Shiba Inu Training Secrets

The Shiba Inu is a very beautiful dog. However, behind that foxy face, is a dominant, stubborn, intelligent, and extremely mischievous personality. This can make them a challenge to care for.

Indeed Shiba Inus are not for the faint-hearted, and they are not recommended for first-time dog owners.

Despite this warning, my heart was already set on a Shiba Inu puppy. I had a lot of free time then, so I thought I would be able to handle one little dog. After all, how difficult can a small puppy be?

Little did I know, a Shiba Inu can be a major pain in the ass!

Even dog veterans have problems with their first Shiba. In fact, many experienced trainers were unable to handle my Shiba Sephy.

Here are the Shiba Inu training secrets that helped me turn my devil dog into a model citizen. Well, maybe not a model citizen, but a fun citizen that I truly enjoy living with.

1. There are No Miracle Cures

When I first got Shiba Sephy, he was a big challenge.

Some of his favorite daily activities include biting my hands, running crazily around the house, biting on curtains, vicious leash biting, jumping on me and others, humping my leg, and much more.

I was desperate to get him under control, and did a lot of research online and off-line. I read a lot of online articles and bulletin boards. I called local dog trainers, watched all the dog training shows on television, and read a lot of dog training books.

During this time, I found something that looked like a miracle … a 10 minute Shiba online training program. According to this advertisement, there were some special “Shiba words” that will magically turn a Shiba into a Lassie. Yeah right!

Luckily, I did not succumb to my desperation, and did not buy this product.

The fact is, there are NO “miracle cures” for training a Shiba Inu.

The secret of Shiba training, is simply to exercise extreme patience, and find humor in our Shiba’s antics. Use reward obedience training, and always be firm but fair.

A Shiba will probably never be a Lassie, or perfect dog. However, if you are looking for a dog with a big personality, who will always make you laugh with his sneaky and roguish ways, then the Shiba Inu is for you.

2. Use Passive Resistance

The best way to deal with Shiba Inu misbehavior is through passive resistance.

Shibas get bored easily and do not like being ignored. They really enjoy their freedom, and also like being close to their human pack. We can control a Shiba best by controlling these most desired resources: our attention, and his freedom.

If we actively try to stop our Shiba either through physical punishment (e.g. alpha rolls, leash jerk) or active restraint, he will fight back. This encourages him to practice rough play, and biting on people.

If we back away, or become fearful of our Shiba, he will learn that he “wins” by showing dog aggression.

If we over-correct our Shiba by exerting too much physical force, or by correcting him too frequently, we will lose his trust, and it is difficult to regain a Shiba Inu’s trust.

What works best with a Shiba is NOT to engage in a physical competition, but rather to engage in a mental one.

There are certain resources that Sephy really enjoys including walks, treats, toys, and his freedom.

When I want to take him on his walk, I go to the door with his lead, and call him to me. Initially, he would dally and not really want to come, because he wants to go walking on his own schedule. I count to three. If he does not come, I leave and go about my own business.

After a short time, Sephy will amble over, and pester me to take him on his walk. This is done through begging, and whining. I ignore all this bad dog behavior. When I have a break in my schedule again, I repeat the above exercise.

A Shiba will quickly learn that to get the resources that he wants most (e.g. go on walks), he has to do it according to our rules, and our schedule. It is important to practice the Nothing in Life is Free (NILIF) program with a Shiba.

Set a Shiba Inu up for success, so that we can reward him frequently, and keep him interested in doing what we want.

Another Shiba favorite is to steal something he is not supposed to, and then run away with it, thereby engaging a fun chase game.

A Shiba Inu is very agile, and it will be difficult for us to catch him. I always try to keep an eye out for my sneaky Shiba, and stop him before he steals an object. I also put a drag lead on him, so that I can easily catch him by stepping on the lead.

Note: Use a regular flat collar with the drag lead, and not an aversive collar. Aversive collars such as prong collars or choke chains, should only be used during supervised training sessions. Cut the loop on the drag-lead, so that it does not catch on anything in the house.

3. Rules, Rules, Rules

Shiba Inus are naturally dominant. If we do not provide them with rules, that we consistently enforce, they will take over the house.

It is best to enforce those rules as early as possible. This ensures that Shiba does not develop any bad habits later on, that will be more difficult to break.

Some of Shiba Sephy’s rules:

1. No Biting

The most important rule that I place on Sephy, is no biting on people. Shiba Inus are a very mouthy breed. Their instinct is to use their mouth in a wide variety of situations, including when they are excited, frustrated, and fearful.

They also have large teeth, and can accidentally hurt children and seniors. If Sephy starts biting on me or on others, I no-mark the behavior (Ack, ack). If he continues, I put him on a time-out.

It is also important to teach a Shiba bite inhibition. In this way, when he loses control of himself and does bite, he will not cause much harm.

2. No Food Aggression or Resource Guarding

Prevent our Shiba Inu from guarding resources. Shibas have a don’t back down, don’t surrender attitude. Therefore, the best way to teach them not to guard resources, is to use reward training techniques.

Show them that people and other dogs coming near them, while they are eating or playing with their toys, is a good thing. Prevent stealing, and practice exchanging objects. This teaches them that giving up something, does not mean it is gone forever.

If we use physical force to grab a toy away from our Shiba, he will likely become more possessive over his objects. He will also lose trust in us, and may use aggression to protect himself, and his belongings.

3. No Rough Play

I do not play rough with Sephy. He gets to wrestle with my other dogs, but no wrestling is allowed with humans.

I also do not play any dominance games with him, for example, no Tug-of-War. The few times that I did play Tug with Shiba Sephy, he followed very strict rules during the game. However, when I took him out for walks, he would start playing tug with the leash (leash biting).

4. Socialize Our Shiba Inu

Shiba Inus can get aggressive to unfamiliar things including objects, dogs, people, and environments.

They are also naturally stubborn, and may become aggressive when forced to do things that they do not like.

Socialize our young Shiba to many sights, sounds, and smells, and he will be ready to handle new things as a confident, and well-balanced adult. Make sure that new experiences are always positive, and at worst, neutral.

Some things to consider while socializing our Shiba Inu:

1. Shiba Inus have an extreme play style, that many dogs may not like.

When he was young, I used to take Sephy to enclosed dog parks. During this time, his favorite play partners were larger dogs, and young Pit Bulls. Shibas like doing wrestling and rough play, which can easily overwhelm other small dogs.

Choose our Shiba’s play-mates carefully, so that a fun time can be had by all.

2. Shiba Inus dislike handling.

Socialize a Shiba to touching and grooming, as early as possible. Pair the touch and groom sessions with very good treats, so that he will associate handling with positive experiences.

Do not use physical force to do any grooming. This will make it into an unpleasant experience, and our Shiba will fight us every step of the way.

Instead, groom gently, and make it short, fun, and rewarding.

3. Shiba Inus do not generally like people petting them from above.

Petting from above can be seen as a dominance move by dogs, and Shibas may see this as a threat.

We can slowly desensitize our Shiba to this move, by pairing head petting with good food rewards. At the same time, instruct people to approach from under our dog’s head, and scratch his chest.

5. Control Our Own Energy

An important thing to remember while interacting with our Shiba, is to control our own energy.

Shiba Inus are especially sensitive to the energy of their owners, and the people around them.

When I first got puppy Sephy, he was extremely mouthy. In particular, he would resort to biting when I stopped him from doing something unacceptable.

This made me become afraid of him.

The more afraid I became, the worse Sephy behaved. As soon as I got fearful, he would start to hump my leg, grab my clothes, jump on me, or bite my hands, arms, and legs.

Anger and frustration will also elicit extreme Shiba behaviors.

In the early days, I had a dog walker take Sephy out for group walks at the park. When the walker tried to stop Sephy from doing something disruptive, he would object, and try out one of his Shiba moves, including alligator rolls, leash biting, hand biting, and of course the Shiba scream.

The dog walker naturally got embarrassed when Sephy screamed like he was about to die. There were other people around, and some of them thought that she was mistreating the poor dog. Sephy easily sensed her embarrassment and frustration. From then on, the Shiba scream was his favorite weapon to use against her.

With a Shiba Inu, it is important to stay calm at all times.

If we lose our cool, Shiba will sense it and continue to use this weakness against us.

The best way to handle a misbehaving Shiba, is to stay calm, and remove him to a quiet, lower stimulus area, as soon as possible. If he continues with his bad behavior, he gets his freedoms revoked with a time-out. Remember that fear, anger, frustration, and other extreme emotions will only make the problem worse.

Once I was able to control my fear and remain calm, things improved significantly with my Shiba.

Sephy will never be a model-citizen, but nowadays, he is actually very fun to be with. He is goofy, he is funny, and he usually stays out of serious trouble.

Shibas can be a big challenge to live with, but they are well worth the effort. They have a great personality, and they are always up to something that will make us laugh.

I love my Shiba Inu.

He is one of my best buddies, and whenever I see him, I just have to smile.

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  1. Nicole says

    My female shiba is just over a year and a half. I work during the day so unfortunately I cannot be home to let both of my dogs (the other is a 10 year old Rottweiler out during the am although I let them out before I leave and right as soon as I get home. They have a nice big back yard to play in while I’m home. The problem is that everyday she finds something new to chew. And now I feel she’s doing it on purpose. She knows as soon as I get home she’s I. Trouble is I spot something that’s chewed and runs to the gate in the back yard or into her kennel. So she obviously knows she’s in trouble and she’s doing something wrong. How do I stop her from doing this? Or is it an age thing?

  2. Bonnie and Teddy says

    Teddy is turning 3 in a few days. We’ve had him since he was 8 weeks old. He’s been such a good dog. House training was a breeze and he usually responds well when we tell him no. He does the sneaky thing of stealing napkins and tissues. We’ve taken him to the groomers since he was a puppy when he is blowing his coat. Just recently the groomer told me that we were going to have to do something, because he hated the bath and hurt her. I was kind of surprised because I didn’t realize he had gotten that bad, I guess I assumed that since he had been going since a puppy that he was used to it. I felt so bad and I want to know what I can do to change this behavior. She said he appears to be anxious and afraid. Also when he gets scared he runs away, my other dogs always ran to me. I feel I must not have done something right. He’s not food motivated as I have tried with some other training things, maybe I just haven’t had what he wanted. We love him so much and want to do the right thing. Any suggestions? Should we put him in the bath and use just warm water to see if we can get him to calm down? Any advice would be helpful, thanks

    • shibashake says

      Sephy does not trust easily, so I do all of his grooming myself. I take my time to slowly desensitize him to each thing so that he does it willingly, because the experience is positive and he gets very well rewarded for it.

      In terms of bathing, Sephy does not really need too many baths. I brush him pretty frequently, and that gets rid of loose fur and dirt. When he needs a bath, then I play the water hose game with him, which is fun and he sees that more as play-time. Of course, that only works for warm weather.
      More on my bathing experiences with Sephy.

    • Bonnie and Teddy says

      Thank you for your response. It makes me feel a little better that I haven’t been a completely bad fur mommy. I guess I’ll have to learn how to groom him better at home. He is really so good in most ways, but is a scaredy cat (dog) on some things. I’ll keep working with him and reading your page to give me encouragement.
      Bonnie and Teddy

  3. George says

    Hi ! First of all, congratulations for the website, its really great! I have some questions to make and i would be grateful if you could answer them!
    I dont have much experience when it comes to dogs, but i felt in love with Shiba Inus! I’m thinking of adopting one, not now, as i have to finish school first (im 17 years old). My mother however had a variety of dogs in the past, and she is experienced enough to help me with my shiba. Do you think that it’s a risky move to have a shiba as your first dog??
    Thank you in advance!

    • shibashake says

      Haha, well I got a Shiba as my first dog and I sure went through some tough times with him in our first year. I didn’t do enough research into the breed and didn’t know much about dog training/behavior. As a result, I had a difficult time dealing with my Shiba’s aloofness and very strong-will.

      The first few months were very hellish, but on the good side, I learned a lot from my experience with Sephy and got a bunch of good stories to tell. 😀 On the not so good side, I made many mistakes and Sephy had to go through some bad experiences, because I did not do the right thing by him. I also wanted a more affectionate dog, so the aloofness was not easy to deal with.

      My Shiba Inu Story.

      Another thing to consider is what happens when you go to college. My Shiba really likes/needs certainty and a fixed routine. Changes to his routine, can cause stress, anxiety, and undesirable changes in behavior. Sephy is very loyal but he does not trust easily. So if I am not around, I need to make sure that there will be others that he already trusts, who can take care of him, train him, and provide the structure that he needs, in a similar way as I have.

      Here is a comment from someone who is having trouble with their son’s Shiba while he is away in college-

  4. StarGazer says

    Hey shibashake!, my mother and i had experience with other dog breeds over the time (A dalmatian, chow chow and a chihuahua), and my mother and i are thinking about getting a shiba inu puppy after we move, as my dear dalmatian died recently, as well as my mothers chow chow a long time ago, my question would be, our chihuahua (yes, the chihuahua isnt really the dog of either of us, she obeys us both equally), is well socialized and trained in obedience but, my questions are:
    Would our chihuahuas behavior have influence over our shibas training?, with the case of our dalmatian, the chow chow’s behavior had a drastical influence!, considering he was really stubborn and independent
    Also our chihuahua loved to play with our dalmatian when he was alive, would the shibas rough play mean a risk for our chihuahua?
    Keep the good work!, your blog helped me a lot for the research of this breed : )! i absolutely adore their personality and intelligence!

    • shibashake says

      Would our chihuahuas behavior have influence over our shibas training?

      My dogs certainty have a big effect on each other. This is also called social learning. This article from The Whole Dog Journal has a lot more on social learning and how it can affect our dogs in both good and not-very-good ways.

      would the shibas rough play mean a risk for our chihuahua?

      My Shiba plays best with dogs that are larger than him. He likes to wrestle and play rough, which overwhelms smaller dogs. My younger Siberian Husky is larger than him, heavier, younger, and also very agile. However, my Shiba sometimes gets to be even too much for her. Sephy is a very focused dog, and can get quite extreme with whatever he is doing. I always manage and supervise play-time very closely, mostly to protect my larger Sibes. 😀

      How I picked a companion for my Shiba Inu.
      How I help my dogs get along.

  5. Holly says

    Our almost 9 month old Shiba puppy has recently taken to biting the feet of my husband and 14 year old son when they are in the kitchen. He doesn’t do this to my 17 year old daughter or I. I notice that he tried to stand over top of our neutered male cat as well. Has me thinking this might be a “trying to be” alpha male in the house thing. First Shiba (though have raised another breed for years) so not sure how to stop this behavior. My husband or son getting mad at him and yelling certainly hasn’t stopped him. And its only been in the last 3 to 4 weeks. I have plans to get him neutered but he did have a heart murmur and need to make sure his heart is healthy enough for surgery before doing that.

  6. Jennifer says


    I have a 2 year old Shiba that we are experiencing a little bit of aggression at certain times with if anyone has any help it would be much appreciated!!

    We notice that when we decide to go to bed, we usually carry him upstairs and when we go to pick him up he seems to ALWAYS growl and sometimes go for the bite (with no penetration) but once hes is being carried he is fine.

    Then in the mornings we give him a treat then I go to say bye to him before I leave for work and he seems to growl again and the last few days he has gone for the bite. I’m nervous what is going on… why he is doing this now? He is always so sweet usually but he looks at me so angry and snarls him mouth. He does this with a new meat bone as well. I understand the guarding of his bone for that situation but the others I’m at a loss.

    If any one has ANY suggestion I would really really appreciate it ! Thanks so much!

  7. Kaity says

    I have a Shiba Inu along with 6 other dogs, everything seemed to be fine, no aggression towards the other dogs or people, come her second heat cycle she has become unmanageable. She has continuously attacked 4 of the other dogs, including the alpha female and male, she used to try and be sneaky with her attacks but now she is attacking right in front of me and even when I hold onto the other dog to keep them away she continuously try’s to attack, I have tried separating her, crating her and sticking her alone in a room as a “time out” nothing seems to be working, she even attacks my husky when he is sleeping. What do you suggest

    • shibashake says

      Unspayed females sometimes compete for the attention of a male dog by fighting. Spaying can reduce or eliminate this fighting. Spaying your dog can also eliminate the possibility of hormonally driven guarding behavior. Female dogs will sometimes behave aggressively if people or other pets attempt to approach or touch their puppies. Some dogs who don’t get pregnant during a heat cycle will experience a “false pregnancy” or “pseudopregnancy.” Females in false pregnancy often “adopt” objects and treat them like a litter. These females may guard the adopted objects as if they were real puppies.

      All my dogs are spayed/neutered. For proper management of a dog during and after her heat-cycle, I would consult with an experienced registered breeder.

  8. Linlin says

    My Shiba acts exactly like yours! Although people say that their shibas are more submissive, mines is absolutely not.
    If he experiences something bad, he is gonna remember that bad experience for a long long long time. Very easy to lose his trust. Sometimes I feel disappointed and feels like having no payback from him. But I still love him.
    One question: How do you get him to swim? He got frightened in the water once and will never come near water anymore. I am still hoping that he could forget that bad experience. Apparently, he’s not gonna forget~~~

    • shibashake says

      Sephy does not really like water all that much. However, when he is playing with other dogs, he forgets all about that and is willing to jump and play in puddles. When there are ducks in the lake, he will go into the water a bit, but only at the edge where he can still walk.

      Since we don’t have a pool and Sephy is not a big fan of water, I have not done much training in that area. I think if I wanted to train Sephy to be more comfortable with water, I would first identify what things are most rewarding to him. In Sephy’s case, one thing would be having some interesting play in the water, especially involving another dog. Then, I can use that to slowly encourage him to go into the water on his own.

      I would first start at the edge, and then slowly move in has he gains more confidence. Of course I would need to make sure that everything is always safe and under close supervision.

  9. shibamom says

    Need advice what kind of dry food to feed my 5 month male shiba puppy. He has had a reaction (diarrhea, vomiting) as we were looking for a replacement for the kibble his breeder gave him. We had him on grain free diet but it did not improve. Even tried a limited ingredient diet — and still did not work, in fact, quite the opposite. He is doing OK with beef and chicken food which is sold in soft packages, not cans, and which has actual pieces of beef and chicken, not too processed. Another question is at what age will he start “asking” to go potty by standing next to the door.

    • shibashake says

      How long have you had the puppy? How often does he vomit? How long have the symptoms lasted?

      The first thing I would do is to make sure that it is actually a food issue. Diarrhea and vomiting can also be caused by other physical issues, so with my dogs, I visit the vet if the symptoms persist.

      Once I am sure that it is a food allergy issue, then I first put my dog on a bland diet (plain boiled chicken and plan white rice). I use a different meat source if I suspect that my dog is allergic to poultry.
      More on what I do for food allergy issues.

      Another question is at what age will he start “asking” to go potty by standing next to the door.

      Potty training depends on the puppy’s past experiences, training, etc. My Shiba Inu was potty trained while living with the breeder, so he pretty much went to the door when I got him at 10 weeks old. However, if a puppy is used to being caged for long periods of time, and is forced to do his business in his cage (e.g. in a pet store), then potty training will be more of a challenge.

      More on how I potty trained my Husky puppy.

    • Anonymous says

      My vet suggested not to mix proteins. I switched my Shiba to acana lamb and apple. Also, feed your shiba same snack. I use Merrick dehydrated lamb lung and lamb and apple. It’s easier to digest.

      Plain rice mixed in with pieces of chicken breast and chicken hotdogs works well. I avoid beef due to allergies. Try that. Either all lamb or chicken.
      If your dog scratches a lot, especially ears it can be food related. My Shiba is a lot happier now that he eats mainly one protein. Every second day I add very small amount of salmon oil and his coat is 100% better.

      Flax oil is another option but it doesn’t taste well

      I’ve met other shiba owners who recommend salmon. What ever works stick with it. Don’t change diet too much. Hope info helps

  10. Shahina says

    I have a 9 week old shiba. She is abit of a handful when taking her out for walks. She goes potty in our yard the first week we had her but if I take her on walks, she won’t go and freezes up and sits down. I can tell she’s nervous but I don’t know how to calm her. She bites on the leash and sits on the grass and glares at me and I don’t know what to. She won’t take treats and I have to pull her to have her start walking. But every other minute, she would sit back down.

    What should I do?

    • shibashake says

      A new puppy may be uncertain and a bit fearful of a totally new environment with new sights, sounds, and smells. With my puppy, I always start small and set her up for success. For example, I first desensitize her to the collar and leash. Once she is comfortable with that, I start leash training her inside the house, where she is more comfortable and relaxed. Then, we start doing exercises in our fully enclosed backyard and so on. I start small, set her up for success, and slowly build up her confidence. As she gains confidence, I *very slowly* increase the challenge of the environment.

      How I train my puppy to walk on a leash.

      When I get a new puppy, I always take her to the vet as soon as possible. In this way, I can make sure that my puppy is physically healthy, and I can also get advice on vaccinations, etc.

      Puppies still have developing immune systems and are more susceptible to diseases, therefore I am very careful where I take my puppy before she is fully vaccinated.

      ASPCA article on puppy socialization.
      More on dog socialization.
      How I trained my Husky puppy.

    • Anonymous says

      My girl used to do that, too. I actually kneeled down and would call her to me and repeat the process. It’ll take some time, but making them feel comfortable and confident enough is important when they’re small.

  11. Rachel says

    Hey! I have a Japanese red shiba and he is generally a very good dog. He turns 6 in September and my issue is, lately he has been Mr. Houdini! Any time that someone opens the front door he maneuvers right past…of course if I go after him he thinks it’s a chase game. I dislike the idea of shock collars however I find myself considering it but only for use of the front yard. We have a huge yard that he can run around in and he gets his walks (well if you call it that with a shiba haha..we got used to the fact that he walks at his pace lol). I am afraid that he is going to get hit by a car or something else that will injury him. We live in a small town and people are careful and there really isn’t much traffic but I would die if something ever happened to my boy..

  12. Carmela says

    I’m glad to find this blog. I am in need of coaching, we have a 10 week old cream male Shiba Inu, he’s our first dog. He is very smart and very good with the potty business. He’s area of concern is the chewing of just about everything, he doesn’t like to sleep alone and hates to be in his crate and exercise pen.

  13. Jane says

    Hi. I’ve had my Shiba (Ramen) for 4 months now. We bought him when he was 2 months old and he just hit his 6 month mark. He’s a great puppy but the biting is getting out of control. So out of control that I’m thinking I may have to find him a good home before we move in a few months. I love my Ramen as my child but I can’t have him around kids, most other dogs and most importantly I don’t feel like I can trust him right now. Last night he got angry and bit me because I tried to remove a piece of plastic from his mouth he found on our walk. I don’t want to get rid of my Shiba but I can’t worry about the next time he’s going to bite me either. I spent weeks with bloody lips and face bites, but I thought that would slow down wove he was finished teething… Thank you for your help.

  14. Glen & Mattie says

    We have two big issues..

    1) We have an female 8&1/2 week old puppy.. She absolutely hates her crate. We live in an apartment so when she whines and does her shiba scream, we feel like a guns pointed to our heads and let her out “/.. We feel bad for our neighbors.

    2) The first night we had her she was using the potty pads then the next day up until now she goes everywhere but on the pads? We tried the spray and the pads with pheromones. Were @ our wits end.. What can we do? We’re getting grossed out and frustrated.. Please help!!

    • shibashake says

      1. Crate training
      With my puppy, I start small and go in small steps. In the beginning, I leave the door open, put a piece of my puppy’s favorite food close to the door, and let him go get it. I keep repeating this until he is comfortable doing this and starts to associate his crate with rewards and good things. Then, I may throw the food in a bit deeper and so on. I leave the door open so that he can go in and come out whenever he wants.

      After my puppy is totally comfortable going into and coming out of his crate, I let him work on food toys and other high priority but safe chew toys inside his crate. I still leave the door open. In this way, he gets used to staying in his crate, and continues to associate it with positive activities and safety.

      Next, I slowly build up time within his crate with the door closed. I start with a few seconds and then slowly build up from there.
      More on how I crate train my dog.
      ASPCA article on weekend crate training, but as they say, it may not work on dogs that already have a negative association with the crate-

      In general, I try to set my Shiba up for success so that we don’t have a shiba-scream situation. However, if he is screaming simply to get his own way or to get attention, then I also need to make sure *not* to reward that behavior. If I do, he will start to scream in a wider range of situations because he has learned that screaming gets him what he wants.

      2. Potty training
      With potty training my puppy, very close supervision is the most important thing. I set up a fixed schedule and I watch my puppy like a hawk. If I cannot supervise my puppy for even 1 minute, I put him in a safe enclosure with puppy pads. I do not let my puppy freely roam the house until he is fully potty trained.
      More on how I potty train my puppy.

      I also did a lot of private lessons with several trainers when Sephy was young. I was very new to dog training at the time, and it was very helpful to have a good and experienced trainer help me with timing, reading body language, management, mouthiness, etc.

  15. michael jahrmarkt says

    I just got a male shiba inu puppy about a week ago (9 weeks now) and he HATES walking with the leash. Its my first dog and I researched alot about it before I got one. I would like to take him on a walk but its almost as if im dragging him because he is resisting so much. I leave the leash on when he is inside the house so then he can get used to it, but it seems like its not helping at all. Is it too soon to give him walks and will he ever get used to it? (ps my puppy is very lethargic and doesn’t have the excitement that puppy’s are supposed to have)

    • shibashake says

      Where did you get the puppy? Have you taken him to the vet? When I get a new puppy, I take him to the vet as soon as possible to make sure that he is in good health, and to get advice on vaccinations etc.

      Puppies still have developing immune systems and are more susceptible to diseases so I do not walk my puppy in public areas (where he may come in contact with sick dogs or other animals) until he is fully vaccinated. Poop, pee, or contaminated water, from sick animals may also pose a risk. However, puppy socialization is still important.

      Most young puppies aren’t fully protected against the diseases we vaccinated them for until they’ve had all of their puppy shots. This is mainly because the antibodies they get from their mother can interfere with the ability of the vaccine to have its full effect. Even though puppies’ immune systems are still developing during their early months, if we wait until a puppy has all of his shots before socializing him, we miss our chance to do it. He’ll simply be too old. The good news is that if you take some commonsense precautions while socializing your puppy, the risk of infection is quite small compared to the much larger risk of your puppy developing serious behavior problems with fear and aggression later in life.

      The ASPCA article above has some suggestions on safe ways to socialize a puppy who is not yet fully vaccinated.

  16. Myrna says

    I really want to thank you for sharing your heart and knowledge on your beloved Shiba. I swear we have his twin, from different mothers of course. They look a lot a like, ours is a 30lb Shiba, a fiery red head for sure, but also a very so creative personality on him. He is over 4 years old now. We actually got a second one (mistake) right away after having Mushi 4 months…then the aggression got way worse. But after 4 years, he has our hearts,…. he can make it difficult to have people over for dinner and have friends and family stay with us…we have learned to adapt and desensitize him…still working on it and will continue. Our second one is a black, tan and white Shiba, he is the alpha. He is stockier, but totally cool and calm…Vets are always amazed at him. We have to polar opposites….makes our lives never dull and we will always be Shiba Inu fan. thanks again for your time and energy and heart for sharing about your experiences and knowledge of Shiba’s, it has been a huge help these past 4 years.

  17. Victoria Sun says

    Hi, I was thinking about adopting a Shiba Inu. I want to a dopt a Shiba Puppy and raise him. My concern is how long can a shiba be left alone before it is too much? I will probably leave the puppy alone for about 8 hours with about a 3 hour 2-3 hours in between. I’ve had cats and dogs before so Shiba will not be my first dog to train. I’ve done a couple of research and it says that Shibas are really independent which I guess it is nice? Are there any tips to train shiba stay in their cribs, or safely roam around the house? Thank you very much.

    • shibashake says

      My Shiba puppy needed a lot of supervision and training. He also had mild separation anxiety when he was young, and I had to very slowly train him to tolerate alone time. As a puppy, he was also very energetic and mouthy. He would be biting the curtains, books, etc. During puppyhood, I had to supervise him well, and when I couldn’t fully supervise, I kept him with me in the kitchen, or in his crate (after I crate-trained him).

      Sephy is independent in that he does not want or need much human affection. However, he still likes having his people around. He really needs a fixed routine, and even today, he will get stressed if we come home late or if there are big changes to his schedule.

      With time constraints, I would consider adopting an adult dog, that is already trained and who is already comfortable with being alone for a longer period of time.

  18. says

    I adopted a rescue shiba at age 4. He had bad behaviour, bit me in bed and didn’t want to be touched. I’d flick his ear, put him on time out for 15 min. I used positive reinforcement and gave him chicken as a treat outside or when handling. It’s been 8 mo. Troy is like a lap dog, very close. Staying calm, positive reinforcement, treats, regular use of short commands helped.
    He’s no longer a pain. I love him like a child. No need to discipline him. He’s too sensitive but tough. He’s my no. 1 and knows it.

  19. Jessie says

    So I have two questions, because you seem to know lots about Shibas. I have a male Shiba, Loki, who is just over a year old. We live in an apartment currently, and there are lots of other dogs that live around us. A few months ago, I took Loki outside to go potty on our normal schedule and another dog got loose from their house and attacked Loki. This was a German Shepherd/Malinois mix, and so he was like 4 times the size of my pup. The other dog didn’t do any real damage to Loki, we took him to the vet and everything, but now he is terrified to go outside. Even months later. Whenever we say lets go outside he runs and hides under anything he can. That dog has been put down so we haven’t had any more encounters with him, but I just don’t know how to fix this with my dog? It’s like he has PTSD and it makes me very sad.

    The other thing was just that he has been shivering a lot and I didn’t know if it’s because he is cold or sick? Normally Shiba’s just don’t get that cold I didn’t think. We have been having really good weather so he has shed most of his winter coat, and then today it snowed buckets so I just assume it’s because he doesn’t have his winter coat in?

    Sorry for the novel, thanks!

    • says

      Reward him with treats outside. Avoid dogs you don’t know. My shiba hated walking. Now, he walks all the time. Distraction helps. Have him walk or play with a few trusted dog friends. Ptsd takes time to go away.

      Also, shiba shake could be his way of handling stress or he’s anxious. Continued exposure in same area may be too difficult for him. Disract him by taking him to different area.

    • shibashake says

      I help my dog with fear and anxiety issues by doing desensitization and counter-conditioning exercises. I start small, with a very weak version of the scary stimulus, pair it with positive rewards and experiences, and then slowly build up from there. For example, my Husky puppy was afraid of going out when the garbage truck came. Therefore, I did noise desensitization exercises with her.

      At first, we did the exercises inside the house. Once she is good with that, I very slowly get her comfortable with tolerating the noise outside. First, we would do our usual desensitization exercises (on-leash) but with the front door open. Initially we may stand far away from the front door. As she gains confidence, I start doing exercises closer and closer to the front door. Then we may just take a couple of steps outside, and I very slowly build up her confidence and tolerance.

      ASPCA article on desensitization and counter-conditioning.

      The more positive and successful experiences my dog has, the more confidence she gains, and the better her behavior becomes. Similarly, reactive or scary experiences will undermine that confidence, significantly set back training, and worsen her anxiety symptoms. Therefore, management is also very important. I want to make sure to keep my dog in a calm, positive, and relaxing environment, and not expose her to more than she can handle.

      For desensitization to be effective, it needs to be done in a very structured and specific way, so it was helpful for me to get guidance from a good professional trainer, especially in the beginning.

      More on how I desensitized my dog to other dogs.

      As for the shivering, I really can’t say. It doesn’t snow here, so the only time I see my dogs shivering is when they are in pain or feeling extreme stress or excitement. When does the shivering occur? Is it at a particular time only? Is it only when you take him outside? Is Loki eating and drinking normally? Is his energy and activity level normal? Has there been anything different? When in doubt about health issues, I usually call my vet and see what they say.

  20. Sonia says

    I have a four year old shiba who is a very good and obedient dog. She loved and still loves to run away but we invested in a fence and now she can no longer get out. She had two dog friends on the other side of the chin link fence which she sort of plays with everyday. Yesterday a friend brought over her 1 year old Keeshond. He was very sweet and playful but my shiba turned into a monster! She has never dared to bare her teeth at me and for the first time yesterday she did and I thought she would bite me when I was shooing her away from my friends dog’s food. Usually I am the ‘pack’ leader and my husband is very passive with her so she loves him like crazy. Yesterday she surprised both o us with this very bad behavior. I’m sure it was the irritation of a young energetic and curious dog on her turf that made her so angry. I certainly wont have any dogs over again. Hope she never does this with kids!

  21. Brodie & Loki says


    I just recently obtained myself my very fist Shiba puppy who is now 8 weeks old named Loki. I came across this blog and find it very helpful in understanding the nature of the Shiba. I especially like the use their mind games against them and use timeouts to teach them whats right or wrong. The only problem is that when he starts to bite hard and get out of hand I put him in his kennel for a time out. But he will start to scream like there is no tomorrow and will do this for over a half hour easily and won’t even begin to settle down. I’m worried that these timeout are becoming destructive and making him act out more often.

    Any insight as to other options?
    Thank you

    • shibashake says

      When does he usually start biting, is it during play or something else? What do you do when he starts to bite? Where is his timeout kennel? What do you do when he starts doing Shiba screaming?

      I manage my puppy’s biting behavior by doing three things-
      1. Bite inhibition training.
      2. Structure, routine, and teaching my puppy self-control.
      3. I try to set Sephy up for success, and I give him many chances to do the right thing. I only escalate my response when he escalates his behavior. I only use time-outs for serious misbehavior.

      More on what I do for puppy biting.

      I do not use Sephy’s crate/kennel for timeouts. A crate is a very useful management and safety tool, so I want him to associate his crate with being calm and with positive experiences. He often sleeps in his crate at night, while travelling in a car, etc.

      More on what I do for timeouts.

      Sephy will also use his Shiba-scream to great effect if I let him. I talk more about the Shiba-scream in the article above. As soon as Sephy figures out that Shiba-screaming can get him out of certain things, he will keep on doing it because it works.

      However, dog behavior is very context dependent, so each dog and situation are different. If something truly is not working for Sephy and is only causing him more stress and/or a deterioration in his behavior, then I look into using something else. For example, some people suggest using a blanket to calm a dog down. However, this had totally the opposite effect on Sephy and only stressed him out more. I can tell when he is stressed by looking at his body language and his physical responses. Therefore, no restraining blankets for Sephy.

      The key with Sephy is to learn how to accurately read his signals, so that I know when he is simply trying out a move to get out of something, when he is truly stressed or in trouble, when he is truly in need of something, and when he is inadvertently being rewarded for bad behaviors. Being able to read the situation properly is a very big part of training Sephy, and in the beginning, I got help on that from several professional trainers/behaviorists.

      More on how I train my puppy.
      More on how dogs learn.

  22. Rob says

    I have a brand new Shiba Inu puppy that is going on 14 weeks now. It has been quite a struggle but he is pretty low maintenance I guess as far as puppy goes. Good lineage I guess! I think I may have already made some mistakes with him as he is my first dog and I think that I was getting a little too physical with my resistance because I for the life of me could not get him to stop biting me. I am just wondering if I have lost his trust as he seems to act kinder to other people and then treats me like crap, the person who cares for him. Is there anything I can do to repair the damage? I plan to hire a personal dog trainer to come to my home and observe.

    • shibashake says

      Yeah, I had similar issues with Sephy. Some things that helped with my Shiba-
      1. Controlling my own energy
      I used to get very frustrated, disappointed, or angry with him. However, Sephy is very sensitive to the energy of the people around him. He would pick up on my energy, get stressed himself, and act even more crazy. On the other hand, he behaved much better with people who had very calm energy. After I controlled my energy and stayed very calm, his behavior improved noticeably.

      2. Have a plan and be decisive
      Consistency and being decisive are also important with Sephy. Therefore, I always have a detailed plan worked out on how to respond to his problematic behaviors. I usually also have a plan B and plan C. When he starts with something undesirable, I try to be calm, decisive, and effective. I need to be able to stop him from continuing the behavior, and also prevent him from getting rewarded for it.

      Often, Sephy would get inadvertent rewards. For example, if he stole the t.v. remote controller, I would shout and chase him to get the controller back. As a result he got rewarded with a fun game of chase, with lots of excited shouting. This made him repeat the behavior more and more because it was rewarding. My response was actually reinforcing his bad behavior.

      Instead of chasing and shouting, I put a light drag lead on him. When I see him make moves on the controller, I just step on the lead. In this way, he can’t run away, there is no game of chase, and I can quickly put him in a time-out area. From this he learns that –
      Steal t.v. controller = No rewards and temporarily lose freedom.

      3. Focus on my Shiba
      Sephy also behaved much better with others even though I was his primary caregiver. This annoyed me to no end. However, the more annoyed and upset I got, the worse my energy became, and that again led to Sephy picking up on my bad energy. Therefore, I had to detach myself somewhat and just focus on making things better for Sephy. If he had fun with other people, that is good by me. If he has fun with me, that is good too. However, I will still stop him from doing things that he is not supposed to do, I will stick with my plan and be consistent, and I will stay very calm.

      More on how I deal with puppy biting.
      More on how I teach my puppy self-control.

      Some of my early experiences with Sephy-

      Good idea with the trainer. Let us know how it goes.

  23. Kathleen says

    I have a 9-year-old male Shiba that I adopted from a shelter when he was four – like you mention, positive reinforcement and attention / treats are the best – this dog makes me laugh every day, so glad I have him! This week I”m adopting a Shiba puppy who came over for a home visit and I was pleasantly surprised how well and curious my boy was about it!

    • shibashake says

      I was pleasantly surprised how well and curious my boy was about it!

      That is awesome! Sephy used to love puppies when he was young, but now he is more reserved/aloof. It took about 10 days for him to warm up to the last addition. Once he accepts them into his Shiba circle of trust though, he is great with them.

      Congrats on your new puppy. I am so glad that she has found such a great home. Sounds like it is going to be a great Shiba Christmas. 😀

  24. Dog lover says

    Are shiba inus a good first time dog when they’re young, cause we might rescue one from a rescue we found online

    • shibashake says

      In general, Shibas are *not* recommended for first time dog owners. I got a Shiba puppy as my first dog, and went through a very difficult time with him, before I learned enough to properly handle him.

      However, each dog is also different, with their own temperament, background, training, etc. How old is the Shiba at the rescue? What does the rescue people say his personality is like? Has he already had a bunch of training? Does he currently have any behavioral issues? Do they think he would fit in with your situation?

      More on why Shiba Inus are difficult to train.
      More on my experiences with Shiba Sephy.
      I write a lot about my adventures with Sephy here.

    • Joyce says

      We got a Shiba Inu (Max) at the humane society last Feb(’14). I had previously had been doing a lot of research on the Shibas. This is our 2nd dog, a poodle/shitzu mix.
      Max was 3 yrs old. He was an owner serender…stated he didn’t get along with their other shiba. We found out that they had a Children day care center. We believe that he was mistreated by the children…so now, of course he doesn’t like small children. We are very cautious when children are present when we are in the public.. Their other shiba was fat where Max was very skinny, his fur was dull. Now, he has a wonderful coat, at the ideal weight. He is an absolute joy! My husband was 1st leary of this breed, but now he stated that this is the best breed! The big dog look, but compact!
      We love Max to the “Max”!

  25. ruth ann peterson says

    Loved your article and tips. We have two Shiba Inus, now 14 and 10 years old. LOVE ’em! They really are our four legged children. We didn’t find them incredibly difficult, tho you can tell they are a “wilder” breed, but maybe that is because we’ve had other pups and I’ve always had cats as well. I’d say, if you are an animal lover willing to take the time, Shiba Inus are GREAT! : ) Best wishes to you and Sephy!

    • shibashake says

      Thank you Ruth and big hugs to your two, although they would probably prefer chicken to hugs. 😉

  26. ms coco says


    i have a 4 month old shiba which we owned for 2 months already. She has been biting me nonstop on hand and legs and leash biting and jumping on people.

    i have tried the following consistently:

    1)turn my back and ignore her. but hard to when shes biting to extent that it hurts
    2) put her in a confined area and ignore her
    3) lightly slap her leg when she bites me
    4) telling her `no` each time
    5) give her a chew toy to distract her
    6) ask her to smell my hand and give her treat (just started this)

    as all fails. i need some advise and dont want to turn to trainer because cant afford it.

    everytime i put her on leash she bites me.

    i dont think shes bored because we walk around 30 mins a day and we play ball in between the times.

    please help

  27. Jade says

    Hi I am getting a 17 week old Shiba Inu in 2 days time and have been reading up on your articles and they have been very helpful! I was just wondering when you say you put them in time out where was this? I don’t to use her crate as I want her to see this as her safe place.

    Many thanks

    • shibashake says

      Congratulations on your upcoming Shiba Inu puppy! 😀

      I don’t to use her crate as I want her to see this as her safe place.

      Yes, that makes a lot of sense.

      I currently use the laundry room as their timeout area. More on what I do for timeouts.

  28. Zach says

    I have a 4.5 month old Sheba puppy in New York City. He was remarkably quick at learning how to use his wee wee pads in the apartment. Now that he has all of his shots I have been taking him outside for, what I can only loosely call, “walks”. He is completely overwhelmed by the city noises and sounds. Just getting him to make his way to the street corner takes 10 minutes of coaxing and eventually dragging him to me when he won’t come.

    Any tips on getting a dog who doesn’t enjoy being outside to walk? Eventually he needs to use the bathroom outside as well, but that step seems miles away if I can’t get him to start walking like he should.

    • shibashake says

      I did noise desensitization exercises with my Huskies and that helped.

      I try to set my dog up for success by starting small, and slowly building up her tolerance. For example, I may start with shorter but more frequent outings, closer to the house, where my Husky feels safe. The more positive, successful outings we have, the more confidence my dog builds. Similarly, negative outings where my Husky goes into panic/high stress mode will undermine that confidence.

      Therefore, I go at a pace that she is comfortable with, and only *very slowly* increase the environmental challenge.

  29. Ivan says

    I have 1 year and 4 months old shiba inu,shes beautifull but at times very hard dog to train.My brother brought her one day home,and we were all excited,although its our first dog we thought it wouldnt be a problem.He spent a lot of time with her,and mostly she was on a leash.When she was younger she ran from time to time not wanting to come.Meanwhile,brother went to work on a ship and left dog with me.She was suffering a couple of days but i think she got over it now.My problem is that im not a dominating person I lack self esteme,and thats the reason,i think,why she soemtimes dont even listen to me when i say to her come even though i practiced a lot with treats.Today for example i let her off the leash,and she was fine for a 10-15 minutes but then she saw some retriver that she “attacked” before(chased her with biting on her legs and it wasnt usuall game like with other dogs cause retriver was submisive and she screamed a lot).as soon as i saw retriver i stood up and said to my dog Come,Stand still and other commands but she despite that was going for it.Lea,my dogs name,looked like she didnt care about what was i saying and went to retriver whose owner was affraid of what Lea could do.Nothing happened with those 2 cause i was near them,i was following her talking Come and other commands.She backed a bit when i approuched but when i said stop,she was trying to run away from me and presenting it like its a game.When she stoped running i caught her and i did some beatings on her(2 times on her rear side,it wasnt much but she was submisive after that)I am calm person,and usually when something like this happens i can persuade her to come and not run away with calm tone,but today I lost control and i feel sorry for that now.I dont want to ever again come in this situation,so if you have some answers what can i do to make her listen to me i would be very pleased.

    • shibashake says

      Shibas are generally known for their independence and stubbornness. Sephy also likes chasing things, especially moving things. In fact, a dog’s visual system is very attuned to motion.

      Therefore, doing recall in a low stimulus environment (e.g. backyard) is very different from doing recall in an environment with distractions and lots of moving things. Here is an ASPCA article on the many techniques used to train a dog to come when called.

      I usually start recall training in a very low stimulus environment, and *very slowly* build-up from there. As I increase the environmental challenge, I make sure to have Sephy on a long-line (or some other management tool), so that I always have control of the situation and can keep him safe.

      For playing with other dogs, Sephy does best in small, very structured play-groups. Most of the time, we do one-on-one play sessions where I set-up clear play-rules, I supervise, and I throw in many play-breaks to manage his excitement level. I also make sure to pick his play-mates carefully, so that everyone can enjoy themselves and have a fun session.

      Because of his independent spirit and natural stubbornness, Sephy is definitely *not* a yes-sir, no-sir type of dog. His recall can only be trusted to a limited extent, so I always keep him on-leash in non-enclosed spaces. At other times, I manage his environment carefully, so that I set him up for success.

  30. Anthony says

    Hi thanks for all the great advice. My girlfriend and I recently adopted a shiba who is now 3 months old. He’s a great pup but definitely exhibits every single undesirable action you described with Sephy. His potty training is going well, he’s learned simple ‘sit’, ‘down’, and ‘come’ commands, but my problem is I he doesn’t respond to ‘no’, or at least I haven’t found an effective way to deter unwanted behavior. The breeder suggested a slap on the snout with a firm ‘no’, but that only seems to encourage him. So when he bites everything (furniture, walls, me, everything) or humps uncontrollably, I can’t extinguish the behavior. Someone else suggested the old school spray bottle technique, but I have a feeling that will turn out like the slap on the snout. Any suggestions?

    • shibashake says

      Timeouts worked well for Sephy. I only use it for more serious offenses, such as frustration biting and humping. More on how I did timeouts with Sephy.

      I also set up consistent rules and a fixed routine, which helped to keep Sephy more calm and less reactive. Here is more on what I did to discourage biting.

      During the training period, I put a drag-lead on Sephy. I only do it when I am around to fully supervise him and I only use a properly fitted flat collar (*not* and aversive collar). Having a lead on him allowed me to more easily control him, and to effectively remove him to timeout without a fuss.

  31. Rachyl says

    Hello. I’m gonna warn you now that I may ramble a bit. In advance, I apologize for that.
    So here we go..
    Roughly two weeks ago, my fiance and I got a Shiba Inu named Fred. Love him to death, but he is quite the handful.
    Now, training him to go to the bathroom outside is going well.
    Socializing him with other animals is going great too. His buddies include his parents dogs, a Jack Russel Terrier and a Chihuahua (she’s not fond of him, but he likes her), and my parents dogs 2 Golden Retrievers. He has also played with my parents’ neighbors’ Blue-Nosed Pit. So as for “Socializing” he’s doing great.
    Here’s where my nightmare comes in.. his attitude..
    Now as I stated earlier, I love this dog to death..but to me, it seems like he hates my guts. I guess it has to do with the dominance thing…but just last night, he lunged across the bed, grabbed a big wad of my hair, and started pulling my down.. (he’s pretty strong for a 9lb, 3 month old.) When my fiance went to reprimand him, he decided to let go of my hair, only to go after his face. That little episode got him put in time out.
    Now, I do have to take him and get him up to date on his shots.. He still has another “Distemper” shot coming his way. Will he calm down a little bit after this shot? Or is this just wishful thinking on my part? Anyways, I’m trying to remain as patient and calm as I can…but damn! those razor sharp puppy teeth are KILLER.. and that grip too. He’s already began showing his dominance with our niece.. When he knows that she’s afraid, he’ll grab hold of her pants with his teeth and start humping her leg, and he won’t let go. My mother-in-law has resorted to spraying him with a water bottle to try and stop him..
    Any tips on what I should do with my little monster?
    I’ve read, and taken notes, on everything written above, and will be using these tips to try and shape him into a model citizen. I just need a little more help. Thank you for taking the time to read all of this. I hope to hear back from you.

    • shibashake says

      Hello Rachyl,
      As far as I know, a distemper shot is given to help prevent a puppy from contracting canine distemper. Sadly, it didn’t do anything to help with my Shiba’s behavior.

      Here are a few more articles on my early experiences with Sephy-

      I set up a fixed routine and a fixed set of rules for all of my dogs. Structure, rules, and boundaries are especially important for my Shiba Inu, and I also follow the Nothing in Life is Free program. I make sure to be very consistent with enforcing all my rules as well as with the consequences.

      Being calm and decisive is very important with Sephy. This lets him know what behaviors are acceptable and what are not. During our difficult period, I made sure to always have a plan A, plan B, and plan C in my pocket for each of his bad behaviors. In this way, when he brings out one of his Shiba moves, I just follow the plan, which helps me to stay in control and to reduce stress.

      Big hugs to Fred and Happy Holidays!

  32. Wende says

    Thank you! We are introducing another dog into our house and our once model citizen Shiba, yes, he really was, is presenting us with issues we haven’t had to overcome before with another dog. He has come so far in his acceptance of the new situation yet he still has a long way to go at times. The Shiba scream had me burst out laughing! The first bath we gave him we were sure the neighbors thought we were killing him. Now we just refer to him as the Drama King. :-) Keep up the great posts!

  33. Collin says


    I was wondering what other dog breeds would you recommend as a companion to a shiba. Me and my wife are planning on getting another dog to join our family and we would like someone that’ll get along with our shiba :)

    • shibashake says

      Hello Collin,
      That would depend a lot on the temperament of your Shiba, and what he enjoys doing.

      Sephy (my Shiba) loved playing with other dogs when he was young. He still loves to wrestle, chase, and play pretty rough. As a result, he does not really do well with other small dogs or dogs that are his size. He gets along best with friendly dogs who love to play, who are relaxed, and who are bigger than him.

      Both my Siberians love to wrestle, they are bigger than him so he can’t easily overwhelm them during play, and they are more happy-go-lucky. Sephy is a stress cadet, so it is really good to have more relaxed dogs as his companions. Otherwise, they would just stress each other out. Instead, Sephy has become more relaxed since the Huskies joined our family, so they have been a great influence on him.

      Here are some things that I looked at when I was searching for a second dog.

      Good luck! Let us know how it goes. 😀

  34. Charles says

    Hi, thanks for sharing your experience with Shiba’s, I’m really set on getting one now! Do you know of any breeders in southern california that you can direct me to? Thanks!

  35. Anonymous says

    I’m considering getting a shiba inu in about a years time, since i’m moving away from my home city, and gonna live on my own. I’ve been around animals my whole life, and i’ve taken care of dogs before and had up to 6 cat at once, in a small home, so i’m used to trash being digged through or clothes pulled out of the closet, if i haven’t closed the door properly, and much more. I have however never actually owned a dog. I am completely in love with Shiba dogs, and i do have the money to look after it, if it where to get sick. I know everywhere says that you should not get a Shiba as a first dog, but i am completely head over heels for it. I know where to get dog training, and i live in a country with alot of country side, and dogparks were the can exersize. I have some questions though, I hope its not too much trouble. >.< Do you have other articles or do you know other blogs i could read to prepare? Do you think it would be better to get a female or a male?

  36. Mike DeRose says

    The best friend I ever had was my extremely large Rottweiler when we lived on our farm in the USA. Adorable as a puppy but quite destructive. They are a vicious breed and definitely a one person dog. As soon as he knew that I was the Alpha and neutering, he was very easily trained but only by me. Now we live and are retired in Taiwan and will be getting our shiba in a few days. After reading about the problems associated with shibas, it doesn’t sound too bad after raising my rotty. Sounds like most of the problems can be controlled by letting them know who is boss. By the way, I couldn’t bring my rotty to Taiwan for several reasons and had to have him put down. I fell in love with the shiba breed primarily because of its independent nature and believe me, that type of personality, if controlled, makes for the best dog you could ever hope for.

    • shibashake says

      I have met some really friendly Rotties and some not so friendly ones. Part of a dog’s behavior is dependent on nature (genetics and breeding) and part of it is dependent on nurture (training, socialization, past experiences, routine, context, and more).

      It is true that Rotties are bred to have a stronger guard instinct, but that can be put under control with careful socialization, training, and structured outlets for activity.

    • GodiNaga says

      I wanted to ask some question about getting a shiba inu in Taiwan. May I ask you of the process you needed to go through in order to be able to adopt one… I am interested in adopting one but since I will be moving to Taiwan I am not very sure how that process work, would you be of any help.

      And congratulation on you puppy!

  37. ricki jomes says

    I’ve had my shiba inu pup for about 2 months and he cries whenever I leave the room leave him with someone else to babysit or anything like that. He will scream over and over and rushes to me the next time I see him. Idk how to break the crying behavior :( how would I get nobunaga (nobu for short) to be a tad more independent?

  38. Stephawnie says

    I have a 6yr old shiba inu, hes amazing! Im getting a puppy here in a few days, but hes been attacking my friends puppy and im a little worried. How do I get him to behave himself?

    • shibashake says

      Some things that help with my Shiba-
      1. I set up clear dog-to-dog interaction rules which I slowly teach to all of my dogs. For example, there is no bullying, no correcting each other, no stealing, and no humping.

      2. I supervise them very closely especially during play-time and eating time. I use leads, baby gates, enclosures, etc. as necessary to keep things safe. If there are any conflicts, I deal with it in a fair and consistent manner.

      3. I set up a fixed routine and a consistent set of rules for puppy.

      4. I make sure my adult dogs can rest and relax away from puppy when they have had enough of puppy playfulness. Puppies are full of energy and want to play all the time – which can become annoying when an adult dog wants his own space or wants to just rest.

      5. I create as many positive experiences for my adult dogs and my new puppy as possible. This helps them to view puppy as a big plus to their lifestyle, rather than an annoying pest or a competitor for their resources.

      Here is more on what I do when introducing a new dog.

      When in doubt, I consult with a professional trainer-

  39. Hachi says

    Hi ShibaShake,

    It seems it has been a while since anyone has commented on this page; so I was wondering if you are still active on this page?

    I just got my 9-week-old Shiba Inu puppy, Hachi (yes, I named his after the famous Akita, Hachiko) three days ago and I love him! This being said, he is a handful and fits the stereotype of being a relatively difficult dog to train. I know it is still early on but I am so glad I found this website because it is helping both me and Hachi with our confidence together and helping me to train him.

    The reward reinforcement system is definitely a great way to go with Hachi as he loves his treats! I’m just awaiting the days he gets smart enough to get what he wants and then goes off and does his own thing :( haha.

    He had a little bit of separation anxiety from his mother and siblings the first few days we had him but he seems to be improving and taking a liking to me and my girlfriend (we live together). He is still not potty trained however so I am starting him on a strict routine like you mentioned in your articles with Sephy and Lara and we’ll see how that works. My only problem is Hachi has not had his second set of shots yet so I do not want to take him outside for obvious reasons. So this confines us to our little apartment to teach him where to go potty. Any specific suggestions on how to potty train our Hachi using puppy pads inside our apartment? Anything helps, and thank you so much for your articles about your journey with your Shiba and Husky! It really helps first time dog owners like me out!


    • shibashake says

      Congratulations on your new bundle of joy!

      In terms of potty training, I had a backup potty space inside the house. I put up a puppy enclosure (on tile) and put the puppy pads in there. When my puppy needs to go, and I am unable to let her outside, I put her in her backup potty space (temporarily). If I need to step away to the bathroom or kitchen for a very short break, and cannot supervise, I will also put my puppy in there. In this way, she can’t get into trouble, and has a place to go if she needs to.

      I will praise her after she does her potty on the pads and then let her out when she is done.

      I replace the pads after each potty. I noticed that my puppy does not like going on pads that have already been soiled.

      Big hugs to Hachi! Share a picture link with us when you can. 😀

  40. Nhi says

    Hi All, I’m looking for the helpful tips that can make my Roxy Shiba Inu better, I just adopted her about 4 weeks ago, and she is 2 yrs old will be 3 this September, I’m the first time dog owner and admit that I didn’t really any research about her, all I want to adopt becos of her cuteness and faithful personality.
    Anyway, first of all she is very jumpy even a really low noise can make her jump, second I’d say she plays well with other same size or smaller dogs then her but not the bigger one; like my neighbors boxer and bull dog, she is so scared of them, I can tell she likes the boxer by the way she sniff him but when he tried to play with her, she screamed the hell out of her, I dont know what to do… Please help me. Third, she won’t listen to me and won’t play any games like usual dogs do, which I understand but is there a way that I can train her to at least listen to my command? I know this is very hard for me but I love her so much bcos sometimes she will listen to me bcos she just wanna go outside… I’m so upset the way she is, it makes me more sad bcos I can’t do anything to help her better. Oh last thing before I forget, we me and husband we live in an apartment and we go to work almost every afternoon but I’m home around 730pm and from 1-7p she is alone by herself in the kitchen and she keeps whining and screaming… :( my neighbors think it is somebody/dog are in pain and asking for help… I appreciate any helps tips that could make her better and I do have trust in her that she can do it! Thank you.

    • Nhi says

      and a lilttle bit about her ex-owner, I don’t know her very well but she is very attached to her ex-owner so I dont think she would have any abuse when she was with them that makes her jumpy all the time…

    • shibashake says

      1. Stress and Anxiety

      Roxy sounds like a really sweet girl who is maybe a little fearful of unfamiliar things that seem threatening – e.g. loud noises, large dogs, etc. My Husky Shania is also uncertain about loud noises, e.g. garbage truck, and about large dogs.

      Desensitization exercises have been very helpful in terms of helping her cope with her fear, helping her gain confidence, and helping her to reassociate previously scary stimuli with positive rewards and experiences. Here are some articles on how I desensitize my dog to other dogs, and how I desensitize my dog to loud noises.

      Here is a general article on dog anxiety.

      When there are large changes in a dog’s life (changes in environment, changes in family members), they will likely feel stress and may become anxious. Roxy has had to go through a lot of big changes lately, so it is natural that there would be stress and anxiety. When we moved houses, I helped to reduce my Shiba’s stress by –
      1. Setting up a fixed routine right away.
      2. Setting up a consistent set of rules and a consistent way of communicating with him.
      3. Giving him more exercise in quiet areas that he is comfortable with.

      When there are large changes, certainty helps to reduce stress. Therefore, I try to create as much certainty for my Shiba as I can, I carefully manage him and protect him from situations that he cannot handle, and I properly socialize him to new experiences but only in a positive way.

      2. Training

      I motivate my dogs to follow my commands by following the Nothing in Life is Free program.

      Here are a few more articles on training and my related experiences –
      How I trained my dog on some simple commands.
      How I trained my Husky.
      How dogs learn.

      3. Crying when alone

      As for crying when alone, it could be because of separation anxiety or confinement anxiety.

  41. Bill says

    I am a first time owners of a Shiba and only had German Shepherds prior to owning sassy a 11 month old female Shiba. I know she is smart and to the point she knows she is not listening and to her that is fun time cause it is means i am going to try catch her. I think overall she has been a great pup and yes on the spectrum of dogs and to go from a Shepherd to Her wow she is off the charts for the time you will have to train compared to many other breeds so for the 1st time dog owner please do yourself and the dog a favor go to a real easy trainable breed and safe yourself some grey hair take care and have a safe day all.

  42. Rockys Momma says

    This was a great well-informed article for potential Shiba owners. Wish I did my reasearch 7 yrs ago about breeds before I got Rocky as I was a first-time dog owner. I wet completely on looks was limited to a dog size, living in an apartment. I wanted a dog that looked like a big dog but ok for an apartment.

    A lot of this article expresses what We went through with our Shiba…I was fortunate to find a trainer who had experience with Akita’s and Shibas…she was incredible and did a lot of work with him.
    They never will be the model canine, no one can believe mine is almost 7 cuz he still acts like a pup. I accept it and enjoy him! He’s my best little man.

    • Reesa says

      Hello was just wondering where you got your shiba trained ? Cause mine doesnt listen at all , any advice ?

      Thanks alot !

  43. Ella says

    I am going to be getting a shiba this June and I had one question. I know you have to be patient and persistent when training your Shiba but how long will it take to teach her all the basic commands so that she will behave? (sit, off, down, come, no) I just don’t want to teach her in the summer, not finish and go to school with a naughty dog at my house. Please help, Thanks!

    • shibashake says

      Hello Ella,

      Sephy picked up commands really quickly. He already knew how to do Sits when we got him (10 weeks old), and he picked up down, look, and others very quickly. Learning commands is only one part of the equation though. Sephy is very independent, and the more tricky part is motivating him to do the commands, and redirecting his energy into positive activities.

      He was also very reactive, especially to other dogs. He would get over excited, and go a bit nuts, so I also had to do a lot of work in terms of socializing him to other dogs, and doing dog-to-dog desensitization exercises.

      I set up a fixed set of rules for him, and a fixed routine. He picked up the rules pretty quickly but motivating him to follow rules is the greater challenge. For example, Sephy was very mouthy so we did a lot of bite inhibition exercises, and also bite redirection exercises. He also needed a lot of structured activities so that he has a positive place to put his puppy energy. His behavior is also very dependent on how I react to him, and my own energy. I need to be very calm, consistent, and have a good plan.

      I noticed a big improvement in Sephy’s behavior at around 6 months, and then even more after 1 year. However, I made a lot of mistakes with Sephy in the beginning, primarily with using aversive training techniques. If I had started with more research and training knowledge, things probably would have improved sooner. Still, stubbornness is a common Shiba trait, and that is one of the more difficult parts of training a Shiba.

      Here is a bit more on the “No-mark” and how I train a new puppy today.

  44. Kristen says

    I love your articles, I have a Shiba myself and it has been 2 years (she turns 3 in September). She is the most amazing animal ever. As I type this up she is lying beside me on my bed (a treat for her as I don’t normally let her). I am a teen girl but grew up with 2 Siberian Huskies, 1 red, 1 black and white, both stubborn dogs as most Huskies are. They passed a couple years ago along with my adopted cat, as sad as it was I would not take back time as selfish as it seems because I love my beautiful baby girl. She has gone threw all the problems you have said (she still steals my socks for a game of chase) and she is harder to train and gain her attention, but it was worth the time.

    I now have a girl that responds (or that at least shows that she heard me) and that knows the basics like “Sit” “Down” “Stay” “Off” “Up” “Beg” and “Shake” along with the more advance tricks like “Crawl” “Spin” “High Five” and “Handstand” (handstand is not a command but more of a trick she learnt to pee in the higher places like her brother).

    Over all Shiba Inus are a joy, they must always know you are the boss though. I make her wait in till I give her the command to eat, that I go downstairs first and to even tolerate kids petting her.

    Only real problem I have is her curling her lip at yippy hyper dogs, but she would never bight them. Funny thing is, is that she turns into that hyper dog with the bigger boys, she thinks she belongs with them.

    Anyways to help her not be short tempered with them?

    One time you think they are calm, but next they are like an alarm setting off into hyper-ness.

    • shibashake says

      Heh yeah, Sephy prefers to play with larger dogs as well. He likes to wrestle, so his play-style is a bit much for the smaller dogs.

      With Sephy, I did structured dog-to-dog desensitization exercises to raise his reactivity threshold and to help him be more relaxed around other dogs.

      Big hugs to your Shiba girl!

  45. nicole says

    hello! my husband and i have a 6 month old shiba and shes actually pretty terrific. very minimal problems. we think we messed up with her training, by constantly changing from not yelling to yelling, so we think she has a problem learning.
    she knows what a few words mean but my main concern is she doesnt seem to know how or when to tell us she needs to use the bathroom.
    we always put her outside during the day (seeing as im also 6 months pregnant, and hes at work, its easier than to constantly get up to let her in and out) but now we want to change that so she can tell us when she needs to go.
    problem is, she doesnt. even if we have her outside for an hour, bring her in and watch her, play with her, etc, she’ll randomly pee on the carpet and its something that we want changed by the time the babys born (if possible!)
    the only way she tells us she wants outside is by going to the door but.. we soon realized shes only doing that to tell us shes bored. she doesnt whine, barely ever barks, and doesnt get in our face to get our attention. is there a way to teach her to tell us when she NEEDS to go outside versus when she WANTS to go outside?

    • shibashake says

      Congratulations on your new Shiba puppy! She sounds like a wonderful girl – especially for a Shiba. 😀

      In terms of potty training, I think the most important thing is supervision. When I got Husky puppy Lara, I made sure to watch her like a hawk and also set up a very consistent schedule. The consistent schedule helps me to better predict when she needs to go potty, so I can take her out and reward her very well with attention, food, and a very fun game when she does the right thing.

      If she starts to go inside the house, I no-mark, interrupt her, and take her outside. If she continues to go, then I reward her very well. If she does not go, then we come in after a short time, and there are no rewards.

      In this way, she learns that-

      Potty inside = get interrupted and taken outside,
      Potty outside = get attention, fun games, food, and more!!

      Lara was very motivated to do her business outside. 😀

      Here is a bit more on how I potty trained my puppy.

      As for wanting vs. needing, I had to go through some of that with Shiba Sephy. We did not have a backyard when we first got Sephy, so he would often go to the door because he wants to go outside, look at people, and sniff the wind. I would take him outside on-leash, go to his potty spot, and say “Go Potty”. If he does his business, I reward him very well with attention and a fun outside game. If he does not go, we just come back in. Then, there is a 20 minute black-out period where we don’t go out again even if he goes to the door.

      In this way, he learns that going to the door when he does not need to potty is not rewarding at all because it only results in us coming back inside.

      To fulfill his outside needs, I increased the frequency and length of our walks (we would walk more often and for a longer period of time). In this way, he gets his exercise, gets to be outside, and is happy to hang out or play inside the house the rest of the time. Now, we have a fully enclosed backyard, so Sephy gets to go out or come in whenever he wants.

      Big hugs to your Shiba girl!

  46. J says

    Great article that I will re-read several times to work on a couple of mistakes with my Shiba. He’s 6 months old, I recently taught him how to roll over, and man is he deceptive! He saw me grab a treat and came over whining why I didn’t give it to him, I ignored his whines and noticed him sitting down, laying down, and rolling over without me saying a word. He got it because he made me laugh so hard, I loved his deception lol.

  47. Nathan says

    Well I made a deal with my parents about getting a shiba inu puppy if I lose 75 lbs and I have been reading books and info about the breed and the dog it’s self. I told my mom to look up the Shiba scream on YouTube it shocked my mom and dad. I’m ready to take the task of raising a shiba pup. Any advice?? Or other useful info

  48. pat says

    Hi, I’ve had my shiba puppy for four months now and he is the most wonderful animal on Earth. I was kind of cautious buying him knowing all the opinions regarding the breed. But my experience with my shiba tells me this is a dog that can be handled easily if handled properly. Of course he still is a puppy and growing into adulthood with all related challenges but so far he hasn’t cause much trouble. All I’ve learned is that this dog is healthy on mind and body when properly stimulated. What is necessary is enough physical exercise and mental stimulation that builds strong bond between me and my dog. What I can say after these 4 months spent together is that my dog is calm, loves interaction, loves long walks and other people and dogs. He doesn’t show any aggressive behavior. Once it happened to him at play I immediately eliminated such behavior but focusing his attention on something else, stop playing, or by “time out”. Or I just held him in one position calmly so that he could feel my energy. I play a lot with him, I throw him his beloved ball which he brings back to me (yes…he does it), I hug him and this all creates a strong bond. He is patient at grooming, never aggressive. Being consequent and loving the the KEY. What is more who we are and what we are will be shown in the behavior of our dogs. Like with kids :) All the best to all shiba owners:)

  49. Dylan says

    I need help with my Shiba inu I am 14 and I used to my family that we should take him to the park and we let him off his leash when we were in the baseball field. So when we did one of the doors blew open and he ran and when I got him I did know what to do be aggressive or be nice. Thank for reading.

    • shibashake says

      Hello Dylan,

      Dogs, especially young dogs will want to explore and chase after small animals. That is natural dog behavior. What helps with my dog is to –
      1. < a href="">Do recall training.

      I make sure to reward him very well for coming back to me, or for stopping and letting me get to him. This will motivate him to keep coming back. If I punish my dog for coming or stopping, then next time he won’t come and won’t stop.

      2. Set my dog up for success.

      I don’t expose my dog to more than he can handle. We start training in a quiet environment, e.g. our fully enclosed backyard, where there are very few distractions. As we progress with our training, I very slowly increase the environmental challenge. The more often my dog “comes” to me, the more often he will repeat that behavior. The opposite is also true.

      3. Keep my dog safe.

      Recall is never 100% reliable. All dogs have prey drive, and while we may train them to have a strong recall, the drive to give chase may sometimes be so strong that the recall fails. Shibas are bred to be hunting dogs, so they generally have a healthy prey drive. When I go on walks in places with cars, I make sure to always use a leash with a no-slip collar.

  50. Taylar says

    Hi, my husband and I are currently thinking about adopting a 3 year old male shiba inu that is in need of a home. we have one shiba inu mix right now, but unfortunately that has not prepared us very well. Our shiba rocky is an anomaly. he does not bolt and can be walked off a leash. he doesn’t fight over food or objects, and he has never bitten anyone. he is the most tame, affectionate dog ever. when he was a pup he was a handful but that was trained out of him in a very different way than shiba training would dictate. He was popped if he got aggressive or tore something up. and we now use harsh sounds if he doesn’t listen and that’s all it takes. after doing some research I’m worried my husband and I won’t be able to handle a normal, non-exception shiba. Are all shibas aggressive? does anyone else actually have a naturally tame shiba inu? Or do we need to start learning new training methods fast?

    • shibashake says

      My Shiba is a difficult dog to train because he is very very stubborn, very mouthy especially in his youth, can be obsessive, mischievous, wants to do things according to his own particular style, and is very very stubborn! 😀

      Here is more on why Shiba Inus are a challenge.

      Of course, each Shiba will be different, and there will be some Shibas that are less stubborn than others. However, as a breed, they are definitely on the more challenging side of things.

      With proper training, supervision, and management, a Shiba can be a good and loyal companion. However, training will take a fair amount of time, effort, and patience. My Shiba is also a lot more aloof than my other dogs.

  51. Julie says

    I read on one of your articles that you stick to a daily schedule including play time, obedience training, supper, etc. I am getting my first shiba on Saturday and have read the majority of your extremely informative and helpful site to be best prepared. As you most definitely seem to be a pro at this is it possible that you would share the schedule that you follow or one that you would recommend? Being that my shiba is only 2 and a half months old I am not certain of his aggression/energy level yet. Thank you so much for this entire site, it is beyond helpful!

    • shibashake says

      I am getting my first shiba on Saturday

      Congratulations! How exciting!

      In terms of schedules, I think it is best to be flexible and adjust it according to the puppy’s temperament, energy level, as well as the surrounding environment.

      With my Husky puppy Lara, we got into a routine where she would sleep for about 1.5-2 hours, and then we would have 2 hours worth of activity, and then she would take another nap. I take her outside as soon as she wakes up, take her to her potty spot, and give her the “Go Potty” command. She usually has to go when she wakes up, so it is a great way to help her associate the location and command with the behavior.

      At night, she went to sleep at around 8 or 9. We stopped giving water about 2 hours before that. We also limited activity before sleep time and made sure not to give her any dry food that may make her feel thirsty. Still, she frequently needed to go out at least once at night, usually around 2am or so. She slept in her crate in our bedroom, and let us know when she needed to go. Then, all the dogs get up at around 5 or 6am. Once Lara was potty trained, things got a lot easier, and she needed less supervision.

      To keep her occupied during her waking hours, I did obedience training, some leash training in the backyard, grooming exercises, hugging exercises, and some play. The rest of the time, she spent working on frozen Kongs. Frozen Kongs are a great way to keep a young, energetic puppy occupied. 😀

      Lara really loves eating, so she very much enjoys working on food toys. I also help her with getting food out from her Kong, since in the beginning, she had a difficult time getting some of the bottom stuff out. This also helps her to associate people in a positive way with eating, and it teaches her to see me as an ally and as a source of “good stuff”. I follow the Nothing in Life is Free program with all of my dogs. It is a great way to teach-them and motivate-them to follow house rules.

      I had a very difficult time with my Shiba, Sephy, when he was young. He taught me a lot though. One of the most important lessons I learned is to always keep an open mind and to be flexible about things. I try to observe my dogs as much as I can and understand the things that they like and don’t like. Then, I adjust my training and routine to suit their individual needs and preferences. I continue to observe and adjust, even now, and even though they are older.

      When it comes to dog training, there will always be many people who claim to be experts and give lots of (often conflicting) advice. I try to do my own research, gather information from many different sources, and most important of all, listen to what my dogs are saying to me. Learning to communicate and listen to our dog, I believe, is the true path to success and to building an enduring bond.

      Finally, make sure to take lots of pictures! Shibas grow up very quickly, and I really regret that I didn’t take more pictures of Sephy when he was a puppy.

      Give your Shiba puppy a big hug from me when you get him! Have you decided on a name yet?

  52. James says

    First off, thank you so much for hosting this site. I found a lot of great information on this page.

    As of yesterday I am the proud owner of a 3-month old Shiba Inu. Actually, my newly adopted 11-yr old daughter is the owner. We named our Shiba “Kinley” (my grandmothers maiden name). I can already tell that Kinley is going to be a wonderful handful. She has high energy, personality, intelligence, and attitude – exactly like my daughter!

    I will be sure to post up my thoughts and any questions I have as we emBARK on this new adventure.

    • shibashake says

      Congratulations on your new furry family member!

      Sounds like it will be an interesting and exciting year. Happy New Year and big hugs!

    • Tina says

      I everyone,

      I have 2 Shiba Inus. A 7 yhear old name Ping (female) and a 7month old male, Rocky. Ping has not warmed up to Rocky and the situation has now escalated to serious snarling. My husband and daughter both got caught in the fray Sunday and were both seriously bitten by Rocky. Rocky also has bitten (real bites, puncture wounds) every member of the family, typically when we have taken an inappropriate stolen object (cheese wrapper, a cracker box, a slicce of pizza) from him. I am seeing a professional dog trianer Thursday but am throwing this out there to get any feedback from other Shiba parents and am wondering if anyone else has had this degree of biting. Thanks! Tina

    • shibashake says

      when we have taken an inappropriate stolen object (cheese wrapper, a cracker box, a slicce of pizza) from him.

      This sounds like a resource guarding issue. I did encounter this early-on with Sephy. Here are some of our experiences-
      “Mine!”, says the Shiba Inu.
      Food aggression and resource guarding.

      Sephy did do growling but he never broke skin.

      As for introducing a new dog, here are some things that help with Sephy –
      1. I set up clear and consistent interaction rules (e.g. no stealing). In this way Sephy knows exactly what is acceptable behavior towards puppy, and puppy knows what is acceptable behavior towards Sephy.

      2. I make sure puppy does not disturb Sephy when he just wants to rest. In general, I make sure to set both dogs up for success and make their time together with positive, or at worst, neutral.

      3. I supervise closely during play and manage their excitement level. I do this by throwing in a lot of play breaks where I call puppy over and get her to do some obedience commands. I reward puppy extremely well during such times so she is very happy to come. This gets her to calm down and to refocus on me before going back to playing.

      4. If someone plays too rough or doesn’t follow play rules, I stop play briefly. If the same dog continues to misbehave in exactly the same way, then he goes to timeout.

      5. I do group obedience sessions so that Sephy learns that being calm and working cooperatively with puppy, for me, gets him the best rewards.

      Here is more on what I do with my dogs to help them get along.

      Let us know how things go on Thrusday and what the trainer suggests.

  53. Gaby Mendoza says

    We recently got another Shiba Inu (Lola) to keep our 2 yr old Shiba (Chancho) company. She is truly an amazing little dog and is onl about 1.5 years old. However, we have been having some problems with her lately every time we take her for walks. She constantly pulls on the leash and tries to jump on other dogs. When we take them to the dog park, we never have a problem letting her go, she comes back and checks in with us every 10-15 minutes. And she plays just fine with other dogs, never growls or tires to bite. But when we are walking on a leash, she’s so mean to other dogs! It’s like we have a totally different Shiba!
    We are taking her to obedience training in the spring, but is there anything I can do until then?

    • Régis says


      When my shiba pull on the leash, I reduce slowly the size and I look in the opposite side. When he feels that the leash size is reduced, he starts to look at me and see that I totally don’t care about what he is doing and he stops because he knows that he is doing this for nothing. If he keeps pulling, I walk on the opposite side and I only come back when he stops. During all the times I don’t give him a single look. and I take care of something else.

      He is also very sensitive to finger snap so I distract him with several fast snap and I suddently become the most attractive things in the landscape because for Hiro, finger snap = cool reward.

    • shibashake says

      Hello Gaby,

      Yeah, many dogs react differently when on a leash. A leash limits the dog’s freedom, and it can cause-
      1. More anxiety for some dogs, because the leash prevents them from fleeing if the need should arise.
      2. More frustration for some dogs, because the leash prevents them from getting to another dog, limits their movement, and may get in the way.

      This is especially so when meeting another dog, especially a new dog. A greeting is usually very exciting and also quite stressful at the same time; not too different from when we meet somebody new. We don’t know if we will enjoy the encounter, be bored, or be hurt by it.

      This ASPCA article on leash reactivity has some good information on this behavior-

      Here are some things that help with Sephy during our walks-

      We did a lot of dog-to-dog desensitization exercises with Sephy, and I think they were helpful in raising his instinct threshold, and also in teaching him alternate behaviors for managing his excitement and stress during dog encounters.

  54. Regis says


    I just adopted a 2 and half months shiba inue. He is very cute, he already ask to go out for his need and he is not (yet) destroying my appartment :). I’m very happy but I have a problem when it’s time to sleep. He hates being alone and it’s a big problem because I’ll have to let him alone for some hours everyday. When I let him alone, he starts crying and then he scream like a wolf. For the first night he only do this for 10 min but yesterday he screamed 1 hours ! My wife had to go to sleep on the blanket near him because he was too afraid of being alone and when she was with him, he stopped screaming immediatly and started sleeping.

    He just leaves his mother so I understand that he is afraid of being abandoned, but I need some tips to make him understand that there is nothing to be afraid of.


    • shibashake says

      Yeah, Sephy was the same way when we first got him. What worked best was to just have his crate in the bedroom. In this way, he gets to be with his people, it helps with bonding, and he can’t cause mischief.

      Some people suggest using a heartbeat pillow or calming scents. I have not tried this, so I am not sure how well they will work on a Shiba. Here is a bit more on dog anxiety and possible steps.

    • Renee says

      we got our shiba at 7 weeks old he’s now 13 weeks old and he is precious! he is cuddly and lovable. Indiana loves to be held and kissed. I don’t see him as aggressive just as a typical puppy he can leap pretty high 2 to 3 feet. we love and adore our shiba… Indiana jones

    • Gaby Mendoza says

      Hi! When we got our first puppy, he would cry all night. We used a water bottle full of really hot water wrapped in an old towel, made it feel like another body in the kennel with him and he stopped all the crying and whinning. He is now sleeping in our room in his own bed.

    • Régis says

      Hi and Happy new years !

      Thanks a lot for all your replies. I know that let him sleep in our bedroom would have solve the issue for the night but I was afraid to let him alone during the day and putting his crat in our bedroom would’nt prevent him to scream during the day. Fact is that we do not allow him to go in the bedroom because we want to keep a “chief” position with him. We finnally decided to give him access to our bedroom door (He was in an other bedroom initially) so now he can sleep closer to us but not in our bedroom. He cry a bit first but after a calm “no”, he stop crying and leave is own life without us.

      I think that he also feel less “confinement anxiety” because instead of a single room, he has acces to a room, a corridor and a bathroom (with a very very cool low price carpet to chew)

      Our problem seems totally solved now and we’ll keep using all the amazing tips in this website.

      @Gaby: Hot bottle works one night only. Now it seems that he totally don’t care about it so we removed it.

    • shibashake says

      Glad to hear that everything has worked out well. Big hugs to puppy! Share some pictures with us when you have the time. 😀

  55. Michelle says

    Hi, I just adopted an 11 month old shiba. He is actually much better than I expected after reading everything about them. I was nervous going in but considering both my 14 and 4 year olds were begging me I gave in. He is very gentle, and pretty calm. He has escaped the leash though and my son had to chase him all over town and almost watch him get hit by a car a few times and he is not been great with his bathroom behaviors. We are being consistent and have been trying not to be overly tough considering he is over all been good and it has only been a week tomorrow. Any advice on these issues and good resources for train their breed specifically. He does sit, stay(in the house), does bite never hard though (which we’re working on also), not aggressive to people or dogs or cats want to play, and even is not a begger. We are in love with him already but we want to keep him safe most of all.

    • shibashake says

      Congratulations on your new furry family member! 😀

      He has escaped the leash though

      How did he escape? Did he slip out of his collar? What type of collar and leash is he using?

      Sephy used to slip out of his collar during walks. At that time, we were using a regular flat collar. The problem with the flat collar was that it tended to slip; so it would get slightly larger and larger through use. I kept having to readjust it so it doesn’t slip out of Sephy’s neck. In addition, the flat collar I was using had a plastic tab, which did not seem the most secure.

      I am now using the Premier martingale collar (only during walks) for its no-slip properties. I adjust the collar so that at its tightest, it is the size of a flat collar. Sephy has never slipped out of this collar.

      Before this, I also tried using a buckle collar, which also worked well. However, it is more difficult to put on and take off compared to the martingale.

      Here is a bit more on dog collars.

      In terms of potty training, here are some things that I did to potty train my Huskies.

      Hugs to Shiba puppy! He sounds like a very good boy.

    • Anonymous says

      Yes that was it exactly. He slipped right out of the collar. We are using a harness now but the collar you mentioned sounds like it would work well also. Thank you. I would really love to be able to have him off leash and listen. I pray there are no more escape attempts but I feel like its inevitable with 2 other kids. Have you heard of any tricks to help with them being off leash and staying close besides in fenced in areas. I live in an apartment complex so that is not an option. He could be off the leash in the park here though if I wasn’t so worried about him sprinting away through the busy streets in town. We are going to take a training class at pet smart to hopefully help with that also. He(Delray) is a very good boy though:)

      As far as the potty training Delray was house broken so it is just strange to me he is having such a hard time with it now. It is almost like he is only going in the house and we are bringing him out every hour and then some. Last night my husband and him were out for an hour walking then waiting for pottying and nothing. Then as soon as he came in he pooped in my daughters room. He has not pooped outside since we have had him. He has only gone every other day and in different rooms every time right in front of us. What are your thoughts about tying him out to go potty to separate potty and play time. Right now we go to the right to potty and left to walk and play. Also Delray is used to a fenced in yard so we are thinking it might be a privacy or an on the leash thing.

      On another note I really love your time out idea, I do it with the kids so that would be awesome to do with Delray too. Would it be alright to do with a second crate also or just our half bath which is very very small. Do you think it would be alright to give it for pottying in the house (if he is caught in the act because we bring him out after and he never goes again) or just for other things.

      Thank you for all your advice! The site has been such a help and the only thing I have really found to be helpful with his breed:) Hugs to your beautiful pups too!

    • shibashake says

      In terms of off-leash training, this article from the ASPCA has a good list of recall training techniques.

      Shibas are generally independent and stubborn though, so recall training can be challenging. Most Shibas are not to be trusted off-leash, in non-enclosed spaces. Sephy only comes when he feels like it, or is really interested in what I have at the time.

      I have only let Sephy off-leash (in non-enclosed areas) a few times. It was in really large parks, and only when we were far far away from traffic. Sephy loves other dogs, so we would do a group dog-walk. We can then call in one of the other dogs, and Sephy would follow him/her back. 😀

      As for timeouts, unfortunately, I *do not* think that they will help with potty training. In this case, it is not the potty behavior that is “undesirable”, just the location. Therefore we want to focus on teaching our dog where the right location is. Using timeouts in this situation may cause confusion, or the dog may learn to just do his potty in the timeout area. The best way, I have found, to potty train my huskies is to minimize mistakes in the house, show them what the right behavior is, and reward them very very well for doing their potty outside.

      To minimize mistakes in the house, I supervised Lara really well during her potty training period. If I am unable to watch her, then I put her in an enclosure with puppy pads. All other times, I am watching her, and I take her out as soon as I notice her showing any of her potty signals (e.g. Lara likes going to corners to potty). If I miss her signals and she starts to potty, then I interrupt her, and take her outside right away. Since I interrupted her, she will usually continue as soon as we stop outside. In this way, I can reward her really well for doing the right thing. I reward her by playing with her and giving her high priority food that she only gets for pottying outside.

      In this way she learns that –
      potty inside = no reward & gets interrupted
      potty outside = games, attention, food, and more!

      Consistency and supervision were probably the two most important things while potty training my Huskies. I also make sure to clean up previous potty spots very well.

      Happy New Year and big hugs to Delray!

    • Michelle says

      Happy Newy Year! Yay Delray is 3 days accident free! I was still wondering what you thought about a tie out or a runner. Just for short potty breaks or just short outside time when he is wound up and I can’t take him for a walk. My 2 other kids keep me busy Also do you think it is alright to use the second cage for timeouts. Thanks for all your help, sorry to be a pest but you seem to be my best resource at the moment:) Best wishes for the new year!

    • shibashake says

      Delray is 3 days accident free!

      That is awesome! Go Delray!

      I was still wondering what you thought about a tie out or a runner.

      It would depend a lot on the environment outside. I am generally not a fan of outside tethers because a dog can get really excited when they see squirrels, cats, other dogs. That excitement can quickly turn into frustration, when the dog keeps pulling and can’t get to his target. Dogs kept on a tether can also get protective over their tether area.

      There are a couple of dogs that I see on a tether in their front lawn when I am walk Shania, and they go totally nuts whenever anybody passes by, or even when they see a dog from a distance. Their surrounding environment is pretty high stimulus, but no matter how hard they try, they cannot interact with it. It seems they spend most of their time trying to escape.

      I imagine it also depends a lot on the temperament of the dog, prey drive, protective drive, etc.

      Also do you think it is alright to use the second cage for timeouts.

      Personally, I would stay away from using crates for any kind of punishment. We have different crates upstairs, downstairs, and in the car. I find that it is easiest to teach my dogs to associate all crates with positive experiences.

      I do want to say though that what I share here is based on my own experiences with my dogs and based on what I have read. The Shiba Inu forum is also a good place to get thoughts from other Shiba owners.

  56. Rachel says

    Hi there, I’ve been reading a lot on your site and was hoping because your experience might be similar to mine, you can offer some tips. I’ve also gotten my first puppy and it’s also a Female Shiba Inu. I have noticed that she loses interest quickly and even without cage training, she was curious enough to eventually go in on her own and now that’s her favorite spot. Little by little I’ve been increasing the time with the door closed with me nearby. My Shiba, Tali is her name, I’ve learned that she can understand two claps and a firm “no” for example if she’s trying to chew the christmas tree skirt. Of course motivating her on the other hand, is a bit more of a challenge. I asked her to come to me at one point, and she literally sat there and tilted her head at me like, “What are you doing human?” It amused me but I’d like to find ways to engage her so she won’t be bored. I worry that she’s in her cage a bit too much but I’ve just gotten her a few days ago so I’m hoping with time, she’s just getting used to her new home. My real issue is potty training. Right now Tali is feeling a little ill so my Vet recommended to keep her war, (it’s cold out for our winters 30 degrees-ish) and I’d like her to learn to go on the pads when we are inside. I tried rubbing some of her urine on a pad or surrounding it with a playpen. This morning something must’ve clicked with her because she went to the pad on her own and did her business. While crate training though, I left the door closed for 2 hours and let her out when she began to whine a little (and I realize she’s a quiet dog so sound in a cage might mean hey- I gotta go!) so I let her out and I guess the two hour test was a no go bc she had to go immediately after I let her out. She’s 3 1/2 months. I know I’m definitely in for the ride of my life but I’d like to give a good honest effort before saying I can’t do it. (I guess I’m just as stubborn as she is). So any tips on motivation or potty training would be awesome. And also how to get her interested in her toys more. Thanks so much and your site has been so helpful so far.


    • shibashake says

      Hello Rachel,

      Yeah, Sephy can also be difficult to motivate. He likes new things but is not very interested in regular food or toys. However, he really loves to play, especially chasing and shredding games. He also values his freedom in the house and likes being able to see his people.

      I learned with Sephy that the best way to motivate him is to work with his innate likes and dislikes. During puppyhood, I would play a game with him when he does a successful potty outside. Since he likes chasing games a lot, it was a very good reward and motivator (for him). He also values his freedom very much, so timeouts are very effective with him. I make sure not to overuse it, but it was helpful to discourage him from biting and humping.

      Also, Sephy is more motivated by food when he is hungry, so I time my teeth brushing session before his dinner time, and I use cheese; which he only gets during teeth brushing and at no other time. This helps to raise the priority of the food reward.

      I find that it also helps to make Sephy work for all of his food, and I follow the NILIF (Nothing in Life is Free) program with all of my dogs.

      This is a bit more on my potty training experiences with my Huskies.

      Big hugs to Tali!

    • Rachel says

      Thank you so much for the advice. I have learned that Tali is willing to work with me when she knows there’s a treat in for her haha. So far she’s getting the hang of “sit” and “no”. Potty training is starting to improve as well (she still has accidents but significantly less haha). I’m still reading this site and it continues to be helpful. Thanks again!

  57. Cassondra Chavez says

    Ah ! I almost forgot. She has not had contact with any other dogs except once. She acts like she wants to attack. How do I train her to get along with other dogs? Thank you.

  58. Cassondra Chavez says

    Hello ! I got a shiba inu female. She is very stubborn. She turned 1 today. She used to hump my leg, steal food, and run out te door when I open it. She did the same thing to me today ! How do I stop her from running out the door ? I have the sit, lay down, and stay down. But if I end up just leaving she will run right past me. She is a beautiful dog and I love her. But I need some advice on her. Is female different than male in dominance, or even in ways? I also want to know if I can train her to stay when she is outside without a leash. Thank you ! Any advice is most appreciated.

  59. yanming tan says

    HI THERE, I JUST BOUGHT A 7 MONTH OLD SHIBA. we haven’t collected him yet but i am wondering, as i am a student and i have to be in school for quite a long time, since it is 7 months, i will be able to crate it up for up to 8 hours? and should i put it’s toys inside its crate?

    • shibashake says

      My Shiba Sephy really enjoys his freedom. During the day, Sephy does not like being in a crate for any extended period of time, especially when he is home alone. He sleeps in his crate at night, but I did a lot of crate training exercises with him and we also have his crate right in the bedroom with us.

      Also, Sephy needed a fair amount of structured activity and exercise especially during his younger days. I had a rough start with Sephy because I did not anticipate how difficult he could be, and how much time I would need to put into training and managing him.

      When Shibas get unhappy, they can become quite destructive and will treat everyone to very loud “Shiba Screams”.

  60. Laura says

    My husband and I recently got a Shiba Inu puppy. He is 4 months and sometimes he is very loving and sweet and will listen to us. But sometimes he is the complete opposite. He is biting everything, including us and actually breaking skin. When he gets into this mode its difficult to stop him or redirect him to his toys..he walks around with his mouth wide open ready to bite anything he can. We have tried replacing our hands or any other object with his toys but that lasts for one second, we have tried putting him in his crate and once hes calm we let him out but then he just starts up again, a lot of sites have said to ignore him and walk away but as you are walking away he will bite your calves and then once you get away from him he starts chewing at cabinets, the wall, the molding. I can’t just ignore that or he will slowly destroy our house (he has already bit a whole in the wall). This is our first puppy and I feel like we are in over our heads, can you give us any advice?

    • shibashake says

      Hello Laura,

      In terms of biting, here are some things that helped with my Shiba-
      1. Bite inhibition training – this teaches puppy to control the force of his bites.

      2. To stop biting on people, this is what I do-

      I don’t do timeouts in the crate because – a) I want the crate to be a positive and safe space that my dogs associate with sleeping, eating, and relaxing. b) I usually put the crates in people places, so that they get to be with people even while in their crates. This makes it less appropriate as a timeout area because it is still pretty high stimulus. I.e. the dog can look out and see lots of things happening around him.

      Instead, for timeouts, I use a safe and very low stimulus room that is out of the way, e.g. the laundry room.

      Here is a bit more on what I do for puppy biting and timeouts.

      3. To stop biting on furniture, I no-mark (Ack-ack) and then I body block the dog away from the area. Then I give him an alternate command and get him to do something else. When Shiba Sephy was young, I kept him in the kitchen with me for a big chunk of the time. I installed a baby gate at the kitchen entrance so he still gets to roam about, but I can keep an eye on him. In this way, he can only get into a very limited amount of trouble.

      I also set up a very fixed routine and schedule for Sephy. Here are a few more things that helped with Sephy-

      4. Finally, Sephy is very sensitive how I am feeling. If I get angry, frustrated, or stressed, he will pick up on that energy and get even more crazy. I get the best results when I stay calm, and have a plan for each of his undesirable behaviors. Then, I just focus on executing the plan.

      Sephy and I had a very difficult beginning, but now, things are a lot better. Here is a bit more on our early experiences-
      Early days with Sephy.

      The Shiba Inu forum can also be a great place to hook up with other Shiba owners –

      Big hugs to your Shiba puppy. Let us know how it goes.

  61. Kari says

    Your website has extremely helpful information! We have a 1 year old Shiba named Boone and he is such a ham. He is neutered, which has helped a lot with his social skills and has depleted his aggression, which was never very bad. One thing that is very strange about him is that he wants to be pet ALL THE TIME. I mean all the time. And he will whine and raise his paw and swat you if you do not respond. We did not expect him to be so affectionate or climb all over us wanting to be touched 24/7. Is this typical? We are picking up a sister Shiba for him in a week because he absolutely LOVES the company of other dogs, male or female, small or large. We think this might help or hurt his attention issues. What do you think?

    • shibashake says

      We did not expect him to be so affectionate or climb all over us wanting to be touched 24/7. Is this typical?

      How adorable! I don’t think this is very typical Shiba behavior. Sephy will sometimes paw us for food, but never for affection. 😀

      We are picking up a sister Shiba for him in a week

      Awww, that is awesome. Boone is such a lucky guy. If I had to guess, I think it will help with his attention issues. When we got Shania, Sephy absolutely loved it and wanted to be with her all of the time.

      Let us know how things go with the new pup. What are you going to name her?

    • Kari says

      I didn’t think so! He is very needy and touchy which is very endearing because we love to love on him. He likes his head to be rubbed most. He does this strange thing when he wants you to play with him where he swats you with his rear end.

      We haven’t decided on a name yet. We have a couple in mind, but we like to see her first to see what will fit her personality! We are very excited to complete our Shiba family :) I have to say though I can’t imagine DOUBLE the hair haha.

  62. michelle says

    Hello!! okay i have some issues with my 1yr old Shiba Inu Kenji. Everytime i walk him and he sees people he gets nervous and i just don’t understand why. He tends to shake and whine a lot. Is there any tips you can give me to break him out of his whiny/nervousness? Please it would mean the world if you can slightly help me make this better.


    P.s Love the site =]

    • shibashake says

      Dogs can get anxious of new things, new people, new objects, etc. Lara was quite tentative when she first saw Halloween decorations around the neighborhood, especially the ones that move from the wind. 😀

      I usually do desensitization exercises to help my dogs gain confidence, and re-associate a previously scary stimulus with something positive. Here is how I do people desensitization exercises with my dogs.

  63. Kay says

    I love your website and have found it to be VERY helpful!

    I bought my first Shiba 2 weeks ago and though stubborn at times is an overall absolute DOLL! She loves meeting new people, loves playing with other dogs and her energy level is just endless. (Which is great because mine is too! I needed a dog to keep up with ME!)

    I was wondering if you actually had any Shiba Inu Owners book(s) that you’d recommend? I absolutely believe that the more I understand about Shiba’s overall the better time I’ll have training her.

    • shibashake says

      Hello Kay,

      Congratulations on your Shiba pup!

      In terms of Shiba specific books, I haven’t really found any that are truly outstanding. I read a few of the popular ones that I found on Amazon, but most of the useful information I got on Shibas I found from visiting online forums and other online sites by Shiba fans. I also learned a lot from Sephy. 😀

      My favorite general dog-book is Bones Would Rain from the Sky by Suzanne Clothier. It is *NOT* a training book, but more of a dog relationship book. It really changed the way that I thought about Sephy during our difficult time.

      Big hugs to your little furry girl!

  64. Danielle says

    Hey! I have a 7-month old female Shiba named Cali. She is very sweet, loving, and everything inbetween. I have read countless times that they are extremely easy to potty train, but I’m having a small problem. Everytime a bedroom door is open in our house besides mine, she immediately jumps on their beds and goes to the bathroom! She is very good about going to the bathroom outside and waiting by the door, but for some reason she will not stop with the beds. I got her in April and only had two roomates at the time, now there are six more people and two other dogs in the house. Is it possibly a “I was here first and everything is mine!” type of deal? I feel like I’ve tried so much, but it’s just not going to work. Other than that, she is the most amazing dog in the world. Any suggestions?

    • shibashake says

      Hmmm, that is interesting.

      Sephy marked on a soft dog-bed and a cushion soon after we got a second dog. In Sephy’s case, I think the behavior arose from the stress and uncertainty of big changes to his routine and environment.

      I stopped him both times and sent him outside, but I also quickly re-established a very consistent routine for him, and very consistent rules. I think the consistent routine, more than anything else, helped him to calm down and adjust to the new changes. He has not repeated the behavior, and did not do any marking when we got a puppy last year. However, this time, we made sure to keep him on a fixed routine and only slowly introduced puppy to him.

      I think Sephy really likes knowing what to expect from the people and dogs around him, and also what is expected of him in return.

      Also, during Lara’s puppyhood, I would sometimes tether her to me when I was working in the kitchen. That way, I am there to supervise and she cannot run-off to pee in the corner when I am not looking.

      Big hugs to Cali!

  65. Briana says

    I have a 5 year old male shiba. He was very easy to house break had no real issues until first we moved and he barks all the time to the point he goes hourse. If that wasn’t bad enough I had a baby things have been fine until now. My son is 3 and is no longer in my dogs eyes beneath him. My son is older and more vocal telling him to come or trying to play etc. he is now poopong and peeing in every place my son has toys or his bedroom. I thought it was isolated to just my son but now it’s moved to my husbands office and the walls. What in the world do I do?! I have had to either keep him outside or when he barks to much move him into the garage. So he is no longer in the house. I hate doing that but I’m sick of cleaning it up. My female shiba has changes since I started separating him from her and us. She is much happier without him around. I almost want to give him away. Although only to someone I know. I don’t know what to do please please help me or give me some idea. He’s ruining my house. My other shiba is awesome very obidiant sweet. He wants to be a lap dog and be pet every minute of his life. He’s not aggressive just annoying at this moment. Thanks for any help you can provide. I’m at my wits end and I’m expecting a baby soon. So per in the floor is a no go.

    • shibashake says

      Hello Briana,

      It sounds like it could be from stress. When we moved several years ago, Sephy’s behavior also changed. Everything around him was new, the moving schedule was new, there were just many changes in a short time. He did not know what to expect, and became stressed.

      Some things that helped with Sephy-
      1. I re-established a very fixed routine right away. Sephy likes his routine so I planned things out for him and stuck to the same routine every day.
      2. I gave him many positive outlets to relieve his stress. I took him on long daily walks (in a quiet place in the neighborhood). We had play sessions every day, in particular his favorite chasing games. Sometimes, we also had supervised play sessions with a friendly dog.
      3. I set him up for success. I made sure he had nice place to rest and have some peace and quiet when he needed it. I don’t force him into situations that I know that he cannot handle. I start small, and slowly build up his confidence to the new surroundings.

      As for pottying in the house, whenever there is any regression, I just go back to potty training basics – reintroduce supervision and a fixed routine.

  66. Patti says

    I have a 2 year old male, fixed Shiba named Warren. He is pretty good, but he sure knows how to push my buttons! The thing that is bothering me the most about him is that he barks at my neighbours all the time if he is alone outside. He has met them, he has seen me talking to them but that doesn’t seem to help. He only does this if he is alone outside. What should I do? He has always been like this and I feel I have tried everything. Thanks for the website, it is really great!

    • shibashake says

      What I do with Sephy depends on why he is barking.

      Sephy will sometimes bark to alert me of the unusual. If there is unusual activity in my neighbor’s house, or if people walk by with dogs, he will alert me. That is a good thing, so I go and check things out, and thank him for doing his guard duties well. He usually stops barking as soon as I get there.

      One time there was a mouse in my garage, and Sephy barked at the garage door to alert me. In this case, he did not stop barking until we went into the garage together to check things out – which was also a good thing because that was when I heard the mouse.

      Other times, Sephy may vocalize when he wants to get attention or to get me to do something for him. This is not behavior that I want to encourage, so I no-mark the behavior. If he stops, then I reward him by giving him attention, or opening the door for him. If not, I ignore him and he doesn’t get what he wants.

      Here is more on my dog barking experiences.

      Is Warren barking to alert you of possible threats? Or is he barking because he wants to go meet and play with your neighbor? Or is he barking because there is something interesting going on and he wants to check things out? Or is he barking because he is fearful?

  67. Glenn says

    Hello, thank you so much for the website! Loads of great info here! We have a 9 month young male shiba (Kuma) and we’ll be picking up a female in about 7 weeks when she turns 8 weeks. I was able to teach Kuma to sit, lay down, and shake hands when he was only 3 months old and it only took a few days for him to learn all 3 commands. However, I’ve had bad luck with getting Kuma to go out on walks. I originally used a harness but he would just sit down and not budge. Now I’m still trying but with a collar instead and with the same results. Also, I made the mistake of rough housing with Kuma so now he’s used to it. My question is, since I haven’t been diligent in properly “training” Kuma, is 9 months old too late to get back on track? I have a feeling it’s never too late but with the stubborn nature of these breeds you never know. Thanks in advance for your time and keep up the good work!!

    • shibashake says

      Congratulations on your upcoming Shiba puppy!

      In terms of retraining, I made a lot of mistakes with Sephy in the beginning. I didn’t get my act together until about 5 months in, when I switched away from using aversive techniques. By that time, things were pretty dysfunctional and our relationship was not a good one.

      Luckily, Shibas are very resilient. 😀

      I changed my way of training, did a lot more research into a wide range of training techniques, observed Sephy carefully to identify his motivators, and put a lot of effort into timing, patience, and consistency. After that, things improved significantly.

      Sephy will still throw in a few Shiba-moves now and then, but he is quite a fun fella to be with.

      In terms of walking, Sephy also likes to sit around, look at people, and sniff the wind. I usually let him do that during our walks. When it is time to move on, I tell him to get moving. Sometimes, he will try one of his moves and not want to go.

      Some things that I do to get Sephy moving-
      1. I scrape my shoe on the concrete sidewalk. It makes a noise that he does not like and will frequently get him up.
      2. I lift him up by his chest into a sitting position, and then start moving at a brisk pace.
      3. Initially in our training, I would prevent him from lying down when we stop. It is easier to get him moving from a sitting position.
      4. I play the Find-It game with him, which is fun and usually gets him engaged and moving.

      Hugs to Kuma!

  68. says

    Hi, I’m adopting a 3yr.old male shiba already neutered.I was told by the guy showing him to me that he was loyal, affectionate, and easily trained,but from what i’ve read it’s complete oppsite. Everyone’s stories are wonderful, but some kind of scare about potty training. I have never own this type of dog before, or even crated before. I work night shift 1130pm-730am Sun-Thurs. I really don’t want to give this little up, but I don’t want to make a real big mistake by getting him.Please help

    • shibashake says

      Hello Jodi,

      There are always exceptions to the rule, but in general, I would not characterize a Shiba as “easily trained”. 😀 Here is an article with some great input from other Shiba owners, about why Shibas are difficult to train-

      In terms of potty training, this is actually one area where Shibas are generally quite good at. Sephy was already potty trained when I got him at 10 weeks old. He is very clean and very particular about not doing his business in the house. He usually prefers to do his business during walks, and will only go in the backyard when he really has to. Is the 3 year old Shiba already potty trained? It would be unusual if he wasn’t.

      There are of course exceptions to this. For example, Shiba puppies that are from puppy mills or pet stores may be used to soiling their sleeping area because they are kept for long periods of time in crates or cages. In these cases, extra work will have to be put into retraining the behavior.

      Another thing that took some getting used to with Sephy is his aloofness. Shibas are loyal, but they are usually aloof. For example, Sephy is a lot less affectionate than my Sibes. He is frequently happy to be off by himself doing his Shiba things. In contrast, Lara, my younger Sibe loves to sleep by our feet and Shania loves getting tummy rubs. Sephy will sometimes request tummy rubs, but *a lot* less frequently when compared to my two Sibes.

      Did you interact for long with the Shiba? Who was showing him to you – the owner? a foster parent? What is his history? What is his routine? Have you seen him interact with other dogs? children? What kind of training has he had? How did he act around his owner/foster parent? Why is the owner putting him up for adoption? Usually, rescue places are very willing to take a dog back if things don’t work out, is this the case here as well? Does he have any problem behaviors?

      No dog is perfect. If someone is trying to sell me a perfect dog, especially a perfect Shiba, I would have a lot of questions and concerns.

  69. Anonymous says


    Our 4 and a half month old shiba puppy has a way of playing that we call ‘boxing’ when she raises her two little paws and repeatedly hits the other dog. It always causes the other dog to bite her. We try to stop this behavior, but she always does it when she sees another dog. Is there anything we should do?


    • shibashake says

      Heh, yeah I noticed my Sibe puppy Lara doing that as well when she was small.

      In general, if Shiba Sephy does something that I do not like during play (e.g. humping), I no-mark the behavior, and stop play briefly. In this way, he associates the behavior with “no-play”, which will discourage him from doing it in the future.

  70. Henry says

    Hi, Thank goodness for your website. It’s God sent.

    I have just adopted an under 2 months old Shiba Inu. Even though I had pet dogs almost all my life this is one that beats it all. At the early age of only 50 days, when I got her, Creamy Deli, She was very mouthy. The mouth would go for everything and anything. I am still trying to get her to stop biting altogether but I doubt that is possible. So next option would be bite inhibition.

    Before finding your wonderful site, I tried smacking her, which obviously did not work. With your technique of isolation, it worked. she still nibbles my fingers and opens her mouth on my arm but does not apply hard pressure. It scares the wits out of my 2 sons. How can I make her totally stop that? Or is it possible to stop that?

    Will be writing more as the following days and months as we all learn to get used to her and she to us. Like a growing process.

    Thanks one again for this lovely site.

    • shibashake says

      Congratulations on your new Shiba puppy!

      Yeah they can be very mouthy. Sephy was like that as well. He was a holy terror. 😀

      I usually start by redirecting puppy onto a toy. Puppies often mouth in play so I try to teach them it is ok to mouth on toys, but not so much on people. If he redirects, then I reward him by playing with him. If he does not then I withdraw my attention (fold up my arms, stand up, and ignore him).

      If he stops biting, then I give him a simple command, e.g. Sit. If he does that, then I go back to playing with him. If he escalates his behavior and bites at my clothing then he goes to timeout.

      The nice thing about toy redirection and giving an alternative command is that it gives the puppy something else to do that is positive. In this way, puppy learns alternative more “people friendly” behaviors.

      When I give my young Sibe (Lara) tummy rubs, she usually gets excited and wants to start playing. Often, she will grab a nearby toy on her own, because she is now used to that behavior and knows that she will get rewarded for it. If there are no toys nearby, I make sure to get one for her.

      Big hugs to Creamy Deli!

  71. Erin says

    Hi I was directed to this website by doing some online research on shibas. A couple months ago I moved to Japan with my husband, who has been stationed here with the military. Being in a foreign country unable to speak much of the language, I am unable to have a job so I figured this would be a great time to offer to help with a rescue dog – something I had always wanted to do previously but with my extremely busy work schedule, had no time for a dog. The opportunity came rather quickly. A member of the Navy, who also gives a great deal of his time to German Shepherd rescue, was alerted to some dogs in need. A Japanese breeder, who is suspected to have owned a puppy mill, was hospitalized with advanced cancer. She had paid people to care for, and feed her dogs, but no one ever came to care for the dogs. The Navy guy came and saved as many dogs as he could – but by the time he made the 6 hour trip there, only two dogs were left – a shepherd and a shiba. The Shiba was fostered for a day by a lady willing to help, but she soon contacted me requesting my help because her two dogs disliked the shiba. I, having waited for this moment of dog rescue for years, readily agreed to take in the shiba, not really knowing what I might be getting into. On that Sunday, about a week ago, into my home walked a timid, malnourished black and tan shiba who immediately lifted a leg and peed on my wall. I remember thinking “Oh crap…” as I looked at the dog and then at the desperate look in the lady’s eyes who explained hopefully “I think he just did that because he’s really nervous. That should go away as he gets comfortable” So I’ve taken on this unfortunate shiba, that we have named Kitsune (means fox in Japanese), who is a 6 year old male, never neutered since he was a “stud dog” at the puppy mill, and never trained. We even tried commands in Japanese just to make sure he had no training and he gives no response. He has made quite a few improvements – initially he cowered and trembled at all hand movements, held his tall low instead of the cute shiba curl, and he looked emaciated, his coat dull and dry from lack of food. Kitsune now holds his head high, prances around, his tail is back to its curl, he happily welcomes head scratches from all, and his coat and weight are starting to improve a bit. He has very few shiba characteristics – isn’t aggressive, doesn’t bite, is not overly dramatic. He tolerates the abuse of my cat who will walk up and swat him with her paw (that fact that he doesn’t even bark at her is close to saintly). Kitsune loves the children in the neighborhood even though they come up to him with a lot of noise and excitement – he seems to have a certain affinity towards them. He is gentle, and generally calm, and didn’t even flinch when getting shots and micro-chipped at the vet. He has learned to sit (by rewarding with treats) and has learned to come, although he still needs practice. So you are probably wondering, what on earth could be my issue? Well whenever any male is in his presence – human, dog or other he marks his territory. Inside it is lifting his leg on whatever he fancies. Outside, he has peed on my leg, on other dogs, and obsessively on every vertical object he passes. At the dog park, while all the other dogs are having fun chasing balls, playing tug of war and obediently sitting, staying and coming on their owners commands where is Kitsune? Prancing about on his own, pooping, peeing, scratching – spreading his scent everywhere, indicating that the dog park is HIS. Generally he shows no aggression towards other dogs – in fact, after a minute of interest he becomes completely bored with the other dogs. But there are cases where specific male dogs will turn this generally docile shiba into an absolute maniac! I don’t know what it is about these particular male dogs, but for example, the other day it was a young boxer male in my neighborhood who Kitsune chased about the dog park, peeding on him, trying to hump him. The poor boxer had to hide under a bench to get away from Kitsune, and I had to take my incredibly rude dog home. Then again, at the vets office in the waiting room he peed lifted a leg and peed on a fairly geriatric looking male dog, who did nothing to instigate things with Kitsune. When male dogs approach us while out on a walk, he’ll pee on my leg. I’ve tried crate training but he has figured out how to lift his leg and angle it in such a way that it gets all over the floor and barely in his crate. Then while I’m cleaning one spot, he goes and pees in another. He is so quick I can’t catch him in the act, so I can’t discipline him. He is getting neutered tomorrow but several people have told me that Kitsune is too old for that to make any difference now. I think this dog is so wonderful in every other way but I can’t continue with the urinating and dominance behavior he is showing. Its causing stress between my husband and I, lack of attention for my cat Cleo and a messy chaotic home. My patience is coming to its end. Other dog owners have told me to use a shock collar but I think that with Kitsune’s background, which probably included some abuse, a shock collar would be a horrible training device. Things have to change or I will have to find another home for Kitsune. Am I right to find a more shiba-ready home, or is there a solution?? Please help, I feel very guilty considering giving up on this rescue dog!

    • shibashake says

      Hello Erin,

      I do not have much experience in this area. Sephy only marked twice in the house. This happened soon after we got Shania (Siberian Husky puppy). Both times he marked on soft bedding material that Shania had been on.

      I supervise very closely during the new-puppy-period, so I was there both times for his marking behavior. I no-marked him (ack-ack) and banished him outside. During transition periods, I usually put a drag-lead on Sephy (only with a flat collar and *not* an aversive collar). If he runs, I just step on the lead, and then take him outside right away.

      Sephy likes being in the house most of the time – especially then, since he got to play and have fun with Shania. He did not like losing his in-house privileges, so he stopped marking inside the house. He gets to mark when we go on our daily neighborhood walks, so he has an outlet for his marking instinct.

      Several things helped with stopping Sephy’s marking behavior-
      1. He quickly learned that he cannot get away with marking in the house. I will always catch him.
      2. He always got a negative consequence from marking in the house – he lost his in-house privileges and had to stay outside while everyone else had fun inside.
      3. He has an outlet for his marking behavior when we go out on our daily walks.

      I also supervise Sephy closely during play sessions with other dogs. I have strict play rules with Sephy and he is not allowed to hump other dogs, or bully them. If he humps, play stops and he has to do a short obedience session with me. If he keeps humping, play stops and he goes on a short timeout.

      I also follow the NILIF program with all of my dogs.

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