Friends and Neighbours
If a friend or neighbour is giving up their Shiba, you’re going to have to think carefully about taking it on. If you know the dog and like it, you may have no trouble. If you don’t know the dog, you may get some unpleasant surprises if you are not prepared.
You would do well to critically evaluate the dog’s temperament, activity level, behaviour in the house and attitude towards other animals and people. Do not take in a dog out of pity for a friend or acquaintance. If you have serious doubts about this dog, or don’t want a dog at all, encourage them to contact their nearest Shiba rescue.
If a friend’s dog has puppies, evaluate them like you would any other breeder. It’s difficult to refuse a friend, but if you have doubts about their responsibility towards their dogs, don’t get a puppy from them. This dog could be with you for 15 years, making purchasing a badly bred specimen a severe strain on a friendship if the dog turns out to have genetic health or temperament problems.
Ads in any medium indicate that you must be cautious. Responsible breeders can and do advertise, but a lot don’t. Use the same criteria for a good breeder/rescue to evaluate the person and their dog(s)
Many reputable breeders don’t take out ads, as their litters are spoken for before they are ready for homes, sometimes even before conception. Top breeders often have waiting lists for their puppies.
Shelters, SPCAs, and multi-breed Rescues
Shelters and generic rescues are also places where Shibas might turn up. While most shelters, SPCAs and other animal rescue societies are good organizations, the workers and volunteers often are not familiar with the Shiba breed and can’t give you a lot of information about the individual dog.
Evaluate the dog carefully, but remember that in a shelter situation, many dogs are “shell-shocked” and their reactions in the shelter are not the reactions they will have out on the street or in your house. This could be good and bad – a “hyper” dog might calm down after the application of training and exercise. However a dog that appears calm might hide bad habits or dangerous behaviours.
Remember that it can take weeks for a dog to settle down in a new home and anxiety can cause behaviour problems that will eventually disappear as the dog becomes more confident of its place with you.
Obedience training is a great way to bond with a shelter/rescue dog. If your shelter does not feature these as part of the adoption process, seek out a good class ASAP and get your relationship with your “second-hand Shiba” off to a good start.
If you find a Shiba stepping high, wide, and handsome down your street, chances are that it has just wiggled through a three-inch hole in its owner’s screen door and is taking an impromptu tour of the neighbourhood. If it doesn’t have an ID tag, try calling the local SPCA, animal shelter and vets. Take it for a walk and see if you can find a distraught Shiba owner calling her dog’s name on the next street over.
Don’t assume that a collar-less, dirty dog is homeless. Shibas are wizards at getting loose and many can slip out of their collars with a twist of their heads. If they get spooked, they can and will run to the nearest dark, sheltered place, or out of the area. Do everything in your power to find out if the Shiba taking possession of your couch has a home before you start calling him yours. Check on the Internet, with Shiba rescues, and with Shiba groups.
If you have done anything in your power to find the owners of the charming little dog and have come up with nothing, you can consider keeping him. But, do you? The same issues when considering a shelter or rescue dog are relevant to adopting a stray.
If you’re going to keep a stray Shiba, get it checked by a vet as soon as possible, and start training right away. It’s a wonderful thing to think that you are saving a dog from a miserable life on the street. Just make sure that your Florence Nightengale routine doesn’t result in a poor choice for your lifestyle.