Obedience Training Your Shiba Inu

Shibas are very good about training. If you have just gotten a Shiba, you’re no doubt amazed with the celerity that you have learned to feed, walk, potty, and worship the Shiba with naught but a whine. And you’re so quick to learn what different whines mean! Such a good Shiba person you are! Now go, fetch the snack.

Shibas work best on an I- give- you- this- you- give- me- that regime. Shibas are incredibly smart and they get smarter if you stuff bits of chicken in their mouths every so often. A toy also works as a reward if your Shiba is very playful. Start training the minute the dog arrives in the house; even an eight-week-old puppy can begin practicing “sit” and “down” with food rewards.

Puppy classes are highly recommended to get an early start on puppy obedience. Seek out training classes based on positive reinforcement rather than punitive methods. Many kennel clubs have graduated programs that can take your dog from puppyhood to adulthood as its learning capacity increases.

Don’t view training your dog as a vehicle for your ego. A surefire way to an unhappy Shiba is to play yank-and-smack. Unhappy Shibas play more fun Shiba games like SCREAMING in your ear, running away from the lead, refusing to move to the point where you will drag their dead weight all over the place, and cringing if you look at them sideways.

Training is more than “come”, “sit”, “stay”, “heel” and “down”. It is also teaching the Shiba that nothing in life is free. Pookie should learn to obey commands before getting anything Pookie wants. Sometimes it means correcting Pookie immediately and decisively when he goes into all-out tantrum mode and never letting him intimidate you into letting him have or do whatever he wants.

A note on training collars. I support the use of graduated correction. This means, starting from a buckle collar, you find out the type of correction necessary to control your dog by slowly increasing levels of the force of correction. It makes no sense to outfit a dog with a higher level of correction if it will work just as well on a lower level. Too much correction will cause some dogs to “turn off” and ruin training.

Some dogs never need anything but a buckle collars. Others work better on martingale collars. Some will only pay attention to a prong or pinch collar. Very few dogs require an electric shock collar and they are not the “quick fix” that many companies advertise them to be.

Personally, I am of the opinion that most people have no clue how to use most training collars properly or of the damage they can do if used improperly. I don’t believe pet shops should be able to sell any type of “training collar” beyond a martingale, because of this ignorance.

I urge anyone who wants to train their dog and is finding that a buckle collar just isn’t working, to go to a reputable trainer and learn how to use training equipment in an effective and humane manner.

DO

  • start training right away
  • keep training sessions short (start at 5 minutes for very young Shibas and go from there)
  • find someone to teach you how to properly use a training collar
  • keep bait in your pockets or a bait bag for quick rewards
  • keep training fun for both of you
  • end training on a positive note with lots of praise and treats

DON’T

  • expect a small puppy to remember training right away
  • expect your dog to “know” differences between right and wrong as they apply to you
  • yank or yell harshly at a young puppy
  • leave a training collar on your dog. They can get caught on things, even crates and choke the dog to death.
  • expect a Shiba to do anything for you without knowing well in advance what’s in it for them

DO NOT TRUST YOUR SHIBA OFF-LEAD

unless God lost a bet with you or owes you a big-ass favour. Even then, don’t.

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40 Comments

  1. Hi i need helpp i have a 3 month old shiba he is very cute the on,y thing is that he is very aggressive ad he bites a lottt!! He never listens and he is sooo stubborn

  2. Hello,
    I’m not sure if this site is still active but I have a 4 year old Shiba who is very fearful. We are working on training with her and increasing her confidence. What do we do when a new person comes over and she just barks? We have a place for her that she goes to when told and can’t leave. Its in the living room but she will still bark on place. any suggestions?

  3. I almost fell off my office chair laughing when I read “DO NOT TRUST YOUR SHIBA OFF-LEAD unless God lost a bet with you or owes you a big-ass favour. Even then, don’t.”

    We got a Shiba pup at 3 months old, she is now almost 5 months old. Today, for the first time, she flew out of the pen when my husband opened the gate prior to clipping the leash on her harness. She is, of course, so fast that he didn’t have a chance. I came out of my office to witness her running around the property like a bat out of hell. She would not come to treats calls. Lucky for us, we have a huge shepherd as a “big brother” to her and he sort of kept up with her. She never went off our sight and it was not until I calmly walked up the path and back into the house that she followed me (well, raced past me into the house), then collapsed on her bed.

    Overall, she’s learning commands, but the hardest one has been to get her to come when we call. Although she’s now got this routine down pat: when we are in the large outdoor pen with her (it’s like a 1/2 acre in size), she will stay back until we are at at the gate, call her, then she comes running for her treat. She will then let us reach for her harness so we can clip on the leash.

    We are succeeding in not allowing her to bite or lick us, so at least that’s one for the humans. We bought her lots of non-toxic toys to play with and she has a blast switching.

    We’ve had over a dozen dogs over the years and know she will be a challenge – but her personality is incredible, and gives us lots of laughter time. Having had so many dogs, we have learned patience – which is a good thing to have with a Shiba.

  4. Hi!

    I like your website, and have a question for you. I want to get a Shiba, but my husband seems convinced that they are almost un-trainable. I understand that it takes a lot of hard work and dedication to train a Shiba, but I wonder what results I can expect to achieve? If we implement the NILIF principle on a Shiba and keep it on a schedule and follow all the steps to ensure we are the packleaders, can we expect a Shiba to answer to commands, or is it really a 50%/50% chance of the dog obeying no matter what? How often would you say that a properly trained Shiba will listen to commands?

    Many thanks in advance!

    • Hi there! You can set your husband’s mind at rest… kind of. I know people who have their Shibas trained to the highest levels of Canadian Kennel Club obedience and Agility. They are trainable and, if given the proper basics and continuing training and socialization, can actually be quite attentive.

      HOWEVER… Shibas are, well, Shibas. They’re high-prey-drive, dominant and like getting their own way. This doesn’t mean that they are untrainable; it means that they need a lot of practice all through their lives to retain a high level of obedience. Then again, this is true of most dogs (and people). Shibas just are a lot quicker to consult their own inclinations than yours than, say, a Collie or a Lab (although some of the Labs I’ve known… ye gads).

      Obedience is a life-long skill, kind of like first aid. You need to review and practice and keep up with your dog’s progress. I’m a big fan of clicker/marker training and positive obedience approaches because they not only make your dog learn new skills quickly, they can also make them *happy* to learn, *eager* to perform. Set them up to find joy in working with you in obedience and you’ll create a framework for a largely obedient dog.

      Just remember that dogs are dogs and when there’s a rabbit scooting by, there’s not a lot of room for independent thought.

      Hope this helps!

  5. I have a male Sheba that is a year old. He is fine most of the time..but he leaps and bites people. Some of the situations have been over a toy or a new bone/food. Other situations are out of no where. Bit my husband at the door, leaped at my 23 year old son as he moved to go into the kitchen, bit my sister-in-law as she tried to feed him.

    People are afraid of him; I’m the alpha and spend most of the time with him. We now keep a muzzle on him when people arrive, but I really need to get to a point where biting is not happening. He’s got to go is the feeling of many family members..I want to do whatever it takes to get him trained.

    We worked with a trainer. I know this breed is very dominate. Looking for any suggestions. We crate him when he is not engaging with us…and at night. I run him every morning. He gets tons of love from me mostly, does play catch with my 10 year old and my husband. Just can’t figure out what sets him off..makes his eyes get dark and he is aggressive.

    • Holy crap! That is serious. You might want to go one step up from a trainer and see if there’s an animal behaviourist who can take him on. Make sure they specialize in aggression and are proponents of positive training. I’m not entirely against negative reinforcement, but this isn’t something that can be fixed by a correction on a martingale.

      How is he with being hand-fed by you and your immediate family (besides your sister, obviously)? Because I recommend starting making him work for every single piece of kibble, every minute of attention he gets. Check out http://www.k9deb.com/nilif.html – Nothing in Life is Free. He’s got to learn different behaviour at the door – sitting and waiting is a good start. Check out clicker/marker training, too.

      Dogs can get triggered by minute elements – a movement, a scent, an item. This is normally not a problem; by the time they are a year, most dogs have bite inhibition and have been socialized enough not to react to many triggering scenarios – small children, other dogs, etc. But in your dog’s case, this kind of inhibition has not been learned. This makes him a serious threat – it looks like he has resource aggression as well.

      I’m not a dog trainer, so I can’t give you a lot of advice. You’re best to keep working with someone one-on-one, but be aware that not every dog can be rehabilitated to the point of trustworthiness. This is a lot of aggression for a young dog in a relatively stress-free situation.

  6. We just got a 9 week old puppy who is having a hard time being crate/ex pen trained. The first half of the night goes ok after a bit of crying but then he wakes up in the middle of the night crying and we take him out to potty. After that, he screams when he is put back into the crate. What is the best way to get him to stop?

    • Hm… I don’t have much of an answer for that. My solution, after all Tierce’s needs were met was to keep a couple of shoes by the bed. If he decided to whimper after he was taken out to potty, I’d smack the crate with a shoe. I’m sure that I’m on some Shiba hell-list somewhere, but it did shut him up and quickly.

      If you don’t favour the shoe-admonishment, you could always try tying a Kong filled with peanut butter inside the crate when you pop him back in. Might keep him busy until he falls asleep again.

  7. Hey,
    I am 23 years old. I really want to get a shiba. I’ve make the research. And I know it’s not the best breed for a first owner dog but my heart is really set on him. I was thinking probably a basenji or Manchester terrier as second and third choice but for a reason, I can’t shake the shiba. I’m thinking of getting one soon and I know it’s not gonna be easy for the first few years. I’m ok with that. The only concern I have is the shedding. Some places they say, it doesn’t shed every only twice a year. Some other websites they say, the shibas are heavy shedders? Please confirm for me. I really want one but the heavy shedding every day might be a deal breaker for me. God I hope not. Please let me know
    Thanks

  8. Great ideas! We recently too, home an 8 week boy named Kato. He has been great to house train and crate train. We put him on a schedule like a baby, use lots of treats and provide 100 % supervision. Things have been great so far except being on a leash and some nipping behaviours. I think I will try the shake and put on the side to see if that helps with the nipping. They sure do need a not of training – he thinks he’s the boss 🙂

  9. I truly appreciate the tips you offer and will keep some in mind.
    My husband and I rescued/adopted a 20 month old spayed female shiba within the past week. I understand that she may still be adjusting to her new home and new family, but I justed wanted to see what your thoughts were.
    Luna was very friendly the moment she met us and even hopped in the car. Her former owner was present when this occurred. Since bringing her home, Luna has been very attched to my husband and myself. However, she has not responded well to other people in or out of the home. She will bark and growl at other people. It literally took treats for her to approach someone in our house. I have heard of the spray bottle for baring issues, but I wondered if that would be appropriate in this case since she is already upset.

    • I am not entirely in favour of using a spray bottle as the main response in this case. The reason is because Luna is obviously stressed by other people in her ‘space’. Spraying her with the bottle may cause her to associate people with increasing negativity.

      There have been several things suggested to me for reactivity in dogs. The first is to respect Luna’s boundaries and do not force them. I don’t mean ban people from your home or immediate surroundings, but don’t allow strangers to approach her for now. Let her see that strangers are not going to try to touch her when they come near her. Be a complete bitch if you have to be – a dog is not a petting zoo and having a dog in public does not make her public property.

      Then, train a different behaviour. Positive-based obedience lessons may be of great help (apprise the trainer of Luna’s issues prior to starting the course) to redirect Luna’s energy. If you practice directed attention (Watch me, Luna!, Go to your mat!, Get your ball), it may eventually become useful when strangers are in Luna’s vicinity. As time goes by, you might trigger Luna to do something positive – get a toy, go to her crate, come and sit at your feet – when strangers are around as opposed to acting like a demonic little hellbeast. Which, while she is probably just saying ‘I’m not comfortable’, can be interpreted as ‘I’m going to kill you and then I’m going to your house and I’m going to set fire to it’.

      It may be helpful to contact a specialist in reactive dogs for Luna’s case. I’m a big fan of clicker training, especially clicker training that emphasizes interacting with things other than yourselves – teaching the dog to play with a box or fetch a ball – because it trains her to be occupied with her environment rather than focused on you.

      I am not a trainer or even a Shiba expert. I’m expert at being humiliated by my Shibas, but that’s about as far as my professional opinion goes. I definitely recommend discussing options with trainers and exploring the DINOS website. Also, Nothing In Life Is Free.

  10. My son got a male Shiba puppy the first part of February, it is now 4/4/13. I believe he got it from a Puppy Mill. He said it was a breeder…that’s what she claimed. Anyway….this puppy is so shy and scared of everything. I now have him because my son is so busy with homework. I need some advice. I have three other dogs but have never had a puppy that’s as scared as he is. He does play with my dogs, but is leary of me. I would like to get him in training as I’ve read Shiba’s are very stubborn. Any help would be appreciated.

    • Socialization is important for all dogs, but for a dog like this Shiba, you cannot waste the time you have. What I recommend is finding a good trainer who works on extending your dog’s boundaries. I personally prefer clicker/marker training. This helps focus the dog on you instead of the big, bad world. You may also want to explore Nothing in Life is Free training to help mold your Shiba’s temperament.

  11. Hey Guys, I just got a 3 month old shiba inu puppy. He’s already trained to do his business outside and he hasn’t yet once done it in the house. I want him to be more responsive to me and even listen to commands such as sit, stay, speak, jump, no bitting, the basics. Any tips on how to do so?

    • I recommend a good puppy class based on positive reinforcement. It both helps socialize your puppy and train him. Check your local kennel club or dog trainer for puppy classes. 🙂

  12. Hey so I have a question, we just got a Shiba puppy female 10 weeks old. She is lovable and sweet to me and listens to me most of the time except for her tantrums. On the other hand there’s my wife who stays home throughout the day while I am at work and the puppy is a complete demon to her I.e biting her chasing our son and biting him when she gets upset, and she barks at our cat whether im home or not. It is normally brought on when my wife trys to correct a bad action of hers like when she tries to go under and behind the entertainment stand, she gets really mad and tries to snap. My wife never hits her but more like holds her mouth closed for less than two seconds and gives her a stern “no”, and then in turn the dog still gets highly upset and if she doesn’t bite her she will bite our 3 year old. And of course when I get home she’s all calm and smiles wagging het tail and I give her the exact same treatment for when she acts up. And the cat is beginning to become a growing issue now too, and that problem is whether I’m home or not, she will Chase the cat and continually bark at her. Do you have any suggestions at all to how we can correct these negative behaviours on our own so she will respect my wife and son more???

    • Hi, Dave!

      Here are some suggestions based on my experiences. Your wife is going to have to apply these, because she’s having problems with the dog. You can’t make the dog listen to her; she has to take control. The puppy’s exposure to your child and cat needs to be controlled with a crate and/or exercise pen. 100% time management will not hurt her; she needs to learn that outside play is something done when fully supervised and when she’s not being a little shit.

    • Take your Shiba on a crash course in Nothing In Life Is Free (NILIF).
    • Puppy classes are also a good way to go with this. A habit of obedience instilled early will make life with your Shiba much easier.
    • Contact your dog’s breeder and explain what is happening and get advice. My breeders were invaluable when I had dominance problems with Tierce.
    • A spray bottle filled with plain water can work wonders at distance discipline. Avoid the face area. Use it sparingly to keep the effectiveness of it (if your dog decides she likes the spray bottle, you’re kinda SOL with it).
    • I am not afraid to get physical with my Shibas. If they act up, they can expect a very firm correction on the collar or a scruff shake. I feed them, I care for them, I walk them: they can damn well learn to be reasonably polite.
    • I am not a dog trainer, nor do I play one on TV. All I know is what worked for Tierce and Shassi. When Tierce tried to bite, I would grab him by the scruff and give him a shake. Then I would put him down on the floor on his side for a couple of minutes. This sounds easy, but he screamed like I was pinning him to the floor with a marlin spike. A couple of sessions, though, and he decided that biting and snapping were not the way to go.

      You have to make the punishment fit the crime, you have to make sure the dog knows why it’s being disciplined and you have to ensure that the punishment is effective.

      Hope this helps!

  13. I love this site! It’s been great for information, but I still have a couple of questions.

    My little Shiba was never actually supposed to be mine. I was puppy sitting him for half a year, and really had no idea what I was getting myself into. Long story short, the owner never came back for him and has informed me she won’t be able to. Now I have a new puppy. For the most part Oongi is lovely and clever! But I also have an 8 year old 120lb Black Lab named Mosi. For the first 3 months or so, the guys got along great, but then one day Oongi started having serious food aggressions! He would attack my Lab when he was eating, growling and baring his teeth. He’d never attack me, and if my Lab wasnt such a calm and well mannered dog I think he’d be Shiba food! Its weird to me because Oongi NEVER used to do it so I dont know what brought it on.

    I’m not sure how to handle the aggression. Since it’s started, I’ve had Oongi eat in a completely separate room for all meals, but even when human food is brought out he’ll run and attack my Lab as if we’re going to feed them.

    My last problem with him is he refuses to be house trained! 🙁 He’s been in my care for 8 months now and he still pees all over the house! I urge him outside every hour, but he won’t always go. I’ve even tried cutting off water after a certain hour. It makes no difference. In fact he’s even peed IN FRONT of me while I had the back door to the yard open!

    Any suggestions?

    • Hi, Kari,

      Hie thee to an animal behaviourist! I am not really a dog trainer or a Shiba behaviourist, so I generally direct people with problem Shibas to get expert help. You mention a couple of problems:

      – Oongi has food aggression
      – Oongi’s food aggression is escalating towards Mosi
      – Oongi is not house trained

      Here are some things you can do in the interim:

      Neuter: If Oongi is not neutered, make an appointment at the vet to chop those balls off. I can’t tell you the peace and joy that arise from removing a male Shiba’s testicles; you really have to experience it for yourself. Oongi’s at that age where he’s trying to assert himself. Take the raging hormones away and you’re more likely to have a dog who realizes that attacking a dog 5 times his size isn’t the smartest thing he could do with his life.

      100% Time Management: Start a schedule for Oongi. Every single moment of his life should be managed. Right now he needs a schedule. At roughly the same time every day, he should get fed, watered, taken out, trained, etc.

      Crate: If Oongi is not actively playing with you, en route to or from a walk or training, then he stays in his crate. This is not cruelty; it is managing his time so that he has no choice but to eliminate where you say he should. This can be hard, because who wants to coop their puppy up in a crate? However you must insist. Even if he whines or makes a fuss. He is acting like a puppy, so treat him like one. Feeding him in a crate will also temporarily eliminate his attacks on Mosi.

      Correction: If he pees in the house, correct him! I gave Tierce a scruff shake, yelled “No!” Depending on Oongi, you may want to try different methods; the spray bottle with water is often a hit. This is only effective if you catch him in the act. Even if you come across a fresh puddle, there’s no point in correcting him. This may not be “housebreaking”; this may just be marking behaviour. He may be trying to tell the world that this is his house and you have to tell that little shit, “No, this is MY house.”

      Obedience Training: Oongi needs to know that you are not going to tolerate random aggression. Get him into training now. Also, a class for Mosi would not hurt. You have the right to expect Oongi to behave like a decent dog and not like an asshole. This is sounding more and more like male Shiba assholism to me. Oongi is trying to dominate anything and everything and you need to stomp on him HARD (not literally, haha).

      Attacking Mosi = Deprivation: At any sign of aggression towards Mosi, shove Oongi back into his crate. If he doesn’t want to play nice, he doesn’t deserve to be allowed the freedom of the house. Some people don’t like using crates as punishment, but I view it more as “Go to your room!”

      NILIF: Anyone can do it.

      Keep in mind the ultimate goal here: You want a dog who can get along with your other

      Good luck to you!

    • Kevin,

      There are a number of videos on training dogs – some you can find on YouTube for free! If you can’t get to a training class (always my first recommendation due to the socialization and distraction opportunities), online videos can be your friend. However, you have to figure out what style of training that you want to engage in. Personally, I like NILIF (Nothing in Life is Free) and clicker training and its sister, the marker system Leerburg page on the marker system, which can be done anywhere, without a clicker.

      Other places you can get dog training videos for free is your local library. Sometimes, you can find them at your local video store. However, first I would urge you to discover what style of training appeals to you (and works for your dog) and seek out videos on that system.

  14. Hello!

    Help me! I have a 12 week old baby boy shiba his name is lennon he is adorable as they all are but hates being in his crate! he cries and cries and he jumped out today and pooped all over the house! i felt bad telling him that was bad because what if he was sick and had to get out? and i know they dont like ot poop in their bed!! another problem is he will not walk on his leash! we have tried everything he hates it! he just lies there and wont move! please help me!!!!

    • Hi, Elise!

      I know it’s hard, but you need to practice 100% time management for your Shiba boy. One strategy that can help is making sure that your boy is tired out. Since he’s so young, tiring him out could mean a lengthy play session, puppy classes or playtime with similarly sized or gentle dogs. You might consider a crate and exercise pen setup until he learns to control himself. Put a tarp under the pen to take care of any accidents.

      Speaking of accidents, if you don’t catch him 1.5 seconds after pooping, don’t bother punishing him, yelling at him or anything else. You can glare at him. But 2 seconds after he starts to squat, he’s already forgotten about his last meal soaking into your expensive shag and has gone on to bigger and better things, like your shoes. The expensive ones.

      As for the leash, start making it a part of mealtimes, playtime – everything good now comes with the leash attached. Does Lennon have a favourite toy? Before he gets to play with it, the leash goes on. Before he eats, the leash goes on. Before he gets to greet people, the leash goes on. Don’t pay attention to his tantrums. Don’t drag him around, but insist that the leash stay on. Before long his natural puppy curiousity will overcome his outraged sensibilities.

  15. HI again!, We have a one year old Shiba named Miyu. I’m trying to get her not to pull on hear leash when we walk. The method i’m using is when she pulls I walk the other direction and continue to do so until she walks beside or behind me (which by the way is probably for a few seconds at best) Should we continue this method or try something else…or just accept the fact she will always pull because shes a shiba lol.

    • Hi, Jon, sorry it took so long for me to get back to you.

      If it works, keep doing it. If it doesn’t work, try something else. One thing I’m looking at is marker training – check out this site Leerburg Marker Training Ignore the calls to action to buy this cd or that dvd and focus on what the page is saying – it makes a lot of sense about operant conditioning, etc.

  16. This is a WONDERFUL site! Very amusing and informative.
    I have written a book about a Shiba puppy based on my dog, Nikki (I am a much-published author/illustrator, so assume professionalism!), and wonder if I can profile it on your site, in exchange for linking your site with mine.

    Would appreciate input (have never done on-line marketing, so am learning protocols). Thanks for your help.

    Olena

  17. I have a almost 2 yr old shiba male! He is an over all decent dog except for a few things! First off when he is in his crate or tied up he screams and he screams until people cant stand to hear it so they let him in the house and he runs loose. Then comes the next issue. While hes in the house he finds clothes and trash and rips them to shreads. And my last issue comes with food and another dog. We have 3 dogs hes the youngest but every time one of our dogs are eating he starts a fight with her and her only the other one he doesnt care about he always attacks this one certain dog we have. I have no idea what to do from here i have tried everything other family memebers have shibas and they have no seen any of these actions from theres…

    • Hi Danielle,

      You have a real Shiba brat on your hands! Being 2 years old, he is full of the joys and the rages of young adulthood – great for him, hell on you. However, it’s not going to be easy to retrain him. I don’t have experience training adult Shibas – only the two Shibas I raised from pups.

      1. If he’s not neutered, get him to the vet to chop those balls off. Testosterone can really contribute a LOT to assholishness in Shibas. I’ve noticed a HUGE difference in Tierce now that his back end is lighter.

      2. NILIF: Nothing in Life is Free. From now on he gets NOTHING – no food, no water, no attention, not a Dog damn thing unless he does something for it. Whether it’s “sit”, “come”, “down”, “stay”, “sit”, “heel” – sitting quietly at the door while it’s opened – not jumping up… he has to do something. He has to CONTROL himself or he does not get what he wants. Hand feed him every bite he gets and make him work for every mouthful.

      3. The crate: Here are several suggestions:

      Put him in the crate for meal times when you don’t have the time to feed him by hand. The crate is where he gets fed, where he gets attention. Separate him from the other dogs at meal times.

      Practice him staying in the crate for longer and longer periods quietly. Only reward silence. A can with a few pennies, a shoe and a squirt bottle of water are your friends and his consequences if he steps out of line – do NOT take him out of the crate for whining unless he’s been in there for a while quietly (he probably needs to go out). You will have to be consistent. He has learned that by whining and howling, he gets his way. Not anymore. It gets worse before it gets better.

      4. Take up jogging or endurance walking.

      Run that puppy into the GROUND. You need to take him for longer walks or some runs to get his activity level under control. You can also exercise him with a bicycle, but that requires obedience on his part and a veerrrryyy slooooww pace on yours. Like humans, dogs need to work their way up to a certain level of fitness before undergoing serious running or trotting.

      5. Obedience training

      Get this dog used to obedience around other dogs. Practice at home is great, but classes are better.

      These are only suggestions; you may also want to contact a trainer or animal behaviourist. You can also contact the breeder of your dog and inquire as to Shiba coping strategies.

  18. I would allow plenty of space between them, so they can get used to each other from a safe distance. Regular, controlled meetings may be less stressful than throwing them together in a room and expecting them to get along. I would also feed them separately, to avoid one dog bullying the other. Puppy and obedience classes are definitely a good way to get some control over them both as they grow up. If anyone else has advice, feel free to contribute!

  19. I have a 1 year old Shiba who is actually quite good (minus the whole leash issue). My husband and I also recently bought a 4 month old lab. Do you have any tips that would assist us for helping our shiba get used to her new sister?

  20. We live in the country. The yard is a good 10 acres. We own the pastures around us. Our other dogs would run and explore but always came back to the house. Are we really never going to be able to just let our dog run and be on his own? We had no idea when we bought our shiba.

    • I’m not a big fan of letting any dog run loose. Without the guidance of a human being, a dog can start harassing/killing livestock or harassing/injuring humans, be attacked by wild animals, eat poison, catch a disease (rabies can incubate for a long time before being diagnosed), or get trapped somewhere its barks/howls/screams won’t travel to a human ear. The negative possibilities are endless. A neighbour is well within their rights to kill your dog if it’s harassing livestock or people. You won’t be able to control or defend your dog because you won’t know what it did or did not do.

      I realize that many dogs will stay on their owners’ property, but I wouldn’t put any money on a Shiba doing so. I would put money on your Shiba chasing and killing chickens and other fowl, should it come across such in its wanderings, or becoming the victim of a coyote or bobcat or feral dog pack. If you’re not available to supervise your dog, make a pen for him for when you want him outside but don’t want to be supervising him. And I would strongly advise that you make very sure that your other dogs are really staying on your property and aren’t straying into areas where they are endangered by contact with wild animals and parasites.

  21. I must confess (ah, shattering my image as a Shiba expert in all things) that I am still fighting the good fight with Tierce.

    Most of the time he can be controlled with a judicious correction and a warning command (I use “Back” to mean “Get your ass beside me and don’t start pulling like a lunatic!”), but he still needs constant control when he sees something he likes, like another dog or a rabbit, etc. He was much better when I had him in obedience classes. We’re hoping to come back to them in the early part of this year.

    I would recommend that you take an obedience class and ditch the harness for a good training collar. A harness is all very well if your dog does know how to walk politely on the lead, but for a Shiba who think’s he’s Yukon King, well it’s not going to go very far.

    Unless you have had considerable (successful) experience using various forms of training collar, I recommend that you get a trainer’s advice on how to size, put on and use a training collar, as it’s not as easy as their availability makes it seem.

    Hope that helps!

  22. Great website! We have had “vegas” for about 4 years now. He fits a lot of the descriptions that you have on this website!
    Our only “complaints” about him are blowing coat and pulling on his lead. Obviously, the blowing coat cannot be helped, but, do you have any suggestions about pulling on his lead? We use a harness so we are not pulling on his throat but because he always has his nose to the ground, well, you can imagine I am sure.
    Suggestions?

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