Warning: training a Shiba Inu is not for the meek or mild!
While this Japanese breed will draw you in with their adorable faces and curly tails, don’t be fooled by their cuteness. Shiba Inus are notoriously hard to train because of their independent spirit and seemingly standoffish nature. Shiba Inus have a distinct personality that is a draw for many owners. This breed is intelligent, dominant and stubborn. Without proper training, a Shiba can become mischievous and unruly.
When training a Shiba Inu, it’s best to start as soon as you get the puppy and be very consistent with whatever training method you select. Because of the level of difficulty with training a Shiba, the breed is not normally recommended for first time pet owners. The Shiba will undoubtedly break rules over and over again while you are training, so patience and know-how is essential to training success.
Start by establishing dominance over your Shiba. He or she needs to know that you rule the house and to listen to what you say. Practice with simple commands like “come” and “sit.” Shibas learn tricks and commands very quickly, so if you can get your Shiba to perform commands consistently, you will be one step closer to getting control of your Shiba.
If your Shiba is not listening or not performing a certain command, punish your Shiba with passive resistance. Shibas hate to be ignored, so playing into this trait will help you gain control over any misbehaving. Using physical punishment or yelling will only encourage your Shiba to act out more, or get used to rough play. If your Shiba will not sit or come, simply ignore him or her until they seek out your attention. Then try the command again. Above anything, Shibas crave your attention. Make sure that the commands are being done when you are ready, not when your Shiba decides that they want to participate.
As you continue on with training your Shiba, you’ll notice that the training becomes a mental exercise as much as a physical exercise. You can control your Shiba by establishing a relationship of trust and gentle authority. Reward your Shibas good behavior with praise, treats and exercise. Punish bad behavior with the cold shoulder and a time-out in a closed off room or crate if available.
Once your Shiba knows certain commands, comes when you say “come,” and is behaving, don’t let your guard down. Be very consistent with your training and commands to establish a pattern of good behavior. Shibas need regularly enforced rules or they will relapse into mischievous behavior. Stop your Shiba from nipping (they are notorious nippers), engaging in rough play and being possessive early on to avoid problems when your Shiba is an adult. Socializing your Shiba and being very hands-on in telling your Shiba “no” every time they start a bad behavior will help them learn was is and is not acceptable.
If you want a cute dog with a big personality, a Shiba Inu is definitely for you. With proper training and the right attitude towards their behavior, owning a Shiba Inu can be a very rewarding and fun experience. Once the bond is formed between a Shiba and his or her owner, it’s hard to break.