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 notย 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. Theย 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. Kim says

    Our Copper came from a shelter…they guessed about 8 months old….He is leash trained and sweet as ever….but he did train us very quickly..wouldn’t trade this goof ball for anything

  2. Oliver says

    Got buffy from a rescue centre, love her to bits but bloody hell is she a hand full, tested her off lead twice and she was brilliant, then saw some horses and bolted off, luckily got her in time, went to an open field and running round with my cousins cockapoo, loved it, then the bird came and dejavu hit again, goodbye buffy. Most upredictable dog ive owned, loves to be centre of attention and kick up a fuss whenever she doesnt get her own way, well socialises with both people and animals (dogs, cats) but is easily distratcted like most dogs.
    Very boystrious playing attitude which scares many dogs (or get annoyed with her), loves to jump and hulk smash dogs with her two front paws, caught me a few times in the face, hates a cuddle and hates anything that doesnt benefit her, hard to get inside unless she will earn something from it. Hoping that one day she will be able to go off lead but i highly doubt it. Shes 2 and a half and a handful but she has suchna funny personality minus the manopulative side of her. If this is your first dog do not get one, a big handful unless you have the time and patience to train her bad habits but i feel due to the breeds high prey-drive i wont be anle to trust her off leas, has a mind of her own whilst on a walk and is just too damn interested in everything but commands, she knows them, but when it suits her…

    Love her to bits though, just wish she wasnt as hard to train!

  3. Marshall says

    I do love this website, lots of useful tips … THANK YOU

    I too just got a Shiba pup and he is so super hyper active dog. Once Carter got out of the crate, he feels like he is on the loose running around like there’s no tomorrow. It’s a struggle to play with him coz he will either start chewing my pants or start biting my feet (and hands). He also would not sit still when eating. He would only stay for like a minute eating from his dog bowl and then go wonder around with his food in his mouth. So all the food are all over, and end up taking away his food. We do however are impressed with his poo-ing and pee-ing outside the house. Once we let him out, and kept there for a good 5 mins, he would do his business. There are only a few occasions that he will have an accident in his crate and around the house.

    Can you maybe share some tips on my struggle with playing with him, (without biting us) and feeding him (to keep him still).

    Thanks very much

  4. Lili says

    We got Mojito two days ago, he’s three months old. And even though we were prepared for a little monster that would need a lot of education and training, we were nicely surprised for his calm behaviour. He’s not fearful at all, he’s self confident, enjoys his crate and when we leave for work, he stay quietly the whole day playing with his toys or sleeping in his crate. We were surprised that he doesn’t even cry at nights. Also, he loves being handled, he stay so calm when we grab it in our arms. And it doesn’t look obsesses with biting anything, just occasional biting, more like exploring objects with his mouth.
    We are socializing him, I’m also a big fan of Ian Dunbar, and his doing great, he plays with a dog we know very well that is small and have been perfectly socialized, Mojito seems to enjoy playing with the other dog, besides the fact he growled and snapped the other dog, but it was completely our fault, since the other dog was all over Mojito and we didn’t stop him, so I guess he felt he didn’t have any choice. We gave him a time out and after that he kept playing.

    We are very happy, and we are going to keep educating and training Mojito to be a great adult dog. Your blog is our main guide, you have done a great job!!

  5. Max Levitas says

    I have a 4 months Shiba Inu and he’s literally afraid of every noise in the house and is terrified of going outdoors. It’s been with me for almost 3 weeks and every vet is telling me that he should of adapted by now. Any tips or advises?

    • Joe says

      My Shiba was like that for the longest time. literally scared of everything! he is about a year and 3 months now. it was maybe around 9 months he finally started to warm up and it wasn’t until he was about 1 until he finally felt comfortable with his surroundings. The biggest thing i learned is Shibas won’t feel comfortable until they can trust and respect there owner.

  6. Kerry says

    Hi. I have a 20 month old female shiba. I have owned a shiba before, he lived to be 15! My female shiba after about 1 year old, started crying and biting our feet sometimes. It seems to happen when her stomach hurts. We have had a million tests done and everything seems fine with her stomach. Vet says we need behavior training. Anything you could suggest for this? It is not just nipping, it is a full aggressive bite and we have 2 kids. Thank you!

    • Keri says

      I’m in the same boat, my Shiba is 5 and in the past 2 years has become aggressive toward my husband and son’s feet. Like he’s protecting the floor, I think the ‘that’s mine’ attitude is directed at the floor. He is also pretty protective over me, if my husband tries to hug me, it’s game over. We are trying to desensitize him and it was going well for a while, but recently seems to be worse. We are thinking about bringing his crate back into the house so he can get a time out when it happens. I’m also going to have my husband and son give him more treats (when they are deserved) and have them give him his daily food dish. Hopefully that will help. Let me know if you get any other tips to try.

  7. Craig Mallak says

    We had a Shiba for 10 years. We brought it back from Japan (Okinawa) when I was stationed there and the dog was abandoned and we adopted it. At first she was wild and I did use a choke collar on her for a short period of time. She learned very quickly and we didn’t even have to use a leash after a couple of months. She wasn’t destructive and got along with the cat. She died when she had a knee problem and the vet gave her Rimadyl awaiting surgery. The dog developed acute pancreatitis and died. Just about took me down as this dog was the just the best.

    Note: These are primitive dogs with the genetics going back on the island of Okinawa for at least 5000 years, probably longer. Be careful with medication that the dog may not be able to metabolize due to lack of drug pathways which these dogs may have never developed due to their isolation for thousands of years.

    To the present. We adopted a six month old rescue Shiba. She was everything you described and more. The biting, stealing, tearing up and destroying the house. I don’t know what the first owners did that resulted in this behavior, or if it is just the way this one is programed. Anyway, last night she actually clawed and bit through a drywall wall to get out of a room. Add to that two rugs ripped to shreds, actively attacking other dogs, cats, and anything that moves and this is not a dog that can left out of sight for more than a minute or two. She screams all night if we cage her. I have used the same firm but gentle techniques I used on the first one and the behavior is not improving after several months.

    At other times she is just the sweetest dog we could ever want. But there is no rhyme or reason to this Jeckyl and Hyde behavior.

    We both work and can’t cage the dog 20+ hours per day. Not fair to her or us.

    As much as it is going to break both our hearts, she is going back to the rescue where we hope she can be placed with a family that has no other pets, is home during the day, has a large area outside to play, and can spend hundreds of hours it will take to hopefully train this loveable but stubborn little dog.

    • Bryant says

      If not too late, exercise helps put it all together…especially if you take her to interesting (to dogs) places

  8. 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?

    • Christian says

      We’ve had our four year old female for three years now and she has gone through episodes much like the one you mentioned a few times, but we are currently experience the worst of it right now. Again, she’s four and is fully aware of when she’s being or has been disobedient. We are still trying to properly “diagnose” the problem – could be boredom, lack of exercise, anxiety (separation or otherwise), new treats that leave her with a bad taste – but have found that the solution clearly isn’t in trying to discipline her through “bad dog” technique.

      We moved with her overseas four months ago and in the first few months she was an angel, displaying no real issues, just a few mishaps here or there. When we first got her (rescue, just under 1 year old at the time of adoption) she was very nervous, anxious, and ‘independent’. The worst leash pulling you can imagine, scared of loud noises, and eventually we discovered that when we left her at home in her crate (she had been crate trained prior to our adoption) she cried/screamed/howled and scratched at the door of the crate non-stop…literally for hours on end. Our neighbors were the ones who made us aware and they were rightfully displeased.

      We decided to nix the crate and treat her prior to any departure, allowing her to roam the house. She took to it immediately with no ill effects. The only times she had made a mistake is when we were stupid enough to leave leather shoes/bags on the floor…that’s a no brainer for a Shiba.

      So now, years later, we all find ourselves back at square one. In the past month she has destroyed the following:

      Wrist watch band
      Hockey glove palm
      Beard trimmer AND charger
      Toiletries bag
      Rotating Push Up Handles
      Jump Rope
      External hard Drive
      Extension cord/power strip
      Countless papers/folders/pens/pencils

      We suspect separation anxiety as this only happens when we leave the house. At first, it only happened if we left for more than six hours (a cinch for her in the past, serious problem now…) but now it happens within an hour of our departure.

      Unfortunately I don’t have an answer for you other than a visit to the vet, which is on the calendar for us.

      The biggest thing to remember is they love us. As crappy as it can be to deal with the destruction they aren’t doing it out of spite. It could be a more serious problem, too, which is why a visit to the vet is a must.

      I hope you find relief and a change of behavior for your Shiba ASAP. Good luck, and let us know if you’ve had any progress!

  9. 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

    • Sarah says

      My pup was terrified of the bath at first but I found if i ran it while he was in it it was the sound/echo that he didn’t like. Now I run the bath prior and put him in and he sits and enjoys the massage lol.. Mine is still quite young (8mths) but it could be something that simple. Just a suggestion.

  10. 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. ๐Ÿ˜€ 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-

  11. 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. ๐Ÿ˜€

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

  12. 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.

  13. 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!

  14. 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 donโ€™t get pregnant during a heat cycle will experience a โ€œfalse pregnancyโ€ or โ€œpseudopregnancy.โ€ Females in false pregnancy often โ€œadoptโ€ 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.

  15. 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.

  16. 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 โ€œaskingโ€ 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

  17. 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.

  18. 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..

  19. 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.

  20. 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.

  21. 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.

  22. 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 arenโ€™t fully protected against the diseases we vaccinated them for until theyโ€™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 puppiesโ€™ 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. Heโ€™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.

  23. 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.

  24. 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.

  25. 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.

  26. 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.

  27. 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!

  28. 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.

  29. 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.

  30. 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. ๐Ÿ˜€

  31. 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”!

  32. 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. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  33. 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

  34. 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! ๐Ÿ˜€

      I donโ€™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.

  35. 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.

  36. 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.

  37. 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.

  38. 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!

  39. 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. ๐Ÿ™‚ Keep up the great posts!

  40. 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 ๐Ÿ™‚

    • 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. ๐Ÿ˜€

  41. 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!

  42. 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?

  43. 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!

  44. 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 ๐Ÿ™ how would I get nobunaga (nobu for short) to be a tad more independent?

  45. 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-

  46. 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 ๐Ÿ™ 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. ๐Ÿ˜€

  47. 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… ๐Ÿ™ 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.

  48. 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.

  49. 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 !

  50. 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.

  51. 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!

  52. 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. ๐Ÿ˜€

      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. ๐Ÿ˜€

      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!

  53. 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.

  54. 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

  55. 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 ๐Ÿ™‚ All the best to all shiba owners:)

  56. 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.

  57. 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! ๐Ÿ˜€

      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.

  58. 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. ๐Ÿ˜€

      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?

  59. 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.

  60. 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?

    • Rรฉgis 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.

  61. 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.

    • Rรฉgis 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. ๐Ÿ˜€

  62. 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! ๐Ÿ˜€

      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. ๐Ÿ˜€

      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.

  63. 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!

  64. 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.

  65. 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.

  66. 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”.

  67. 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.

  68. 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. ๐Ÿ˜€

      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 ๐Ÿ™‚ I have to say though I can’t imagine DOUBLE the hair haha.

  69. 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. ๐Ÿ˜€

      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.

  70. 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. ๐Ÿ˜€

      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!

  71. 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!

  72. 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.

  73. 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?

  74. 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. ๐Ÿ˜€

      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!

  75. 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”. ๐Ÿ˜€ 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.

  76. 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.

  77. 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. ๐Ÿ˜€

      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!

  78. 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.

    • Tonja says

      I have noticed my shiba Stuart will use the bathroom in the house if I’m not paying attention to him. We have lots of playtime during the day but when I am doing chores he we pee right in front of me. He is only 12 weeks old but he has learned so much. He sleeps in a crate and doesn’t ever use the bathroom in there. I just don’t get it. It takes a village to raise and train a shiba

  79. Jeffry says

    Hey I’m going to get a shiba inu in the upcoming months.Just like you I’ve set my mind on getting it, and it will be my first dog. Can I get some advices on how to raise it, and how will the experience be,thankfully I have alot of spare time as I am only out of the house for about 2 hours and when I’m out somebody else is here. By the way I live in an apartment but I must say that it is bigger than many of the houses I have seen, we have two and a half rooms and a humongous living room, any advices on what to do once we get our puppies.


    • shibashake says

      Hello Jeffry,

      Congratulations on your soon to be new family addition!

      One of the biggest things I had to readjust my expectations on is the Shiba aloofness. I had dogs while I was growing up and expected Sephy to be similar in terms of wanting to be with people – but that was really not the case. Most of the time he likes doing his own Shiba-things. ๐Ÿ˜€ He will sometimes ask for tummy rubs, but a lot less often than my Sibes.

      In terms of early training, Sephy was already potty trained so I didn’t have to do any of that.

      However, he was very mouthy and enjoyed getting into trouble. Here are some things that were helpful when Sephy was a puppy-

      Bite inhibition training and short timeouts worked well to control his mouthiness-

      Sephy was also very sensitive to handling, so starting handling exercises early was helpful. Now he is very good about being furminated and I also brush his teeth 3 times a week.

      For leash training, I used the start-stop technique and turn-around technique. They seemed to work well on Sephy and now he walks like a champ. I also used a harness during early leash training, or he would constantly be choking himself with pulling – part of the Shiba stubbornness.

      Finally have lots of patience and learn to laugh at your Shiba’s antics. And take lots of pictures. I regret not taking more puppy pictures of Sephy and he grew up really fast.

  80. Megan and Jim says

    My fiance and I just got out 13 month old Shiba about a month ago. We got him off of craigslist and don’t have much history (but we DO have his vet records). As far as we know, we are his 3rd home. But we have had a couple issues and want to pick your brain. The first one is that he just doesn’t get excited to see us ever. We can be gone for 5 hours, come home and he just saunters up to the door and doesn’t even really wag his tail or anything. We are very loving to him and take good care of him so we are getting really discouraged over that. BUT when a visitor comes in, he is sooooo excited to see them. We donโ€™t get it.

    Also, the other bigger issue happened the other day. Tucker had trashed the bathroom trash and my fiance went up to him, said, “bad boy” and went to go for his collar (to bring him in time-out) and that’s when all hell broke loose. Tucker violently attacked my fiance. When I say violent, I mean, VIOLENT (basically it was like Tucker wanted to kill him – snarling, growling, lunging with his teeth, etc). The only way it stopped was my fiance had to grab a broom to whack him off of him and finally he got him into his crate. We were so upset about it that we considered getting rid of him, or even worse, putting him down โ€“ thatโ€™s how violent it was. However after the incident, Tucker was all nice and loving again and we went to the vet and they suggested a trainer (he has never been to obedience school ever) so we decided to give him another chance (we started training this week). We are still nervous it will happen again though and are having second thoughts about keeping him. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

    Megan and Jim

    • shibashake says

      Hello Megan and Jim,

      Congratulations on your new Shiba!

      In terms of greeting strangers, Sephy is also more excited with new people. He is very curious about new things, so he is most excited with new food, new toys, and new people. This does not mean he loves them more or trusts them more, just that they are more interesting because they are new and different.

      my fiance went up to him, said, โ€œbad boyโ€ and went to go for his collar

      In the beginning, Sephy was very sensitive about being handled, grabbed, or collar grabbed. Many dogs can get sensitive to collar grabs because they have learned that it is usually a precursor to some punishment. Sephy was sensitive to handling right-off, whether on his person or on his collar. Initially, I found a drag-lead to be very helpful. I only use it with a flat collar and only when I am home to supervise, but it gives me much better control and I do not have to lay hands on him.

      I had a lot of issues with Sephy when he was young. He would jump on me, mouth my hands and arms, do leash biting, and do kill-moves on my jacket sleeve. As a result, I got really fearful of him. However, the more fearful I got, the worse his behavior became. Here is a bit more on our early experiences-

      With Sephy, I discovered that it is best not to have a physical confrontation with him. It is much better to manage him, use passive resistance, and set him up for success.

      we started training this week

      How is training going? Are you doing private lessons? I found that to be most useful with Sephy. Group classes are good for socialization, but I did not learn much, if anything, from those. What sort of exercises is the trainer suggesting?

      I went to many private training lessons with Sephy when he was young. Many trainers did not have the chops to handle a Shiba, so I had to try out several of them before finding a good trainer that used positive training techniques, and truly understood behavioral psychology.

      I also did a lot of my own research, and learned a lot from visiting Shiba Inu message boards. The Shiba Inu Forum is a pretty good message board, with a fair number of Shiba veterans.

  81. Jim says

    Hello! Thanks for the awesome article! My fiancee and I are picking up our newly adopted Shiba this afternoon. He is a 1 year old pup that has been crate trained, but has some other concerns. His foster allowed him to counter surf, jump on the coffee table and be in full control. I have experience with training and living with a full bread border collie, so I understand a dog with wittiness and high energy. We are planning on bringing him to a 6 week/1 hour per week training session. Hopefully we will be able to earn his trust and make this relationship work. Any suggestions on how to stop the counter surfing? Also, should we leave him in his crate during the day when we are at work or should we let him roam free in a room or two and allow him to have access to his crate when he wants to use it? And one last question: would you recommend a harness or a collar? He enjoys pulling while on a leash.


    • shibashake says

      Hello Jim,

      Congratulations on your new family member! How are things going in the first few days?

      1. Counter surfing
      In terms of counter surfing, I usually just supervise Shiba Sephy and no-mark him (ack-ack). If he does not listen, then he loses his freedom in the house and has to go on a short timeout. Initially, I also make sure to counter-proof the house, i.e., I don’t put anything on the counter that Shiba wants. In this way, he never gets rewarded with anything even if he gets up there.

      Here is more on counter surfing-

      Some people suggest using sonic/sound scat-mats, but that is an aversive technique, and has some risks associated with it, as outlined in the article above. The electric/shock scat-mats are especially risky, so I would personally stay away from those.

      2. Crating
      I let Sephy roam free in the house when I am not around. However, this is very much based on the dog and our current relationship with him.

      In the beginning, I crated Sephy when he was home alone. But this was only for a very short duration (1 hour or so). Once he got older, and I noticed that he was more calm, I let him roam free. At first, I started with a very short alone duration, just as a test. Then, I slowly lengthened his alone time – similar to the beginnings of crate training. I also make sure to dog-proof the areas where he has access to, so that he doesn’t hurt himself.

      3. Harness or Collar?

      This also depends a lot on the dog. Shiba Sephy really hates wearing anything on his body. We had to slowly condition him to putting on a collar, and now he is ok with that. He never liked having a harness on, so we are currently using a collar during walks. Sephy is trained not to pull, so a collar works well at this point. When he was a puppy, we used a harness during leash training.

      However, if Shiba does not mind a harness, then that is probably preferable. A Shiba Inu has a short trachea, and may choke more easily when pressure is applied to the neck. Here is more on harnesses and collars.

      Big Kudos to you for adopting a Shiba in need!

  82. Jo says


    I have 2 male Shiba Inus, one is 9 months and the other is nearly 3. They are both neutered and they have become very vicious towards each other. The younger one starts vicious fights which has drawn blood on a few occasions. It use to only be over food or treats now its just anytime during the day. The 3 year old is only here 5 days a week and the 9 month old is he all the time. When the fights happen we put the one that starts it in the laundry, its usually the 9 month old that growls first. We are thinking its a dominance thing but we just the fights to stop happening, but we don’t no what or how to do it. Is punishing it making it better or worse?

    • shibashake says

      Hello Jo,
      Family dogs usually get into conflicts with each other over resources. The most noticeable is when they show aggression over food and toys, however, they can also have conflicts over other resources such as access to people or to space.

      For my own dogs, I keep the peace by doing the following-
      1. Having very clear rules for resources and for interactions. No stealing is allowed and I hand out all resources. Each dog understands what belongs to whom.
      2. When there are resource conflicts, I step in and resolve it by telling each of them what to do. In this way they do not need to resolve it themselves. Note – this is only possible if the dogs are not people aggressive in any way. I also step in early, *before* there is any aggression. Once a fight has begun, it is too late and the dog is too hyped up to understand what the punishment is for.
      3. I reward them well for being calm together and for working cooperatively together for me. This teaches them that they get more stuff by working together rather than by competing with each other.

      Here is more on what I do with my dogs-

      If the fights are bad or getting worse, it may be very helpful to get a professional trainer to observe the dogs, identify the aggression triggers, and come up with a good plan to desensitize them to those triggers.

  83. Dick Burns says

    Your tips are very solid– and a Shiba isn’t right for everyone. I still play rough with mine because he enjoys it so much, and I do let him get away with launching sneak attacks from behind where he bites the back of my shirt, or buckles my knee from behind– he does know the difference between play and fighting. He’s very good with other dogs and knows when to be submissive. Shiba are funny, sometimes he just wants to be alone, and sometimes he wants a lot of attention, but he is always My Best Friend. The food guarding can be a serious issue and has to be dealt with carefully. He is mostly trustworthy off the leash– but I don’t advise it anywhere there is any danger– and not after until after a few years of building trust.

  84. Nancie says

    I have a Shiba Inu that is 11 months old. I’ve had him since he was 3 months. I am at wits end and thinking I need to get rid of him. Anytime someone visits, including family members, he barks and carries on and will not be friendly with them even after they have been here for awhile. He bit my niece soon after I first got him and I don’t trust him around kids. He is great when it’s just me and my son at home and has certain people he is fine with but for the most part is just not a nice, friendly dog. My sister insists that he is dangerous and that I get rid of him (she’s the mom of my niece whom he bit) but I don’t know what to do. Do you think this type of behavior can be fixed with a professional trainer? I had contacted a Shibi Rescue place several months ago and they told me I should get rid of him because their Shibi’s greet people at the gates and are very friendly and that Harley’s behavior is not normal! I love my dog and I’m very sad at the thought of getting rid of him but I can’t take the stress and worry that he might really hurt someone. Please give me your advice! Thank you,

  85. Konny says

    Hello ShibaShake! Iโ€™m a big fan of your site and I was hoping you could give me some help because Iโ€™ve just about tried everything Iโ€™ve learned via your site and Cesar and Iโ€™m out of ideas โ˜น

    I have a 2-year-old shiba inu who I got from a friend. She gave him to me because she said she didn’t have time for him after her dad died (who was his main handler). He was pretty overweight (~45 lb) and according to my friend “depressed”. Even though he was lethargic he was otherwise friendly. She didnโ€™t tell me a lot about him, but I ran into a couple of mutual friends a month later who told me they knew him as a puppy/young adult. Apparently he was a nuisance, and you couldnโ€™t leave anything on the floor before leaving the room- otherwise he would pick it up and run off. He also liked to โ€œintimidate peopleโ€ by growling.

    I’ve had him for 3 months now. He’s lost a significant amount of weight and has tons more energy At first, it was tough trying to gain his companionship. Right off the bat he was more responsive towards males (most likely due to previous handler), but I was able to circumvent that by teaching him I was his owner (e.g. training him daily, feeding him with my hands, teaching him not to start eating until I say release word โ€œOk,โ€ and just spending time with him). I could tell early on that he had trouble with dominance. Tsubi is a very strong-willed dog and even though he would perform tricks, maintain eye contact and come when being called inside the house- whether itโ€™s his prey drive or own will- he wonโ€™t walk on a leash for a long duration outdoors. Thereโ€™s always a narrow timeframe where he will let you lead him. After ~10 minutes heโ€™ll stop following and sit if youโ€™re going in a different direction than where he wants. To help enforce that heโ€™s supposed to follow and act more omega ranked, Iโ€™ve tried positive reinforcement (with food and praise). In addition, I’ve tried controlling the environment by taking him to quiet places, shortening the walks and just doing it more frequently. Some days it’s good and some days I’ll have to carry him back (bad I know!). Overall I don’t think we’ve made very good progress.

    Unfortunately, now that he has more energy I feel that his bad habits are becoming more prominent. The biggest problem Iโ€™m faced with is that heโ€™s started to bite. Heโ€™s bitten my roommates and I think heโ€™s exhibiting possessiveness and fixation. For example, my roommate was trying to move a cardboard box, and when she bent down he came up and bit her. The same thing happened to my friend’s mom. She was trying to move a laundry basket and he rushed over to see what was going on. When she tried to move it he bit her hand. He doesn’t even growl; he just bites! He’s like that with me to some extent when I try to move his bedding – it’ll catch his attention and he’ll stare at what my hands are doing intently. One of the times he’s actually bitten me was when a small ball rolled out from under the couch. I didn’t want him to swallow it so I told him “NO” plus a sharp โ€œtsch.โ€ When I used body block to make him move back so I could pick it up, he growled at me and bit my hand. That was when I learned the hard way that he does not know bite inhibition. If heโ€™s trying to communicate to you with his mouth, he will bite down, HARD. It makes me a little afraid to try and correct his behavior should he do something like that again โ˜น. Iโ€™ve tried to assert dominance in the home like never moving aside for him. Iโ€™ve also tried to move his bed and toys while giving him treats. He doesn’t go in or out of doors unless I do first. Before we leave the house, I give the commands โ€œSit, look at me and stay.โ€ I slowly open the door and wonโ€™t let him move until I give the release word.

    I’d like him to listen to people more, and understand that they are his superior. I’d also like to be able to take walks and maybe even run with him one day. Is there anything you know that I should try with my dog? Thanks, I appreciate your help greatly :3

    • shibashake says

      Hello Konny,

      I also had a lot of problems with Sephy in the beginning. He is a stubborn dog that likes doing things his own way. I think Shibas tend to be more stubborn, and set in their ways.

      When Sephy was young, I took a fair number of private training sessions with several professional trainers. Finding a good trainer took some work, and can be expensive, but it helped me with Sephy a fair bit.

      Sephy is also a very sensitive dog and he reacts very strongly to my emotional state. In the beginning, I was quite fearful of him, and the more fearful I was, the worse his behavior became. I suspect he sensed my nervousness and became nervous himself. After I was able to control my own energy, his behavior improved significantly.

      Another thing that never worked with Sephy is that he never reacts well to challenges. The more I challenged him, and engaged with him physically, the more he fought back. This was why aversive techniques did not work well with him. Instead, passive resistance, management, and controlling his resources work best.

      Dogs will repeat behaviors that get them good results, and stop behaviors that get them bad results. If a dog gets rewarded for aggression, for example, by getting people to back away and gain ownership of the box or laundry basket, he will keep repeating his aggressive behavior. The key, I found, is not to engage Sephy is a “fight” for the box or whatever object, but to carefully manage him so that he is not exposed to situations where he is likely to show aggression.

      Instead, I carefully desensitize him to his aggression triggers in a controlled environment. I try to maximize the number of successful events, and minimize the number of events where he uses aggression.

      Timing and consistency are very important with Sephy, as well as reading his body language. These were the things that a professional trainer helped me with. What techniques work well, is also very dependent on context, and the emotional state of everyone involved.

      Dominance theory is discussed a lot lately, but with Sephy, it was frequently not an issue of dominance but something else. Sometimes he just did not understand what was expected of him, sometimes it was redirected aggression, sometimes he just learned the wrong thing because my timing was off or I did not use the right response.

      In the beginning, I had a lot of issues with Sephy. Therefore, I started dealing with just one problem at a time. In other instances, I carefully managed him so that he did not keep practicing his bad behaviors. I.e., I kept his environment as calm and quiet as I can, and set up a very fixed routine where both of us knew exactly what to expect. His biting and humping were the first things I addressed. In terms of guarding objects, this was what I did to address resource guarding behavior. However, each dog is different because his breeding and upbringing are different. For example, Sephy had good bite inhibition because we did a lot of exercises since he was a puppy.

      This is why it helps to have a professional trainer observe the dog, and interpret his actions based on his body language, surrounding context, and real-time interaction. Then we can come up with a specific plan to suit our dog’s particular temperament, style, and environment.

  86. Jake says

    What a wonderful recourse this blog is for my happy family! My wife and I just adopted our first Shiba. She is a beautiful 3 year old rescue black and tan and is the sweetest girl in the world. We both have been raised with dogs and are experienced owners, but being that this is our first of this breed, I have some questions. She lacks many of the “typical” Shiba traits I’ve been warned of. She is very affectionate, loves children, adults, and other dogs/cats, has zero food or toy aggression, and is rarely as aloof as we were expecting. My only concern has been walking her on her leash. She is wonderful with my wife, and was great with me the first walk or two we went on. We bought a harness that is balanced and seems more comfortable and connects to the leash on her upper back (rather than neck). However, the past couple of days I’ve went to walk her she simply stops. She refuses to go anywhere and seems distraught. At times I can get her moving and she’ll stop to chew on grass and smell things, and instead of her moving on after a good long pause, she’ll stop again and show no interest of going any direction. Often it’s been long enough between outside trips that I’m certain she must need to relieve herself, but she is adamant that she wants to go absolutely nowhere. This morning to get her to the car I had to partially drag her along, which makes me feel terrible. Once she see’s the car door open she’s all wags and excited for the car ride. I’m wondering if she’s decided my wife is the alpha and I’m the play cuddle daddy (she’s more affectionate with me), and doesn’t have trust in me for walks. Any help or insight on how to correct or work around this issue would be greatly appreciated.

    • shibashake says

      Hello Jake,
      Shiba Sephy will also sometimes stop and not want to move. Most of the time he just wants to sit and watch people or traffic. Other times, he is startled by something new and wants to take he time observing, before approaching the new object. This sometimes happens during Halloween season, especially for those “wraith-like” things that move with the wind. Even I get startled by those sometimes! ๐Ÿ˜€

      How I deal with his stopping will depend on why he has stopped, and how he is acting when we are stopped.

      If Sephy stops just to look at people, then, when I want to go, I just go. Usually I start at a faster pace (jog) and he will usually come along. I only let him lie down when I am prepared to stop for a longer duration.

      Playing the Find-It game also helps to motivate him to move along.

      On the other hand, if Sephy is startled by something he sees, then I will let him take his time to observe the new object. I allow him to do this as long as he is relatively calm. Then when he is ready to move forward and examine the object, we will move forward.

      When my Sibe puppy Lara was young, she would get really afraid of certain things and want to bolt (e.g. people on skateboards). In this situation, I try to move away from the trigger object at a measured pace. Once we get far enough away, I sometimes stop and let her observe from afar. I also started practicing desensitization exercises with her at home.

      Another thing that may help to do regular fun obedience training commands with Shiba. Sephy sometimes enjoys doing Spins and standing Up on his hind legs. He is not as great with Recalls, but I do those with him as well. Doing regular obedience commands gets Shiba into the routine of working for his food, and following what we say. I follow the NILIF program with all of my dogs. Doing these fun commands during walks also makes the outing more interesting.

      Does your wife spend more time with Shiba? Does she feed Shiba all of her meals? Usually, I try to get everyone into the habit of feeding the dogs some of their food. In this way, the dogs bond to everyone in the family.

      Congratulations on your new Shiba and four paws up for helping a Shiba in need.

    • Lynn says

      In my opinion, the reason she stops moving is probably because she’s not happy with the feeling of having the harness on & it’s her way of pouting (Shibas are drama-queens). But, don’t give up; she will probably get used the harness.

      Sometimes my dog will actually fall over (funny) when I try to put on her harness (& leash). I just pick her up & set back on her feet & walk toward the door. Once the inside door is opened, she will come running to me to go out for a walk (the reward).

      Recently, I tried a sherpa/faux suede dog jacket on her (at home on the couch) & she just fell over & refused to move. (too funny)

      My Shiba is 4 months old.

  87. Kathy Z says

    My family is considering getting a dog and we want a Shiba. We’re first timers on having a dog, but my mother is set on having a Shiba. What she wants to know is, can we have our Shiba in our backyard? It’s big enough for the Shiba to run around in, but I think the Shiba can wiggle through the fences or dig out. We live in China, so its either really hot or freezing. We plan to bring the Shiba in during winters, but we need help on training it to not ‘attack’ things like the sofa.
    PS. How long can a Shiba be left alone each day?

    • shibashake says

      Hello Kathy,

      Shibas tend to be escape artists so if the backyard is not well secured, and he is bored, he will likely dig out or jump out to find adventure outside.

      I also got a Shiba as my first dog, and it was a big challenge. Shiba Sephy and I had a really rocky start, here is our story.

      Luckily, I was retired and had a lot of time to spend with Sephy. I had to supervise him a lot, and also spent a lot of time observing him and learning how to train him effectively. Shibas tend to be very stubborn dogs, therefore they are more difficult to train than most other breeds.

      Here are a couple of articles on things that helped with Sephy when he was a puppy-

      Here are some of my experiences on stopping dog escapes.

      How long can a Shiba be left alone each day?

      That depends on a lot of things. Puppies are a lot more energetic and need to be potty trained and supervised. Therefore, they require much more people time. Adult Shibas need daily walks and exercise, but are more independent and can be left alone for longer periods of time. I have left adult Sephy alone for a maximum time of about 5 hours, but that happens pretty infrequently.

      Sephy likes being inside the house and he does not need much direct attention from me. However, he *does* like having me around the house. We take him on a morning walk of over 1 hour every day, and he is usually good for the rest of the time. He also has several rigorous play sessions with my other dogs, and works for all of his food from interactive toys.

  88. Matt says

    I recently adopted a 5 year old rescue Shiba named Kiari. She is a smaller Shiba, about 16lbs and really good with people and kids. She loves her toys and going on walks. The only thing she seems to be not too fond of is other dogs. When we are on walks and she sees other dogs she always tries to go towards them and occasionally barks. I have her on a harness instead of a collar and she’ll pull to the point where her front paws are off the ground. I haven’t let her get in reach of any dogs yet so I’m not sure what will happen if she gets near one. Any tips on getting her to be more social?


    • shibashake says

      With my Shiba, I started by first getting him to ignore other dogs. Every time we see dogs during our walk, I would just create some space (e.g. by crossing the road), and keep on walking at a measured pace. I also ignore the other dog, so that everything stays calm and nothing happens. The more neutral experiences we had, the more calm Sephy became when he saw other dogs.

      Together with neutral experiences, I also did dog-to-dog desensitization exercises with Sephy. This helps him learn how to greet other dogs in a calm and very structured setting.

      Big hugs to Kiari! She sounds like a very awesome Shiba girl!

  89. Dot says

    I have a 3 yer old fixed male Shiba and a 5 year old fixed rescued female Shiba. It took me about a year to get “Cricket” to come in. She had been left in a crate for 3 years and didn’t get a lot of personel attention. She still doesn’t like to come in. I don’t want her to sleep outside in the winter as we live here it gets cold and ‘Suke” sleeps in the house. Any hints on getting her to “come” and “stay” – I can’t get her to do this. I need help. She’s been in 1 public class and one private class.

    • shibashake says

      Hello Dot,
      It is difficult to say without knowing more about Cricket. What does she do when she is outside? When she comes inside, does she get a lot of attention? … perhaps too much for her? What does she do when she is inside? What does Suke do?

      My two Sibes also like being outside. They love digging, they like the cooler temperature, and they also like smelling the air. They also really love food though, so they will definitely come in when they smell dinner! ๐Ÿ˜€ I make them work for all of their food, so they end up spending a fair amount of time inside doing that. They also like playing with other inside the house because Shiba Sephy does not usually go outside.

      I also make sure that puppy Lara does not pester the other dogs when they just want to be left alone.

      Here are some things I did when introducing Lara her housemates.

  90. Kathy says

    We have a rescue dog, a Shiba. She’s has separation anxiety. Will go nuts trying to get out of the house to find us. What can we do, besides kenneling her all the time?

  91. Nevena says

    Your website has helped me so much! I have a 3 month old Shiba named Hoshi. He’s actually a very calm little fellow and we haven’t had too many problems with him. He did like to bit a lot, and he’s still pretty bitey but he’s gotten so much better. Thank you for all of the useful information! Your dogs are beautiful.

    • shibashake says

      Hello Nevena,
      Congratulations on your new Shiba puppy! A calm Shiba is a very good Shiba. ๐Ÿ˜€
      Thank you very much for your kind words and BIG HUGS to Hoshi! Take lots of pictures and share some with us.

  92. Emily says

    I own a little puppy Shiba Inu who is 10 weeks old. She loves to bite on everything, eats the bitter stuff to stop her from chewing, and when you try to stop her from biting your hand she tries to bite your face.

    I don’t know how to get her to stop thinking people are chew toys. Is there any tips you can give me so she will stop this?

  93. Natalie says

    Hello! I really enjoyed reading your article. I have adopted a Shiba from the animal shelter. She’s very sweet, a little aloof and independent, but that’s the thing I love about her. I’ll be able to take her home in the next week so I’m reading up on how to train her. I’ve always wanted a Shiba, but was always turned off by the warnings, “They are extremely hard to train.” I’ve had a few dogs in the past, but they were always given away (My parents really aren’t animal people and really don’t understand that dogs need patience in order to train them. They are not born trained). So, I guess I’m not a first-time dog owner. But reading this article makes me feel like I’m getting a heads up. That I’m definitely not going into this thing blind. So, for the next couple of days, I will be reading your website for all the info I need. Thanks again!

    • shibashake says

      Hello Natalie,

      Congratulations on your new Shiba! 4 paws up for adopting a dog in need. ๐Ÿ˜€

      Share some pictures with us when you get her, and let us know how it goes.

  94. Marnie says

    Hi there. Your site is great! I have a beautiful 15mos old Shiba girl named Penny. She is headstrong but the strides we’ve made due to consistency and hardwork with a trainer have been extra rewarding because we’re doing it together.

    My question has to do with her aggression inside my home. She loves all dogs at the park, on walks and at her shiba meetup. However, I didn’t socialize her at home. I thought that since she was fine with sharing bones and playing outside, she’d be fine inside her castle. ๐Ÿ™‚ I was wrong. if there are NO toys, bones, food/water bowls down, she is okay. However, she will fight if there is anything out. How can we work on this? At some point, I’d love to foster and maybe even adopt another Shiba. This is not possible now.
    thanks for your help!

    • shibashake says

      Hello Marnie,
      When I got a new puppy (Lara) last year, Sephy was pretty stand-offish with her and would guard certain toys, especially toys that he is working on. In the beginning, I put a drag-lead on puppy and made sure that she does not bug Sephy when he is chewing on his toys.

      I also supervised puppy closely to make sure she does not steal from my other dogs. If any dog steals, it is a timeout offense and they also get what they stole confiscated. On the other hand, the victim gets whatever is stolen back, plus additional treats and good stuff. I am the one that steps in to resolve conflicts over resources, so the dogs learn to let me handle it.

      If any of them shows aggression with each other, then nobody gets the resource. I will take it away. If they continue showing aggression afterward, the one that continues goes to timeout.

      In general, I have found that what works best is to set everyone up for success. It is better to prevent stealing, than deal with the results of a theft. After some time, Sephy learned that puppy is not going to steal his stuff so he learned to relax more.

      I also did a lot of group obedience exercises with puppy and Sephy. This teaches him that when he works together with puppy, everyone gets rewarded. In this way, he sees puppy as part of his family rather than as a competitor. I made sure that puppy follows the same rules, and does not get any preferential treatment. Sephy got to see that puppy goes to timeout just like he does when puppy acts-out and does not listen.

      After about 1 week, Sephy accepted puppy into his circle of trust.

      Sephy views new dogs differently from dogs that are in his family. I am sure that if a new dog comes to the house, he would be more protective of his belongings, and he would also be protective of his family (Shania and Lara). I would likely have to retrain him and supervise him for each new dog I bring in.

      Here is more on my experiences with introducing puppy to my other dogs-

      Hope this helps. What does your trainer say about this?

      Big hugs to Penny!

  95. Matt says

    Hi I wanted to thank you for the information on this website as it has helped me greatly with my Shiba. I have a 9 month old, strong 23 pound female Shiba who loves to be outside. She is also a great hunter, as she managed to kill two birds before she was 5 months old, and since then has nabbed another bird and two voles. It took forever for her to drop them too because she was so proud and happy of her kill, I love seeing that little curly tail wag. But my question is that it’s starting to get cold here in PA and since I take my Shiba Jada for a walk almost everyday and since she spends a majority of the day outside, as she’ll just sit on the step watching birds and planes (she has incredible eyesight)I was just wandering how cold it can be outside before they need to wear a coat or something.
    I know they have thick fur and she doesn’t seem to mind the cold so I was just curious if they even needed one.

    • shibashake says

      since then has nabbed another bird and two voles. It took forever for her to drop them too because she was so proud and happy of her kill,

      That is impressive. I think Sephy would just run away with the stuff and try to start a chasing game.:D

      I was just wandering how cold it can be outside before they need to wear a coat or something.

      It doesn’t get really cold here, so I haven’t gone through any truly freezing temperatures with Sephy. Also Sephy really dislikes wearing anything on his body. I did consider getting some shoes for him because he does not like getting his feet wet, especially cold and wet. However, shoes would only help for supervised walks and not for more rigorous activity as they would quickly fall off.

      How is Jada in terms of wearing things?

      Here is an interesting thread on the Shiba Inu forum about whether Shibas need jackets-

    • Matt says

      Well I really haven’t tried putting on shoes or a jacket so I really don’t know yet. She does wear a harness for walks because she does like to pull and it’s much easier to correct her mistakes with a harness and I don’t have to worry about choking her. So she doesn’t seem to mind the harness at all. I should check into getting her shoes cause when it did snow here she loved it and wanted to stay outside all day.
      So my guess is she probably wouldn’t mind wearing a jacket but it doesn’t really get too cold here but when it’s in the low 30’s and she’s been out there for two hours is what raises concern especially when its really windy.
      I’ll look into the forum for some more info. and thanks for your input.

  96. says

    Hi there!

    Thanks a bunch for writing this great article!
    I’m getting my Shiba Inu puppy early Februari. I’ve really read into the breed before deciding to get one, and now I’m focusing on how to train and raise my dog, so she’ll be a great companion. You article has a lot of really helpful tips and information. I especially love the concrete advices you give on how to cope with the Shiba’s personality.
    It looks to me as if patiรซnce, perseverance and positivity are some of the key words here.
    Being a cat owner myself, I am used to animals having a will of their own, and I’m used to the fact that it can take a LOT of time to get my cats to ‘listen’.

    Anyway, I’ve added this article to my favourites, and I’m sure I’ll be reading it again of my oh-so-cute puppy is giving me a hard time.

    Thanks again for taking the time to write this!

    Kind regards,
    The Netherlands

  97. Debra says

    I have a bit of a problem with my sheba girl doing her best sheba scream when she is caged. i typically put her cage in another room and once she doesn’t hear or see me she will stop after a bit, but for the next two months I’m staying with my parents as I just moved to their state and am finishing college here. my sheba’s grating scream will really upset my parents and I’m desperate to figure out how to get her to accept her cage more and not view it as a punishment. any suggestions? (ps. I already found she does better with my daughter’s little pup that my sheba mothers in with her)

    • shibashake says

      With Shiba Sephy, I went very slowly with his crate training. Initially, I just taught him the “Crate” command and I wouldn’t even close the door. I would say “crate”, throw a treat in, and he would go in. Then I would treat him again while he is inside the crate. Then he can come out again, and I just repeat. Once he is comfortable with going in and out, and sees the crate as a positive thing, I close the door just for an instant (1 second). Then I open the door and he can come out again.

      Then I slowly work on training him to stay in the crate for longer and longer periods of time. This process is called desensitization, and it worked well with Sephy.

  98. Emily says

    Hello! Your website is so helpful… Our little Shiba is almost a year and half old. She generally is very playful and sweet. We experienced some food aggression when she was younger, especially with big treats – rawhides and anything else that she could not chew and eat immediately. After eliminating those and being more bossy with her meal time, she was doing really well. However, last week she woke up and immediately threw up. She didn’t feel well the rest of the day โ€“ not eating and very lethargic and snuggly โ€“ which is not her usual daytime nap routine. Around 11 p.m. I tried to hand feed her, which we have done occasionally since she was a puppy. She stopped eating and for a moment I thought she might throw up but to my surprise she lunged at me instead! She ended up biting my lip and I ended up with stitches. Right after she bit me, she immediately started kissing my feet and rolled over on her back when my husband rushed into the room. Itโ€™s like she knew she did a really bad thingโ€ฆ Any advice on what to do now? Iโ€™ve contacted a professional trainer but thought a fellow Shiba owner might have some Shiba-specific ideasโ€ฆ Thanks!

    • shibashake says

      Hello Emily,
      It sounds like it may be health related. Sephy is a lot more intolerant when he is not feeling well. He also feels a lot more vulnerable, so sometimes he responds with aggression. Is she eating better now? Has she still been vomiting?

      My dogs also got sick over Christmas. It was a dietary thing, but they started vomiting, getting diarrhea, getting lethargic, and losing their appetite. I took Shania to the vet, and also packaged up samples of all the things we feed her. I also brought in a sample of their stool. The vet gave her some anti-nausea medication and injections, and also gave her some fluids. They also gave us medication to help replenish her large-intestine bacteria. We also started feeding the dogs a very bland diet – e.g. boiled chicken.

      Both Shania and Lara got better after about two days. Sephy is still not totally well. I think he takes longer to recover from these digestive things. I make sure he gets a lot of quiet time to rest, and also that he doesn’t drink too much at one time. Drinking too much can also cause vomiting. When Sephy is hurt or not feeling well, he is also very sensitive to what I am feeling. If I feel afraid or stressed out, he gets that way as well and starts using aggression to keep people away. While in this state, it is more about fear and vulnerability with Sephy, and not about dominance or who is boss.

      Another thing with Shiba Sephy is that he can get antsy when we do things that are outside his routine and comfort zone. For example, we trained him with the collar when he was a puppy and he was fine with that. Then, there was a whole time where we just left the collar on and therefore didn’t have to put it on him. After a while, he got unaccustomed to the “collar putting on” process, and we had to repeat desensitizing him to “putting on his collar”. It could be a similar thing with the hand-feeding.

      Now we take off his collar and only put it on before his walks. So it is something that we do every day and has become part of his routine.

      Hope this helps. Let us know how it goes with your Shiba girl.

  99. Jody says

    Hi Shibashake,
    Thank you so much for this site – your articles and personal experiences have somewhat prepared us for our little monster shiba puppy, Luna. I have to admit, after raising four high energy puppies (non-shibas) into excellent dogs, I really didn’t understand what all the fuss was about with Shiba Inus. That is until we met Luna. Sigh… She is the most gorgeous tri-colored (Black) shiba but such a brat! She shows absolutely no remorse, no fear, no submission and she wants what she wants = ) Of course, she is also super smart, funny, and melts us each time she meows (yes, she meows..).

    We are learning the hard way and will most likely need to hire a dog behavior specialist (something I have never done). She appears to have no problems meeting and playing with people but she does bite everything and everyone. We keep spraying her with breath mint each time she bites, and it seems to work until the next time… at least she continues to have minty fresh breath!

    The question I have for you is regarding grooming. I noticed that she is starting to shed, so I brought out our furminator (the one for small dogs) and used it on Luna. Now she has bald spots all over her formerly beautiful fur! Actually they are not bald spots, but her top coat is gone in spots and only the undercoat shows. Needless to say, her fur looks just terrible. She’s less than 4 months old so she is not blowing her puppy fur just yet. I don’t understand what happened! We generally brush her with a regular grooming brush and did not have any problems. I used the furminator once, and some areas were fine and others, were less so… the irony is that she didn’t mind the furminator at all. Fur kept coming out in batches and I could have kept combing more fur out, but I noticed that some areas started looking grey and short =(

    My husband says that the fur will grow back and that I shouldn’t obsess – but her fur is looking uneven and splotchy. Ive used this furminator on our other dog (boston terrier) and haven’t had any problems. Could you tell me how you used the furminator on Sephy? Did you experience this patchy fur issue with him? I’m so sad that I ruined her coat =(

    • shibashake says

      Hello Jody,

      Congratulations on your Shiba puppy! Luna sounds totally adorable.

      Could you tell me how you used the furminator on Sephy? Did you experience this patchy fur issue with him?

      I did not start using the Furminator on Sephy until after puppyhood. He did not shed much until after he grew up. The fur will grow back though, so no worries. ๐Ÿ™‚

      Here is a post on the Shiba Inu forum of someone who went through the same thing with their Shiba-

      Hope this helps. Hugs to Luna.

  100. Haley says

    I have a 6 year old Shiba who we have had problems with since day one! As a puppy we took him to dog training, we kept this up for 3 months once a week. Outside of dog training, he would be walked every day, but not trained constantly every day. He was kept outside on a chain for the first year as we didn’t have the fence built, although he was allowed inside at night. He has always been very dominant and aggressive towards anyone who is trying to make him do something he doesn’t want to do or simply someone who is doing something he has not approved. He was attacked by another dog whilst out on a walk (the dog that attacked jumped itโ€™s fence to have a go at Basil) within the first year we had him, and as a result had puncture wounds around his eye, but other than now having a slight droop to his eye has shown no signs of this affecting him.
    At about a year and half, due to family circumstances he went to live with my Dad and Step mother, since moving in with them, he has become an escape artist, he does always come home within a few hours, and at first we would spend hours looking for him, but now we just leave him to it. In the early days we had a ‘dog whisperer’ try and help with training him. He would snap and bite at my step sister when she walked past him (who was 9) if she went into an area or on furniture he was not allowed on. Eventually thanks to the dog whisperer we managed to show him that my step sister was further up the rankings than he was by allowing her to squirt him with a water pistol at her own pleasure, this seemed to work and the biting towards her stopped. During this time he also had the company of a lovely obedient Border collie who wanted nothing more than to please and have cuddles, she was made the higher ranking of the two by feeding her first etc. His behaviour did improve slightly. Unfortunately this year we lost the Collie to cancer, in the last few days she was in a lot of pain and he didnโ€™t leave her side, followed her everywhere. After she died, he became very mopey and whiney, so it was decided he was lonely and they got a new puppy. They were introduced on mutual territory at a friendโ€™s house where neither of them had been before, and seemed to get on ok. The new puppy is a border terrier and is showered with love (he is not allowed her toys etc.); she is showing signs of being as obedient and loving as the collie. They have had no problems getting on. However over the last 2 weeks he has taken to whining all night outside in his kennel, keeping everyone awake – they think this is because the Puppy gets to sleep inside! He is becoming more dominant and to be honest everyone has lost interest in him and fed up. He is my dog, but is living with my Dad while I am overseas so there is not much I can do from here for him. I know neither of the dogs get walked much, although they have the run of the garden all day and he is only in the kennel at night. The vet has suggested giving him the chop to make him less dominant. He is a picky eater and generally wonโ€™t eat much of his dinner (they get fed a small amount in the morning and night only), yet he will get very defensive of his bowl if anyone goes near it, especially the puppy โ€“ they get fed at the same time in the same room. After having a quick read on here making sure he gets a walk everyday would be a big help as well as maybe re-introducing some training, however I feel this is something they wonโ€™t want to do if he shows no sign of immediate improvement and will give up on him. Is there anything else you can suggest? As I said everyone has had enough of him and he is on his last legs with them.
    I love him a lot and i know I am slightly biased towards him. I do slightly feel as if he is neglected in the family because he is arrogant and does not show any love towards us… But I have no idea how to change this, and help my little boy!

    • shibashake says

      Hello Haley,

      With my own dogs, I have found that what worked best is to be totally consistent and fair with their training and rules. When I got a new Sibe puppy, I made sure that she follow the same rules as the other dogs. Otherwise it could create confusion, that can result in various behavioral issues. In addition, it could also create competition among the dogs that could lead to aggression.

      Here is more on my experiences when I got a new puppy-
      Introducing a second dog.

  101. Nicole A. says

    Hello! I’ve been doing a lot of research on the Shiba Inu, and I’ve come to love it so much. Recently my Shitzu passed away from old age and I’ve been really quite lonesome without a dog. I was thinking about getting a Shiba within a year or two.

    Currently I’m a college student, so I’m planning to wait till I have more time to spend and train a puppy. I live in a large house with a medium-sized backyard, but there’s a trail near my house that I go walking at. There are no little kids here and we have one slightly crazy old grandmother, but everyone in my house is pretty much an adult. We’ve had a whole bunch of dogs before, but if I do end up adopting a Shiba puppy, it will be the first dog that I have personally raised. I know it’s quite a long time to worry about getting a Shiba (I always do over-researching on things like pets or colleges;;), but I was wondering if my home situation sounds fine (I don’t want to bring a Shiba into the wrong kind of environment) and if there are any tips for a (hopefully) new-Shiba owner. Like are they noisy? And what should I do if they are noisy and unleash the Shiba scream (I heard it when I was young and it scared the youth out of me for awhile).

    • shibashake says

      (I always do over-researching on things like pets or colleges;;)

      That is a really good practice. I didn’t do enough research before getting my Shiba and it was not good for us in the beginning. I could have saved myself and my Shiba a lot of pain if I had been more prepared.

      Sounds like you have a great environment. Sephy loves to go hiking and playing with us in the backyard. The only thing is that Shibas tend to love routine and may get really stressed when there are large changes in their life. Sephy is pretty high strung about changes, so I try to keep things as stable for him as possible. Shibas misbehave most when they are stressed.

      In terms of noise, Sephy is actually a pretty quiet dog. He will bark when there are people or dogs close to the house to alert us, but he stops after we go and check things out. He did do a lot of Shiba screaming when he was young, but after we switched to using reward training techniques and learned how to properly train him, he got a lot better. I haven’t heard him Shiba scream in a long time.

      Sometimes we will have howling sessions with all our dogs. It is pretty fun and I think the dogs like it. ๐Ÿ˜€

      Good luck with college. What are you majoring in?

  102. Maha says

    Hi:) I have a 7 and a half month old male shiba inu Tuffy.He’s been with me since he was 9 weeks old, we live in NY and he was shipped to us from a breeder in AK. Tuffy being a shiba does what tuffy does,lol we have been applying training consistently with him from day 1. He is a really good dog but true to his breed so very stubborn and suspicious of everyone and everything (yes that includes every car, every shopping bag, every garbage bag on streets, every person walking on street hell even the wind and leaves rolling by). So my problem is… Tuffy being an escape master , he always tries to run away , lately he got a little better but still if there’s a loud bang, a loud car driving by , fireworks etc. he will take off like a bat outta hell. I worked really hard with him on walking, we live across a huge park , and that’s where I take him for walks everyday. He loved going to the park running ( on leash) and playing with other dogs, BUT here comes the issue, he got neutered 2 weeks ago, and now every time I take him for a walk he pulls on the leash, get’s scared after a little bit , pee’s and run’s back towards home, he doesn’t even want to do his business , he just wants to be out of there, if he see’s another dog he looks interested but then when the dog comes nearby he run’s away and doesn’t want to play. I have also started noticing that now the anxiety of moving objects and sounds is way worse then before, even leaves and trees rustling with wind scares him out of his pants. I don’t know how to fix this issue, it took me months to get him accustomed to his “walking” routine, and now we are back to square one, which is really frustrating as even though he is potty trained, he does not want to do his business in home anymore, it has to be out,yet he is afraid of everything really makes me sad, and sometime cry because I really want him to be able to enjoy his walks and play in the park and not be so afraid all the time. Anyone got any suggestions please:) Thanks.

    • shibashake says

      Hello Maha,
      My new Sibe puppy Lara was also pretty anxious when we go on our walks. Some things that helped with her –
      1. First we only went on very short walks and very close to home. This helps to get her outside and also helps her build confidence because every walk ends well and on a positive note.
      2. Luckily, our area is next to a quiet hiking path so I would just take her there. There is usually no one around and it is very quiet. This also helps her build some confidence. Another possibility is to drive to such a location.
      3. Now Lara is used to going to the quiet parts, so sometimes we will venture into the more noisy areas. Usually though, we go to the quiet parts first, which helps to build her confidence, then if she is up to it, we explore a bit of the new areas at the end. I make sure not to overdo it though because I want to set her up for success.
      4. Together with the walks, I am slowly desensitizing Lara to the things that she is most fearful of, e.g. sound of coyotes, garbage truck. We are currently working on skateboards. Here is a bit more on the desensitization process –

      This article on dog anxiety may also be of interest.

      Hope this helps. Big hugs to Tuffy and let us know how it goes.

  103. Juli says

    Hi, I have a 8 month old female shiba who is just getting out of her first heat cycle (I had planned to get her spayed but some financial problems have come up) and she has become extremely aggressive towards the other female dogs in the house. She has grown up with them and haven’t had problems with this before but now she will bite the other females if they come near her and she wont let go and has broken skin. The other females our chihuahuas and quite a bit smaller than her and if this keeps up I’m worried I’ll have to find another home for before she attacks them again. Can you give me any advice to resolve this quickly,please?

  104. Jessica says

    I’ve been reading your articles since I even before I brought home my 8-week old shiba puppy Akira three months ago. She has quite a few un-shiba like quirks – a social butterfly, and doesn’t mind cuddles and hugs. She’s not that difficult to train either. However, she keeps jumping on all dogs especially big dogs and is quite intrusive; the type that Sephy would hate. I’m having a difficulty determining whether she’ll grow out of it or whether it is something I have to train her out of. She’s still a puppy so I think most of the big dogs tolerate it for now, but it’d be great if you would give me some advice. Thanks!

    • shibashake says

      Hello Jessica,

      Congratulations on your new Shiba puppy!

      Actually, Sephy is like that as well, especially with certain types of dogs, e.g. German Shepherds. In particular, he gets in the dog’s face and tries to initiate play. However, he only does this when he feels like it, and only with certain types of dogs.

      At the same time though, he does not like any new dog sniffing his butt. ๐Ÿ˜€

      With Sephy, I focus on creating neutral experiences with other dogs. We pass by other dogs calmly, and without any greeting. This gets him into a more calm mindset, and teaches him to ignore other dogs rather than getting over-excited and losing his mind, which was his default mode of operation.

      Sometimes, I let him meet dogs that are calm and under good control of their owners. However, I always keep greetings short and call him back to me after a very brief period.

      I also did a fair amount of desensitization work with him with other dogs.

      I am a big proponent of setting our dogs up for success, so I carefully manage things and only expose Sephy to experiences that I know he can handle and will result in a positive outcome. The more success he gets, the more confident he becomes.

      Some people believe in “letting the dogs work it out for themselves”. I think this can be very risky, because a strong correction from another dog can create a lot of stress. This can cause a dog to become fearful or it can cause dog to fight back, which will encourage aggression.

      I only let Sephy play with non-dominant, playful dogs, that like his wrestling type of play style. I also keep play groups very small (usually only one on one) and very highly supervised.

      Here is an article on some of our experiences with dog-to-dog aggression –

      Big hugs to Akira. She sounds totally adorable!

  105. Ryan says

    Hello, I had a few questions about training my new shiba inu puppy. It’s a little difficult to train him because I need to take him out on a leash to potty and I dont feel like I have much control at that time. So far, he’s started to learn that when he pulls, he wont get anywhere, but he will sit down or lay on the ground. Once that happens, he wont get up for anything, he wont come when I call his name and he wont come over for treats. So I either have to pick him up or try to force him to stand up by pulling up on the leash and lifting him with his harness. I don’t really think this is working at all though and I just got a no-slip collar hoping that will work more in my favor to train him. I dont feel comfortable pulling him up with that on though because I dont want to hurt his neck. He also bites the leash a lot when he is laying down or getting frustrated. Do you have any suggestions on what I can do to fix this?

    • shibashake says

      Yeah, Sephy does the lying down thing as well. Some things that work with Sephy –

      1. I scrape my foot on the concrete sidewalk very unexpectedly. Sephy does not like this sound and usually gets up.
      2. When he is in his lying down mood, I stop him before he lies down. When he wants to lie down, I just keep moving on.
      3. If the first two fails, I lift him up on his front legs by his chest and then I just get him moving. Sometimes he will do an alligator roll in order to prevent me from lifting him. When he does this, I just put brief upward pressure on the leash. He really does not like this so he gets up.

      He also bites the leash a lot when he is laying down or getting frustrated. Do you have any suggestions on what I can do to fix this?

      I had *a lot* of issues with Sephy and leash biting. Here is more on our leash biting experiences.

      What ultimately worked best with Sephy, in terms of leash biting, is to put my hand very close to his collar so that I have good control over him, and get him on a fast, quick march home. At that point we do not stop for anything, and he goes right home.

      This teaches him that leash biting = end of fun walk.

      If he continues to leash bite once we get him, I put him in timeout.

      Once Sephy realized that his leash biting hijinks only ends the walk, he stopped doing it. I tried many many things before I found something that worked for him. Different dogs may respond differently, so try things out and pick the technique that works best for you and your dog.

      Let us know how it goes.

  106. Cait says

    I have to say that I love your description of a Shiba’s attitude, because you nailed it! Sumo is my 6 (almost 7) year old Shiba. He is my best friend and every day I look forward to coming home to my goofy guy. I have been in animal care for a long time so I knew that when I got him, socialization would be key. Well he loved to dog park and meeting new friends, up until about 3 years ago. My friends German Shepard grabbed onto Sumo’s tail, totally unprovoked. Out came the Shiba scream and panic on my end. He recovered from a pretty badly bruised tail after about 2 weeks, but has never quite recovered from the trauma. I notice that he specifically get very cautious around German Shepards (go figure)but even sometimes he gets that way with other dogs. He has a best buddy who is a Golden Retriever and they still get along fine and even with my friends very shy dog he is fine. But I hesitate to take him to a park because I don’t want him to get in an altercation or to stress him out. I tried the park and a couple times he was okay but you can tell he would rather just be on the outside looking in and walking around exploring the area. Any suggestions on how to get him to be a little more relaxed with other dogs? Also he has been a counter surfer his whole life and no matter what I try I cannot break him of that. Thank you so much and again you have a great site and Sephy is a one lucky pup!

    • shibashake says

      Hello Cait,

      But I hesitate to take him to a park because I donโ€™t want him to get in an altercation or to stress him out.

      Yeah, that has been my experience with Sephy as well. I took him for a few months but it was really hit or miss in terms of the mix of dogs. Sephy was also learning and practicing bad behaviors at the park.

      Ultimately, what worked out best for Sephy was to have one-on-one, highly supervised play sessions with friendly., playful dogs.

      In particular, I took Sephy to our local SPCA and we had one-on-one playing/training sessions with the dogs there. It was great because they always had new, playful dogs, and we also did some dog-to-dog training together with the SPCA trainer.

      Any suggestions on how to get him to be a little more relaxed with other dogs?

      What helped with Sephy is doing desensitization exercises with him so that he is not as reactive to other dogs.

      Here are more of our experiences with other dogs –

      Also he has been a counter surfer his whole life and no matter what I try I cannot break him of that.

      With Sephy, I am usually around to supervise him, so when he jumps up to counters I give him a warning. If he ignores that, he goes to timeout. He doesn’t have the opportunity to steal anything off the counters so it is not very rewarding for him.

      Another possibility is to use a sound or sonic scat mat. These emit an unpleasant sound when they are stepped on.
      Sofa Scram Sonic Dog & Cat Deterrent Repellent Mat Trains Dogs and Cats to Scat!

      I have never used those before though. I am not sure if a Shiba may just decide to attack the mat. ๐Ÿ˜€
      [** Note there are also shock scat mats which are risky and dangerous for a variety of reasons. I would not use those.]

  107. Kathey says

    I have a 14 month old female Shiba and a 4 year old rescued Sheltie. They get along great as the Sheltie lets Kota do whatever she wants. They both sleep in kennels and are kenneled when alone. Recently, Kota has decided she does not like her kennel and cries all night. I have tried ignoring her so she does not “win”. I let her outside just in case she has a tummy ache and then put her back in her kennel. But after 3 weeks of no sleep I’m getting frustrated. Any suggestions?

    Kota Bear is also a runner but we have her micro chipped and just make sure nobody lets her out without her lead. I figure its our fault not hers if she gets out as we know that about her.

    • shibashake says

      Is her crate in your bedroom?

      My Shiba really likes to be with us when he is sleeping at night. He used to cry at night, but after we moved him to the bedroom his whining stopped. My Sibes are a lot more flexible and prefer to sleep outside during the warm weather.

      Very rarely Shiba Sephy may fuss if he wakes up from a bad dream. In these cases I let him leave the bedroom, but once he leaves I close the door so he doesn’t get to come back no matter what. In this way he learns that if he whines, he doesn’t get to be in the bedroom with us.

      Hope this helps. Hugs to Kota Bear and Sheltie Bear! ๐Ÿ˜€

  108. Michelle says

    I need help and not sure if this is where to ask my question. I have a Shiba who is my handsome man. His name is Neeko. I have had him about a year and he is great, when I got him I or someone was home alot of the time. I recently decided to go back to school and the kids are back in school as well. He is great in his playpen (as he hates kennels) but since our time away he has been jumping out of the pen. I dont mind this other than he eats my shoes, my couch and anything else he can find. Ok maybe not eats but tears it to shreds. I get that this is seperation anxiety along with bordom but what can I do. I CANT AFFORD to put him in doggy daycare or get a dog walker. My husband says he should go to a new home but I dont want him to. But is that what is best?

    • shibashake says

      Hello Michelle,
      It is difficult to say what is best, especially without having seen the situation firsthand.

      With Sephy, he really did not like being alone especially when he was young. We slowly trained him to get used to it and slowly lengthened the time when we are away.

      He is a lot more Zen now and knows that we will come home after some time. There were a few times that we left him home for about 5 hours and he did really well. But this does not happen too often.

      Some possibilities to consider –
      1. Get home during lunch break to take Neeko out for a walk and for some play. This will help to break up his day.
      2. Get a neighbor to drop by and look in on Neeko.
      3. Slowly train Neeko to get used to relaxing in a crate.
      4. Slowly get him used to being alone. I started by leaving Sephy alone for very short periods of time and slowly lengthening the time period.

      I have also seen some people use time-release toys to keep things a bit more interesting.

      Good luck. Let us know how it goes.

  109. Carol says

    I got a 9 week old shiba inu at the beginning of August. We initially had some problems with him growling at us, trying to bite us, not liking to be patted or picked up. I had a dog behavior consultant (trainer) spend 2 hours with us and she said he needed to get used to our touch so constantly treat him as we touched him. Things got better. However, the other day he bit my 13 year old son and me on the cheek. I am assuming I need to establish myself as more of a dominant figure, but I donโ€™t know how to do that. I have been going to puppy kindergarten with him for the last 2 months. I donโ€™t know what else to do, and the kids and I feel like we donโ€™t even want him anymore.

    • shibashake says

      Hello Carol,

      Yeah, I had a lot of issues with my Shiba as well. Shiba Sephy was extremely stubborn, mouthy, and high-strung. I put a lot of work into him and he is a lot better now, but certain things he was born with –
      1. He is still aloof and mostly enjoys his own company. He will sometimes ask for tummy rubs and affection but a lot less so than my Sibes.
      2. He still pushes his boundaries from time to time although not as often as before.
      3. His instinct is still to use his mouth but he is very good about redirecting himself nowadays. When with people he will redirect into a lick instead of a bite.

      Some things that helped me with Sephy –
      1. Following the NILIF (Nothing in Life is Free program). This just means Shiba *always* has to do something for me first before he gets anything in return.
      2. Setting up a very fixed structure and routine. Shiba Sephy has lots of rules.
      3. Using a drag-lead but only with a regular flat collar. This helps me control him more easily while inside the house and stop him when he misbehaves.
      4. Properly using time-outs for serious mis-behaviors.
      5. Bite inhibition training.

      As for pack leadership, here are some things that helped with Sephy –

      I found that it was very important to set Sephy up for success so that he does not keep practicing bad behaviors. In particular, Sephy is pretty high-strung and he can go rear-brained very quickly. I make sure to always have a lot of calming breaks for him, and I also *very slowly* desensitized him to touching, handling, and restraint so that he learns not to see it as so much of a threat. I don’t overly restrain him and I don’t do rough play with him.

      Shiba Sephy does not trust very easily but once I started observing him and understanding his needs and boundaries, things got better.

      Truthfully, it was very difficult in the beginning and I put in a lot of time and effort. I am not naturally a very patient person but the whole ‘Sephy Experience’ really made me a lot more patient and Zen about very many things. If you are interested, here is the story of Sephy and Me –

  110. Cherrie Jamias says


    I like your page very much because it is helpful. Although we have no Shiba Inu yet but is thinking of keeping one. We live in Tokyo and the owner of the house doesn’t want any pet on their premises. I talked to the owner this afternoon and he will think about it and will get back to me by Saturday this week. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that he would finally say “Yes”. My daughter and myself love to have Shiba a few years back but we have no luck to convince the owner of the house to allow us to have one.

    Again your site is very helpful especially for people like me who is a beginner (just in case and I hope so).

    Thanks and best regards,

    • shibashake says

      Hello Cherrie,
      Thanks for your very kind words.

      Hope the owner of the house gets back to you with a positive answer. Good luck! ๐Ÿ˜€

  111. Anh says

    Hi there! Your site has been so helpful with training our new 10 month old shiba. I’ve really been debating the training method to use with her and after reading your experiences it really inspired me to think of alternative/positive methods first! I would hate to break her trust or have her lose her sweetness because I was too forceful.

    I was just wondering…what do you mean by non-mark ack, ack? Do you just literally say “ack ack” or what does that mean? Also, does Sephy willingly go into time out or do you have to carry him into the time out area?

    Thanks so much!

    • shibashake says

      Hello Anh,

      The ack-ack is just a non-mark. It is used to communicate to the dog (in a consistent way) that she is doing something undesirable. This is similar to a mark (e.g. Good) for when a dog does something desirable.

      Sometimes people use “No” as a non-mark but I don’t usually use that because “No” is a common word that I also use in conversation with other people. As a result, it may confuse my dogs and they may think that whatever they are doing is wrong when actually I am just talking to a friend. That is why I use/say Ack-Ack because it is unique and I don’t use it anywhere else. You can use anything as a mark or non-mark as long as it is unique.

      Also, does Sephy willingly go into time out or do you have to carry him into the time out area?

      I lead him into the time-out area using his drag-lead (only with a flat collar). I would not recommend carrying because Shibas are already not the most accepting of restraint and hugs. Carrying a Shiba to time-out may further cause her to associate the carrying action with a “punishment” so she may not want to let you carry her any more in the future. In general, it is best to try and make restraint, hugs, and carrying into a positive experience for the dog.

      Hope that makes sense. Let us know how it goes.

    • Anh says

      Thanks so much for the response! I see what you mean now, saying Ack Ack is just another way of saying No. I wasn’t sure what non-mark meant.

  112. Tommy H says

    Just had a quick question for you. My shiba is about 9 months old and he’s getting to the point where he’s too big for the small side of a dog park but not quite big enough for the big side. He does the same thing too that you talk about; he like to be “too” playful with much bigger and aggressive dogs. How did you handle that? It just seems like he thinks all dogs want to play with them and their growling and rough handling of him just makes him want to play with them even more. any advice? will he just grow out of that phase or should i just never take him to the big side again.

    • shibashake says

      Hello Tommy,

      I used to take my Shiba Sephy to the dog park but I have stopped taking him. There are many reasons for this, one being that he was learning a lot of bad habits at the park. The more chaotic and unstructured nature of dog parks just did not suit Sephy’s temperament.

      When we did go to the parks we go to the large dog section. Sephy is a big Shiba – he is over 30 pounds, so small dogs easily get overwhelmed by him.

      In the big dog area I have to supervise him pretty closely so that he only plays with the more relaxed and less dominant dogs. As you say, there are some dogs who do not want to play with other dogs, and may get aggressive when another dog comes into their space.

      I know that if that happens Sephy will not back down, so it will not be a good outcome. This is another key reason why we stopped going to the enclosed parks. All it takes is one dominant and aggressive dog …

      Here is more of our dog park experiences and reasons why we stopped going –

      But each situation is different and it also depends a lot on the dog park and the people who frequent the park.

  113. AnneMarie says

    Please help! I adopted a 5 year old Shiba rescue without knowing all of her history. At the time, I knew she had some trust issues after being shuffled around. She lived in 6 different homes within a 6 month span (mine being the 6th). Mine is the 4th “forever” home. Everyone so far has given up on her. The first home, she bit a child. The second home, she pulled down a woman, injured her hip and ran away from her. The third home, she got away from her owner and killed the neighbor’s pet chicken.

    Since living with me, she’s bit me 5 times. Once over a dead animal part, another when I accidentally woke her up when I twitched in my sleep (she used to snap badly when she slept on the bed and got woken up. I stopped letting her on the bed as much, but she jumped up while I was asleep the time she got me good), and the other three times have been based on fear aggression towards other dogs redirected back towards me. Two of these times warranted hospital visits.

    I absolutely love this dog regardless, but I’m starting to wonder if I’m the best fit for her because it seems her aggression is worse when I cannot walk her 2-3 hours a day. I aim for 1-2 hours most days during the week because of work. When I first got her, I read Cesar’s Way and tried to implement what I learned. I’ve been watching the dog whisperer. I have consulted a behaviorist before she started biting, but when Roxy bit me the first time, it took her days to call me back. I consulted a referred dog trainer, but he wants me to pay $1500 for her to go into intensive boot camp, which should work, but I will still always need to monitor her. I had a Reiki practitioner come out, but she bit me the very next day.

    I have only had her 4 months, but I’ve spent thousands on her already (medical, behavioral, new things), and before I take a $1500 leap, I want to know what my options are. What else is out there, particularly for Shibas?

    It’s at the point where most people I know are telling me to get rid of her. Some even suggest I put her down, but I could never bring myself to do that.

    At this point, I’m desperate and reaching out to any avenue I can! I tried emailing Cesar Millan and other rehab groups within the past couple of weeks.

    Please help!

    • shibashake says

      Dear AnneMarie,

      Big hugs to you. I too went through a difficult period with my Shiba and he wasn’t even a rescue. In fact, with my Shiba, I was the one that caused a lot of his behavioral problems.

      I started with Cesar Millan’s techniques based on the recommendation of my breeder and a vet tech. I mostly did collar corrections (under the direction of an aversive based trainer) and alpha rolls on Shiba Sephy. To make a long story short, things seemed to work at first, but only for a very short time. Then, things started going downhill. My Shiba got more aggressive and the collar corrections I was doing was not having much of an effect anymore. I also noticed that my Shiba did not trust me much.

      I was using a prong collar at the time, and a trainer recommended that I switch to a choke chain.

      After looking up choke chains some on the internet I decided that it was too risky to use on my Shiba. I also considered using shock collars for a very short while but really decided against it after seeing some of the research that has been conducted on it. Shiba Sephy is a tough little guy and I did not want to keep escalating the force of my corrections. It seemed like there had to be other more effective methods.

      I called up all the trainers around my area and luckily I found one who recommended 3 different books to me –
      1. Bones Would Rain from the Sky by Suzanne Clothier,
      2. The Other End of the Leash by Patricia McConnell, and
      3. The Culture Clash by Jean Donaldson

      All three books are great but it was really Suzanne Clothier’s book that made me think about dogs and dog training differently.

      In my experience, Cesar Millan’s more aversive methods only made my Shiba more aggressive and less trusting. I think this is because Shibas are a very dominant and stubborn breed. When I tried to force Sephy with brute force he would just fight back with all that he had.

      Another thing that helped me with my Shiba is visiting the various Shiba forums and seeing what other veteran Shiba owners said.

      Sorry for the long introduction but I wanted to let you know where I was coming from with my Shiba. I also went through some of the things you described –
      1. Accidentally woken up
      My Shiba Sephy is the same way. One time he was sleeping under me while I was on the couch. I reached down to touch him and startled him awake. He got really stressed and air snapped before he knew it was me.

      I have found that in general, it is best not to startle dogs awake. When they awake suddenly, they are not necessarily aware of who startled them awake and whether they may be in danger. Nowadays, I make a lot of noise before I approach a sleeping Sephy. This ensures that he is mostly awake and not in a deep sleep. Then I give him some time to orient himself, then I go pet him.

      I also don’t sleep next to Sephy for this reason. Sephy is also not allowed on furniture. He was wild as a pup, and would cause 10 kinds of trouble while on furniture. For the safety of everyone, we decided to have a no-furniture rule.

      2. Protecting dead animal parts, food, and toys

      Shibas are partly bred to be guard dogs so they have a pretty strong protection drive. I have seen many Shiba owners describe food aggression or resource guarding issues with their dog.

      The main reason why dogs become aggressive with food is because they have learned that when someone approaches them, it is usually to take away their food or toy. Therefore, they feel that they must protect what they have from people. The key to helping a dog with food aggression issues is to help her associate people coming near her to be something positive, rather than have it be a negative event where she fears that she will lose the thing that she holds dear.

      3. Boot camp

      This was also something that I considered for Sephy initially but I decided against it.
      a) All of the boot camps that I looked up practiced aversive dog training which was not something I wanted to continue with Sephy. They are risky and even when they ‘work’ they do not really build the type of bond that I wanted with my Shiba.
      b) Boot camps are mostly interested in making a dog obey no matter what. Quality of life for the dog is not really a consideration. For me, quality of life for my dogs is very very important.
      c) Boot camp gets a dog to obey the trainers at boot camp. When back in his home turf, the dog may start to regress back to his old behaviors.
      d) Shibas have a very strong, stubborn and independent spirit. I absolutely did not want to break my Shiba’s spirit.

      Finally, I also do want to say that even though I had a lot of problems with my Shiba Sephy, he never really caused any serious bite damage. I got him as a puppy so most of the problems that he had were due to initial inexperience and mistakes on my part. Your case is much more advanced.

      Some possibilities –
      1. Get in touch with a good reward based trainer and see what he/she has to say. Preferably find one that has had experience with Shibas. I went to a lot of trainers and the ones who are not really familiar with Shibas really could not handle Sephy very well. This also includes aversive based trainers.
      2. Talk with the rescue group that you got her from and see what they suggest.
      3. Talk to Shiba owners in online Shiba forums. The nihonken forum link above is a good place to start.

      With Sephy, setting up more rules and routine at home helped a lot. When he was young I set up a baby gate so that he stays in the kitchen when I am too busy to supervise him. I also think that using a basket muzzle for safety can sometimes help – but this depends a lot on how the dog reacts to the muzzle.

      Here are more of my Shiba Inu experiences –

      Let us know how it goes with Roxy.

    • Annie says

      Hello, our shiba inu, Yuki is only 10 weeks old, though, she keeps peeing on the carpet and not outside, how do i get her to pee outside instead?

    • shibashake says

      Hello Annie,
      Shibas are usually pretty clean and will quickly learn to potty outside.

      With my Shiba Sephy, I set up a very fixed routine for him, and took him outside after every nap session and play session. I also fed him at very regular times so that his poop schedule was also more regular.

      Then every time he pees outside, I praise him very well and reward him with yummy treats and a fun game. Very quickly he learned to go to the door and alert me whenever he needed to go.

      I also supervised him very closely so that if it looked like he was about to go inside I would quickly take him out. If he is in the middle of pee-ing inside, I non-mark him (ack, ack), interrupt his pee, and take him outside.

      In this way he learns that potty outside = a lot of rewards, potty inside = undesirable and no rewards.

      Here are more of my experiences with potty training.

  114. Kyler says

    Thanks for posting these articles! I’ve really enjoyed reading through them — very helpful.

    My wife and I recently (3 weeks ago) adopted/bought a 5.5-month-old Shiba Inu. We were really taken by the breed, heard all the warnings about how they are difficult, gave up the idea for 9 months, but then circled back and gave it a try. We found a family in our area who was selling their pups.

    Our dog is named Kitsu and she is not living up to the stereotypes — she’s not dominant, but very FEARFUL of new people and other dogs. She’s come to trust and enjoy the two of us, her new owners, but whenever someone comes over, she runs for cover under the bed, couch, or into her crate, even our friends who come by often. On walks, she tries to escape whenever a passerby gives her any attention (if they totally ignore her, she watches them but mostly keeps moving). Any recommendations on coaxing our shy shiba out of her shell? We try to socialize her to other people and dogs, but it’s hard to tell if we are helping her face her fear or traumatizing her even more.

    Related second question: Kitsu will sometimes walk with us very well. But all of the sudden, she’ll resist and wont keep walking. She’ll sit down and force us to drag her (btw, we’ve gotten mixed advice on if pulling her along is good or bad). The best we’ve found to do is pick her up, carry her for a half-block, and then put her down again — most of the time she’ll walk again. But this happens frequently.

    Bonus question: We’ve had a new problem the last three days: she’s taken to urinating around our apartment — and only in her “den” spots (her crate, under our bed, and under the couch). Any ideas about this?

    Anyway, would love some advice if you have any. Thanks!


    • shibashake says

      Hello Kyler,

      My Sibe puppy Lara is also more of a fearful puppy. I think some of it has to do with her age. She is particularly afraid of loud noises and also of people on skateboards and bicycles. The other day, she saw a deer and both deer and Lara ran away in opposite directions. ๐Ÿ˜€

      What has worked with her is to slowly desensitize her to the things that she is most afraid of. For example, with the loud noises I would first find a recording of it on the net. Then, I set aside some training time and play the same sound very softly on my stereo. During this time, I also engage her in obedience commands with rewards. This helps her to focus on me, and also helps her associate the sound with something positive and non-scary.

      Desensitization can work in a similar way with meeting new people. One common technique is to use distance. For example, have puppy on leash and ask a new person stand a certain distance away from puppy. Far enough away that puppy is calm and not reacting to the person. Also make sure that the person is totally ignoring the puppy – no talking, and most important of all no eye-contact. Eye contact can sometimes be seen as a threat by our dogs.

      When everything is calm and good, get puppy’s attention and reward her for staying calm and attentive. Then walk one step closer and repeat.

      This helps to teach puppy to associate new people with something positive. It also trains puppy to focus on us which can come in very handy during times of stress. I always make desensitization sessions short, fun, and very rewarding so that puppy will associate it with very positive feelings.

      When puppy is near enough to the new person, we can even have the person throw puppy a treat (still no eye-contact). This further helps the puppy learn that people = good treats.

      Kitsu will sometimes walk with us very well. But all of the sudden, sheโ€™ll resist and wont keep walking.

      Hmmm, this is more difficult to say. It will depend on why Kitsu is stopping. It could be because of fear, or because she wants to rest, or because she wants to smell the air, or because there is something interesting in that spot, etc.

      When Lara is afraid during walks she will usually try to run away. When she does that I start talking to her in a calm voice. I keep talking to her calmly and that seems to help her some. I also move away from whatever she is spooked by but in a calm fashion. She usually calms down after a short amount of time and we continue our walk. I also try not to do too much with her in a single walk so that she views it as something positive and fun. The more successful walks she has, the more confident she will become.

      With Sephy and Shania they usually stop when they want to look at people and smell the wind. They actually like lying around for pretty long periods of time watching cars, people, and smelling all the interesting scents. I usually let them do this and when it is time to go, I ask them to get up and we go home.

      Some trainers may suggest pulling the dog along and making the dog confront his/her fears. This technique is known as flooding. It may work, but it can also be risky.

      With my dogs I prefer to use desensitization techniques and build confidence through positive experiences.

      sheโ€™s taken to urinating around our apartment โ€” and only in her โ€œdenโ€ spots (her crate, under our bed, and under the couch). Any ideas about this?

      It could be submissive urination –

      It would depend on what actually triggers the urination.

  115. Gerri says

    Our biggest problem with our Shiba, Kaiko, is that he will not come when called. If he has the opportunity to escape the house house he will take off and not stop! I am so afraid he will get run over! He thinks it is a big fun game! The last time he did it which was Sunday, we decided to basically ignore him all day. He knew we were upset with him, tail down most of the day. Help!

  116. Kevin says

    I have a two year old Shiba which is weighing in at around 17 lbs. When we are not home she is in a safe room with toy and her crate (which she loves). When bored she takes to scratching the sheet rock. I tried using hot peppers on the wall she just finds another spot. Any suggestions?

    • shibashake says

      Hello Kevin,
      My Sibe puppy Lara also likes scratching and biting at my kitchen cabinets when I tether her in there. A couple of things helped to stop that behavior –
      1. Supervision. I made sure to tether her when I was around to supervise so that I can teach her that I did not want her scratching at the cabinets. When she does that, I would come over, non-mark her, and get her to do something else. If she starts up again as soon as I leave, then she goes to timeout. This way, she learns that scratching at cabinets is not something I want her to do.
      2. Alternative digging spot. Some dogs really like to dig. Siberians especially are really into digging. Therefore I let puppy dig in the back, non-landscaped area of my backyard. I did a bit of training with her so that she understands that she is not supposed to dig in the front. Now she has a lot of fun digging in the back. My other Sibe keeps my yard clear of gophers and such, so she earns her keep and gets to have digging fun as well. ๐Ÿ˜€

      Another thing I considered was to get some old carpeting and then mount that up on a wall or some other structure. Then teach puppy to scratch on that as an alternative to the cabinets. However, puppy has stopped scratching on the cabinets, so I haven’t tried out the carpet idea yet.

  117. Mia says

    dear shibashake,
    I have a one year old shiba inu and basset hound. She is a rescued dog from Taiwan and is very sneaky. Usually when my family leaves the house she would be in the house. She had been good not stealing food, but now she steals food all the time off the counter like bread and bagels. today she got peaches. I have taught her to sit shake. but, she wont come when i call her. My mom got chickens and it is important that she knows how to come. to of our chickens past away due to our dog. Any tips on how to teach her now to lye down and come. Anything to stop stealing? thanks!

    • shibashake says

      Hello Mia,

      Yeah Sephy really loves to steal things as well. Initially, supervision is very important. Every time he tries to jump onto the counter I non-mark him and take him to timeout. In this way he learns that jumping up on the counter = no food and loss of freedom.

      However, this only works if I can supervise him and prevent him from getting the food or objects on the counter. Otherwise, if he keeps getting stuff off the counter, then he is being rewarded for that behavior, and he will keep repeating that behavior.

      When I was too busy to supervise him during puppyhood, I put him in his crate or in his play room (where there are a lot of toys but no counters). This prevents him from practicing the counter stealing behavior and getting rewarded for it when I am not around.

      Other possibilities include using sound aversion techniques –
      – Sound scat pad.
      – Putting metal bowls on top of the counter, so that if he knocks them down, it will make an unpleasant clanging sound. Make sure to only use light bowls that can’t hurt the dog.

      As for recall, Shibas have a stubborn personality, and it is difficult to get 100% recall with them. If there is something else that is more interesting, they will go do that instead. Since Shibas are hunting dogs, chickens are very high priority. It would be difficult to trump that natural instinct to chase after prey. It may be easiest to simply keep Shiba in a different area than the chickens.

  118. Cindy says

    I was wondering about the the hair that raises up on the shiba inu’s back when it’s mad or excited. It’s like a ruffy little mane thing.

    Also, how often should a shiba inu be bathed?




    • shibashake says

      Hello Cindy,
      Yeah, it is actually something that many dogs do – “raised hackles” (piloerection). As I understand it, animals do this so that they appear larger and look more intimidating. However, dogs may sometimes also do this when they are excited.

      Dogs that are aroused will often have their hair stand on end, usually the “hackles,” the areas over the shoulders and just before the tail. This doesn’t necessarily mean aggression, just that they are on high alert. Some dogs get “raised hackles” more easily than others; it’s like some people who get red in the face very easily.
      Stacy Braslau-Schneck

      Also, how often should a shiba inu be bathed?

      Shibas tend to be very clean dogs so I don’t bathe my Shiba much. When his fur starts feeling a bit grimy, I play the water hose game with him, and that usually gets the dirt out.

      “Not more than once a month” was the advice I got from my breeder. Bathing too often can result in dry skin and may wash away essential oils from the coat. Show dogs probably get bathed more often depending on show schedules, but I only give my Shiba a bath when he needs it.

  119. Melissa says

    Hello There!
    First let me start by say that your website really warmed my heart and made me smile when I really needed it! We have a 2 year old Shiba who I absolutely adore. His name is Koda and we have had him since he was 8 months old. Koda and I were able to bond a lot when my fiance was deployed to Kuwait for 4 months and he was the perfect dog to have by my side when I was alone. When he was gone Koda instinctively took on the protector role and made sure nothing bad could possibly happen to his mom! When I read your stories I laugh because I picture Koda doing the exact same things as Sephy does. The reason I am writing is to ask for advice on disciplining. Koda’s life recently changed when a family member moved into our home temporarily and we can tell that he has not adapted well at all however the worst problem we have experienced was two recent displays of toy aggression. I have read many articles but I am not sure they will work with a dog with a personality like his. Since the two episodes of the aggression we have completely cut Koda off from having chew toys I know this is probably not best fix but for now this is what I had to go with. Because of these episodes I am extremely fearful and I am sure that this is not helping the situation. My main question would be how do we integrate chew toys back into his life successfully and what is the proper way to handle him should he try to bite us when trying to take them back?

    • shibashake says

      Hello Melissa,
      Yeah Shibas do have a pretty strong protection/guard drive. Sephy used to protect his stuff when he was a puppy. During walks he would always try to put everything he sees in his mouth, and I removed all of those things by force. This made him associate me coming over to him with “losing his stuff”. As a result, he started to protect his resources.

      Some things that helped with Sephy –
      1. Playing the object exchange game.
      2. Setting him up for success – I started observing him like a hawk and stopped him before he got any bad stuff in his mouth. In this way I don’t have to forcibly remove things from him.
      3. Add food to his chew toys and help him with getting food out. In this way he starts to associate me with getting more stuff instead of losing his stuff.

      With Sephy, I found that it was very important not to go too quickly. I started with very low priority items and then slowly worked my way up to higher priority items. Also, Sephy trusts people in his immediate family a lot more than other people. Therefore, he may not guard with me, but he may guard with new people and very likely with new dogs. I always remove all high priority items when introducing new people or new dogs. Sephy does not trust new people or dogs easily, but once he gives his trust, he really looks out for them. Koda sounds like he is the same way. ๐Ÿ˜€

      Here are some of my experiences with Sephy and resource guarding –

      Big hugs to Koda!

  120. maha says

    Hey There! I have a 3 months and 2 week old shiba , his name is Tuffy! I heard everything about this breed before I got hims o I knew what I was getting myself in to.My shiba got tray trained within days, next thing you know he was peeing and pooping all over the place. That started when I started taking him out for walks. ( As I had to keep him in until all his shots were done ). It was really frustrating in the beginning but I kept a strict walking schedule and did not punish him for going in the house, eventually he got the hang of it, and the accidents have stopped. I have learned that with Shiba’s you have to be extremely firm and patient. If they sense that you are trying to enforce a new behavior on them they get really stubborn to a point of being stupid,lol but staying firm and hanging in there will eventually do the trick. YES he loves biting my hands and I keep trying to tell him not to do it by distracting him with toy’s and chewy treats but alas to no effect, we are still working on that. Going to the park is another mission,lol YES he rough plays and scares the crap out of other dogs, so I try to keep him away until I see a big dog who looks patient and interested and then I take him t that dog. People give me really funny looks when I try to correct him, or when he rough plays with other digs, people don’t know how a shiba’s personality is so my they don’t get why I’m holding him back and being firm with him. or they just pull their dog’s back which I think actually makes Tuffy a little sad,lol. and yes don’t even start me with the gator rolls,and leash biting. But you know what he’s my baby and with patience and consistent guidance he will improve (hopefully)! I still love him to death though:)

    • shibashake says

      Hello Maha,
      Thanks for sharing Tuffy’s stories with us. He sounds a lot like Sephy! ๐Ÿ˜€

  121. Cynthia says

    Hi ShibaShake…Shiba Sasha and I have been having some issues when I have guests over. She just had her first birthday and has been maturing along nicely, training is an on I going process, some days she is an obedient angel…others a stubborn shiba head. but I have been lucky and never dealt with any major “bad dog” issues…until I have friends stay over and give them more attention than I give Sasha. The first time was during a friends wedding back in Feb…we had several people staying with us, Sasha enjoys the company, loves to play with everyone, but when we were in and out of the house often, we would arrive to something torn up inside…which is something she NEVER does, that time it was a leather belt….torn to shreds. She immediately hid under the bed upon our discovery of it although I did not yell or scold her…I assume since dogs live in the moment this wouldn’t be productive…is this correct?
    This past weekend our best friends have been staying with us, Sasha is perfectly lovely while we are all here, no whining or barking, she seems content just happy to watch everyone and eager to get some attention and chase a few balls every now and then. But as soon as we leave and return back we have been finding an item in the same spot in the very middle of the living room floor completely destroyed…day one-the novel “girl with a dragon tattoo”..completely shredded, day two-a straw sushi mat shredded, day three-black ink pen, four-a coupon for golf…all completely random and arbitrary items..not things she “likes” to mess with like tissues or tennis shoes both of which were readily available…we always have tons of shoes out, she hasn’t touched them..I dont know whether to just ignore the behavior, put her in a crate when we have guests over and we leave the house, or punish her when she tears stuff up. It really seems as if she is jealous of her parents doting on anyone else beside her and is acting out when she is alone…I dont want to give human attributes to a non human situation though. What is your opinion and what do you think the best solution would be?? We dont have guests over very often but she loves our friends that we visit often and she really is very friendly with new people and remembers those she has met before clearly. Sorry for such a long post, thanks for your time!!!
    Cynthia and Sasha boo

    • shibashake says

      Hello Cynthia,
      Based on your description it sounds like it could be from stress or anxiety.

      From observing Shiba Sephy, he gets stressed whenever there are any changes in his routine. He also thinks of himself as the caretaker of everyone in the house, so when people are missing (not according to schedule) he can get stressed.

      When Sephy gets stressed he often tries to relieve his stress by chewing on things. While we were going through Shania’s surgeries, there were big changes to our routine, and during that time Sephy chewed up a lot of things – including some headphones. Luckily he isn’t really interested in eating the stuff.

      Once we were done with that, Sephy settled back down.

      The common way for dealing with such anxiety issues is to desensitize Shiba to them. For example, Sephy used to also get stressed when we went grocery shopping during the weekends. To get him over that, we would sometimes both leave the house during the weekends, but only for very short periods of time. We started with just a few minutes – step out, step back in.

      Then we slowly lengthened the time.

      Your scenario is a bit higher level than that since it also involves having people over. But perhaps desensitizing her to having nobody in the house outside of her routine would be of some help.

      As you say, putting her in her crate is another possibility, but if she gets too stressed she may try to break out of her crate and hurt herself. I would first try it for shorter durations and see how she does.

      Another possibility is to get a dog walker to take her out during those times, or do a short daycare session.

      Here is an article on dog separation anxiety that may have more ideas.

      Let us know how it goes. Hugs to Sasha!

  122. tpj says

    I have a shiba male who is 14 months old. Initially, he was very close to being house broken using a crate-method. We went away on vacation and he stayed with my sister-in-law and her 2 kids and played tons but was off his usual bathroom schedule. When we came back, we went back to intermittent crating. By this, I mean he is in the crate at night, then we take him outside until he pees or poops. If he does, we reward him, give him treats and let him around the house until about 5-7pm which is when he would have to usually go again. He also knows how to ring the bell on the door to signal he has to go. However, as of late, he refuses to pee or poop outside until noon or even later. As such, he’s in the crate without food for a very long time. When we do let him out (after he pees/poops) sometimes even 2 hours later, he’ll randomly urinate on the floor. He used to never do that. So then he gets put in his crate again and we take him out to have him go to the bathroom which he never does, so he’s in the crate again until the morning. I’m really frustrated. Any suggestions? When he does pee on the floor, we yell in a stern voice, “bad boy, no!” Anything else we should do?

    • shibashake says

      Hello tpj,
      What has worked for potty training my dogs is to keep them on a fixed eating, resting, play, and walk schedule. They get fed, walked, crated, etc. always at fixed and consistent times. I follow the same schedule whether or not they have pooped or pee-ed. In this way, they know what to expect, and when to expect it.

      Also, my new puppy has reminded me that constant supervision is key when it comes to potty training. ๐Ÿ˜€

      I have noticed that my Shiba especially really needs to have a fixed routine. When his routine changes, he gets stressed, and may start “acting-out” simply because he no longer knows what is expected of him.

      In terms of what to do when puppy makes a mistake, I always just non-mark her (Ack, ack) in a normal voice (no yelling). Then I take her out for her to finish doing her business. If she does, I reward her very well with treats and her favorite games. Then I come back in and clean-up while she is outside in the enclosed backyard.

      During potty training, I took my puppy out very often – at least once every two hours and more often than that if she has been playing inside the house. Activity and play usually makes a dog have to go. How often a dog should be taken out is dependent on age, the dog’s activity, health, etc.

      In general, I take my puppy out more than is necessary. This helps to maximize successes and minimize failures so that she keeps getting reinforced for going outside, and she does not practice going on the inside. If she doesn’t need to go, that is fine. We come back in and resume our usual schedule.

      Here are more of my experiences on puppy potty training.

  123. Andrea says

    Of course, a harnass. Why didn’t I think of that? I think I have one in the house I can use (it was for an old dog of ours when he was a puppy and might be just the right size for a half grown Shiba).

    I’m not super worried about getting it on him. We handle Kiba a lot and I think he’s used to the indignanty of me poking and proding him however I want without regard to his pride. He’s still okay with others picking him up and poking him too (neighborhood kids, the vet, etc).

    Now, if we could just un-teach him how to climb the stairs…

  124. Charleen says

    Loved all your comments.

    I have two Shibas, that are three years old. A male, Todd and a Female Copper. I got Copper when she was 12 weeks old and rescued Todd at nine months old. From the begging they have been perfect playmates. They play hard as all Shibas do. They get two long walks a day. They both are very friendly. But they do have to show they are Shibas when they come in contact with dogs they don’t know on their walks. Once they get to know the dog then they are very friendly.

    My only problem with them is they have to be on leash at all times. When they have gotten loose, then off they go and they are hard to catch. At home they mind very good when given a treat and will do their normal, sit, come, stay ect. But once they get outdoors no way will they come to you if they get loose.

    I want to take a vacation next year without them and am worried about how I can find someone who will be able to take care of them. I am so afraid they will get loose on their walks and the person taking care of them will not be able to get them back. Yes I need someone that understands Shibas, they are definately not like any other dog!

    • shibashake says

      I want to take a vacation next year without them and am worried about how I can find someone who will be able to take care of them.

      Yeah I know what you mean. My Shiba really hates going to daycare places. I am thinking that perhaps I can get him used to a sitter/trainer, so that if I have to leave, there will be someone he is comfortable with who can house-sit and walk him.

      In terms of getting loose on walks, I now use the Premier no-slip martingale collar. It works great at preventing Sephy from escaping during walks.
      Premier Pet Collar Medium 1-Inch, Red

  125. Andrea says

    We’ve just started walking Kiba in the neighborhood (vaccinations are FINALLY done). Whew.

    So, my problem is leash pulling. He doesn’t try to bite it at all yet, and he will sit to put the leash on and sit to go outside – but once we’re walking, he pulls so hard he chokes himself and starts to wheeze.

    I’ve tried pulling the other way, trying to get him to sit, etc, to no affect. He’s not pulling towards an object, he just wants to run instead of walk. If I jog, he’s content to stay beside me. He doesn’t see a connection between pulling and going home, so that isn’t working either.

    Funny thing is – we sat outside on the lawn after our walk last night so my son could play with other kids in the neighborhood. Kiba sat quietly and let all the kids pet him and meet him, then lounged on the grass while they ran around and played (didn’t try to chase, showed no interest in pulling his leash). Apparently, this is a walk only behavior.

    Any ideas?

    • shibashake says

      Hello Andrea,
      When Sephy was young, I used a harness instead of a collar. He also pulled really hard and the harness kept him from choking himself. The only thing with the harness is that after a bit Shiba may not want to put it on. So it is important to desensitize Shiba to it and make it into a positive experience. Other than that, it is great for leash training a small dog.

      In terms of the pulling, Sephy was very stubborn so it took a while before he gave up the ghost. What worked best for Sephy is to give him no attention whatsoever – no talking or looking. He pulls, I just stop and ignore him. I only took him out on short walks, but I did it frequently.

      I also did collar corrections with him really early on – but that did not work out well for us.

  126. Andrea says

    So far, nothing that works well for a Shiba. Which, is fine, I mainly signed him up for the dog socialization aspect. We had another class this Monday and Kiba was a pain the whole time. We’re just doing basic obedience (sit, down, stay, heel) and some agility stuff (tunnels, stairs). Kiba’s started teething really badly so he’s not interested in anything he can’t chew on.

    He had his first half day of doggy day care today (we’ll do half days until he’s all adjusted) and he was nervous, but played with some of the puppies. His friend Otto from the puppy classes was there so it wasn’t a totally new environment. He also spent last weekend with my in-laws and did really well (we were out of town).

    I am pleased to report he’s learned the “leave it” command… works on everything except paper and cat poo… ๐Ÿ˜€

    • shibashake says

      Hi Andrea,

      I mainly signed him up for the dog socialization aspect.

      Yeah, me too.

      The two most useful things I learned in puppy class –
      1. Bite inhibition – this was the best! Just for this alone, the class was worth it.
      2. Play breaks. Shiba Sephy is like a sports car and can go from 0 mph to super crazy play in a few seconds. Frequent short breaks really helped us manage him.

      I am pleased to report heโ€™s learned the โ€œleave itโ€ commandโ€ฆ works on everything except paper and cat poo

      That is awesome! Sephy was not very good with Leave-It. He would leave things in the house, but when it comes to finding crap outside, he acts like he just found gold. ๐Ÿ˜€ The more I try to take things away from him, the more he wants them.

      I had to watch him like a hawk so that I can stop him before he gets it in his mouth. I also became a lot more Zen about stuff and let him have tissues and non-dangerous items that he found. He soon grew bored and stopped picking up every piece of street crap.

      Glad to hear that doggy day care went well! Hugs and kisses to Kiba.

  127. Becky says

    Hi Shibashake!

    Thank you for your wonderfully thorough website! My husband and I have a 1.5 year old female shiba inu named Koda. We absolutely love her and her personality. She is very friendly and excited to meet people, good with kids, and does not guard resources with people. We take her to the dog park very seldom now that we have a big yard for her but did notice that when she was at the dog park she would steal toys from other dogs and then taunt them with it and growl and fight when they came close. We would immediately leave the dog park when this happened but since we haven’t been in quite some time it hasn’t really been an issue.

    About 3 weeks ago our sister-in-law and her husband got a Siberian Husky puppy, also a female named River, and we decided that it would be great for them to meet at our Easter dinner. The pup, River, and her owners came over the day before so we could do introductions and things did not go at all as planned. The dogs met in our front yard and played very well together except when one of them had a “toy”. Koda, our shiba, would get very mean and growl and steal the toy, even if the toy was a pine cone or stick laying in the yard. River is very relaxed at only 11 weeks and could’ve cared less. We weren’t really sure what to do so we just said “no” which really didn’t do anything at all. After a while it was time to go into the house and Koda guarded the front door like the a CIA agent protecting the president. She did not want River inside. When River came inside Koda followed her everywhere and would perform what I call the drive by side swipe and bite move. Things got worse when River picked up a toy or when her owners gave her food. Koda would go nuts if River went anywhere near anything she perceived as hers even if it actually belonged to River.

    Eventually we started putting Koda in the backroom when she was mean or starting biting or growling but we’re not really sure that worked. We are supposed to watch River for a week in about two weeks and now are feeling completely overwhelmed and uncertain what to do. There’s so much information online that’s helpful but there’s SO much information we don’t know how to integrate it and where to start. We are also planning on getting a new puppy (a shikoku) in the next 9 months and now are worried that Koda is the kind of dog that can’t have another dog in the house. Could you give us a place to start or some advice? We’d appreciate anything.

    Thank you!


    • shibashake says

      Hello Becky,

      Koda guarded the front door like the a CIA agent protecting the president.

      LOL! That is too funny!

      When I first brought my Sibe puppy home, Shiba Sephy was not impressed. He did not like puppy being in his backyard and he did not like puppy coming up to him and bugging him. I was worried for the first few days because Shania got along with puppy right away, but Sephy didn’t seem to.

      After about 1 week though, Sephy started to accept puppy into his pack, and now after over 1 month he is actually very good with puppy. He lets puppy smell his butt, and he tolerates puppy biting him and jumping all over him even when he is resting.

      Often, puppy uses Sephy as her chew toy! ๐Ÿ˜€

      Shibas are bred to be guard dogs so they don’t trust as easily as Siberians. The legendary Shiba-aloofness does not help either.

      Here are some of the things I did with puppy and Shiba that helped –
      1. I try to always set Shiba up for success. I removed all high priority items – bully sticks, new toys, etc. In this way he is less likely to protect items.
      2. Whenever Shiba is next to puppy, I make it into a positive and rewarding experience. Often, I will be doing simple obedience commands with puppy and Shiba will sometimes come over to get in on the food action. When he does this, I get him to do commands as well and make sure to reward him well. Very soon, Shiba was coming over for most obedience sessions.
      3. I supervise carefully when they are together and prevent any kind of stealing. I make sure to prevent puppy from coming close to Shiba when he is chewing on his toys or busy. This teaches the dogs that I am the one that keeps the peace and they don’t have to do it themselves.
      4. I prevent puppy from smelling Shiba Sephy’s butt because I know he does not like new dogs doing that.
      5. Shiba and puppy are both on drag leads so that I can control them more easily if need be. Constant management and supervision are very important especially in the initial stage.

      In general, I try to step in and stop any conflicts before they occur so that I keep Shiba and puppy time together positive and safe. I try to be fair and puppy has to follow the same rules as the other dogs.

      Here is an article I wrote about getting and managing a second dog –

      Good luck! Let us know how it goes with River.

  128. Andrea says

    So, Kiba has had two puppy classes so far. His puppy classmates are a little mixed breed with long hair and a french bull dog. All three are about the same age and size.

    Class one – Kiba was a little shy with the other puppies during play time, but by the end of the class was playing like crazy. No growling or had biting, but lots of wrestling and nipping. He was obedience champion!

    Class two – Kiba joined right in playing. Then the long haired dog nipped him hard. He squealed (Shiba drama, it wasn’t a bad bite – no skin broke and he didn’t limp or have on going pain). He then proceeded to act offended the whole class, ignored the long haired dog entirely (previously his favored playmate), refused any obedience commands (apparently I had broken faith by allowing him to be nipped), and would not eat treats. After an hour long pout it was time to go home at which point he perked up and was happy again.

    So, good news, no dog aggression yet. Bad news, like all Shibas he is a DRAMA QUEEN!

    Our trainer has never dealt with a Shiba before so his desire to be chased, pouting talent, and bad recall (he stops 3 feet away, sits, and won’t come no matter what) are kind of baffling her. ๐Ÿ™‚

    • shibashake says

      He then proceeded to act offended the whole class

      LOL! That sounds like a Shiba!

      Sephy is very good at sulking too. Every time I give him a time-out, he acts like I have severely wronged him and put him through some sort of torture.

      The first class we went to actually had another Shiba puppy who was actually very well behaved. Sephy liked him most. Whenever he was around, Sephy would only play with him and totally ignore all the other puppies. ๐Ÿ˜€

      How are subsequent classes? What are they teaching in class? Anything that works really well with Shibas?

  129. Andrea says

    Maria – My shiba does the same thing. He’ll lick the couch or his dog bed until it looks like he piddled on it. I just assumed it was because my kids spill things sometimes and he was enjoying the left overs… but it’s interesting that yours does it too. ๐Ÿ™‚

  130. Maria says

    Hey Shiba

    so Kali has started this odd behavior latley. When she is laying down (either on the couch or in bed) she starts licking whichever she is on in the same spot. she’s not licking herself she’s licking the couch or the bed. I am constantly finding huge wet spots after she’s gets up. Just wondering if this was something you’ve seen or if I should be worried… it’s more annoying then anything… (and kinda gross)

    • shibashake says

      Hello Maria,
      That is interesting. Sephy usually does the licking carpet thing as an extension of his grooming exercise. He will lick his feet or butt and then clean up the surrounding areas as well. He is very obsessive about cleaning, so frequently he over-cleans.

      When he first started doing this, we thought he had problems with his anal glands. We brought him to the vet to get it expressed/expelled, but the vet said his glands was normal and not really full. Every year when he goes for his check-up we make sure to ask the vet to do this, just to be safe.

      I think Shibas just love themselves so much they have to lick up their own scent. How is that for narcissism??! ๐Ÿ˜€

  131. drew says

    My shiba is 8 months old. little attention whore. He needs to be in the same room as me all the time. constantly begging me to take him for a walk. he loves to be loved and rubbed. and hes great with all dogs too. me and my gf had ALOT of free time to train him. but recently hes been really disobedient. starting digging and not listening to my commands. i think its because we moved in with roommates who have another puppy, and she doesnt listen at all.. he figures she doesnt why should i? the only thing i hate about my dog Dag… hes a darter. he assumes tunnelvision when he sees something. last time i had him off the lease, he chased a train… but anyways i love my Dag wouldnt trade him for a million bucks. i love his little face expressions and his personality. i would love to get another one…

  132. says

    I have a 1 1/2 year old shiba named Anouk. Your site has been a huge help in getting her to be a fairly obedient pup (THANK YOU). The only big problem is that when we play – usually fetch – she can get way overexcited. She gets mouthy and uses her paws and nose to jump up on you. I’ve had a LOT of painful bruises on my nose ๐Ÿ™ when I say no and turn away, it only makes her jump on me more for attention and I don’t think she understands that she’s done anything bad. Do you have any suggestions on how to deal with this behavior or, even better, avoid it in the first place? While she doesn’t seem to be resource guarding or obsessive over the toy, she seems very obsessive over the play.

    • shibashake says

      Hello Carrie,

      I know what you mean. Sephy would get pretty crazy as well when he was young. The thing that works best with him is to have frequent play breaks. This prevents him from getting too amped-up and he doesn’t get to the stage where he loses control.

      I also have very strict rules with Sephy during play. For example, he can get very excited while playing with the flirt pole. So I make sure he does a sit every time before we start. We only start when I say so. When I say Leave-It, he has to drop the flirt toy and not try to protect it. Also, he is only allowed to bite at the toy and not at the flirt string.

      If he doesn’t follow any of these rules, I stop play, which for him is pretty horrible because he loves his play sessions. If he starts jumping and biting at me, I put him in time-out. I don’t have too many time-out offenses, but biting at me is definitely one of them. Sephy is actually quite good with excitement-biting now. Even when he is amped-up, he catches himself and licks my hand instead of biting.

      With proper rules, play time can actually be a good training opportunity to get Shiba to listen to us even when he is excited. The key is to stop before Shiba he loses control and is no longer able to listen to us.

      Here is an article based on my dog play experiences with Sephy.

      Here is an article on puppy biting –

  133. Andrea says

    Most Shibas aren’t particularly affectionate. My puppy, Kiba, is actually pretty friendly for a Shiba which means that he likes to sleep on the couch or near our feet when he’s tired. ๐Ÿ™‚ The rest of the time, he’s off doing other things and only comes to us if he needs his kibble ball refilled or wants to play a brief game of fetch. He might request the occasional belly rub, but then he’s on his way.

    Shibas aren’t lap dogs and most of them don’t “slow down” until 7 years old or older. And even then, there’s a good chance he’d rather nap on his bed than in your lap.

    Shibas love their people, but on their terms. They’re really more cat like about the whole thing.

  134. Maria says

    hmmm… not sure what the URL is, but I’m pretty sure if you search Maria C Zucca, I should be the only one. ๐Ÿ™‚ hope all is well with the new pupper!!!

  135. says

    Help, Help. Help,
    I am a responsible dog owner, who has raised already 3 dogs (1 chihuahua and 2 mini pinschers). I bought a shiba 1 month ago, he is still 3 months old. What a bad surprise so far! I was looking for an affectionate dog that will love me back. This dog only loves himself! He does not care that my wife and I are around him. He just wants to do his own thing. He will not stay next to us. He is always looking for something to do or to play on his own. Will he stay like this? Will he get better once he gets older? If not, I will give him up now rather than later since he is still young and can still adapt easily to a new family. Affection is a trait I value a lot in dogs. Please help!! Will he become affectionate later on?

  136. Tricia Cooper says

    I love your shiba stories. I have a one year old and he is really very delightful. Really a very, very nicely behaved shiba all things considered. He does love the dog park, but I know exactly what you mean by “an extreme style of play”. He doesn’t really fit with the dogs his size, but sometimes entices too much pack,chase mentality in the big dog park. Luckily, he does seem to be pretty good at zeroing in on which dogs play/wrestle/chase like he does. Tug of war with park toys is totally off limits, he will start a fight over a toy. Overall, he is sweet and not destructive at home…I was a little afraid of the breed given all I had read, but he is not a difficult dog for me.

    • shibashake says

      Hello Tricia,

      sometimes entices too much pack,chase mentality in the big dog park.

      That sounds very much like Shiba Sephy. He loves chasing games so he his standard mode of operation is to get a ball and try to entice other dogs to chase after him. One time he initiated a chase game with a beautiful Afghan Hound who totally creamed him in terms of speed. Poor Sephy. ๐Ÿ˜€

      What is your Shiba’s name?

  137. Andrea says

    Maria – She might also be one of the other Japanese breeds. Several of them have personality traits similar to the Shiba, but are larger (40-50 lbs or more). Some still have the foxy coloring, but others are black or white or mottled.

  138. Maria says

    Yes the water thing is weird. She doesn’t like to swim either. I don’t know for sure that she’s mixed with lab, but she’s mixed with something. She bigger than your typical Shiba (about 50 pounds) and her features are a lot “softer” than a pure.

    The only place I have pics of her online is FB… you can look me up there or I can e-mail a couple to you if you’d prefer (unless there’s a way to upload them here.)

    I’m really enjoying reading of your adventures in puppy parenting!

    • shibashake says

      Hello Maria,
      What is your FB URL? I tried looking for your but there are too many hits. Thanks!

  139. Maria says

    Hello Shibashake!!

    I just found your website and just wanted to say hello. I have a 5 year old Shiba/lab mix (I think, I rescued her when she was 1.5 years). I immedietly thought she must be Shiba because of the way she looks, but after reading all your behavior stuff there is no doubt that my baby is predominatly Shiba… everything you say is right on. For example I had had her about a week when I came home from the dog park one day in a FL DOWNPOUR!!! I was trying to get to my door quick, so I cut tried to cut across the little bit of lawn. Well Kali wasn’t having any of getting her feet wet, and she planted and started backing up… she ended up slipping out of her collar and taking off. The first of many Shiba chases!!!!

    Anyway, it’s good to know others out there understand my pain (and pleasure). She is the first dog I have ever owned, and is just great!!

    • shibashake says

      Hahaha – that definitely sounds like a Shiba! Sephy has also slipped out of his collar a couple of times by backing up. I now use the Premier no-slip martingale collar and it is great for preventing collar escapes. It is interesting that she favors her Shiba side so much, since Labs tend to like water.

      Big HUGS to Kali. Do you have any pictures for her up on the web? Would love to see her.

  140. Andrea says

    We’re having a barking issue with Kiba.

    I have a home office and sometimes I need to work from it. We have it blocked off with a baby gate so Kiba can’t get in and maul stuff, but so we don’t have to close the door which causes the room to get very warm.

    If I’m in the office and Kiba wants me to play with him, he comes to the door and barks and howls. We’ve tried anti-marking and time out to get him to stop, but as soon as we let him out of time out, he’s back at the baby gate, barking and howling.

    It’s like he doesn’t connect what he’s doing with the time outs at all.

    I’d like to note, that when he does this, he’s not alone in the house. My husband has been in the livingroom, with treats and toys, willing to play. Kiba just won’t go play with him, he wants me to come out.

    Any ideas?

    • shibashake says

      Several possibilities –
      1. Try putting up a curtain so he can’t see you.
      2. Have a play or walk training session in the backyard so that he is not there when you first go into your office.
      3. Have your husband start feeding and training him more. This will help to create a stronger bond and set him up as another go-to person for Kiba.
      4. Keep repeating the non-mark and time-outs, and try lengthening the time-outs of subsequent sessions. I usually have a very short initial time-out for Sephy, but if he keeps repeating, I start leaving him in there for longer and longer.
      5. Have your husband do the time-outs etc., and you just totally ignore him. No talking, no eye-contact. With Sephy, he will sometimes start with his Shiba moves just to get a reaction from me – even if it is a negative reaction. The worst thing for him is to be ignored.

      With Sephy, it took a whole lot of repetitions before he gave up. Shibas are extremely stubborn. ๐Ÿ˜€

      Also I have noticed that Sephy is extremely effective at sensing my feelings. If I get upset at something that he does, it is also a response, and he knows he can start using it to get what he wants. Once I was able to be Zen about his vocalizations, he stopped doing it. For example, he will sometimes whine a lot when he wants to come in or go out of the house into the backyard. I just ignore it – totally.

      He has learned that I don’t care if he whines and he only gets let in when I am ready. Nowadays he knocks on the door once with his paw and waits there. Sometimes he gets impatient and knocks a few times for which he mostly just gets ignored. Sometimes I tell him to stop doing it – but only once. This lets him know that I have heard him, but I am not ready at the moment.

      Make sure never to give Shiba anything when he is whining, even something like eye-contact. If you do, he will likely do it even more and with even more GUSTO!

      Good luck! Let us know how it goes.

  141. Anonymous says

    Hi Colleen,
    Reading about other folks’ challenges with their dogs is always interesting. (My Fred is a big handful.) Every time on this site that I see the name Reptar, I have to confess I get a huge belly laugh. Where did this name come from? Makes me think of a huge leathery semi-dynosaur/canine mix. I’m sure your dog is the love of your life, as mine is, but pray tell how this name came about. ~Kim

  142. Colleen says

    Tell Shania thanks, it helped! A week and 2 days without a problem! Reptar has had the house to himself for approx 7 hours a day and all evidence has pointed to him hanging out on the couch or the bay window (tons of dog hair on the blanket on the couch)! I shouldn’t jinx myself however, I am very proud of him. Although the new house, the adjustments, coupled with the new freedom is going to straight to his head. He has even more of a big dog attitude. We’re going to be doing lots of work and keeping his mind and little body plenty busy.

    As for his crate, as we’re adjusting to the new place, I’ll try some supervised crate sessions. His nose and mouth are still heeling and very tender so we’re going very slowly as a even a locked door right now causes anxiety and tension.

    Things are good. Same state, new city. Not too far from where I was but a just a new place. Slowly getting settled as this thing with Reptar seems to have taken over a bit. I think we’re both having some separation anxiety. haha. Guess the “apple doesnt fall too far from the tree” after all.

  143. Andrea says

    So, we’ve had Kiba for over a week now and he’s still super mellow. He’s comfortable from what I can tell (isn’t nervous around us or guests), but he only gets hyper for about 1-2 hours a day and sleeps or cuddles the rest of the time.

    Of course, when we let him out in the back yard, he becomes jet powered pup and runs around like a mad thing. I love that he pounces like a kitten when he plays!

  144. Andrea says

    Thanks! I guess only time will tell if he’s ill. I guess it takes 4-14 days for symptoms to appear. ๐Ÿ™ I hope he is not sick.

    I don’t remember puppies having this many things to be scared about when I was younger. ๐Ÿ™‚

  145. Andrea says

    I may have done a bad thing!

    I brought Kiba with me to work today so he wouldn’t be in the house alone (and he is too little for doggy day care). I took him to a grassy place across the street to potty and discovered poop from other dogs! I’d already let him down and now I’m scare he may get parvo. He’s already been very calm (at least when he’s not in his crate at night!) so I’m worried he’s sick. ๐Ÿ™

    He was vet checked when we got him and has had his first vaccines…

    What should I do?


    • shibashake says

      Hi Andrea,
      I had a similar experience when Sephy was young. I was out walking with him when he was 3/4 immunized and we met a friendly dog from an equally friendly neighbor, and I let Sephy meet the dog, smell his butt, etc. Later I got really worried about parvo. It turned out that Sephy was ok; it was just limited exposure, for a very limited time, and in a clean neighborhood, so the risk of infection was very low. However, for a while there, I began to look at everything through “parvo lenses”. ๐Ÿ™‚

      Try not to worry too much. Just make sure he is still eating well, pooping well, and not showing any clear signs of sickness (e.g. vomiting). Also, no harm giving your vet a call and see what the nurse says. In the beginning I called up my vet a fair amount. ๐Ÿ™‚

      Hugs to Kiba.

  146. Colleen says

    Friday I got home from work to find Reptar was not able to escape from his crate thanks to the zip ties, however I also found quite a large amount of blood on the floor and in his crate. He tried to escape the crate and tore up his nose. Poor little boy. We decided to compromise on some terms. He will go in his crate in the morning when I leave but I promised I wouldn’t lock the door and he promised he would be a good boy. Today’s the first full day of our compromise. We did some test runs this weekend and things seemed to be OK. Wish us luck!

    • shibashake says

      Good luck! Shania promises to send lots of positive vibes and virtual licks to Reptar. ๐Ÿ˜€

      Let us know how it goes.

  147. Andrea says

    Kiba came home yesterday so we’ve gotten through the first day and night.

    Couple of questions – Did you have a hard time getting Sephy to eat when he first came home? Kiba’s turned up his nose at food and just drank some water today.

    When to Shiba’s start getting hyper? So far, he’s been a very low key puppy.

    The funniest “Shiba” thing so far has been – He wants to sit with us on the couch, but is too little to jump up on his own. And he doesn’t want us to pick him up. So he walks over and whines to get up. We go to pick him up and he dodges away. So far, I’ve just moved a bit quicker and hauled him up, at which point he cuddles and falls straight asleep. ๐Ÿ™‚

  148. Colleen says

    Reptar and I have recently moved and are adjusting well, for the most part. He now strong dislikes being in his crate. Well, he goes in there voluntarily and happily but when I am gone at work for the day, he escapes. I have came home to the front panel ripped down, metal broken out of the eyehooks that are keeping the crate together, the bottom metal bars lifted up making a 3in gap that Reptar has squeezed out of. I’m at a loss for what to do with him. I eventually would love for him to have the house to himself when I am away at work, however I want to do this on my terms, not his.

    He hasn’t destroyed anything in the house yet when he’s gotten out of the crate and spent the day roaming free. I never know what I’m going to come home too. We’ll see what today brings. I have used zip ties and duct tape to try to repair the (2nd) crate.

    He’s never really had a problem being in his crate while I’m at work until about a week into the new move. I’ve spent time with him exercising him, and back to basics on crate training – Leaving him for little bits of time here and there before he’s alone all day. I’m stumped! Any advice?

    Also, I’ve uploaded some new pictures.

    • shibashake says

      Hi Colleen,
      I had a lot of fun looking at Reptar’s recent photos. Your captions gave me a nice pick-me-up on a Monday morning. ๐Ÿ˜€

      I liked the fort one and the ones with the red dinosaur riding on Reptar’s back – LOL! He is such a cutie!

      In terms of busting out of his crate, it sounds like it could be separation anxiety. He may be unsure of the recent changes.

      Some possibilities –
      1. Leave him something Shiba-proof that really smells like you in his crate.
      2. Record your voice and have it play on a timer. There are also interactive toys that can play your voice back.
      3. Have a neighbor or dog walker look in on him in the middle of the day and take him on a short walk. When Sephy was young I got a dog walker to do group dog walking with him. It could help relieve stress and break up his day.

      Where in the house does Reptar spend his time when he gets out of his crate?

      If there is a favorite room that he likes to go to, perhaps that could be his intermediate enclosure. The worry I have with the crate is that he may hurt his teeth and mouth while trying to break out.

      Then perhaps during weekends or at night, he can still have some supervised crate time.

      How are things with you? Did you move to a new city/state?

  149. Andy & Teresa says

    Hi All,

    We have a 2 yr old Shiba named Nikka. She joined us at 8 weeks old. At the time we had 2 grown German Shepards. The shepards thought she was a squirrel that they chased daily in our backyard. We crated her for about 3-4 weeks. Let her out only w/ supervision. The shepards had muzzles for 2 weeks. Removed muzzles w/etreme supervision. All 3 eventually loved each other. Nikka preferred sleeping in the crate up to 4-5 mos.

    The Nikka was a biter. When she played rough biting, we corrected her by squeezing her jaw w/thumb and middle fingers. Saying don’t bite. The screams were horrid! She does not bite us, even in play. She still is a screamer.

    The human touch is very important. We held her and touched, petted, prouded her entire body. Touching her paws, tail, tummy inside of her thigh etc. We did this for 5 min. 3-4 times a day. We still do this often. Nikka is the big fan of cuddling w/the both of us.

    Whenever we caught her chewing we held her and told her “NO”. We came home to rugs, sofas and anything she was able to get at chewed. Nyla bones helped. She quit at around 1 1/4 yrs. She will grab things left on the floor or in the bathroom can. We can tell when she has something in her mouth that is foreign. It takes the both of us to catch her and remove it from the BACK of her throat. De-sheeba the house!

    Unfortunatley both of our Shepards have passed. We brought a 5 mos. Shepard home. The introduction is slow. Leashed on mutual grounds. Then the backyard and int. of home. All still leashed. It was 2 hours before we unleashed them together. Nikka is very dominant. Growls and attacking the new pup. When she does this we put her in another room for 5 min. This has helped. We are only on our 2nd day. We are confident that they will bond. Time, patience and stay calm.

    Nikka is a stunning sable/blonde/black in color dog. A little pistol.

    • shibashake says

      Hahaha! It is so like a Shiba to try and dominate a GSD.

      Thanks for sharing Nikka’s story with us.

  150. Andrea says

    Thanks for the quick response!

    We’ve used this day care before (we used to have a lab/border collie mix), and they do groups based on size and temperament. I’ve already talked to the day care about Shiba “challenges”. ๐Ÿ™‚

    We’ll be doing training with the same folks who run the day care, so Kiba will be interacting with them a lot. They do positive behavior training (we’ve been in their classes before) and are doing breed research as well so we can make sure he gets trained appropriately.

    We had to rehome our previous dog because my son was attacked by a neighbor’s dog that was the same size and looked a lot like him. My son knew, mentally, that our doggy wasn’t viscous and wouldn’t hurt him, but he couldn’t control the gut “panic” reaction whenever our doggy came near. He’s comfortable with small/medium dogs, just not big ones (ours was around 60 lbs). The nicest, gentlest big dogs make him terrified because he feels defenseless around them.

    Part of this exercise for us was finding a local breeder where my son could meet Shibas and see if the size and breed traits were an issue for him. He’s done great with our puppy’s parents (no fear reaction, loves playing with them), so we feel confident in moving forward.

  151. Andrea says

    I have a question about doggy day care.

    We have to be out during the day for work so I’m planning to put our Shiba in day care. Do you know if most Shiba’s are okay with it if they start young or are they more like Sephy and get upset by it?

    I can’t come home during the day (we live an hour away from our work), so I was hoping doggy day care would be a good way to keep our puppy from being lonely. I could hire a dog walker, but that would be less time unconfined than all day care.

    • shibashake says

      Hello Andrea,
      I think Sephy is unique in this regard. He got used to being home with me most of the day when he was young, so that became his routine and his preference.

      Look for a daycare that splits the dogs into smaller play groups, and that do a good job at matching the dog to the group. Also a good daycare center will interview a new dog in the beginning to see if he fits into their current groups.

      I could hire a dog walker, but that would be less time unconfined than all day care.

      Yeah I agree. I only did group dog walking after the daycare thing did not work out for Sephy.

    • shibashake says

      Hi Andrea,
      Your Shiba puppy is too adorable! I got Sephy at 10 weeks old so I only got a very little bit of his cute little fur-ball stage. The next time I get a Shiba, I am definitely going to be more on the ball.

      Also love your other pictures. You have a beautiful family. Shiba should fit right in. ๐Ÿ˜€
      Thanks so much for the link.

  152. Liz says

    Hi there!

    It’s been a week now since I have brought home my Shiba Inu Puppy (just over 10 weeks).
    I have had dogs in the past, but they have always been a poodle base. A complete 180หš personality from my little Shiba, Kami.

    Kami is definitely a pain in the ass but I love her. Her problem right now is the BITING!!!!!! and separation anxiety when we leave her in her crate to go out. (We are crate training her – first time having to do that with a pup, but I think it’s well worth it).

    I love the site/articles. There’s some very helpful tips in here – and i can relate to every single one of your frustrations and joys of owning a Shiba!

    Thanks for the help!

    • shibashake says

      Thanks Liz. Training a Shiba is a big exercise in patience. At the end though, I think my Shiba really taught me a lot of good life lessons. ๐Ÿ˜€

  153. Andrea says

    Thanks for the links! I’ve been reading a lot on your site. It’s a great resource and I appreciate that you point out that even a few mistakes won’t ruin your dog if you’re patient about fixing them. ๐Ÿ™‚

    Since our breeder is close, we’re planning to visit the puppy fairly regularly to get him used to us as much as possible before he even comes home. I’m hoping to take pictures this weekend!

    I’ve heard mixed reviews about Shiba’s and children (mine are 7 and 3), so here’s hoping. I’m planning on bringing kids to training classes (we already have these lined up with a trainer we’ve worked with before), and having them help hand feed. The boys are used to our cats, so I don’t think we’ll have too much of an issue with not hugging/picking up the puppy. The cats don’t like it, so we’ll just emphasize the “shibas are like cats” point of view. ๐Ÿ™‚

    • shibashake says

      You are so well prepared! Lucky Shiba puppy. ๐Ÿ˜€

      Please post a link to the pictures when you have the time. I love looking at Shiba puppies.

  154. Andrea says


    My family is getting a Shiba puppy in February. Do you have any pointers on things we should start doing right away or dog gear we should have?

    I’ve been doing a lot of breed research, but I admit I’m a little nervous as these dogs seem quite tricky!

    I think the one thing I have going for me is that I’ve parented very stubborn/mischievous toddlers and your descriptions of Sephy frequently remind me of them!

    We have met the parents of our puppy and they are very calm and well behaved, so I’m optimistic for our little boy’s personality (he’s only 4 weeks old right now though, so it’s hard to tell much).

    Thank you for putting together such a great site and sharing your experiences.


    • shibashake says

      Hello Andrea,
      Congratulations on your soon-to-be new family addition!

      Sounds like you are already doing all the right things. I wish I was more on the ball before I got Sephy – it would have saved the both of us a lot of heartache.

      Here is an article on new puppy supplies. It the beginning, Sephy missed his litter mates a lot, so getting the smelly-blanket from the breeder or a favorite toy will help with the transition.

      Also get some kibble from the breeder or ask her what kibble the puppy is used to. Then you can slowly transition puppy over to the kibble of your choice.

      In terms of early things to do, here are some things that made a big difference with Sephy –
      1. Bite inhibition exercises. This helped a lot when Sephy went through his difficult phase.
      2. NILIF (Nothing in Life is Free) program. This teaches Shiba from the start that the best way to get what Shiba wants is to do what you want.
      3. Handling exercises. Shibas tend to be very sensitive to handling. I made a lot of mistakes in this area early on because I would physically force Sephy to endure grooming and handling. This did not turn out well for either of us. What worked well is to make handling rewarding and fun.

      This article on puppy obedience training may also be helpful.

      Also take lots of puppy pictures. They grow up very quickly! ๐Ÿ˜€

  155. Colleen says

    I forgot how much fun it is to train a Shiba. Reptar has been taking advantage of a new living arrangements in which he is alpha over 1 person in the household making it a little more difficult to keep things under control. I’ve gone back to basic obedience (he still knows I am alpha over him but thinks since he is alpha over another, he can try to be alpha with me). While were re-working on our basic commands of sit and down stays, and “watch” I’ve started to try to teach him drop it. He can’t quite get drop it so we’ve started with give. He loves tug of war so learning give is quite the accomplishment. Reptar learned “give” in 1 day and while it will take much more time to “enforce” this new command without exchanging a treat, it’s so wonderful to know my dog is actually smarter than he leads on. Oh Shiba! I think I definitely got lucky with him, we’ve had our share of bad experiences but overall, he’s such a sweet boy and loves to cuddle which is rare for a Shiba. So I’ve been told. I’m still waiting for him to find his independence. He’s like a toddler that will not leave moms side willingly. Constantly needing to know where I am and what I’m doing and of course demanding attention. Reptar sends hugs to Sephy and Shania!

    • shibashake says

      LOL – yeah I don’t think Shibas ever stop testing their boundaries. Every once in a while Sephy will try something just to see if he can get away with it.

      As for smarts, Shibas are definitely up at the top. Dogs that follow commands are smart; but I think the ones that manipulate their humans to follow their commands are much smarter. ๐Ÿ˜‰

      heโ€™s such a sweet boy and loves to cuddle which is rare for a Shiba.

      Yeah Sephy is not a big cuddler but he is much better than he was. I wonder if I didn’t make so many mistakes in the beginning whether he would be better today. Maybe one day I will get another Shiba and see. ๐Ÿ˜€

      Iโ€™m still waiting for him to find his independence.

      I think Shibas are strange – they like to act very aloof but they are not as independent as they would like us to think. Shania is very affectionate, but in most ways she is a lot more independent than Sephy. She likes staying outside and finds fun activities to do on her own. Sephy wants to stay inside most of the time and gets a lot more stressed when home alone. Sometimes, he also tries to get Shania to come in because he wants everyone to be in close proximity.

      Oh Shiba! ๐Ÿ˜€

  156. Johanna & Mike says

    Hello there!
    We had purchased a Shiba, Buddy, back in August and have taken him to a puppy obedience class and have been trying to work with him on his training. We are first time dog owners and Buddy has definitely been a major challange for us. Since the end of Buddy’s puppy class, half/most of what he learned has gone in one ear and out the other (ex. come when called, drop it and down). He doesn’t listen to the come when called so in turn he’s started playing the chase game. He he’s always jumping up on us where ever we are and every once in a while he will start biting at our hands, legs, feet or arm (which ever happens to probably be the closest). We’ve kinda hit a wall on what to do to correct this behavior with Buddy.

    Please help.

    • shibashake says

      Yeah definitely sounds like the legendary Shiba independence and stubbornness.

      Shiba Sephy is much better now but he still only does things on his own schedule. He is quite a character. ๐Ÿ˜€

      Some of the things that helped me control Sephy when he was younger –
      1. Drag-lead – This is very useful. Whenever Sephy started to misbehave, I would non-mark him (Ack, Ack). If he does not listen and continues with his craziness, I say time-out and use the lead to take him to time-out. The lead is also extremely useful to stop chasing games. If he starts to run away I just step on the lead and take him directly to time-out. Make sure to only use the drag-lead when you are around to supervise and only use a flat soft collar (not an aversive collar).
      2. NILIF – Follow the NILIF program consistently. This will help Shiba learn that the only way he gets anything that he wants is by first doing what you want.
      3. Time-out – Time-outs work really well with Sephy. He really likes his freedom so putting him in a dark room with nothing to do is a big downer for a Shiba. After some repetitions, he quickly learned to stop behaviors that got him into the Time-out room.

      This article contains more of the things I did with Sephy when he was a puppy –

      I was also a first time dog owner when I got Sephy and he was a big pain in the ass. At the time, I thought he would never get better and would be a Holy Terror all his life. But he actually got a lot better in his own Shiba way. He is still stubborn and can sometimes be a pain in the ass, but most of the time he is actually fun to hang out with! Things will get much better with Buddy as well. ๐Ÿ˜€

  157. Roger says

    Hi Shibashake,

    When Hiro is outside on the patio, he just waits for us and looks down at the pathway. Makes us sad when we come home and we see him there just waiting. He gets really excited when he does and runs to the front door.

    Weโ€™re going to take him to doggie daycare 2-3 times a week. Thanks for the information on thatโ€ฆ

    Today was his first day alone and I setup two webcams that I can watch from my cell phone. He was howling for a while but seemed to have calmed down somewhat. He spends most of his time on the patio looking out for us. ๐Ÿ™ Guess this is what they call โ€œtough loveโ€.

    Thanks again,

    • shibashake says

      I think once he gets used to the routine he will be good. Sephy is also like that when we leave at unexpected times. When he is alone according to schedule, he just curls up and sleeps in one of his favorite corners.

      Hugs to Hiro.

  158. Caity and Ben says

    Hello there!

    We are about to receive an 11 week old Shiba Inu from a breeder. We live with 7 other people and 2 of the couples have dogs. One a Boston Terrier and the other a Pitbull. They are both about 6 months old, and we’re scared that our new Shiba might get hurt playing with these dogs. They play very rough.

    Another question that comes to mind is 11 weeks too late to train and bond? I’ve read so much on Shiba’s, and I want to make sure that we still have plenty of time to do both. than you for taking the time to read our questions. Have a nice day!

    • shibashake says

      Hello Caity and Ben,
      When I got my second dog, I found that it was very important to supervise the dogs whenever they are playing. They can get excited very quickly, and then suddenly play may turn into something else. The key is to step in and get them to calm down before play gets too intense.

      When play starts to get intense, I usually call my Siberian to me (she has much better recall), reward her, get her to do some commands, and once she is more calm, they can go back to playing. Sometimes, Shiba will come over too, so I do commands with both of them. In this way, play interruptions are also fun and rewarding for the dogs.

      Here are some of my experiences in dealing with multiple dogs in a single household –

      Another question that comes to mind is 11 weeks too late to train and bond?

      11 weeks should be very fine. I got my Shiba at 10 weeks old but didn’t really start to bond with him until much later because I made many mistakes in the beginning. But even with all the early mistakes, we are now quite close and Shiba Sephy is no longer a terror that flaps in the night. ๐Ÿ˜€

      Since you are doing so much research now, you should be way ahead of us.

  159. Roger says

    First of all, thank you so much for sharing your information. I refer to your site often for my Shiba puppy.

    We are about to leave our 6 month old Shiba for the first time alone for 8 hours as my wife returns back to work. We’re a little worried about him since this will be the longest we’ve left him along. He’s been along for 4 hours before and did OK. He has free range of the living room and the patio via a doggie door. We noticed that he runs to the patio when we leave and remains there for the most part until we return. Is this a sign of separation anxiety? For the most part, he has been really goodโ€ฆonly destroyed the molding on the front door. Any suggestion on how to ease his time alone? He has a lot of toys and treats to keep him busy, but I donโ€™t think he plays or eats them when we are away.

    Thanks and Happy New Year!!

    – Roger

    • shibashake says

      Hello Roger,

      Biting at the front door sounds like separation anxiety. I am not sure about the running to the patio. What does he do on the patio? Maybe it is his safe spot.

      Shiba Sephy is also like that and gets very anxious whenever his pack (people or dogs) are not around. The thing that has worked best with Sephy is to get him used to a new schedule very slowly. For example, Sephy would get really stressed in the beginning when I took my other dog out for a walk. So I started with very short walks, and then very slowly lengthened them.

      One possibility is to get a pet sitter or neighbor to come over in the middle of the day and keep him company for a short while. Another possibility is to do group dog walks with a dog walker. I enrolled Sephy in group walking when he was younger to socialize him to other dogs, new environments, and new people. It is also a great exercise routine, and when Sephy got home he is ready to just lie down next to me and sleep.

      However, how this works out will also depend on Shiba’s temperament and how good the dog walker is. Sephy, for example, is very stubborn and the dog walker could not handle him. The dog walker was also using aversive techniques on him which Sephy really didn’t enjoy at all. Ultimately, the walks gave him and the dog walker more stress than anything else so we stopped doing that.

      Another possibility is to put him in daycare some of the time. A good daycare center can also help the dog exercise and socialize. Some things to look out for when finding a daycare center –
      1. Clean with good ventilation during the summer and heating if necessary during the winter.
      2. Frequent play sessions with other dogs. Most centers will group dogs by size, energy level, and temperament.
      3. Play sessions should always be supervised and not be too large.
      4. Try and find a center that uses similar training methods as you do.
      5. Make sure the people at the center are qualified and can handle emergencies.

      Here is an article on separation anxiety and my experiences with Shiba Sephy.

      Here is an article on dog daycare centers.

      Hope this helps. ๐Ÿ˜€ Let us know how it goes.

  160. Anonymous says

    I find all of your comments interesting however not all Shibas are alike. I recently had to have my 15 year old Shiba put to sleep. It has been devastating for our family. I would agree they can be very stubborn but as a puppy our Shiba could not have been any easier. She had very few accidents in the house basically training herself. She never chewed things and could be trusted to have free roam of the house for very long periods of time. She could never be trusted off leash so we got invisible fence so we didn’t have to worry about the kids opening the doors and she had lots of freedom in our large yard. Our issue with our Shiba was anxiety. She did not adjust well to any situation outside of her normal home and as much as we loved her that would be our reason to not get another one(as well as the endless shedding). She was never aggressive toward a person or another animal. Her dish was full all the time and she only ate when she was hungry and always saved some in case we forgot to feed her! She was our first and only dog and was not a difficult dog to own but will be very difficult to replace.

    • shibashake says

      Hello Anonymous,
      Thank you for sharing your Shiba’s story with us. She sounds like a very awesome girl!

      My Shiba is also an anxious little dude. He really likes his routine, and anything out of the ordinary really stresses him out. He is very silly though. He is always doing all these weird Shiba moves that makes everyone laugh. Last night he tried to roll onto his back and expose his tummy for rubbing, but he couldn’t quite do it properly and kept falling back onto his side. ๐Ÿ˜€

      Big hugs to you. It is always difficult losing a loved one, but they are always with us, in our minds and in our hearts. Would love to see your Shiba, so please send us a link to some pictures when you can.

  161. Donna says

    I am an experienced dog owner (American Eskimos and Schipperkes) and have the opportunity to purchase two Shibas; since Iโ€™ve not owned Shibas before I have questions. 1) Should I get one male and one female or will two male Shiba puppies get along? 2) I can get two four-month old or two eight week old puppies as I am not certain if the four-month olds would have set behaviors after being outside with their litter-mates all this time. Which would be more beneficial as far as training ease?

    • shibashake says

      Hello Donna,

      1) Should I get one male and one female or will two male Shiba puppies get along?

      Probably one male and one female. Males are more likely to compete with another male. Shiba females can be very dominant though, so rules and supervision are still important especially when they are young.

      2) I can get two four-month old or two eight week old puppies

      Everything else being equal, I would go for the 8 week puppy. Puppies absorb and learn a lot during that period, so you can really make a big difference. Still though, the most important thing when it comes to puppies is the breeder.

      I got my Shiba when he was 10 weeks old from a new and not very experienced breeder. He was already very sensitive to handling and his mouth was all over us when we put a collar on him. He also mouthed on the breeder’s husband when he tried to help. Then he was really unhappy, stressed out and whining all the way home in the car. It took us a long while to desensitize him to collar handling and car rides.

      On the other hand I got my Siberian from an experienced breeder. She was awesome with collars and cars right away. The breeder had already trained all of her puppies and socialized them to people, other dogs, cars, collars, and much more.

      Post us some pictures when you get your little fur-balls. Happy Thanksgiving! ๐Ÿ˜€

  162. Page says

    I have a 14 month old female Shiba. She is an excellent dog when it comes to personality and friedlyness; however when it comes to obedience she has very little. She has spent most of her time in the laundry room; however there is a gate us that leads to the kitchen so she can see the family when we are in there. I cannot let her run around the house because she will eat anything and everything. I would like her to become part of the family, but do not know how to go about training her to stop chewing things that are not bones. Any suggestions?

    Page (Sakura)

    • shibashake says

      Hello Page,
      Sephy was like that as well. As a puppy, his favorite activities were biting the curtains, chewing on books, and running around with the t.v. controller in his mouth. He totally drove me nuts. ๐Ÿ˜€

      Most of the time, Sephy would be with me in the kitchen behind a gate. I would set aside a couple of hours every day for special Sephy supervision sessions. During this time, I let him out and about so that I can catch him in the act and correct him. Every time he goes near the curtains or books I would non-mark him (Ack, Ack, or No) and body block him away from the area. Sometimes I will give him the “go to your mat” command. If he persists, then he goes into time-out.

      It was not possible to multi-task Sephy supervision with something else because he seemed to know exactly when I would be engaged in something else and would choose exactly those times to start his Shiba moves. ๐Ÿ˜€

      Some other things that helped with his behavior –
      1. A lot of exercise. The more engaged Sephy was with doing walks and play, the less likely he would start chewing on curtains to get attention.
      2. Obedience exercises every day.
      3. Following the NILIF (Nothing in Life is Free) program.
      4. Putting a drag lead and flat collar on him at all times so that he can’t start a game of chase when I go over to put him in time-out.
      5. A very fixed schedule. This really helped with my own sanity as well. I set up an exact schedule for play-time, walks, obedience time, supervised outside time, and most important of all, sleep time which is rest time for me. ๐Ÿ˜€

      Oh finally, giving Sephy some off-lead play-time with other dogs really helped a lot. We were able to set up several play sessions for him with friendly dogs at a nearby SPCA. This was when Sephy burned the most energy; running around and wrestling with other dogs.

      Hope this helps. Let us know how it goes with your Shiba.

  163. Justin says

    I’m in need of some help with my 12 month old Female Shiba Inu. My wife and i have brought her to training classes and she has done great. We all graduated from class. The trainer even said that our shiba is the most friendly shiba she has met out of the last dozen or so. The only problem is that she has grown be more obedient to me the male or dominant one in the pack. With my wife she has turned very aggressive (growling, barking, showing her teeth) to her the second i leave the house, and as soon i return to the house she is back to being an angel. I think she is trying to take over the pack and by doing that she is being aggressive to my wife. I need some advise as to how my wife should handle this situation. I told my wife to put her on her back and hold her there until she calms down. That doesnt seem to be working. Any other tips out there?

    • shibashake says

      Hello Justin,
      My Shiba acted in a similar way towards me at the beginning. It happened because when I tried to stop him from biting at some books, he redirected his frustration onto me and started mouthing my hand. This made me back away and become afraid of him. Then it just went downhill from there because his behavior got worse, I became more fearful and on and on it went.

      Shibas are very sensitive to the emotions of the dogs and people around them. I think that when they sense fear, they get stressed out themselves and may use aggression to protect themselves from possible threats. It is not so much that my Shiba wanted to take over the pack, but rather that he sensed unbalanced energy from me and got affected by it himself.

      Also, I was inadvertently rewarding my Shiba’s aggression because of my fear. Every time Shiba shows me teeth, I would get afraid and back away, and Shiba got to do whatever he wants. This rewards his aggression and the next time I try to stop him, he will just keep using aggression because it works and he keeps getting rewarded for it.

      To stop this cycle, I had to get rid of my fear and get my Shiba to follow house rules. The best way I found to properly manage my Shiba is by strictly controlling his resources – including his food, toys, affection, and freedom. Shibas tend to value their freedom a lot, so by controlling his freedom I was able to gain better control of his actions. The more successes we had, the more confident I became, and Shiba’s behavior improved significantly.

      Here are a couple of articles about what I did with Shiba Sephy –
      Pack Leader to an Aggressive Dog
      Are You Afraid of Your Dog?

  164. Deborah says

    I have a 2 year old Shiba male, last year he want on a digging rampage, I re-seed the yard and all summer he did no digging, however 2 weeks ago he started back digging holes again, my husband is so angry at him I am afraid that I might have to put him up sale.

    Please help.

    • shibashake says

      My Siberian used to do this as well. She was actually digging for gophers and such in our lawn. Now, I have a dig area where there is no-grass and a no-dig area where there is grass. This way, she gets to enjoy her digging but just not on the grass.

      To stop her from digging on grass I would only let her out when I was around to supervise her. Then when I notice her digging, I non-mark her (No or Ack-Ack) and body block her away from the area. If she does not listen, she loses her freedom to roam outside and has to come back into the house. She quickly learned where she could dig and where she should not dig.

      Now, I don’t even need to supervise her when she is outside and she doesn’t dig on the grass.

      Also try increasing his exercise and walks. The more things he is engaged in during the day, the less likely he will be to devise his own activities.

      Another possibility is to bury some chicken wire in the areas where he likes to dig. Dogs don’t like digging on chicken wire because it is uncomfortable on their nails. Make sure to cut away all of the sharp edges on the chicken wire so that the dog does not get hurt.

  165. Grace says


    We have a 5 month old Shiba Inu named Bruin. He is constantly nipping and is very mouthy. Is there a way to stop that behavior?

    Thank you!

    • shibashake says

      Hi Grace,
      Yeah Sephy was very mouthy as well. I think it is another one of those charming Shiba breed traits. ๐Ÿ˜€

      Here are some things that helped with Sephy –
      1. Bite inhibition training.

      2. Redirection. Most of the time, Sephy was play-biting with his mouth. However, he is easily excitable and can go from 0 to 60 mph in about 1 second. When that happens, I calm him down by getting him to do various obedience commands for food rewards. This redirects him into some other activity to release his energy and away from biting on me. For this to work, I had to catch him early, before he gets so excited that he is no longer listening to me.

      3. Stop play and ignore. Sometimes, if puppy gets too over the top, I stop play and ignore him. Shibas are very stubborn and determined though so they will likely continue to pester you. This will work better if you play with Shiba inside a pen. If puppy plays too rough, just leave the pen and close the door. This shows puppy that if he gets too rough, he doesn’t get to play with you.

      4. Time-out. There were also times where Sephy was biting me out of frustration or because I stopped him from doing something that he really wanted to do. In this case, I found that time-outs were the most effective for him because he really liked his freedom.

  166. Becca says

    Love your site. I am bringing home a 6 week old male Shiba puppy next Friday. I am reading a book by Dr. Ian Dunbar and plan on raising “Koji” with his methods.

    (I just put down my rescue Jindo dog after 15 years – who I loved dearly, but he had trust issues with strangers and I want to do what I can with this puppy to make him more friendly)

    Unfortunately, I have a couple of trips planned from a long time ago – if I don’t get this puppy I may have to wait over a year or more -I live on an island with only one real breeder – we can not import dogs because of strict quarantine laws..

    My question is, if I’m doing dunbars crate, chew toy. socialization, bite inhibition training, do you think it will mess everything up if he has two separate one week breaks with a sitter who may not be as vigilant as I?

    one trip at 8 weeks, one at 12…? The book makes it sound dire if you aren’t super vigilant///your experience??

    Mahalo & Aloha-
    Koji’s new mom…

    • shibashake says

      LOL yeah – I also found Dunbar’s book to be a bit ‘too alarmist’. However, his techniques worked well – except for the restraint technique which did not suit Sephy.

      In my experience, the first few months in a puppy’s life is important although I certainly did not fulfill all of Dunbar’s extensive socialization goals. I enrolled Sephy in SIRIUS puppy class I think at around 12 weeks and I also introduced him to the people in the neighborhood. Sephy really enjoyed puppy class and playing with the other puppies. The SPCA or humane society is also a great resource for dog-to-dog socialization. Sometimes they may even organize puppy play sessions.

      The most important thing in my opinion is bite inhibition training – which I think the sitter can do with Koji. It will also make it easier if the sitter follows your rules etc. so that there is consistency throughout. But even if not – you just need to re-establish them when you get back. Sephy really needs structure and routine or he gets stressed and unhappy.

      I was very clueless in the beginning and made very many mistakes including using aversive techniques, but Sephy and I have bounced back from that. In general, I have learned to get dog training information from multiple sources and use what I think is best for Sephy and Shania. You may also enjoy Karen Pryor and Patricia McConnell.

      Don’t Shoot the Dog!: The New Art of Teaching and Training

      The Other End of the Leash: Why We Do What We Do Around Dogs

      My most favorite dog book is Bones Would Rain from the Sky: Deepening Our Relationships with Dogs by Suzanne Clothier. It is not a dog training book but more of a dog relationship book. However, it really changed how I thought about Sephy and significantly helped to improve my relationship with Sephy.

      Hope this helps. Let us know how it goes with Koji!

  167. Marie says

    I bought Shiba Inu puppy in May (she was born in February), and have been socializing her with other dogs on a regular basis. I bring her to the dog park, and most of my family has dogs, so when she is at other houses, she is around dogs. She had been doing fine with other dogs, lots of tail wagging and play bowing, but this past weekend when I was home, she started barking and charging my parents’ dog and now she is acting aggressively towards most of the dogs she comes in contact with. I am starting to get worried, and not sure how to handle her when she charges and snaps at other dogs. Do you have any suggestions or insight?

    • shibashake says

      Hmmmm … with cases of aggression it helps a lot to identify the aggression triggers – e.g. does it only happen with certain dogs? (large dogs, small dogs, dominant dogs, fearful dogs, nervous dogs) Does it only happen when they come close to her? smell her butt?

      Also make sure that she is physically healthy. Sometimes, when dogs have body pains, they may feel more vulnerable and start showing aggression to protect themselves.

      In my experience with Sephy – I tried to identify the aggression triggers and then carefully managed him so that he does not keep practicing aggressive behaviors. The more they practice it – the more likely it will become a habit. I also stopped taking him to the dog park because he was showing the most aggression there due to the unstructured setting that exists in many dog parks. Sephy was picking up bad habits from the other dogs, and getting overly stimulated.

      Here are some of my experiences with Sephy and dog parks –

      Instead, I started doing one-on-one play sessions with other dogs that are friendly and balanced. We visited the SPCA and played with the balanced dogs there – one on one and under supervision.

      I also did distance desensitization exercises with him and other dogs. Here are some of my experiences with Sephy and other dogs –

      In general, it is best to set Shiba up for success and only expose her to situations with other dogs that she can handle and be successful in. Getting a trainer to observe her behavior and identify the aggression triggers can also be very helpful.

      Let us know how it goes.

  168. Laura says

    Thank you! ๐Ÿ˜€ She’s certainly a star, there are some awful pictures of her here:

    I don’t know how else to post them here! Is there a forum? ๐Ÿ™‚ I will certainly make use of this site, there’s so much to read and so many great ideas and tips! ๐Ÿ˜€


  169. Laura says

    This is a very useful website, with much to think on ๐Ÿ™‚ I have recently acquired a lovely Shiba girl, Portia, and she is proving a bit of a handful. She’s 7 now (a retired breeding girl) and she does exhibit a lot of the behaviour above, most notably stealing and she never comes when called. I’m trying to work on her, so any advice is much appreciated. The breeder I got her from is wonderful, and has been so helpful, however the more people who give advice, the more things we have to try with her! She’s a joy to be with, but is certainly a challenge!


    • shibashake says

      Congratulations on getting a Shiba!

      most notably stealing and she never comes when called.

      Heh – yeah those are Shiba favorites. Sephy’s favorite game is the catch-me-if-you-can game. He loves playing this with other dogs as well.

      In terms of stealing, I try to properly manage Sephy’s environment so that if he does steal – he doesn’t get away with it. Otherwise, I just leave him be and he loses interest very quickly when nobody chases him – lol.

      In terms of coming when called, Sephy will come when it suits him, and in his own time ๐Ÿ˜€ When I have something really good he will definitely come whether I call him or not – but otherwise, he is doing his own thing. As a result, I rarely let him go off-leash.

      He loves other dogs though. I used to go to the park with a neighbor who has a Golden with good recall. Sephy really loved sticking to the Golden – so in those cases he got to go off-leash. ๐Ÿ˜€

      Hugs to Portia. She must be a very beautiful girl – so share some pictures with us.

  170. Kati says

    We have recently adopted a male shiba inu mix. He is beautiful and so well behaved all day, until we try to go to bed. We have 2 cats who already run this house and they have the upstairs, and he has downstairs. He however is not pleased with the arrangement of us leaving and going upstairs for bed. We didnt originally want to use a crate, we tried a gate, we have a very small kitchen area where we would have liked to keep him with his belongings at night, well he jumped that. So we moved it and he knocked it over, he whines alot but the first 4 nights calmed down and went to sleep, well last night he got so worked up, he jumped the gate, ate the carpet on the stairs and then dug the carpet outside of our bedroom door, needless to say we ended up all sleeping together in the spare bedroom. Today our neighbors gave us a crate to try. he opened the door in 30 seconds, then he actually took the crate apart, he got the top off of it! He is currently downstairs protesting as I type. What do I do? I am most concerned for him hurting himself, he just gets so worked up! Please help!!

    • shibashake says

      Yeah I had very similar experiences with Sephy. What worked out for him ultimately is to have his crate in our bedroom. That way, he gets to be with us (he wants to make sure everyone is ok) but he is contained so he can’t get into trouble. Since his crate is right there, it will also be much easier to stop break-outs and other Shiba hijinks. However, I think he will be very happy to be with everyone and will probably just settle down.

      I have also tried putting Sephy on a lead and tying the lead around the bedpost. I usually only do this after vet visits or when he is sick, then he really does not like being in his crate.

  171. Paulo says

    Hi, I was wondering! I just bought a male shiba at three months old and he is already humping one of our other dogs. Is this just part of their nature or is he just on some extreme testosterone booster? By the way his name is Isaac; awesome little guy!

    • shibashake says

      he is already humping one of our other dogs. Is this just part of their nature or is he just on some extreme testosterone booster?

      Sephy was like that too. We used to take him to the SPCA to socialize with the dogs there and he tried to hump every one of them. Nowadays, he will stop with just a verbal warning, but initially, I stepped in and stopped play whenever he tried to hump.

      Congratulations on your new pup! Shibas are pretty awesome dogs but they do tend to have an attitude and their stubbornness is off the charts. ๐Ÿ˜€ Share some pictures of Isaac with us when you can.

    • shibashake says

      Hello Crystalia,

      Based on what I have read, neutering is a good thing to do. Shiba Sephy is neutered and Siberian Shania is spayed.

      A dog that is not neutered will feel a biological need to mate. When that need does not get fulfilled, he may get frustrated. If that frustrated energy does not get properly channeled it may get released as aggression or some other destructive behavior.

      Neutering can also improve health and make is easier for the dog to get along with other dogs.

      This is not to say that neutering will get rid of all aggression or behavior issues; it is just another contributing factor.

      In terms of whether neutering changes a dog’s personality, all the information I have read says that it does not. One thing that may help is to ask your breeder or other breeders about it. Breeders probably have the most experience with this issue given that they have both neutered and un-neutered dogs.

      Based on conversations with my Sibe breeder, she spays her females as soon as she has finished showing them and after about one or two litters. According to her, the dogs still keep their awesome personality.

  172. crystalia says

    We just got our shiba yoshi a week ago today and are head over heels for him. He is the most curious and unique dog I have ever met. So far we’ve had our ups and down with his training. He learned his name and how to sit after two days. He follows us around without a lead on. We take him to the bathroom inthe backyard, which is unfenced. He stays by our side (my boyfriend, pitbull malta and I) and doesn’t try to venture off into other yards or toward the street. He has made a few mistakes in the house suprisingly. I bring him outside every few hours but it seems that he holds more in his bladder than any other dog I’ve ever owned.

    He is starting to catch on to our teaching him not to chew on anything other than his toys.
    We were having trouble trying to walk him on a lead until I started walking him on a choke rope. Today he finally caught on and stopped trying to be so persistent.
    The one thing that is giving us the most trouble is crate training him. He doesn’t want to be in his crate at night and just cries and cried for hours on end. I’m hoping that with repitition we will be able to get over this.

    He doesn’t seem to be that hyper after he has been up for an hour or so. Just becomes lazy or curious and spends a good portion on the day sleeping in the sun under the window.

    he is a bit of a challenge at times but that’s what I wanted.

    • shibashake says

      Congratulations on your new Shiba puppy! Yoshi sounds like a really awesome Shiba.

      “He doesnโ€™t want to be in his crate at night and just cries and cried for hours on end. Iโ€™m hoping that with repitition we will be able to get over this. ”

      Yeah Sephy was like this too. Moving the crate into our bedroom helped a lot. He mainly just wanted to be with everyone and make sure everyone is ok. I also give him a frozen Kong to work on. Just put some wet dog food into a Bubble Kong and then freeze it.

      Big hugs to Yoshi!

  173. Tana says

    I have to laugh when I read some of most of this, especially a certain someone up there whom “seems” to have had an easy time with his shiba. I had NO idea what I was getting into. I actually got him from a very well-kept pet store in Fort Myers Florida, who either knew nothing about the breed, or didn’t want me to know! Napoleon (fitting, don’t you think???) is 3 months old, and I am determined to win this battle. You know which battle I’m talking about. It’s like training a dang cat.
    I’m getting ready for work tonight, so will definately be coming back to read all of this later. I feel so much better.
    I’m sure my neighbors have gotten a show watching me chase him round and round in my back yard.. ughhh! I of course learned since then that this does not work. later

    • shibashake says

      LOL – Napoleon – that is apropos.

      I had NO idea what I was getting into. I actually got him from a very well-kept pet store in Fort Myers Florida, who either knew nothing about the breed, or didnโ€™t want me to know!

      Yeah I know what you mean. I got Shiba Sephy from a local breeder who had AKC papers etc., but all she wanted to do was make the sale. She didn’t care whom she sold her puppies to. It is really sad, but at the time I didn’t know better. There should be stronger laws that protect people and especially the dogs from these puppy sellers who treat puppies like a sack of shoes are just in it to make a buck.

      I am determined to win this battle.

      Haha – I had a great battle with Sephy. The first few months were the hardest but after over 1 year things really improved significantly. After Sephy turned 3+ he got even more mellow – by Shiba standards. He still tries to push his boundaries now and then, but only in amusing rather than frustrating ways ๐Ÿ™‚

      Definitely tell us more stories about Napoleon. It would be really funny to put him in a Napoleon outfit! But then, I think he might not like it much. Sephy really hates wearing any type of clothing.

      Hugs to the little guy and share a picture link with us when you have the time.

  174. shibashake says

    Hi Luke,

    How is Shiba doing?

    The horrible thing is that when he doesnโ€™t want to do something he doesnโ€™t react to treats at all.

    Yeah Shibas can be pretty stubborn when they don’t want to go something and often when they are stressed, they will shut down and not respond to anything at all.

    My Siberian was like that with loud noises, especially with the garbage truck. When the truck came she would get really afraid, go into a panic, and want to run home at high speeds.

    What worked best for her is to expose her to the things slowly. Every garbage day I would do obedience exercises with her inside the house so that she is focused on me and getting rewarded for doing work. Then we slowly moved closer and closer to the door. Then we did exercises with the door open, etc.

    One thing you can try is to use puppy pads for now. Only bring it out during potty time and place it close to the door. Then make it into a fun game where you combine commands with the “Find-it” game. In the “Find-it” game, throw a very good treat – only a very small piece (my Shiba loves cheese) – some distance away from Shiba and say Find-it. He will likely go get it, at which point praise him well for being so clever and keep going. After he is into the game, start throwing the cheese closer and closer to the door, and let him go on the pad if he wants. The pad is just a temporary thing so that we can keep sessions short and fun and have been be successful.

    Once he is comfortable with that, you can move the pad outside the door and repeat. Then keep moving the pad closer and closer to the outside together with playing the “Find-it” game.

    This way, going outside becomes a fun and positive experience rather than something that he is afraid of.

    Re: dog park – yeah I stopped taking my Shiba to the dog park after a very short time. He was starting to pick up bad behaviors etc. What worked well for Sephy are smaller dog play groups – just one or two other dogs in a more structured setting.

    What is Shiba’s name btw?

  175. Luke says

    Sorry this may be a long post, lots of new things for us in the first week.

    The dog park (we have been 2-3 times) is good and bad. He is very timid. He does ok with 1-2 dogs, the smelling and stuff but absolutely no interaction (playing, aggression, etc.) As soon as 3 or more dogs approach him he goes into submission and runs for the fence (which I think he could get out of if he tried).

    The biggest issue we have is taking him out to potty. We use a 16ft retractable leash (more freedom) but he doesn’t like to go out (we have tried the dreg leash also). The horrible thing is that when he doesn’t want to do something he doesn’t react to treats at all. So I try to bribe him, etc. to go out but I still end up have to practically drag him out of our stairwell (first floor so no stairs) then he sometimes gets better and explores and does his business but sometimes he just locks up and doesn’t want to do anything. He has a harness with the leash attachment between his shoulder blades. This issue is one we need to fix in order to make bothe of our lives better (a dog has got to pee and I prefer not taking 45 minutes to coax him into it).

    On a good note he is pretty much crate trained in only a few days, though it still takes a little coaxing. He isn’t protective of his toys or food at all (my 14 month old daughter can take stuff from him w/o issue). He occasionally nips but nothing bad and normally just with new people, this goes away quickly after they introduce themselves.

    That is all I can think of right now. Any suggestions for socializing him or potty/leash training him? It seems like he is a little different than some of the traits you explain about Shibas, but I guess they are all their own individuals. Thanks for any help.

  176. shibashake says

    Hi Luke,
    4 paws up to you for helping a Shiba in need.

    How did he do with the walk at the dog park?

    I would go slow with him. In the beginning I just focused on gaining my Shiba’s trust and made sure not to expose him to situations that would be overly stressful.

    Sounds like you are doing the right things with him. Several things helped me greatly with my Shiba –
    1. The NILIF program – This means Shiba has to do something for you first before he gets anything in return including any food, affection, freedom to the backyard, etc.

    2. Using a drag-lead in the house (only with a flat collar). This allowed me to more easily control him when he decides to get into mischief.

    3. Time-outs – For serious offenses, especially biting on people and any kind of humping he goes to time-out. I put him in a very boring room (laundry room) where he has nothing to do and doesn’t get to be with people. This way he learns that if he bites people, he doesn’t get to be with people.

    4. Setting him up for success – This is one of the most important things for Shiba Sephy. In the beginning I would push him too far too quickly, which forced him to frequently resort to aggression. I found that it is best to go slowly with him. I do challenge him – but only in situations that I am confident he can handle and be successful in. In this way, he doesn’t practice aggression, and he gains confidence and trust with each successful task.

    Here are some of the things that helped with Sephy in the beginning –

    Here is one on potty training –

    Make sure to always supervise closely when he is interacting with children. Shibas are a primitive bunch and have very strong prey drive. This may sometimes be triggered by fast movement, which is common with children.

    A BIG WOOF-WOOF to you for fostering a dog in need. ๐Ÿ™‚

  177. Rob G says

    My roommate has a 6 month old shiba inu female name Mia. She can be so awesome sometimes but some serious issues have developed with her and we would like any help and advice we can get with her. First she developed a fear of the outside when on a normal morning in the backyard on the leash doing her business a truck was emptying a dumpster and she freaked out started screaming and bee lined for the house and since then we are lucky to get her to do her business outside before she starts freaking out wants only to run inside. Next she is very aggressive with people, our 4 year old Cat is always getting bitten and attacked, and tears everything she can get at apart. Then when right after we got her fixed she started peeing on the carpet. I mean like i said she can be awesome but we would like to be awesome more often. Thanks in advance.

    • shibashake says

      I mean like i said she can be awesome but we would like to be awesome more often.

      LOL – I love that saying! Would probably apply to almost all Shibas.

      Re Fear of garbage trucks –
      My Siberian was also very afraid of garbage trucks. What worked for her is to slowly desensitize her to the noise and then ultimately the truck. Every garbage day, I would stay with her and engage her in doing commands with me inside the house.

      In this way she learned to ignore the noise and focus on me since she was getting good rewards.

      Once she was totally comfortable with that, we started moving closer to the door and did commands there and so on. Very soon, I had her on a leash and left the door open while we did our fun obedience sessions.

      Nowadays she pretty much ignores the garbage truck.

      Make sure to go very slowly so that Mia never gets too stressed and is unable to focus on you. If she gets stressed and bolts, then you have moved forward too quickly, so move back and repeat the exercise.

      To speed up training, you can also tape the sound of a garbage truck and slowly use that to desensitize her. First start with very low volume and then very slowly increase the sound while repeating the exercise above.

      Re aggression –
      What helped with Shiba Sephy is to provide him with a consistent set of rules and a consistent routine. There is no biting on people and I also do not allow him to bully my other dog (who is a three-legged dog).

      He is also not allowed on furniture, no chewing on carpets, etc.

      For serious offenses, he gets a warning (No or ack-ack) and if he continues with his behavior, he goes to time-out.

      Following the NILIF (Nothing in Life is Free) program also helped a lot with Sephy. This just means that Shiba must do something for you first before she gets anything in return including all food, all toys, affection, freedom to the backyard, etc.

      In this way Shiba learns that the best way to get what Shiba wants is to first do what you want ๐Ÿ™‚

      Here are two articles that may help –

  178. Luke says

    Just started foster care for a shiba yesterday. My wife is still a little scared of him after reading all of this stuff on the internet. He was lost in the city is not neutered and is about a year old (vet checked teeth). We have a one year old and he seems to do fine with her. He is still working on house training. He does a few things for treats but ignores us completely when we call him. I almost have to drag him on the leash sometimes to get him to go outside to do his business. We are planning on walking him around the dog park today to see if he is okay with others. Any suggestions or ideas? We live in an apartment and are working hard to make him apart of our family in case this becomes permanent. Thanks.

  179. Brian says

    My Shiba has terrible aggression towards our Pug. She just recently bit our Pug so badit split her ear open. I don’t know what to do I love my dog but she’s very aggressive and has even snapped at me. Please help

    • shibashake says

      Hi Brian,

      Shibas are very independent and stubborn dogs, and they need a lot of structure, routine, and discipline.

      I think it may be best to look into getting a good Shiba trainer who can help you set up some rules and boundaries for your Shiba, as well as help retrain alternative positive behaviors.

  180. shibashake says

    Some things that may help –
    1. When he starts barking, non-mark him and give him and alternate command.
    2. If he ignores you, then move him away from the other dog. Keep moving until he is more calm. As soon as he is calm, you can stop and let him watch if he wants to. Make sure he doesn’t become too fixated with the other dog, by getting his attention from time to time.
    3. If he starts acting wild again, non-mark and repeat.
    4. If he escalates his behavior and redirects onto you (e.g. leash biting), non-mark and end the walk by marching him directly home. Do not pass Go and do not collect $200 ๐Ÿ˜‰

    This way he learns that –
    barking at other dogs = don’t get to be around other dogs, and
    escalation of bad behavior during walks = walk ends.

  181. Robert says

    Hey i have been trying neutral experiences with my dog Hank, and he seems fine with other dogs. However, when a dog steps somewhere Hank just peed, Hank goes crazy and starts barking at the dog. I’m not sure how to get him to stop this bad behavior. Any suggestions? Thanks

  182. shibashake says

    Congratulations Martin! That is indeed a very amazing achievement especially for a Shiba. ๐Ÿ™‚

    Sephy will work for cheese up to a point. Other dogs and new people are much higher priority for him so he will always choose those over cheese or anything else.

  183. shibashake says

    Hi Robert,
    I know what you mean. My Shiba used to be very reactive to other dogs as well. He would want to go meet them and sometimes gets into trouble because other dogs may not want him getting into their space or want to deal with his craziness.

    What has helped a lot is to just create as many neutral experiences as possible for him so that he learns that –
    see another dog = we just pass by calmly and nothing happens.

    Here are some of the things I tried with Sephy when we meet other dogs during our walks –

  184. martin rice says

    our 4r old shiba has just been awarded the gold citizen from the kennel club uk. Her training was simple….treat her like a dog …we walk her off lead with a instant recall….cheese in the pocket works wonders..she also jumps over obstacles on command. shes is an absolute pleasure to work with and have around

  185. Robert says

    Hey i have a quick question about my shiba. He’s 6 years old, and doesn’t have that many bad habits. The only problem with him is when we pass by other dogs he immediately becomes aggresive and starts to bark and try to jump at the dog. I don’t know if he’s trying to fight the dog or just play rough. Any suggestions?

  186. shibashake says

    Hi Mahogany,
    Congratulations on your new Shiba puppy!

    In terms of the biting, I know what you mean. My Shiba was extremely mouthy as well, and he drove me nuts in the beginning.

    Some things that helped me a lot –
    1. Putting him on a drag lead.
    The impulse for most people is to push back when a dog jumps on them or mouths on them. This actually just made it into a fun game for my Shiba and he would bite even more. By using a drag lead I could quickly control him and take him to timeout without having to chase him around and without having him mouth all over my hand and arms.

    2. Following the NILIF program.
    My Shiba works for all of his food either through interactive food toys or by doing stuff for me. He also needs to do commands before I do anything for him – e.g. opening doors, getting toys, getting tummy scratches, etc.

    3. Calm and consistency.
    Consistency is very important with a Shiba. If Sephy gets away with something once, he will definitely try it out again and again. Set some rules and be very consistent about enforcing them. Timeouts worked very well for me for serious offenses.

    Here are more things that helped when Sephy was a puppy.

    I also had a lot of problems with Sephy wrt. leash biting. It was probably the worst issue I had to deal with.

    Finally – this article on pack-leadership may also be helpful.

  187. Mahogany says

    Hello. I have had my Shiba for two days. She is doing beautifully with potty training but the chewing thing is out of control. Not so much the things in the house but our clothes when we are wearing them like socks and pants. I don’t pull away and she seems to get worse. She bites on her leash. I want to start her on the right track. She even tries to bite the older dog. He is big but he will not rough play with her. I have bite deterrent spray and do not jerk away. I will try the constant calm mood. Any other advice that you can offer will be great.

  188. Mari & co. says

    We are first time dog owners. We are also first time shiba inu owners. We made a huge research before adopting a shiba inu and were well aware of all their personality traits. None the less, we have a problem with our 4 month old puppy that we don’t know how to handle. He is very scared of humans and new situations. He does well with animals (we have a cat) though. When meeting someone new he tries to run away. If he’s not trying to run away, he turns his back on us and completely ignores the situation. We don’t comfort him when he behaves that way. We’ve been exposing him to new situations and he is going to puppy training. Still, we would love if you have any shiba advise/suggestion for us. Thanks for creating this web site, it’s very useful!
    Mari & co.

    • shibashake says

      Hello Mari,

      We donโ€™t comfort him when he behaves that way. Weโ€™ve been exposing him to new situations and he is going to puppy training.

      That sounds great. You are definitely doing all the right things.

      My Siberian used to be afraid of loud trucks – especially the garbage truck. What helped with her is to do desensitization exercises with her and the garbage truck. Initially, we would look at the truck from inside the house and I would reward her for staying calm while inside the house. We would also do some obedience commands.

      Then when she is totally comfortable with that, I put her on a leash, opened the door and left the door open. Then I repeated the same exercise. Then we start moving closer and closer to the door, then we started doing it outside etc.

      You can do a similar exercise with your Shiba and people. Have a friend or neighbor help you out with this. Have them stand a certain distance away from your Shiba in a quiet and calm environment. The person should read a book and totally ignore your Shiba.

      Put your Shiba on a leash and reward him for staying calm, you can also do some obedience exercises so that he has something to focus on. If all is well then walk one or two steps towards the person and repeat. In this way, your Shiba will learn to focus on you when he is stressed or fearful. This will also help him gain confidence.

      Don’t move toward the person too quickly. If your Shiba starts to show any kind of stress, then you have moved forward too quickly, so move back a bit and repeat. Make the sessions short and fun, and always try to set him up for success so that he gains confidence.

      Once he is close enough to the other person, you can even have them throw him some high priority treats. Make sure – no eye-contact, no touching, and no talking. If he wants to go up and smell them – let him do so but make sure the person is completely ignoring him (no eye-contact is very important).

      Once he is ok with that – then you can start doing soft talking and so on; then move on to a little eye-contact, turn away and so on; and finally brief touching – but only go slowly so that he always has positive experiences with people and learns to enjoy his time with them.

      How is he in puppy class? Are there many people there? Does he avoid the people and just play with the dogs?

    • Mari & co. says

      Thank you so much! That is very helpful! At puppy class, he behaves similarly. He doesn’t play with the other puppies (there are 3 others). He just goes, smells them and returns calmly to our side. He doesn’t mind the humans there, he just doesn’t care. I think he’s used to them by now. We’ve noticed that he seems to accept humans that have other dogs with them more easily. It’s almost like he is thinking “okay, you have a dog, you know how this works, I accept you a little bit more, but not THAT much either”.
      This weekend we took him for the fist time to the dog park. He got put in his place right away by other dogs. The rest of the dogs “harassed” him. He behaved real submissive and although we wanted to “rescue him” from the situation we let him deal with it in it’s own dog way. By the end he was really happy but he always wondered, run and played with other dogs close to where we were.
      So as you can see, it looks like he’s pretty selective of his friends, dogs AND humans.

    • shibashake says

      So glad to hear that your Shiba did so well at the dogpark ๐Ÿ™‚

      I used to take Shiba Sephy to several dog parks, but we were not able to find one that really worked for us. Sephy is always trying to make friends with dogs that don’t want to have anything to do with him.

      One of my trainers said that Sephy is like that awkward guy at the party that tries to talk to you even when you are just trying to get away. Guess maybe he can’t understand why other dogs don’t recognize his awesomeness. Poor Sephy ๐Ÿ™‚

  189. shibashake says

    Hi Mike,
    Yeah it was pretty bad with Shiba Sephy as well, in the beginning. First 6 months were the worst though. Things improved bit by bit after that.

    After about 1.5 years, Shiba Sephy really calmed down a lot.

    Two things that made a big difference for Sephy –
    1. Controlling my own energy and not letting him get my goat as much. ๐Ÿ™‚
    2. Switching to reward training.

    It will get better.

  190. Mike says

    Life was so much better before we got our shiba. It’s been 5 months of hell! We’ve spent so much money on him and we’ve been miserable ever since.

  191. christen says

    Before we got our shiba Sam, we had our pug Fred. Sam grew up with fred and used to play with him all of the time. When Sam was about 2 we got another puppy..a shiba-sheltie named clyde. Clyde grew up with sam as they are closer in age. Sam only picks on fred now! For example: she will run around chasing and biting is tail and legs. Or when they are in their pen and I run upstairs I will hear her screaming at him…and I know she’s biting him too. She does the same thing to clyde when she gets riled up. She gets way too imtense playing and she will start snapping and screaming at him. Meanwhile he comes over near me and cowers while bearing his teeth. We give her time outs when she gets into things. Also, my brother showed her a laser pointer and ever since she’s been chasing shadows on the floor and lights on the wall. Its so bad sometimes that at night she has to sleep in her play pen. She screams at clyde when she’s in there someTimes too!! I need a behavior-ist. Any advice in the mean time? Thank you!

    • shibashake says

      Hi Christen,

      My other dog is a three-legged Siberian so I am very careful not to let my Shiba overwhelm her. Whenever they are playing together, I will always supervise and step in as soon as I see my Shiba escalating. What helped the most is to interrupt him before he escalates into Shiba-intense levels ๐Ÿ™‚ I found that it was better to stop him earlier rather than later.

      If you stop them early, then it is easier for them to calm down. After I stop my Shiba I will do some obedience commands with both dogs. This way they can get rewarded for doing something else, they get to work together, and it also gives them an outlet for their energy.

      I only use the timeout if my Shiba will not stop and redirects his craziness onto me. He also goes to timeout for humping.

      Once I started stepping in and ‘redirecting’ my Shiba, he learned that if he gets too rough, fun play stops but if he plays nice he gets to keep going.

      In the beginning, I only let my dogs play when I had time to supervise. Other times, they are separated – my Sibe stays in a pen and my Shiba stays outside. Consistency is important here so that Shiba will learn that [rough play]=[no play] rather than [rough play]=[maybe no play]. Shibas love challenging maybes ๐Ÿ™‚

      Now they are older and are good about regulating themselves, so they get to play whenever.

      More exercise will also help. The more I walked my Shiba, the better behaved he was. I also hired a dog walker for a period of time so that he got to walk and socialize with other dogs.

      Another thing to try is to make them do work for you together – e.g. synchronized obedience commands. Do they go on walks together?

      As for the laser pointer it is probably best to stop it altogether. Laser pointers can often encourage obsessive type behaviors in dogs. This is because they are encouraged to chase something insubstantial that they never really ‘catch’.

      Some fun chase games that my Shiba like are the flirt pole and the water hose game. Make sure that you institute strict rules when playing games with a Shiba – for example, no getting too intense, no jumping on people, no nipping on people, do commands before the game starts, take short breaks throughout, etc.

  192. shibashake says

    Great pictures Scott! You can really see how she has grown.

    Akiko is too cute for words.

    Maybe I will get a creme Shiba next but I am not sure if I am ready for 2 Shibas in the household ๐Ÿ™‚

    Would love to see more pictures.

  193. says

    Hey:-) Here is an updated pst on Akiko. She is 15 weeks now…the experience has been awesome thus far.

    Congratulations on getting a Shiba Peter:-)

  194. Eric says

    Hello, Thanks for this great blog.

    My wife and I just got a new creme female Shiba Inu puppy -Mara. She is about 3 1/2 months old and we have her going to puppy training class every Saturday. She has been doing very well around people and even the dogs in our training class. I have a few questions for you.

    1. Mara has a favorite stuffed animal(ducky) that she carries around in her mouth and she does little whimpers for awhile. she does this about twice a day and it is kind of sad like she misses something . Any ideas on what this could be ?

    2. I think this seems to be very common from all the reading on this blog. We have our hands full with the bitting all the time. We have been giving her time outs in her crate, but not much improvement also we have been giving her tons of toys. if you have any other ideas i would love to hear.

    Thanks for the great blog .


    • shibashake says

      Hello Eric,
      Congratulations on your new Shiba puppy!

      “We have our hands full with the bitting all the time. We have been giving her time outs in her crate”

      In terms of other methods –

      Some people suggest using a spray bottle. That didn’t work too well for me because my Shiba would just attack the spray bottle. There are various ways that people suggest to hide the bottle but it never really worked out for me. My Shiba just got even more wild after being sprayed.

      Other people suggest doing leash corrections or even muzzle slaps but all that ever did was make my Shiba lose trust in me.

      What worked best for me is to do timeouts in a different (not the crate) but really boring place. I use the laundry room. The advantage there is that I close the door and Shiba has nothing to do, nothing to see, and it is totally boring. He really does not like time-outs.

      In general you want to maintain the crate as a good and safe place. Some place that they want to go in. This will allow you to crate them when you are out or during the night. Also the crate still allows them to see interesting things, and they are still in the middle of all the action.

      When I let my Shiba out of timeout I usually ignore him for a while. He will just want to go off and sulk anyway. What does Mara do right after she comes out of timeout? How long do you generally do timeouts for?

      Another key thing that helped me a lot with the biting is to stay totally calm. It can be difficult to do, but the more nervous or angry I got, the worse my Shiba would behave. Just stay calm, non-mark (Ack-ack), and if she continues, calmly say timeout and remove her to timeout with her drag lead.

      The NILIF program also helped me a lot. Rather than giving her all the toys at once, only give her one or two and cycle through them so that she doesn’t get bored. Make sure she does commands for you before she gets anything in return.

      I also make my Shiba work for all of his food.

      Here are some things that helped when my Shiba was a puppy.

      Mara has a favorite stuffed animal(ducky) that she carries around in her mouth and she does little whimpers for awhile.

      Hmmmm, not sure about this. How long have you had Mara? Is the ducky from your breeder? Is there are particular time of day or event that triggers this behavior? My first thought is that she could be missing her litter-mates.

    • Eric says

      Mara is very quiet and calm, almost pouting after she comes out of a timeout. Soon afterward she is back to biting again. The timeouts vary, but they are generally not more than a few minutes.

      As for the ducky, Mara usually whimpers with the ducky in her mouth after coming out of her crate. We’ve had her for almost 2 months. The ducky was something my wife and I bought for her before we picked her up from the breeder. It was one of her first toys. She carries is around like a security blanket, but also plays with and bites it.

    • shibashake says

      Mara is very quiet and calm, almost pouting after she comes out of a timeout. Soon afterward she is back to biting again.

      That sounds a lot like Sephy. He sulks when he comes out then after a bit he tries biting the curtains or whatever again to see if he can get away with it ๐Ÿ™‚

      I just ignore him when he comes out. Then when he goes for the curtains or books or whatever I non-mark him and body block him away from the area. Then I get him to do something else – e.g. obedience commands, chewing on toy, etc. If he refuses and goes back to curtain chewing, I say time-out and put him in time-out.

      Shibas are stubborn – so usually a fair amount of consistent repetition is needed before they will give up the ghost. Even now Sephy will test the waters now and then – mostly with trying to chew the rug. He only does it when I am home to get a reaction – such a scamp.

      The ducky was something my wife and I bought for her before we picked her up from the breeder. It was one of her first toys. She carries is around like a security blanket, but also plays with and bites it.

      Hmmm, my Siberian had a blanket from her breeder that she really loved but she lost interest in it after a couple of weeks.

      I think as Mara gets used to her new home she will become less interested in the toy. What you are doing now sounds great in terms of socializing her to new people.

      Puppy training class is great coz she gets to meet and play with new puppies too. As she meets more new people and does more new activities with you, I think she will become less dependent on the toy.

      Just make sure she doesn’t start guarding the toy. You can play the object exchange game with her or food exchange game to discourage guarding.

      Hope this helps. Let us know how things go.

  195. FirstShiba says

    Hello, We have just gotten our first Shiba named Spartacus who is 14 weeks old. However, I have been working with trying to get him to walk on a leash and wants no part of it. I love going on walks and they are suppose to love going on walks also. Do you have any ideas or tips to try and get him to WALK?????

    • shibashake says

      Congratulations on your first Shiba!

      In terms of leash walking, what helped with my Shiba is to fasten the leash onto the collar, and just let him drag it around. This will help him get comfortable with the feel and weight of leash.

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

      You can also play the Find-it game with him while he has the leash on.

      Fasten the leash and bring out some of his favorite treats. Throw one a small distance away and say find-it. Once he gets it, praise him a lot and throw another one and so on. This way you get him moving around and playing something fun with the lead on inside the house.

      Once he learns to Find-It you can throw in some recalls. Walk a few steps away from him and call him (e.g. Spartacus Home!). Praise him a lot for coming to you, treat him, and then do a Find-It, then just keep repeating.

      Then you can move on to holding the leash and playing the game, then holding the leash and playing the game outside. He will quickly get used to the leash and see it as something really positive.

  196. Lala says

    We have had or shiba for three years and he is a great dog, very friendly and very social. A couple of issues have arisen. One he has become very skiddish. Any load noise such as fireworks, lond bangs or load screaming gets him upset and he will lock himself in rooms and cower. Our female shiba doesn’t seemed fased at all by the noise, we cant seem to calm his nerves. Any Suggestions? He aslo seems very depressed alot of times. He gets regualr exersize and plenty of toys, and a friend but he constantly needs attention and affection, and becomes very “mopey” when not petted or attended to. He is healthy ann has all is vaccinations, what can be causing this depression?

    • shibashake says

      For the loud noises you can start to desensitize him to them. Create a taping of the noises that scare him. Then play it at a very low volume. Make sure you start at a very low volume.

      Praise and treat him for being calm in the presence of the noise. Do some obedience commands with him and continue to praise and treat.

      Once he is comfortable with the low volume noise, slowly increase the volume and repeat the exercise. Do it slowly and over many short but rewarding sessions.

      This will help him associate the noise with positive, non-stressful experiences, and eventually, he will become more confident in terms of handling the noise.

      If he gets spooked, then you have increased the volume too quickly, so start again with a softer volume. You may also want to put him on a lead during these training sessions so you have more control. Make sure not to push him too far too quickly though. The key to desensitization sessions is to make them short and fun so that Shiba learns to associate the scary event with something positive, low stress, and calm.

      Not sure about the depression. Hard to say without observing things in real-life. Sometimes my Shiba gets depressed from the weather – if it is too rainy. He also gets depressed when he has digestive issues or when there are big changes to his routine.

  197. shibashake says

    Congratulations Peter!

    He is already showing signs that he understands my homeโ€™s culture but he definitly has some attitude.

    I think that describes the Shiba very well! After 3 years, my Shiba definitely understands all the house rules, but the attitude is still there – lol.

    Gotta love that Shiba attitude – they are a very entertaining dog breed ๐Ÿ™‚

  198. Peter says

    Just brought home a 12 week old red male shiba, He is already showing signs that he understands my home’s culture but he definitly has some attitude. I didn’t realize that they are this strong, luckily he doesn’t mind the leash but holding on to it really lets you know that they have some power. My wife and daughter are really enjoying him and I believe we have already started trading trust with each other. He is a blessing to my home already.

  199. shibashake says

    lol – she is totally adorable! That is a lot of snow for this early in the year.

    My dogs have never seen snow. I think they would both love it. Ice – probably not so much ๐Ÿ™‚

    Thanks for sharing your video.

  200. shibashake says

    Hi Scott, I would love to see the video! Can you please post us a link to it?

    Yeah video embedding doesn’t currently work in the comments section. I should look into getting a plugin for that ๐Ÿ™‚

  201. Scott says

    Thanks again for the suggestions. I will look into upcoming classes. Here is a video of shiba-Akiko out in the snow this morning.

  202. shibashake says

    lol – love the squeaky toy alarm system. I know what you mean though. When my Shiba is quiet is when I know he is really up to no good ๐Ÿ˜€

    You could consider enrolling Akiko in puppy class. Try and find one that lets the puppies play and socialize during class breaks.

    Both my dogs went to puppy class and they really enjoyed it. Shiba Sephy really loved playing with the other puppies. We went to SIRIUS puppy class, and then later we went to some classes at our local SPCA.

    I have had really good experiences with the SPCAs in my area. They have pretty good trainers there, their fees are very reasonable, and they have some really fun classes. Agility could be something fun that you could do with her later on.

    Make sure that the puppy class checks everyone on shots and such. For safety, puppy class usually requires at least second round of shots – if memory serves.

    Another possibility is to look for puppy play sessions in the dog training centers or daycare centers nearby. The daycare center in my area organizes free weekend puppy play sessions – and that was pretty fun as well. The great thing is that the sessions were well supervised and all the dog owners were very good about making sure their dogs played nice.

    Again make sure they check that all puppies are up to date on shots, and that they clean the facilities well. You don’t want her to pick anything up from adult dogs.

    Would also be a great time to start with leash training – just in your backyard though.

  203. Scott says

    Lol:-) She is far from innocent… I have to keep my eyes on her at all times. I give her a squeaky toy that she loves because she can easily make it squeak. If I don’t hear it squeaking than I know she is up to no good lol. What should I be doing with her at 9 weeks? I don’t know any other dogs or children to socialize her… She can already do the normal sit, stay, come, down routine:-)

  204. Scott says

    Sure will:-) The vet did her nail cutting for us this time, so it went very well. He also gave her a booster shot and she didn’t even flinch. She was too distracted with her treat lol.

  205. Kristen says

    Hey there,

    So I have an 8 month old intact shiba male and on Friday I brought home a 2.5 year old intact shiba female. The female is so aggressive towards my male, her lip comes up when he is just walking by. I don’t know what to do. I want them to get along and possibly breed them since they are both gorgeous dogs. They each are fed in different place and sleep in different places in their own crates. She won’t play with toys or anything, she just sits and acts depressed. I don’t know if it’s because she misses her old owner or what, but I’m getting worried about her. Whole reason I got her was so my male had a companion….What do I do???

    • shibashake says

      Hello Kristen,

      I do not breed dogs, and therefore have little experience with unfixed dogs.

      One thing that really helped me a lot when I was having troubles with my Shiba is visiting the Shiba breeders that lived nearby. They were very helpful and let me know what to expect from my Shiba and what were normal Shiba behaviors.

      They may be a great resource for you as well. I used the breeder directory at the National Shiba Club

      The nihonken message board can also be a great resource โ€“

      A professional trainer with Shiba experience can also help you troubleshoot some of these issues.

  206. shibashake says

    Thanks Scott! She is beautiful. Hope you will post more photos of her as she is growing up ๐Ÿ™‚

    How did the nail cutting session go?

  207. Scott says

    You are welcome to post the link on your blog:-) Yea, she was very calm through the cleaning process. I think that she is going to get her nails cut tomorrow so we will see how that goes. Thank you for the compliments on her.

  208. shibashake says

    Scott – Your Shiba is absolutely beautiful! Can I link to your photos on my blog? Love that bliss shot where she is on her back.

    I am impressed that she looks so calm while you were giving her a bath! Was she calm from the start?

  209. Scott says

    Thank you for the tips:-) It is so hard not to react to the screams, but I am doing just that. She has always stopped eventually lol. I put her crate next to the bed last night and she slept most of the night. I still had to get up to take her out, but at least she was willing to go back to bed afterward. It has been a tough week, but I can already tell that it is going to be a great ride with her. She is so adorable:-) We go see the vet for the first time on Friday… Any suggestions on what I should be asking him?

  210. shibashake says

    Hi Scott,
    Congratulations on your new Shiba puppy. She will definitely keep you on your toes ๐Ÿ™‚

    As for the Shiba screaming – make sure not to let her out of her crate while she is screaming. If you do, she will learn that screaming gets her what she wants. In general, don’t give in to the scream. Just ignore it, or leave the area. This shows her that screaming means she gets left alone. When she stops, praise her, and come back to be with her.

    Shibas can be extremely stubborn though, so the screaming could go on for a long while. One time I put my Shiba in daycare and he screamed the whole day while he was there – lol.

    He also used his screams to good effect with my dog walker.

    Shibas are really smart and if they sense that they can manipulate you with screaming, there will be more screaming than ever. So never reward the screaming behavior – always wait for some quiet before letting her have anything. And you can slowly extend the amount of quiet time required.

    You could also try letting her sleep in a crate in your bedroom. That is what I do with my Shiba and it helped a lot. He really just wanted to sleep with his people.

  211. Scott says

    I finally took the plunge and decided to get a Shiba Puppy…I am a first time pet owner, so I definitely didn’t know what I was getting myself into. First off, thank you for all the tips, I spent a few nights reading through the blogs and articles posted:-)
    I have a cream-colored female who acts like a true Shiba pup. She is 8 weeks old. I am having an issue at night. I was told that she slept well in her crate, but whenever I put her in it (night time or when I leave the house) she screams and boy is it a terrible sound lol. Are there any suggestions on what to do now while she is still young? Thanks in advance:-)

  212. shibashake says

    Hi Jenn,
    One thing you can try is to slowly desensitize your Shiba to being alone. First, get her used to the ritual of your leaving, then get her used to you leaving for very short periods of time, then slowly extend the time that she stays alone.

    Separation anxiety and desensitization

    Also leave her with some fun toys to chew on, such as frozen kongs or rubber chew toys with cheese. There are also Kong dispensers which will drop out kongs based on a timer – which may help keep her occupied.

    I like the desensitization exercises best though. That and keeping to a fixed schedule has helped most with my Shiba.

  213. Jenn says

    I have a one year old Shiba female who does not like to be home alone. She is crate trained, but regardless, she will find away to tear up the carpet.
    We are new owners to a pet and am trying diligently to break her from this. I have left her roaming in the house alone and she got into the curtains and other things. Other then the dependency she has on us she is a great dog.

  214. shibashake says

    Hi Matt,
    Sounds like Wylie is learning all those behaviors from the other dog. In general, it is necessary to apply the same type of discipline to all the dogs that are living together. If not, one will see the other getting away with all kinds of things, and will start to copy those behaviors as well.

    It will be difficult, I think, to establish yourself as the leader, when your dog sees that the lab/pit can do whatever he wants.

    What does your roommate think about you helping to train his dog? It would be even better if he participates in the training as well.

  215. Matt says

    Hi, i have a 3 year old male named Wylie. I have had similar problems as everyone on this board at one point or another, but through it all, he really has become a good dog and hes my best buddy. Last year i moved in with two roommates who have a lab/pit bull mix, he is not very well trained he constantly whines and growls and barks and is very aggressive with Wylie, but Wylie seems to love it. In the last couple of weeks wylie has begun whining constantly, especially when he is downstairs and the other dog is upstairs. I have tried to start separating them more and more to assert myself as Wylies “pack leader” because it has gotten to the point where he only wants to go upstairs and wont play with me or anyone else…I have tried to do things like shortening his leash on our walks, remaining calm and assertive and trying to have more of a routine for him etc.. but i cant figure out why he keeps whining and its really frustrating me. I have tried everything from using a squirt bottle to removing him from the room to positive reinforcement when he stops whining but hes too smart, he knows if he stops he will get what he wants and then when he gets it he just starts whining again and tries to go upstairs… any thoughts??? Thanks!

  216. shibashake says

    Hello Yoshi,
    I am not a supporter of choke chains. Here is why –

    In my experience, most vets know very little about dog training. I have met one or two who know how to handle dogs, but most of them probably know less than we do about dog training.

    You do want to stop your Shiba from biting and such though. Here are two articles that may help. They talk about some of the techniques I used with my Shiba when I first got him and he was truly a terror on four paws ๐Ÿ™‚

    Stop Puppy Biting

    Puppy Training Tips

  217. shibashake says

    Hello Brandi,
    So great of you to rescue a Shiba.

    In general, you want to show Akira that it is unacceptable to be overly aggressive with your male Shiba. However, you also want to be careful and make things positive whenever she is with male Shiba so that she associates positive things with his presence.

    Here are some things that may help –
    1. Desensitize Akira to your new Shiba – Have her on a lead and have her be engaged with you doing obedience. Then someone else brings in the other Shiba. You call Akira and treat her, and give her some good attention whenever the male is in the room. Have the male Shiba leave, then the treats and attention stop. Have him come back again and repeat. In this way, the male Shiba is seen less as competition for your attention, and more as a source of good things.

    2. For now, try and set Akira up for success so when you give male Shiba attention, make sure Akira is getting attention as well.

    3. If Akira still goes for your male Shiba, you do want to teach her that it is unacceptable behavior. After you say No, engage her in obedience commands and try and get her to do something else. If she will not listen to you, and goes back for more, then do a time-out. This teaches her that if she cannot behave with the family, then she does not get to be with the family at all. Later on, after she improves, you can just ask for space (i.e. she can’t go near the male until she behaves) rather than do a full time-out.

    4. When you can’t supervise, it is best to keep them separated so that things don’t escalate. You want to try and set Akira up for success as much as possible, and reduce the number of aggression incidents.

    Hope this helps. Let us know how it goes.

  218. Yoshi says


    I got a male shiba puppy about three weeks ago. He is ten weeks old right now. He can be a sweetheart when he wants to. However he is very mouthy and stubborn also. I wanted to train him early about not growling and barking at us. He also pulls very hard on the leash. I can hear him choking himself some times. My vet advice me about the choke chain, but i don’t want to hurt him or lose the his trust between us. What is your take on the choke chain for training collar. Thank you

  219. Brandi says

    We have a 2.5 female shiba named akira. She was the biggest terror for the first few months but since then she is our pride and joy. We like shibas so much that we adopted an 8 month old cream male a few days ago from a rescue. They played fine at first but now she is very aggressive towards him. He is very submissive to her but we can’t pay any attention or bond with him while akira is around. She bites and snarles at him and other than saying no (which she responds to but then goes right back) I’m not sure how to discourage this behavior. We feed, pet, walk all at the same time but she won’t let him have a moment of peace. Please help us with what to do to discourage this behavior and have our shibas get along. We miss our sweet girl and we know the male is a sweetheart as well. We just want to start off on the right foot. Thanks!

  220. shibashake says

    he is wonderful at home, but at the vet he acts up so much that the vet thinks he is very aggressiveโ€ฆany ideas on how to help my shiba become a little more vet friendly?

    Hello Shiba Gus –
    I would like a solution to this one too. I have the same problem with my Shiba and have consulted several trainers about this but have not been able to find a solution yet.

    It is very likely fear aggression – which is what my Shiba has. You want to find a vet who understands that and can work with you to find a ‘workable solution’. The best vet I found was a dental specialist, who also seemed to know a lot about training dogs, and she was very patient and took her time with my Shiba. Unfortunately, she only does dental work and I have not been able to find one like that who does general care. Unfortunately, most vets don’t have the time to spend getting to know the dogs that they treat. If your vet is willing, getting your Shiba familiar with him/her would probably help a lot.

    There are two options that are not great – but that work for my Shiba.
    1. Put a muzzle on him before the vet visit. You must do regular desensitization work with the muzzle for this to work so that putting the muzzle on seems just like any other day to him and not a vet day. Or else, he won’t let you put it on. Go slow with the muzzle desensitization process and make it low stress and rewarding for him.

    Never force the muzzle on – if you do, he will fight you from then on and it will become an uphill battle. Also, use a basket muzzle which will be more comfortable for him since he can still lick, pant, drink, etc.

    2. When my Shiba gets accidentally hurt, he is already in a heightened state of stress, and at that point there is no way I can put anything on him much less a muzzle. In those situations, our vet works with us to safely restrict him with barriers, and they anesthetize him on his hind leg.

    Not great – but so far the best that I have been able to do. I have tried desensitizing my Shiba to going to the vet, but that is difficult, because a ‘true’ visit is always unpleasant. As soon as they try to handle him and poke and prod at him, he gets really antsy. He is fine with just hanging around the waiting room and even waiting while my other dog gets examined, as long as he himself is left alone.

    Please let me know if you find a good solution that works with your Shiba.

  221. shibashake says

    Thanks for visiting Zero. Sounds like you have a wonderful and very caring friend. It is strange but when I was visiting Shiba breeders last year, I met a beautiful long-haired Shiba who is also allergic to grass.

    Some things that may help –
    1. Get some shoes. The only thing that could be a problem with this is they might fall off if Zero does heavy activity outside. But I think for regular walks it should be fine.

    2. Look up DermaPaw. I use this on my three legged dog to help heal cracks on her pads – and it works great. I am not sure how well it works for skin allergies, but you may want to check out their site and evaluate it for yourself. According to the people, they originally formulated the foot cream to help their own dogs with foot allergy problems.

    3. Wipe and clean his paws after a trip outside. I usually just use a sponge and water to clean up my Shiba’s paws.

    4. Check with your vet to see if he has any suggestions as to what is causing the skin allergy and what are some of the available treatments. Although, I would research the treatment options first before committing to anything.

    Let us know how it goes. Zero sounds like such an awesome Shiba! Maybe he can give some lessons to my Sephy ๐Ÿ™‚

  222. shibagus says

    I have a 6 month old male shiba who is absolutely wonderful in almost all areas…the only thing I am having trouble with is visits to the vet…he is wonderful at home, but at the vet he acts up so much that the vet thinks he is very aggressive…any ideas on how to help my shiba become a little more vet friendly?

  223. Zero says

    My name is Zero and I’m a 3 year old light cream colored male Shiba Inu who loves my owner dearly… I don’t like that she lives at an apartment complex where the grass isn’t so soft and it’s always wet which bothers my paws to the point where I chew on them constantly… I’m given Benadryl several times a week, if not daily when my owner remembers to give it to me… Do you know of any other cures for my itchy paws?? I don’t mean to give my owner a hard time not wanting to go outside, but at the same time I love it outdoors (when there is perfect grass) and I can’t wait until winter time in Texas because that’s when I’m most happiest…

    (My Shiba Inu is the BEST dog I’ve ever had and this is my first time to have a dog of my own… When I first adopted Zero, he was the most mild mannered Shiba Inu I have ever met and that’s why I adopted him… I knew there was going to be an instant bond… Sure, it took time for him to adjust to his surroundings but within several months of being exceptionally quiet, never barking, as a hearing impaired owner, I was relieved that he started barking at the door when people came to visit… He barks when anyone gets near my door or walks up the stairs of my apartment complex… I couldn’t ask for a better dog except for the stubbornness is really a patience test for me… Zero knows about my level of patience, but with patience on both of our parts, we compromise and make things work… I wouldn’t trade my Zero for any other dog, he truly is the best I’ve ever had… ๐Ÿ™‚

  224. Andy says

    Thanks for your suggestions. We have been working hard at trying to desensitize our Shiba to new noises and experiences and have made a lot of progress. She used to be afraid of the guitar/piano being played, handling of dishes and other household noises, but now she doesn’t react at all. Regarding her fears of going on walks,I guess we’ll try it one step at a time and reward her each time we go a little further away from the house. Thanks so much for this website and for the insight and suggestions you provide to others.


  225. shibashake says

    Hi Andy,
    My Siberian was fearful too when she was young. She used to be very fearful of new objects, and especially noisy objects like the garbage truck.

    One of the things that worked well for her was to use desensitization exercises. You want to slowly expose her to new things from a distance – before she gets too stressed and is taken over by fear.

    For example with the garbage truck, I would first desensitize my Sibe from inside the house during garbage day. We would both sit by the house window and when she could hear the garbage truck noise, I would ask her for her attention and treat. Later on I asked for other commands.

    Once she was comfortable with that, we both sat on the doorstep of our house when the garbage truck passed, repeating the same exercise. If she got too stressed we would move back into the house. In general I wanted her to associate the garbage truck with focusing on me and doing obedience exercises, so that she slowly understands that nothing bad happens when the garbage truck passes.

    Then we moved out and sat on our lawn, and so forth.

    In general, you want to try and set the dog up for success and only expose her to small amounts of the stimulus so that she can handle it positively, and slowly gain more and more confidence.

    I have more on the desensitization process here –

    It is about dog-to-dog desensitization but the process is the same for other things. Stay far enough away and slowly get the dog comfortable with the fear stimulus.

  226. Andy says

    Hi, We have a 14 week Shiba who has developed several fears that prevent us from walking her outside our yard. She is so fearful that we are not even able to coax with her favorite treat. She struggles tremendously to avoid going into the street or driveway and responds with fear when she sees something new like child on a bike, skateboard etc.

  227. says

    Hello Amanda,

    One of the things that worked well for me is it identify exactly what my Shiba’s greeting tolerances are and then try to manage and retrain them.

    My Shiba generally does not like other dominant dogs. He also does not like strange dogs coming over and sniffing his butt, so I protect him from that. In general, small dogs don’t do well with my Shiba, so I only let him play with big dogs.

    Once you identify what his dog-triggers are, you can desensitize your Shiba to them slowly, and build many positive associations with other dogs. I write more about my dog-greeting experiences here –

    Hope this helps.

  228. Amanda says

    I have a 7 month old shiba and a 2 year old shiba. They are completely opposite. My 7 month old shiba is such a love and overall a good dog. However, he is very aggressive towards other dogs, he especially goes for the face of other dogs. Because of this I have to put him in the dog run by himself. This can be difficult because finding a time when the dog run is empty is a challenge. He is very good with his “pack” (meaning my other shiba and my other little dog). But other dogs he wants to fight, bark at, and chase. I have tried scolding him, being the dominant one and nothing seems to work. Is there anything you would suggest? Thanks! Amanda

  229. Son Tuyen says

    Heh, yeah. At first I thought you could just pick any breed you want and it’d all work out well, but now I know better. You have to take compatibility in consideration, just not what you think is the cutest. That’s probably a mistake a lot of owners still make, and sometimes unfortunately that leads to a dog being disowned or abused.

    I honestly don’t think I could handle a Shiba Inu, then. I have this strange fear, yet love, for dogs. I have yet to make myself completely comfortable with them up in person with me. So I’d be at my wits end if my puppy was creating a disaster. I’m still young though, so it’ll be a while before I will get a dog.

    I have a question though. Do you know anything about the Finnish_Spitz? They look a lot like the Shiba Inu (and dare I say more fox-like, too). I know they are a hunting breed, so they’ll need a lot of stimulation. Is it easier than the Shiba Inu, though? Temperament and behavior wise, that is.

    Nevertheless, I don’t believe any dog can do well with a passive or meek owner, right? At least that’s what I have heard. You have to step up to the plate if you have a dog, so it’ll obey you.

    Anyways, thank you for the quick reply and I hope your two cute dogs are doing well. What’s the name of your husky? :] I’m considering that breed, too.

  230. shibashake says

    “Do you know anything about the Finnish_Spitz? ”

    Yeah I love the look of the Finnish Spitz as well. I don’t have any experience with one – they are a pretty rare breed I think. Temperament wise, based on what I have read, they are not an easy breed either. Seems like you really like ‘spitz’ type dogs – *me too* ๐Ÿ™‚ – which based on my readings tend to be more primitive breeds, and as a result, generally have more challenging temperaments.

    “Nevertheless, I don’t believe any dog can do well with a passive or meek owner, right?”

    All dogs need structure, routine, and discipline, so as you say it is important as an owner to set boundaries for your dog. However, I strongly believe that teaching a dog these boundaries are best done using reward based training. Here is my article on dog psychology if you are interested.

    Also, there is a great dog show on the National Geographic Channel called DogTown. Check it out if you have the time – it is my favorite.

    “What’s the name of your husky? :] I’m considering that breed, too.”

    My husky’s name is Shania. She is a major sweetheart and much much easier than my Shiba Inu. She has more energy than my Shiba, so she needs more exercise, but temperament wise she is just great. She loves being with people, she likes being petted, hugged, and whatever else. And she is well behaved at the vet. ๐Ÿ™‚

  231. Son Tuyen says

    I think Shiba Inus are incredibly cute looking and I ever since I read ‘Hachiko Waits’, they have been one of the top on my list of favorite dog species. However judging from your experiences and others’ comments, they are not a easy species. Of course every individual dog’s personality and behavior differs from one another, but there are general similarities I’m sure.

    I will be a first-time owner whenever my family can afford a place that allows pets. lol It seems all the dog species I really like are rather difficult, especially for first timers (A German Sheperd is my second choice). I mean, any puppy can seem perfectly well behaved and lovable at first, until they start to grow older and then their personality truly develops. And as their owner, don’t we have to help them grow a personality in which we approve of?

    So, from one to ten (ten being the worst), how difficult would you say the general Shiba Inu species is? Also, do you know any really good and reliable dog quizzes that see what species is most compatible for your lifestyle/expertise? I tried one before but I didn’t like any of the results lol.

  232. shibashake says

    Hello Son Tuyen,

    “And as their owner, don’t we have to help them grow a personality in which we approve of?”

    I really liked what you said here and definitely agree with you. I think it is our responsibility to teach our dogs how to live well in our very human world which must seem very foreign to them. I think that many people mistake ‘bad dog behavior’ to have bad intent behind it as well. This is not true. Dogs often misbehave simply because they do not understand what are appropriate behaviors and what are not. We must teach them our human manners in a language that they can understand.

    “So, from one to ten (ten being the worst), how difficult would you say the general Shiba Inu species is?”

    Personally, I would rate a Shiba to be about a 7 or 8. You can see from the poll above though, that not everyone agrees with me ๐Ÿ™‚ I love my Shiba very much, but he is totally in a different class when it comes to handling, training, and everything else. This is in contrast to my Siberian, who also has an independent nature, but is just a lot easier to care for.

    “Also, do you know any really good and reliable dog quizzes”

    I haven’t done any of those although I probably should have ๐Ÿ™‚ I think the most important thing is the time consideration. I had a lot of difficulties with my Shiba at first but was able to solve a lot of issues simply by putting in the time to train, exercise, and teach him, as well as teach myself. It was *a lot* of time though. If you have a busy lifestyle with less time to spend with the dog then it is much better to get a low energy breed with an easier temperament. Also note that the Shiba is not a lap dog. Shibas are usually aloof, and will not often come asking for attention. But when they do, it is very special ๐Ÿ™‚

  233. Tsuki & Haruki says

    Noted: Dremel minimite grinder. I was going to get the one in the commercial. AY! ..Teeth brushing… it’s more like brush eating for Haruki! Oh well, at least there were still some brush action. I think it’s the tooth paste that he goes crazy for.

    I totally understand. Sometimes I get confused after getting advice from friends and others and looses track. Lets hope that this guy I got to train me can put some fun into Haruki and my daily lives! I’ll be starting training next week and I’m really excited. I hope it works out!

    I’ll keep you posted about the progress for sure!

  234. Tsuki & Haruki says

    Thank you for your quick respond!

    I will be looking into the grinder at the local pet store. I hope it works, Haruki doesn’t like anything done to his nails… it was my fault. I took him to the vet and the helper was not gentle with him at all. By the time she had done with Haruki’s 10th nail, I stopped her and saw at least two were bleeding. For a puppy, it really freaked him out. I was trying to be nice…but in heart, I was cursing her for eternity… (sorry to be evil).

    Thank you and sorry to trouble you in researching for me! I’m so greatful! Well, I signed up for a 2 hour private class with one of his team member and see what he would practice with Haruki. Furthering with him would really depend on what kind of method he would use.

    I really take in to consideration on the advices and articales that you had written. I would love to be able to know how to train him properly so that would could have a great time. I want a good friend/family/pet and not a police dog. But it’s really hard to find a trainer who has effective possitive training method along with experience in training a Shiba. Mind if you fly over here and I provide air fair, food and lodge?

    Haruki needs some classes… actually, I’m the one who needs training class so that I can have fun and also practice safety. I would hate to loose him because it was my mistake for not teaching him manners.

    Thanks for the link, I’ll post my concerns there later and would be excited to see some feedback!

    ^_^ Thanks for your help like always!

  235. Tsuki & Haruki says

    How are you?

    Haruki is now five months and he’s been quite good. He still does nib a little but he doesn’t bite/teeth on people anymore. My slippers are finally safe! But he still jumps on people and now that he’s tall enough, he tries to reach for our food. -_-” Even though he’s not aggressive about it, his nails are just too sharp. We will have to work on his manners much more. I’m only affraid that when my sister’s baby comes over Haruki might accidently scratch him by jumping up.

    Hum, I’m not sure. I think your suggestions are great and I would like to know if you think it’s good to bring Haruki in for a CET style of training. It’s the method that Brad Pattison uses, it’s his team of people. I heard great things about him, and they get to have a lot of fun while training both owners and dogs. Since I think it would benefit me and Haruki in going to some classes.

  236. shibashake says

    Hello Tsuki,

    Just wanted to let you know that Animal Planet has just started airing Brad Pattison’s dog training show. It is called “In the Doghouse” and I just caught it on Saturday at 5pm Pacific time.

    I am thinking of writing something about it, so I would love to know what you think – about the show and training class ๐Ÿ™‚ Thanks!

  237. shibashake says

    Hello Tsuki,

    Haruki will probably not like the grinder at first, so it will be important to very slowly desensitize him to it. It may take some time and a lot of patience and mackerel ๐Ÿ™‚ but it can definitely be done. Do not get the Pedicure grinder – it has gotten bad reviews from people. I use the Dremel Minimite grinder which works very well.

    Sephy also did not have good first experiences with nail clipping. I’m afraid I was the one who clipped into his quick and got it bleeding. It was a very traumatic experience for everyone. But now he is good about the grinding – he even likes it more than teeth brushing because he gets mackerel for the grinding.

    As for the Shiba training – I totally know the frustration. I really had a hard time as well finding good trainers who knew Shibas. Ultimately though, I think *we* are the best trainers for our Shibas. We are the only ones who love them enough to put in the time and patience to outlast their stubbornness – lol.

    Be careful not to let so-called professional trainers push you into doing something that you are not comfortable with. That happened to me a lot at the beginning and it did not go well for me or my Shiba.

    Let me know how the class goes. I would be very interested in hearing about it.

  238. shibashake says

    Hello Tsuki & Haruki !

    Great to see you and great to hear that Haruki is doing so well ๐Ÿ™‚

    One thing you can consider is using a nail grinder on his nails. I do this with Sephy and it is great because I can shape his nails and make sure there are no sharp edges.

    Make sure you closely supervise Haruki with any young children though. Children – because of their small size can seem more like prey to a dog and as you know Shibas do have a strong prey drive. I would have him on leash at all times, and always under close supervision.

    I am not familiar with Brad Pattison’s CET style. I just went to look it up, and he seems to have a strong focus on using aversive style training which in my experience did not work well with Sephy.

    When I used collar corrections on Sephy, it ‘worked’ initially, but the cost was Sephy started losing trust in me, and I think it really weakened our bond. Also, Sephy started to get habituated to the collar corrections after some time, and I started having to keep escalating the force of my corrections which I do not think was beneficial to anyone. Personally, I am a big proponent of reward dog training. I think reward training best complements the Shiba Inu temperament and it carries a lot less risk.

    You may also want to repost this on the nihonken Shiba forum and get more opinions from other Shiba owners.

    Hope this helps. Let me know what you decide to do. I would be very interested in hearing more.

  239. shibashake says

    Hello Eric,

    I would really recommend getting a professional trainer to come over and observe his behavior.

    The snarling, showing teeth, and humping all together are a bit worrying. It seems to me that he is trying to establish dominance in the household – but I can’t say for sure since I am not there observing any of his behaviors. There could be other factors. I think getting a positive reinforcement trainer who has had experience with Shiba Inus, to visit would be helpful.

    Shiba Inus are a naturally dominant breed so the snarling and humping are not out of character. However, it is important for you to communicate to your Shiba that these types of behaviors are not appropriate. With a new Shiba, it is especially important to set up a lot of rules and structure so that he knows what is expected of him.

    It is also important to always stay calm, consistent, and firm around a Shiba. My Shiba was extremely sensitive to my energy. These two articles may be helpful –

    Re Snarling – This one is more difficult – as the snarling could be from a variety of factors. He may just want to space to rest without being disturbed, he may be trying to assert dominance, he may not like being crowded, etc. For now I would always supervise their play sessions together – and don’t let play escalate into aggression. When they can’t be supervised, keep them separate. You could also try letting him play with your others dog on a one-on-one basis and observe his behavior. This really is the area where a trainer would be really helpful – and the sooner the better – because long-term it is difficult to deal with dogs that don’t get along.

    Re Humping – yeah that is unacceptable. Whenever he does that – non-mark him (ack, ack) and remove him to time-out. When you let him out of time-out just ignore him for a bit. If he starts again, remove him again for a longer period. Leg humping on people is an absolute no-no.

    Btw. congrats on getting a new puppy ๐Ÿ™‚ and kudos for getting him from a rescue. Let us know how it goes.

  240. Heather says

    Over the fourth of July weekend my three-year old shiba was outside with two friends and their one-year old baby. The baby was placed on a pool deck with food and the dog came up and bit her in the face (she had to get stiches). Needless to say, we were devastated and felt horrible. We keep running over the many things that could have prevented the situation. He is not typically aggressive and from what I have read about shibas, appears pretty normal. However, I am concerned… especially because my husband and I are expected. Have you heard of any similar situations or do you have any advice? We do not want to give him up, but human safety is a priority. Thanks for your time!

    • shibashake says

      Hi Heather,
      Congratulations on your soon-to-be new pack member ๐Ÿ™‚

      Babies and young children are small, and smell different to dogs. They also do not move or sound like adults. As a result, dogs often view them as prey. And as you know, Shibas tend to have a pretty high prey instinct.

      It is very possible however to get Shibas used to children and babies. I got my Shiba Inu from a breeder with 7 girls. When I visited her, she had her youngest toddler supervised, but around all her dogs, and she was totally ok.

      I don’t have any children so I am out of my depth on this topic. But definitely repost your question on the nihonken Shiba Forum. There are a lot of Shiba Inu veterans there who know a lot about the breed.

      I think it would also help to get a professional trainer to help you with the desensitization process.

      There was also a pretty good It’s Me or the Dog episode on how to desensitize a dog to a new baby.