NorCal Shiba

How to Train a Shiba Inu: New Owners’ Training Guide

May 17, 2020
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Table of Contents

An Introduction to Shiba Inu Training

Shiba Inus are notoriously difficult dogs to train. The Shiba is a characteristically stubborn dog. Even veteran trainers have trouble handling this peppy fox-looking dog. But if you get to know this dog well enough, and if you invest a little time and a little effort, he can quickly be bent to your will (for his own good, of course).

In doing training for your dog, we really can’t avoid setbacks and mistakes made by our dog. We need to be understanding in this aspect. We’re trying to build a solid foundation of your relationship with your pet so you need to show him that he can trust you.

In this article we’ll find out how we should be disciplining our dogs in the right way that won’t cause a rift in your connection with him. It’s important to know this because one small mistake in this can already cause a lot of problems, not only for you, but for your dog also.

You will learn here the importance of the right discipline and how to do it. Disciplining a dog can be very hard but remember that you are helping him become a better version of himself — and he for you!

An Important Note on Shiba Inus and Training

Dogs usually love to make a lot of mess and noise everywhere, and I mean everywhere, and the Shiba Inu dog is no exception. The Shiba Inu is one of the six Japanese native breeds that now serve as a companion dog for most people in Japan and the United States. They are known for being lengthier than tall, with a small height and a long body.  A Shiba Inu dog breed’s average lifespan ranges from 12 to 15 years but they can actually live longer than that. This dog breed is very sharp and agile and it never seems to lose energy to do a lot of things that’s why this kind of dog requires a lot of patience and understanding. The Shiba Inu dog is a very self-dependent dog breed that is why a lot of communication and training need to start while they are still young to nurture them in the right way as they grow.

Having them as a pet can be very interesting and fun, but it also comes with a big price. Although they are quite well known for being such an intelligent breed, Shiba Inu dogs are also known for their stubbornness or freethinking. They’re not very easy to train, unlike most dogs, because they only tend to follow when they want to. A Shiba Inu dog owner requires a lot of patience as they would need a lot of training starting at a very young age. 

One of the most challenging parts of being a pet parent is Training. This part requires a lot of patience, cool and consistency. Some puppies may learn a specific thing in an instant, while some of them may take a while to master it. It’s never wrong to start early in training your pets but you shouldn’t expect much results from it. House training a Shiba Inu dog may be easy for some people while other people may struggle with disciplining their dog because they don’t have much patience and consistency. You should always remember to stay positive and just do all these following guidelines to help you in efficiently house training and disciplining your dog.

Regarding the Shiba Temperament

Shiba Inus, as it is with many humans as well, enjoy their freedom and become extremely bored when they are not given attention. This means that one of the best ways to control your shiba is by controlling his attention. If you use active restraint or physical punishment on a Shiba, he may treat it as a game and take it as an opportunity to practice rough play. He will learn that he wins by showing “dog aggression.”

For this smart dog, you need to play a mental game. There are some resources every Shiba enjoys – walks, toys, treats, and more. Use this against him.

When you want to take your Shiba for a walk, shout his name and begin counting to four. He will probably choose to take his sweet time rather than obey your rules. After he fails to come quickly and you move along to take care of your other business, don’t appease him when he comes whining to you. Next time you call him, he will learn that to receive rewards he has to play by your rules.

Even though training a Shiba Inu dog can be really hard at times, you can always rely on one of the specific attributes they possess. A Shiba Inu dog is known to be very fastidious with themselves; they are the kind of dogs that would find their own ways to keep themselves clean and neat. They even have this particular cat-like behavior wherein they lick their paws in an effort to clean them. Since they are fussy with themselves, training this dog for things such as relieving themselves and staying in crates can be very easy.

Raising a Shiba Inu model citizen

The fox-like Shiba Inu is not exactly a criminal, but he isn’t one to play by the rules either. In order for him to become a model citizen, the rules of the house must be constantly and consistently enforced in order to keep a clean and healthy Shiba Inu.

Rule 1: No roughhousing

Shiba Inus love rough play. Now, with other Shibas, this is fine. But while they are still young, Shibas ought to be taught very clearly not to engage in rough play with humans. Do not play dominance games with him, but actively discourage it.

Rule 2: No biting

A Shiba must be taught not to bite — as with every other dog. Teach your Shiba bite inhibition so that he does not bite. A puppy usually develops a habit of biting if he is not taught that play-biting is bad and is not given sufficient toys to deal with teething.

Rule 3: Shiba Sharing

Shibas are quite territorial and will gladly bite the face off of anyone who takes what belongs to them. To help reduce this possessiveness, engage in freely exchanging objects with the Shiba and reward them to show that what they share they will just as easily receive back.

Socialization Training

Did we mention Shibas are quite aggressive? Shibas must be socialized to carry out a proper Shiba social life. Since they are aggressive when forced to do things they don’t like, they must be socialized to see, hear, and smell many things they’re unfamiliar with in order to become more tolerant. Consequently, one of the best things you can do for your Shiba is to expose him to the outside world. Let him experience many different environments, meet new people, meet new dogs, new objects. This will ensure that your Shiba becomes a mature and well-balanced adult. He will live to a ripe old age, happy, with many fond memories and Shiba playmates.

Importance of Discipline

Disciplining your dog is very important because all of the training you’d be doing won’t work if your dog will never know that what he’s doing is not right. Your dog needs to know that there are certain limits to his freedom and that he can’t do everything that he wants without restriction. Disciplining your dog makes him understand eventually that his actions had certain consequences. And with the correct discipline, your dog could grow up knowing how to behave properly and would know to obey your commands. One positive thing to add to this list is that you wouldn’t have any problems with him ruining your place, or relieving himself in every spot available, or having a lot of accidents lying around, the dog will immediately know his place and what he should do. Discipline is a key factor to a great house trained dog.

For a Shiba Inu dog, it is important to have the correct way of discipline because they are well known to be a bit stubborn. Although they are highly intelligent dogs, they still need to be taught the principles of discipline. It’s now your responsibility to discipline this dog and one thing you should start on is to build a connection so that he may start trusting you. You just need to be very patient and understanding with this breed and just follow the following guidelines below to know how to effectively discipline your dog.

How to Properly Discipline Your Shiba

Never Shout

You should never shout at your dog at any cost because dogs know how to differentiate your normal voice to your yelling voice. It’s very unlikely that the dog would even understand why you’re yelling. If your dog pees at a place where they shouldn’t be, don’t yell at them. Yelling could even agitate or excite your pet which may cause negative behaviors so avoid doing that. Instead of knowing what to do, they’ll do the opposite and actually hide from you when they feel like relieving themselves. This means that aside from not solving the problem, you just made the dog feel scared of you. Rather than yelling out because of your anger, you may just try to use a certain word or simple action to show that you don’t like what he’s doing. One good example of this is saying “NO” in a calm manner or clapping. Using these things consistently can actually help the dog understand you better because they will know that whenever you do that, they possibly did something wrong and they shouldn’t do that anymore.

Praises and Rewards

Every time your dog does something good or right, make sure to give him a simple praise or reward him with something. These simple acts can be appreciated well by your dog and because of this; he would want to do the same thing over again to receive the praise or reward. A simple praise like “Good job!” goes a long way and can make the dog feel good so make sure to utter some of it. It’s also good to give your dog a reward every now and then for what he did right. A simple reward like a walk in the park or around the neighbourhood or even just a few treats can easily satisfy your dog and that would be the reason why he will continue doing what he did right to receive rewards from you. Every praise or reward is highly appreciated by your dog so don’t forget to give him some every now and then to make your dog happy.

Don’t Punish Your Dog

Do not ever, and I mean never, punish your dog physically for doing something wrong. This action could cause severe pain and fear to the dog and you should consider his feelings. Feeling frustrated every now and then because of training your dog is a normal occurrence but you should never release your anger at them. You should always treat your pets like family, and I’m pretty sure you would never hurt a family member. There is never a reason for hurting your dog in the process of training him. Physical discipline can only make matters worse than they already are. Your dog will not be able to piece together the reason why you made your actions to what he did wrong, so instead of doing the opposite; he will continue to do it and be more fearful and will listen to you less than before. Always try to keep yourself in a calm state.

Don’t Allow Play that is Not OK

When you see a behaviour starting and you know that it’s wrong, immediately discipline your dog. Do not ever let your dog continue doing wrong things just because they look cute or that they will eventually grow out of it. One good example for this is when your dog chews on your shoes. It’s better to start them young and tell them that it’s not the right thing to do. If you let this behaviour continue, trust me, your dog will never stop chewing your shoe even when he grows up. 

Catch the Act

When you see your dog trying to relieve himself in the middle of the family room, immediately discipline him. As stated before, do not ever yell at the dog but instead, call out his attention with a simple word or action. Use something that will immediately get his attention like, for example, a clap. He will immediately stop what he’s doing then you should lead him to his designated place where he can finally relieve himself. This could help him understand that he can’t do it wherever he likes, but he will need to go to his designated place for peeing. This is a very effective way of potty training your dog. To avoid accidents, you could observe your dog for signs that he may have to relieve himself like sniffing around or whining. It’s better to understand your dog as it can also help in building your relationship.

Consider Health Issues

One important thing you should consider knowing is your dog’s health. Maybe the reason why he’s been having a hard time to control his pee or he’s spoiling a lot of spots around the house is because of an underlying health problem. Make sure to take your pet to the veterinarian for his regular check-ups so that any health problem can be easily detected and that would make lives easier for the both of you.

Be Understanding and Patient

That one thing you always need to do when you’re trying to house train your dog is to try your best to understand him at all times. You need to remember that being a well behaved and house trained dog doesn’t happen overnight. You need to be patient with the process and very understanding with your dog’s mistakes. The process may be very hard at times but keep in mind that once this is all over, you’ll have a very well behaved dog and that is truly worth all of it.

Ask for Help

If you’re having problems with trying to be patient, remaining to be understanding or remaining calm and handling frustrations, you should seek help from your family, friends or even a professional dog trainer. Having the assistance of a professional dog trainer can be such a big help in trying to train your dog as they know exactly what to do and they have a lot of knowledge about dogs. Be open with suggestions on how to train your dog easier. Always remain positive and remember that you’ll eventually get the results you’re waiting for if you patiently wait for it.


The Trainings Every Shiba Inu Needs

How to Stop Biting

Biting on things may be the number one hobby of dogs. They always love to chew everything they see when they take a look around. May it be your shoe, or the rug, or papers that are lying around (Make sure your important documents are out of reach!), maybe even your hand or foot; they’ll love to bite on that. It’s one thing that they can’t resist doing especially for puppies. One apparent down side of this habit is that biting a lot of things could eventually create a bigger mess. However, as the puppies grow old and they reach adulthood, they can be easily taught to stop biting every now and then so that a lot of mess could be prevented.

BITE INHIBITION

It’s better to teach your dog that he should not bite hard. Bite Inhibition is learning how to moderate the force of a bite and it’s very important for a puppy to learn this skill so that they will understand that they should not bite hard. They may come a time when they are in pain or they are afraid of something and they will try to bite on to something, or someone, to minimize the fear. It’s also a usual thing for puppies to nip at each other when they play and if the bite was too hard, the pup will release a yelping sound indicating that the bite hurt. You can also do that approach when the puppy tries to bite you, you can say a simple “Ow!” as an indication that the bite hurts. As time passes by, the puppy will always associate that word to not bite down as hard and maybe not bite at all. For a Shiba Inu dog, you can try putting him inside his crate every time he bites down hard as it may mean that he has high energy levels. If he settles down, you can give him a treat as a reward to show him that he did a great job.

MINDSET

That one thing you always need to do when you’re trying to house train your dog is to try your best to understand him at all times. You need to remember that being a well behaved and house trained dog doesn’t happen overnight. You need to be patient with the process and very understanding with your dog’s mistakes. If your puppy bites down hard on you, you need to tell him that it means that his playtime is over. Whenever he bites hard, you can use a negative reinforcement against him such as a light tap on his back or saying “No” in a strong manner without yelling. You can also teach them that biting won’t give them any treats. Put them inside their crates until they calm down before you bring them out again. Don’t yell at them as it may cause them to be more excited and bite on to you harder than before. 

ALTERNATIVE

Do not ever let your dog continue doing wrong things just because they look cute or that they will eventually grow out of it. One good example for this is when your dog chews on your shoes. It’s better to start them young and tell them that it’s not the right thing to do. If you let this behavior continue, trust me, your dog will never stop chewing your shoe even when he grows up. 

It is considered a good idea to purchase a few chew toys for your dog to use. It’s also convenient to keep a chew toy in your hand so that when your puppy starts on a biting spree, you have a toy in hand ready to be used by your pup as a substitute for your things or your hands; doing this will let your puppy know which things are OK to bite and which things are not. If the dog keeps on biting other things, place him in his crate to reduce his energy levels.

PREVENT THE POUNCE

When you’re walking with your dog and you see him walking with a pounce, make sure to always carry treats on your pockets and use them as a reward for the dog to walk simply the same as yours. Reward driven activities are usually proven effective for dogs as they will always look forward to these rewards that are offered to him if he does a great job. This tactic can also be used if you’re trying to train your dog to walk with a leash.

TIME OUT OR BREAK

Sometimes when a puppy bite, it may actually mean that he’s tired. If this happens, you can try to offer your dog to go to a quiet place where he can rest, preferably his crate, or try making him go on a potty break or give him water and food.  You can also place them back in their crates if you feel like they still have a high level of energy like putting them on a time out so that they can calm down and prevent them from biting. It’s also very important to not let the dog associate his crate as a place of punishment so always stay as calm as you can in every situation.

BURN ENERGY

If your puppy still keeps on biting, even though he’s been given a lot of chew toys to play with or they’ve already been given a time out, maybe that’s because they still have tons of energy for a lot of activities and they just need to burn up some physical or mental energy that they have. Use this energy and divert it to other things. Try bringing your puppy out on the yard and watch him run around freely (make sure that your yard is fenced) and burn all his energy. You can also play with the puppy with activities like fetch, tag or even a long walk in the park or around the neighborhood. 

REINFORCEMENT

Whenever our puppy is calm and quiet, we should praise them for that so that they’ll know that what they’re doing is very desirable on our part and we want them to continue doing that. Never forget to praise your dog for every single good thing he did, whether it be a small matter or a big one. The dog will appreciate this very much and connect your praises to something he did and he will do that thing more often. Keep being supportive and understanding with everything that he does that he will easily understand better that he’s doing the right thing.

PUPPY CLASS

A puppy class can provide your dog with the chance to socialize with a lot of other dogs of different breeds and sizes. It can also help him to learn bite inhibition as he will be tested to play with other dogs. Play biting doesn’t always necessarily mean that your puppy is vicious. That is a normal play for puppies. However if they still haven’t learned to control and moderate their bite inhibition, you may be in need of a bit of help. You can try asking help from a professional dog trainer as they will know exactly what to do and how to teach your dog because they obviously have a lot of years of practice in this field. Leave everything to them and I assure you that your dog will learn to understand bite inhibition and how to control and moderate his bite. 

NEVER HIT YOUR PUPPY

Do not ever, and I mean never, punish your dog physically for doing something wrong. This action could cause severe pain and fear to the dog and you should consider his feelings. Feeling frustrated every now and then because of training your dog is a normal occurrence but you should never release your anger at them. Physical discipline can only make matters worse than they already are. Your dog will not be able to piece together the reason why you made your actions to what he did wrong, so instead of doing the opposite; he will continue to do it and be more fearful and will listen to you less than before. Always try to keep yourself in a calm state.


How to Crate Train

THE RIGHT CRATE FOR YOUR DOG

The most important thing to consider is to find the most perfect crate to use for your dog. Crates come in different sizes, shapes and material so it’s better to know what fits your dog the best. There are a lot of things that you should consider in finding the right crate for your dog. You need to make sure that your dog fits perfectly and that he is comfortable in the crate. Here are the following guidelines in choosing the perfect crate for your dog:

First thing up on that list, you need to consider the size of the crate you’re choosing to buy. You should make sure that your dog will be comfortable even in staying in his crate for a long time. He should have a lot of space to stand, turn around and even lie down on his crate. But also take note to not make it too big for him that he can use a bit of the space to relieve himself. You would want to get a durable crate, one that won’t easily break even if he paws the sides of the crate.

Take note of your dog’s behavior as it may also help you in finding the right crate. For dogs who prefer sleeping in the dark, you can opt for a more enclosed type of cage like a kennel or aircraft crate. The best type of crate that works a lot for most dogs is the wire type of cage. It’s better to buy a crate for his adult size then just buy dividers to place in it that you can adjust as time goes by.

For the Shiba Inu dog breed, sizes may vary. For a female Shiba Inu dog, their average size ranges from 33 to 41 cm (13 to 16 inches). For a male Shiba Inu dog, their average size ranges from 35 to 43 cm (14 to 17 inches). You should take note of these sizes when buying the perfect crate. This will be efficient and save you a lot of money from buying a small crate for his puppy size and his adult size.

Next thing is to check and create a comfortable place where your dog can stay inside the crate. Some people use dog beds or towels to create a comfortable environment for the dog, but that may not always be the best option. For this one you can do trial and error to find out what can make your dog feel the comfort of his crate. You can start with just letting the dog lay down on his crate mat. Dogs usually like hard surfaces. If he ever feels uncomfortable with it, you may try dog beds but make sure that the dog bed you choose is not easy to tear. Check on it from time to time and see if he pees on it, dogs may actually find it a good place to pee on. You can also opt to use towels but make sure to fold it in a way that the dog won’t be able to make a mess out of it. You may also have the option to use a bumper pad, the one used around a baby’s crib, to make the crate more comfortable.

Last thing is to make the crate very fun for the dog. Search for toys that can entice the dog to use his crate more often. It’s preferable to choose toys which are chewable and kibble toys to keep the dog entertained. You can also play games with the dog to make them feel happy to go in with simple games such as putting the ball inside the crate to be fetched by the dog or hiding treats in the sides for the dog to find.

TAKING NOTE OF THE ESSENTIALS

If you are thinking of keeping the dog in there for a long time, make sure that he can be kept hydrated. If you are using the crate for more than 2 hours at a time, you need to make sure that the dog has fresh water. You can search for a water dispenser that’s easy to use for a regular dog, even for a puppy, that can be installed or attached to the crate. If you need to go out, make sure somebody else is watching over the dog as it might cause the dog to be lonely. Make sure to put the dog out every now and then to eliminate. Make a schedule of how long he should be kept inside the crate. For a puppy, it’s better to start with putting him in for 10-20 minutes every 20 minutes.

THE RIGHT MINDSET

The more the dog stays in the crate feeling relaxed, the more they will want to stay inside it. You need to make him feel like he’s not being literally caged or imprisoned. Putting him in there with a few toys or treats can help make him associate his crate to be a place where he can have fun and enjoy so that whenever he plays, he will enter the crate. Place him there every time he sleeps and he will associate the crate as a place where he can rest whenever he’s tired and expect him to go there when he feels so. You need to make him feel relaxed inside and associate the crate as a relaxing place so that he won’t feel stressed and avoid the crate. Do not force the dog to enter the crate, let him approach it on his own. 

REWARDS AND PRAISES

Every time your dog enters the crate, don’t forget to give him a reward or praise him. Your dog will always appreciate all the praises and rewards you give them and it will encourage them. It will also help them understand that they’re doing the right thing. Telling them a few words like “Good job!” will be sufficient enough. Use them consistently and they will understand that they’re doing just right. Shiba Inu dogs are highly intelligent so it won’t take them that long to understand that they’re doing the right thing. Also give them a few rewards every now and then to make them look forward to it and continue doing the things right. Simple rewards like treats or a walk in the park can be very appreciated for a Shiba Inu dog especially since they’re highly energetic and they would always love to take long walks every now and then. Keep them well appreciated and the relationship between the two of you will turn out so well for years to come.

Crate training can be very hard at times but you just need to have the right amount of patience, love, understanding, calmness, and consistency and you’ll do well with training your dog. House training is one skill that can’t be mastered by dogs overnight so continue supporting and training your dog so that he can be the best that he can be. Just keep in mind all of the given guidelines above and more importantly, choose the perfect crate.

Once you have your crate ready, everything will be set and you just need to work on training with your dog and acquire that bonus bonding time to create a connection between the two of you. Earn his trust and at the same time, teach him the necessary skills and things that he will need to know to be the best version that he can be. Always remember to just always stay positive and that everything will fall into place.

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