Getting Along


Shiba Inu training

Are Shiba Inu easy to train? We like to think that Shiba Inu are very easy to teach; if you use effective techniques, your Shiba will learn what you are asking of it almost immediately. However, they are incredibly willful, stubborn and independent. This means that the real challenge is actually convincing them they want to do what you are asking which can be very difficult.

Shiba Inu tend not to be motivated by pleasing their owners, they don’t usually like being petted, and some of them are not even motivated by food. You need to find the motivation that works for your puppy, but one thing that is true for all Shiba Inu is that they respond very badly to being physically punished, or trained using dominance techniques. These techniques might see the obedience results you’re looking for, but at the cost of the beautiful bond that makes this breed so much more than your average dog.

Positive Reinforcement

As mentioned above, Shiba Inu respond incredibly poorly to punishment / negative reinforcement techniques. You will get the best results with your Shiba by regularly working on ways to build positive interactions and trust between you and your dog. If you are feeding your puppy kibble based foods, this is an easy way to reward them while still maintaining a controlled diet. Some dogs will be underwhelmed at being rewarded with their normal diet, so you might like to try using something extra special during training. You can even make your own, for example these liver treats, or plain roast chicken (no garlic or onions!) are very compelling to most dogs.

Click training can be an effective way of more accurately marking good behaviour, which can really speed up your time to realising good outcomes from training. 

The most important thing to remember is that your Shiba Inu puppy is a sensitive soul, so make sure you’re setting them up for success with your training, keep your sessions short and sweet, and always finish on a positive note. This is easily achieved by reverting to commands your dog already knows well at the end of the session and rewarding their success.

Crate Training

This is vital for any Shiba Inu puppy [owner], for a few reasons. Firstly, it will give you the freedom and confidence to leave your puppy unattended, no matter how much you might hate the idea, you will need to sometimes. Secondly, it is another tool in your training and obedience arsenal. As you know, your Shiba Inu responds very well to positive reinforcement techniques, and it can be very damaging to their confidence and trust in their humans for you to use punitive training techniques. However, sometimes you just have no other options, and a bit of time out in their crate can be an effective way to teach your puppy the consequences of some of their negative behaviours (don’t laugh, it really does work).

To begin crate training, you need to establish the crate as a safe and enjoyable space for your puppy. Move the crate around the house so it is always in the room with you while you’re going about your day, this will help the puppy associate the crate with the pack. Always feed your puppy their meals in their crate, teach them to enter the crate willingly and they’ll be rewarded with food. Make sure your puppy regularly spends time in their crate from day one, and ignore any complaints from your puppy. Start with shorter time intervals and gradually extend them. Making them sleep in their crate (not on the bed) is important for establishing the correct hierarchy in your home. Cover the crate and ignore them…..

Bite Inhibition

Shiba Inu are considered to be a very primitive breed of dog, and are among the closest breeds genetically to wolves. This is especially evident when your dog is upset, baring their teeth and looking quite terrifying. Many Shiba Inu have had to be re-homed because they are too scary or dangerous to have in the house with you, which might seem completely impossible when they’re a tiny floof of a puppy and barely even look real, but when they’re fully grown there are a lot of sharp teeth backed up by a lot of compact muscle. The angry Shiba Inu is indeed a force to be reckoned with.

This sounds scary, but with the right socialisation and training as a puppy, you’ll never have to worry about your Shiba Inu. As a puppy, try and socialise them with people and other dogs as much as possible, this will make your life and theirs much more pleasant in the long run.

Two good articles worth reading:



It’s important to ensure your puppy is used to all the things that are regularly going to happen to him/her as part of daily life. This is easily achieved by exposing them to these activities as early and often as possible.


Your puppy is adorable, and people are going to want to touch it all the time. The thing is, Shiba Inu pretty much hate this, so you’re going to need to get them used to it. Shiba Inu like to always know where your hand is, and so if you try to put it over the top of their head to pat like you would any other dog, your Shiba is going to dodge out of the way and make you feel like a bad person. 

The best way to avoid this is to make sure your dog can see your hand at all times, or at least be touching your dog where it can make sense of the contact. Chin and chest scratches are often much better tolerated than head pats, for example.


It’s really important that your dog is comfortable with having hands near its face and in its mouth. This allows you to administer medication, remove food they shouldn’t be eating, and just generally feel safe with your dog around other people, especially children and vets.

To achieve this, regularly spend time playing with their teeth or gums, being gentle and making sure they’re familiar and know this is a good thing. Make sure that your dog always knows where your hand is, and don’t obstruct their vision when you do this. While they are a puppy, they will quickly get used to you doing this, but will unlikely be okay with someone they’re unfamiliar with doing it. Whenever you have guests over or meeting your dog, get them to do the same thing once your dog is a little bit familiar with them, and before long they should be happy letting anyone touch their teeth.

If your dog reacts badly to this, don’t force it on them in the moment, but wait for them to become more familiar with the person and try again.


Trim their nails whenever they’re long enough for you to miss the quick (link to show what this means). This can be pretty tricky if your Shiba has dark nails, so will take some practice. The first couple of times you will most likely become acquainted with the famous Shiba Scream, but before you know it they’ll be completely used to this activity and know exactly what’s going on. They still might not enjoy it, but they will put up with it, maybe even without screaming the house down. Playing with their feet in a gentle way will help them become comfortable with this too.


Shiba Inu are very clean dogs in general. Even after having a great time at the beach or a muddy park, you’ll be shocked how clean they end up all by themselves – most dirt seems to just disappear as soon as their coats have dried out. However, you’ll still want to bath your Shiba every couple of weeks or so. This will help with keeping them looking as cute and eye-catching as possible, keep smells down if you need to, and help release loose coat during shedding season. However, it’s good to keep a happy compromise in order to avoid creating skin problems by constantly washing away their natural oils.

If you have a shower with a wand on a hose, this is one of the easiest ways to wash your Shiba. Get your puppy’s coat thoroughly wet using lukewarm water (should feel just a little cold to your touch). Avoid getting water in their ears, as the hooded Shiba ear can take a long time to dry out which can lead to fungal infections. Turn off the water and massage in some mild puppy shampoo (oatmeal based), making sure to avoid the face. Leave it to sit for a minute or so and then rinse it thoroughly out, making sure to get all the shampoo clear of the undercoat. 

Turn off the water and wait for your puppy to shake their coat out a couple of times inside the shower before you remove them and towel them dry. Don’t use a human hair drier on your puppy, they’re not nearly powerful enough to cope with a Shiba Inu’s double coat, and can easily overheat your puppy which can be very dangerous. If you want to get your Shiba’s coat to optimum floof, you’ll need to get a professional dog drier – this is a suitable model



While your puppy is young, it’s likely to be quite dependent and respond well to recall training. When you have plenty of space and are a long way away from any roads, watching your Shiba run and play off lead is incredibly rewarding. However, you need to be very aware that they are very independent, and will eventually and inevitably go off on their own for a grand adventure. If you have a good bond with your Shiba Inu, they will almost definitely come back… when it suits them. If you wish to have your Shiba off lead, try doing so in a contained environment where they cannot get into any trouble, before trying in more open areas. Knowing what to expect from your dog is very important and some Shibas may just be best kept on lead.