Training Shiba Inus is not like training Golden Retrievers.
Training an eager-to-please Golden is akin to playing checkers while training a not-so-eager-to-please Shiba is more like playing Chess.
To properly train a Shiba, you need to think like a Shiba, act like a Shiba, and even strategize like a Shiba.
Due to a Shiba's naturally aloof and 'sometimes' stubborn nature - training early and training hard is paramount.
We gathered 100 of the best Shiba Inu training tips to get you started in the right direction.
Some of Our Favorite Dog Obedience Superstars:
- Jean Donaldson
- Sophia Yin (late) D.V.M
- Pat Miller
- Karen Pryon
- Andrea Arden
- Ian Dunbar, PhD
- Victoria Schade
Shiba Inu Training - Tip #1 - Start Young
Bringing a Shiba Inu puppy into your family is both an exciting and exhausting time. With so much puppy pee and poo to clean, it can be easy to forget that training should start the moment you bring your new family member home. With young puppies, just start slow and easy - any little bit will help to stimulate your pup’s growing brain.
Shiba Inu Training - Tip #2 - Socialize During CRITICAL Puppy Developmental Period
A puppies critical developmental period is between 6 - 14 weeks. During this time slot you’ll have the absolute best chance to shape your Shiba’s future in a positive way. Dogs that are socialized during this period suffer from less fears and aggression issues. Start with handling, noises, grooming and then work towards basic obedience.
Shiba Inu Training - Tip #3 - Feed Well
Nourish your developing puppy with the absolute best food you can afford. Proper nutrition is essential to a developing brain and body. Nowadays, dog owners are bombarded with conflicting dog food information that may contain facts - but probably mostly fiction. When profits are involved, businesses usually have issues with transparency with their products. It’s up to you to conduct educated research to find what is best to feed your Shiba.
Shiba Inu Training - Tip #4 - Supplement With Omega-3's
Supplementing your puppy’s meals with omega-3’s from fish oil may improve brain development. Although there is no solid scientific studies that proves this or disproves this - we still recommend fish oil supplementation for the following two reasons - It doesn’t hurt and dog’s benefit from omega-3’s in their diet anyway.
Shiba Inu Training - Tip #5 - Provide a Safe Environment
Before anything else, your puppy or adult dog should always feel safe and secure. Even the smallest bit of discomfort or anxiety will hinder training results. Your Shiba should have a comfortable area to sleep, eat, and play in. Preferably this area should be quiet and cozy - but not too isolated. Shiba Inu puppies should always be contained in either a crate or X-pen when unsupervised.
Shiba Inu Training - Tip #6 - No "Nipping" Policy
One of the first things any new puppy has to learn is not to bite. Training will be less painful (literally) when a puppy doesn’t use your hand as a chew toy. Puppies naturally use their mouths to "feel" the world around them. To stop this natural behavior, you must let your pup know that mouthing is not acceptable - usually by taking away any attention. Although it’s okay to communicate with your puppy that you are not pleased - don’t use aversive punishment. Ever.
Shiba Inu Training - Tip #7 - Talk To Doge!
As humans, we don’t really understand dog “bark” language. But luckily, dog’s can learn to understand a bit of our language! And since proper communication is key, don’t waste any time and start communicating with your dog from day one. Designate words for eating, pottying, play etc. Keep the words simple and use the same words all the time. Enunciate clearly. In no time, you’ll likely have a Shiba so smart that you have to s - p - e - l - l out words that you need to keep secret from them. Yes, it’s a real problem.
Shiba Inu Training - Tip #8 - Master Potty Training
Mastering potty training as soon as possible benefits both you and your pup. Your pup will learn structure, rules, and routines - while you have less messes to clean. Luckily Shibas are one the easiest dog breeds to potty train. To master potty training, you must understand two concepts: umbilical training, 100% management. Yes, it'll take a lot of time and a lot of patience - but it's worth it. Learn more here.
Shiba Inu Training - Tip #9 - Master Crate / X-Pen Training
Crate / X-pen training is another aspect of 100% management. Training your puppy to enjoy being in their own area is essential for obedience training as well as for your puppy’s own safety and health. Crate training, when introduced properly is not cruel. It’s actually crueler to let your pup have free range and potentially come across something poisonous and / or dangerous while left unsupervised. When you are not present to supervise, crate / pen training will prevent your puppy from learning bad behaviors such as chewing and pottying in the wrong places.
Shiba Inu Training - Tip #10 - Handle Often
Since Shiba Inus are already known for being aloof, getting them to tolerate handling at an early age is critical. While puppies probably already get a lot of cuddles and pets - “handling” is getting your puppy used to all types of touch. For example, handling your pup’s nails will get the pup ready for nail clipping. Other handling exercises include touching your pups ears, mouth and tail. This will make teeth brushing and vet visits easier in the future. Tugging gently on your pup’s collar is also a form of handling that will ready the pup for leash walking.
Shiba Inu Training - Tip #11 - Keep It POSITIVE!
While Shiba Inus can be aloof, they also can be quite sensitive. Always keep any obedience training or socialization exercise positive. Aversive and alpha training is not recommended by the overwhelming majority of esteemed dog behaviorists. And it’s easy to see why. Alpha training can cause stress, anxiety, and distrust in your dog - a definite NO-NO for Shiba Inus
Shiba Inu Training - Tip #12 - But FIRM!
While it’s important to keep training positive - it’s all equally important to be firm. Many dog owners struggle to find the balance between dog parent and dog educator. To rear a balanced dog, you must be gentle but also disciplined. You need to know when to correct and when to be firm. No babying allowed. Letting your dog get away with things that shouldn’t be tolerated only makes future training much more difficult.
Shiba Inu Training - Tip #13 - Be a True Leader - Not a Bully
A Shiba Inu can be an especially strong-willed dog. Are you as a Shiba owner, ready for that challenge? Shiba’s and all dogs need a confident and responsible leader. LEADER, not alpha, not a bully, but a true leader. A true leader educates, protects, comforts, and corrects their family members at all times. There are only certain circumstances where alpha leadership is necessary to control a difficult dog - but of course, should only be handled by qualified trainers.
Shiba Inu Training - Tip #14 - Don't Even Think About Negative Aversion Training
The “negatives” of negative aversion training far outweighs any positives. By a landslide. Negative aversion training can cause distrust, fearfulness, and resentment in your Shiba. Negative aversion training has its place in only a few uncommon situations. And only at the hands of trained professionals.
Shiba Inu Training - Tip #16 - No Babying Allowed
Please, don't baby your dog. Don’t be that type of dog owner. You know, the one who talks in sweet, hoochy-coochy voices. Also the one who let's your dog run all over you. You're only communicating to your dog that you are not a leader. This will inevitably cause your dog stress and anxiety. Why? Because the dog thinks that they can’t count on you to be the assertive leader therefore they must assume that role themselves. And this is the exact reason why dog’s with babying owners are often aggressive and uncontrollable.
Shiba Inu Training - Tip #16 - Pay Attention To Your Tone of Voice
The tone of your voice gives your dog important cues into what you are communicating. When training, it’s important to differentiate your tone of voice for commands, praise, and correction. If you dole out both commands and praise in a monotone voice, it’ll make it much harder for your Shiba to understand what you want. Just think calm tone for commands, high-pitch happy for praise, and lower stern tone for correction. Eventually, you’ll learn that certain types of voice pitches communicate better to your dog than others.
Shiba Inu Training - Tip #17 - No Should Really Mean NO
From the get go, it’s important for your Shiba to understand that No is NO (We know, it's not easy with Shibas...). Not kinda no, sorta no, or not really no. No has got to mean NO at all times. When your Shiba understands that no means no, obedience training will be easier. Additionally, by understanding the meaning of no, your Shiba will better understand what is expected and what is not expected. When saying no, use a stern and strong tone. Depending on the situation, sometimes louder, sterner “no’s” are necessary.
Shiba Inu Training - Tip #18 - Lotsa Love Though
Showing your Shiba Inu that you love and respect him / her is just as important as your role as leader and trainer. So while at times, you may be a strict teacher, you also are a loving, caring, and fun owner. Praise, pet, and do the things your Shiba loves doing with you the most. Some Shibas like play, some love cuddling (yes it’s true), and some love exploring the sights on a simple walk or hike. When you Shiba is not feeling well, comfort her and do whatever you can to make it better. Don’t hesitate to take your Shiba to the vet immediately. Dog’s can’t tell us their pain, so we are responsible for ensuring that they are not suffering.
Shiba Inu Training - Tip #19 - Find Optimal Training Times
Training should always be done in a time when both you and your Shiba are in top form and ready to work. Don’t attempt training if your Shiba is overly tired, excited, or anxious. This same advice goes for you too. Good times to train include right after a walk / physical activity and when your dog is a bit hungry. This goes for you too. Except for the hungry part.
Shiba Inu Training - Tip #20 - Adjust Training Times According To Your Shiba
To get the best results in obedience training, it’s important to understand your Shiba’s mood and when to call it a day. Some Shibas will do absolutely anything for treats so they have no problem doing longer training sessions. Other Shibas might lose interest after ten minutes or so. It’s best to stop training on a high note. You don’t want your Shiba to associate training with a less than amusing activity.
Shiba Inu Training - Tip #21 - Recognize Impromptu Training Opportunities
For all of us, learning happens everyday. There are so many moments in the day that offer valuable training opportunities for both you and your Shiba. It’s up to you to be observant and seize the moment. For example, if your Shiba suddenly gets excited and starts to bark - VOILA - a great moment to teach the “speak” command.
Shiba Inu Training - Tip #22 - Name Your Puppy ASAP
New owners take naming their puppy seriously. And some take just a little bit too long coming up with the perfect name. I was guilty of this many times and just called my puppy “Puppy” until I finally settled on what I thought was the perfect name for him, “Pupper”. Yes, I know, hardly groundbreaking. Don’t make my mistake. Naming your puppy early allows your dog to understand that you are communicating directly with him / her and therefore expect communication back. This makes obedience training much easier.
Shiba Inu Training - Tip #23 - Make Your Training Routine - Routine
Dogs are very big on routines. Use this trait to your advantage by habitually making training and learning a part of you and your pup’s daily routine. For instance, when I take my dog out for a walk and we encounter something new, say a duck for instance, I immediately name it. After a while, you’ll begin to notice that this impromptu training routine transforms into a habit. And learning, then teaching is a great habit to have.
Shiba Inu Training - Tip #24 - Boost Confidence With Easier "Wins"
All dogs have different strengths, weaknesses, and motivations. The best way you can boost your Shibas confidence is to concentrate on strengths first. If your dog or puppy is terrible on the leash but pretty good at sitting and lying down - work on the easier wins first. This will build up the dog’s confidence levels and be better equipped for the more difficult training sessions later.
Shiba Inu Training - Tip #25 - Teach One Command at a Time
When entering a training session, don’t set unrealistic goals. Start with one command / behavior at a time. If you try to teach your dog two or three new commands at once, there’s a high probability that your dog will get confused and you will get frustrated. The popular adage of quality over quantity is true in dog obedience training.
Shiba Inu Training - Tip #26 - Timing is Everything
Being quick to praise and quick to correct is critical when training your dog. The instant your dog performs a command correctly - you must reward (with praise) immediately. The same thing goes when giving corrections. By doing this, you are ensuring clear communication with your dog. Your dog will quickly absorb what works, and what doesn’t.
Shiba Inu Training - Tip #27 - Use Simple Language
Because your dog’s understanding of human language is low, it’s necessary to make commands as simple as possible. Commands with one and no more than two syllables work best. Instead of “back up”, simply say “scoot”. Or instead of “turn around”, use “spin” instead. Also, be consistent and use the same words all the time. Enunciate them clearly and do your best not to confuse your dog with similar sounding commands.
Shiba Inu Training - Tip #28 - Don't Confuse Your Dog With Mixed Messages
Avoid untraining your dog by realizing that dog’s think and learn differently than us. Many concepts that are clear and simple to us can be downright confusing to dogs. It’s our responsibility to be aware when this happens and direct our dogs accordingly. The most classic example of this is when owners call their dog over to scold them. Can you blame your dog for not ever wanting to come when called again?
Shiba Inu Training - Tip #29 - Strive For Consistency and Perfection
This may seem like common sense but many dog owners fall short on these two components. This will lead to harder training in the future. For example, sit is a pretty easy and basic command. Many owners might think that once the dog does it a few times that they are fully trained on that command. Usually, that’s not the case. A dog is fully trained when he or she will sit EVERY single time you command. This is called “sticking” a command
Shiba Inu Training - Tip #30 - Be Sure The Command "Sticks"
The end goal for every command taught is for your dog to “stick” the command. This basically means that your dog will obey the command just about 100% of the time. No matter what, where, or when. Whether it’s peaceful and quiet or loud and turbulent - that dog will sit on command. Master trainers like Jean Donaldson call this “sticking” the command. Once a dog has stuck a command, you can move on to harder commands. If you move to a new command too fast, and your dog regresses - that's harder and more frustrating than if you’d just stick with the first command all the way through.
Shiba Inu Training - Tip #31 - Establish Affection, Respect, Trust (A.R.T.)
Before engaging in serious training with your pup or dog, it’s important to establish A.R.T. (affection, respect, and trust). This is especially important for rescue or newly adopted dogs. A dog won’t bother being concerned about learning new commands if he / she is not comfortable with you in the first place. You have to win them over first. Do this by being patient and gentle with the dog. Learn what your dog likes and doesn’t like and concentrate on making your dog comfortable and happy in its new environment.
Shiba Inu Training - Tip #32 - Recognize Aggression - and Address Quickly
Aggression in dogs is a serious issue that needs to be addressed immediately. If your Shiba is still a puppy and exhibiting aggressive behaviors - these behaviors need to be corrected. If the aggression is mild, training using classical conditioning, operant conditioning, and desensitization can work. If the aggression is severe, you probably need help from a professional. Don't delay getting help - aggression issues can lead to long term stress and risk of injury. And it only get's worse - so don't wait.
Shiba Inu Training - Tip #33 - Eliminate Distractions
Training a Shiba is hard enough by itself. Don’t make it harder by training in a distracting environment. The training area should be free of other dogs, pets, animals, and excessive noise. Visual distractions also need to be considered. Try to find an area that is secluded enough so maximum attention can be given to you.
Shiba Inu Training - Tip #34 - Designate an Ideal Training Area
While most training can be done in various environments (at home, at the park, etc) - certain commands train better in a designated training area. A training area can be as simple as using a 8-paneled x-pen to cordon off the training area. Or, if you have a lot of space, you can also use an extra room. The main idea is that the training area is an area that is contained and free from distracting sights and sounds. Before starting training, ensure that you properly introduce the area to your dog. You can do this by offering treats and / or play in the area.
Shiba Inu Training - Tip #35 - Keep Your Shiba Well-Groomed
A clean and well-groomed Shiba will likely train better than a scruffy and itchy Shiba. Long nails can hinder normal walking and lead to gait issues in the future. Additionally, long nails can crack and or break causing severe pain and discomfort. Important grooming tasks to keep up with include brushing, de-shedding, nail trimming, and occasional bathing as needed. Of course with Shiba Inus, these tasks can prove to be difficult to say the least.
Shiba Inu Training - Tip #36 - Keep Your Shiba Inu Healthy
No one, including dogs like to work / train when they are feeling ill. As a dog parent, your pup’s health and happiness is your most important responsibility. Regular vet visits along with observant monitoring will help to ensure that you are on top of any potential issues. Be sure to never leave your dog unsupervised in an area that is not safe. Common dangers include poisonous plants / animals and sharp thorns / weeds. If your Shiba is showing signs of illness, please don’t post your question on social media - just go to your vet.
Shiba Inu Training - Tip #37 - Consider Your Shiba's Mood Before Training
Before beginning any training session that’s going to be longer than a few minutes, ensure that your Shiba has the right mood and mindset. Don’t start training if your Shiba is agitated or anxious. Energy is good for training, but too much energy is not. If your Shiba is a high energy dog, exercise her a bit too drain out the excess energy. If your Shiba is sluggish, try to liven her up with play or entice her with the treats she "might" get.
Shiba Inu Training - Tip #38 - Recognize Low Level Anxiety
Low level anxiety is difficult to detect in dogs - especially if you didn’t raise them as a puppy. Dog's suffering from low level anxiety may seem okay but they are actually living in a constant state of unease. This unease not only makes training harder but it's also unhealthy for your dog. To treat this type of anxiety, you must first find the trigger. Common triggers include noises, certain objects like vacuums, and even certain people or animals. Once you find the trigger, remove it then try desensitization or classical conditioning techniques to help your dog overcome the fear.
Shiba Inu Training - Tip #39 - Don't Worry, Be Happy (Your Mood)
Your mood is equally or more important than your Shibas. Only train your Shiba when you are calm, positive, and not rushed for time. Don’t attempt training if you’re in a bad mood or short of time. Dogs are extremely perceptive and any ounce of your negative energy can be associated with the training session. This will make your Shiba less receptive to future training sessions.
Shiba Inu Training - Tip #40 - Wear Comfortable Doggy-Proof Clothes
Wear comfortable clothes that you don’t mind getting soiled. From dog drool, dog hair, to treat crumbs - dog training has its perks. Sometimes training requires you to contort to a myriad of positions in order for your dog to understand. Dressing in comfy, all-weather clothes will help you to be comfortable while doing so.
Shiba Inu Training - Tip #41 - Plan Your Training Beforehand
Try not make training a last-minute afterthought. It’s much better if you pre-plan your training sessions so that you’ll have the right mindset as well as the right tools to get the job done right. It’s usually better to do no training at all than half-a$$ed training. Lazy, rushed training usually leads to bad results due to the dog becoming confused which can lead to “untraining”.
Shiba Inu Training - Tip #42 - Rewards With Food Is a Must
The best professional in the dog training circles all agree that food rewards are a MUST. There is simply no better way to achieve a properly trained and obedient dog without tasty rewards. Period. Don’t even bother thinking that high praise should be enough to get your dog to obey. It’s not. Aside from food rewards, the only other semi-successful method of training is the dominance method which we don’t support to the least bit. With food rewards, your dog is getting “paid” in a happy and positive manner. With dominance training, the dog only listens because it’s simply afraid of the other option of getting hurt or traumatized
Shiba Inu Training - Tip #43 - Use The Right Type of Food Rewards
The best types of food rewards are high quality foods that can be chopped into tiny pieces. Smaller pieces are quick to eat and won’t interrupt the flow of the training. Try to stay away from inexpensive, low-quality grocery store type treats. Those types of treats are usually loaded with horrible ingredients. If your Shiba is particularly food-motivated, even kibble can be used for training rewards - especially on easier commands. However, once training get’s harder, higher value treats work better.
Shiba Inu Training - Tip #44 - Use Both "Low Value" and "High Value" Treats
Separate your treats in two categories. Low value treats can be used for simple obedience commands. Higher value (tastier) should be saved to use only for more complex commands. Example of low value treats are kibble, biscuit-style crumbs, etc. Higher value treats include fresh foods like tiny pieces of chicken or cheese, and freeze-dried liver treats. Dogs love liver treats!
Shiba Inu Training - Tip #45 - Treat Bag Holders - A "Must Have"
In the past, i’ve never used treat bags mainly because they didn’t exist. Now, I find them to be an indispensable tool for training dogs. With treat bags, you can have both hands free to guide your dog to understand the command being given. Plus, you’ll be able to see how much treats you plan on giving for the session so you don’t run the risk of “over-treating”. If you're old enough to know what a "fanny pack" is - those work great as well.
Shiba Inu Training - Tip #46 - Adjust Regular Meals To Balance Caloric Intake
This tip applies especially to older dogs and / or overweight dogs rather than puppies. Be mindful of how much treats you are giving in a training session and throughout the day. Then make sure to adjust your Shiba’s normal meals so that they don’t get an excess of calories for the day. Do this by simply cutting down the portion size of their regular meals.
Shiba Inu Training - Tip #47 - Exercise / Play Before Training
Exercising or playing with your dog before a training session helps to get out excess energy. This especially applies to young puppies and high drive dogs. Every dog is different so adjust how long your walk / exercise your dog by observing their behavior. A perfect time to begin training is when your dog settles down and has a relaxed, “happy” pant.
Shiba Inu Training - Tip #48 - Teach Core Obedience Commands First
The four most important obedience commands are come, sit, down, and stay. Before getting into other commands, be sure that your dog or puppy masters them all. Not sort of master, but completely master. Having a dog that obeys these four commands 100% of the time can mean the difference between a healthy, happy life to a life cut short due to an accident or running away.
Shiba Inu Training - Tip #49 - The Sit - A Great Confidence Boost
The sit command is the easiest command to master. Likely because it’s something puppies and dogs do anyway. This command is a great starter command that will help your dog gain confidence and enjoy the process of training. The most commonly used method for teaching sit is to use a treat reward and simply lure the dog into a sit position by putting the treat above their head. Once a proper sit is achieved, reward immediately with praise and a treat. Remember, timing is important.
Shiba Inu Training - Tip #50 - Down
Following the sit command, the down command is taught in a similar method. Lure the dog towards the floor with a treat and reward and praise promptly when the dog goes into a full down position. This command is a bit more difficult than the sit command. Some dogs need extra prompting to go “down” - either because they have too much energy or because they are not comfortable in the position. For dogs with too much energy, provide more exercise / play for training. New and or rescue adult dogs may not like being in the down position because they are not fully comfortable in their new environment. In this situation spend more time in bonding with the dog.
Shiba Inu Training - Tip #51 - Stay
The stay command is a critical command to teach your dog / puppy as soon as possible. A reliable stay command is important for your Shiba’s safety as well as others. This command will also aid in impulse control and ensuring that your Shiba doesn’t get into a situation that he shouldn’t be in. Teaching the stay command is not that difficult but does require patience. Young puppies or active dogs should be exercised first to release excess energy. Use a long leash to have better control of your dog. Hand signals are helpful for obedience commands as they give your dog a clear visual cue of the command. Start with very short stay intervals and only increase the time when the dog does successful stays.
Shiba Inu Training - Tip #52 - Come - A Very Important Command
The recall command is one of the most important obedience commands that your Shiba, or any dog, needs to know. Having a dog with reliable recall is essential to keeping your dog safe. While it may seem like an easy command to teach, it’s actually a command that many dog owners struggle with and / or teach incorrectly. A reliable recall requires that you dog comes to you 100% of the time no matter what. Even in an unfamiliar environment full of distractions, dog’s with reliable recall will still come on command. That is the goal. Most dog owners simply settle for a dog that comes “most of the time”. Don't be that type of owner.
Shiba Inu Training - Tip #53 - Don't Scold For "Not" Coming
Teaching recall to a stubborn dog or puppy can be maddening. Don’t worry, we understand cause we’ve all been there before. If you ever get to that point of losing patience, stop and take a deep breath. Don’t even think of scolding or chasing your dog for not coming. You’ll regret it because now you’ve made it even harder to train this important command. It should easy to understand that by scolding your not coming, he’ll always associated the come call with scolding.
Shiba Inu Training - Tip #54 - Don't Scold For Coming Either
You should also never use the come command to deliver a reprimand to the dog. Instead if you need to reprimand the dog, go to the dog instead to correct. If you call your Shiba, and your Shiba comes only to receive scoldings, your Shiba will probably think twice when you give the recall command again. It makes sense right?
Shiba Inu Training - Tip #55 - Start Leash Training Early
Leash training should begin as early as possible. Having a properly leashed train dog will make future obedience drills much easier. Always start by introducing the leash to the dog gradually in a positive way. And never pull, jerk, or scold your dog during leash training. Even very young puppies can start leash training by first simply getting used to wearing a collar. Then introduce short “tugs” at the puppy’s collar to mimic what being on a leash is like. Remember, baby steps goes a long way.
Shiba Inu Training - Tip #56 - Teach Your Shiba To "Wait" at Entry / Exits
The door stay command is one of my favorite obedience commands. It's also a command that can truly make a difference between a safe Shiba and a Shiba that runs away, gets injured, or worse. A door stay means that your Shiba cannot enter or exit an “off-limits” door unless you give a command. This command is not only important for keeping your Shiba safe, but it also is useful in common day to day situations. For example, it would be helpful if your Shiba that stepped in some mud outside ‘NOT” enter the newly cleaned floors until after you had a chance to clean him.
Shiba Inu Training - Tip #57 - Work on The Six Obedience Commands Above - Aim For 110%
Keep working on the seven core commands until 110% fluency is achieved. Seriously, it’s that important. Spending the extra time now to really put an effort into these obedience commands will payoff big time in the future. You’ll save yourself, your dog, and your family and friends from unnecessary stress, frustration, and worry.
Shiba Inu Training - Tip #58 - Use "Luring" To Aid Learning
Treats are great “lures” for helping your dog understand the command. They can be used to position the dog or to make the dog follow the lure with either their eyes or body. Some commands that take advantage of the luring technique include sit, down, place, and spin. Don't "over-lure" though. Eventually, wean off luring so that the dog will understand how to perform the command without the luring prompt.
Shiba Inu Training - Tip #59 - Praise Joyfully
When dispensing treats, always accompany the reward with enthusiastic praise. Try to find your favorite word for praise and use that same word consistently. Eventually, you’ll need to slowly wean of doling out so many treats as rewards. The enthusiastic praise will communicate that they performed the command correctly and still serves as a reward - albeit less tasty.
Shiba Inu Training - Tip #60 - Slow Down on Treat Rewards Gradually
Once your dog has learned a command with 100% reliability, it’s okay not to give a treat reward every single time. Instead, give high praise and affection. Replacing treats with praise should be done gradually - especially in the beginning.
Shiba Inu Training - Tip #61 - Prevent Command Extinction Mode
Don’t stop giving treat rewards permanently. Once your dog realizes that he’ll never get a treat again, it’s most likely he’ll have little incentive to continue to listen to you. So, always rotate treats with praise so your dog won’t go into command extinction mode
Shiba Inu Training - Tip #62 - Recognize Your Dog's Strengths and Weaknesses
It’s important to recognize that every dog has different strengths and weaknesses. Don’t be discouraged when you are having a hard time training. Just because you once had a dog that could be a modern day Lassie doesn’t mean your current dog will be the same. Patience, persistence, and empathy go a long way.
Shiba Inu Training - Tip #63 - Celebrate Baby Steps
Obedience training is like a marathon. You’re in it for the long haul. Don’t feel the need to rush your dog in learning obedience. Some dogs have temperaments that require patience and repetition. Be grateful for even the smallest of baby steps. Because these baby steps are just as important as other "bigger" steps as some dogs need a while to work on their fears, anxieties, etc
Shiba Inu Training - Tip #64 - Be Present - Get Off The Phone
I’m young enough to be familiar with most things technophobic, yet old enough to remember when cell phones were not a part of the adolescent experience. Instead of being glued to social media and reading / posting life updates - we actually spent most of our time experiencing life instead of posting about it. So make an effort to shut down technology and simply spend more quality time with your dog and your family. Simply be present. Go for longer walks, explore more, have fun, and keep learning and evolving with your dog pal.
Shiba Inu Training - Tip #65 - Get Chatty With Your Shibe
Don’t even think that talking to your dog is silly. It’s actually genius! While dogs may not have a firm grip on proper grammar, they are perceptive enough to pick up on many human speech patterns. And, they get even better when you put effort into teaching your dog while talking. A recent study even showed that people who talk to their dogs are likely to be more educated.
Shiba Inu Training - Tip #66 - Take Notes
Top trainers like the late Dr. Sophia Yin strongly recommended keeping training notes. Keep a log or notes on your observations, both good and bad. You can include what you did in each session and if you noticed improvement or issues that need to be addressed further. Sometimes jotting down simple observations will lead you to recognize patterns in what training method works for your dog and what doesn’t.
Shiba Inu Training - Tip #67 - Clicker Usage - "Optional"
Clicker training can be very helpful in training your dog. But don’t feel that you need to include a clicker in your training sessions. I’ve never used it because I rely on my vocal and body language feedback instead. I try to include training wherever I am with my dog and i’d see the difficulty of always having a clicker with you.
Shiba Inu Training - Tip #68 - Use Proper Body Language
Body language is another way that we communicate with our dogs. Just as with vocal tones, it’s important to be consistent with your body language for best comprehension. If you are about to deliver a serious command and / or reprimand, your dog surely won’t take you seriously if you are slouching down on the sofa. Instead you should either stand or sit up erectly while delivering the command firmly. These little details go a long way.
Shiba Inu Training - Tip #69 - Keep Training Sessions Lengths Comfortable
Don’t go overboard with training session lengths. Young puppies and certain fickle dogs cannot handle too much training all at once. Stop the session when you begin to notice disinterest or fussiness. But if your dog is still eager to train - train on. Always end on a happy and energetic note.
Shiba Inu Training - Tip #70 - Avoid Constant "Repeating"
I repeat, don’t repeat. Ha, seriously instead of repeating the command over and over again, adjust your training mechanics so the dog can better understand what you are asking for. Repeating the command like a broken record will not cause the dog to suddenly realize what you meant. Additionally, repeating the command with no meaningful feedback will only weaken the command while confusing / frustrating the dog.
Shiba Inu Training - Tip #71 - Don't Handle Your Shiba Roughly
Although Shiba Inus can have an aloof or indifferent exterior, they’re actually quite sensitive dogs. Never reprimand harshly or use excessive physical force. Instead, be sensitive to your Shiba and handle with care.
Shiba Inu Training - Tip #72 - Utilize No Free Lunch Training
NILF, Nothing in Life is Free, and no free lunch are training methods that mean the same thing. The basic premise is that throughout the day, you should be able to ask your dog to obey a command in exchange for something s/he wants - usually food, play, or going out. This method is a powerful training tool that helps your dog quickly grasp the concepts of commands and rewards. It also helps to give your dog a feeling of usefulness (obedience) and accomplishment (the rewards).
Shiba Inu Training - Tip #73 - Mealtimes and NILF / No Free Lunch
Meal times are the best times for using NILF techniques. My Shiba who’s normally lazy by nature will give me a circus level performance in exchange for her meal. This routine has taught her the value of obedience and the importance of rules. When using NILF throughout the day, be sure to use commands that your dog is familiar with. Meaning, don’t try to introduce a completely new command that will take a while for your dog to get down. Usually, a simple sit, stay, or wait is what I ask for in NILF instances.
Shiba Inu Training - Tip #74 - Barriers and NILF / No Free Lunch
An equally perfect time to teach your dog the principles of NILF is when entering and exiting doors - especially going into an area that your dog doesn't normally have access too. NILF is perfect to help your dog understand that permission is required to enter or exit certain doors, gates, or other access points. This command also drastically reduces the chances of your Shiba bolting out of doors.
Shiba Inu Training - Tip #75 - Balance Your Dog's Energy Levels With Your Own Energy
Training your dog with the right energy level is so much easier than training a dog with too much or too little energy. So if your dog or puppy has a bit too much energy, counter this energy by being especially calm. Try to slow things down with a calming voice and relaxed movements. On the other hand, if your dog’s energy level is too low, liven it up with an upbeat voice and energetic movement.
Shiba Inu Training - Tip #76 - Break Up Complex Commands
If you’re moving on too more complex commands it’s best to break up the commands and start with the foundation command first. A funny example of this is teaching your dog to fetch you a beer. I break this complex command up into three sections. First I teach the dog the concept of pulling a can-shaped object that has a knot tied around it for my dog to grab. Then I teach the dog to bring that can-shaped object to me on command. Finally I teach the dog to pull a similar knot attached to the fridge door. You should get the picture by now.
Shiba Inu Training - Tip #77 - "Step Back" If Necessary
Whenever you notice your dog having issues with commands you taught were solid, go back and retrain to properly reinforce the command. Every dog stumbles with commands at times and the faster your catch it and retrain, the faster future sessions will progress.
Shiba Inu Training - Tip #78 - Leave The "Silly" Commands For Later
Earlier, I mentioned the beer retrieving command in one of the tips. Great command. It’s useful and has high entertainment / bragging rights value. However, don’t even think about these types of commands until your dog has all of the “important” commands down.
Shiba Inu Training - Tip #79 - Exercise Your Dog's Mind With Interactive Toys
Just because your dog isn’t a puppy, don’t think learning stops. Learning occurs throughout a dog’s life. Interactive games and toys are great tools to enhance problem solving abilities. Plus, dogs enjoy them because it’s fun and entertaining. And rewarding.
Shiba Inu Training - Tip #80 - Have The Right Tools For the Job
Make sure to have the right tools for training on hand and ready. The most common and useful tools include a treat bag, leash, harness, 100-ft leash (for recall, stay), and clicker (if you choose to use it). If you need to create a barrier for a training area, X-pens work great for that.
Shiba Inu Training - Tip #81 - Learning From Already Trained Dogs
Just like humans, dogs learn by observation. If you already have a well-trained dog, allow your dog in training opportunities to simply observe you working with your trained dog. You may try including your trained dog into training sessions once in a while, but only if your trainee dog doesn’t get too distracted.
Shiba Inu Training - Tip #82 - Dealing With Friends and Family During Training
While you can control most of the aspects of your dog’s training regime, family and friends are factors that can issues with dog training. For example, if you’re teaching your puppy not to jump and have a friend that loves and actually encourages jumping - it’ll make training that much more difficult. Strangers that just want to “pet” your puppy or dog can also impede training. Prepare for this by knowing in advance what you can do or say that’ll help others know you are in the process of training. Just be polite.
Shiba Inu Training - Tip #83 - Speak Up To Training "Distractors"
One of the hardest aspects of training (at least for me) is to deal with well-meaning friends and strangers during training. However it's important to just speak up and let them know politely that your dog is in a training. You can even ask them if they'd like to help with a training exercise like "no jumping", etc. If you don't speak up, you'll just slow down training progress or even regress.
Shiba Inu Training - Tip 84 - Harness Train Puppies Early
Many dogs are notorious for being fussy about wearing harnesses. This is why it’s important to get your puppy used to them as soon as possible. By starting young, it’ll be much easier for your dog to accept wearing a harness in the future. Additionally, harnesses are necessary for young puppies during leash training. Puppies have fragile necks so leash training with a harness is a must.
Shiba Inu Training - Tip #85 - Harnesses During Training
If your puppy or dog is not fully used to wearing a harness, don’t use it when training. You want your dog as comfortable and possible or else he won’t be able to concentrate. In the meantime, continue to work with your dog on getting comfortable in a harness outside of obedience training time.
Shiba Inu Training - Tip #86 - Train at Different Areas
Once your Shiba begins "sticking" their commands, it's time to move on to harder challenges. You can start by simply changing the training area. Start slowly by simply going someplace other than the usual training area at home. Then, move on to harder places such as public parks or during walks.
Shiba Inu Training - Tip #87 - Bring On the Distractions
Distractions come in when it's time to up the difficulty even more. Simple distractions such as another person or another dog around is a good start. Ease into distractions slowly as you don't want to startle the beejeezus out of your dog at the very get-go. A good command to utilize distractions is the down-stay. Aim for an eventual 5-minute down stay with distractions such as noise, other people / dogs lurking around.
Shiba Inu Training - Tip #88 - All Eyes on "YOU"
A secret weapon in the dog training world is to teach your dog to ALWAYS have eyes on you. Once you have a dog that is always focused on you, obedience and good manners just come naturally. The following commands will all help you to reach this goal: come when called, "say please" sitting, "watch me", attention during walks, and leave it.
Shiba Inu Training - Tip #89 - "Say Please" Sitting
"Say please" sitting is just like sitting, but instead of you having to "tell" your dog to sit, your dog will automatically sit to get something they want (a treat, a toy, permission to enter / exit). They are basically communicating "please" to you by sitting without you having to ask. This is an excellent command to improve your dog's focus on you.
Shiba Inu Training - Tip #90 - Remove Attention For Unwanted Behaviors
Many dog owners struggle to understand how "ignoring" your dog could be effective. Instead, they usually turn to instantly barking out "no!" But doing this never really works in the long term because you're still providing attention to your dog. Instead, have a little patience and try out this technique. Even the most hyper of dogs will eventually learn that being hyper is not rewarding.
Shiba Inu Training - Tip #91 - Front Harnesses or Head Halters Help Distracted Dogs
If your dog has trouble keeping focused on you, try using a front harness or head halter. When your dog gets distracted you can gently tug on the harness to bring all attention back to you. Before using, be sure to check for the right fit and learn how to properly and safely use the tool. Also, it's important to get your dog comfortable wearing the harness / halter before training with it.
Shiba Inu Training - Tip #92 - Hands Free Leashes Help With Leash Training
Hands-free leashes work great for leash training because these leashes extend only so much. Your dog will quickly learn that he can't move much further at maximum extension. When leash training by hand, many owners will extend their arms to allow the dog to keep getting away with extra distance.
Shiba Inu Training - Tip #93 - Use a Unique Word For Correct Behaviors
If you're using clicker training, then the clicker sound is the signal for a correct behavior. But it's also important to designate a word for correct behaviors as many don't use clicker training and / or don't have a clicker on hand at all times. A unique word should be short, and used consistently with the same voice tone. My unique word is a simple "good" in a short, high-pitched tone.
Shiba Inu Training - Tip #94 -Stop Bad Habits Before They Occur
Instead of waiting for your dog to develop bad habits like chewing on the furniture, take proactive steps to ensure it doesn't happen in the first place. In the case of chewing, to prevent this habit, you'd need to be sure to provide your dog with proper chew toys. Additionally, you'd need to ensure your dog is never unsupervised in areas where unauthorized chewing could occur.
Shiba Inu Training - Tip #95 - Let Your Dog Go Into "Predator Mode"
Dog's are by nature, predators. Use this behavioral trait as a learning tool. Hide treats in snuffle mats, or somewhere around the house. Then use the "find" command to prompt your dog into searching. Voila, your Shiba just learned a new word as well as new command!
Shiba Inu Training - Tip #96 - Get Social
Dogs are social animals so ensuring they get enough social interaction is important. Even if you have an aloof or shy Shiba, social interaction with those they are comfortable with is beneficial.
Shiba Inu Training - Tip #97 - Next Level Skills
If you have an especially active Shiba and / or overachiever - nurture that with additional activities such as agility, fly-ball, barn hunts. All of these types of activities will boost your Shiba's physical as well as mental acuities.
Shiba Inu Training - Tip #98 - Enroll in an Obedience Course
Dog obedience courses are a great way to supplement and reinforce your own training. In addition, the group sessions will give your dog a chance to socialize and perform commands with distractions. Plus, you'll likely learn invaluable tips to add to your training acumen.
Shiba Inu Training - Tip #99 - Keep Yourself Accountable
Training a dog is hard work. Show off your efforts by sharing both your challenges and victories with friends. Join dog training groups online and post your progress. You'll find many like-minded dog owners that can help you on your dog training mission.
Shiba Inu Training - Tip #100 - Give It Your 100%
Training a dog takes a lot of work, and a lot of effort, and a lot of time - deal with it, the harder you work the sooner the payoff comes. Once you see the results of your efforts, you'll know it was all worth it, and more!
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