The Japanese Shiba Inu does not bark, but it still is known to vocalize. It either whines or is known to scream, just like a Ninja warrior. Is it really true that the companion dog can create this type of uproar? When does it scream? And can you train it not to? Read on to find out more about the truths vs. myths about the Shiba Inu scream.
Why the Dog Screams
A Shiba Inu will scream when distressed: True.
In most cases, a Shiba is not the most yappy dog around. The Shiba only issues a Shiba scream when it feels distressed or stressed. This can happen when you take the dog to the vet or have its nails trimmed.
A Shiba Inu’s scream sounds like a human scream: Somewhat true.
While some people confuse the Shiba with the barkless Basenji, Bansenjis yodel instead of scream. Only Shiba Inus can issue what is sometimes a blood curdling and unsettling scream.
Socialize Your Shiba Early in Life
The Shiba will definitely let you know when it wants to be heard. In fact, your barkless dog can make a whole lot of noise after a while with its screams and high-pitched vocalizations.
To keep these vocalizations to a minimum, it is important to socialize your Shiba puppy during puppy training sessions. It is much easier to train and show a new dog how to behave socially than try to teach an older dog that is set in its ways.
However, even dog obedience training will not prevent a Shiba Inu from breaking into its shrill scream whenever it hears a siren or fire alarm. You just will have to put up with the distraction until the siren or alarm subsides.
When involving your Shiba in puppy training, get him used to the idea of going to the vet or getting groomed. That way, he will not cause a ruckus as an adult. The sooner he gets socialized, the better for you and everyone who is in earshot, or even out of earshot, of this one-of-a-kind typically affable dog.
A Basal Dog Breed
While some call the Shiba an ancient breed of Japanese dog, the more correct term is “basal.” While a basal dog breed is not necessarily ancient, it does go back into the far reaches of time. The scream that the Shiba makes may be attributed to its wild dog nature. Basal dogs have a close link to wild wolves – thus, the reason for the wild-animal scream.
Another dog that is closely related to wolves is the Siberian Husky – a dog that has a tendency to howl from time to time.
Not a Made-up Myth
Regardless of the reason for your Shiba’s scream, this type of vocalization is not some imaginative made-up myth. You definitely will know that the dog screams if it shows any kind of displeasure or is upset.
Get Your Dog Used to the Idea of Handling
Again, to reduce incidents of screaming, you need to get your Shiba puppy socialized early and get it used to the idea of vet visits and professional grooming. Because of its wild-dog demeanor, the Shiba does not like being handled.
However, if it is picked up and handled by the vet or a groomer as a puppy, it will become more attuned to the same interaction as an adult.
Shibas may scream when they have their nails trimmed, they get a bath (they really hate water), or if they step on a pebble that gets lodged in their paw. They may even scream again when you extract the small rock. Their tendency to be dramatic in this way may cause you believe that they have their own set of dog tricks they use to get your attention and love.
Keep a Calm Mindset
To overcome problems with screaming, you need to stay calm and non-reactive. Shibas can easily pick up on their owner’s own distress, so you have to keep a calm mindset. Otherwise, you won’t meet your goal of getting your dog to calm down and stop screaming.
Stay Consistent in Your Training Approach
When you do respond, do so by providing your dog with positive reinforcement, such as giving him a nibble of his favorite treat. Think about what would calm you if you were upset like your Shiba. By using patience and understanding, you can turn that loud, high-pitched scream into a whimper over time. You just need to remain consistent in your overall approach.
How to Get Him to Lower the Decibels
You can quickly find out what is stressing your dog when he does emit a loud and ear-splitting scream.
For example, if he screams when he walks on hot pavement, get him some booties to cool his feet or take him out earlier or later in the day.
He may sometimes scream before he is bathed. In this case, start out bathing him in steps – wipe his fur with a damp cloth first to get him used to the idea.
If he does have a screaming fit, never coddle him. Reward him with treats or lavish praise when he refrains from sounding his Shiba scream.
The Shiba scream is one of the unique characteristics of the Shiba Inu, and one that you have to adapt to if you adopt a Shiba as a companion dog. While the vocalization, at first, may be surprising, the Shiba means no harm. He just wants you to know what he does not like and he wants you to pay attention.
Don’t Let Screaming or Whining Get Out of Control
Therefore, when a Shiba screams, he only wants to be happy and wants to be heard. In most cases, even the loudest of screams is an overreaction. Nevertheless, if your companion dog screams and whines to excess, it may be overly anxious. If this is the case, you should visit your vet or seek advice from an animal behaviorist.
When you understand why your dog is screaming, you can better tackle the problem. Training a Shiba is different than training more hybrid breeds because of its wild nature. Therefore, you have to approach dog obedience training from a different angle. It is always a good idea to seek advice from a trainer that understands the Shiba’s quirks and unique personality traits.
But don’t let this article scare you! The Shiba scream is not something that your Shiba will do 24/7, but only when it is very young and is asking for attention, or when it is undergoing some great distress. In that way, it is a helpful reminder to the owner that there’s something we can be doing to help our puppy feel better.