Shiba Inu Puppy Life Stages and Development

shiba inu puppy development

Your Shiba Inu’s puppy hood is by far, the most important time of your Shiba Inu’s life.

This is the critical time that will shape your Shiba Inus temperament, behavior, and overall well-being for the rest of his or her lives. 

It's during the first  8-12 weeks that your Shiba Inu will learn how to successfully, or unsuccessfully cope with all the stressors of daily life.

Many new Shiba Inu owners undoubtedly get caught up in all the joys - and responsibilities of being a new Shiba Inu parent - without taking enough time for socialization and obedience training.

2 two month old shiba inu puppy

And unfortunately, there's a serious consequence to this.

Bad habits, fears, and other undesirable traits are learned - and sometimes - never forgotten during this period.

Shibas that are terrified of grooming, baths, skateboards were likely not socialized properly during their critical period of puppy hood. 

So by concentrating your socializing and training efforts during this period you are maximizing your chances for future success. 

There are distinct periods in your Shiba Inu’s puppy timeline that began from birth to approximately one year old.

cute shiba inu puppy biting a toy

There is basically a “sweet spot” between two months old to four months in a Shiba Inu puppy’s life that you need to get as much socialization and desensitization training as possible.

This cannot be stressed enough. As much socialization as possible.

By putting all of your time, effort, and energy in this period you can reap the benefits of having a stable adult Shiba Inu that will be a joy to you and your family for the rest of your time together.

2 month old red shiba inu puppy
2 month old red shiba inu puppy
red shiba inu puppy seven 7 weeks

Shiba Inu Puppy Neonatal Period - Birth To 12 Days Old

shiba inu mother and young puppies

During the neonatal period which start immediately after birth, your puppy cannot yet see but has already started the learning process.

The puppy will spend most if this time bonding and staying close to it’s mother and the other littermates.

The mother and pups should be provided with a clean, warm, and comfy area at all times. Extra attention should be spent on ensuring that the mother is fed well, unstressed, and comfortable. 

shiba inu mother and puppies

At this time, breeders or “human” parents should begin handling the puppy to stimulate learning as well as get the puppy used to human handling and human sound.

Even the smallest stimulus such as handling, and noises can influence the puppy’s learning and coping mechanisms.

Shiba Inu Puppy Transition Period - 13 - 20 Days Old

shiba inu very young puppies

The Shiba Inu puppy can now hear and see a little as their little eyes begin to open.

The puppy will now be able to urinate and defecate without it’s mother's help - walking, or rather wobbling will begin as well.

During this period, the puppy should continue to be exposed to more handling, noises, and other stimulus to encourage learning.

However, since the puppies are not vaccinated yet, make sure that anyone who handles the puppies have clean, sterile hands and clothes.

This is a good time to introduce a few squeaky toys to the puppy and encourage the puppy to engage with various toys.

Shiba Inu Puppy Main Socialization Period - 3 - 7 Weeks

adorable young shiba inu puppy

At this stage, the Shiba Inu puppy’s vision and hearing drastically improves.

The rapidly growing Shiba Inu puppy will finally begin acting like a real puppy. 

The puppy will learn barking, biting, bite inhibition, posturing and proper dog etiquette from its mother as well as other litter mates.

The puppy’s learning activity will accelerate at this time. The puppy will now understand the difference between good / positive experiences (playing) and bad / negative experiences (being nipped by mama for biting too hard.)

sleeping shiba inu puppies

The puppy should not be separated from his mother and littermates during this time of socialization. 

Puppies benefit from their mother’s milk even though weaning starts during this period.

During this period, more handling of the puppies should occur as well as introducing new stimulus such as different noises, objects, and surroundings.

Be sure to include the handling of the pup's mouth, teeth, gums, as well as their fur, paws, ears, etc.

This will help to make your future grooming endeavors go as smoothly as possible.

At this time, it’s also good practice to begin teaching the puppy to be isolated for very short bouts of time.

This is also a good time to begin planning for the puppy's first veterinary visit and vaccinations.

young shiba inu puppy littermates

Since the vet is a place where the puppy will frequent in the future, be sure to make your puppy’s first visit as positive and cheerful as possible.

Bring treats, toys, and warm blankets to ensure your puppy has the best experience ever.

If the puppy has a negative experience during his visit, he may face a lifetime fear of visiting vet’s office - a problem you might notice that many dogs suffer from.

Shiba Inu Puppy Human Socialization Period -


shiba inu puppy an adult

It is during this critical period that a Shiba Inu puppy will be introduced to a new home, new environment and a new family.

This is by far, the most important period for your puppy’s mental and social development.

You must take every opportunity to introduce your puppy to all types of new stimulus such as noises, people, pets (healthy, vaccinated) and even more handling - including grooming and bathing.

At this point, your Shiba Inu puppy's mind is in overdrive and at a maximum levelPutting concerted effort and extra time during this period will pay back dividends in the future.

young shiba inu puppy

This is the time to introduce the puppy to vacuums, skateboards, bicycles, cats, loud yelling, music - just about anything will be an important learning experience for your puppy.

You should begin getting the puppy accustomed to grooming, collars, leash walking as early as possible in this stage.

The most important tip to remember is to start slowly and make sure every experience is positive, fun, and happy.

adorable shiba inu puppy

And for this to be possible, you, yourself must be in a calm, patient and positive mood.

Sadly, if a puppy is not socialized properly at this time the remaining duration of the dog’s life could be filled with issues such as anxiety, aggression, fear, avoidance, and hyper activity that either causes long term misery for both the dog and it’s owner - or abandonment.

Shiba Inu Puppy Fear Impact Period - 8 - 11 Weeks

shiba inu puppy 8 eight months old

This initial fear impact period overlaps with the critical human socialization period.

Once the Shiba Inu puppy reaches about 8 weeks in age, the puppy will be more attuned to it’s surroundings and will also learn to greatly differentiate good and bad experiences.

Because the young puppy is more aware of what's going on around him / her, the puppy can also easily develop fearful behavior if not properly introduced to the new situations.

Basically anything that frightens the puppy during this period will have a tremendous impact throughout the dog’s life if not corrected before this period is over.

So if you notice that our puppy gets frightened by the sound of skateboards, you must spend extra time training your puppy to develop a positive association with skateboards.

cute shiba inu puppy

This can be done with low doses of gradual, guided exposure as well as rewarding your puppy with tasty treats during the experience.

During the fear impact period, it's important to monitor your puppy and not let the puppy accidentally get exposed to fearful situations without your presence.

For example, at the Veterinarian’s office, it might be a good idea to tell the vet tech not to clip your puppy’s nails - as any mistake that causes pain will make it much harder for you during nail clipping time.

Plus, you should already be mastering grooming duties such as clipping or sanding your puppy’s nails for desensitization training.

Shiba Inu Puppy Juvenile Period 14 weeks - 6 Months

young shiba inu female puppy

The Juvenile period begins as the critical socialization period comes to an end.

However, just because the socialization window is closing, you must still continue to socialize and obedience train your puppy.

During this time, the Shiba Inu puppy will begin to be comfortable in it’s new environment and it’s new family.

The puppy will attempt to “test it’s wings,” and may try to challenge you about rules and boundaries.

shiba inu checking out ball

So it's important for you and your family members to be vigilant about house rules and not let the puppy push the boundaries of these rules - even just a little.

Proper puppy training will be hindered if certain family members allow the puppy to get away with things here and there.

Instead, hypervigilance / management should be practiced to achieve the best outcome.

Dogs prefer structure and routine in the first place.

Your puppy will build confidence and trust to those that can provide them with structure and proper expectations.

shiba inu chasing ball

Your puppy’s height and growth will increase exponentially during this period so take as much puppy photos as possible.

Sexual maturity will begin during the ending of this period.

Male Shiba Inu puppies will start lifting their legs - so training on where this is acceptable and not acceptable must begin.

The puppy’s adult teeth will begin coming in which will make your puppy quite uncomfortable.

Make sure you provide ample chew toys and be vigilant about correcting any type of destructive behavior.

The best method to handle destructive behavior is 100% management.

Your Shiba Inu puppy should never be left in uncontrolled environments without supervision. 

It's during these unsupervised times that any mischief your pup gets into now will be much more difficult to correct later.

The old adage of prevention instead of correction applies perfectly in puppy rearing.

By this time, your puppy should have had all of their initial vaccinations. Heartworm prevention as well as flea / tick control should be started at this time.

It's up to you to choose a protocol that you feel will best protect your dog.

The subject of vaccinations, heartworm and flea prevention is quite a contentious one.


Shiba Inu Puppy - Adolescent Period - Puberty to Social Maturity

shiba inu puppy at the beach

The adolescent period of your Shiba Inu puppy will be similar to the adolescent period of a typical teenager - translating to yet another difficult time period.

The Shiba Inu puppy might be rebellious as ever but you must stand firm with strict rules, limits, and boundaries.

It is during this period that you will see how your effort or lack of, during the puppy’s critical socialization time has paid off.

If your puppy’s socialization and training was successful, this period should be relatively smooth transition into adulthood.

There might be a few rough patches here and there but nothing consistent training and reinforcement can’t handle.

beautiful red shiba inu puppy

However, if the puppy has not been properly socialized, this period will be dreadful. It's often at this time during a puppy’s life that they get abandoned by their families.

As your puppy transitions into an adult dog, many physiological and mental changes will occur.

These changes may at times prompt your dog to test your leadership.

Even properly socialized dogs might become more stubborn and unwilling to comply with your commands.

You must continue to work with your dog and ideally enroll in an obedience course to reinforce training and learn new methods of proper dog obedience.

This is the time when many dog owners discuss spaying and neutering. 

Shiba Inu Puppy Second Fear Impact Period - Varies - 5 - 12 Months

shiba inu pupy looking out the window

Not all dogs go through this experience, or if they do, you may not notice it. This period, that usually lasts around three week once it starts will find your puppy to developing new fears.

This second fear impact occurs due to the puppy’s continued physiological changes and awareness of his or her surroundings.

They are basically looking at their world with a different perspective and might be fearful of a situation that didn’t previously bother them due to this new perspective and awareness.

Once you notice this, it’s important that you not force your puppy to confront these new fears head on.

Instead, gradually work with the puppy to build confidence and reassurance.

Shiba Inu Puppy - Maturity

shiba inu reaching maturity

Hurrah, you and your Shiba Inu have made it through puppy hood!

If you have put in the effort of socializing your dog, your mature Shiba Inu should be a well-adjusted, happy, and obedient member of your family.

At one year old, you should take your Shiba Inu to the vet for an annual check up and booster shot. Check to see if a stool sample is necessary.

Continue to provide new and engaging experiences for your Shiba. Ensure that you are meeting your Shiba's mental, physical, and emotional needs.

You might notice some issues that call for more training and guidance.

Just because your puppy is now an adult that doesn’t mean learning stops.

In fact it's not only your Shiba who's doing the learning. You should by know have picked up a lot of what does and does not - make your Shiba tick.

You should use what you learn to to customize a training program that will best fit your Shibas likes and dislikes, fears and strengths, etc.

It’s a complete myth that you can’t teach an old dog new tricks.

Dogs will continue to learn during all phases of their life. 

Never stop learning together.

my first shiba official logo


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