Shiba Inus are small, attractive, independent, and popular dog breeds resembling foxes.
They were initially bred for small game and to flush birds because of their spirited personalities and cat-like agility but have become notoriously stubborn and hard to train.
However, with patience and consistency, Shiba Inus can be trained to follow basic commands.
So what are the basics when training a Shiba Inu?
Is it easy to train a Shiba Inu?
Shiba Inus originated from the mountainous areas of Japan and are a reasonably independent dog breed with very few health issues.
They are athletic, quiet, clean, and alert, perfect for indoor and outdoor conditions.
Shibas are very stubborn and notoriously tricky dogs to train. Handling them can be a big problem until you get to know them and put in some time and effort.
Shibas are bold, playful, confident, and intelligent dogs. They respond well to commands and specific tactics.
In addition, they have a very high prey drive since they were bred for hunting both small and large game. In case of triggers, Shiba Inus may never come back in case of pursuit.
This prompts Shibu Inu owners to keep them on a leash around potential prey.
How do you instil discipline in a Shiba Inu puppy?
A Shiba Inu puppy should be started on training as soon as possible, preferably when they are eight weeks old but if your puppy is already older than this, begin immediately.
A Shiba's unique temperament and strong personality may be a problem during training. However, during the early development stages, it is easier.
Below is a bundle-up of steps one can follow to train a Shiba:
- Consistent Commands
Use clear verbal commands for Shiba Inus of about one or two words (such as"sit," "heel," "leave it," or "lay down") consistently to help them understand.
While saying the command to a Shiba, use a firm, distinct and calm tone. Aggravated or angry tones often upset Shibas, and they may not respond well to training.
You can introduce other commands after surety that your Shiba has mastered a specific order. This helps with their focus and attention.
- Call Out Bad Behaviour
When a Shiba does something wrong, stop the bad behaviour immediately by saying a firm verbal command of "no" or diverting their attention somewhere else like walking or playing.
Ensure not to yell, deploy physical aggression or display anger as Shibas are very stubborn, and it can be a real task breaking them off from destructive behaviour.
If restrained or physically punished, Shiba fights back with biting, rough play, and aggression, so stay calm and don't show fear or back away. However, don't engage in physical competition.
The tendency by Shiba to unnecessarily bark, chew, or do things they shouldn't be doing should be reprimanded, or they may lead to more significant problems.
In addition, Shibas love attention and get bored quickly. They also like being close to their owners but also like freedom. This makes controlling them much more manageable.
Positive redirection and reinforcement help build a sense of trust and love between Shibas and their owners, and their misbehaviour can efficiently be dealt with through passive resistance.
- Plenty of Exercises
Some dog breeds like Shiba Inus are energetic and require a lot of daily exercises. If they are not tired out, they may become bored and anxious.
This may root out lousy behaviour of chewing on things to get attention. Playing fetch, giving puzzle feeders, and going for long walks may give Shibas the exercise they need to burn off excess energy.
Exercises help Shiba Inus focus and retain information by giving them mental stimulation. Also, please do not leave them alone for an extended period.
- Crate Training
Crate training gives the security of a Shiba's safety while indoors and encourages good behaviour
This training should commence while Shiba Inus are just puppies. Focus on positive training of giving treats and using a cheerful voice when introducing them to their crates.
Place blankets, the puppy's favourite items, and chew toys to give the crate an inviting sensation.
Finding the perfect crate for the Shiba is vital. Crates are in different shapes, sizes, and materials. Ensure the puppy or dog fits ideally and is comfortable even when forced to stay in the crates longer than usual.
Get a durable crate, taking into account the dog's behaviour. A more enclosed crate is perfect for Shibas who like sleeping in the dark, but the wire-type cage is more common.
- Potty Training
Like all other Shiba training, start potty training early. The best option when training puppies are dog training pads.
Once ready to potty train the pup outdoors, relocate the training pads next to your primary exit. Puppies need breaks every hour, so always be consistent with potty breaks.
Also, be consistent with commands that inform the puppy it's time to go outside while rewarding good behaviour with treats and positive reinforcement.
- Clicker Training
This training is a recommended obedience training tool by dog trainers. Pick a clicker at the nearest pet store and make your dog familiar with it.
Once a Shiba gets a few commands, use the clicker with a verbal command instead of praise and treats. Teach the dog to associate clicking sounds with credit for good behaviour.
Clicker training is an effective alternative to treatment training which can eventually lead to weight gain.
It is essential to socialise young Shibas by touching many sights, sounds, grooming, and smells as early as possible.
Give good treats during these sessions to make them associate handling with positive experiences and increase their confidence when dealing with new things.
Shiba Inus often display dominance. It is good to socialise them to limit dog aggression towards other pets. On-leash walks around the neighbourhood help familiarise the dog with other animals they hear or see.
With time, depending on the Shiba's response, increase the number of dogs they meet by organising playdates or visits to a dog park while ensuring maximum supervision.
- Reward Positive Behaviour
Once your Shiba performs the action or command, reward with a treat. Positive relationships are primarily created during these moments.
Consequently, repeat the commands and rewards to make the Shiba learn that good behaviour gets them tasty treats.
Shiba Inus are motivated by food. The treats should be explicitly for obedience training, not snacks or dog food. This allows for consistent treats because they are lower in calories.
Can you train a Shiba Inu off-leash?
Training Shiba Inus off-leash isn't as complicated as it looks. The most important step is using incentives and obedience commands to establish a good connection.
Consistent instructions often give the dog a habit of following your lead. However, a transition from on-leash to off-leash is inevitable.
Training puppies off-leash takes a couple of weeks as they soak up all information, but older dogs will need a couple of months.
Shibas are intelligent dogs but very stubborn, and training them can be a challenge:
- They love freedom and will go to extra levels to gain it. They will dig under and scale fences, squeeze through tiny places, chew on leashes, disappear through windows, and dart through open doors.
- Once free, Shibas disappear or chase after little creatures despite commands to make them stop and come back to their owners.
- Shibas are stubborn and have problematic attitudes that can be frustrating to overcome during training. They often need a reason to participate in an activity before considering it and will walk away if they deem it not beneficial.
- Shibas often become destructive due to boredom if not exercised enough, prompting owners to devise ways of mentally challenging them.
- They don't get along well with other dog breeds and have a strong prey drive. They might kill other small dogs if a Shiba wasn't socialised well as a puppy.
- Shibas are very possessive due to their nurture of guiding and protecting. They would set territories around what belongs to them and are often aggressive.
Shiba puppies develop biting habits if not taught that play biting is bad. As a result, they should be taught bite inhibition and given sufficient toys during the teething stage to stop their biting.
Bite inhibition helps the dog learn moderation of the force it applies to biting. Also, one can put the dog inside its crate any time it bites down hard and give them treats once they calm down.
How do I make my Shiba Inu happy?
Happy Shiba Inus displays a relaxed sensation and a beautiful smile. In this state, they will readily accept any handling with curiosity to try new things.
The first 8-12 weeks dictate whether a Shiba Inu will calm down earlier, depending on how successfully or unsuccessfully they learn to cope with daily life stressors.
When bringing home Shiba Inus, it is essential to be aware of how to make them happy:
- Shibas want a lot of attention as they are a very affectionate breed. Try attending to them since human contact helps them thrive
- Give them plenty of playtimes, take them for walks and go on hikes with them
- Maintain the Shiba's dental hygiene by brushing their teeth daily since they have sensitive gums and teeth to avoid gum disease
- Take them on walks or runs as often as possible to keep boredom at bay
- Keep them busy by providing toys they can bite in and play with for their excess energy
- Groom their coats at least once or twice every month as they don't need a lot of grooming
- Give them high-quality, fresh, well-balanced diets while adding probiotics and supplements. This helps their gut balance, immune system, and overall digestive health, preferably Safe Guard Probiotics and Immunity Mushroom Organic Supplement.
Shiba Inus are not a good recommendation for first-time dog owners since they have unique personalities and stubborn traits.
However, those considering this breed should do thorough background checks on the species and familiarise themselves with its common issues.
Alternatively, one can consult a reputable Shiba Inu breeder for more information about the breed. Remember to factor in financial matters when making your decision.
If you decide on getting a Shiba Inu, commit to its proper training with physical and mental exercises.