are part of the pack.

Puppy Obedience Training 2

Keep a drag-lead on our puppy.

I put a drag-lead on my puppy when he is roaming freely in the house.

This will help us control our ball of energy without resorting to chasing games. When my puppy tries to run away, all I need to do is step on the drag-lead.

It is important to use a regular, thick (1 inch wide), flat collar and not an aversive collar (choke chain, prong collar). I make sure to cut off the loop on the leash, so that it does not catch on anything around the house. I start with a longer (6 feet), light leash, and then shorten it depending on my puppy’s behavior.

Once he matures and is better behaved, I switch to a leash tab or remove the drag-lead altogether.

It is best to use a secure 6 foot leash during puppy leash training and not the flexi-leash. The 6 foot leash gives us better control of our puppy, and is necessary to keep him safe when he decides to go chasing after dogs, cats, or squirrels.

Puppy Obedience Training 3

Start with reward obedience training.

It is most effective and least risky to start our puppy with reward obedience training. I started out with aversive techniques, and it made my Shiba puppy develop additional behavioral issues, including aggression. In fact, my aversive based dog trainer said that it was inappropriate use pain based techniques, such as leash jerks and alpha rolls, on dogs that are younger than 6 months old.

Today, I prefer to use reward training because it is more effective at motivating my dogs, stopping undesirable behaviors, and building a strong bond.

With reward training, we establish ourselves as the pack leader by controlling our dog’s resources through the Nothing in Life is Free (NILIF) program. This simply means that my puppy has to do something for me, for example a Sit, before he gets any resource (e.g. food, toys, affection, freedom) in return. Any bullying will be ignored, or will result in the removal of that resource.

Many people make the mistake of equating pack leadership with the use of aversive training. Aversive dog trainers say that difficult, strong-willed, dominant dogs require stronger, punishment based methods in order to show him who is boss.

This is not true.

One of my dogs (a Shiba Inu) is extremely strong willed, and can be quite difficult, but he responds much better to reward training.

Be careful of advertisements for 10 minute puppy obedience training programs and the like. There are no miracle cures in puppy training.

Puppy Obedience Training 4

Bite inhibition training.

Puppy biting is common because puppies are naturally curious, and want to examine everything with their mouths.

The good news is puppies do not have the jaw strength of an adult dog, and will not do much damage to us when biting. Because of this, puppy-hood is a good time for bite inhibition, or soft mouth training.

One of the best ways to train a dog to have a soft mouth is through hand-feeding.

I hand-feed my puppy at least some of his kibble every day. If he bites too hard when getting his food, I do a sharp ouch or yelp and ignore him for a few seconds. Then, I retry the exercise. If he takes food from me gently, I praise him and continue feeding without any breaks.

We can also combine hand-feeding with obedience commands, and dog grooming sessions. Hand-feeding also helps with food aggression issues, so I continue with it even through adulthood.

Ian Dunbar’s book After You Get Your Puppy, gives a good overview of bite inhibition, and how to best train our puppy to have a soft mouth.

A puppy, and ultimately an adult dog who has a soft mouth is a great asset. Because my Shiba Inu has good bite inhibition, we were able to solve many of his behavior problems, which would have been difficult to deal with if he were biting at full strength.

Puppy Obedience Training 5

Practice calm and assertive energy.

This is something that is always emphasized by Cesar Millan (the Dog Whisperer) and it is extremely important; especially for a hyperactive puppy.

If we interact with a dog using nervous, submissive, fearful, or otherwise weak (non-assertive) energy, the dog will sense that and start acting out even more.

Anger, impatience, frustration, and all other non-calm energies will only excite our puppy, and cause him to exhibit even more extreme behaviors.

In order to achieve calm, assertive energy, we must first overcome whatever fears we may feel toward our dog, and become his pack leader. This is much easier to do if we have achieved good bite inhibition.

Puppy Obedience Training 6

A busy puppy is a good puppy.

Puppies have a lot of energy, and will get into trouble if we do not keep them busy.

I make my puppy work for ALL of his food. Instead of presenting everything to him in a silver bowl, I use his daily kibble and treats for obedience sessions, bite inhibition training, handling, and grooming. If there is food left over, I put it in interactive food toys.

I also schedule play time with my puppy. Some games that my dogs like include flirt pole, the water hose game, and sometimes soccer.

When I start with a new game, I make it fun by handing out lots of treats for effort. Once my puppy understands the game, I switch to only treating his more stellar performances.

Make sure to always have control of a puppy’s play-time. This means that we own all the toys, and we decide when to start and stop the games. Play-time can be very useful in training our puppy to calm down, and to pay attention to us even when he is excited.

I also schedule two or three short obedience training sessions (10-15 minutes) with my puppy every day. This helps to establish me as the leader, gives my puppy some mental exercise, and provides a good bonding experience.

Other good ways to exercise our puppy include neighborhood walks, walks in the park, dog playgroups, and dog sports.

Puppy Obedience Training 7

We are not alone.

The most important thing to remember while bringing up a difficult puppy is that we are not alone!

Our puppy journey will be filled with a lot of joy, but there will also be challenges and pit-falls. Sometimes, we may feel discouraged by our puppy’s behavior, or with his performance in dog obedience class.

We are not alone!

There are many support groups out there where we may post our questions. I also find it helpful to visit these groups when I feel discouraged, or when I feel like my puppy is some mutant strain of devil dog.

Do not think that you are a bad dog owner or trainer when your puppy behaves badly. Many other dog owners are facing the exact same problems. Also remember that with proper rules and training, our puppy’s behavior will improve with time.

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Comments

  1. Vivian says

    Thanks ShibaShake!

    We had our shiba puppy for 2 weeks (she’s 12 weeks old now) & she’s been a handful (though hopelessly adorable).

    We are trying reward based training so far & can get her to sit quietly for a treat. However, no luck yet on everything else (e.g. the down command).

    One thing we noticed is while she is very very food motivated (sometimes it’s scary to see how she wolf down the treat in my hand & the relentless licking of said hand thereafter), she will immediately turn & walk away once she is done with the treat. If we try to pet her or hold her back, she will start to nip.

    Is this normal? We don’t think this is play biting, more like she don’t want us to touch her unless we have treats to offer..

    • shibashake says

      Congratulations on your Shiba puppy!

      Sephy was the same way when he was young. He is better now in terms of affection, and will sometimes even request belly rubs and neck scratches. It took some time to earn his trust, but he is a very loyal dog. Unlike my Sibes, he will not go off with strangers just because they have some treats in hand. :D

      However, he is still a lot more aloof than my Huskies and he does not like being restrained. With training, we have taught him to tolerate some types of touching and holding, such as for grooming. Here are some things I did to desensitize Sephy to touch and hugs. We also took him to puppy class to help with his socialization to people and other dogs. We specifically picked classes that focused on socialization.

      Bite inhibition training (soft-mouth training) was also very important for Sephy.

      I think aloofness is a common Shiba trait, and it certainly was something I had difficulty with when Sephy was young. Here is a story of my rough start with Sephy. Happily, he has gotten a lot better, and I learned a lot from him. I write a lot more about my experiences with Sephy here.

      Big hugs to your Shiba pup … well maybe not hugs but little touches with treats as a start. ;) Remember to take lots of pictures. They grow up really quickly, and I hardly have any early pictures of Sephy.

  2. Vivian says

    Hi there,

    We just got our 10 week old shiba puppy & is thinking of setting up a long term enclosure which we can continue to use when she is older.

    Just how high is the height of the enclosure? We read horror stories about Shiba jumping over fences & will like to make sure the enclosure is high enough.

    Thanks!

    • shibashake says

      Congratulations on your new Shiba puppy!

      I only used the puppy enclosure with my Shiba when he was young and still in training. I used it when I was home but could not keep a close eye on him, to keep him out of trouble. When he was alone at home, I used his crate (after getting him comfortable with it through crate training exercises). The crate seemed more secure, and I did not want him trying to jump out of the enclosure and accidentally hurting himself.

      Sephy had some separation anxiety when he was young, so I also slowly got him used to alone time.

      Big hugs to your puppy!

  3. ShibaLover says

    Hey, ShibaShake! I am hopefully going to adopt a male Sesame Shiba Puppy soon and I have had some experience with dogs, i.g. taking care of other people’s pets while their away and I already have a small mutt that looks like German Spitz only with less hair.with less hair. I was thinking that if I got it as a puppy it would be easier to train and it would be easier for it to adapt to a new home and lifestyle as well as have a better relationship with my current dog. I have been doing tons (and tons and tons) of research, mostly on your website ;D. I am going to have to get the dog in either South Africa or America because I live over seas and I was wondering if you had any traveling tips or any other additional training tips or food, treat, toy, or brand recommendations.

  4. Dianne says

    Hi. We got our Sheba, Sadie, in April and she was already 9 months old. The information on your site is invaluable to me!! I have you bookmarked for quick access. Thanks so much!
    I have one question and one problem.
    Question: is it normal for a Sheba to eat bugs? Every time we go for a walk Sadie has her nose to the ground looking for prey. She will root bugs out of the earth with her nose, or catch them on the fly. She also goes after snakes, and doesn’t mind a chew on a discarded snake skin. Ewwww! I try to get her to leave it and take it away. Even in our yard she hunts for bugs in the dirt. Maybe I’m not giving her enough food? Or is it the hunting instinct?

    Problem: I took Sadie to my sisters, she has a male lab and a female small poodle. Sadie played with the lab okay, but the poodle is old and didn’t want to play. Sadie went at her and when she tried to get away Sadie grabbed her with her teeth and pulled her back. I had to keep Sadie on her leash for the rest of the visit.
    Since then she has tried to go after 2 other dogs (both female and 1 small, 1 lab) the same. Both of these times the other dog yipped a lot at Sadie first. I keep her away from other dogs now. She has since been spayed, I don’t know if that will help? The breeder had said that she keeps her females apart because they will fight. Most of my doggie owning friends have females!
    Thanks.

    • shibashake says

      Yeah, Sephy is big on hunting lizards. Lizards move really fast, so it catches his attention and triggers his prey drive. When he was younger, he also used to hunt grasshoppers. He doesn’t try to eat them, he just likes to chase and pounce. Shibas are bred to hunt, so they can have pretty high prey drive. My Huskies have even higher prey drive so they will be gone if they see running cats, squirrel, or deer. I always keep them on-leash when not in a fully enclosed area.

      My *guess* is that it is prey drive combined with puppy curiosity. Puppies often try to put everything in their mouths, at least once, to check it out. My younger Husky tried examining a bee once and got stung. However, as with all behavior, context and temperament play a very big role, so for a more accurate assessment, those would have to be taken into account.

      A bit more on prey drive.

      In terms of other dogs, Sephy was also reactive to other dogs when he was young. He would get over-excited, and would often overwhelm the other dog, especially a lower energy dog or a smaller dog. Sephy also has the Shiba stubbornness in spades, so he would keep at a dog until the dog gives in and plays with him.

      Some things that help with Sephy-
      1. I pick his playmates very carefully. He likes larger playful dogs who are energetic and likes to wrestle. He does not like dominant dogs, and he does not like new dogs sniffing his butt. I make sure to pick playmates that are compatible with his temperament and play-style.

      2. I set very clear dog-to-dog interaction rules with all of my dogs. I also throw in many play-breaks so that I can manage their excitement level. Here is more on what I do to manage play.

      3. I did a lot of dog-to-dog desensitization exercises with Sephy to raise his reactivity threshold and to teach him to stay calm while in the presence of other dogs.

      The key with Sephy is to control the environment and context as much as I can so that I can maximize success. With each successful encounter and play session, he gains confidence, learns to view other dogs positively, learns how to play-nice, and learns to trust me to handle conflicts. Similarly, I also protect him from negative encounters.

      A bit more on how I socialized my dogs.

      Consulting with a good professional trainer can also be helpful. I visited with several trainers in Sephy’s first year, and learned some good things from them. We also did desensitization exercises with trainers at our local SPCA because they had a nice variety of dogs that they could use for our training sessions.

      Hope this helps. Big hugs to Sadie!

  5. Mishka says

    What is your schedule that you use for your dogs. Like puppy training or walks. It would be a great start for my schedule :)

    • shibashake says

      The puppy schedule will be very dependent on the individual dog. Lara’s schedule works for Lara but may not work well for a different dog, who will have a different energy level, be motivated by different things, live in a different environment, and enjoy different activities.

      With Lara, she would sleep for about 1.5-2 hours, then we would do stuff for about 2 hours, then sleep again, and so on.
      - I take her outside to do potty as soon as she wakes up, and then I reward her really well with games and other fun training exercises when we are outside.
      - After that we come in, and she plays with my other dogs if they want to. In the beginning, when Lara was small, I only let her play on-leash so that I can keep her close, supervise her *very closely*, and make sure nobody gets hurt.
      http://shibashake.com/dog/a-new-puppy-first-10-days-of-hell
      - After 10-15 minutes of play, I take her out again to do potty if she needs to.
      - Next, we come in and do some training exercises.
      - Finally, we end the session with a couple of frozen Kongs. That helps to calm Lara down and she goes to sleep after that.

      At night, she would sleep for longer, but I may take her out once or twice for potty. She lets me know when she needs to go.

      I *did not* walk Lara in the neighborhood until after she was fully vaccinated. For dog socialization we did supervised puppy play groups at a nearby daycare center. The sessions were supervised by at least one trainer, and they checked all the puppies for vaccination records. Shania and Sephy went to puppy class where they also checked for vaccination records.

  6. mochi says

    Hey Shibashake!! My boyfriend and I just got an 11 week old shiba pup last Saturday. So we found your site when trying to do as much research as possible on our pup and training him to be the best dog he can be! You have tons of great information! I have a concern. In our efforts to stop his biting we have tried to do some of the things you suggested, such as limit his resources – only give him one toy to play with at a time, and only give him access to food at 3 set times a day. We are avoiding playing tug of war with him and are trying to walk away when he starts to bite. We have penned off a small part of the living room of our condo that is connected to a narrow kitchen so he has a small area to roam and play. We’ve made these changes today, after doing a lot of reading last night. However compared to before we made these changes, like setting up the pen, saying no and walking away when he starts to bite, etc. he was very boisterous and full of energy, whereas now he seems sort of depressed and low energy. Do you think this is normal? Should we be worried that we are being too harsh on him? halp please :D

    • shibashake says

      Congratulations on your new puppy!

      In terms of dog training techniques, it is very dependent on the temperament of the dog, the surrounding environment, our own temperament and more. I always make sure to listen to my dogs and tweak whatever methods as necessary to suit our situation.

      For example, Sephy the Shiba is a lot more stubborn and more likely to test his boundaries. I set up more rules for Sephy, and I am very consistent with making sure he follows the rules. My Huskies are more relaxed and easy-going, so they get rewarded with more flexibility and freedom.

      What I learned from Sephy is that it is important to-
      1. Listen to my dogs.
      2. Be open-minded, and gather as much information as I can about how dogs learn and how I can improve quality of life. There is a lot of misinformation out there about dog training, so I get my information from many different sources, especially from trusted sources such as scientific studies, highly regarded vet schools (UPenn, UCDavis), and well established dog advocates (e.g. SPCA, RSPCA).
      3. Set Sephy up for success. The more good behaviors he performs, the more likely he will repeat them in the future. The same is true of bad behaviors.

      Also, I take any new puppy into the vet for a check-up when I first get them. In this way, I can be sure of his health and can also set up a vaccination schedule.

      Big hugs to puppy!

  7. Denver says

    Hi ShibaShake!
    I just got a Shiba a few weeks ago when he was 8 weeks old. He is almost 10 weeks now and I have a few questions for you.
    I live in an apartment in the city and when I go to sleep at night, I just let him roam around in my room. So I see that you use a crate at night, should I try to get him to do this or just let him free in my room? So far he has learned to wake us up if he needs to go potty and there have been very few accidents while we are sleeping.
    Another question I have is about leash training. In your guide, you say you have problems with your dog pulling, I have the opposite problem. My dog doesn’t want to go. I put the leash on his harness and he just sits down and won’t go. How can I make him walk with me?
    Thank you for helping me out! I love your helpful website =D It has given me so much info!

  8. Denver says

    Hi ShibaShake!
    I just got myself a Shiba last Saturday. Yay! Mochi was 8 weeks old when we got him (9 now), but unfortunately I didn’t do any reading beforehand and I did not realize the “I’ll do it if I want to” personality haha.

    So my situation is this; we live in an apartment in the city with one bedroom. I have taught him that we go outside to go potty and he actually learned this quite quickly (within a week!) and does it very well. One of my current problems is that for some reason I can’t get him to walk on a leash with me at all. I got him a full body harness because I don’t want him to have it just around his neck and I put it on him when we go outside to go potty and set him down on the sidewalk to walk to the grass; he just sits down. He won’t move at all unless I tug on him.
    Now, I have read a little bit on your site and I know that pulling him won’t do anything to help him, but aside from that, he sits there like a bump on a log and won’t move! He goes potty but then walks out of the grass and won’t go the way I want him to. I imagine it would probably come with time, but I don’t know why he won’t walk on the leash. Do you know what I can do for this?

    My next question is about crating, sleeping and time away. When we first got Mochi, we got him a blanket and put it on the floor for him to sleep on. He just went under the bed and hid in the corner. Now we have gotten him to come out and sleep on the floor and he does well with that. We got him a crate yesterday and he seems to be ok with it, but he still prefers to sleep on the bed we bought him (Costco dog bed). So my question is this, should we try to do like you do and keep him in the crate for the majority of the time, or let him roam around my room like it was the short-term confinement area like you have? Also, should we keep him in the crate at night or let him sleep wherever he wants in my room?

    My schedule is such that I am gone in the morning from 11 until 8 at work, but my girlfriend is home at 4 or so. We don’t have anyone else in the house that could let him out, so do you think that putting him in the crate would be ok for that amount of time?
    Sorry for the long post, I just have a lot of questions and I want to make sure he will turn out to be a good boy ; ]
    Thank you for your help!

    • shibashake says

      Congratulations on your new Shiba pup!

      Re: Walking on a leash

      With my puppy, I start small, help her get comfortable with having a leash, and help her associate it with positive events. Here is more on what I did.
      http://shibashake.com/dog/how-i-trained-my-husky-puppy/comment-page-1#comment-71204

      Re: Crating

      That depends a lot on the puppy, his routine, the environment, our preferences, etc.

      1. Sephy only goes in his crate at night. If he wants to come out, he can, and then we let him roam around downstairs which is a fully dog-proof area.

      2. He gets special snacks in his crate, and we carefully desensitized him to it. He views it as his safe place, and likes going in there to work on high priority chews such as Greenies.

      3. Since I cannot supervise my puppy while I am asleep, I do not let her roam freely about in a space unless I am 100% certain puppy is fully potty trained, and 100% certain that the space is totally safe, e.g. no wires, paper clips, phones, or whatever else that a puppy may chew on and become a choking hazard; nothing puppy can jump on and then hurt herself while trying to jump down, etc.

      During puppyhood, I have found that supervision is key. When I cannot supervise, I make sure to put my puppy in a safe, dog-proof area.

      As a general rule, the longest time we should keep a puppy in a crate, during the day, is (age of dog in months + 1) hours.

      An 8 week old puppy can be kept a maximum of (2 month old + 1) = 3 hours in a crate.

      Based on what I have read, this is the general guideline for the maximum amount of crate time. I usually let my puppy out much more often than that. If I will be away for longer, then I use a puppy enclosure.

      This article has more on what I do while potty training my puppy.

      Big hugs to Mochi! Share some pictures with us when you have the time. :D

  9. Danny says

    We have a 9 week old Shiba male named Nico. We got him 9 days ago and by day 2 he was going into his crate and sleeping all night (10-6 am) with no issue. He goes to the door when he wants to go outside and I give him treats when he goes. He is so calm when we take him outside that everyone comments on it. We will travel in the car and him in his crate and he just sits there waiting for us to get him out. He sits patiently by his food as I get ready to feed him, waits for me to put his bowls down and then calmly walks to his food. We have at times been able to keep him out of his crate for the whole day without any pee or poop incident and then take him out and he goes. I think his training is going extremely well. We feed him at the same time, put him to sleep at the same time, play, etc.. all on schedule, he doesnt even complain when we may try to watch a movie and put him in his crate, he will whine for about 2 or 3 minutes and then play with his bone or take a nap. The puppy is almost to good to be true…However yesterday he pee’d in the house 3 times and 1 time in his crate and also got “crazy” out of no where running wild, biting, growling, to the point I had to put him in his crate to calm down because my son was scared. He even would run full speed to the back door and jump into it a few times. He does a lot of sniffing outside in the yard, is it possible he sniffed something bad and it somehow affected his brain? His actions last night were just that odd that it now really concerns us. For the first 8 days he was such an incredible well behaved puppy, smarter than any other I had ever had that we joked he was an alien lol. But after last night I almost feel as if now he may be going backwards.. Is this normal for a Shiba puppy to be unbelievably perfect and then out of nowhere completely bonkers and aggressive?

    • shibashake says

      What you describe sounds like the end of the “honeymoon period”.

      A puppy or new dog may be more passive and quiet in the beginning because there was just a big change in his environment. Everything is new, everyone is new, and there is a lot of uncertainty and stress. As a new dog “learns the ropes” and gets more comfortable in his new digs, he will likely start acting more like a puppy again.

      However yesterday he pee’d in the house 3 times and 1 time in his crate

      Unusual peeing behavior *could* also be due to physical issues, e.g. urinary tract infection. Has he been to the vet for an initial check-up?

      Sephy was very energetic during his puppyhood. He would run around at high speeds, bite books and curtains, steal t.v. controllers to start a chase game, and much more. The high-speed running around Shiba behavior is also affectionately called the Shiba 500.

      I had a lot of difficulties with Sephy when he was young. In fact, I started this site because of him. We had lots of adventures together and he gave me lots of stories to tell. :D
      http://shibashake.com/shiba-inu-tips-information-care

  10. Luke says

    HI there,
    So when getting a dog we decided we wanted a challenge and got a sibe. He was a pain in the arse just as we expected but got over it. He’s now 8months old and we decided to get him a buddy.
    Of course being suckers for punishment we got a shiba. Its actually going well he’s stays in his crate at night and only cries to got to the toilet and hasn’t messed in side once. The sibe acts as we expected and wants to play all the time. He’s fairly gentle and we always supervise and step in if he goes too far in fact it’s hilarious watching a 3 kg shiba “pin down” a 16 kg sibe by the throat.
    This where the problems start to occur. Our sibe ALWAYS wants to play even when the shiba just wants to explore and the shiba can get quite vocal during these play sessions. A couple of times he obviously wants out so I step in to stop it other times I’m not sure.
    So after all this I have two questions. The first is how do I tell if the shiba is giving a play bark or a “back off, I’m over this” bark?
    The second is should I be trying to discourage my sibe from playing so much. I was thinking of trying to calm him down by giving him treats for sitting calmly while the shiba is out exploring to de-sensitise him to having another dog around.

    • shibashake says

      it’s hilarious watching a 3 kg shiba “pin down” a 16 kg sibe by the throat.

      LOL! That definitely deserves a video or a picture.

      how do I tell if the shiba is giving a play bark or a “back off, I’m over this” bark?

      Yeah, this can be difficult to tell with just the sound alone. It helps to look at other cues, e.g. the entire body of the dog and movement. When Sephy is uncomfortable or tense, his body posture will be more rigid, and his facial expression is also different.

      When he is interested in doing something else, he will just do whatever it is he wants to do and start ignoring the other dogs. When I see him lose interest (e.g. start to ignore and focus on something else) then I make sure the Sibes do not bother him.

      When he is interested in play, his body is more loose, he is focused on the other dogs (eye-contact, body orientation), and he does a fair number of play-bows.

      The more I observe Sephy playing with my Sibes, the better I can understand his body language. When in doubt, I just throw in a play-break – I call my Sibes over, we do some very simple commands, and they get rewarded well. In this way, they calm down, refocus on me, and get used to doing commands even while excited. I find play-breaks to be a really good way to manage their excitement level, so that “play” never becomes too intense.

      In the beginning, I start small and only calling them over when they are not really distracted with anything. Then once they come consistently, I very slowly increase the level of distraction. I also use really good rewards.

      The second is should I be trying to discourage my sibe from playing so much.

      As you already know, Sibes are Energizer Bunnies. What works well for my Sibes is to redirect their energy into doing something else. If my Shiba does not want to play and Husky Lara is in one of her playful moods, then I may step in and play with her instead, or we go out to the backyard and play a game or do movement exercises (e.g. jumps, running+recall), or we go out for a walk. I also set up a very fixed schedule for all my dogs, so they know when walk time is, and when sleep time is. In this way, everyone knows what to expect from everyone else.

    • Luke says

      Thanks,
      I found watching the shibas body language hard because he’s so small and often obscured by the sibe.
      They are both playing better now. I take the sibe for a walk twice a day anyway so I try to leave play time for after walks. Last night for the first time in a while the sibe got so worn out that he had no interest in playing with people or the shiba infact I had to pull the shiba off him because he wanted a break. I’m quite confident they will grow up to be great friends, I just need to keep an eye on them till the shiba is a bit bigger.
      p.s. I have plenty of pictures and videos of both of them including them playing.

    • shibashake says

      Last night for the first time in a while the sibe got so worn out that he had no interest in playing with people or the shiba

      LOL! That sounds like a very happy day for a Sibe.

      I have plenty of pictures and videos of both of them including them playing.

      I would love to have a look. Do you have them online? Please post us some links when you have the time.

    • shibashake says

      Hahaha! Kuma has an awesome mask. It makes him look very mischievous. I also like how he redesigned your bathroom. He has great carpentry skills. :D

      Also really like the video of little Kuma rearranging his bed and water bowl. Gotta love Sibes!

      Many thanks for the link!

  11. Dee says

    I have a 7 month old German shepherd mix. She is a handful, she has decided to pick on one person my boyfriend. He comes to our house or vice versa every weekend. When she sees him she gets very excited, she starts jumping and biting him anywhere she could possible get, his sides, legs clothes. He says off and puts his knee up. This seems to get her madder and contribute jumping and biting, what is the best way to address issue?

  12. Aafke says

    Hello Shibashake!

    I am very happy i have found this blog! So much information! :D
    My boyfriend and I have decided to go for a Shiba after checking out other races of similar size (we live in an apartment). I must say that, as many people that have are in the same position, the warnings of Shiba Inu can sometimes be scary, although then you find some great stories :)
    Just wanted to thank you for your effort in building this site and if we do go for the pup, you’ll probably see me around asking more questions ;)

    • shibashake says

      the warnings of Shiba Inu can sometimes be scary

      LOL! Yeah, definitely not one of the easier breeds to train or live with.

      I did not do enough research before I got Sephy though, so he really was not what I was expecting or prepared for. I think things would have gone a lot better if I were more on the ball, like you, and did more reading before making a choice.

      Definitely let us know what you decide, and share some puppy pictures! :D

  13. Jeslyn says

    Hi. I have been reading your blog a little here and there. I just got a Shiba recently and I would say they are extremely smart dog. I have faced a few problem with my puppy and I am not sure it is the same for most Shiba. My puppy is very picky on her food. She eats when she feels like eating and she can totally ignore the food if she decided she is not happy with that same food today. Is that normal? Also, she understands basis command like “sit” and “down”. She will obey when there is treat. Other time when I said “sit”, she will do it if she feels like it. do you face the same problem with Sephy too?

    • shibashake says

      Hello Jeslyn,

      Congratulations on your new Shiba puppy!

      My puppy is very picky on her food.

      Yeah, Sephy was like that as well when he was a puppy. Switching to a grain-free kibble helped some with Sephy. He is allergic to wheat. Having a fixed eating schedule also helps.

      Other time when I said “sit”, she will do it if she feels like it.

      Heh, yeah that’s a Shiba for ya! :D They are usually very independent and stubborn. I think Sephy is on the upper end of the stubborn scale.

      But when he is motivated, he can do amazing things. One time he even won a Puppy Olympics contest in his puppy class. All the puppies had to do commands during a fixed time period and the puppy with the most commands wins. There was even a Border Collie mix in the class so I was really proud of Sephy.

      Still though, a Shiba will do what a Shiba wants to do. :D
      http://shibashake.com/dog/why-are-shiba-inus-one-of-the-most-difficult-breeds-to-train

  14. Frances Antonio says

    thanks :) it would be my pleasure.

    Well I guess we can say that my partner and I just bought our first home together and got Sammi to build a little family. He’s definitely trialling at times but his infectious smile and personality make it all worth it :)

    Also in the 2 weeks that we’ve had him he now knows his name (both names), to come, sit, shake and lay down. So proud of our little boy :)

  15. Frances Antonio says

    Thank you! Your words are too kind. Photography is a hobby of mine and I’m hoping to make it into a little business when I have the time. I have registered my business name already – “furtography” haha :) and Sammi will no doubt be the star of my portfolio.
    You’re more than welcome to post them on your site if you like, it would be my privilege to have them on there :)
    Thanks again

    • shibashake says

      LOL! Furtography is awesome! Definitely point us to your site when you have it up.

      Thanks for letting me post the pictures here. Is there a Sammi story you would like me to post along with it?

  16. Frances Antonio says

    :) Hi again,

    haha exactly! He picks out the good stuff and then pushes his nose around the kibble as if more goodies will suddenly appear!

    I’ve sent you a friend request on Facebook as I assume your page is “Shiba Shake” so hopefully that’s the right one. My little Shiba’s name is Samurai (Sammi) and I have started an album for him on my Facebook page :)

    Otherwise, feel free to send me an email and I can also send you plenty through there!

    Thanks so much,
    Frances

    • shibashake says

      Your pictures of Sammi are awesome! He is a very handsome little pup, and the composition and framing of the photos are great. You should make them public, or I would also love to post some of the pictures on my site. :D

  17. Frances Antonio says

    Thank you so much for your reply!
    His appetite seems to have come back but he’s getting very smart in his food choice in that he smells what we’re eating and thinks he’s going to get that. Once he’s seen that we’ve finished eating and that he won’t in fact be getting our food, he runs off and eats his. He’s a cheeky one!
    We’re currently feeding him what the breeder provided us and recommended to us which is holistic natural kibble but we’ve been soaking it in water to soften it for him.
    It’s good to know that they are known for their aloofness so it’s not that he doesn’t like us.
    As for his biting, I’ve read that article before and noted to redirect him to a toy which seems to be working well.
    Thank you so much for all your recommendations and articles – they really have been a great help to us!
    I would be more than happy to share photos of him with you (have taken hundreds already)… what’s the best way to share them with you?
    Thanks again :)

    • shibashake says

      Hello Frances,

      Once he’s seen that we’ve finished eating and that he won’t in fact be getting our food, he runs off and eats his. He’s a cheeky one!

      LOL! Sephy did that as well. He will always hold out for the good stuff. I also used to mix in little pieces of cheese or chicken with his kibble to encourage him to eat, and he would just pick out the good stuff! :D

      In terms of the photos there are several possibilities-
      1. Share them through facebook.
      2. Feel free to post a link here if you already have them online.
      3. I can send you an e-mail and we can send pictures that way.

      Let me know what works best for you. Hugs to Shiba puppy! :D

  18. Frances Antonio says

    I absolutely love your puppy and have frequently referred to it when we knew we were going to get a Shiba Inu puppy. We now have our little Shiba Inu and he’s in his first week at home. He’s a lot to handle and are now beginning to understand his very different puppy personality. We find that often he will like to be on his own and that he has no appetite. Is this normal for him or is it simply because he’s still adjusting to his new home? Another thing we’ve noticed that he does is when he’s excited to see us, he nips us with his mouth and grabs onto anything with it. What’s the best way to stop this as we don’t want to scold him for being happy to see us. Although he’s very smart and has already learned his name, to come and to sit. Love him to bits :)

    • Frances Antonio says

      oops! I meant “I absolutely love your website”… I must have puppy on the brain!

    • shibashake says

      Hello Frances,

      Congratulations on your new Shiba puppy!

      In terms of appetite, have you taken puppy to the vet for a check-up and shots? What did the vet say about his general health? Also, how is puppy’s stool and energy level? Loss of appetite can sometimes be the result of a physical issue, therefore it is best to rule that out first.

      Otherwise, Shiba Sephy was also a very picky eater. I tried all sorts of things to get him to eat his food. Finally, I switched to a high protein, grain free kibble, which helped. I also took my feeding cue from him, and just fed him less. Here is a bit more on how I picked what to feed him.

      Shibas are also known for their aloofness so they do not need/want much human affection or attention. Sephy is a lot less affectionate than my two Sibes who are always happy to be around people. My younger Sibe especially will frequently come over to sleep next to me. Less so for Shiba Sephy. :D

      Nowadays, Sephy will sometimes ask for affection by turning onto his back and asking for a tummy scratch. During the evening he will also come to the t.v. room to be with everyone. However, most of the day, he is off doing his own thing.

      As for the biting, Sephy was also very mouthy when he was a puppy. As a breed, I think Shibas tend to be more mouthy than many other dogs. Bite inhibition training is very useful for a Shiba. Sephy would also mouth a lot when he got excited, this was what I did -
      http://shibashake.com/dog/puppy-biting-how-to-stop-puppy-biting#timeout

      Redirecting onto a toy can also work well for excitement biting.

      Here is a bit more on general puppy obedience training.

      Remember to take lots of puppy pictures and share some with us when you can. :D

  19. Nick Psomas says

    You mentioned to leave the puppy in the crate at night to further bond with them. Our puppy is 2 months. By your rules, that would be only 3 hours in the crate. Am I to wake up to let her our in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom or wait until she is older and can sleep through the night?

    • shibashake says

      Hello Nick,

      Congratulations on your new puppy!

      I usually stop giving puppy water about 2-3 hours before bedtime, and make sure to take her out to potty before crating her at night. I get her to drink her fill before last call, and make sure she has quiet time after that. Setting up a very fixed eating schedule also helped.

      In the beginning, I had to wake up several times at night to take her out. She made noise when she had to go, or when she was lonely.
      http://shibashake.com/dog/a-new-puppy-first-10-days-of-hell

  20. Laura Philpot says

    Hi, You have a great website and some fantastic advice and photographs!
    My Shiba is now 15 weeks old and just does not come on command – its as if he doesnt know his name but now I am starting to think he is just being stubborn!
    Is there anyway to make him come to you when calling him? I have tried treats and toys but he is either to interested in what he is doing or just sits and stares at me.

    Thanks Laura

  21. Rosana says

    What a Great article!! Thank you!
    My husband and I just got a Shiba inu puppy last week thursday and he is a joy. He is 8 weeks and full of energy. I do watch a lot of Cesar but I’m afraid that some of the methods we are using it wrong and my biggest fear is because of using these methods wrong we will get him to be agressive.
    What is the best thing to do for example when he is trying to jump up on the couch or trying to bite through our shoes? I normally do the “Tshhh” and sometimes a little touch on his side, but then he goes nuts… he runs all around, and start barking at me with his body completely down on the floor and his tale up. I’m not sure if that is playing or trying to set his ground. Do you have any comments for us?? THANK YOU!

    • shibashake says

      Hello Rosana,
      Congratulations on your new Shiba puppy!

      1. Jumping
      When Sephy jumps or even nears the couch, I no-mark him (say Ack-Ack, No, or Tshh). If he gets onto the couch, I give him the “Off” command (which I have pre-trained). If he ignores me, I bring him down using his drag-lead, body-block him away from the couch, and get him to do something else.

      As you have observed, Shiba puppies are very energetic, so when Sephy was young I did a lot of activities with him. The more time he spends with me, doing scheduled sanctioned activities, the less time he has to come up with his own ‘Shiba’ moves. :D
      http://shibashake.com/dog/hyperactive-dogs-how-to-calm-a-hyper-dog-or-hyper-puppy

      2. Chewing
      When Sephy was young his big thing was chewing on books. He would always go over to the bookcase, pull out some books and start chewing on them. When he goes near the bookcase, I would no-mark him (Ack-Ack). If he ignores me, I body block him away. If he keeps going back, I put him in a time-out. This teaches him that if he can’t behave in the house, then he loses his freedom to roam.

      I also kept him on a very fixed schedule that includes sleep time in his crate. In this way, I have short breaks throughout the day and do not have to supervise him all of the time.

      As for Cesar Millan, what you say about his methods are very true. Some of them can be risky, and are difficult to apply. Here is more on Cesar Millan’s techniques-
      http://shibashake.hubpages.com/_srec/hub/Cesar-Milan-Dog-Training-the-Dog-Whisperer

      Here is a general article on puppy training that may also be of interest.

  22. Danielle says

    This is a great site and its answered a lot of my questions, save for one- When I try to discipline my Shiba, such as pulling him out of places hes not suppler to be in or telling him no, ect . . He fights back. If I pull him out from under the couch and tell him no, he runs right back under. We would repeat this several times till I got frustrated and put him in his room (he gets the back bedroom to himself). He also snaps and barks at us when we verbally repremand him. He listens to commands for treats, but as far as correcting bad behavior, we might as well be talking to a wall. Is this just a stage? (Hes 10 weeks)

    • shibashake says

      Yeah I think Shibas tend to be very stubborn. Sephy is certainly a very stubborn little guy. He totally drove me nuts when he was a puppy.

      I don’t allow snapping, so if he snaps at me, he goes to time-out right away. His time-out area is the laundry room, where it is boring and there is nothing to do. He really likes his freedom, so timeouts are pretty effective for Sephy.

      Are you using a drag-lead? I found it to be very useful when Sephy was young (use only with a flat collar and not an aversive collar). He used to like chewing up books. I would tell him no, body block him away, and get him to do something else for me, e.g. obedience commands. If he goes back to the books, I would just use the drag lead and walk him away. And then he has to stay with me for a while on a partial-timeout.

      If he starts misbehaving with me, e.g. biting, he goes to real timeout in the laundry room and loses all his freedom.

      Having a very fixed schedule for him also really helped a lot. He is calmer when he has a routine and knows exactly what to expect. Otherwise, he gets stressed and somewhat hyper.

      Another key thing is to always stay calm. Sephy is very sensitive to what people are feeling and he can tell when something is getting under my skin. When he was young, we had a dog walker take him out on group walks at the park. He quickly figured out that doing Shiba screams really got under her skin. From then on, he just kept on with the Shiba screaming when in her company. If I am calm, and consistently show him that his Shiba hijinks will get him nowhere and does not bother me at all, he will stop his bad behavior. But consistency is very important with a Shiba. If I let him get away with it even one time, he will keep trying and trying to see when he can get away with it again.

      Here are some of the things I learned from Sephy-
      http://shibashake.com/dog/shiba-inu-training-secrets

  23. Pitie lover says

    love love your site, I own two pitbulls; a four year old girl and a 8 week old boy. I’ve been looking for tips on positive training my boy and your site was just what I was looking for. thanks :)

    • shibashake says

      Congratulations on your new puppy! Definitely share some pictures with us when you have the time.

      Happy Holidays and big hugs to your girl and boy.

  24. jennifer says

    I have a 5 year old male shiba and he is practically perfect. When he was a puppy, he was stubborn but I was consistant and calm with him and crate trained him. He never had any accidents in the house except one time we were playing fetch and after about 10 minutes he started peeing, but that was my fault for not stopping to let him out. I just got my second shiba a couple of days ago, and she is much more stubborn than he was. She does not like to be crated at all. She will scream, as I expected she might, but unlike my other shiba, she will not stop even after being ignored for hours. She does it all night long, I get no sleep and I am afraid the people who live underneath me will start to complain. I put a blanket over the crate and do not reward her for screaming but I wonder if there is anything else that can be done. I was wondering if it might help to use a calming dropper or supplement before bedtime at least so that my neighbors can sleep.

    • shibashake says

      Hello Jennifer,

      Does the new puppy sleep close to your other Shiba? How do they get along? It could be that sleeping near the other dog will help her feel safer.

      Several other possibilities-
      1. My male Shiba also would not stop screaming when we first crated him at night. What helped him is to move the crate into our bedroom. He is happy to sleep in his crate as long as he is also close to us at night.
      2. With my puppy Lara, I started by tethering her to the crate. I put weights in the crate so that she couldn’t pull it around. In this way she had a bit more freedom, and she can go into and out of the crate on her own (I propped the door open). She has started to sleep inside the crate on her own now.

      Desensitization exercises with the crate may also help.
      http://shibashake.com/dog/how-to-calm-a-fearful-reactive-dog#crate

      In terms of calming equipment or scents, I have not tried them so I am unsure how well they will work. Some common ones that I have read about include heartbeat pillow (or clock), DAP scent, lavender or other herbal scents, and apparently, music. :D
      http://shibashake.com/dog/dog-anxiety-problems#calm-equipment

  25. Sarah says

    HI,
    I have a question for you. What age is it appropriate to train your puppy? My breeder says I am doing to much and that I am causing an over hyper puppy down the road. All I am trying to do is spend his energy so that I can spend time and love him, and have my schedule at the same time. I made a play toy like you suggested in one of your articles and we played like for an hour. My puppy didn’t want to stop because he loved it at least I thought so. The breeder says, that’s too long and that it should play time for five minuets. Then she said that training my puppy at 11 weeks of age at pet smart was too much. All I hear from the trainers is that the earlier you train the better off you are and that 11 weeks is a good thing. Is this true? Am I over doing it? All I want is a well behaved husky puppy and grow into one as an adult…She also says that I am smothering the puppy with too much stuff and things to do. Is that true? We wake up and go potty, in the play area outside till breakfast for me and my family is done, and then I play and then let him be for an hour and half or so, and then play with him and try to train on a leash one step at a time for like ten minuets or until he gives the sign Im tired of my leash, and let him romp on his own with other dog, then he sleeps, and then dinner, and let him relax and groom and then off to bed. Is that a too busy schedule? What should I do then? He’s already crate trained when we got him, and doesn’t howl at night, but just has bounding energy. What do you do with it? Am I going about this the wrong way? please am I over exhausting the puppy like the breeder said?

    • shibashake says

      Hello Sarah,

      Sounds like you and your puppy are having a blast! :D

      In terms of training, I usually start as soon as I bring puppy home. I only use reward training, so there is little stress placed on puppy. However, aversive techniques, e.g. collar corrections, should generally not be used on a puppy until he is much older.

      With Shania, I also enrolled her in a positive puppy class when she was about 10 weeks old. The important thing with puppy class is to make sure that all the other puppies are also up to date on their shots. Other than that, we had a good time, and Shania was very much the teacher’s favorite demo puppy.

      Perhaps your breeder is most concerned about changes in schedule? My dogs really like to have a fixed routine. Whenever there are any significant changes in their routine, for example if I get busy with work, friends, or unexpected emergencies, they get stressed, and unhappy.

      For this reason I set up a regular routine with puppy Lara very early on. I made sure that it is something I can maintain every day, even after puppy has grown up.

      Maybe this is what your breeder is concerned about? Have a chat with her and see what she has to say.

      Hugs to your puppy! Husky power! :D

  26. Michele Smith says

    I have a almost 11mo old male shiba named nakia, He is haveing difficalty getting past the fear of strangers. I have done puppy prek star puppy and now we are doing agility we go to different areas for walks and we go to a locale dog park but if he sees a even a person that he has meet a couple of times he starts running back words barking at them in complete fear his heart will be pounding out of his chest but when he see’s someone with a dog he just ignores the person and wants to play with the dog.
    I have asked a few different trainers but nothing they have sugested has worked any ideas. Thank you

    • shibashake says

      Hello Michele,

      Have you tried distance desensitization exercises with people?

      Both my Sibes were fearful of certain things during puppyhood, e.g. people on bicycles, people on skateboards. What helped was to slowly desensitize them to each of these things using distance and focus sessions.

      1. I would start off in a quiet and enclosed area.
      2. I have my dog on leash with me and a friend of mine is on a skateboard a distance away. She is far enough away that my Sibe is calm and not reacting to her. Also I make sure that she is not moving and that she is totally ignoring my dog.
      3. I get my Sibe to focus on me and reward her for staying calm and focused.
      4. I move one step closer to my friend and repeat step 3.
      5. If my dog is calm and everything is ok, I just keep slowly moving forward, getting her focus, and rewarding. Sometimes I also throw in simple commands, e.g. Sit.

      I make sure to keep sessions short and rewarding. Once I move close enough, I also have my friend throw my Sibe some yummy treats (still with her ignoring the dog though).

      Then if all goes well, I slowly let my dog go sniff my friend (still no talk, no touch, and no eye-contact). Only do this if 100% sure the dog is not going to bite out of fear.

      Once my Sibe is totally comfortable is a non-moving skateboarder, I repeat the exercise from the start with a moving skateboarder and so on.

  27. Georgie says

    Hi there,
    we own a 9 year old Shiba inu girl and a Great american jappense akita boy who’s aged 8.
    Our akita looks upto our shiba inu as his mother since they was both raised as puppys together! but recently were excperincing a few problems with our shiba inu..
    When there in the garden, and our akita walks past our shiba, shiba goes mental and hangs of akita’s mane, the neck, with her teeth out.. she’s doing more for some reason, She’s also growling if akita walks past her, or comes near the water bowl or food bowl! everytime she growls or attacks him, we put her straight into her bed! She’ll do all this more when my step father the head of the house, which she knows he is, isnt around. but when its me and my partner, she plays up big time. We’ve tryed moving her food bowl away so she has her own personal space, yet we have no problems with our Akita. She’s also gone for my hand when i stroke her chin, and its quite scary for me. Any help would be a huge help for us! Thankyou :)

    • shibashake says

      Hmmm, it is possible that it could be a physical issue. Dogs sometimes get stressed and feel more vulnerable when they are in pain (perhaps joint pain, tooth ache), or when they experience other physical issues such as impaired hearing or eyesight. Because they feel more vulnerable, they may feel the need to protect themselves more. Have you noticed anything out of the ordinary with your Shiba in addition to the growling? It may help to take her to the vet for a check up to rule out this possibility.

      If not physical, then it seems to be food and resource guarding which is common with Shibas. However, it is strange that the behavior would suddenly appear after 9 years. Has anything changed in her environment or in her routine? Usually behaviors like that are triggered by something.

      Here are some of my experiences with food aggression and resource guarding with Shiba Sephy -
      http://shibashake.com/dog/stop-food-aggression-stop-resource-guarding

  28. Angela says

    Hello ShibaShake! Our family got a miniature schnauzer about three months ago and she is now 5 months old. We have quite a bit of trouble leaving her at home because she always senses that we are leaving and would go crazy in her play pen and scream, ignoring the treats we have left in there for her. Does the fact that we always worry for her when we leave her at home alone have anything to do with it? Or are we doing something wrong? We would always leave a light and the TV on when we go out, and a million toys in her pen with her.

    • shibashake says

      Hello Angela,

      It sounds like separation anxiety.

      My two Siberians are not too anxious when they are left alone but my Shiba Inu, Sephy, used to get really stressed when we left the house. He really likes his routine so anything out of the ordinary causes him a lot of anxiety.

      What helped him deal with the situation is to slowly desensitize him to being alone. In the beginning we would just go through the regular ritual of leaving, but then not leave. We kept repeating that many times every day until he became comfortable with it and was no longer reacting. Then we would leave, close the door, and then come back in right away. Once he was good with that, we slowly lengthened the time that we were away.

      I started really slow, maybe lengthening the time in minutes so that Sephy could handle the situation. The more positive or non-negative experiences that he had, the more confident he became.

      Maturity also helps because as he got older, he also got more confident and established more trust with us. Here are more of my experiences with separation anxiety -

      http://shibashake.com/dog/separation-anxiety-dog-why-how-reduce-dog-stress

      Does the fact that we always worry for her when we leave her at home alone have anything to do with it?

      It may. My dogs are very sensitize to what I am feeling so if I am stressed, they get stressed as well. Shiba Inu, Sephy is especially sensitive and high-strung. He will amplify my stress or fears by at least two orders of magnitude.

  29. Georgia says

    I wrote out a comment earlier and then somehow erased it before I pressed post comment, so I hope I’m not sending the same thing, if I am, sorry.
    Anyways, I am getting a new shiba inu puppy next week and just had a question. When I am not home I plan to leave my puppy in his crate unless its longer than 3 hours, and if it is I plan to leave him in my bathroom where he can’t chew much and its okay if he has an accident on the floor. I plan to gradually give him more areas to be when I’m not home when he is older but for now the bathroom is it. My question is, (by the way I live in a one bedroom apartment) If I am using the bathroom and as place to keep him while I’m away, I probably shouldn’t use it also for a time-out area. The problem is I don’t really have any other area that would work for time-out since the only other option would be locking him in my room where I’m sure a bed to lay on would not make the area to terrible to be in time-out in.

    • shibashake says

      Hello Georgia,
      Congratulations on your upcoming Shiba puppy!

      In terms of time-out another possibility is to tether the puppy in a quiet, low stimulus area. When Shiba Sephy was young, he would chew on the tether, so I got a chew-proof indoor tether from my SPCA which worked pretty well for him. I only use tethers for very short timeouts and when I am home to supervise.

      I only used the tether with a body harness to prevent choking. DO NOT use with an aversive collar, e.g. choke chain, prong collar.

  30. Alice says

    When you teach your dogs commands, how do you come up with the method for teaching them? For example, google searches, books, videos, trainers, etc. I am trying to find new commands to teach Marcus so he doesn’t get bored. Also so I don’t get bored repeating the same few commands over and over and over, haha.

    Also, your advice is doing wonders. Marcus now knows to follow silently and plops down in the bathroom corner when I say time-out. Definitely less furniture chewing incidents (still working on leash as a chew toy)!! :D

    • shibashake says

      Hey Alice,
      I am so glad to hear that things are improving with Marcus. He sounds like a really fun and awesome puppy.

      When you teach your dogs commands, how do you come up with the method for teaching them?

      I usually try to break the command down into little small steps and then use hand targeting to achieve each step. Sometimes I use shaping (waiting for the dog to offer behaviors that I want), but that requires a lot more patience.

      The other thing that I do is carefully observe them, and see what action and stimulus trigger certain behaviors. For example, my Sibe Shania sings whenever I squeak a toy. So to train her the “Sing” command, I first start with the squeaky toy together with a hand gesture, then I move on to just the hand gesture tied to a verbal command, then I try it with just the verbal.

      Big hugs to Marcus. Let us know what works best for you in terms of teaching him new commands.

  31. Alice says

    I asked about time-outs somewhere else too, but for getting him to the time-out place, what do you do? Once Marcus has figured out that we’re heading there, he buckles down and won’t budge. I don’t want to drag him by force, but you bring up good points about keeping handling / restraint positive, so how do you get Sephy to go to time-out without a big struggle?

    • shibashake says

      Sephy is on a drag-lead and I use that to get him to timeout.

      Sometimes he will pull back or do alligator rolls in order to prevent me from taking him to time-out.

      Sound aversion techniques can work at this point depending on the dog and his temperament. For example, with Sephy, I put some pennies in an empty soda can and tape up the opening. Then I just shake the can. He does not like that sound and would get up on his own. When I am outside and do not have the can, I would scrape my shoe against the sidewalk. He also does not like the sound and gets up on his own.

      If the sound does not work, then I just lift his chest up so that he is standing on his front legs and then move him along at a fast clip. If he mouths on me when I try to lift him with hands, I put some straight up tension on the lead which he absolutely does not like, and that gets him moving.

      In this way, he learns that if he escalates, the consequences escalate as well. Also, it is important to tailor the training to the temperament of the dog. Be flexible and tweak the techniques based on the likes and dislikes of your pup.

      When I got Sephy, I also got some private training sessions from a professional trainer. That really helped a lot because the trainer could observe Sephy and let me know what are some of the better ways for dealing with his own particular brand of stubbornness. :D

  32. Terry says

    Hi my Shiba is 6 months old and has a TON of puppy energy.

    Do you take Sephy to the dog park and how do you make sure the energy level stays at a respectable level? As you know, Shibas tend to play rougher than other dogs, which in my case, scares away some dogs and their handlers. However, I know that all he wants to do is play but is unaware that his playing may appear scary…

    However, he was recently chased on his walk, by an unsocialized offleash dog up the street. Ever since then, he’s been acting up and amping up at the dog park. So much that I’ve resorted to pulling my dog away when he starts to amp up, which is rather quickly.

    How do you deal with Sephy at the dog parks? I’m trying to socialize my dog as best I can, which means he goes to the dog park around 4 times a week to run/smell/make friends…

    Thanks!

    • shibashake says

      Hello Terry,

      I used to take Sephy to the dog park but I stopped after a few months. He displayed many of the behaviors you described and would often overwhelm many of the dogs there. Sometimes people would let their little dog into the big dog area and little dogs really do not enjoy Sephy’s company. His favorite playmates were young pit-bulls who have the same play-style and energy.

      Sometimes we would have really good dog park visits, but it is so highly dependent on the mix of dogs there. Also, Sephy really dislikes dominant dogs. If a dog tries to dominate him, he will not back down or surrender even if the dog is much larger.

      Another thing that Sephy liked to do was to go steal a ball and then start a chasing game. Some of the dogs there just wanted to play fetch with their owners and they would get aggressive if Sephy tried to join in on their ball games.

      Finally, Sephy started to develop some undesirable behaviors. In particular, he would often be so amped up that he would redirect his energy and his mouth onto us when we tried to calm him down.

      For all of these reasons and more I stopped taking Sephy to enclosed dog parks. The environment there was just too chaotic and unstructured for a dog like him. What worked best for Sephy are more structured and smaller playgroups. One of our neighbors at the time had a really sweet and playful puppy called Kai. We would bring her over whenever we could to have one-on-one play sessions with Sephy. We also brought Sephy to our local SPCA to play, train, and socialize with the friendly dogs there.

      Here are some stories about my dog-to-dog socialization and dog park experiences -
      http://shibashake.com/dog/enclosed-dog-parks-good-or-bad
      http://shibashake.com/dog/is-dog-socialization-a-good-thing
      http://shibashake.com/dog/socializing-a-shiba-inu-to-other-dogs
      http://shibashake.com/dog/my-dog-is-friendly

  33. Michelle says

    Okay thanks I might have to try that. She is a Shiba and very stubborn and she loves to be outside. So I would hate to take that away from her.

  34. Michelle says

    I was wondering what I can do to stop my dog from digging. She is 5 1/2 months old and this is a new habit she has picked up. We walk her every day play with her but as soon as we turn our backs she is digging. anything you can suggest would be helpful. Thanks.

    • shibashake says

      Hello Michelle,
      My Siberians are also big time diggers. To manage their digging -
      1. I give them a digging area. There is an uphill area in my backyard that is not landscaped. They get to dig there whenever they want. In this way, they have an outlet for their digging and my yard doesn’t get destroyed. :D
      2. If they try to dig in the grass areas I non-mark them (Ack, Ack) and body block them away. If they are stubborn and come back to continue then I bring them inside. This teaches them that if they don’t listen and continue digging they lose backyard privileges.
      3. Sometimes, Shiba can be stubborn and he will start digging in the house on the carpet. If he does that he goes to time-out in the laundry room which is tiled. He does not like digging on tile.

      When my Sibe started digging in the backyard, I lengthened our walks which helped a lot. I also increased our number of play sessions.

      I really like this article on how to stop dog digging -
      http://www.humanesociety.org/animals/dogs/tips/digging.html

  35. stacey says

    HI,
    thank you for your wonderful site. it has been so extremely helpful to me since I got my shiba oliver. I use many of your tricks and have managed to have a fairly well behaved puppy until now. Oliver is 8 month old and much of his training seems to have gone out the window. He is still house trained and knows what the commands mean but he is now starting to choose when to obey them. In addition he has started scratching at the door just because he wants to go out side and not because he needs to eliminate. Oh and he also has started biting me alot, just to get attention. he doesn’t bite super hard, but he bites hard enough for it to hurt. If you have nay tips on dealing with puppy adolescence i would love to hear them.

    Thanks!

  36. JR says

    Very informative and interesting site you have.

    We added another member to our family after Christmas. We got a Shiba Puppy, Saki, who is now almost 12 weeks old. She is very high strung and my wife is having a very difficult time with her right now. She is displaying what could be aggression when she is corrected but it could also be “puppy” play. She’s quickly becoming very frustrated with the nipping, and back talk when she is corrected. She seems to be good all day long when they are alone but when the kids come home she changes personalities. Any advice or thoughts?

    • shibashake says

      Yeah, Shibas can ramp up on the excitement scale very quickly, and once they get excited, they get nippy because they want to interact. Whenever anybody gets home, Shiba Sephy goes from lazy Shiba to super-charged Shiba in seconds.

      What seems to work well with Sephy is to make coming home as low key as possible. I ignore him until he settles down. If he jumps I just fold up my arms and turn away from him. After a bit, he calms down then I give him a command, e.g. Sit, and then I give him affection.

      She is displaying what could be aggression when she is corrected

      How are you correcting her? Shiba Sephy does not respond well to physical corrections. I started out with physical corrections (aversive techniques) with him, and the results were not good. He just kept fighting back and got more aggressive. Finally I switched to reward training and controlling his resources and that worked out much better for everyone.

      Here is an article on some of my experiences with Sephy during his difficult stage -
      http://shibashake.com/dog/pack-leader-to-an-aggressive-dog

  37. Yakkulu23 says

    Hi I just want to say how great your site is! I just got my shiba puppy last weekend so I’m currently putting up a fight against his shiba scream and his teeth XD~

    I was wondering did your shiba ever put up a struggle when you are walking him? My little boy would decide to sit on the floor and not move at all, I could pull him if I wanted to since he is just 8 weeks old but I didn’t want to cause any troublesome habit that might come back n’ bite me on the butt later on…

    Thanks ^_^

    • shibashake says

      Congratulations on your new Shiba puppy!

      did your shiba ever put up a struggle when you are walking him?

      Very much so! Shiba Sephy and I had a lot of struggles during our walks. The worst was his leash biting phase.

      Nowadays, he is a lot better but he still likes to sit and look at the scenery. I usually don’t let him get into a lying down position because then, he really doesn’t want to up. Some things that have worked for me in terms of getting Shiba Sephy to get up –
      1. I slide my shoe on the concrete sidewalk. This creates an unpleasant sound that startles him and makes him get up. I only use this sparingly, or Sephy will get used to the sound and it will no longer work.
      2. As soon as he tries to lie down I non-mark him and start moving forward at a fast clip. It is much easier to get him moving again from a sit position. I only let him lie down when I am ready to let him stay in one spot for a while.
      3. When he is lying down, I will usually push his body up and lift the collar at the same time to get him up. Sometimes he will do alligator rolls, so I make sure to hold the leash very close to his collar for good control, and use my leg to stop him from rolling.

      Big HUGS to Shiba puppy!

  38. Molly Kendel says

    Hi guys,

    I just wanted to say that your site rocks…I swear I have read through the whole thing :). So creative and insightful it makes me think that my future pup and I will be just fine!!!

    I am getting a new pup Febuary 12th, that is when I can bring her home and have been researching everything I can to make our new member of the family feel as comfertable as she can. I am too excited and it feels like the day will never come.

    I just wanted to say thanks and your pups are just beautiful :)

    Molly

    • shibashake says

      Thank you very much Molly.

      Congratulations on your soon to be new family addition! Take many many pictures and share them with us. They grow up very quickly; one blink of an eye, and they are all grown. :D

  39. Ashley says

    Hello! I’m gonna be a first time, actualy dog owner this christmas. I’ve always loved dogs and the Shiba Inu definitly caught my attention from the start. The way it looks and where it is from and how it acts. I’ve been doing a lot of research about this dog, because I want to be the best dog owner for my new puppy when I get it. All of your information has been so helpful!! Thank you so much for putting up all of these things. I’ve even kept your site as a favorite! But there is one thing I’m curious about….Since this will be the first time I’ve ever had a puppy, I’m going to need to poty train it. Is there a specific way to training a Shiba Inu where to go to the bathroom and where not to? I kind of have an idea of how it should be done, but I just want to make sure I have the correct idea.

    • shibashake says

      Hello Ashley,
      The good news is Shibas are generally very clean dogs. When I got Sephy at 10 weeks old he was already potty trained by his breeder. He got stressed and made some mistakes in the house on his first night with us but on the next day he went to the front door and asked to be let out. I was very impressed with this particular aspect of him! :D

      This is something you can ask the breeder about. I would stick to established AKC breeders with health certifications for the parents. Shibas breeders usually check the parents for hip dysplasia.

      Shibas naturally do not want to soil their living space but it is still necessary to take them out pretty often, especially in the beginning to do their Shiba business.

      Here is an article on puppy potty training.

      I wrote this after potty training my Siberian Husky. I didn’t need to do much (in terms of potty training) with my Shiba but I did take him out 4-5 times a day (in the beginning) to potty. I also stopped giving him water and food after about 7 p.m. so he wouldn’t need to pee in the middle of the night.

  40. Will says

    Hello!
    I was just wondering what you meant by giving it a time out when it bites on it’s leash. When you put him on time out won’t he just chew on the leash during that time out? Do you remove the drag leash when you place him in time out? What if he comes out and starts chewing on it again? I just worry that if I do this time out thing enough, i’ll end up sending him to the restroom (the time out spot) 100 or more times a day! Lol.

    • shibashake says

      Hi Will,
      That is a great question. I usually save time-outs for more serious offenses like biting on people and not stopping when I tell him to. Humping is also a time-out offense. Biting on the leash when I am holding it also results in time-out. In general, if Shiba Sephy can’t behave well with me or other people, then he doesn’t get to be with people.

      In terms of chewing on the drag leash that is probably more like a play move rather than anything else. Some things that may help –
      - You could try spraying it with bitter apple. Dogs dislike the taste of the stuff and will usually stop.
      - Redirect puppy onto something else, e.g. a sanctioned chew toy. When he redirects, make sure to reward him well with play, affection, and food rewards. In this way, puppy will learn that certain objects are better and more rewarding than others.
      - Be very consistent with what he can chew and what he cannot chew. Puppies usually just don’t know what is chewable and what is dangerous. To a puppy everything is new and they learn about new things by putting them in their mouth for taste and manipulation. It will take puppy a bit of time and a lot of consistency to learn the rules of the house.
      - Structured activities will also help a lot. For example, walks, obedience exercises, or structured play sessions. Structured activities help of channel a puppies mega energy into positive avenues, teaches him to listen to you, and helps build a good bond.

      You can also remove the leash as you suggest, then put it back on before you let him out. Make him do a sit and stay calm, put on the leash, then let him out. This could also be a good training exercise where he learns that if he is calm and does what you say – then he gets what he wants.

  41. Ana says

    Hi!

    I’m enjoying your blog a lot, I have a shiba puppy, my first dog and she’s putting me into many troubles I really don’t know how to face, but reading you helps a lot.

    Have one question, I have a problem with foot: mu shiba eats everything she finds in the floor (food basically, not smokes for example) and sometimes even other dogs’ shit. Any ideas on how to stop this behavior? I don’t know what else can I do.

    Thank you in advance and congratulations for the blog and for your beautiful dogs. I love shibas and huskies!!

    • shibashake says

      Hello Ana, Thanks for dropping by.

      Yeah my Shiba used to eat everything as well. To some degree, this is puppy behavior. Dogs don’t have any other way of manipulating objects except through their mouths. Puppies tend to be most curious and will want to put everything into their mouth to check it out. It is their way of learning about their environment, because everything is so new.

      Now that my Shiba is older, he is not longer so mouth happy.

      When my Shiba was young, I very carefully managed his environment so that there wasn’t anything bad/dangerous for him on the floor. Outside – I will carefully watch him and stop him from getting bad stuff before he gets it in his mouth. It is best to stop them before it is in the mouth because once it is in the mouth, then Shibas in general, will not want to give it up, especially if they see that you are trying to get what they have.

      When it is something dangerous, I will go in his mouth and take it out but you don’t generally want to do that because it will make Shiba be more protective of his belongings.

      Here is an article on food guarding – most of the techniques in food guarding can be used to help manage the eat-everything-on-the-floor behavior :) In particular, the drop command and object-exchange game will help with getting him to give you items voluntarily.
      http://shibashake.com/dog/stop-food-aggression-stop-resource-guarding

      Another thing that really helped me a lot with my Shiba was bite inhibition training. I learned it from the book “After Getting your Puppy” from Ian Dunbar. The idea of bite inhibition is to train your Shiba to control the force of his bites, so that when he does his used mouth on instinct, he will do very little or no damage. This helped me a lot when I was taking bad stuff out of his mouth.
      Here is more on bite inhibition -
      http://shibashake.com/dog/bite-inhibition

      Congrats on your Shiba puppy! They are difficult at first but it will really get better :)

  42. Yoshi says

    Hi
    Your hub is so useful and full of answers and comfort. I have my puppy for three weeks now. He is being kept in the pen. I take him out for walks three times a day. We wanted to wait before we let him roam around the house so he wont’ be chewing on furnitures or accidents on the carpet. I also put a different toys in his pen area to keep him busy.
    Will putting him in a different area for time out still work, since he spend a lot of time in the pen?
    The few times i let him in the house, he pee and poo on the carpet because I was not fast enough to stop him. I let him sleep my my room in the crate now. hopefully we can create a better bond and trust.

    • shibashake says

      “Will putting him in a different area for time out still work, since he spend a lot of time in the pen?”

      The time-out still worked well on my Shiba, even though I also kept mine in his crate a fair amount when he was young because he would get into trouble every chance he got :)

      I make sure the time-out area is very boring and away from everything else. Whereas, make the crate into a good, safe, place that is around his people.

      “I let him sleep my my room in the crate now. hopefully we can create a better bond and trust. “

      You have a very lucky Shiba!

  43. Derik and Kitsune says

    Any tips on when a puppy becomes unhappy and let’s out the Shiba scream and begins biting at your hands in anger? This happens especially when I try to reprimand him for mouthing after he gets excited and I try to calm him down.

    • shibashake says

      With Sephy, I no-mark him and put him in time-out. I ignore all screaming during time-out and do not let him out of time-out while he is screaming. After a bit he will realize that his behaviors are not getting him any good results and stop.

      When I let him out of time-out, I do not give him any attention. He usually wants to go off and sulk anyway. :D

      I try to set Sephy up for success as much as I can, so I interrupt play very often with obedience exercises, so that he does not get himself into an over-excited state. I start with more low-key playing, then as he learns to control himself more, I slowly increase the energy of play. I make sure to always stop play when he gets over-excited and is no longer following play-rules.

      Let me know how it goes.

  44. vince says

    new puppy is mean towards my older dog, bites, runs after the older dog, will not leave the dog alone, what should i do

    • shibashake says

      Hi Vince,

      It is normal for puppies to be exuberant in this manner. However, I let my puppy know what is acceptable behavior and what is not. When he gets *too rough* with my older dog, no-mark him (Ack-ack) and stop play briefly.

      I let my puppy calm down for a bit before letting them resume play. I also make him do some obedience commands in the meantime. It is generally good practice to stop play from time to time anyway because puppies do not usually have a stop button of their own :)

      Note that dogs play a lot with their mouths – their mouths are like our hands and that is what they use to manipulate objects. That is why bite inhibition training is so important.

      Another thing that I do is to separate the dogs for at least a few hours every day so that your older dog gets some rest time. Puppies have a lot of energy and may tire out the older dog. I definitely separate them if I see that my older dog is tired and needs to rest.

      To do this I either use a puppy pen or I am there to supervise and make sure that puppy does not bother the older dog when the older dog is resting. I just no-mark him (No) and body block him before he can get into the older dog’s space.

      Providing alternate activities for the puppy will also help out a lot. I play games with him and get him some good and safe chew toys.

  45. mejane says

    Lots of good tips here. Thank you.

    I have had my Yorkie puppy 2 months now and she has been so much fun. At first I thought she would never be house-trained, but I haven’t had to clean up a puddle in 2 days!

    • shibashake says

      lol – I know what you mean. I was extremely happy when my Siberian Husky went a bunch of days without any accidents.

      Don’t get too discouraged if there are some slip-ups though, they really just can’t control their bladder very well at that young age. My little girl was trying really hard, but especially after playing, she sometimes couldn’t make it fast enough to the door :)

      I pretty much took her out after every 5-10 minutes of play whether she had to go or not – lol – good times.

  46. ada says

    My puppy is about 8 weeks old and he bites hard So bad a bleed I tell no bite and he won’t for a while then the does it again.

    also hell go out and come right into the house and “p” and I tell him bad baby and put him back out. But he’ll do it again

    • shibashake says

      It is great that you are starting to train your puppy early. Here are some things that worked for me:

      [Biting]

      Handfeeding. First, I start with some good, yummy, food. I put the food in my hand and make my hand into a fist. Then I feed the food to my puppy slowly. If puppy bites hard, then I yelp loudly, and stop feeding for a short duration. If puppy eats properly, I praise him and keep the food coming. Then I just keep repeating this exercise. In this way, my puppy learns that biting hard makes the food stop, but eating nicely keeps the food coming. I still do this with my dogs because it helps maintain their bite inhibition.

      Here are some other methods for dealing with biting:

      http://shibashake.com/dog/puppy-biting-how-to-stop-puppy-biting

      [Potty Training]

      Initially, I try to establish two consistent words to communicate with my puppy. A mark (Yes, Good) and a no-mark (No, Ack-Ack). When my puppy does something undesirable, I no-mark him with the same word consistently (No), and take him outside. I go outside with him and if he continues doing his business outside, I mark him (Yes) and reward him with something really good.

      The reward for going outside is very important because he will learn that going outside gets him really good stuff, and this will make him prefer to go outside. I make sure to always supervise him when he is free in the house so that I can show him what is desirable and undesirable. I also take him outside when he comes out of his crate, when he wakes up, or after vigorous play.

      My Siberian Husky was difficult to house train and she made many mistakes when she was young (8 weeks) because she had poor bladder control. I had to take her out after 10-15 minutes of play because she would get so excited that she would just pee right there.

      However, with consistent communication and rewards for peeing outside, puppy will learn that he gets more stuff by peeing outside than he does by peeing inside.

      http://shibashake.com/dog/puppy-potty-training-facts-and-myths

      Good luck! Hope this helps.

  47. Puppy Whipserer says

    Wow – what a great hub page – I was looking for a few tips on how to train my new puppy, but didn’t expect to find this much info – nice one. I like (and fully agree with) the bit about using reward based training techniques – it really does help.

    • shibashake says

      Thanks Puppy Whisperer. Reward based training is especially important for puppies because we can start training right away. It is not appropriate to use aversive/punishment techniques on puppies (including leash jerks/corrections) until they are at least about 6 months old. Before using aversive techniques, it is important to first consult a professional trainer.

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