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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Comments

  1. says

    Our Tessa is now 2 1/2 yrs old and we learn from her daily. She has decided the extent of her training is complete, but we reinforce her tricks and commands constantly. She doesn’t chew or destroy anything, other then her toys, is a wonderful watch dog, very verbal, little barking, without going overboard. Is very tolerant of people, a little standoffish of children. We were encouraged by the breeder to socialize her starting at a very young age, with people and other dogs which we did. We thought we had significant experience in dog rearing, but this one has taken it to a new level. The only issue we are concerned about is being too territorial, and only at our home, not at our summer home, and only with other dogs. She will turn into the Tasmanian devil is 2 seconds flat. Teeth beard, growling, spit flying, will draw blood if she reaches with other animal, totally out of control. Any suggestions?

    • shibashake says

      Hi Jackie,

      Sephy also gets a bit snarky when other dogs come to visit. It is mostly because he is being protective of our tripod dog, Shania.

      One thing that seems to help is to have him on leash when the new dog first comes. Then the dog gets to meet my Siberian first. Meanwhile, I have Sephy with me doing commands from a distance. If he is calm, then we move a few steps closer to the action.

      If he starts being snarky, I no-mark him and move back.

      Maybe you can try something similar in your situation. Have Shiba at a distance, and have both dogs on leash. Initially just try with the other dog on the front lawn and your Shiba a good distance away so that she is calm. Do some obedience with her and if she is calm, praise, reward, and move one or two steps closer, etc.

      If she gets snarky no-mark and move back.

      I keep sessions short and try to set my dog up for success. Here is more on Sephys adventures with other dogs –
      http://shibashake.com/dog/dog-to-dog-aggression

  2. Richard says

    Man i guess i got lucky because my Shiba Inu is the best behaved dog i have ever had, she has yet to do ANYTHING wrong,she even gets along with our cat. she is fine with other dogs as long as they respect her space and if they don’t she will snarl at them and continue to do so until they get the idea but she wont bite.we got her as an adult dog, she was four and her owners didn’t want her anymore. i can only assume they spent alot of time in obedience classes because she is a purebred shiba with perfect manners,she even steps around puddles and mud instead of walking through them and waits to go through a door until you have walked through. the independence trait is there she doesn’t like a lot of affection but i dont like dogs who make people the center of there existence,shes perfect for me,she is proof that good training can make for a really good shiba. the only thing she is snobby about is coming when i call her, she does it if she feels like it and if not i need to go looking for some treat of some sort to bargain with. i can live with that.

    • shibashake says

      Hi Richard,
      It does sound like you have a pretty awesome Shiba – lucky you!

      Sephy was really bad in his first six months – but then I was pretty clueless as well. Then in the next six months he was still bad, but improving. At over 1+ he got a lot better, and challenged rules much less frequently.

      I recently noticed that at 3+ he has mellowed even more.

      Shibas get better with time – like good wine :D

  3. jo says

    I am completely frustrated. My shiba was the puppy from heaven….I bragged that I had never had a puppy that was so easy, well behaved, loving, etc. Then at about 7 months, my sweet boy turned into hell on 4 legs. I do take him on long walks, he has play time with another dog daily, he has plenty to chew on, BUT I cannot turn my back on him anymore. He likes to chew and dig at wood….not outside but my great grandmother’s antique oak table, all the legs of my tables and the latest was my cherry sleigh bed. It looks like he dug and chewed a 1/4 inch deep hole into the foot board. I have someone come in and walk him during the days that I have to be gone for long periods, and that is what is so frustrating. I have no choice now; he will have to be crated whenever I leave the house. I feel that I have done everything right, but apparently not. And suddenly he won’t come to me if I call his name or listen to me at all…in fact, he won’t take treats from me except at night, not cheese, not hot dogs, nothing. Getting into his bed at night seems to be the only that he will do when I command it. He will however obey my 18 year old son when he comes to visit. I am baffled. He is still very well behaved around other people and animals; his problem seems to be with me and destroying all my wood furniture.

    • shibashake says

      Hi Jo,
      Yeah what you describe really reminds me of my Shiba’s old days with chewing curtains. I would step away for 1 second to wash my hands, or just eat a quick breakfast, and he would chew and tear off sections of the curtains. :)

      I got really angry and frustrated with him, but that only made things worse.

      What helped with Sephy the most is to restrict his freedom some. I would make sure the doors to the bedrooms are always closed so he could only prowl around in the kitchen and living room. I also installed a baby gate at the kitchen doorway so when I needed to be in there, he goes in there with me too.

      I also crated him for short periods during the day when I was not able to closely supervise him.

      The other thing that worked very well is following the NILIF program and making him work for *all* of his food (either from interactive food toys or from doing stuff for me).

      I would ask him to do something that he knows how to do and if he does it, I praise and reward. Shibas will sometimes try to see what they can get away with though.

      Sephy started not doing the command or seeing how long he could delay before doing the command. So in those situations, I would just leave, together with all my great food and he would get ignored for a while. If he comes to bug me with whining and such during that time he will be ignored or put in time-out.

      After some time, I will try another obedience/feeding session.

      It is important for Shiba to learn that he gets nothing for free, and the best way to get what he wants is by first doing what you want. :)

      Here are some things that really helped me with Sephy when he was a puppy -
      http://shibashake.com/dog/puppy-obedience-training

  4. Kathy says

    My Shiba puppy(Bear) is now 5 months old and is the most loving and friendly dog I have ever seen. He wants to play with everybody and when we go to the vet, every other animal. He and my Bengal cat play together all the time. He is not allowed in the kitchen (which he knows) and if you turn your back he runs to the cats food bowl and grabs a mouthful and runs out of the kitchen. He is typical in that he won’t listen and everything is a negotiation but I wouldnt trade him for anything. I am keeping my fingers crossed that he stays as loving as he is now as he grows older. He will be getting neutered next month as I had questioned that in an earlier post.

    • shibashake says

      My Shiba puppy(Bear) is now 5 months old and is the most loving and friendly dog I have ever seen. He wants to play with everybody and when we go to the vet, every other animal.

      Go Bear! And Kudos to you for socializing him so well.

      Amazing that Bear and Bengal get along so well. Beautiful cats but I hear that they can be very temperamental as well. You must have great animal kung-fu! :)

    • Kathy says

      Bear is now 6 months old and typical Shiba. He starts his obedience training this week. Or rather I start my training! I am having a professional trainer work with us in our home as it seems better to work on the places he needs to behave! He is really good and only has a few normal Shiba quirks. This choice came about when I took him to the vet and as we were getting out of the car I did not have a tight hold on his leash and off he went right towards the road.. nose to the ground and not listening to my calls. Luckily there were a couple of people that he saw and went over to play with. whew!! I was so devistated about what happened that I decided right then and there to call and get him and me some training. I will keep you posted on our progress!

      Kathy and Bear

    • shibashake says

      I know what you mean! Sephy escaped from me twice when he was young and we were out walking. Squirmed out of his collar. Luckily he just went to the person walking ahead of us so I was able to get him back. Now I use a Premier martingale which is very good at preventing collar escapes.

      And I definitely agree with you. Having a trainer come over and give me pointers was very helpful. Sephy was a terror that flaps in the night when he was young- lol.

      Definitely let us all know how training goes and what methods work best for Bear.

    • Kathy says

      Well our first day of training was a big success! Bear always would go to the door and try to get out to see the “world” but now after one day of training he has a boundry that he is not allowed to cross when we are at the door. He is allowed to go to the door to “warn” us there is someone or something there but then stays behind his invisible barrier. Shibas are so smart it took just training us humans to know what and how to tell him to stay back. He also used to charge the kitchen the minute he was let out of his crate to steal a mouthful of cat food on his way outside, now he goes right to the back door to go out. Of course I still dont totally trust him and dont leave the kitchen open all the time! We are still working on other things and will keep everyone updated but so far so good!

      Kathy

    • brendan says

      Well Dusty has got through the big op (sped) she did take a day to warm up to use again after collecting from the vet but is now back to her cuddly, loving ways. She waits at the door for me every night to get back from work and I get a few happy noises (anyone else’s shiba do this) like a shiba scream but not as loud or a blood curtailing. She has been ok about not licking the wound and have been distracting her with a Kong which is working well. Can finally take her back for walks at the weekend.
      Also Kathy your right about how smart Shiba’s are. Dusty has just passed her level one puppy training and now moved to class too, she is the youngest they have ever had in class two the cleaver girl.
      Anyone else seen the ad for the new film coming out with an Akita dog in it? Looks just like a shiba.

    • shibashake says

      Kathy – that is awesome that Bear is doing so well. He sounds like another super Shiba! Definitely share some pictures with us when you have the time.

      Brendan – Glad to hear that Dusty is recovering well from her surgery and behaving like an angel. She is truly amazing. Sephy was a holy terror while he was recovering from his neuter.

      Yeah that Akita movie is going to be sad. I saw the Hachiko story while watching the Akita episode of Breed All About It. Very sad but also very inspiring. A lot of difficult issues to deal with in there.

      And you are definitely right – a red Akita looks just like a Shiba. It is strange though that there aren’t too many red Akitas here.

  5. Ana Raquel says

    Hi,as the other Ana, I am also from Brazil, but I moved to US a couple of years ago and I might say that the best dog (I mean half dog/ half person) is our little Cisco (our red shiba inu)! He is our love! I am getting worry about his diet: he is 7 months old and he is not just eating that much anymore, we change his food from Natural Choice to Puppy Chaw (or something like that) but I don’t know, if is just that or because his teeth has grown and now he wants another kind of food…. do you have suggestions?

    Thanks again for the post! I loved your site, it’s being very helpfull lol

    • shibashake says

      Hello Ana,

      Very nice to meet you. One of my neighbors just visited Brazil and he had a really good time there. I would love to visit one of these days. Maybe when the dogs are a bit older :)

      As for food, my Shiba also ate more when he was a pup. As he grew older, he started eating less because he wasn’t growing as fast as before.

      My Shiba is allergic to wheat though, so nowadays I feed him a high protein kibble. I am currently using Innova EVO with both my dogs and it has worked well. In general, it is best to use a kibble that does not contain wheat, corn, soy, or any fillers such as hull, etc.

      Here is more on the different types of dog diets.

      Hugs to Cisco!

  6. Raquel says

    Hello! I have an 8 year old Shiba who is the apple of my eye; which might’ve lead to the problem I’m now having. I did a lot of research before picking the Shiba Inu as my first dog. While the shiba personality matches me 100%, as he’s gotten older…he’s developed sudden aggression. And I mean sudden! A little background; he got along with other dogs until we moved somewhere not close to anyone with a dog, he has always been destructive (doors, trim, toys), but is pretty much 100% shiba. As I was petting him last night, on the rear (maybe in a place that was different??), when all of the sudden (no growls, no lip curl) he started attacking my arm! Loud barks and snarls but no bitting and lasted only seconds as I yelled to correct him. This also happened a few weeks ago after he had chewed up a rubber toy. I bent down to pick up the pieces, he was on his back (like I was gonna pet his belly) and as I picked up the last piece he jumped all over my arm, snarling, barking, and biting. SHOCKED, I kneed him in the chest and he flew accross the room. He “snaps” out of it within seconds of correction (which up until that point hadn’t been physical as I’ve always used verbal) but it was scary (reminds me of springer rage). He has done this with my fiance and I assumed it was an alphaa male thing, but now…I’m affraid it’s rage. Up until now, I’ve never been at the recieving end of his anger and I’d hate to think my only option is euthanaisa. Any thoughts?

    • shibashake says

      Hello Raquel,

      I would first consider taking him to the vet. It may be some internal aches and pains that he is responding to, which makes him more sensitive to handling.

      If not, then consider what has recently changed in his routine and environment. Usually when my Shiba exhibits aggression it is in response to something that has changed in his lifestyle. My Shiba really likes routine, so he gets stressed whenever big changes occur suddenly, and he does not understand them. I am the same way :)

      With dogs it is often about fear and stress rather than about anything else.

      Has this behavior only happened recently? Has he showed any guarding behavior before – with you or with strangers?

  7. jasmine says

    I wanted to get a shiba inu too but i feel it’s really great responsibility to get a dog especially breeds like shiba which needs a lot of attention. I read all of the comments and smiled to myself because it’s wonderful seeing how you guys are happy with your shibas ^^ I think I should give it a few years down the road to think again cos i want to make sure my pup has the right amount of care and attention. Thanks for sharing all these useful tips and advices!

    • shibashake says

      Hi Jasmine,
      Glad you enjoyed all the Shiba stories. I agree with you 100% that dogs especially certain breeds like the Shiba are a great responsibility. I wish I did more research, just like you, before getting my Shiba. He would have had a much easier first six months. As it was, we both had to go through some tough times – lol.

      When you get your little Shiba – he will be a very lucky guy to have found you! Have a great 2010!

  8. carla says

    I have a 12 year old black and tan Shiba. I love the rascal. He has a problem with chewing and licking his paws, and scratching his face incessantly. Anyone else experience this?

    • shibashake says

      Hi Carla,

      The two main causes that I know of for extreme dog scratching and itching are-
      1. Allergies – This could be food or skin.
      2. Skin parasites – .e.g. fleas or mites

      My Shiba had some food allergy issues initially and I was able to narrow it down to an allergic reaction to wheat. Has anything changed in your Shiba’s routine in terms of food or environment? Environmental changes could cause skin allergies if he is coming in contact with certain plants, chemicals, etc.

      My Siberian had an episode with skin mites early on. She got them from other puppies at daycare. In addition to the itching she also had hair loss on her paws and face. The vet was able to give us something to take care of the mites.

      Here is more on my experiences with dog itching.

    • carla says

      I went to the vet yesterday. He thinks that my dog, Yoshi, is allergic to grass. I already feed him a special diet due to his IBS problems. I don’t give him any dairy, for instance. The only carb in his natural dry dog food is oats. He doesn’t have fleas or mites. Does anyone know of any natural alternatives to treating canine allergies? Thank you for your comments thus far. :)

    • shibashake says

      Grass allergy can be tricky. Some things that may help -
      1. Use dog shoes when your Shiba is out for a walk.
      2. Wipe your Shiba’s paws and muzzle when he comes home from a walk. I just do that with a wet sponge.
      3. I also use DermaPaw on my Siberian’s feet to keep them tough and healthy. The people who created DermaPaw had dogs with pretty bad foot allergies, so it may be worthwhile to check out their website.

      You may also want to re-post your question on the Shiba nihonken Forum -
      http://www.shibainuforum.org/forum/

      Hope this helps. Let us know how it goes.

  9. Meg says

    Unfortunately, all of my entries on this site to date have been trying to find information just to make my life with my 9 month old shiba bearable. Today I am happy to report that I am writing on this site to sing the praises of my wonderful little shiba male (moksha)…We have recently put up a christmas tree and stockings all with in reach of my little tyrant…as you can well imagine I was prepared for a very long and drawn out fight with my little man. However, I have at this point only told him once not to chew on the branches of the tree and he has done wonderfully…I do believe that he is coming around and I am finding that the benefits of a shiba far out weight all the little excentricities that they are well known to have…I do believe that my little shiba has given me the best christmas present that any shiba owner could ask for…OBEDIENCE!!!

    signed,
    A Very Content Shiba Owner

    • shibashake says

      That is wonderful Meg! Go Moksha! And what a great name too (I looked it up on Wikipedia because it sounds so interesting).

      Yeah I also value obedience and affection from my Shiba a lot because it is harder to come by. I guess Shibas really have us figured out! :D

      Make sure to take lots of pictures of Moksha and share then with us in the new year. Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!

  10. S. McNeal says

    Our one year old, very high spirited and totally disobedient (at least with me who she obviously considered weak) has run away! It’s not the first time, but this time, I could not catch her and I am heartbroken. She was my son’s dog and only obedient with him (he’s been following the Cesar Milan training methods)and I hate to see him upset. She’s so beautiful that I’m sure if someone found her, they are thinking of keeping her. The difference with Foxxy though is that she loved to be touched and bathed and handled in general. She craved attention and like to give kisses and snuggle. She was not aggressive at all, with people or other dogs. Quite the contrary, she always thought all people and dogs should play with her. I’ve put up signs and contacted shelters and pray someone brings her back.

    • shibashake says

      Foxxy sound like such a good Shiba. My Shiba is more aloof, so he should definitely get some lessons from Foxxy.

      My breeder also told me that female Shibas tend to be more adventurous and are more likely to bolt. In fact, when I first visited my breeder, one of her female Shibas ran out and had a nice prowl around the neighborhood. She always returned home though after she had had her fun. I am sure Foxxy will as well.

      Our thoughts and positive Shiba energy are with you and Foxxy.

  11. Steven says

    I am interested in your “mouthy” comment. It is very true that Shiba’s are very mouthy, so much so that our puppy is beginning to nip people upon meeting. I wonder if you have any advice on how to “tame” this behaviour. He (Monty) also leaps up at people, which can be quite scary for some. But of course the Shiba only reads the scary reaction as more play and continues the assault! I had one couple actually try to kick Monty. It was like they had never seen a dog before!

    • shibashake says

      Here are some things that helped with my Shiba -
      1. Ask people to ignore him – no talking to him, no touch, and no eye-contact. The last one with very important but difficult for people to follow.
      2. As soon as he jumps, non-mark him (No or Ack-ack) and move him away from the people. Ask him for a Sit. If he complies and is calm, then you can try the greeting again after a short time.
      3. Initially my Shiba would escalate his behavior and start biting the leash or redirecting on me. When he does this I leave and end the fun walk.

      This way he learns that jumping and biting means he doesn’t get to interact with people at all but being calm will get him attention.

      The most difficult thing in terms of people greeting is that people will try to push the dog away, or otherwise engage with the dog physically when they are jumping and biting. This usually just gets my Shiba even more excited, and any kind of physical interaction is a reward to him. As a result his jumping and biting behavior was just getting reinforced.

      I also got some friends to come over to help with my people greeting training. This way I was sure that they would follow all of my instructions, and I had full control of the environment.

      Make sure that jumping and biting = they don’t get to meet at all; and only let them interact when they are calm and have all feet on the ground.

  12. Debra says

    I love the Shiba 500 comment! That is exactly what we call it when mine runs around the front yard in cirles! She is so energetic. We love the dog parks, she is very friendly with other dogs. At 42 pounds I now walk her on a front lead harness. It works well. She is now 8 months and I took her to get her nails trimmed….oh boy….for the first time ever she FREAKED!! THey had to put the cloth muzzle on her even though I was sitting right there. I guess I will be doing it from now on. WONDERFUL dog though…I love her!

    • shibashake says

      She is now 8 months and I took her to get her nails trimmed….oh boy….for the first time ever she FREAKED!!

      lol – yeah Sephy is not big on nail clipping either.

      I now do nail grinding and it is a very significant improvement. I don’t have to worry about clipping into the quick, and Sephy will actually lie down nicely and let me do it in return for some mackerel.

  13. Maria says

    Hello, I have a one year old Shiba. She is the love of my life. I have never had a dog quite as special as my Shiba. We actually named her Shiba because from day one that was the only name she would respond and react to. I have a question – I know that generally Shibas are never supposed to be off a leash. My Shiba has ran out of the house 5 times through one of her sneaky escape routes. She runs for a few blocks and I run after her until she gets tired and sits down for a rest, that’s when I grab her. Do you have any suggestions on how we can get her to stop or to obey my commands as im running after her? I always have this fear one day she will run too fast or too far and I won’t be able to keep up.

    • shibashake says

      Hello Maria,
      Shibas are big escape artists and they are not usually great on recall :)

      Here are some things that helped with my Shiba -
      1. Drag lead

      In the early days I left a drag lead on my Shiba. Only use a flat collar for this and only do this when you are around the house in case the lead gets caught on something. This way I don’t have to play his chasing games.

      My Shiba loved doing anything to get attention and then having people chase him. When he got naughty, all I had to do was step on his long drag lead and instead of getting to play chase he gets a time-out.

      2. Chasing reinforces the escaping behavior.

      To a Shiba having people chase them is a fun reward. This encourages them to escape more often because Escape = chase = lots of fun.

      Therefore you want to do everything you can to prevent the escapes and instead play chase games with your Shiba in the backyard. This way she learns that doing what you want = fun chase games.

      My Shiba loves playing the flirt pole and the water hose game. In the flirt pole he gets to chase around a squirrel-tail toy and in the water hose game he chases around a stream of water.

      In the early days I also crated my Shiba when he was alone in the house.

      3. Recall training.

      What worked well for me was to decrease the number of escapes (chasing episodes) and increase the number of recall successes. So while you are preventing the escapes, you can also start training her on recall. Sardines worked well for me in recall training. You can also throw in a fun game. She will quickly learn that

      Going to mommy = Fun chasing game :)

      4. Door Manners

      It also really helped to practice door manners with my Shiba. Every time before we go for a walk he has to come to me and Sit nicely while I put on his collar and lead. Then he does a stay while I open the door. He does not move until I give him the Break command.

      Make sure you can body block her if she breaks from her Stay. And if she does, the door closes and she doesn’t get to go for the fun walk. Then just keep practicing.

      She will quickly learn that rushing out the door = no fun walk and Sit/Stay = get to go for fun walk.

      Hope this will help you too. Let us know how it goes :)

  14. brendan says

    just a quick not to offer hope to others that read that you cant take your shiba off a lead.
    Well we have had dusty a while now and after getting her over the panic of having a lead on we are now able to take her to the park and let her off her lead. I would not do this in a small park or near cars/roads.
    Dusty is great for about 30 minutes then she starts to get a little over excited and want to chase birds or becomes very aloof and is hard to get back. we them put her back on the lead for 15 minutes before allowing her off again. its working great. we have been working very closly with the trainers on her recall prior to doing this.

    Lowerlifeform : I know what your saying about the cuddles. we are very lucky and Dusty loves a belly rub or a cuddle during the day, she does become a little less keen at night time unless we are eating. I wish you luck in your challenge

    • shibashake says

      That is awesome Brendan!

      Btw. please give us a link to some Dusty pictures when you get the chance. Would love to see one with the belly rub :)

    • brendan says

      Shibashake

      if you provide me a address to send the pics to i would love to share them.
      I feel that i must have got one of a kind in my shiba as when we did her nails it was so funny it was as if she was a lady in a nail shop she just sat there and gave us her two front paws.
      One of the odds things with her is that when every you give her a bone from the butchers she is sick.. Anyone else have this problem.

      With regards to the letting of the lead, i would suggest alot of work with a trainer on recall and follow their advice. Dusty is great but i would never let her off her lead walking the streets ect as she can be fickle at time. I never chase her but call and then walk in the other way. she wants to know what i am doing so soon come running after me.

    • shibashake says

      I feel that i must have got one of a kind in my shiba as when we did her nails it was so funny it was as if she was a lady in a nail shop she just sat there and gave us her two front paws.

      LOL! Yeah Dusty sounds like a very balanced and well-temperamented Shiba. Did you get her from a local breeder? Or did you have her shipped? Did you visit the breeder prior?

      Sephy was not very well socialized by his breeder so he is a bit neurotic :) Also, I could have done a lot better when I first got him.

      Anyway, write to me here when you have the time.

    • brendan says

      I got her from a local breader, there is only 4 that i could find in the UK. she was about 2 hours away from where i live.
      We visited twice and she stood out as not being to forward but not shying away to much.
      she cost us £950 ($1700) and we had to sign an agreement to say that we would not breed her.
      she is fantastic the only things she does that are a bit naughty are she likes to chew the sofa if not watched, likes to eat the lawn and is not very keen on little kids. She is ok but if there are 2 or more at a time she gets very shy and scared. She is fine with adults tho.
      Love the happy noises she makes when ever i get home for work or if i have just left the house for 10 minutes you would think i had not seen her for a week, she is a treat to come home to.

      B

  15. JAMES STONE says

    me and my fiance are sooooo interested in this breed and seems to fit our lifestyle and personalitys perfectly. we have both grown up with different dogs and animals such as birds, ferrets, cats, iguanas, and dogs. i would appreciate any input or advise from current Shiba owners to a new couple wanting to adopt one to join our family!! thank you
    jimmy

    • shibashake says

      Hi James,

      Shibas can be great dogs but they are definitely on the higher maintenance side, especially in the beginning. They tend to be more stubborn than other dog breeds, and are also more prone to mouthiness. As a result, they need to be closely supervised when interacting with children and seniors.

      They are also a hunting breed and will often go after cats and small critters.

      I had a lot of problems with my Shiba initially. He was extremely mouthy and he was very good at using his many Shiba skills to manipulate me. I had to go through a lot with him, and put in a lot of time, but ultimately he taught me a lot about Shibas, dogs, and life :)

      Also check out the nihonken Shiba message boards. There are many knowledgeable Shiba owners there.

      In the beginning I visited many message boards and got a lot of useful information from other Shiba owners who have gone through similar Shiba problems.

      It also helped to see that my Shiba was just being a regular Shiba and was not some mutant devil Shiba :D

      Two paws up to you for adopting a Shiba in need!

  16. Lowerlifeform says

    HELP!! I feel I am the lower life form here. My 2 shibas could care less about me(unless i have a porkchop hanging around my neck). I give them a healthy lifestyle; good puzzle games, long walks, trip to mickey Ds’, but they never want to play, cuddle, get pet,or hang out with me. They dont want anything to do with me unless it involves food. A friend of mine suggested smearing peanut butter all over myself of which I am serious considering… any suggestions???

    • shibashake says

      they never want to play, cuddle, get pet,or hang out with me.

      Yeah Shibas are an aloof breed. My Shiba is not really into getting too much affection either. When he gets too much unwanted attention he will get up and walk away – as if to say “Talk to the butt” :) My Sibe really loves attention though, so they make a really good pair.

      Also dogs may sometimes see hugging and cuddling as a dominance move. When dogs interact with other dogs, the gesture of putting their paw over the shoulder of another dog is sometimes used to show dominance.

      You can enhance the hugging experience for your dog by slowly desensitizing him to it, and tying the hugging experience with positive rewards.

      Here are some ways to help your dog enjoy hugging.

  17. shibaveteran says

    My two 15 year old Shibas(boy and girl) and what’s been helpful for me when taking them for walks (we stopped going to dog parks years ago where they made scene after scene because of the boys’ dominance issues)is when your about to meet with another dog assert your dominance and tell him to sit down (let him know you mean it) stand where you are between the two dogs line of sight. It seems they arent aggressive when they know that I am there acting as the dominant one to protect them. After 15 years they still look like puppies and get lots of attention, however they better than ever at being shibas! :)

  18. Meg says

    Never a dull moment, It feels like it’s one thing after another with my Shiba. I am currently having trouble with my shiba. The problem is that he seems to be having trouble with little big man syndrome. He was kicked out of day care because of his mouthy nature and I tried to keep socializing him at a dog park, but he has been been starting fights there as well. He growls and shows his teeth…I haven’t seen him bite any other dogs yet, but he does alot of snapping at other dogs. What do I do?…I have tried some of the dog whisperers tactics but they don’t seem to be working with him…HE IS RELENTLESS…His manners with people also leave something to be desired…he doesn’t bite people, but it seems that no matter how much exercise he gets…he is still an endless supply of energy. he goes for long walks and he walks on a treadmill several times a day but he is still always bouncing around…PLEASE HELP!…I want desparately to fulfill his needs but he just seems to be soo hyper all the time….I would very much appreciate some new ideas…One of the great things about him though is that he is extremely mentally challenging and I can’t imagine life without him…and no matter how obnoxious he is I can’t be mad at him. He is the most adorable dog, but he is driving me nuts.

    • shibashake says

      Hi Meg,

      What you describe sounds eerily familiar :)

      He was kicked out of day care because of his mouthy nature and I tried to keep socializing him at a dog park, but he has been been starting fights there as well.

      I have tried putting my Shiba in 3 different daycares, and only after doing research on them and checking each of them out. He didn’t like any of them. Spent the whole time whining, and wanting to play too rough. Ultimately, I think the whole experience was just very frustrating for him as well as for the people at the daycare – lol.

      I have also tried enclosed dog-parks – which I do not do anymore because the environment is too unstructured for an excitable Shiba. He started practicing bad behaviors and also became a lot more mouthy.

      What worked best for my Shiba in his younger days was to have nice neighborhood dogs come over for visits and do one on one playgroups that I supervised. One of my neighbors had a lovely dog that she found abandoned on the road. Her dog – Kai – is extremely social and friendly. Kai was best friends with my Shiba. Whenever we walked by her house, my Shiba would sit by the gate and wait for Kai to come out and play :)

      I also took him to my nearby SPCA to play with social dogs there – one on one.

      Another thing you could try is to find a dog walker that does group dog walks at hiking parks (not enclosed parks). My Shiba did that for a while – but the walker wanted to start using a choke chain on him – so it didn’t work out in the end. Only use a dog walker with a lot of experience. It is better if the walker is also a trainer or linked to a trainer. Otherwise – he/she will not be able to handle a Shiba.

      I have tried some of the dog whisperers tactics but they don’t seem to be working with him…HE IS RELENTLESS

      Some of Cesar Millan’s techniques worked well on my Shiba but some of them made things a lot worse. In particular, what Cesar says about energy and being calm and assertive is very true and absolutely necessary for a Shiba. My Shiba is extremely sensitive to my energy so I always stay calm with him.

      Techniques that didn’t work out include alpha rolls and leash jerks. Those made things a lot worse for my Shiba.
      http://shibashake.com/dog/3-dog-training-techniques

      Here are some things that helped when my Shiba was younger and also very hyper. My Shiba also loves playing the flirt pole and the water hose game.

      My Shiba got a lot more calm after over 1 year. Nowadays I just walk him in the morning, and he is good for the rest of the day. Most of the time he is too lazy to even play with my Sibe. She has to really convince him before he will awake from the royal Shiba nap :)

  19. brendan says

    Dusty has also started puppy classes and the trainers are all so impressed that after two weeks she knows sit and lay and is also toilet trained. Do have the odd accident but such is life and happily they tend to be round my parents house when she is playing with their black labs

    Dusty has recently taken to eating the grass which is so funny she comes in with mud all up her nose. When we first got her she was red and white but as time goes past she is getting more black (dad is black and white) she looks so cute also makes everyone think she is a husky puppy and not a fox which is handy as i was starting to getting some funny looks walking around with a puppy that looked like a fox on a lead lol.

    • shibashake says

      lol Brendan. I love your stories of Dusty!

      Yeah my Siberian has started eating grass as well because she wants to follow her older brother :)

      The other day while Shiba was poking around in the grass, he caught/found a lizard! It was his first one – he is usually pretty lame about catching anything. The funny thing was, once he caught it he didn’t really know what to do with it.

      He just let it go – probably because he was grossed out by it. Can’t get the royal Shiba paws dirty :D

  20. Jason says

    Nice website. I’ve had my male Shiba for 7 months now and he is the best puppy I ever had. Loves to lick you, sleep with you, and is very friendly with everyone including other dogs. I’ve done the socialization from day one and put him in the fetal(on the back) position anytime he acts up. I do recommend a puppy training class for new owners. Worked like a charm. He basically learned all the simple commands after 3 weeks! Very smart dogs! I am amazing. btw, the Shiba 500 is the funniest thing ever! lol

    • Jason says

      Sorry had to make a correction. He basically learned all the simple commands after 3 weeks! Very smart dogs! I am AMAZED, not amazing =)

    • shibashake says

      Hi Jason,

      You are also pretty amazing for bringing-up such a well-adjusted Shiba. :)

      Yeah they are so extremely smart. I just wish mine would use his smarts for Good rather than for Chaos :)

  21. Gracie Joe says

    My blackand tan female is about 2 years now. At about 18 months a friends girlfriend had her for a day. She taught her sign language in one afternoon.she knows sit,down, and stay at a snap. and even not using it much she remembers it instantantley.

  22. Brendan says

    Hi All

    Well today was the big day and after 8 weeks of reading and thinking about it and waiting we brought home our shiba. she is a red 11 week old and is wonderful. We have already run into the first difficulty which we would welcome advice on. We put her lead on today as we wanted to walk her around the block so she could have a smell and were treated to the shiba scream (ohhh it really did make my blood run cold). is there something we could do to her her get used to the lead? she has been sulking for about an hour and is only now starting to even look at me :-(

    thanks.

    • shibashake says

      Hi Brendan,
      Congratulations on getting a Shiba! They are a pretty awesome breed that will keep you on your toes all the time. :)

      One thing that helped with my Shiba is to fasten the leash onto the collar, and just let her drag it around. This will help her get comfortable with the feel of leash.

      Make sure to supervise so that the leash does not get caught on anything. And only do this with a flat collar.

      You can also play the Find-it game with her while she has the leash on. Fasten the leash and bring out some of her favorite treats. Throw one a small distance away and say find-it. Once she gets it, praise her a lot and throw another one and so on. This way you get her moving around and playing something fun with the lead on.

      Once she learns to Find-It you can throw in some recalls. Walk a few steps away from her and call her. Praise her a lot for coming to you, treat her, and then do a Find-It, then just keep repeating.

      She will quickly get used to the leash and see it as something really positive.

    • brendan says

      Thanks for getting back to us so quickly. We had a great night with Dusty. She sat between us and cuddled for about an hour before she wanted to take herself of to bed. My other half was cuffed as she was worried she would not be a dog that wanted to sit with us and cuddle.
      As for the leash thing, we have put it on her (we got a look but no scream which was good as it was 6.15am) and have started to play games with her and see seems ok. We will keep doing this for a few days before we try and take her out on it.

      I am so amazed at how much a Shiba can say to you with just a look, unlike any dog I have ever had before. Dusty is of the mind that she is royalty that’s for sure.

    • shibashake says

      I am so amazed at how much a Shiba can say to you with just a look, unlike any dog I have ever had before.

      lol – my Shiba is especially communicative when he wants something from me or when he is unhappy about something. It is tough to resist him when he is doing his best begging positions :) He is a very good moocher.

      But I know what you mean. I was just commenting on another page that Shibas have a large repertoire of looks, poses, and moves. Many of them are very funny and entertaining. That is how a Shiba earns his/her room and board :)

      Glad to hear that Dusty is settling in so well. Sephy usually just gives me the “talk to the butt” move.

      Let me know how the walks go. Sounds like she will be fine now – and will be pulling you around in no time :D

    • Brendan says

      WOW it has been a long weekend.

      After the first night when she slept really well we had a copy where she cry/howled from 11pm till 5am. After going to the lady living next door with some flowers and explaining that it might be a noisy time for a few nights, we decided to just let her cry it out. We gave her a radio playing quietly next to her cage and a couple of toys as well as a fluffy teddy with a clock in it.

      It’s now been 3 nights and she still cries for 30mins when first put to bed and a couple of time during the night but we can live with that just because she is such a ball of excitement during the day.

      She loves to sit between us on the sofa and nap. She is just starting to show some interest in chewing the tables so having to watch her like a hawk.

      We have taken her to meet the mother in laws dog (cocker span) and they get on great gun (dusty is clearly the boss and play is on her terms)

      Hope all are well.

      B

    • shibashake says

      After the first night when she slept really well we had a copy where she cry/howled from 11pm till 5am.

      lol – I remember those nights! You have some really good advice –
      1. Be a good neighbor!
      2. Leave a radio playing.
      3. Soft teddy with calming ticking sound.

      One thing that really helped with my Shiba is to put his crate in the bedroom. He is a lot more calm when he can keep an eye on his people I think :)

      How goes the walking?

    • brendan says

      well the nights she is now better at going to sleep but still has a cry every couple of hours and then is so excited when you go and see her in the morning.
      Dusty will now walk around the block but does get worried when cars go past. She really is hard work but so rewarding.

      Love her to bits and its only been a week lol.

      just out of interest. people here feed their shiba on wet or dry food. we tried dry but she was not so keen so moved on to some natural wet food (meat fit or human consumption) so it i very get snowed in we can all share the chicken, rice and veg packs ;-)

    • shibashake says

      If i very get snowed in we can all share the chicken, rice and veg packs

      LOL! Sounds yummy! One time CNBC was highlighting the dog food industry and they had the Wellness CEO come on for an interview. He ate his own dog food during the interview – always remembered that! He offered it to the news anchor but was declined :D

      As for food I give both my dogs Innova EVO kibble mixed with some boiled chicken or cheese. I like using kibble because I can use them with the interactive toys. Both of them can get a bit picky about the kibble, but they will work for it and eat it when they are hungry.

      They will always mooch for the good stuff, but they know that they have to finish the kibble before they get more of the good stuff :)

  23. Kathy says

    hello,
    Ive been enjoying reading all the questions and answers here as it has helped me a lot with understanding what I am getting myself into getting a new Shiba puppy. I have a question that I have not seen answered yet. I am getting a male puppy and was trying to decide whether to have him neutered or not. What are the differences in personality with a male that is not neutered compared to one that is. Normally I have had all my pets neutered but with this one I was thinking of possibly using him as a stud. Any advice would be greatly appreciated and I get the feeling I will be visiting here a LOT and asking for LOTS of advice.
    Thank!!

    • shibashake says

      What are the differences in personality with a male that is not neutered compared to one that is.

      Hi Kathy,
      I don’t breed dogs so I don’t have first hand experience with this. From what I have read and heard from breeders, unfixed dogs can be more dominant and can trigger aggression in other fixed dogs. They also tend to want to roam more, especially if there are unfixed females around.

      My neutered Shiba is already enough of a challenge for me :)

      One thing you can do is call up the accredited Shiba breeders near you and ask them for advice. My Shiba breeder was just starting out when I got Sephy from her, and what she did was attach herself to a more established breeder so that she could get help on breeding and showing her dogs.

      I contacted many of the Shiba breeders around my area when I was having troubles with Sephy and they were very helpful and supportive. I even visited a few of them and got to see how they set up their kennels.

  24. SHIBALOVER says

    yeah i have a shiba who is almost 2 years old and he always gives me the shiba look
    i caught him eating my one thousand doller phone i would normally be so pissed he looked at me with those eyes i couldn’t resist them so i gave him a hug and praised him LOL bad thing to do i know but his adorable

  25. Cayla Laughman says

    Hi. We have a female Siberian Husky and are thinking about getting a male Shiba Inu. Do you think they would be ok together? Our female is very much ‘The Boss’ (or so she thinks she is) when it comes to other dogs & I’m not sure how she’d like a little male puppy running around.

    • shibashake says

      Hi Cayla,
      It can be difficult to tell how dogs will get along. When I got Shania (my Siberian) I got her for a trial period of 2 weeks. I wanted to use that time to see if my Shiba got along well with her, and whether we were the right home for her.

      It turned out really well.

      Before I got her, I looked into adopting a dog, and brought my Shiba to meet several rescue Siberians. That didn’t go as well because my Shiba tended to spook the rescue dogs and they got aggressive with him.

      It is best to meet the dogs first, or bring the dog/puppy home for a trial period. Then evaluate if getting a new dog will enhance the quality of life for everyone in the family.

  26. Meg says

    I need some more advice…My now 7 month old shiba male will be getting neutered this friday. Do you have any advice about care after being neutered? I know that I really can’t baby him too much, I don’t want to make him insecure, but some advice would be good. I have never had a dog neutered before so I don’t know what to expect. Thank you Again

    • shibashake says

      Hi Meg,
      The hardest part of the neutering will be to keep your active Shiba fairly sedate for at least 7-10 days. No jumping or running around.

      Mine totally hated the e-collar and tried getting out of it. He half succeeded one time, and got minor cuts on his lip as a result.

      Some things that helped -
      1. First day he will be pretty out of it – so I just left mine alone.
      2. Frozen Kongs to keep Shiba somewhat entertained. I held it for him because of the e-collar.
      3. Make sure the e-collar is on properly. Initially, they only put his collar through 2 of the e-collar tabs and that was how my Shiba half got it off.
      4. E-collar was a must for my Shiba because as soon as it goes off, he was trying to get at his stitches.
      5. Make sure you don’t give Shiba too much free reign – no Shiba running during this time. I had a long drag lead on mine, and had him in the kitchen with a baby door when I could not supervise. If he still wants to run and jump, you could also consider using a tie-down.
      6. Figure out new ways to challenge Shiba mentally – he will have a lot of pent up energy because he can’t do his usual physical things. Put cheese in rubber toys to get him interested in chewing, etc.
      7. I was very happy when the stitches and e-collar came out :D Probably happier than my Shiba!

    • Meg says

      hello…I was hoping for some more ideas…my shiba just got neutered on friday and he is in very good spirits…he is doing well at not licking the stitches and he’s even doing well at not doing his little shiba run, but there is a problem…HE IS GETTING INTO EVERYTHING!!!…I think it’s cause he’s bored and i’ve tried to come up with things to keep him mentally challenged…I.E. Kongs w/peanut butter, hiding treats that sniff around and find…I even got him some new toys, but instead he’s stealing things off the coffee table and today he even tried to take my sock right off my foot…PLEASE HELP!!!…I need some ideas on how to keep him mentally engaged…he is used to having a good hour and a half walk every day plus extra exercise so he is going crazy…any and all ideas would be most helpful…thank you very much…GOD I LOVE SHIBA INU’S…never a dull moment.

    • shibashake says

      Hi Meg – Hang in there :) My Shiba drove me CRAZY during this period as well.

      Chew toys could keep him occupied for some time – especially if you stick pieces of cheese onto it. Do you have the Nylabone Rhino ball? Sometimes I stick sardines into the holes of the ball and my Shiba really loves that. Here are more food toy ideas

      My Shiba also loves shredding up cardboard. As long as your Shiba does not show an inclination towards eating cardboard, this could be another interesting activity. Just don’t let him eat the cardboard as that could lead to digestive issues.

      The e-collar will probably get in the way of some of these activities, so make sure to only give him challenges that he can solve with the e-collar on, or with some help from you.

      I am not usually a proponent of using sedatives – but this is a special one time case where limited use of sedatives could be helpful. It is best to talk to your vet about this option.

    • Meg says

      I MADE IT!!! my shiba’s stitches came out this week and he is back to his wonderful little self. However, he picked up the habbit of biting while he was recovering…I need some ideas on how to deal with that…I definately don’t want him biting…I swear it’s one thing after another with my shiba….sometimes I do wish that he could have a lab personality for one day a week so that I could have a break…I still wouldn’t trade him for the world…I must be crazy..anyways…I would really appreciate any advice you might have.

    • shibashake says

      YAY Meg!! I was ecstatic when my Shiba’s stitches came off! Hurrah to you and your Shiba :D

      As for the biting what worked best for me are -
      1. Redirection – non-mark (ack ack) for the bite and redirect him onto a sanctioned toy. If he redirects, praise him, play with him and maybe put some food on the toy so that he will play with it.

      2. Time-out – There will be times when Shiba does not redirect and will keep wanting to mouth on you. If he does not stop after you non-mark him and does not want to redirect, then say time-out in a stern voice, and put him in timeout briefly. Ask him for a command before letting him out of timeout. If he goes back to biting, put him back in timeout.

      3. Bite inhibition – Shibas are naturally very mouthy, so bite inhibition is a very useful thing to train them on.

      Here are more details on the techniques for puppy biting.

  27. Anna Pavlova says

    I am wishing to bring a Shiba into our family. I have two children 5 & 6, along with 2 male Ragdoll cats…(my husband is getting further down that peking list). 1. Do you think that I would be placing my cats in any danger by adding a Shiba to the family? I think that they are just gorgeous, but I am afraid that this dog may “turn” and bite one. 2.Also, are these dogs ok with being kept in a roon like the laundry to sleep at night. 3.Is a male dog “easier” than a female?

    Fingers and toes crossed, that this is workable.

    With thanks Anna.

    • shibashake says

      Hello Anna,
      It is great that you are doing so much research before getting a dog. I didn’t do much before getting my Shiba Inu and ended up with a holy terror on my hands :)

      1. Do you think that I would be placing my cats in any danger by adding a Shiba to the family?

      How dogs are wrt. cats often depends on their prey drive. Shibas have pretty high prey drives given that they are hunting dogs, so their instinct will be to chase cats and other small animals. You can train a Shiba to live with cats, especially if you train them from young. However, given their higher prey drive, you will need to put time into training and they will not generalize across different cats. You may need to repeat the training for each different cat.

      2.Also, are these dogs ok with being kept in a roon like the laundry to sleep at night.

      My Shiba really likes being with his people so he likes being in the room with the family at night. That being said, dogs can get used to almost anything. Shibas are extremely stubborn though, so there may be a whole lot of whining and such in the meantime.

      3.Is a male dog “easier” than a female?

      Based on my conversations with Shiba owners, that certainly seems to be the case. I don’t have a female Shiba, and don’t plan to get one. My male Shiba is challenging enough :)

      Shibas also tend to be aloof and can be mouthy with people. All this is trainable, but they are harder to train and take more time to train because of their stubborn nature.

      Your kids may have more fun with a less aloof, and more people oriented dog breed.

      Let us know what you decide :)

  28. Bill says

    We have many Shibas and they all have their time in the house alternately. They stay in the house alone for many hours each day and don’t destroy anything. Our first one was in the house when we went to visit a friend for the day. However, a snow storm came up suddenly and we were stuck away from home for 2 days. Upon returning home we expected to find piles and puddles, but, to our surprise (pleasant surprise) there were neither. I must admit she was VERY ready to go outside!!! In our sixteen years of owning Shibas we have only had three that destroyed things and only in their very young ages. We start training early and their mothers teach them, as well.

    • shibashake says

      Hi Bill,

      In our sixteen years of owning Shibas we have only had three that destroyed things and only in their very young ages.

      You must have very good Shiba kung-fu! If there are any good tips that you can share with us, please post them below. I think lots of Shiba owners will be very thankful- including me :)

  29. Lance says

    I’ve had my Male Black and Tan shiba for about 1 1/2yrs. He does almost everything that is listed on this page. From knocking stuff of the counters, dressers, and end tables then destroys them. Sometimes my cat even helps him out by knocking stuff off so he can get it. But lately I’ve had a problem I can’t seem to fix. I recently adopted a female pitbull they get along pretty well accept at dinner time. But that isn’t my problem he recently has been going #2 in my bedroom in the same spot almost every time. This is right after I take him for a 20-30 min walk in the morning. It’s like he’s holding it just to spite me. He’s never had this problem until we moved into our new apartment. I don’t know what to do if you could give me any kind of insight I would appreciate it.

    Thank You,
    Lance

    • shibashake says

      Hi Lance,
      It could be that the particular spot has smells from a cat or perhaps a dog from the previous owner of the apartment? Try cleaning out that spot with enzymatic cleaner, that is specially made for pets.

      Be consistent with your rules and discipline in the new apartment. Dogs don’t tend to generalize across different locations, so your Shiba may think that the old rules do not apply to the new apartment.

      Also sounds like there has been a fair number of big changes for Shiba (new apartment, new dog), and he may be stressed from it. My Shiba really likes routine and structure, and he gets really stressed out whenever there are changes in my schedule or if anything unexpected occurs.

      Other things that may help –
      1. Start establishing a fixed routine again.
      2. Close the door to your bedroom for now and always supervise him when he is in your bedroom so that you can stop him if he looks like he is about to go potty.
      3. Exercise him more, for now, so that he has a healthy outlet for his stress.
      4. Make sure that your new dog is playing nice with your Shiba.
      5. Make sure to apply the same rules and same discipline to both dogs.

  30. timber says

    i had my a cream seven mth old shiba for about five mths now and he does about the same thing mentioned on this page. He whines when he cant follow me in some areas of the house and its hilarous. He makes it seem like its the end of the world. he use to rip up my bedsheets and bite anything he can find. However i bought him those rawhide bones an he loves them. Doesnt bother with my covers anymore. But he still pulls on my pillows when he wants to go outside in the morning. Love him to death though even though he destroyed my furniture the first mth i had him. He also that shiba 500 which is hilarous and he also likes to climb stairs and walk on thin ledges like a cat. Lol. By the way your shiba is adorable. =)

    • shibashake says

      Hi Timber – your Shiba sounds adorable! I especially like the walking on thin ledges bit.

      Love him to death though even though he destroyed my furniture the first mth i had him.

      lol – yeah, Shibas are not the easiest to love, but we love them anyway :)

  31. Meg says

    I have another problem with my 6 month old male shiba inu. Most of the time I think that I overreact to every little thing. I want so bad for him to be happy and healthy. For the last week my shiba inu has been sneezing alot and very hard…everything else about his health seems fine…he is eating, drinking, peeing and pooping normally. He doesn’t seem to be lathargic at all. He is just sneezing soooo much. The vet says that it could be allergies, but nothing in the house has changed since he came home at 8 weeks and I’ve never seen him sneeze like this…do you have any suggestions. By the way I very much appreciate your previous advice and it’s worked wonders for him…Thank you so much for all help

    signed,
    Concerned Shiba Parent

    • shibashake says

      Hi Meg,

      Most of the time I think that I overreact to every little thing.

      I am the same way too. When he got his first tick I rushed him to the emergency room – lol. The nurses there thought I was totally nuts :)

      As for the sneezing, my Shiba also does that sometimes. I think it is due to the change in seasons, and different types of pollen getting into the air. If it gets bad, I give him some allergy medicine. Your vet should be able to help you with that.

      It doesn’t sound like this is the case here, but I do want to mention that sometimes, sneezing can also be caused by some foreign object in the nose. One time my Shiba got a fox-tail in his nose, and it was really bad. I took him to the emergency room for that because fox-tails are really bad news for dogs. It gets in there and sticks and won’t come out on its own. But when that happened, he was also sneezing out blood. Now I am very careful to keep him away from those things.

      Btw. I really like The Well Dog Book
      by Terri McGinnis. She is a vet and she writes about all the common health issues with dogs, what symptoms to look out for, and when a vet visit is necessary.

      Hugs to your Shiba. Please let me know how it goes.

  32. safa alvand says

    Hello my name is safa and i just baught a shiba inu for my birthday because he was just too cute but i didnt realize what kind of dog he is and how hyper he is i have a 2 year old maltese that i had since he was two months old and the shiba and the maltese nonstop fight but the maltese sits down and the shiba bites alot and hurts my maltese and makes him scream i always have to keep them seperate and i dont want to give away my shiba and im afraid of the shiba getting older and seriously injuring my maltese do you have any advise on what i should do. if you can email me at [snipped e-mail] thank you so much

    • shibashake says

      Hello Safa,

      To keep yourself safe from spam-emails, it is best not to post your e-mail address in the text of comments. For this reason, I have taken out your email in the post above.

      As you have probably read from the article and comments above, Shibas are difficult dogs and usually require a fair amount of time, effort, and patience to train. You need to ask yourself if you truly truly have the time to commit to your Shiba.

      If so, I would consider getting a professional trainer. Here are two articles that may also be helpful –

      Puppy Obedience Training

      Shiba Inu training secrets

      If you decide that the Shiba is too much to handle at this time, then now is probably a good time to find a different home for him. He is young, so he is probably most adoptable now, and will be able to find a good alternate home.

  33. Mark says

    Females are the alpha of this species, not the males. If there are two pregnant females in the pack, they will fight to the death. I think mine really is a cat in dogs clothing. She’s friendly to every animal. She will swim (while I walk) along the breakwater, gladly. A year ago, she managed to leap from my car window. The window was cracked as usual, but she got some leverage from a blanket up against the door. Broken leg = $4,500 and lesson learned.

    • shibashake says

      Females are the alpha of this species, not the males.

      Isn’t that the case with everything? ;)

      And yeah I definitely agree with you that the female Shibas rule. From the breeders I have met, it seems that this is true with other breeds as well. This would be a great poll to have. Thanks! :)

  34. Debra says

    I just got a shiba. She is 6 months old. I am glad to hear all the comments about how active they can be. Thank goodness I like to take walks!! Now, about leash training….any helpful hints. She loves to run ahead and explore, she is interested in EVERYTHING. I don’t want to be one of those people whose dog walks them.

    • shibashake says

      Hi Debra,

      The red-light, green-light as well as turn-around techniques both worked very well for me.

      red-light, green-light -
      Every time the leash gets tight, I stop. As soon as the leash is loose again, I start walking again. In the beginning I had to start and stop a lot but after a while my Shiba learned to stop pulling because pulling gets him nowhere.

      turn-around –
      Sometimes, my Shiba will keep pulling and pulling because he is excited about something in front of him. He may even keep pulling and choke himself when we are stopped. When Shiba is too excited, I will turn around and walk back where we came. Once he starts walking nicely again, I turn back and see how he does.

      I consistently kept repeating these two techniques and Sephy learned that pulling never gets him in the direction that he wants to go. Once that happens, he stopped pulling.

      Initially, I used a harness while walking my Shiba so that he won’t choke himself while pulling.

      Here is more on leash training –
      Leash Training my Shiba Inu

  35. Kt says

    my shiba hits each of these characteristics on the nose. She is wild, crazy, and out of control most of the time, while also having a sensitive, sweet, lovable side. once i had her, i knew she’d stick with me for a long time. they are such a hyper energy level breed you wouldn’t believe. i recommend this dog for someone who is also very active and likes to keep running. not someone who doesn’t have the patience.

    • shibashake says

      I recommend this dog for someone who is also very active and likes to keep running. not someone who doesn’t have the patience.

      Great advice. Shibas have to be exercised every day. In addition, they *will* challenge you – more so in the beginning but they will probably do it for their entire life. Patience is key for any dog, but especially for a Shiba :)

  36. Breynn says

    You talk about Shibas being smart. My Shiba, Jiji, is very good at sneaking out the house…most of the time. If my husband or I leave the door open, even a crack, he will find any chance he can to sneak out. But if my kids open the door and leave it wide open he will just sit inside. The kids are ages 2 & 4 and somehow Jiji knows that they are not responsible enough to shut the door and he won’t leave. He will sit inside with the door wide open and not go anywhere. Too smart.

  37. Meg says

    I have some training issues with my shiba…he gets good exercise everyday and I try to give him alot of attention and play with him alot…however, more recently he is whining alot…I will take him outside and then when we come back into the house he will whine within 15minutes of being in the house…any suggestions?

    • shibashake says

      Hi Meg,
      Yeah, don’t give in to the whining. Shibas will often use that to get what they want. Is your Shiba already potty trained? If so, just ignore the whining and only let him out when the whining stops. Don’t give him anything when he is whining, as that will only reinforce that behavior.

      As soon as he stops whining, wait a short bit more for some quiet, mark him (good boy), then let him out. Then, slowly increase the quiet time on subsequent sessions. You can also ask for an obedience command before you let him out. My Shiba always has to sit before I open the door for him.

      You have to try and really ignore him though – which means no giving in, and no feeling bad, irritated, stressed, etc. Shibas are very sensitive to human energy, and as long as they get a reaction from you, even just an internal reaction, they will keep going.

      You can also try a time-out, but I find that ignoring is usually sufficient with my Shiba.

      Also, the NILIF program is a very good idea for Shibas. Don’t do anything for Shiba unless he does something for you first – he sits before he goes out, he lies down before he gets toys, etc.

      Of course, if Shiba is sick, then you want to let him out etc. whenever he needs to.

    • Meg says

      Thank you very much, I tried what you said and it worked in one day. I have another question…when I first brought my shiba home I made the mistake of leaving his food out for him all the time…Now I am trying to get him on a schedule but nothing I’ve tried has worked he still won’t eat very much…do you have any suggestions on an eating routine…He is a six month old shiba

    • shibashake says

      Glad to hear that it worked out. As for the food, just do the same thing. Shibas can get extremely picky about their food if you let them. I give Sephy his food on my schedule, and I also make him work for it by using interactive food toys. If he doesn’t want to eat it, that is fine. I take it away after a bit. At the next scheduled time, I try again. Sephy will eat when he is hungry.

      Sometimes my Shiba won’t eat for a whole day, then the next day he makes up for it. To get my Shiba to work for me, and do grooming tasks, I usually use high priority food.

  38. Ann says

    I have to agree with you on almost your entire website. But i think Shiba’s can be home all day and not destroy your house if you manage them right. I have a 3 year old male named Omi and he stays home Monday-Friday from 7am- 5pm with out destroying my house, the kids toys or misbehaving. After work the kids and I come home and we either take him on a 3-5 mile walk or we play “Shiba Soccer” in the backyard to help him get rid of the pent up Shiba Crazy Energy that builds all day while we are gone. It took about 6 months to be able to leave him uncrated during the day, but he does great! By the time we get home he has emptied his bucket of toys and hidden them all over the house and we spend half the night finding his toys and putting them back in his toy box so he can hide them again the next day.

    On the puddles, Omi will literally stop walking and wait for me to carry him over the puddles. Getting his feet wet is not an option.

    • shibashake says

      But i think Shiba’s can be home all day and not destroy your house if you manage them right.

      I think you are right – but the key words are “if you manage them right” :) As you describe, they still require a lot of exercise, play time, and attention. 3-5 mile walk and Shiba Soccer sound great! Lucky Shiba!

      Love the toy hide-and-seek. My Shiba does that too, but only on toys that he ‘thinks’ he is not supposed to have. He likes going for the toys on shelves and such. Or he will try to open the closed toy-box. Sometimes I will challenge him by putting toys in hard to get places – lol.

  39. Stacie says

    You couldn’t be more right about shibas! My Salem is a cream male that is such a goofball. He puts his head on the ground with his butt in the air and digs sideways. He hates water but loves to play in the rain and has a ball in the mud. I’d love to get another but our pug is content being the baby in the family! lol

    • shibashake says

      He puts his head on the ground with his butt in the air and digs sideways.

      LOL! That sounds like a Shiba! Mine does the sideways walk thing when I scratch him on his hind legs. Shibas really are clowns. They are always coming up with new stand-up routines. :)

      He hates water but loves to play in the rain and has a ball in the mud.

      That is exactly like my Shiba – lol. I should really include this in the article. My Shiba walks to avoid puddles of water on the sidewalk, but likes playing in the mud pools at the park :D

      Shibas really make life interesting …

  40. JNew says

    i am looking at a shiba at a rescue and it was kinda hyper, in its own world, definatly her personality described evrything u said, but she has been in there for a month and is about 1-2 yrs old, is a stray. do u think she has hope? for training? thanks!

    • shibashake says

      Thanks for dropping by JNew, and it is really great that you are considering adopting a dog.

      All healthy dogs can be retrained and managed. Some dogs however will take more time, and patience. Shibas tend to be more difficult to train because they are naturally stubborn and dominant.

      It all depends on what you want from a dog, how much time you have, and how much patience you have :) Shibas will never be totally obedient, but if properly trained and managed, they can be a lot of fun and a great joy to live with.

  41. Barry Beaver says

    I am glad to hear all of your comments about the sheba but I feel a little left out. All of your comments are about he does this or he does that.I have a Female Black And tan that is 18 months old and I have seen very few pictures of a female or a black and tan.Don’t mean to be without knowledge but is my female black and tan rare or not as well known.She has all the perfect markings.

    • shibashake says

      Hello Barry,
      Congratulations on getting your black and tan Shiba. There are probably not as many of them around as the reds, but I have also seen a fair number of them around. Cream colored Shibas are probably the most rare.

      I only have a red Shiba so he is my freely available photographic subject :) Would love to see your Shiba! Send us a link to some of her pictures.

    • shibashake says

      Hahaha – That is an awesome video. That pouncing play move is so Shiba! Do you have 5 Shibas? You are very brave :D

  42. Koritai says

    So sad, we were about to adopt one but then we hit the bad of the personality. I’m glad to know that this is not the dog for me, despite how adorable he was.

    • shibashake says

      Hello Koritai,
      It is good of you to do your research first. If more people did this, there would be much fewer dogs that need to be rescued or surrendered.

      Good luck in your dog search and 2 paws up to you for choosing to adopt a dog in need.

  43. says

    I loved reading all the insights and stories. We have two Shibas (they really should come in pairs), Tyler and Tasha. We realized Tyler was getting lonely as he approached two so I told him I would find a little girl named Tasha for him and we did. They are the best of friends, but Tasha rules, she is the Queen of Shiba. Ours defy alot of the negative aspects of Shibas, they are very well behaved. They step aside and sit while on our walks if we encounter oncoming walkers, with or without dogs. When you see two Shibas doing the Shiba 500 it is a hoot. Tyler “munches” on all sorts of soft things, including me when he wants to wake me, but not Tasha. He likes to tuck us in at night and will pull the blankets back. They have a big back yard to run, hunt and play in and don’t try to escape now that they are all grown up. I’m a photographer and they are my main models for cards, posters, ads and such. They are camera hams. I love them more than any other dog I’ve ever had. They go practically everywhere with me (they love going into the Lowe’s store).

    • shibashake says

      Hahaha – you know most people that I talk to with multiple dogs, it is usually a female that rules the pack. I think it is the same with people as well. ;)

      “Ours defy alot of the negative aspects of Shibas, they are very well behaved”

      Heh – want to exchange Shibas for a few months? Btw. where did you get your Shibas from? It would be great to get breeder names from all the people with good temperamented Shibas. Then we can create a list that people can go to.

      “I’m a photographer and they are my main models for cards, posters, ads and such.”

      That is awesome. Sounds like a great life that you have with your Shibas. Will definitely check FaceBook!

  44. lindalea says

    hey there! I was wondering if your dog ever “bites sheets”? We think he does it to clean his teeth but it’s kinda gross and we don’t know how to make him stop! He also will bite the edge of pillows- really not in an aggressive or playful way- more like just a very strange habit. Ever heard of this?

    • shibashake says

      Hello LindaLea,

      Yeah my Shiba is definitely into biting all kinds of soft bedding. He used to have several soft beds, but he would not stop attacking them. It is a lot better with the durable elevated beds we got him.

      As for pillows, sheets, etc. – we have a no furniture rule in the house so he is not allowed on those things. If he gets on furniture, he goes straight to time-out. Nowadays he just tries to crawl under the bed – lol.

      I get my Shiba Inu a lot of chew toys for his chewing and teeth cleaning pleasure, but in return he is not allowed to chew on sheets, blankets, pillows, etc.

      The time-out works really well for my Shiba –
      Shiba Time-Out

      Let me know how it goes :)

  45. Ana Brito says

    Hello. My name is Ana and I´m from Brazil!! I googled shiba and checked your website which by the way describes very well our shiba puppy. We´ve had him for only a week and he´s already showed us he´s such a drama queen and I think sometimes our neighbors might think we´re sacrificing the poor puppy! He´s so funny. We´re so in love with him!!!
    Anyway… thanks for the tips… if you have more about the breed please send it to my email address!!!

    • shibashake says

      Hello Ana, very nice to meet you.

      Re drama queen – yeah Shibas are really funny that way. When mine comes home from the vet he just goes off to the backyard and howls to the moon – as if to say – “Look! Life is so unfair!” – LOL. I have tried desensitizing him to handling and such but it only goes so far with a Shiba …

      I would love to visit Brazil someday. When I do, I’ll come visit your Shiba :) What is his name btw?

    • says

      Hi there!!! Our puppy´s name is Kenzo!! If you come to Brazil you´re more than welcome to check out our baby!!!
      Last night Kenzo was all crazy for about 10 to 15 minutes, he´d chase his tale nonstop…and then he´d put his ears back and run like a crazy dog sliding through the kitchen! Does yours do that too??We´ve been potty training him for a week now… he seems to have learned exactly where we want him to go… but he seems to insist going potty on the second floor of our house… anyway, we lock him and he will “cry” and whine a lot and then he´ll do the right thing!!!
      I will upload a few pics of him on myspace… check it out!!!
      c´ya

    • shibashake says

      Lol Ana – Yeah my Shiba used to do that crazy running around. It is so common among Shibas that many people call it the Shiba 500. If you do a search on “Shiba 500″ you will see many humorous stories about it :)

      “I will upload a few pics of him on myspace… check it out!!!”

      Thanks for sharing your pictures of Kenzo. He is a majorly handsome Shiba! Love all those pictures with him under the blanket. I never really gave my Shiba any blankets because he would just shred them all up – lol.

      Drop me a note if you load more pictures :)

  46. chris says

    i have a 15-month old shiba. every time i get mad at him i remind him that he’s lucky he’s beautiful, because it’s the only thing keeping him around! i also have a beagle, their interaction is priceless.

    • shibashake says

      LOL! I do the same thing with mine. I think he knows it too because he will give me that deep look – then not 2 minutes later he is off to some mischief again :)

      How are beagles wrt. temperament compared to the Shiba? I really like the look of beagles as well.

  47. says

    We get a lot of ‘Wow, she looks like a fox’ comments. The best one I heard was from a little girl, who pointed and said, ‘Hey Mommy, it’s a cat-dog!’ LOL!

    • shibashake says

      Linda! So glad to see you. How are you? How is Mochi?

      lol cat-dog. Interesting how kids always notice these things that we adults often miss :)

    • Linda says

      Mochi and I are doing well. :) Thank you for asking. How are you doing?

      Yea…I always felt shiba inu is a mix of cat, dog, and fox. :P

    • shibashake says

      We are all doing well. The dogs are really dead during the day when it is hot, but they rally their strength when the temperature drops :)

      So I actually have some free time! lol

  48. Jared says

    Ha ha…I think my Shiba is a mix of all the above (at least 1, 2, and 4)! But ultimately, consistent exercise keeps him tame. 1 week ago he had his ‘alteration’ surgery. That messed up the exercise patterns we have established for him and he started ‘acting out.’ He was in too much pain to exercise but still mobile enough to create terror around the house. But, he’s now back on track and is back to himself.

    I do find that physical dominance works with Mossi. But, you put it well in an earlier commentary that you need to be very in tune with your dog to make it work.

    • shibashake says

      lol – I *know* what you mean. I was trying to think of all sorts of ways to keep Sephy occupied after his neutering. We did a lot of Kongs, and got him all kinds of chew toys, but he had so much pent him energy it was difficult to keep him from his “bat out of hell” antics. I was so afraid that he would tear his stitches. Everyone was very happy when it was all over with :) And I definitely agree 100% that a busy Shiba is a good Shiba!

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