As a breed, the Shiba Inu has exploded in popularity in recent years. This is because of their cute an cuddly looks made famous by internet memes you’ve probably seen on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and beyond. This breed may look adorable, but they do have a reputation for being a bit stubborn and so, not the best pet. As a dog trainer, I wanted to share my opinion to help guide those who are determined to own a Shiba Inu, to try and break the flow of beliefs that they are stubborn. A mixture of the right Shiba Inu training can overcome many of their issues, and you shouldn’t write them off as a pet just because of their reputation. In this post and the accompanying videos, I’ll be sharing everything you need to know before you take the plunge and own one of these lovely dogs from a professional dog trainer’s point of view!
Stubbornness in Shiba Inu
Firstly, it’s important to bear in mind that we call stubbornness in people is not the same for dogs. The Shiba Inu is an ancient Japanese breed, bred for hunting. Yes, they may refuse to carry out desired behaviours. But, if this is the case, it is not the dog that is at fault. A different method of Shiba Inu training will be required. After all, it’s our responsibility as owners to motivate our dogs in the right way. If you do want to become a Shina Inu owner, then effective training is mandatory. It’s really important that don’t consider this breed unless you’re prepared to put in the work to train them correctly. Effective dog training is about motivating your dog so that they behave in a way that is conducive to harmony in the home, and so that you are able to take your dog everywhere if desired. Training your dog of any breed isn’t just a puppy thing. It’s an ongoing process that must take place throughout the dog’s lifetime.
But what does good Shiba Inu training look like?
Here at Royvon, we use a number of different training methods to help dogs, including Shiba Inu, to thrive. However, we subscribe completely to rewards-based training and use absolutely no force, no matter what breed the dog is! Strong-minded breeds, such as the Shiba Inu, may take a very negative view on coercive or forceful training methods, and I don’t blame them! If you tug the lead, attempt to grab them, or force in any way you will not get the result you want. Besides that, you are also seriously threatening the trust and relationship you have with your dog, which will not be advantageous for any future trainer attempts as well. We hear from Shiba Inu owners all the time who seek our help because they believe that their dog will only do what they want to do, and not follow their owner’s direction. But, it is our job as dog owners to find ways to motivate them, so that what they want to do is also what we want them to do!
Clicker training is one method that you can do to help encourage your Shiba Inu to display positive and wanted behaviours. Take a look at this video below, featuring Rusty. He is in the process of being trainer with a clicker to enjoy resting calmly on his bed. Every time the trainer clicks the clicker, Rusty receives a treat. Over time, he will come to associate being in his bed with positive rewards, therefore training him that his bed is a good place to be!
As with any dog breed, Shiba Inu training doesn’t just take place in the home! It’s important to have a dog that behaves well outside, too, so that you are happy to take them anywhere with you if you wish. Some examples of positive training both in and out of the home are:
Playing recall games with your Shiba while out and about in an open space will quickly train them to have a good recall and come back to you as soon as they are called. This can be hugely useful if you like to let them off the lead on walks, as it keeps them away from dangers and also keeps you in control.
If your Shiba is wary of their harness, you can give them positive consequences when they’ve had their harness fitted. In time, they will come to have positive associations with the harness and should wear it happily while out and about.
Sit and stay
If you have trouble with getting your Shiba Inu to sit and stay, why not give them an enjoyable outside walk when they’ve done it nicely? This will teach them that if they don’t provide the goods (in this case, sitting nicely), then they don’t get their fun walk.
Your Shiba may be wary of steps as this is a common trait in the breed. However, it doesn’t have to develop into a big problem. Provide rewards after walking up or down steps to reinforce the fact that they are nothing to be afraid of.
If you have a boisterous Shiba who likes greeting visitors over-enthusiastically, you can provide your Shiba with the opportunity to greet and play with them, only after a period of being nicely settled when the visitors first arrive. This way, they learn that they will get their fun playtime, but only if they are calm at first.
Longer down stays
If your Shiba struggled to stay down and settled for a longer period of time, you can motivate them to do so by giving them their favourite play toy when they’ve completed a longer down-stay, for example, while you are eating dinner.
In essence, you can involve Shiba Inu training in virtually everything we do on our homes, to reinforce the positive behaviours that mean a lot to us, and help train them to behave in a way that creates a harmonious home.
My recommendation is for owners to constantly be looking for ways to enhance their relationship with their dogs and continue to build trust. Having a good, trusting relationship with your dog should be the foundation of all your training together. Building a good relationship with your dog should be an ongoing process throughout their lifetime. It can take time and effort to nurture, but it’s really rewarding and also makes training easier. There’s no better way to start building a trusting relationship with your dog that by learning what games your Shiba Inu likes to play. As long as you’ve reared your puppy in the right way, your Shiba will love to play! Play is the easiest way to both earn the trust from your them and reinforce behaviours that you want to experience each day. Different dogs will enjoy playing different games, so try as many out as you can to find out what really motivates your Shiba Inu and what they enjoy to do the most.
In the video below, I’m teaching Rusty that it’s fun and rewarding to play food games. This game doubles up as a great recall game. Personally, I try and include as many day-to-day activities into a game. This means that your time with your dog is predominantly based around positively reinforcing them. This is not only great fun but also helps to continuously develop your relationship and their Shiba Inu training.
The one thing that sets this breed apart from all the rest is their amazing appearance. No matter what your taste is, I don’t think anybody could deny this is an amazing looking breed of dog! Despite their reputation for stubbornness, they can be a loving and well-trained breed that you can develop an amazing relationship with.
I hope that this post and the included videos have balanced out your view of this amazing breed. Owning a Shiba Inu can be a really rewarding experience for everyone involved. If you want to learn more about our methods of training and fun ways to develop your relationship with your dog please subscribe to our YouTube channel here. We also offer a range of dog training options, both in person and virtually, to help dogs of all breeds and their owners. Please visit our website to find out more about what we offer and how we can help you!
Darren is the Managing Director of Royvon Dog Training & Hotels. The business has been in his family for over 60 years! Darren uses this blog to share knowledge and information about dog training and more.