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 Inu can get you a lot of attention and open doors to many social encounters. Get used to hearing, “He/She 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.
1. A Shiba Inu is 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.
A Shiba Inu is extremely easy to potty train.
Sephy only had housebreaking mistakes on the first day that we brought him home (10 weeks old). After that, he always let us know when he has to go potty. We did not even need to train him to go potty outside. 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 Shiba Inu is a good watch dog
A Shiba Inu is not a noisy dog. However, when there are strange people or strange noises around the house he will bark to alert you. Once I go and check things out, Sephy stops barking.
Shibas have great memory and will alert you to anything out of place around the house and even in a familiar neighborhood. One day Sephy started barking at the fence because somebody had put a piece of wood on top of it – amazing!
3. A Shiba Inu is 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.
A Shiba Inu 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 you make it worth his while.
A Shiba running is a sight to behold and a Shiba at play is poetry in motion.
4. A Shiba Inu is 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.
A Shiba can quickly figure out complex interactive dog toys and puzzles. I am always trying out new ways to deploy Sephy’s food in toys because he figures things out so quickly. A Shiba will challenge you and keep you sharp and on your toes!
5. A Shiba Inu has 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.
1. A Shiba Inu is bold, strong willed, and stubborn
He 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 owners face aggression issues with their Shiba including food aggression, dog to dog aggression, and people aggression.
To successfully live with a Shiba Inu, you 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 you ignore him and give him nothing to react to, he will quickly lose interest, and move on to something else.
Shibas can be very competitive. If they see another dog getting praise and rewards, they will want to strut their stuff and show that they are 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 Sephy.
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 Shiba Inu has 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 Inu will do whatever he wants if he can get away with it. If he can’t get away with it, he will figure out another way to get away with it. 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 and lick your hand.
Once you turn away, he is back in the cookie jar!
3. A Shiba Inu is like the evil, black Spiderman
He is capable of great feats of agility but if untrained, he will use it 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, a Shiba will pull down items from counters and shred them to pieces. He may even eat some of those pieces. Once, I left Sephy unsupervised for about 10 minutes and in that time he pulled down a phone headset and shredded it to little pieces. Luckily he didn’t swallow anything.
A Shiba Inu, especially a young Shiba Inu has a lot of energy.
It takes a lot to keep him occupied and away from trouble. Getting him a dog playmate can help. Another alternative is to put him in dog daycare or to employ the services of a dog walker.
4. A Shiba Inu is a Drama Queen
Sephy 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 and bite at anyone who comes near them.
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. A Shiba Inu is 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 Inu 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. Just ignore him and go about your business and he will stop. Remember that he can sense your inner energy, not just your outward appearance.
6. A Shiba Inu knows he is 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, but 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 Inu is like dog royalty.
He wants his subjects close enough to serve him but not too close as to sully his royal person.
7. A Shiba Inu 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 Inu 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 Inu is not to be trusted off-leash unless in a fully enclosed area.
8. A Shiba Inu has 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.
Shiba Inus are a primitive breed and they lose control more easily than other more domesticated dog breeds.
A Shiba Inu is a grass connoisseur
He 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, but a Shiba Inu just enjoys eating grass – if 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 ]
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