Exercising Your Shiba Inu

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:

  1. chasing and killing other animals
  2. dragging their lead just far enough away so that their infuriated and horribly embarrassed owner can’t grab it
  3. leading several people a merry chase through suburban lawns and gardens
  4. freeway tag
  5. killing toys that resemble live animals and strewing the fluffy, vacuum-clogging entrails all over the carpet
  6. 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.


  1. I looked at this site a while ago(pre Shiba puppy) and recently came back to check up on it and wanted to say thanks (now 9 month Shiba). Games 2, 5, and 6 are all favorites of his (not necessarily mine), and thought it was only him. Is nice to hear there are others out there going through similar things. Even with all that, we’re going on a short trip tomorrow without him and so he’s staying somewhere else tonight, and miss him already. It’s too quiet and he’s got me well trained. Is taking mail or any paper off the table and running away with it another popular game (and of course shredding it if not chased)? Or just my particular Shiba puppies invention?

    • It seems to be your Shibas particular amusement! Tierce will happily shred pieces of paper that he finds; he just doesn’t go looking for them! ๐Ÿ™‚

  2. I have a now-11 month old Shiba named Sachi. His favorite game is: go grab something I know I’m not supposed to have, show mom, and then run like hell! I don’t find it very amusing, but the look on his face right before he runs is priceless ๐Ÿ™‚

  3. Emery’s favorite game is #5. I can’t even count how many toys she’s destroyed, and how many bags I’ve filled with stuffing. I know I should probably stop her, but she has so much fun LOL.

    And as for paper, she will shred it if it happens to be on the floor. She has dragged a sheet or two off of a low table if we aren’t paying attention.

    She’s in agility, and doing so much better then I had expected!

  4. Hi!

    No idea where to post this – thought it might be the best possible section.

    I am considering getting a Shiba, but the many warnings regarding “on the leash” exercise has installed some doubts. I am a horsey person, and enjoy having the dogs along on outrides, which generally occur on farms, rarely near roads. Do you perhaps know how Shibas generally react to this type of exercise, as well as to horses?

    I also have a Doberman, so I’m not quite sure if the two breeds will be compatible, despite proper introduction.

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