Shiba Inu Personality –
Good, Bad, & Quirky

The Shiba Inu is a beautiful Spitz dog. You will get many compliments and turn many heads, while walking next to a Shiba.

A Shiba can get you a lot of attention, and open doors to many social encounters. Get used to hearing, “He looks just like a fox!”.

In fact, it is this foxy look that often gets Shibas into trouble.

Many people fall in love with the ‘Shiba look’, but are not equipped to handle his larger than life personality.

If you like the Spitz look, there are many other breeds that fall into this group, that may better suit your lifestyle.

The Good

1. A dog that is more like a cat

A Shiba Inu is independent and very clean.

My Shiba Sephy, spends a fair amount of time not just grooming himself, but also helping to groom my Siberian Husky.

Their inborn cleanliness make them generally easy to potty train.

Sephy only had potty mistakes on the first day that we brought him home (10 weeks old). After that, he has always let me know when he needs to go outside. In fact, he naturally dislikes soiling his living space, and even prefers not to go in our backyard.

Shiba Inus like having their humans around, in the general vicinity. However, they are aloof like cats, and do not need or want human affection, much of the time.

2. A good watch dog

A Shiba Inu is not a noisy dog. However, when there are strange people or strange noises around the house, Sephy will bark to alert me. Once I go and check things out, he stops barking.

Sephy also has a great memory, and will alert me if anything is out of place around the house, or in a familiar neighborhood. One day, he started barking at the fence, because somebody had put a piece of wood on top of it – amazing!

3. Graceful, agile, and high energy

A Shiba Inu is graceful and agile.

He can leap tall fences in a single bound, and can scale walls like Spiderman. If properly directed, his super powers can be used for good. However, when left on his own, the Shiba will likely turn towards the Dark Side.

Sephy is a great hiking buddy, and is always up for a new challenge. He can easily learn and conquer an agility course, but he will only do it, if I make it worth his while.

A Shiba running is a sight to behold, and a Shiba at play is poetry in motion.

4. A doggy Einstein

A Shiba Inu can learn many dog obedience commands, and he can learn them very quickly. He also thinks that he is much smarter than you, and will only obey you when it suits him.

Sephy can quickly solve complex interactive dog toys and puzzles. I am always trying out new ways to deploy his food in toys, because he figures things out so quickly.

A Shiba will challenge us and keep us sharp and on our toes!

5. A larger than life personality

No great genius has ever existed without some touch of madness.
~~[ Aristotle ]

A Shiba Inu may be small in body, but he has a ginormous personality. If a Shiba were a person, he would either be an extremely successful egomaniac or in prison!

Sephy always surprises me and makes me laugh; at least when he is not making me cry.

He has this one move, where he puts his head down on the ground, with his butt sticking up in the air – it is just too precious.

The Bad

1. Bold, strong willed, and stubborn

A Shiba Inu has a “Never give up, Never surrender” attitude.

He will not back down from a challenge, and will often fight back when he perceives a threat. Because of this, many Shiba owners face aggression issues with their dog, including food aggression, dog to dog aggression, and people aggression.

To successfully live with a Shiba, we must be extremely patient, and have a good sense of humor.

Turn a Shiba’s annoying habits against him.

For example, a Shiba gets bored easily. If we ignore him and give him nothing to react to, he will quickly lose interest, and move on to something else.

Sephy can also be very competitive. If he sees another dog getting praise and rewards, he will want to strut his stuff and show that he is better.

Work with a Shiba’s innate personality, and use it motivate him in the right direction. Passive resistance and reward obedience training, work best with my Shiba.

A Shiba will hand you many lemons, which is good if you like lemonade. Otherwise, just cut one up and squirt it on his muzzle.
~~[ just kidding! ShibaShake ]

2. A sly, rougish intelligence

A Shiba Inu is super intelligent. He will most often use his brain power to “push your buttons“, and get what he wants.

Sephy is always trying to figure out how he can outsmart me, and all the humans around him. A trainer once told me that Sephy was spending the weekends, “Devising new strategies to defeat her”.

In another life, my Shiba was probably a Catholic priest. He can guilt me into doing almost anything for him.

Beware the Shiba look – it is one of his most powerful weapons, and he will use it to great effect, if he senses any weakness in you. Before you know it, your Shiba will have gotten you trained to fetch, stay, and rub tummy.

  • Remember that a Shiba will do whatever he wants, if he can get away with it.
  • If he cannot get away with it, he will figure out another way to get what he wants.
  • When he gets caught with his nose in the cookie jar, he will give you the innocent, “What did I do?” look, and then come over to lick your hand.

As soon as you turn away, he is back in the cookie jar!

3. Like the evil, black Spiderman

A Shiba Inu is capable of great feats of agility. However, if left untrained, he will use his powers to destroy and cause great havoc in the household.

If bored and lonely, he will escape by jumping over or burrowing under your fence. He can squeeze through small holes, bite through leashes, and achieve amazing great escapes, that will make Houdini proud.

If not properly supervised, Sephy will pull down items from counters, and shred them to pieces. He may even eat some of those pieces. Once, I left him unsupervised for about 10 minutes. In that time, he pulled down a phone headset, dismantled it into little pieces, and arranged them in a strategic pattern all over the floor. Luckily, he did not swallow anything.

A young Shiba Inu has a lot of energy.

It takes a lot to keep him occupied, and away from trouble. Supervised play sessions with friendly dogs can help. Another alternative is to put him in dog daycare, or to employ the services of a dog walker.

4. A Drama Queen

My Shiba will whine, mope, and act like it is the end of the world, when he is unhappy about something (e.g. wearing a harness).

Woe be to you if your Shiba gets hurt, or even just thinks that he is hurt.

Sephy acts like he is close to death’s door, even for small things like getting grass stuck between his teeth.

Woe be to you, woe be to your vet, and woe be to anyone who tries to help.

Shibas are extremely touchy when in this state, and may snap or bite at anyone who comes near them.

In addition, Sephy is extremely sensitive to the energy of the people and dogs around him. If I am scared or stressed-out, he picks up on that immediately, and gets that way too – except with a thousand times more gusto!

5. An accomplished singer

A Shiba Inu does not bark much, but he has a wide range of vocal stylings.

The most well known is the Shiba-scream, which is a high pitched, loud scream, that will make your blood curdle. Your neighbors will think you are torturing your poor little ball of fur.

A Shiba will quickly learn to use his Shiba-scream against you, if you let him.

Do not get embarrassed, and do not give him a reaction during a Shiba-scream. I just ignore Sephy and go about my business. He quickly learned that screaming is not very effective at getting him what he wants, and he stopped doing it. Remember that a Shiba can see your outward appearance, as well as sense your inner energy.

6. Dog royalty

A Shiba Inu does not like being touched or handled.

Cutting nails, bathing, or a vet examination, is never fun for any breed of dog. However, with a Shiba, it can be total hell.

After a lot of desensitization work and management, Sephy still protests to some of these activities. He sometimes throws a fit when I pick him up, and he only likes human contact when the mood suits him.

A Shiba is like dog royalty. He wants his subjects close enough to serve him, but not too close as to sully his royal person.

7. Pretends not to understand ‘Obedience’

Obedience? What’s that?

Shibas Inus think that you should be obedient to them and not the other way around. If you want a Shiba to do something for you, you had better make him a good offer. Sometimes, Sephy bargains with me. He will sit there and wait until I have the acceptable number of dog treats in my hand, before going into his crate.

A Shiba can be a good citizen at home, but he must be properly managed.

Shibas are strong willed, independent, and bred to hunt. Aversive training does not work well on them. Shiba owners need to be creative and flexible when interacting with their dog.

A Shiba is not to be trusted off-leash, unless in a fully enclosed area.

8. Nasty, wicked teeth

For a small dog, a Shiba Inu has very large teeth, and he is not afraid to use them.

Shibas can be very mouthy; more so than many other dog breeds. When I first got Sephy at 10 weeks old, his mouth was all over me. Now, it is in control, but his instinct is still to bite.

Shibas are a primitive breed, and they lose control more easily than other more domesticated dog breeds.

The Quirky

A grass connoisseur

Sephy likes grazing, but he is picky about what grass he will eat. Dogs may sometimes graze when their stomachs are upset, to clear their digestive systems. However, my Shiba just enjoys eating grass, provided it is the right kind of grass.

I recently found an article suggesting that there might be something to this grass connoisseur business after all.

“We at Green Foods believe that dogs and many other carnivores, including cats and bears, eat cereal grasses because cereal grasses contain nutrients not found in meat that are essential for the animals’ good health.”
~~[ Green Foods web site ]

Thanks to all the posters at Shibatalk and ShibaInuInfo for their many humorous Shiba stories that inspired this article.

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  1. Siglerrn says

    Two days into having our baby boy Kuma, and what a personality he has!! We are in love with this little one, and have started training and discipline immediately–he’s done great! I see that he will be a handful bur we were prepared and willing to put in the work to make him into the best dog he can be!

    • shibashake says

      Congratulations and big hugs to Kuma! Remember to take lots of puppy pictures! 😀

  2. Caio says

    I had been studying dog breeds behaviour for quite a while before deciding to get a Shiba. I had read that these guys were very difficult to train. I thought I was up for the challenge and got a 2 month old female Shiba, named Margot.

    Well, she’s been with us for 3 days and a just found out your blog.

    YOUR TEXTS AND THE READERS COMMENTS MADE ME REALLY DESPERATE! Did we make a mistake getting this breed?

    Really. I can’t sleep tonight with all the thing i’ve read tonight.

    God have mercy on my soul! LOL!

    • Amber Allen says

      I got my Shiba, currently 7, when I was 11, and raised him entirely on my own. The first year will be an adventure – definitely baby-proof your house. Mine ate through 3 vacuum cleaners.

      But everything after that first year was perfect. I couldn’t ask for a better dog and will get a Shiba again in the future. He is friendly towards me and my close friends, distrustful of bad people, but generally a very good dog. And he’s very quirky!

      HOWEVER – if you have kids, small kids in particular, they should not under ANY circumstances mess with the dog. Mine had bitten a few kids before – warning bites, at a young age – but if they slip up and pull your dog’s tail or make him anxious, he will bite.

      Remember that any dog can be trained. You just have to be patient.

      Good luck, keep us posted if you can!

    • shibashake says


      I had a lot of trouble with my Shiba, because I did very little research before getting him. As a result, his more aloof nature and strong will were not expected, and gave me a lot of problems. At the time, I also didn’t know much about dog training or dog behavior, so I made a lot of mistakes with him at the start. On the other hand, I learned a lot from Sephy in a very short amount of time, and he gave me lots of stories to tell. 😀

      I think Shibas are totally fine for people who have done their research into the breed, and who have more experience with dog training. Here is a super Shiba-

      Big hugs to your pup! How are things going?

    • Nicole says

      First, do NOT regret getting a shiba. They are wonderful dogs, but take a bit of effort at first.
      Second, get your shiba puppy into a training class ASAP. Our gorgeous 7 year old shiba Sierra was very willful, but with “puppy class” at ten weeks she had early socialization and learned obedience commands. Her strong intellect kept her interested in learning, and her natural leadership and dignity meant she did not want to be the only puppy sitting there and not participating. (OK, sometimes she was bored. “You want me to walk around this room for that treat?”) We kept her in classes once per week at our local Petsmart for her first year, and she is amazing! She does not nip at anyone, and will allow petting from strangers (kids I closely supervise so they don’t poke her eyes, and her tail is strictly off limits). She obeys commands, although “stay” is still a work in progress.
      Third, it’s very important that your shiba knows YOU are the “pack leader”. It’s in their nature to be dominant, and you have to show no fear and lovingly assert that you are the boss. Yes, this took time and patience, but I wouldn’t trade my shiba for any lap dog or less bright yapper!
      Fourth, let your shiba have privacy and independence when needed. Sierra has a special spots under a desk or a bed, which means she doesn’t want to be disturbed then. She still spends virtually all her time with us when we’re home, and she loves being talked to, played with, going on walks and being part of our family.
      Last, enjoy your beautiful shiba! This breed is sooo smart, so athletic, so alert. Talk to you shiba often, keep teaching them new things and words for objects. Take them for neighborhood walks or to a park to maintain socialization. Sierra brings joy to my husband, kids and neighbors. We’re busy people with jobs and kids, but we always find time for Sierra.
      You will have many years of joy with your shiba!

  3. paul moran says

    I have a beautiful 14 yo shiba named Jade. She is the greatest dog i have had the pleasure to care for. she has been a challenge but i am up for it. Socializing her from the start is key, the more people and other pet they meet,brings out their loving nature. the only real problem i have is her skin condition. it can get very bad very fast. she gets high quality food and supplements but still gets rashes and red spots. is this common with the breed?

    • shibashake says

      It could be a skin allergy. One of my Huskies is allergic to certain types of fish, and there are dogs who are allergic to beef or poultry, so quality of food doesn’t necessarily preclude a food allergy issue. However, skin allergies can also be caused by other factors.

      I would have a vet look at it first and see what they say.

  4. Sandy says

    Hi! I just found this site and it is very informative and amusing!. I did not grow up with dogs but my son wanted one so we got a puppy from a rescue shelter which is a mix of corgi (face & big ears) and shiba (from the neck back!) Pebbles is now 5 and still has enormous energy, which is great. She is not the cuddly dog, I think my son longed for and she has bonded more with my older son. She hates the cat so we make time for both but they live on separate levels of the house. She is a hunter and I think she feels the cat is fair game. She is extremely territorial about food and the kitchen in general and pretty much “her house”. My younger son who originally wanted the dog would love a new one, but I don’t think Pebs would react well. She has a couple of “friends” but she is not the social one you take to a dog park. Happy playing fetch in the backyard. Any thoughts or ideas anyone can share are appreciated for family harmony! Thanks.

  5. Rob Brown says

    I have owned dogs all of my life, and we ended up with a 4 month old Shiba Inu due to a lapse of reasoning during a visit to the vet for medicine for our other dog.
    Charlie is now 12 years old and while he certainly exhibits traits such as the shake, and talking, he was trained just like any other dog we’ve had, and responded the same way.
    He walks off the lead, heels as required, sits and waits as told and is completely under control 99% of the time. When we got him he was afraid of loud noises, bangs, thunder etc and never got over it, so 1 % of the time he can be a handful, but we manage that.
    I sometimes think that the “difficulty” of training a Shiba Inu is a myth spread by the owners to make their dogs appear special.
    Our Charlie is certainly special but he’s no more disobedient than we allowed him to be.

    • shibashake says

      I sometimes think that the “difficulty” of training a Shiba Inu is a myth spread by the owners to make their dogs appear special.

      I think that when provided with the right structure, training, and exercise, Shibas do quite well. However, in my experience, my Shiba is also a lot more stubborn and a lot more strong willed than my two Huskies. As a result, I have to supervise him more, and had to spend more time providing the right kind of structure, training, and socialization for him when he was young.

      I think their stubbornness and natural strong-will does make them harder to train, and also requires more supervision and management. Their more aloof nature and sensitivity to handling can also be difficult, especially for new owners who do not expect this type of behavior.

      I certainly had a lot more trouble training and managing my Shiba compared to my two Huskies, so I think the difficult personality traits of a Shiba are real. New owners should be made aware of these traits so that they do not end up with a dog that does not fit with their lifestyle and personality.

      All my dogs are special to me because they make me laugh, they teach me many things, and being with them is the most wonderful thing.

  6. Henry says

    Thank you all for posting their stories. I have a question related to a family decision as to whether or not to adopt a Shiba pup. We don’t have much information on her except that she was from a pet store and was returned by her initial owner due to Ventricle Septal Disorder. Now she is sitting at a vet’s office until they figure out what to do with her.

    Does anyone know anything about how having such a congenital disease would impact with her temperament? For example, would she be naturally more withdrawn and protective of herself? Would she have a heightened or aggressive survival instinct? Would she be less disposed to physical exertion? If so, would she channel that energy to more destructive endeavours?

    Any thoughts would be helpful!

  7. david says

    My daughter started wanting a Shiba Inu years ago as she Japan interested. Recently, without having ever owned dogs in my own life, not only the Shiba, but another dog a Chow Chow, was introduced into the house. The Chow also a pup, was introduced first and is a bit bigger. The chow behaves as directed but is learning from the shiba.
    Yumi has now been with us for a few months, and is driving me absolutely mad. It has been resistant to any form of training; urinates where it is, destroys huge amounts of property (apple devices especially – but leather lounge, vacuum cleaner, laptop chargers, large amounts of clothes especially Victoria secret underwear for my daughters … etc etc etc), bites all the time, licks incessantly almost feverishly, jumps up on everything and everyone, has had the gall to take food off my plate right in front of me, has a personality that you can tell it knows exactly what it is doing. Every single other undesirable trait you mention on your blog, this dog has. its becoming costly, and I’m becoming at loggerheads with it. I’m an animal lover – and the dog knows I care for it, but am starting to dislike its traits so much I’d rather see things change for it. Pretty soon it will be forced to be an outside dog, in an enclosed area. I’m not stupid and can see what you have done to resolve issues with your dog, but my daughter doesn’t seem to have the time, money or will to train it as you have.
    Catch 22 imho.

    • Michele says

      My best advice for you is to enroll your dog in an obedience class. This is the best route for any breed of dog to gain more control and obedience from your dog and to build better communication. Also most dogs with exception to a few breeds benefit from daily walks to release energy. If you place your dog in an enclosed area outside it will not relieve the problem because the dog will still not have any obedience and will not have any energy released. If you truly do not have time for your dog I would suggest you consider re-homing it and take the decision to adopt a dog more seriously in the future. It is a very big commitment and a dog requires nurturing just like any other living creature. Good luck with your furry family member.

    • Nicole says

      David, if your daughter won’t train her shiba, please find the time yourself to enroll this dog in puppy class ASAP. A lot of puppy breeds chew on leather and electronic items, snatch food, rummage through laundry, test the boundaries, etc. This shiba does know what it’s doing. It’s waiting for an owner to train it, teach it, love it. My previous dog was a sheltie collie, the super gentle, hyper intelligent, most obedient dog breed, so I needed help at first with my shiba. But the investment was so worth it! To put a shiba outside in an enclosed area is not fair to the dog. Please consider proper training, with patience and love, or give the dog to another home. Best of luck with this remarkable, rewarding, intelligent, athletic breed! I think you’ll be rewarded beyond belief if you give the puppy training and time.

  8. Asta says

    Hello Everyone,

    First I would like to say that this website is very helpful! I just got Shiba Inu for my husband’s birthday. He is almost 5 months. We named him Biggles (it’s British character). He was brought from Lithuania to England and he handled his first trip well, not happy but he handled like a man :)
    Reading everyone’s stories about their Shiba Inu’s prepares me and my family for all great and mischievous moment ahead of us.
    So far he is very good and I feel like it’s calm before big storm hits us! He adapted to his new house very quickly and we all were and still are surprised. He is hyper once we go outside and he is ready to run; therefore, letting hip off the leash as of now it’s not an option. Hopefully with training he’ll get better. He is very good with dogs and humans right now. We don’t have any other animals and I can see from most owners blogs that Shibas definitely need to be socialised with others or there will be trouble.
    I’ll be reading more blogs and no doubt I’ll be asking for help sooner or later. Shiba Inu is definitely an unique breed.

    P.S. I would love to share some pictures but I don’t see the option to attach attachments.

  9. Shiba neighbor says

    Maybe the Shiba owners love their dogs scream but it is not fun to hear for the neighbors. My neighbor ( they are rental tenants) has 2 Shibas that they keep penned up outside all of the time. The only interaction with the dogs I have seen in the year they have lived there is when they feed the dogs, that is it. No playing, petting, walking them, trying to train them, even no poop picking up. The dogs are NEVER inside the house. These dogs bark at just about anything at anytime of day or night and wake us up. They still bark at me when I am in the yard gardening. Sometimes the bark is a high shrill like they are fighting and one of them was hurt – It is very unnerving to hear. The neighbors are very upset about it and have recently contacted the landlord about it because the tenants don’t care. We ask ourselves, why in the world do they have these dogs in he first place if they pay no attention to them? Only this weekend we saw 3 puppies roaming around the yard, looking like Shiba puppies. These pups they keep in the house. The chances are that they are breeding the two Shibas left outside in order to make $$ selling the pups which can be sold for quite a bit of $$. That is probably the only reason they have the 2 Shibas outside. It is so sad and I don’t know what else to do. They look healthy physically so I don’t think that ASPCA could have a case unless they are breeding without a license – not sure if they need a license to breed dogs. Does anyone know the law on this??? This is south Florida, it gets very hot too and the dogs are out there also when it is pouring raining. Obviously the dogs are mentally not in good shape. They are neglected in that respect. Often they sit in one spot and stare at the door of the house just waiting for someone to come out and feed or pay attention to them. What else can I do? Can anyone give advice?

    • shibashake says

      If they only have one breeding female then they probably do not need a license. I believe dog breeding laws are different state to state and there may be different county restrictions as well, but usually for people who have several breeding females.

      I would share your story with all your friends and with your online network. Encourage them to spread the word as well. If it is no longer profitable, because there are fewer buyers, then there will be fewer sellers as well.
      Say no to pet store and online puppies.

    • Nicole says

      Dear FL shiba neighbor,
      This is animal abuse, pure and simple. Please be brave and call the ASPCA to report these people. Shibas should not be outside non-stop in the FL sun. Thanks so much for your kindness to the animals!

  10. Kris C says

    I have an almost 3 year old Shiba, Kit; she’s the baby and knows it Lol. She’s good for the most part except when it comes to other dogs or the outside yard. She does ok with my lab/border collie who I had when Kit got there, but she does not like any other dog. She will even walk up to them to investigate then growl and snarl at them. People and cats she’s fine with, but not other dogs. The worst was when my husky came home after having gone missing for 2 years. Kit would noy let her anywhere near me. Tasha- my husky, ended up going to live with my dad, which was fine bc he’s sick and she loves watching over him, but it broke my heart to finally have Tasha back and Kit be so mean to her. I also can’t leave her alone in the yard for even a minute, or if the person who is outside with her isn’t paying attention, she knows it and will find some way to escape. It’s ironic because I can walk her off leash no problem and she responds wonderfully to my voice commands (she doesn’t listen well to others though). But in the yard she will escape anytime she’s not being watched (and she even checks to see). Otherwise she’s incredible. I have some anxiety and PTSD issues and when I get worked up she will climb right in my lap n put her face in mine and start petting me with her paw (she does that when she wants attention too). It really is the sweetest thing though that she’s so in tune and doesn’t want me upset. I love my Shiba!

    • Anonymous says

      I have never heard or seen a shiba till my mom brought home this fuzzy fox. We’ve had her for about four years now and she’s ruin me for any other breed. Lucy, (my lil trouble maker) is one of the strangest animals I’ve ever seen lol. With her toys, she’ll chew out the eyes and wherever the squeaker part is till she rips it out. Or she’ll just sit and stare at me for twenty minutes. For all of her quackery, she’s my best friend and wouldn’t trade her for anything. While I’m here, quick question. Lucy has this weird thing, that if I say the word buddy she’ll go crazy. Not a bad crazy. Do any of you other shiba owners discovered a word that’ll set her/him off besides the obvious treat and outside?

  11. Heather says

    I don’t know why I haven’t stumbled upon your site before when I have been at my wits end and crying my head off looking for help and answers for my willful Shiba/Doxie mix. I rescued him, he had been with this no kill for 8 months because everyone was intimated by him. Your dog sounds so similar. I felt validated reading about him and your life together.

    I had the breed analysis done about a year after I got him to try to understand him better, almost 7 years later I am still working on that, but have learned a lot. It has taken so much patience and understand to realize he does not want me to shower him with love and affection like my Golden Retriever.

    There have been bites, both human, canine, and me. This never stops upsetting me and hurting me feelings. I try to defuse these situations ahead of time, but sometimes they come out of no where. Like you, my guy is very much influenced by my moods, anxiety level, etc., so I try hard to keep this in check as well as possible.

    I love, Harley, but this is the most challenging dog I have ever known or had (and he’s my 7th.) I work with two rescue groups and have seen lots of cases of dogs with problems, but it is worse when they are in your home. It can be exhausting and stressful. He is very lucky I adopted him or he may have been returned on day one!

    Harley is VERY cat like, and extremely vocal. I can tell the difference in a purr type happy noise, a playful growl, an alert, or an aggressive/dominant noise. He puts all others (humans and dogs) in their place, as this is HIS world, he’s just allowing them to live in it.

    Its good to know someone else out there understands.

    • shibashake says

      He puts all others (humans and dogs) in their place, as this is HIS world, he’s just allowing them to live in it.

      LOL! So true. I was really going nuts with Sephy in the beginning. He is such a stubborn guy, and still is, but at least now I know what to do.

      On the positive side, I learned a lot from him, in a very short time. I also learned to better control my own emotions, especially my temper. And he gave me lots of material to write about, which led to this site. You know what they say, “That which does not kill us, makes us stronger.” 😀

    • Sarah says

      When I first got my shiba 1.5 years ago she was not an affectionate puppy so I would force her into cuddle time. (Haha) which I’m glad I did because she is so lovey!!! Anytime she sees me she’s in my lap, giving me kisses, loving on me, nothing like a cat…but I’m the only one she will do that with. She is a crazy dog but I love it. She is a great protector; she doesn’t like certain people and if we go to the park, if a stranger comes near me she right in front of me or in my lap.

      I’ve found that she likes baths…as long as I’m in the water with her, haha. We swim but I have to hold her or if we float in the pool she’ll lay on me.

      We have a chihuahua also, so she is great with all little dogs. She doesn’t care for bigger breads.

      Overall, something I read about other people’s dogs astound me. My shiba is different in some aspect! So don’t go thinking your shiba will be the same as another. They have big personalities! I think your shiba will reflect who you are on the inside, like a window to the best and worst parts of yourself lol. That’s been my experience!!

      Good Luck with your Shibas :)

  12. Sadie says

    I have a relatively young shiba (she’s about a year now) named Gabby that I rescued when she was just a little pup. To be honest, I didn’t do any prior research about the breed which is unlike me but I found her in a kill shelter and time was of the essence for my poor little Gabby. We already had 2 dogs ( a chi-wiener mix and German shepherd-husky mix ) and 3 cats who have turned a shy aloof shiba into an extremely social and happy dog. There’s only one issue. Gabby has begun to nab things off tables and dressers at night or when no one is home, taking them outside, and then proceeding to either hide or destroy them. Closing doors doesn’t deter the behavior as she just finds another place or object. I suspect that she’s not quite getting enough physical and/or mental stimulation. I’ve started walking her more, giving her more one on one play time, and will invest in some interactive toys next month when I go shopping. We live 3 hours (one way) from the nearest Wal-Mart, pet store, or training facility so getting professional help is next to impossible and I was wondering if you had any training tricks or advice to help back up us refocusing her energy? Or even just your thoughts on our predicament? Anything at all would be greatly appreciated! :)

    • shibashake says

      Yeah, counter/table surfing is a self-reinforcing behavior. Every time my dog jumps on a counter or table and finds something yummy to eat or fun to play with, he gets rewarded for the behavior with something new that he would never get otherwise. This will keep encouraging him to repeat the behavior.

      The only way that I know of to stop counter surfing, is to make sure that my dog never gets rewarded for it. When I am home, I supervise well, no-mark the behavior, and redirect my dog into doing something else (which he gets rewarded for). If he keeps trying to jump on the counter, then he is no longer allowed in the room or I put him briefly in a timeout. In this way, he learns that –
      Jumping on counter = Don’t get to be in the kitchen or lose freedom to roam in the house.

      When Sephy was young and still in training, I put him in his crate when I am not home. I am not away for long, so he just naps in his crate. I make sure to crate-train him beforehand, so that he enjoys crate time and is comfortable relaxing in there.

  13. jay says

    Im thinking about getting a Shiba innu but not sure. Gourgous dogs and I really want one. What do you think I should do???

    • shibashake says

      My Shiba Inu was a lot of work when I got him as a puppy. Shibas can be very stubborn and aloof which make them more difficult to train.
      More on why Shibas are difficult to train.

      I fell in love with the look of the breed and didn’t do enough research into their personality before I got Sephy. As a result, we had a really tough first 6 months and I had to put in a lot of time to learn to properly manage and handle him.
      More on my early experiences with Sephy.

      Now, when I am thinking about getting a new breed, I do a lot of research into the breed first. I want to make sure that the breed will fit well into my current environment, lifestyle, and level of training experience.

    • Steve says

      I have had a Sheba in my household for about 8 years. I adopted her when she was about 2 yrs. She is an extremely loyal dog and a very good companion. I would trust the so called good and bad of owning a Sheba Enu in that they are extremes but possible realities. The most important thing to consider is the patience and time you are willing to spend to have the type of personality in a dog that suits you. The Sheba is definitely and independent dog , but lovable to a fault :)

  14. sam says

    Im getting a Shiba puppy this weekend. Thank you for the info its really helpful
    trying to figure out what her size will be do you have any pics of sephy when he was 8 weeks old.. It would really help

    • samantha says

      Thank you so much. Well I picked up Inori on Saturday its been 2 days.

      She is amazing, guessing since she’s 8 weeks old she still sleeps quite a lot most of the time really :)
      But when awake wow she sure has the energy you were so right about the biting part.

      Its been snowing here so having a bit of an issue getting her too stay out long enough to potty. She’s not fond of the snow any suggestions??

      Thank you so much I keep reading all your blogs over to make sure I bring her up in a happy home.

    • shibashake says

      Congratulations on your new puppy!

      We don’t have snow here, but even with rain, Sephy does not like getting his paws wet. I think it is a ‘Shiba thing’. 😀 The only exception is when he is having fun playing with other dogs, then jumping in puddles is suddenly no problem.

      With Sephy, we stay out for a few minutes and if he does not need to go, we come back in. If it looks like he needs to go again, then I take him out again. Sephy was very good about going to the door when he needed to go, so usually he would go right away and then come back in if it is raining. The other alternative is to make it fun for him outside, so he will want to stay outside, but that can be difficult to do.

      Sephy doesn’t like wearing anything and it doesn’t get very cold here, so this is not something that we tried, but some people use dog shoes and a dog coat.

      Big hugs to Inori!

  15. Laura says

    Love the article, it was just you were describing my Bear, he is a six year old male. I love him like no other but this breed is definitely not for most people. Even after ALOT of training, he still lacks manners with strangers, I’ve gotten used to the look of horror when I tell strangers he doesn’t like to be pet (at least by you) or that he can be funny with some dogs (there are a few of his best buddies that he drag his ass going past their house hoping for a glimpse of them available for a good tussle, a lot of others that he will show his alpha). A lot of my friends and family don’t get it, they just think Bear is a bad dog. I see the good, cherish the awesome and avoid situations that bring out the bad. I fully embrace the responsibilities and rewards of having this little guy that I chose as my companion.

    • shibashake says

      I see the good, cherish the awesome and avoid situations that bring out the bad. I fully embrace the responsibilities and rewards of having this little guy that I chose as my companion.

      So very well said! Bear is a lucky guy. 😀

  16. Anonymous says

    Mark says,
    Feb. 2, 2015 at 11:415 P.M.
    I just lost Sadie, who I had for 16 yrs., last month. She was a shiba/chow mix of about 21 yrs. of age. She was a well behaved girl that loved certain types of grass to graze in, and was walked twice a day up until the last year and a half or so. As she matured, I was more able to walk her without a leash than earlier on. She had the kindest heart I have ever known, and I look forward to owning another shiba soon! I miss my girl very much!

  17. Phyllis says

    Well this sure has been an enjoyable blog! We have 2 crazy Shibas, a 7 year old super sized male, Kimo, and a 2 year old standard sized sesame female, Posey.
    Kimo was a handful for several years with all kinds of mischievous tales to his life, but has settled into a easy going mature good natured guy… Posey on the other hand has a long way to go! What a goof off! She is just starting to settle down but has tricks under her collar every day! She thinks she owns us all and is relentless towards our old gentleman Kimo. With her bright eyes, pushy ways and incredibly over done scream she grabs everyone’s attention in one way or the other. We can’t imagine our home without our two fur balls of fun! I have never known any set of dogs more excited to see us arrive home at the end of a day as these two! Good luck to all our fellow Shiba owners, or should I say companions to the dogs that own our house! Haha

  18. says

    I have absolutely loved all your blog articles! I wish to get a Shiba as they are such a character & a half! I’ve never seen one in person but I wish to soon. I hope on my bday (Apr 12) I get my shiba. Thank you for all the tips & opinions!

  19. Brandy says

    I have fallen in love with your blog! I was researching ways to help my little furball, Optimus Prime (Opie) – also a Shiba – be a little less…. dog aggressive when I stumbled upon your blog. It’s amazingly well written, and it’s so funny to see how similar your Sephy’s nature is to my Opie’s. Shibas are a very special breed, but they are definitely not for everyone. I love that you highlight all of the wonderful things that make them so wonderful, but also very candidly address the challenges that may make them not the best for everyone. My Opie is true to the breed – a brilliant, sly little mountain puppy (we climb the local Wasatch mountains together – have summitted many peaks, and every time we get to the top, people ask if she made it all the way – she can scale the rocks like no dog I’ve ever seen before!). Thanks for such a fun blog!!!

  20. Denise says

    We just got our Shiba about 2 weeks ago and he is a hyper one. In the past week he has started nipping at the feet and ankles of my 9 and 14 year olds. They can’t walk around the house without him trying to bite them. Any suggestions on how we can get him to stop? We aren’t sure if he thinks they are playing with him or if he feels threatened for some reason. Neither of them have done anything to him for him to react this at towards them. Any advice is appreciated.

    • shibashake says

      Dogs are very attuned to detecting motion. Usually motion, especially fast motion, is going to trigger a dog’s instinct to chase.

      Dogs are cursorial predators, meaning that they chase down their prey. The dog’s visual system is highly attuned to detecting movement. The slightest motion often triggers a dog to give chase. High-pitched squealing sounds, like those a prey animal makes when frightened or injured, can also trigger an attack.

      One time at the dog park, I started jogging to get to my dog, and this triggered a bunch of dogs to chase me. I stop jogging right away and make sure never to do that anymore. 😀

      With Sephy, I also had him on a light lead when he was young and still in-training. I only did this under supervision and only with a regular flat collar or harness (never aversive collars). In this way I can easily control him and quickly stop him from running or chasing when necessary. I always supervise him closely when he is around children, even today.

      Also, Shibas can be a very mouthy breed. When Sephy was young his mouth was all over me.
      More on how I train my puppy to control his bites.
      More on how I teach my puppy self-control.

      However, dog behavior is very context dependent so each dog and situation are different. Given that there are children in the house, it is probably a good idea to consult with a good professional trainer.

    • Lisa says

      Talk to your Vet first. My brother’s dog had an undetected bladder infection!! We wiped a wet spot with paper towels, then blotted it while damp to where we wanted our dogs to properly go potty. Same with poop! They have a doggy door to a dog run, so their “scent” was there & praised each time they chose wisely! Also watch for a pattern after eating or drinking. Take your dog every hour to the potty area & eventually you get them in a routine of using it!! One of our dogs wouldn’t go if we watched so we had to pretend we were busy doing something else for her “privacy”… Lol. Good Luck & don’t yell at your dog. Frustrating but yelling just makes them frighten YOU!!

    • shibashake says

      Has he been to the vet for a check-up? As Lisa says, the problem can sometimes be due to a physical issue.

      With potty training my puppy, supervision is key. I *do not* let my puppy roam about unsupervised until he is fully potty trained.
      How I potty trained my puppy.

  21. Lisa says

    Our white Shiba is almost 9. We bought her as a 2 month old puppy & a cockapoo at the same time. They are 6 days apart in age.
    I suggest lots of touching and holding while a puppy to get them used to it. Yes, she hated it at first, but would you give up on a child that refused you loving on them?? I started slowly with a collar taking it off quickly, praising, then longer each time. Invest in a good harness. Our dogs love them & it’s a joy for us. Our dogs eat out of the same bowl & are best friends. We have not had many anxiety issues-perhaps since they have each other. I have never heard the scream & if our Shiba barks I get up because it’s for a good reason! She is still very cat like & I respectfully give her space to be independent. Between her sister & the humans, she has learned it’s more fun to be social. She is very very sensitive to loud noises or voices. Remember this for training or if you have a loud family. When we turn the game on or have people over, she gets uncomfortable. In advance, I exercise her in the yard so she is ready to curl up on her bed.
    Simply love your incredible dog. My girl stretches out her rear leg & does this kick in the air a few times when she comes to greet me. My crazy dog! We spent over $6,000 two years ago for a tiny skin cancer bump on her upper leg. She is doing great & I would do anything for her-even if she shuns kisses when I want to give them to her! All dogs need respect, care and boundaries. I NEVER trust my dogs with babies or little children including my own. Sometimes even other adults. Shibas tails are very sensitive & it seems to be natural for some people to come up to my dog & try to feel it or straighten it!!
    I could go on & on about what worked for us, but the common theme is spend time getting to know your dog & vice versa. Ours was super quick to train & knows more than my previous dog breeds. I only use Newman’s treats & Merrick’s Texas Toothpicks because they are natural on my girls sensitive stomach. The toothpicks are great for biting issues & keep their teeth tarter free! Natural dog food keeps her coat nice & less itchy when shedding. Be patient & kill them with kindness-you will be rewarded with Shiba love!
    P.S.-they are very accepting of lots of affection when very,very sleepy

  22. Jennifer says

    Hello! I’ve wanted a Shiba for years and we are finally picking up a pup next week! He’ll be 6 weeks old. I admire their good looks as well as their personality. I like that they are independent. I’m anxious to get him but also want to make sure I can make him happy. I hope to understand his needs/wants and discipline him properly. Thanks for the blog and all of the comments. It’s nice to read through them. My conclusion is that although there are a few consistent traits, many people seem to offer a variety of characteristics (some only want attention when they’re ready while some like to be lap dogs, some must be on a leash while some are fine off of the leach, etc.). Any tips you can provide for us would be greatly appreciated. We don’t have any other dogs at this time, no kids yet, just my boyfriend and I. I like to run and we’re active so I’m sure he’ll get a lot of exercise and activity. I hope that we can introduce him regularly to friends and family where he can get used to them so he isn’t skittish around them. Many family members had dogs too – a Bassett, Lab, and Corgi to name a few. I hope our new pup can get along with them.
    I want to provide him with a regular schedule. I think that’s helpful when training and setting expectations. Timing meals, potty training, our work schedule, etc. Here are our thoughts – please provide any feedback you may have: We both work day jobs 9-5. We plan to take him out and feed him in the morning, again mid-day, and again when we get home form work. I’ve thought about doggie day care for 1-2 days per week (when he’s old enough) to socialize with other dogs and not be alone during the day, but after reading some comments, it may not be a good idea for him.
    Do you have any suggestions on food, too? Should we get him a typical puppy food and feed half a cup 3x a day? For how long until you increase the portion size?
    Eventually I’d love him to learn to walk off the leash, (all of the dogs I’ve grown up with were able to do that once no longer puppy age) but how do you even try that without chancing him running away at some point?
    Thank you so much for this blog and everyone’s contributions. Again, any help/suggestions are so much appreciated!! I’m sure we’ll have more questions int he upcoming months :)

    • shibashake says

      Congratulations on your upcoming Shiba puppy!

      I think that socialization is key, especially for a Shiba. I made a bunch of mistakes with Sephy when he was young, but we also tried our hardest to properly socialize him, and I think it did a lot with helping him to be more calm and relaxed in new situations, as well as with people and dogs.
      ASPCA article on puppy socialization.
      My experiences with dog socialization.

      For Lara (our youngest dog), we fed her Wellness puppy food when she was young. I did a lot of frozen Kongs with her, because it gives her something to do and helps to keep her engaged. A young puppy is always very active, energetic, and curious, so keeping a puppy engaged in positive, structured activities is always a challenge, at the start.
      More on how I pick food for my dogs.
      More on how I potty trained my puppy.

      This ASPCA article has some good information on recall training. However, I do not let Sephy off-leash in non-enclosed areas. He will usually stay close to his people, but he is also curious and stubborn. In an interesting environment, his recall becomes non-existent, and he will go up to other dogs and people, which is not really fair, especially to dogs who are on-leash and may not like a strange dog coming up and invading their space. Sephy thinks that everyone should be honored by his awesome Shiba presence. 😀

      Take lots of pictures and give your Shiba pup a big hug from me when you get him!

  23. Robert says

    Definitely enjoyed the website we have a shiba that just turned a year old. He has many traits you mentioned one thing he does that was not expected but is appreciated is the fact he loves sitting on our laps.

    It is a very smart breed and he is learning things all the time and he gets along really well with our other two dogs we have.

    We are having a baby in March any suggestions when bringing the little one home?

  24. Whitney says

    I have a 3 year old Shiba (Colby Jack) that we got as a puppy. He’s such a great dog! I see so many similarities here, but differences as well. He’s really smart and remembers his surroundings quickly. I found that he was really easy to potty train and teach tricks (sit, down, shake, spin, roll over, still trying to teach him to balance on his tail for beg). He’s very much treat motivated. This dog has a full range of vocal stylings from a throaty “intruder” bark RUFF, a yap, yodels, rar-rar-rar, woo woo woo. Haha. You know I’ve found that he’s not super reactive to stuff that goes on outside since we’ve been living in apartments. Although, there was one funny time he started barking at and trying to get a fly that landed on the outside of the window. Cracks me up. We’ve found that Colby is very affectionate with us. This wasn’t so much as a puppy he was aloof! In the later years though he loves belly and neck massages.
    Now for some of the challenges… He is super difficult to put any drops in his ears or bathe. Bathing him is a two person job but it’s gotten better. Worse though is that we are starting to see his dog anxiety and territorial behavior. Since we had him as a puppy we did a good job socializing him outside the house so he’s great with meeting other dogs on the street. HOWEVER, bring that dog in the home and he barks at the other dog and lunges at him. Last week we hired a dog sitter to take him. He came in and met the first dog no problem but when the second dog came it went very much downhill. We don’t have another dog in the house and all this bad behavior seems to materialize when we are not around (with a sitter). This makes it really difficult to work with him to change his behavior. When we put him in day play care with groups of other dogs he does the opposite. Gets really nervous and bares teeth at the other dogs when they come to greet him. I’m getting to the point where I don’t know how to board him apparently he’s really high strung at the kennel. Any advice would be appreciated.

    • shibashake says

      Does Colby become reactive with another dog in the house when you are around? How familiar is he with the sitter? Was the plan to board him at the sitter’s house? How many dogs did the sitter have? Are these dogs that Colby has met before?

      Sephy does not do well in daycare either. There are several reasons for this, the most important one being that he likes having a fixed routine and consistency. At the daycare, it is all new people, new dogs, new environment, and his trusted people are not around, so it is too stressful and too high stimulus for him. We have tried boarding him with one of our Huskies who does well at daycare, but Sephy still didn’t like it. He prefers to stay at home, with the familiar.

      With Sephy, it takes a while to earn his trust and it also takes a special kind of temperament. He does best with calm and positive people, who take the time to get to know him. For example, he generally does not allow people to handle him at the vet, but there were two doctors who did well with him. They were both very calm, confident, patient, and positive.

      With a sitter there is greater flexibility, so I would have a sitter visit a few times at the house to get to know Sephy, with me around. Then I would go on some walks with the sitter and Sephy, and slowly foster trust. Then, I would keep up with occasional visits by the sitter, to maintain the relationship.

      I try to set Sephy up for success, so I introduce new things slowly and one at a time. If there is going to be an introduction of a new sitter, I try to keep everything else constant, e.g. same environment, routine, rules, and no new dogs.

  25. Elina says

    Hey Shiba Shake!
    I’m so glad I found this blog, it’s full of very helpful and insightful information.

    My family just got our very first Shiba puppy, two days ago. His name is Kuro, and he’s 8 weeks old.
    I have to mention that I am very much in love with the race, and wanted a Shiba for quite a few years. But, we live in Israel, and there are very few Shibas here. Can’t point my finger on how much, but I’d assume less than 20.

    So we finally got a puppy, chose him from the litter, and he was beautiful, and playful and very much full of life.

    He came to our home, and was quite apprehensive (which is understandable), and it was his first encounter with my 8 year old Pomeranian.
    She is very loving and gentle dog, but also didn’t have a proper socialization with other dogs, so she’s quite eager to play all the time, and it might came out a bit aggressive.

    Anyway, our new Shiba is adjusting, but we are having a few issues that we’d like to consult about, before we make any substantial mistakes.

    Firstly, he screamed bloody murder when we tried to put a dog collar on him.
    We calmed him down and eventually kind of tricked him into the collar.
    More problems started when I attached a tiny leash on him, he screamed again, dropped to the ground, and if you even try to walk him he screams and throws quite a tantrum.

    We talked to a trainer, she suggest to just attach the leash and monitor him, and gently progress and let him get used to it.

    Also, at first he was quite fazed by the Pom, as she wanted to play, but now the tables turned, and he is the one chasing her, and even kind of slapping her around and biting her. I am assuming this is puppy play, I saw him doing the same with his litter brothers, but she is very frightened and too scared to react. Right now they are the same size, but soon he’ll be bigger and I’m scared it might be a problem.

    Also, there’s biting. It’s very cute at this stage, but we want to nip it at the bud. The trainer suggested to close his mouth and firmly say NO! Until he relaxes and only then pet him. So far it just excites him more.

    My big fear is that since this breed is so rare here in Israel, I won’t be able to find someone who deeply understands the Shiba, and we are facing challenges that we didn’t have with my Pom.
    Would love to talk to you more, and hear more advice if you have the time.

    • shibashake says

      Congratulations on your Shiba pup!

      1. Collar and leash
      Sephy was very sensitive to putting on a collar as well. What worked best is for me to slowly desensitize him to both collar and leash.

      2. Other dogs
      I institute very clear interaction rules for all of my dogs. I supervise during play-time, meal-time, etc. and make sure that everyone is following the rules. My Shiba gets excited very easily, so I always manage his excitement level during play-time by throwing in many play-breaks. I make sure he does not overwhelm my other dogs.

      3. Biting and mouthiness
      Sephy was very mouthy during puppyhood. Doing anything physical, e.g. closing his mouth, only made him want to bite me more. He thought a moving hand was great fun to play with. 😀 Three things were helpful in terms of controlling his biting – bite inhibition training, redirection, and teaching him self-control.

      Hope this helps. I love puppy pictures so share some links with us when you have the time. 😀

  26. Rose says

    Hi. I was just curious how big these guys are? They are so cute and I am considering adopting one. I have a husky. He’s 9 months and weighs about 65 pounds right now. So will a Shiba get that big or are they much smaller? And are they as energetic as a husky? My husky really needs a playmate besides me and my son and the 2 tiny dogs I babysit.

    • shibashake says

      My male Shiba is over 30 pounds, but he is a really big Shiba. The breed standard is much less.

      Average weight at preferred size is approximately 23 pounds for males, 17 pounds for females.
      ~~[Natioinal Shiba Club of America]

      My Sibes are both females and they weigh about 45 pounds each. Because my Shiba is larger and my Sibes are females, their size difference is not as great. They play very well together. I am not sure how things will go with a larger male Sibe and a smaller Shiba. It would depend on your Sibe. What type of dogs does he like playing with? My Shiba has always preferred playing with larger dogs, who likes to wrestle. :)
      More on how I went about choosing a second dog.

      My Shiba is pretty energetic but not as energetic as my Huskies.
      More on Shibas vs. Siberians.

  27. MissMar says

    Two weeks ago I adopted a 9 month old Shiba from the SPCA. First owner had no time for him and second owner was only 2 weeks so it sounds like they
    couldn’t handle him. Quickly learned that ignoring him was the punishment that worked for him. Physical discipline made him more unmanageable. My problem with him is for absolutely no reason he just goes bonkers for a minute or two. Racing around the house at 100mph and barking. If you try to stop this behavior, out comes the nipping very hard. Can’t even get near him till it’s out of his system. It’s like he becomes possessed and then he goes back to being the perfect dog. Does anyone else have this issue or know what I can do to correct it?? Other than this quirk, he’s great. Demands a lot of attention and lovin but that’s fine since it’s only my husband and I.

    • shibashake says

      I am so glad that he has found a good home with you and your husband.

      As for the crazy running, it is affectionately called the Shiba 500. 😀

      Sephy used to do this a lot when he was young. It was a good way to get the zoomies out of his system, and I make sure the area is safe for him to do it. He doesn’t do it as much anymore, because he gets his running craziness out while playing with my young Husky. I supervise and manage their excitement-level by throwing in many play-breaks.

      During the early training period, I also put a very light drag-lead on Sephy (only on a harness or regular flat collar, and only under supervision – no aversive collars ). In this way, if I need to slow things down, I can use the lead for control.

      Grabbing with hands is usually not a good idea, because it can lead to redirected biting, as you describe. With Sephy, all the excited, running energy is still there, and it usually gets redirected onto whatever is restraining him – which would be my hand.

      Big hugs to your Shiba. 😀

    • Anonymous says

      YES THAT IS EXACTLY WHAT THEY DO!!! I thought it would wear them out but trying to get them to stop is like playing. They crave attention so the trick is to allow them to see you acknowledge them but make it clear you are ignoring them. Because if they think yu are just flat out not paying attention they will do things they know agitate you and you’re not going to catch them lol. Give them a quick glance and walk away. The running will lessen but you have to stay calm. Because they will run so fast that they will trample over anything.

  28. Deby says

    I have had my Shiba since she was 12 weeks old. My son went out and bought her without checking out the breed and, as usual, he left her with me to train. It took me a long time to figure her out. I have trained German Shepards, Wolf Hybreds, etc. and never had a dog challenge me like her. Her best trait was that she never had an accident in the house from day one. She is 6 years old now and we have a great relationship.
    The last 3 to 4 weeks she has been screaming almost all the time and will not stop when told. I have checked her over to make sure there was no injury or anything else that could be wrong. Does anyone have any idea what could have caused this and how to make her stop?

    • shibashake says

      What is her daily routine like? Has there been any change to her regular routine? Are there any other changes in behavior? Did anything out of the ordinary happen when the behavior started? Have there been any changes in the surrounding environment – noises, people, etc? Is she eating and drinking normally? Are there any other behavioral changes? Some physical issues are internal and may not be readily apparent.

      Dog behavior is very context dependent, so it is difficult to even guess without any context. When in doubt, I get help from a good professional trainer who can visit with my dog and observe his behavior within the context of his regular routine and environment.

  29. julia says

    I have a 15 year old red Shiba that is an absolute sweetheart and a gorgeous dog. In some ways she is the typical Shiba, but in other ways couldn’t be more different than what the breed sites say. For one, my dog is great off the leash, she has never tried to bolt and is happy to stay close by us in the front yard. She has always been good with children too, always gentle. The breed doesn’t seem to be a snuggly lap dog, but they do want to be near their people. Our dog is very loyal, she is always happy to see us.

    The Shiba is a funny dog, like someone here said they remember well. Mine went nuts one day barking and crowing because workers across the street left a saw-horse in the neighbors yard. My dog was mad as heck at this strange thing in the yard; maybe she thought it was a headless, skinny animal, lol. Even a piece of paper that blows into the yard she notices and alerts to. Squirrels and cats in her yard get her extra angry; she is stealth when going after a squirrel. The cats are another story, they realize she won’t back up her barking, and they have chased her back to her spot.

    The Shiba is a great little dog for those who will take the time to train it and make it part of the family. We love our dog very much, she is such a joy!

  30. Susan says

    Hi have a Shiba who is 5 now..we bought her from a breeder at 10 weeks old. I read all about the breed and knew this is a good fit for my family. My husband and I are very strict with our kids and an animal would not change this. The first two years were very hard. Shiba (so much easier for people to remember her name and her breed) I never once needed to potty train her from the night she came home I followed her cue to the door and she went…Amazed! I’d say that was the only positive thing about her for the first two years, honestly. This dog had me and my husband on our toes creatively and physically. We don’t back down nor give up either but I will tell you..she is a stubborn smart thinker. I don’t have enough room to explain all she has done but if you own will realize. Shiba starting at 3 until now is one of the most loyal, sweet, comforting and easy dog I have had. She CAN go off leash and obey our commands. My 3 year old can walk her without a problem. Some things I can see where people don’t have the consistency of training might run into problems but if you can be consistent and firm with discipline… Shiba’s (dogs in general, and kids) will listen to better. My Shiba likes people (not love) is good around kids(with monitoring) will groom OK, can go off leash, is kinda independent (mine seems to need my attention quite bit though) but loves to hike, camp, play tug of was and if ding her treats (I hide them) she can roll.over, sit, lay down on command. She isn’t allowed upstairs and she has never broke that rule.

    • julia says

      Totally agree with you! The Shiba takes consistent training; that is the best advice ever. I believe this is where many new dog owners fail. Just like with children, what a person puts in to training and providing consistency pays off in the kind of pet they will have.

    • Ray says

      We have a 3 year old shiba (Kinji). We also have two Bichon-Shitzus and Kinji is a member of the pack. He has been very well behaved. We have feeders and water for them and they have doggie doors with a fenced in yard. Kinji is an absolute sweetheart. When the other two dogs are at the groomer, he mopes around, until I put his harness on and take him for a walk. At night when he howls it is because he sees a coyote at a distance. Otherwise they are quiet dogs.

  31. Eryka says

    Hello all, I’m coming to all of you Shiba devotees because I am having an issue with my 14 year old male shiba. At night, after we’ve all gone to bed, he starts to chirp. It’s not a bark, more a yodel, and we can’t figure out the reason. He was crate trained, but now that he’s a grand old man he has the run of the house all the time (even overnight). He usually starts the night in his crate, but the door has been removed, so he has full access to his food and water. He’s also been out to the bathroom, and when we make him go out when he starts chirping he doesn’t seem that he needs to go. He’ll chirp both in and out of his crate overnight. He does it several times a night and it only started 3-4 months ago and it has been increasing to several times a night.

    Any suggestions on what this might be? And what to do to make him be quiet overnight so we can sleep.


  32. Joey says

    Hello all,
    My 3 year old Sasha is better off leash than with. I have worked with her for a little over a year now.
    She does get protective whwn other dogs approach but never leaves my side.
    My brother left the front gate open and with the front yard without fencing my dog stayed on the porch, when i woke at 3 am she was sound asleep.
    This trait may not be common, I woild advise others against it, as my training differes from most i do trust my dog.
    I do not give Sasha treats for tricks, I use treats as a toy, break into little pieces and hit them with a
    Tennis racket.
    I live near a wash and my backyard is prone to mice, rats and possums. Sasha will catch it toss it into the air hen kill it, place it in the middle ofthe yard then will want to show it off.
    When we to to the local mountains I let her run free, she has just always came running back when I whistled, never trained her to do so.
    I never thought I would have so much fun with a animal.

  33. Chrissy says

    Not sure what happened there but think I just lost my comment but if you get half a one and then this….bear with me!! Lol

    Hi how are you all? Arthur and Ila are doing well.
    I wanted to air my theory on ‘why’ Shiba’s are so difficult to train. Firstly I’ve trained dogs my whole life, mostly rescued German Shepherds but also Leonbergers and trained them for water rescue and as ‘PAT’ dogs and of course ALL dogs are individuals and their level of intelligence does vary but my two Shiba’s but especially Arthur are the brightest/most intelligent dogs I’ve ever owned and Arthur has a bigger vocabulary than most humans I meet. When I tell people Arthur has cups for ‘obedience training’ they fall about laughing but it’s true. He absolutely hated it and worked out by lesson two that if he just ‘did it’ he could get out of there and do his own thing! He can literally do anything if shown a couple of times but!……
    I also ran a rescue for cats for twelve years and what I learned is that cats are certainly as capable as dogs of learning but they have no ‘work ethic’ and therefore ‘training’ was limited. I think Shiba’s are the same! They’re just sooo bright but just don’t have that work ethic. They know exactly what to do/what you want them to do but depending on their mood it’s whether they ‘choose’ to do it and that’s the issue. For the most part I just talk to Arthur like another human and he just does what I’m asking (as long as I’m polite lol) but if he’s distracted by something ‘he’ wants to do – he just goes deaf! People stop me in the street amazed at the conversational tone I use and how he responds, often remarking;”Wow, he understands every word you say!” But that’s the rub….he does!! It’s like negotiating every day with Einstein!! This said….I wouldn’t have him any other way :0)

  34. Thomas says

    I have a 11 wk old Shiba Inu male Black and Tan. Got him at 8 woks old. Read tons about this dog and got him only because I am retired due to a medical condition and knew I would be around him pretty much 24/7. I am amazed at how smart he is and how quick he learns and figures things out. Right know he loves meeting new people and new dogs which we try to do on a regular bases.. As for my cat, he could really care less about him which is good because the cat a 9yr old male wants nothing to do with him. He came pretty much house broken and has only had to mistakes since bring him home, both pretty much my fault by not responding quick enough to his request. I am curious as to how much time you spent with your shiba in the beginning. Mine is crate trained and sleeps in his crate in our room at night usually from 10 to 7. Then naps at different hrs through out the day. Looking forward Toni’s first bloom of his coat and have already bought a pretty good vacuum for it. Love reading your articles. Thank you for this site it has been a big help…..

    • shibashake says

      Thank you Thomas.

      Yeah, I pretty much spent all my time with my Shiba in the beginning. However, the problem was that I didn’t know much about dogs or dog training at that time, so I didn’t provide him with enough structure and consistency. Things got difficult for the both of us. I also made a bunch of mistakes which encouraged bad behaviors in Sephy, due to lack of information and knowledge.

      My Shiba is a difficult dog because he is extremely stubborn, but things would have gone a lot better if I had known more about dog behavior and had done more research into the Shiba temperament. Ah well, on the good side, I had a to learn quickly and Sephy taught me a lot about dogs and also about myself. Plus, he gave me lots of stories to tell. 😀

      Looking forward Toni’s first bloom of his coat and have already bought a pretty good vacuum for it.

      Haha, yeah all three of my dogs blew their coat around the same time this summer. We are a very hairy household!

      Dogs really are very awesome – fur, naughtiness, begging looks, licks, and all. Congrats and big hugs to your Shiba pup. He is a lucky little guy. 😀

    • chrissy says

      Hi Thomas
      I crate trained Arthur because when I first had him I was working full time. Ila came aged four after I’d retired having been a kennel dog so was also crate trained but this said its what you do with the time you have. I took Arthur everywhere with me when he was little and I was not at work because I wanted him to be able to go anywhere/meet anyone/ stay in hotels,/go abroad/sit in cafes etc and he does but really it quality rather than quantity. Having Ila aged four I can really see an enormous difference in their development. I talked and do talk to Arthur the whole time, just like he’s a person and have always spent quality time training/playing with him and teaching him new things. Ila bless her, really shows she was a kennel dog, one of sixteen who never got that one to one training/time and so can appear a bit dim compared to him but because she’s a Shiba, she’s come on in leaps and bounds since I’ve had her. My dogs get three hours exercise a day and one to one interaction always (I live alone so they are family) and as such they are calm, happy, well adjusted doglets. My advice is to obviously train your dog to be left so that you don’t create separation anxiety but when you’re with him, enjoy him! Play training type games with him all the time (he’ll let you know if he’s tired/bored/not interested) and above all ‘talk’ to him ALL the time to expand his vocabulary and understanding of how you want him to behave. :0)
      Just enjoy him!

    • Nancy says

      They are a lot of work and you must be consistent. I have had mine for 9 years and I am still training her everyday. She keeps me on my toes; but, I love her dearly.

      Also, get used to the alone time. She comes to me when she wants attention.

  35. Tom says

    My female shiba inu(simply named foxy) does exhibit a lot of these traits mentioned above. She is epically smart, manipulative, mischievous in her younger years, and often times cannot be trusted around small kids and other dogs. She enjoyed being touched and scratched a lot more when she was younger, but now she generally evades prolonged contact. Foxy has been a great dog over the years, but owners who prefer more loyal dogs who enjoy nothing more than cuddling up with you should seek a different breed of dog. I know my Foxy-lady loves us all to death, even if she doesn’t always show it, but personally I’ve never felt more loved by any type of dog quite like the love and affection that pitbulls have shown me. I never considered the possibility of owning a pitbull until I moved in with a friend who has one, and honestly in those 3 months I stayed there I felt more loyalty and love from that pitbull than the 13 years I’ve spent with Foxy.

  36. Mike says

    I just found your website tonight. I rescued my Shiba mix 6 years ago. The rescue group named him Alfred, then started calling him Alfie, and I kept that since they had been using it. He’s a mix, but with what I don’t know. He’s black with the white (now greying) muzzle. His ears aren’t as pointed as the purebred Shibas, they kind of flop on the ends. He’s also taller, and heavier (too heavy according to the vet yesterday). I’m not surprised, I have no kids and no family, so he’s my furry kid and easily indulged. My fault.
    And I know the Shiba stare. If I’m laying on the bed reading and he wants something, he sits in the doorway and stares at me. Doesn’t move a muscle, looks like a statue. Sometimes it’s just that he wants to show me he’s eaten his breakfast (I call all meals breakfast) and then wants a rawhide stick to chew on. I have to give him the smaller ones because he just hides the large ones. And he also does that rubbing his head on the floor thing, with his but in the air. I’ve never figured it out. I’ll scratch him right be the tail as well as his neck and he’s in heaven.
    But the “shiba-scream” oh man. He did it a lot when I first got him and one day we saw another guy & his dog walking across the street from us. He cut loose with that scream. Suddenly a guy in the house across the street came running outside, looking around. Alfie cut loose with the scream again, and the guy was dumbfounded. “I thought someone was beating a little kid or something. What the heck is he doing?” He quit doing it and would only bark at people outside the house, and a knock on the door sends him in a fury. Now he’s getting older, we think he’s 10, and the hot weather slows him down. We walk every morning at 5:00 a.m. for about 20 minutes. 0.75 miles. After work, about 1.25 miles. Unless it’s hot, then we don’t go as far and I bring water with us. Cooler or cold weather and snow are his element. he loves it.
    He doesn’t play with toys and only goes for the Kong if I put some peanut butter in it. which makes a mess, but all “kids” do. I’ll try some of your suggestions. But as far as chasing a ball, or squeeze toys, absolutely no interest. He’s tolerant of most other dogs, sometimes he acts like he doesn’t see them. He gets a little more excited now with others than he used too. But it’s other black dogs he’s always had a problem with, he goes nuts. I see the hair standup on his back. I’m guessing something may have happened before I got him.
    God how I love that little dog. It’s me & him. Always.

  37. John says

    I’ve had a Shiba for 13 years, and some of this is right on the money, some is way off in my experience. First off, the shiba scream is awesome. We first heard it when an ambulance was traveling down our street. The siren noise led to our dogs high pitched howl, and then we learned singing with an out of key, high pitched voice got him to do his Shiba scream. We love it. He also talks to us like he’s trying to be a person when he needs to go poop. It’s the oddest and cutest thing ever. Our Shiba craves it’s people. Our family takes turns having him sleep in their bed, and he’s a cuddle bug. He’s a great alarm system because if there is a noise outside, he goes ballistic. When we eat people food, he won’t approach without permission, but gives the most pitiful look you will ever see with those almond shaped eyes. He’s aggressive toward most other dogs but amazingly patient around cats if he sees you are friendly with the cat first. If he gets out without a leash, it’s all a big game to him, and he is near impossible to catch. He will do whatever he can to get out too. Dig, climb, slither, whatever he can do. Large crowds make ours incredibly nervous to where he lowers his head, ears fold forward, and he will bite in this situation. These dogs are super clean, and I was amazed to find out our dog never smells like dog. If he doesn’t get walked enough, he gets psychotic, so it’s not really even an option to have one of these dogs if you only want an indoor lap dog. Ours is a huge drama queen and still to this day shakes nervously and won’t calm down in the car, and completely flips out in a vets office. He’s super sneaky and the saying “When the cats away, the mice will play” appears to be made for him. He will jump on tables to steal food if he knows you aren’t looking, but would never dream of it while you are looking. He only fully goes pee or poop outside, but when we aren’t looking he will mark territory and we’ve replaced 4 carpets in his lifetime because of it. This is our fault for not knowing how to properly train it out of him. When you point out what he did, he is the most guilty looking dog on the face of the earth, and will look to hide behind whatever person isn’t talking to him for protection. At 13 he’s still got an amazing coat of fur and doesn’t look old, but the joints are aching and he’s slowing down. As much as I love my dog, I seriously wouldn’t raise another one if you handed me $20,000 to do it. It requires knowledge, patience, and persistence to train these doges, and while he gets all the attention in the world from us, we did him wrong on the training part of it by not doing any training.

    • Anonymous says

      I have a Shiba Inu rescue named Judy whom I love to death. I have always owned dogs, mostly terriers and am an experienced dog owner. But nothing prepared me for owning a Shiba Inu. She is easily the most stubborn, unmanageable dog I have owned, only with great patience and lots of time have I managed to train her to do the smallest things…given up on anything big. She is so fastidious and cat like and very independent – not for anyone looking for a lapdog for sure. She is a fabulous watchdog but is not friendly with people or other dogs. I do have cats and it’s always a balancing act with her…I have to be careful. As I said, I love her to pieces and I hope she lasts many more years, but I shall not be getting another Shiba…’s a very difficult breed to own and I think I shall opt for a mixed breed dog, definitely a rescue. Maureen

  38. Anonymous says


    I recently found a puppy on the side of the road malnourished, dehydrated and covered in fleas :(. My guess is she is she is a shiba and german shepherd mix. My boyfriend and I have decided to keep her, she is just so sweet. I already have a chihuahua rat terrier mix and they seem to be getting along well ( or as well as an older chihuahua can haha ) but with some jealousy, but the problem is she is acting so scared of my boyfriend! She slinks away and will not listen to him but follows me at my heels and listens me very well and we even live together so she sees him just as much as me. He did spank her twice before we talked and decided it’s best to go with just positive reinforcement instead of physical punishment for things like potty training. She is about 12 weeks old, do you have any suggestions to help her respond to him the same way she does to me?

    Thank you!

    • shibashake says

      To help my dog be more comfortable and less fearful of certain types of people, I do desensitization exercises.

      I also stay away from using any kind of physical punishment.

      It’s crucial to avoid using punishment when trying to change your fearful dog’s behavior. When something frightens your dog, she experiences a great deal of stress, and any kind of verbal or physical punishment will distress her even more, making her more defensive and fearful in the future.

    • Shiba's Mom says

      Hi! I think it’s great you are going to keep this little lost puppy. Please make sure she gets a vet visit soon so that she can’t pass along any illness (worms, fleas, etc) to your current dogs. Plus she needs to be spayed and I would suggest a microchip. I am glad you and your BF talked and I assume you’ve agreed that no more spankings are acceptable! Puppies are PUPPIES and they will not enjoy a person’s presence if that person hits them. Teach them and love them — positive reinforcement only, as you’ve said — if the puppy is too much for you and your BF and your current dogs, then please surrender this puppy to a good no-kill animal shelter near you. They will vaccinate and get this pup into a good home. I adopted a shiba who was ignored and abused in her previous home where she lived as a puppy and she’ll never be fully loving because of it. Thanks again for taking care of this puppy!

    • Nancy says

      My little girl hates men from the abuse she suffered at the hands of a male. You will need to get a behaviorist dog trainer to help you with this particular problem. Or you can talk with your veterinarian. Mine have done wonders in helping me train her.

      My Shiba protects my Chihuahua and loves him with everything she has. Please remember the Shiba will get jealous of the little one because they love to be with you every second of the day, while she does not understand. She will come for your attention when she wants it. At that time I give my attention to my Shiba. Balance.

  39. Gillian Scully says

    my little Lucy is my best friend very protective and lives with a small dog and a cat. She is very patient with them, my cat is very old and the little dog is a nine month old chawawa cross. She is a Shiba cross with a llaso apso. She is a miniture sheba and gets called fox alot. I can take on a trail off lead but she has no road sence. Best dog ever and very well behaved. But loves me from affar… Love her to bits x

  40. Mina says

    My Louie is a Shiba Inu/Jack Russell mix. He’s got the built and the height of the Shiba, the face and folded down ears of a Jack but the color and markings of a Shiba. He’s also got a long tail that curls twice, with the white paint brush at the tip!

    He’s super cute, but drives us up the wall! We’re able to leave him alone now without causing too much trouble. When I take him out back he takes off every time, but once he’s tired I can call him back and he meets me at my front door. I definitely see more Shiba in him that Jack.

  41. Edith says

    I rescued my dog and had no idea what she was till I saw shiba inu pictures and read character descriptions. My Lily is very obedient, really quirky and frustratingly smart. She stays with me off leash, too and is very protective. She must be mixed with something because her tail is not as curly, but her coloring and markings otherwise (and teeth) are spot-on. Very strong, took me a while to get used to that.

  42. Nicole says

    My Peanut is a shiba and german shepherd mix and it’s really funny how the mix has changed his personality from either your typical gsd or shiba. He is so talkative and he’s ridiculously smart. I actually can take him to trails and parks off leash and he stays right by me, maybe that’s more gsd? He’s a rescue and we always knew he was gsd mix and just recently figured out that he is mixed with shiba. Now I’ve been doing all this reading on them and it makes so much sense.

    • shibashake says

      I actually can take him to trails and parks off leash and he stays right by me,

      He sounds wonderful. Guess he got the good stuff from both sides. 😀

      Would love to see pictures of him. I love the look of GSDs as well. Big hugs to Peanut!

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