Hi, Ryan. If you’re doing some research on the Shiba, there’s a chance that you might land here. Well, you’re going to be joining an elite group. Special, even. Here’s how to not be a failed Shiba owner.
First of all, don’t be like a number of clueless celebrities and buy your dog from a place that exploits dogs for money. This includes pet shops, puppy mills and anyone who tells you their puppies are worth an unbelievable amount of money. Seriously. I know that you have a lot of money – well, at least a hell of a lot more money than I do, and you can afford a $10,000 dog. However, think about the person who immediately jacks up the price when they see someone who they know has a lot of money coming to inspect their latest litter. Does this sound like someone who cares about what kind of home their puppy goes to? Does it sound like someone who cares more about their dogs than they do about money? I don’t think so.
Second, do your research. Find out how much the average price of a Shiba should cost. Find out what health problems they have. Find a decent breeder – the National Shiba Club of America is a good start, since you’re in America (if you happen to be in Canada, it’s Shiba Inu Canada). You want someone who asks you questions. They will want to know how you’re going to take care of a Shiba puppy with a busy show host schedule and what you’re going to do with the dog when you can’t take care of it. They’re going to do genetic testing and you should know why. Maybe you have an assistant doing a lot of the searching for you; I hope that this assistant knows what s/he is looking for.
Third, train the little bugger. Crate training will save your Shiba’s life one day, especially the days when the dog’s being a little shit and you just want to kill it. Don’t give in to bratty behaviour – make sure Something Unpleasant happens when Puppy decides to flash the pearly whites. And train, train, train. Puppy classes, beginner obedience, intermediate obedience… it may not turn your Shiba into a paragon, but it will sure as hell help. Don’t hire a trainer to “do it for you” and don’t think the dog is trained because it comes when called in the privacy of your yard.
Remember, we, the Shiba owners, want you to do well. This is our breed and we want to see it shine in the celebrity arena. We want you to buy a dog from a good breeder (or rescue; lots of Shibas need good homes and you can certainly afford patella surgery for slipping kneecaps – one reason to buy from responsible breeders only). We want your dog to bring you a lot of happiness and amusement.
And we also are eagerly awaiting the first time the dog nearly gives you a heart attack by scaling your 10 foot fence and gallivanting around the neighborhood while you try to catch it on foot, chews a pair of $5000 designer shoes, decides to not show off the trick you taught it on national TV… oh, there are many ways Shibas humiliate their owners. Far it be from us to wish that you avoid one of the most memorable aspects of Shiba ownership.