Nuisance Behaviour

Barking

Shibas don’t belong in an outdoor kennel all day and night; nor do they belong in the backyard, barking their head off. Shibas can be highly reactive if they are not secured in a low-stimulation environment. Your Shiba belongs in a safe, secure location where he is not entertaining the neighbours with his rendition of “Moon River”.

Every neighbourhood has some selfish jerk who keeps their dog outside to annoy everyone else with its barking. They aren’t bothered by the dog barking, so why should anyone else be?

Don’t be one of these people. Put the dog inside! Distract it! Do everything in your power NOT to cause problems for other people! Companion dogs are a privilege of human society, not a sanctioned vehicle to push your slovenly habits onto others.

Nuisance barking is often nipped in the bud by removing the Shiba from the situation and providing something more appropriate. If your dog is barking outside, take it inside. Give it a chew toy or a treat to shut it up.

Discourage barking in the house by immediately going and disciplining the puppy instead of offering a half-hearted, “Now, Pookie, be quiet Pookie, I’m not going to say it again Pookie…” Go to Pookie and give him to understand that continuing a behaviour that has been discouraged is not in his best interests. I have found that a firm scruff shake often improved Shassi’s attitude and a complete change of scene or activity was enough to make her forget all about vocalizing her opinions.

Digging

Shibas appear to miss their country of origin and many make it their life’s mission to tunnel back to Japan.

You can discourage this every time the dog starts it and it may work. My solution was just not to let Shassi run around in the yard unsupervised. Thus I could stop digging before it started.

Another method I used was taking the dogs out to the ice rink and letting them go to town on the piles of shaved ice dumped outside. If you have an area where you don’t mind your dog digging, keep bringing it to that spot whenever it starts to dig and hopefully Pookie will get the idea. Or not.

Chewing

Chewing… yes, Shibas chew. And chew. And chew. Give them plenty of safe chew toys and don’t let them alone anywhere where there’s anything you want to preserve. And don’t think that “just a minute” matters when it comes to this breed. You could go out for five minutes to listen to your friend Mindy’s tragic tale of her latest perfidious ex and return to find that your remote is nowhere to be found and that the channel changes every time your Shiba blinks his eyes.

Here’s a little story to illustrate the folly of those who put their trust in chewing puppies. October 8th, 2007, my boyfriend had to go to the hospital due to acute peritonitis. Backstory: Boyfriend is on dialysis. A week before, Tierce had chewed on his dialysis line. We had been letting our adorable, growing, constantly chewing puppy sleep on the bed with us. Despite knowing that he was still chewing and still did not have a good concept of “Kong toy = good, all other objects = bad”, we still didn’t crate him.,/p>

Boyfriend was in the hospital for five days. Tierce’s fault? No. Our stupidity fault? Yes. Tierce did make history though – apparently he’s the first dog on Vancouver Island that has chewed through a dialysis line.

Moral of the story: don’t give your puppy the opportunity to do something like this. It could have been an electrical cord that Tierce got to and we could have woken up to a dead puppy. As it was, peritonitis is not a fun way to win a free ride in an ambulance and sleeping on the emergency room floor from the hours of 1-9AM didn’t improve my Thanksgiving any.

Convincing a Shiba puppy that some things are not to be chewed on takes a while and is best simplified by putting your stuff where the puppy can’t get it or the puppy where it can’t get to the stuff. Since Shibas have been known to jump from floor to counter to shelf, this can get more complicated as Puppy grows. This is where the crate and the exercise pen come in oh, so handy.

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9 Comments

  1. I too have had problemns with mouthing. My shiba Yuki is coming up to 8 months now and still trys to do it with us. I got told to alpha roll him but having done it a couple of times I gave up as it made him worse and he thrashed about more and the noise he let out was unbelievable I thought the next door neighbour would be calling the RSPCA for animal cruelty haha not to mention the scars ive been left with. Ive had a few problems with my shiba showing teeth and being aggressive towards mainly myself and actually biting my 5 year old daughter. We got to the end of our tether with him mainly due to biting my daughter and it was always around food or if he thought she was heading towards his bowl when she was playing he would bite and cause her to bleed and she is now left with scars. Ive never left him alone with her and wouldnt dream of trusting any dog alone so we sought help from the breeder who took him back for a week and she worked with her friend who deals with naughty dogs and he came back and showed us a few tricks on how to deal with him. Although he hasnt bitten her for over 2 months now im still wary of him. One thing this guy showed us was rather than alpha roll him, we had to grab him by his collar at the side of his head push on his head with forearm and stand over him, all the while making him stand till he submits. This worked a treat for a while and him being a shiba cottoned on to what he should be doing, so when I do discipline him now he stands and then submits by putting his head down and going all limp and relaxed but the minute i let go of him he shakes it off and comes back and bites, well mouths my hand and runs away. He just has to get that last word. we also have an open plan home so this guy told us to limit Yuki’s space and separate us and him and only when we want to spend time with him Yuki should see it as a priviledge being with us and spending time playing. Although I separated my living and dining room with a gate we only put him in the other room at say meal times and whenever my daughter wants to play with toys on the floor cos he would never leave her alone rather than use his crate were he felt like he was behind bars looking out at her playing. Never had trouble with chewing really, he tried to chew on my skirting when he was a baby but with minimal damage and since being told off for it, he never went back and always to his toys. Although its our fault if something is left on the floor and he chews it, as with all shiba’s everything is mine should come tattooed on their behind haha We have gave alot of thought to giving him back due to his behaviour but cos we are attatched to this little shxt we cant bring ourselves to do it. I was a first time shiba owner but not first time dog owner and like they say you cant put a shiba in the same bracket as any dog you have previously owned before they are a law unto themselves. Just another suggestion about mouthing too much, we have a hoola hoop with small balls inside it so it makes a rattle kind of noise when moved. Yuki took a dislike to this hoola hoop so I filled a small bottle with lentils and shook it whenever he came over to bite which he would turn and run the minute he saw the bottle coming out. Also puppy fresh spray worked well with us too, you know the kinda spray you spray on to make them smell a bit fresher rather than bathing all the time, well Yuki didnt like the smell of this particular one which smelt like baby talcum powder and we used that whenever he got a bit bitey with us or when near where he shouldnt be for instance the back of the tv. There was many a time when we came into the room and he would be curled up with the dvd player on the glass cabinet and he still likes to do it even if hes too big. Put it this way, I dont have to dust too much around the dvd player cos I got a big red shiba duster that does it all for me haha

  2. Thank you for your help, he has a ton of toys but does love ice cubes so I’ll try frozen toys, he has a crate and does great with it but I was told to never use the crate as punishment, so it is okay to put him in there as a time out? I have tried bitterapple it doesn’t seem to bother him much, but I’ll try the spray bottle. Its nice to know he’ll grow out of it as my biggest fear is a full grown dog that bites. Thank you again for your advice, I love your site, it is a wonderful source of knowledge and laughter!

  3. Hi, I was wondering if I could get some advice. I have a 4 1/2 month old shiba boy (Tidus). First of all I’d like to say he is great if very mischievous. He comes when called fairly regularly, likes to cuddle and be a lap dog (when sleepy), is good with kids and great with other dogs BUT I can’t seem to fix the biting. Yes, I know he is a puppy but it really hurts and he isn’t making any progress and is getting worse. I know he is teething but we’ve made great progress on him chewing on the wrong things, but none with his biting us. It is always either playful or to get our attention, never with growls never aggressively, but those baby teeth hurt and I don’t want a grown dog doing that and I have a 5 yr old step daughter over at times and I’m afraid he’ll hurt her. I am way past the “yelping” so he knows he has hurt you or saying no (and of course just ignoring him). Hands on things (not hitting) like alpha rolls or firmly holding his muzzle makes him more snappy as its now a game to him. Time outs are not an option as I do not have a room that I’d feel safe leaving him unsupervised. I have done a lot of research on the web and feel like I’ve tried everything, I even asked my vet who said only that he is just a puppy (not helpful). I was hoping for more shiba centered advice. Any advice? I’m desperate.

    • Hi, Lindsey,

      Shibas seem to be very mouthy; Shassi’s breeder sent me an email to this effect. This does *not* mean that you should put up with it; just that it’s a normal part of Shiba puppy growing. Tierce was very mouthy when he was younger, but grew out of it. There is hope!

      I would recommend multiple approaches to this.

      First, Tidus is likely teething. Make sure that he has plenty of chew items. Tierce still plays with his Kong that he’s had ever since he was a puppy. A clean rag soaked in water and frozen can be a great chew toy, as long as you make sure that he’s not eating it rather than chewing it. There are also chew toys designed to be frozen. This can help alleviate your problems.

      * Get a crate. This is not only so that you have somewhere you can put him for a “time out”, it also makes life with him a lot less stressful when you just can’t have a rambunctious Shiba puppy running about the place.

      * No Alpha rolls; they aren’t that great for discipline. However, I’ve got a blog post coming up on the 9th of March about this, so you may get some tips from it.

      * Institute NILIF immediately. Teach Tidus that he has to work his curly tail off for whatever he wants. Otherwise, no treats, no attention at all.

      * If you and Tidus are not enrolled in a puppy class, start looking for one; they give him something to do and you something to focus on.

      * Coat your hands with Bitter Apple (it’s a commercial product sold in pet supply stores) and start playing with him. Wait until he starts mouthing you and howl with laughter at the disgusted faces he makes.

      * Squirt him with a spray bottle filled with water when he bites too hard.

      Don’t overuse single methods of discipline – I find that when you mix them up, it makes your puppy warier, because he never knows what he’s going to get if he starts gumming your hands.

  4. Oh man. I “felt sorry” for my shiba Shane when he was a baby and took him out of his crate and idiotically left him alone for an afternoon. He had toys and bones a-plenty. Apparently the multiple toys and bones were not acceptable or tasty enough for Shane as he proceeded to chew EIGHT holes all over the kitchen linoleum and HUGE holes IN THE FRICKING WALL – WAYYY PAST THE DRYWALL. I learned the hard way as often uninformed shiba owners most certainly do.

  5. This past sunday, i picked up my new boy who has yet to be named. Just kinda looking for his personality.

    OH DEAR GOD I FORGOT ABOUT THE MOUTHY CHEWING NIPPING..

    It’s tempting me to name him Cujo.. or Jaws.. he’s actually a chubby pup too so.. might end up being Chunk the Voracious Cujo and Decendant of Jaws.. i realize in time he will grow out of this and the name will no longer match him.

    OH DEAR GOD THE CHEWING!

    i’m sure Nikko is having a good time laughing at his mom dealing with his brother “Chunk” as he watches us from the Rainbow Bridge.

  6. As for the chewing – buy lots and lots of rawhide bones and regular bones and NEVER leave a Shiba without something to chew on. We were never able to crate our Shiba Ty, he would go completely crazy when put into a crate. He didn’t like being left shut in the bathroom either. Where is he happy being left – leashed to my front door (go figure). My son and I left one day for school & work and neither of us remembered to leave things to chew. When we came home that night there was a hole chewed in my kitchen wall that was approximately 6 – 8 inches wide. It’s a good thing Ty is soooooo cute!! He’s also had some fun with my wall to wall carpet when I wans’t looking. 🙁

  7. I know of at least one instance in which a “rescue” shiba had to be returned to rescue because one of her new owners turned out to be allergic to her. The people loved the shiba, but the female owner started breaking out in hives once the shiba moved in w/ them.

  8. I have been in love with Shibas ever since I first saw one. This website has been very helpful in my decision to get one. I have a question though, are they known to cause allergic reactions?

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