Shiba Inus make superb apartment dogs. (As a whole, remember, all dogs have individual personalities and needs)
They're perfectly sized, clean, low-key (most of the time), and prefer to be indoors in the first place.
How do I know that?
Well, after having Shibas for almost two decades, let's just say they tend to enjoy creature comforts.
Reasons Why Shiba Inus Make Perfect Apartment Dogs
Although Shiba Inus are 100% doge - they share many characteristics of cats.
They're aloof, independent, (won't crowd you), fastidiously clean, and usually don't mind being alone if properly trained AND for reasonable amounts of time.
So just like cats, Shibas recognize and prefer comfy living.
Just The Right Size -
Not tooooo big. Not to small. Just right.
Averaging less that 25 pounds, Shibas will do fine in smaller spaces - plus Shibas usually can pass requirements of apartments that have size restrictions.
Most dogs recommended for apartment living are smaller, toy dogs breeds that can be yappy, clingy, and basically not the type of dog every apartment dweller wants.
A Shiba on the other hand, is not yappy, definitely not clingy, and will acclimate well to the size constraints of apartment living.
Balanced Energy Levels -
As a member of the “non-sporting” dog group, Shiba Inus don’t have excessive, pent up energy like Border Collies which works well when living in apartments.
Additionally, once Shiba Inus reach adulthood, most turn out to be non ‘toy-crazy’ dogs.
Instead, Shibas are quite serious dogs and are quite content living in the realm and stability of day-to-day apartment living with an loving owner that spoils him or her absolutely rotten.
Shiba Inus will do just fine with a few short “bathroom break” walks and a longer “exercise” walk each day.
Weekends are a great time to get in more exercise and “fun time” in via outings to the park, hiking, beach, etc.
Easy To Potty Train / Clean Dogs -
As puppies, Shiba Inus are among the easiest dog breeds to housebreak.
They have an innate preference for cleanliness already built in. Another perfect apartment living trait.
Living in an apartment with dog breeds that don’t share this preference could be…
Well, let’s just say unpleasant to say the least.
Shiba Inus are for the most part - exceptionally clean dogs.
They’re usually not the type of dogs that enjoy mud baths (insert dog) or romps in unknown water sources (Labradors).
Instead, Shibas are quite dainty dogs that tend to want to stay clean - even grooming themselves like cats.
It’s important to remember that there is training involved as no Shiba Inu comes “pre-built” with all of these traits.
Training a Shiba Inu consistently starting at a young age is the key to fully appreciating a Shibas prim and proper demeanor.
Not "Tooo" Doggy Smellin' -
While some dogs have strong eau d’ DOG, Shibas usually have very little dog odor.
This could be partially due to their water resistant outer coats that likely repels both water and odors.
And while there is no such thing as a hypo-allergenic dogs, Shiba Inus owners often report much lower incidences of allergy issues with Shibas versus other dog breeds..
In terms of bathing, a bath around once per month would work for Shiba Inus living in apartments.
There’s a misconception that have some Shiba Inu owners think that Shibas should rarely if EVER get bathed - which is flawed.
Bathing your Shiba with good quality products at reasonable intervals will help keep your Shiba’s coat healthy and free of debris, germs and pathogens.
This is an important safety and sanitation consideration for everyone living in an apartment.
Keeps To Themselves -
Being aloof is a known Shiba Inu personality trait that does have benefits, especially in regards to apartment dwelling.
The aloof nature of Shiba Inus means that handling them in common areas of apartments and condos is easier as they’re likely to avoid interaction with other dogs as well as your neighbors.
This is especially helpful when maneuvering through narrow hallways and elevators.
Quite Quiet Dogs -
Shiba Inus aren’t excessive barkers - especially if socialized and obedience trained.
But they do bark when necessary and make good watch dogs who can alert you of suspicious shenanigans lurking just outside your apartment door.
Shiba Inus can be vocal at times, especially when happy, excited, or scared (think Shiba scream). They’ll gladly communicate their emotions with an assortment of barking, howling, and yes - screaming.
Shiba Inus who suffer from separation anxiety shouldn’t be left alone in an apartment until their anxiety issue is successfully resolved.
Doing so will only stress out your Shiba AND your neighbors.
Reasons Why Shiba Inus SHOULDN'T Be Apartment Dogs
There are certain circumstances where having a Shiba Inu in an apartment setting wouldn’t be advised.
- Separation Anxiety Issues - If a Shiba Inu has moderate to severe separation anxiety issues, apartment living wouldn’t be ideal due to potential noise complaints
- Aggression / Behavioral Issues - Shiba Inus with aggression issues as well as any dogs with aggressive tendencies could be a risky liability.
- Hyperactivity - Shiba Inus with excessive hyperactivity wouldn’t be ideal candidates for apartment living.
- Physical Condition - If a Shiba Inu suffers from a condition that makes mobility difficult - apartment living may not be the best option. While it could work, it would take more effort on your part to transport your Shiba in and out of the apartment.
- First Shiba Inu / First Dog - Because Shiba Inus are not recommended for first-time dog owners, this reason applies to both apartment living and house living. Basically, if you’ve never had a dog before, it may not be a good idea to bring a Shiba Inu into your home until you are fully confident that you can handle the responsibilities of Shiba Inu ownership. Shiba Inus can be difficult dogs to train for owners who do not understand the nuances of this special breed of dog.
Tips For Successful Apartment Living With Shiba Inus
Apartment living with dogs can be challenging for dog owners that are not prepared for the responsibilities and sacrifices needed for this arrangement to work.
At the top of the tier, consistent training and socialization is required to ensure that both your Shiba Inu and your family is able to live safely and comfortably in an apartment environment.
Here are more tips to help you live cozily with your Shiba in an apartment:
- Potty train - thoroughly, then set a regular potty schedule - Every effort must be made to ensure that your Shiba is properly trained early. Then make sure to keep a regular schedule that works well for both you and your Shiba Inu. Adult Shibas usually need at least 3-5 potty breaks each day.
- Obedience training - It’s absolutely critical that your Shiba Inu knows basic obedience commands like sit, stay, down, and come. Also, your Shiba should be trained not to bolt out of doors as well as walk properly on a leash.
- Exercise / Walking - Make sure your Shiba gets the right amount of walking / exercise for their own individual needs. Younger Shibas need more vigorous activity, while older Shibas will do fine with daily walks. (Note if daily walks are not feasible at times, just make sure to make up for it by doing longer walks, etc)
- Teach the concept of “boundaries” - Expanding on the “no bolt” training skill mentioned earlier, boundary training basically teaches your Shiba that certain areas are off-limits unless you give explicit permission. You would do this at your main apartment door, your bathroom, etc - basically anywhere that Shiba Inu should not be without supervision.
- Fun time!! - Living in an apartment on a day-to-day basis can get boring for both humans and pets. Be sure to plan fun adventures every now and then to keep your Shiba happy and content.
- Toys and Games - Keep ample dog toys and interactive games available to ensure that your Shiba has fun while getting mental stimulation through challenging dog games.
- Ditch the carpet (If possible) - Absorbent and a harbinger of both germs and odors, carpet and dogs simply don’t mix. If you are able to, consider hard floor surfaces like tile and vinyl to keep the apartment clean and “easy” to clean.
- Shiba Proofing - Until your Shiba Inu is 100% reliably trained not to chew and destroy, it’s important to ensure that wires, cords, and anything else you don’t want munched on, are securely out of your Shibas reach. For larger areas, 8-panel x-pens work great at creating a barrier.
- Supplies / equipment to make apartment life easier - Make sure you are stocked with essential supplies such as puppy pads, potty bags, first aid kit, leashes, collars. Also think about wagons, rolling dog transporters that could be helpful for apartment living.
How Long Can Shiba Inus Be Left Alone?
Shiba Inus are independent dogs that don’t need to be around their owners at all times. They can be left alone for a few hours to half a day with no issues.
However, they are still dogs and dogs are social creatures by nature.
For this reason, it wouldn’t be fair to leave a Shiba Inu or any dog home alone for an entire work day - especially if it’s 5 days a week.
A whole day without any potty break or social interaction is not healthy or fair to your Shiba Inu.
You wouldn’t leave your young child home all day without supervision so you shouldn’t do that to your dog either as they don’t have the resources to cope with such a long absence
If you do decide to bring a Shiba Inu into your life AND keep a normal work schedule, you MUST see that your Shiba Inu is properly cared for while you are gone.
This can be done via doggy daycare centers, dropping them off at relatives / friends, or at the absolute minimum having a doggy walker come in to take your Shiba out for a walk.
If you lean towards the option of having a dog sitter visiting your Shiba once a day at your own home, it would be better if you had two pets at home instead of just one to limit loneliness.
Even having a cat would be better than leaving your Shiba totally alone all day.
If these options are not feasible for you, then it’s best that you wait until you can provide a better living situation for your Shiba Inu.
Dogs unfortunately don’t have very long lives and it’s absolutely essential that you provide your family (your dog) with the best life you can provide.
Supplies / Equipment To Make Apartment Dwelling With Your Doges Easier:
X-pens are helpful from puppy hood to adulthood and beyond. They can be used to contain puppies in a safe place, cordon off off-limit areas, and prevent your Shiba from bolting out the front door.
Puppy Pads -
Puppy pads are must-haves for puppy potty training as well as for geriatric dogs that may be prone to accidents. Additionally, you should always have a stock of puppy pads available for emergencies such as if your Shiba were to become ill and not able to potty outdoors.
Monitoring System -
Having a video and audio connection to your dog when you are not around has great benefits. You can periodically check to make sure everything is in order, as well as to verbally communicate to your dog to let him or her know that everything is alright and you’ll be home soon.
The prices of monitoring systems have become very competitive lately and you can score a system, or two for a very reasonable price. You can also look into the costlier pet treat / camera type systems but we feel a basic monitoring system will suit most needs at the best cost.
Wagon / Dog Transportation -
Living in an apartment usually involves either steps, elevators, and distant parking areas. This can make shopping and or transporting bulky items with a dog cumbersome. Having a wagon or dog carrier will make trips to the car / lobby much easier
And of course, the basics:
- Leash / Collars
- Potty bags
- Dog bed
- 20 - foot long leash for running “safely” at the park / obedience lessons
- First aid kit
- Toys / Interactive games
Hopefully you've learned that living in an apartment with a Shiba is feasible with the proper preparation, planning, and training.
Just remember that every situation is different.
And all dogs are different.
It's up to you to assess both the dog and the living situation before committing into anything long term.
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