I can’t be the only one to wonder what I had done to cause a Shiba Inu to deeply resent me. I’m a dog person, I’ve always loved dogs and almost all of them have reciprocated that love in the form of wagging tails and sloppy hand kisses.

I, apparently, found my match when my roommate’s Shiba Inu, Akira, moved in with us last year.

From the get-go, she made it abundantly clear that she was not thrilled about living anywhere in my vicinity. Everyday that I would come home from work, as soon as I opened the door to the building I was immediately greeted by screaming coming from our second floor apartment and a two foot tall, muscular, furry monster snapping at my heels as I tried to make my way into my room to safety.

I was sick and tired of living in fear. I made it my mission to understand this dog and, by golly, I did.

My Shiba Inu is Anxious

If you didn’t already know, Shiba Inus are Japanese hunting dogs that were bred to track and catch prey. They’re very bold and spirited dogs that need to be given the proper training as puppies if you want them to be able to socialize and deal with less anxiety in their daily routine.

It’s important to start training in the first 8 to 12 weeks of puppyhood. What will help your Shiba Inu become a responsible pupper is socialization and obedience training early on. This will help your Shiba learn how to cope with stress they might feel in their daily life and desensitize them in social situations.

Getting your Shiba as social as possible during this time is very important and crucial to desensitization. Owners often overlook this aspect of training because they’re already working on potty training and the other responsibilities of having a new pup around.

So if you’re a new Shiba Inu owner, be sure to surround them with new faces (and snouts) regularly.

My Shiba Inu is Aggressive

As I continued to try and live with Akira, there were moments where she would be very calm and perhaps she would let me pet her for a few seconds. The next morning, all memory of our truce would be forgotten and she would be right back to nipping at my heels as I’d tried to make my way to the bathroom down the hall.

Shiba Inus can be fiercely loyal companions, they may care about their owners but not so much anyone else. This can cause them to be territorial and aggressive to visitors, because they believe they’re protecting their owner.

Something important to keep in mind is that these behaviors should NOT be rewarded. Giving your Shiba a treat or talking in a soothing voice while they’re acting aggressive just promotes those behaviors and solidifies the notion that they are acceptable.

When your pupper starts to get feisty, there are ways to show them that their actions are not okay. Moving them to a different room while giving them a stern lecture may get the message across, or just ignoring them for a little while might help them settle down.

Early socialization is the key to getting your Shiba to be okay with being around new people. Correcting their social anxiety later on might be more difficult but not impossible.

My Shiba Inu is Lazy

My girlfriend’s Shiba Inu, Pimpón, never had the same spite for me as Akira. He usually just does what he wants, when he likes to do it. Although, a lot of the time Pimpón is an attention craving diva, there are days where he barely does anything at all.

When Shibas get disinterested and lazy, it often means they’re bored. Every dog has their own habits and way of letting their owners know that something is up, so it’s important for owners to pick up on these habits and know when their pupper is trying to tell them something.

Spending most of the day sleeping may mean your Shiba is depressed or feeling sick. Be sure they aren’t overheating and brushing off shedded fur in warmer environments can help keep them cool.

My Shiba Inu Doesn’t Listen

It’s common for owners to be frustrated by their Shiba Inu and it could be said that they can be stubborn pups to train, but keep at it. Training a Shiba can be difficult but if you train them regularly, they’ll eventually start to pick up what you’re trying to put down.

Most likely, they’ll only listen if what you’re putting down are treats. Using incentive is good when your Shiba is beginning to grasp the concept of what you want them to do, but slowly begin to reward them less until they are doing it solely on command.

For some people it might be easier to look for a professional dog trainer to help your Shiba learn basic commands.

My Shiba Inu isn’t Eating

Shiba Inus can be picky with their food at times. Pimpón will eat anything and everything that drops on the kitchen floor, while Akira has a pretty strict diet and will refuse to eat anything else.

While a refusal to eat a certain kind of kibble might just be your Shiba’s picky eating, it’s important for owners to monitor whether their Shiba is eating at all. If you are concerned about your Shiba’s lack of appetite, it’s important to seek veterinary care.  

According to the American Kennel Club, Shiba Inus should do well on high-quality dog food. Some dogs are prone to being overweight, you should be able to feel the dog’s ribs and backbone but not see them.

Be sure to keep a fresh bowl of water available for them to drink at all times, especially after walks and while playing.

My Shiba Inu is Acting Weird

One of the best things about living with a Shiba Inu is their personality. From their spazziness to stubbornness, Shibas are great company to have.

Visiting my girlfriend, it’s always heartwarming when Pimpón excitedly scurries up to me and releases one of his classic Shiba screams. It sends loving chills up my spine.

Remember that, just like you, Shibas can act differently depending on how their day is going. Some days might be high energy, and other days can be filled with naps. Some days they may curl up next to you on the couch, and other days they might want to keep their distance.

Have fun trying to figure your Shiba out and recognizing changes in their mood and/or routine. If you notice any difference in their behavior that is unusual, it might be your Shiba trying to tell you something is wrong or needs your attention.

My Shiba Inu Follows Me Everywhere

Akira was always at my roommate’s side. There was seldom a moment where they weren’t together and there were few people who could watch her because she would become anxious when they were apart.

Shibas are extremely loyal to their owners and often stay at their owner’s side, refusing to let them out of their sight. Because they have such a strong sense of loyalty, they are cautious in new environments and around new people. Keeping close to their owner, Shibas tend to observe strangers at every moment.

I remember how I’d look up from my computer to see Akira menacingly peering at me from my door. Despite my vow to become best friends with her, we ended our lease on shaky ground. However, I can honestly say that I have never met a dog as loyal and intimidating as Akira.

Pimpón, on the other hand, has taken me into his pack and has decided that I need him by my side every time I venture out of the living room. All I can say is that I’m honored to be a part of the team.