Shibas are active little dogs who need at least a good brisk daily walk. They do a lot better with two or even three. Letting your Shiba run free is like tossing a lighted firecracker into the neighbourhood with your eyes shut. It probably won’t hurt anyone, but both it and your neighbours won’t thank you for the outcome.
A fenced yard is absolutely necessary should you want a safe area where your Shiba can run free. And by “free” I mean “supervised” unless you like Shiba landscaping – craters, no flowers and landmines to attack the shoes of the unwary.
The yard need not be yours – many communities have dog parks where your dog can run their tails off in a secure area. You can also see if there are people who want to arrange play dates between immunized puppies to socialize their dogs in a controlled situation by advertising in your vet’s office, groomer or pet supply store.
I don’t believe you need a fenced yard to responsibly own a Shiba because I believe that it is no substitute for taking your dog out into society for training and socialization. If you think that a fenced yard should be all the exposure to the outside world that the dog gets, please for the love of Dog, get a ceramic dog and an alarm system.
Shibas are a very playful breed. Some of their favorite games are:
- chasing and killing other animals
- dragging their lead just far enough away so that their infuriated and horribly embarrassed owner can’t grab it
- leading several people a merry chase through suburban lawns and gardens
- freeway tag
- killing toys that resemble live animals and strewing the fluffy, vacuum-clogging entrails all over the carpet
- fetching a ball (with such variations as running after the ball and losing interest, catching the ball and running away with it, catching the ball and destroying it, catching the ball and dropping it – waiting for you to traverse the length of the yard and throw it again)
If you don’t like to play any of these fun Shiba games, check out your local kennel club to see what activities you can do with your Shiba. Shibas have excelled at agility, flyball and even *snork* obedience. They can be very enthusiastic participants in most sports, as long as they are introduced to it as a fun game with positive reinforcement.
Check out Shiba Sports, a website dedicated to Shibas involved in dog sports.