If you've been thinking of welcoming a Shiba Inu into your home - welcome to the club!
The skyrocketing popularity of Shibas due to the dogecoin fiasco, silly memes, and puppy cams have led to issues such as an increase in "puppy mill Shibas" and new Shiba owners not understanding what they're getting into.
You should never get a puppy simply because it's the latest fad. Remember the Taco Bell commercial and the rise in Chihuahua popularity?
A dog is living sentient being that has special needs. Certain breeds of dogs have much different needs than others.
Did you know that the Shiba Inu is one of THE MOST primitive breeds today?
And owning a primitive breed requires someone who understands the challenges that come with these types of breeds.
Do you want a Shiba because you believe you understand the breed and can offer the best environment and lifestyle that will allow the dog to thrive?
Not sure? Read on find out.
# 1 - Where? Oh Where Will Your Shiba Inu Come From?
4-month old Shiba Inu puppy bred responsibly:
Quality Shiba Inu puppies from reputable Shiba Inu breeders are hard to come by.
Unfortunately, that's the main reason SO MANY unsuspecting new Shiba Inu owners get their pup from a puppy mill or a backyard breeder.
Don't. I repeat.
Don't do that.
You won't find a quality Shiba Inu puppy at the "pet store", Craig's List, or some online "puppy store".
What you will likely find is a puppy that is likely to have physical, genetic, and mental defects that will affect the dog for the rest of their life.
You'll also be supporting the insidiously cruel world of "puppies for profit" - a world where parent dogs silently suffer in their own form of Hell at the mercy of greedy breeders.
Puppies from backyard breeders (byb's) and mills are often low quality specimens of the breed that often have anxiety and aggression issues due to their upbringing and environment.
To put it frankly and unapologetically - you'll get an "ugly" Shiba Inu puppy.
Physically ugly, because the breeder could care less about breed standards and health testing.
Morally ugly, because it was forced into this world for profit while causing suffering to their adult parents.
Intellectually ugly, because it was "purchased" by owners who didn't do proper research and instead put their needs and desires ("OH, I must get a Shiba Inu now♥♥!!") - above the health of sentient living beings.
Don't be that type of owner. If you can't afford or wait to get an ethically bred Shiba Inu puppy - adopt.
If you find this advice harsh - good - it's meant to be as puppy mills and backyard breeders is a harsh reality that will only get worse without awareness.
# 2 - Wrong Reasons For Wanting a Shiba Inu
Reason: You want a Shiba because they're so freakin adorable.
All of us have been guilty at getting something just because it's so pretty or soooo cute.
As Shiba Inus rise in popularity, more and more potential new dog owners are drawn to the breed due their looks and "curb appeal".
However Shiba Inus are simply not cute faces.
They're a unique breed of dog that requires an owner to thoroughly understand their personality, traits, and needs.
All to often, Shiba Inus wind up in shelters because the new owners realized all too quickly that looks aren't everything.
Reason: You want a Shiba because you want a loving companion.
A Shiba is not.
Is not a typical affection loving, sweet and playful dog like a Labrador or Golden Retriever.
There are exceptions to the rule but it's not common.
So if you want a affectionate, playful and attentive dog - cross the Shiba Inu off your list.
# 3 - Shibas Need a LOT of Training and Socialization
The personality traits of a typical Shiba Inu can make training a challenge.
They are stubborn, aloof, and NOT eager to please.
For this reason, many Shiba owners simply give up on training and believe their Shiba is untrainable.
This isn't true of course and the lack of training makes an already difficult breed... even more difficult.
Issues such as anxiety, aggression, resource guarding, and escape risks become more difficult to manage.
For these very reasons, Shiba Inu actually need more training than most dogs.
And this training and socialization should start at an early age (6 - 8 weeks).
Socializing an Shiba puppy is the most important period of the dog's life and doing so will take time (lots of it), patience, and perseverance.
So basically, a Shiba Inu puppy is DEFINITLY not for someone who can't spend an extraordinary amount of time during it's puppyhood for socialization and training.
Without proper socialization, Shibas can become very difficult to handle.
Routine tasks such as bathing, nail clipping, and vet visits can become downright horrific for both Shiba and owner.
Shibas are dogs that need experienced owners - plain and simple.
# 4 - Having Enough Funds $$$ To Care For a Shiba Inu
I've heard of many stories where new Shiba owners save up alllllllll their money to purchase a quality bred Shiba pup only to have little budget left for the "other stuff".
And that "other stuff" can quickly add up.
Veterinarian care, quality nutrition, boarding toys, bedding, accessories, training...
And what if there's a medical emergency?
Will your Shiba Inu have pet insurance or will you have no problem covering a possible four-figure medical bill?
Owning a Shiba Inu, or any dog, can get very expensive.
If you don't have the budget to provide a comfortable life for a Shiba Inu - wait until you do.
Also if you can't afford a medical emergency bill BUT you still plan on acquiring a Shiba or any dog - dog insurance may be right for you.
It'll give you piece of mind and ensure that your Shiba can get the best medical care possible.
# 5 - Having a Shiba Inu Safe Environment
Shiba Inu were once small game hunters and many still retain a lot of that deeply embedded instinctual prey drive.
That's great for those who want help with mice patrol but bad for those that do not have properly contained home environments for the dogs.
Those considering a Shiba must have a safe and secure home that a Shiba cannot escape from.
Gates, double doors, locks.
Basically the works in Shiba security.
A bolting Shiba is a fast Shiba, and we've all heard too many stories of owners tragically losing their Shibas due to a forgotten door or gate being left opened.
Also consider the region you live in - Shibas prefer cooler environments due to their plush double coat.
# 6 - Fur. Just Fur.
The plush double coat of a Shiba Inu will bring a lot of "oohs and ahhhs" from wide-eyed admirers.
It'll also bring a lot fur into your life.
A Shiba Inu is a Spitz dog with a plush undercoat that completely "blows" twice a year.
During this coat blowing period, their fur will be just about everywhere.
On your clothes, in the carpet, and in your food.
Those that have "O.C.D. / neat freak" issues or allergies will need to take this into consideration.
Brushing the Shiba's coat during coat blow, and vacuuming often will thankfully keep the shedding under relative control.
Other than that, the shedding during the rest of the year is not really that bad...
# 7 - Attitude
Shiba attitude, sometimes referred to as "Shibattitude" is well, unique.
They are stubborn - yet soulful.
Demanding - yet reserved.
Indifferent - yet loyal.
A Shibas attitude is something only true fanciers understand, enjoy and "deal with".
For those new to Shiba Inus, this attitude can lead to issues in training, socialization, and everyday tasks such as grooming.
Coexisting with a Shiba Inu requires patience and a true understanding of a Shiba's multifaceted personality.
No Shiba will stand for any "alpha" training B.S. as they very well know they are our equals.
Shiba Inus require owners that they can trust and respect without fail.
And if you think you can provide them with that, then perhaps a Shiba Inu may be, just maybe, the right dog for you.
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