Part of caring for your furry friend is dealing with their unusual quirks. Whether it is digging through your furniture, chewing your shoe, or other weird habits. But always keep in mind that your furry friend is also a product of their training.
In dealing with this, the first thing you need to do is to accept their oddities. Only then can you work with your Shiba so that you can live together in peace.
Their unwanted behaviors do not go away on their own. It can be a behavioral issue, a response to their emotions, or it can be due to a medical issue.
There is a lot to think about when you are correcting their unwanted behaviors. If you are unsure of how to approach this, you will find useful tips that you can use in this article.
Are Shiba Inu Prone to Bite?
Shiba Inu interact with their surroundings using their mouth and this includes biting. They are a mouthy and curious breed that will munch on something that piques their interest. But their biting habits will also depend on their age.
If your Shiba Inu is still a puppy, they will bite a lot more. Going through the teething process is not the most comfortable experience. So they will chew on anything to relieve the gum pain that they are feeling.
While this will dwindle as they are through with teething, adult Shiba Inu will still bite. This is normal canine behavior that you cannot get rid of.
Oftentimes, your Shiba Inu does not mean harm. They will bite during playtime or whenever they get excited.
But sometimes, this can be a behavioral issue. So take note of what is going on in their surroundings whenever they bite. Here are some questions to reflect on:
- Is my Shiba Inu hurt?
- Is my Shiba Inu guarding something, such as a toy or their food?
- Does my Shiba Inu feel that I am invading their space?
If you say yes to any of these, their biting may come from a place of aggression. With this, you have to put in extra time and effort to train them. In time, their biting issues will go away.
Are Shiba Inu Known for Biting People?
Unlike other dog breeds, Shiba Inu is not notorious for biting people a lot. But this does not mean that you are safe from their pearly whites.
There are many reasons why your Shiba Inu will bite you. Most of the time, they do not have ill intentions. But other times, it can be a sign of aggression.
Shiba Inu can be a tricky breed to read. They are not typical dogs as they resemble cats more in a lot of ways. This is why it is crucial to know more about them so that you can interpret their behaviors.
This breed is aloof, independent, and quite hard to please, much like a feline. Shiba Inu much prefer to be on their own and do whatever interests them.
They are not quite fond of strangers and will keep their distance from them. While they love their owners, Shiba Inu is also not affectionate to their humans either. They show their love in different ways, such as following and keeping an eye on you from afar.
With their temperament and personality, you have to be careful with your Shiba Inu. They do not tolerate handling well, such as cuddling them. They are also quite territorial over their food and toys and are not afraid to fight you over them.
There are many other ways that you can push your Shiba Inu to start using its powerful bite. But if you take the time to understand them, you can expect how they act in certain situations.
Do Shiba Inu Bite Strangers?
Shiba Inu are naturally wary of strangers and they will not hesitate to bite one when they see fit. There are a few reasons why your Shiba Inu will begin to bite, though. Some of the common ones are the following:
- Excessive handling
- Lack of socialization
- Sensing threat
You would not want your furry friend to bite strangers that you meet outside. This makes it hard for you to take them on a walk, to a park, or even have friends over at your home. But knowing the reason behind this behavior is the key to training them.
Each of the possible causes above will need a different approach. With this, below is a more detailed discussion on them.
Shiba Inu is not the cuddliest dog breed out there. Not even towards their owners to whom they are faithful and devoted. So you can expect that they will have little tolerance for a stranger’s attention.
There is no doubt that the beautiful Shiba Inu is a show stopper and many people will want to say hi to them. A Shiba Inu may be okay with that along with a few pets here and there. But when they want it to stop, they mean it.
Your Shiba Inu will let the other person know to stop, it can be by barking at them. But if the other person does not listen, that is when your Shiba Inu will use a more forceful method.
So whenever a stranger wants to pet your Shiba Inu, make sure to be your furry friend’s voice. Tell the other person to stop whenever you see that your buddy is getting uncomfortable. This will also spare the other person from possible pain after getting bitten.
Lack of Socialization
Proper and early socialization is crucial for every dog breed. But this is even more important with a Shiba Inu.
This is an ancient breed that is not as domesticated as other dog breeds. As a result, they still retained much of their primitive behaviors up to this day. And as a hunting dog, some of these behaviors, like biting, are not good for a domesticated dog.
With this, you should teach your Shiba Inu how to act like one at a young age. Expose them to various situations, sounds, sights, people, and more. The more you do this, the more you desensitize them.
In time, this desensitization will make them better-behaved dogs who do not act out. Much of this is because they do not fear a lot of experiences anymore and learn to ignore or tolerate them.
Taking out their fear is important. Because fear often brings out aggressive behaviors, like biting. And if they have a fear of strangers, you can expect your Shiba Inu to use their jaws to protect themselves.
Shiba Inu are wary of strangers and they are also very protective of their owners. So they will do everything in their power to protect you from people that they find unusual.
Many people believe that dogs are a great judge of character. If your Shiba Inu does not like a specific person, they may sense that something is off about them.
Whether you believe this or not, you may want to listen to your furry friend. They often have better intuition than humans.
Do Shiba Inu Bite Their Owners?
Since they are a mouthy breed, a Shiba Inu may also bite their owners too. But this is often without the intention to harm you. Instead, this happens when they want to grab your attention, play, or when excited.
They may keep on doing this after learning that this catches your attention. If you keep on reacting to them when they do this, they will figure out that this is effective.
So if you want your Shiba Inu to stop doing this for your attention, then ignore their bites. In time, they will learn that this is not the way to get you to notice them. Instead, teach them an alternative to this like putting their paw on you.
Your Shiba Inu will want to nibble on you more when they are going through the teething process. Anything that they can get their paws on, they will bite on it for pain relief. Sometimes, they have your hands in mind for this.
But of course, your Shiba Inu may also bite for other reasons like fear, anxiety, and even aggression. The latter is unacceptable, no matter what age your Shiba Inu is. If they have this tendency, then you should work on it right away before it turns into a bigger issue.
The first thing you should do is to know the body language of an aggressive dog. Usually, they will let you know that they are unhappy before resorting to biting.
Here are some signs that your Shiba Inu’s biting is due to aggression:
- Baring teeth
- Curled lips
- Stiff body
- Ears pulled back
If you do see any of these signs, assess the situation leading up to their behavior. For example, your Shiba Inu may be resource-guarding. So they will only bite due to aggression if you touch their toys or food.
This will help you figure out how to train them to correct this behavior.
Why Does My Shiba Inu Bite So Much?
There are several possible reasons why your Shiba Inu bites. Usually, they do it when they are feeling playful. But sometimes, excessive biting can be a sign of mental distress and other scarier issues.
Biting is a natural and normal behavior for dogs to do. But biting on humans, for whatever reason it may be, is unacceptable.
But you need to figure out the reason behind their biting to correct their behavior. With this, here are the possible causes that you should look into.
Shiba Inu is a lesser domesticated dog breed than others. So getting handled, such as being a pet, is not something they are comfortable with. This may be an issue if you are going to groom them, like brushing their coat.
So make sure to get your Shiba Inu used to these while they are still young. This will ensure that you can take care of them without worrying about getting bitten.
This breed loves to have fun and goof around. In dogs, biting their playmates is part of their play! Unfortunately, this may mean that they will nibble on your hand during playtime as well.
Aside from tail wagging and barking, they may also bite when they get excited. This is normal in dogs and is just their way to express their intense emotions.
This may happen whenever you come home after a long day of work. Or, it can occur the moment you Shiba Inu senses that they get to play with you or go outside.
Lack of Social Skills
Dogs learn bite inhibition as puppies with their littermates. This way, they learn how hard they can bite before hurting anyone or another dog. But if your Shiba Inu did not learn, this will affect their interactions with those around them.
As a result of their poor social skills, they do not have proper bite etiquette. They will bite as hard as they can as they do not know the consequences of it. Or, they may think that it is okay to bite you whenever they want.
Getting mouthy can also be due to your Shiba Inu’s response to stress. When it is due to fear, this can be them telling the other dog or person to back away. As goofy as this breed looks, they are not afraid to use their teeth.
But anxiety can also bring this behavior out as a soothing tactic. Biting is a pleasurable activity for dogs. This will get their mind off of what they are feeling at the moment.
Shiba Inu does not do well with other dominant dog breeds. So if want another addition to your family, choose a more submissive dog breed. Otherwise, your Shiba Inu will let the other dog know that they are the boss.
Other than that, Shiba Inu are also quite territorial. They may get aggressive over their food, toys, home, and humans.
All these reasons can be why your Shiba Inu will bite you, other people, and other dogs.
How Strong Is a Shiba Inu Bite?
A Shiba Inu has a bite force of 235 PSI, which is an ordinary number for dogs. The average bite force of a dog is between 200 to 400 PSI and this breed is on the lower end of this range. Although their number may not be as impressive as other dog breeds, they can still hurt someone if they need to.
This breed has a scissor-like bite and they can easily cause some bleeding. So it is crucial that you learn your Shiba Inu’s bite triggers because they are not as tolerant as other dog breeds. They may even find that brushing their coat is a bit too excessive for them, so they may start biting.
Sometimes, you may provoke your Shiba without you knowing. So you need to be mindful of how you interact with your furry friend. Here are some examples of what triggers them to bite:
- Waving your fingers
- Lying down with them while they play
- Giving them your attention when they bite
- Jerking motions with either your hand or foot
- Physical punishments such as hitting them
How Do I Stop My Shiba Inu From Snapping?
Stopping your Shiba Inu’s excessive biting behaviors depends on its root cause. General methods may not work all the time, so you need to tackle your Shiba’s specific case. So you first need to figure out why and when they bite.
No matter what the reason may be, you always have to use positive reinforcement with them. Using physical punishments will only worsen the issue as they will now bite out of fear.
So below is a list of how you can correct this problem depending on the cause.
Biting Due to Attention-Seeking Behavior
Although this breed does not demand much of your time, they will still bug you for some of your attention. Biting you, like nipping at your ankles, is one of the ways they do this.
Usually, they will ask for your attention due to boredom or excess energy. Your goal then is to entertain them and use up their energy.
The first thing you should do is wait for your Shiba Inu to calm down. Ignore them while they are getting too rowdy so that you do not encourage their behavior.
Once they are calm, give them a few minutes of your time to play. Use noncontact games, such as playing fetch or tug-of-war. You can also take them out for a walk or a jog.
This should help in lessening their need to nip at you already. But if they try to bite you during playtime, stop the game immediately. Take the toy away, turn your back on them, and wait for about 10 seconds.
Doing this each time they try to bite you will teach them that their teeth do not get them your attention. This also helps them to calm down before you can put your focus on them again.
Biting Due to Excitement
It is always nice to have a loving dog greet you and your guests at the door. But this is an issue if they get too excited and begin to nip at everyone. There is nothing wrong with how they feel, but your Shiba Inu should know that they have limits.
To correct this, ignore your Shiba Inu for a few minutes when you come home. You should also have your guests do this if you have visitors as well.
Giving them attention while they are still excited will only encourage this behavior. So you should only notice your Shiba Inu once they have calmed down. Do this slowly and do not make a fuss out of it.
If your Shiba Inu gets too excited as you give them attention, ignore them again and repeat the process.
Biting Due to Handling
As an ancient breed, Shiba Inu are not used to getting handled. So they are more prone to biting or mouthing when you handle them. But they must overcome this, especially during grooming sessions.
The key here is to use positive reinforcement whenever you touch them. If they allow you to touch their paws, ears, or any other body part, give them a treat right away. This will help them associate getting handled with something positive, like treats.
In time, your Shiba Inu will learn to at least tolerate you touching them.
Biting Due to a Lack of Social Skills
Without proper socialization, your Shiba Inu will not learn good manners. It will also make them more fearful dogs.
As a result, your buddy will not know that biting anyone is bad. They will fear a lot of things and this can push them to aggression, leading them to bite.
So the key here is to let your Shiba Inu experience the outdoors more. Take them out on walks, have them meet other dogs at the park, make them your hiking buddy, etc.
If you have a friend who has a dog, ask if they could have a play date. But make sure to let them know beforehand that you are working on your Shiba Inu’s social skills. This is so that they know what to do to protect both dogs if anything arises.
Biting Due to Rough Play
Biting is part of a dog’s play style, but this should not happen when they play with you. Sure, accidents may happen and they may brush their teeth on your skin from time to time. But your Shiba Inu should not purposely go for a bite.
Whenever this happens, you should turn your back on them and stop playtime right away. Walk away and ignore them until they have calmed down. This is already a punishment in itself because Shiba Inu love to play a lot.
If their teeth touch your skin by accident, you only have to shift their attention. Give them a chew toy to munch on so that the attention goes to their toy instead of on you. Reward them afterward for playing with the toy as well.
Is It Normal for Shiba Inu Puppies to Bite?
As a puppy, your Shiba Inu is mouthier than an adult and it is normal for them to bite more too. Biting is essential for them at this age. It is how they learn good manners and about the world, so do not get too mad at them for biting.
This does not mean that you should be lax about their biting behaviors too. You need to discourage them from biting you or other people while they are young. Otherwise, they will carry this behavior to adulthood.
Biting may not be a big issue now that they are still small and weaker. But once they are an adult, they have a better jaw grip and sharper teeth. They may hurt you, even if they do not mean any harm.
Why Does My Shiba Inu Puppy Bite Me?
Teething and playing are the most common reasons why a Shiba Inu puppy bites. Both are normal and even necessary for puppies. But there are other reasons for their biting behavior that can mean that your pup needs help.
A key part of understanding your Shiba Inu puppy is to know the possible root causes of its behavior. With this, below is a list of the reasons why your puppy bites you.
Your Shiba Inu Is Teething
At around 4 to 9 years old, your Shiba Inu loses their baby teeth. Soon, their adult teeth begin to grow and this is not the most comfortable process.
Your poor pup will be in constant discomfort and pain, and sometimes, they may be in a bad mood. You may also find that their gums are angry and will sometimes bleed. For all these reasons, you Shiba Inu will bite on anything to soothe their aching gums.
During this phase, you should give them a couple of chew toys that they can munch on instead of your hand. There are cooling chew toys on the market for extra pain relief.
Your Shiba Inu Is Still Learning Bite Inhibition
A puppy is not born with bite manners right off the bat. They need to learn it at a young age with their littermates and their mother. Through their interactions, your Shiba Inu puppy learns bite inhibition.
This teaches them to recognize how hard they should bite before they can cause pain. Your Shiba Inu needs this so they know how to play with other dogs.
But now that they are not with their mother and littermates, this responsibility falls on you. You should still teach them bite inhibition at home. Otherwise, they will not learn how much force is okay for them to use.
A Shiba Inu who does not learn this is more likely to be reckless with their bite. They are more prone to breaking your skin if ever they are afraid, frustrated, or in pain.
Your Shiba Inu Is Feeling Playful
Dogs learn bite inhibition through playing with their littermates. Part of playing with them is biting them at times. Unfortunately, this means that your Shiba Inu will bite you during your play sessions as well.
While you should discourage this behavior, you need to do so gently. Punishing them will only make them fear you and this can make them aggressive and bite more.
Your Shiba Inu Has Too Much Pent-Up Energy
Biting can be a sign of hyperactivity since they have so much energy bottled up. Without anything else to do, your Shiba Inu puppy does not know how to release it properly. The best way to fix this is to make sure that they get enough exercise so that they can calm down.
Your Shiba Inu Is Afraid or Stressed
Intense negative emotion can bring out the worst in your Shiba Inu. In the face of scary stimuli, they may cower into a corner. Or, they will resort to biting to protect themselves.
Stressful situations may also do this to your Shiba Inu. This can be due to environmental changes, such as moving to a new house. There are many possible causes for their stress, so you need to assess the situation.
Do Shiba Inu Grow Out Of Biting?
Soon enough, your Shiba Inu’s biting habits will dwindle after their teething process. But keep in mind that all dogs will not completely grow out of biting. This is an instinctual behavior that serves many purposes for them.
While your Shiba is a puppy, you should make an effort in training them in good biting manners. Without these, your pup may become hard to control as an adult.
Adult dogs are still trainable, but they are already set in their ways. They may have picked up bad manners and stuck with it, such as nipping your ankles. Apart from training them what to do, you also have to train them in unlearning these.
So you must train your Shiba Inu while they are young and teachable. If they carry on with their habits as adults, this is harder to correct.
How to Train a Shiba Inu Puppy Not to Bite?
The key to teaching your Shiba Inu this is to inhibit their biting during training. You can do this by stopping their play session or turning your back on them. Combine this with positive reinforcement, too, since this is how they learn best.
There are many methods to train your Shiba Inu not to bite. It is always great to have a few options since not every method will work on your Shiba. So below is a list of these that you can try.
Teach Them Bite Inhibition
Puppies learn to control their bite by playing with each other. Now that you are your Shiba Inu’s playmate, you can continue to do this during your play sessions.
It is normal for them to get mouthy during play, whether this is in passing or in an accident. But if they start to chomp too hard and focus on biting you, let out a loud yelp. This is what puppies would do if they find that another pup is biting them too hard.
This tells your Shiba Inu that they have reached the limit and so they should stop rough play. They should pull away immediately and look at you with their puppy eyes. Reward them and give them verbal praise as soon as they do this, but do not make a fuss out of it.
You can use a clicker too to further reinforce their training. Or if you do not have one, use a verbal cue such as “yes” as an alternative.
If your Shiba Inu does not respond to your yelps, stand up and turn your back on them. Canines take this as a sign that they have offended you and that what they did is unacceptable.
Use Their Meals as Leverage
When you feed your Shiba Inu their meals by hand, they get forced to follow your rules. So this is a great opportunity to teach them not to bite.
Start by grabbing a handful of their kibble in your hand and make sure they have your attention. Then have them eat the kibbles out of your hand.
This method has a few more benefits other than curbing their biting issue. Hand-feeding your pup helps strengthen your bond with them. It also helps in preventing food aggression and resource guarding.
If your Shiba Inu bites your hand, let out a yelp and turn your back on them for a few seconds. After this, continue feeding them by hand again. Keep repeating this whenever they nibble on your fingers.
Redirect Their Attention
You can use this along with the method above to get your message across. Whenever they bite you, give them something more enticing to munch on.
So following the bite inhibition method, let out a yelp when they nip you. Then remove your hand from their mouth and pick up a toy nearby. Refocus their attention on the toy and give it to them so they can mouth on it instead of your hand.
Again, if your Shiba continues to bite you, let out a yelp, stand up, and turn your back on them. Your young Shiba Inu cannot stand not getting your attention. So this is an effective way to discourage their bad behavior.
As an adult, your Shiba Inu is more independent and will not bug you for your attention as much. But while they are puppies, they crave this a lot. Try to use this to your advantage in teaching them not to bite.
Once they bite you, let out a yelp or a verbal signal such as “no”. Then, take away something they like, such as their favorite toy, and leave. Come back after a few moments to play again, but this time with a chew toy that they can bite on.
Jaw Lock Method
This may not be a method you are comfortable with, but you can use this when the other methods do not work.
When your Shiba Inu bites your hand, reorient your hand in their mouth so your palm faces upwards. Then gently place a finger on the roof of their mouth with light pressure. Use the rest of your fingers to wrap their snout and hold it.
Your Shiba’s natural reaction would be to try to let go and move backward. Once they do this, let them go.
Do Shiba Inu Chew Everything?
Shiba Inu will chew on everything and anything they can get their paws on while they are puppies. Particularly when they are going through the teething stage.
During their teething stage, they are experiencing great discomfort and pain. So their excessive chewing is their attempt to soothe their aching gums. Make sure to keep any harmful item or substance away from their reach as they are not picky on what to munch on.
But as your Shiba Inu ages, their need to constantly chew on something should dwindle. If they still have chewing problems as an adult, this can mean that they need your help with something. The root cause of this issue may be any of the following:
- They do not get enough physical and mental stimulation
- They do not have chew toys to munch on
- They are feeling stressed, anxious, or frustrated
- They were not taught what items are acceptable to chew on
- They are suffering from separation anxiety
- They have a medical condition called “pica”
Before you can work on correcting this behavior, you first need to figure out which one of these your Shiba has. Each of these issues will need a different approach. But make sure to see a vet first to rule out any medical conditions.
Will Shiba Inu Chew Furniture?
Your Shiba Inu will chew on anything that they find fun to get their teeth on, even your furniture. While chewing is normal canine behavior and this is often nothing to worry about. But they may direct it towards unsafe and inappropriate items.
This is why you need to teach your furry friend what they can chew on. By doing so, you are not only saving your expensive furniture from damage. You are also preventing them from ingesting harmful items from your furniture.
But teaching them is not enough. You also have to make sure that they have access to their safe chew toys at all times. Otherwise, they will revert to their old habits and mess with your furniture again.
Keep an eye on your Shiba Inu’s chewing habits, though. If they are already destructive and do this excessively, this can be a sign of something more serious. It can be due to boredom, fear, or even separation anxiety.
Why Is My Shiba Inu Chewing His Paws?
Chewing on their claws is one of the ways your Shiba Inu grooms themselves. They may have dirty paws after playing outside, or they are trying to get a foreign object stuck in their paws. While doing this occasionally is normal, excessive paw chewing can be more serious.
This can be a sign of several issues, such as:
- Secondary infections
- Damaged Nails
- Behavioral issues
So if your furry friend’s habits seem unusual, the first step you should take is to figure out the root cause. It can be hard to pinpoint what it is, but below is a detailed explanation of each to help you with this.
This is an all too common health issue for Shiba Inu. The most common form of allergies in this breed is atopy or inhalant allergies. So whenever they inhale air allergens, such as pollen, their immune system acts up.
But other allergens can also cause this, such as the following:
- Environmental Allergens: grass, mold, dander
- Chemical Allergens: cleaning supplies, pesticides
- Food Allergens: wheat, soy, dairy, chicken, beef
Other than these, your Shiba may also be allergic to fleas. The flea bite itself is not the problem. It is flea saliva that triggers an allergic reaction in your Shiba Inu.
Whatever the cause of their allergies may be, this will make their skin itchy. Your Shiba Inu will chew on their body more than usual, and this includes their paws.
One of the first things you should do when your Shiba Inu chews on their paws is to inspect it. Look for cuts, open wounds, or even foreign objects between their paw pads. You may find a thorn or a stone dislodged there.
You should also check for signs of irritation. They may have stepped on sharp objects, walked on hot surfaces, or got stung by an insect.
Some of these are treatable at home with a first aid kit. Others may need medical intervention so you need to take your Shiba Inu to the vet.
Secondary Bacterial or Yeast Infection
Each time your Shiba Inu licks or chews on their paws, they make them moist. Doing this constantly creates the perfect environment for microorganisms to thrive. This can then lead to a bacterial or yeast infection, making their paw chewing problem worse.
It is crucial to know why your Shiba Inu was licking their paws in the first place. You need to see a vet for them to figure out what kind of infection this is and only then can they give out a prescription. They can also prescribe medicine to address your Shiba Inu infection.
Fleas, ticks, and mites can make your Shiba Inu’s skin itchy, even their paws. This can be worse if they are allergic to fleas as well. Make sure to take them to the vet for the proper treatment to soothe their itching.
There are many possible reasons behind your Shiba Inu’s pain. It can be superficial, like getting their paws wounded. Or it can be due to a medical condition, such as arthritis and other foot issues.
Chewing is not only pleasurable for dogs, but it also helps in soothing them. So by gnawing on their achy bits, they are attempting to relieve their pain.
Other than inspecting their paws, you also have to look at your Shiba Inu’s nails. Any problems with their nails can also lead to pain, especially whenever they walk.
And remember, paw pain can cause your Shiba Inu to chew on them more as a soothing tactic.
Look for loose or broken nails. Your Shiba Inu’s nails can get damaged during their daily activities. Especially if they get snagged on something.
Keeping their nails too long can also be painful for them. They hit on hard surfaces whenever they walk, putting pressure on their paws. If neglected, their nails can curl and grow into their paw pads, creating more pain.
Dogs may not have the best coping mechanism in response to certain situations. They may chew their paws due to anxiety, stress, fear, and even boredom. In some Shiba, they may develop this compulsive behavior of constantly chewing.
What Can I Give My Shiba Inu to Chew?
Some safe chews that you can give to your Shiba Inu are rawhides and chew toys. There are other chew types and many options on the market for you to choose from. But not all these are appropriate for your Shiba Inu.
Before buying one, you first need to know how to choose the best one for your furry friend. Here are some factors to consider:
- Rigidity: Chews that are too hard are not the best option for your Shiba. These may break their teeth or cause oral injuries.
- Durability: Make sure that their chews can handle your Shiba Inu’s strong bites. If they easily break, they may take the broken chunks and swallow them whole. This is a choking hazard for your furry friend.
- Size: Stay away from small chews as these are a choking risk for your Shiba. Make sure that they cannot put the whole chew in their mouth.
- Ingredients: Avoid any additives, such as flavorings, as an ingredient. Go for natural ingredients to avoid gastrointestinal upset.
Now that you know what to look for, here are some chew options for your Shiba Inu.
These chews are an easily digestible option for your furry friend. These come in a variety of sizes, shapes, and designs for your Shiba Inu. Bully sticks are also made from a single ingredient, such as beef muscle.
This option is great for its durability and longevity. Bully sticks will also not splinter. Instead, they become soft the more they get chewed on. These worn-down bits can act like a brush for your Shiba Inu’s pearly whites.
These can be from the inner layer of horsehide or cowhide, which is the natural and unbleached skin. Rawhide is a great option if your Shiba Inu is not a big chewer. But if they are, this may not be for them.
Your Shiba may break off pieces of their rawhide. If they swallow these chunks, it can cause choking. Other than that, these are difficult to digest as well, causing obstructions.
If you let your Shiba Inu chew on a rawhide, make sure to remove broken chunks as soon as you see them.
Some commercial dog chews include trachea, fish skin, and tendons. Other than being fun to chew on, these also have added benefits for your Shiba Inu.
The trachea is a softer chew option that you can give them. It contains glucosamine and chondroitin, which can help with your Shiba joint problems.
Fish skin also helps in promoting healthy skin and a lustrous coat. These contain omega-3 fatty acids, which is a crucial component for these benefits.
Tendons are also safe for your Shiba Inu as they are soft enough to chew on. These are high in protein, which is a must for canine diets. Other than that, these are also low-fat and contain collagen.
If you want to give your Shiba Inu bones to chew on, make sure that they are not cooked. Cooked bones are brittle and they may break when your Shiba gnaws on them.
These splinters can damage their gums. And when swallowed, these can cause oral and digestive obstructions.
Some dog owners are not comfortable with giving their dogs raw bones to chew on. If this is the case for you too, you can give your Shiba Inu dental chews instead.
These will aid in your Shiba Inu’s oral hygiene as they are great for cleaning teeth. But make sure to look for the appropriate size and shape for your Shiba Inu. You should also be picky with the ingredients, go for natural and digestible options.
This is a natural option that will help you avoid additives found in commercial chews. You can find antlers in a variety of shapes and sizes. Antlers are also great for long-term use due to their hardness.
But keep in mind that hard chews may damage your Shiba Inu’s teeth. These may also splinter and cause oral injuries, especially on their gums.
The broken pieces may also puncture or obstruct their intestines, mouth, or throat. This is a medical emergency that needs surgery right away.
It is up to you to decide whether the pros of antlers as chew outweigh the cons.
This option gives you the most variety to choose from. Your Shiba Inu can get rubber bones, squeaky toys, kong toys, and more. But with the many options you have, you have to choose a chew toy carefully.
Your number one concern is the safety of their chew toy. Make sure to choose the appropriate one for your Shiba’s size, age, and preference. If they are a heavy chewer, you need to get them a more durable chew toy.
Once you figure that out, you can choose a chew toy that sparks your Shiba Inu’s interest.
Chew toys that look or sound like prey are excellent for this breed. Remember that the Shiba Inu is a hunting dog, so you can use their instincts to your advantage.
You should also get them a variety of chew toys to keep their interest. They may get bored with chewing on the same toy all the time. So rotate between their selection of chew toys to keep things interesting and fun.
Another way to keep them engaged with their chew toy is to place some peanut butter on it. Make sure you use xylitol-free peanut butter, as this is toxic for canines.
And if your Shiba Inu is in their teething stage, you can freeze their toys. This will give a cooling effect to their aching gums as they munch on them.
At What Age Do Shiba Inu Stop Chewing?
If your Shiba Inu is still a young puppy, their need to chew will lessen at 6 months of age. This is because, at that age, they are through with the teething process already. But this will only lessen their chewing habits and this will not completely go away.
Chewing is a natural behavior for dogs so you cannot stop your Shiba Inu from doing this. This behavior should not cause you trouble unless it becomes excessive or destructive.
When this happens, you need to train your Shiba Inu to only use their chews. Make sure that they always have access to these as well.
And if their unusual chewing is due to a medical or behavioral issue, you need to tackle the root of the problem. Once you work on that, their chewing habits should be under control.
How Do You Teach a Shiba Inu Not to Chew?
The key to solving your Shiba Inu chewing issue is to redirect their focus to an appropriate item. So instead of teaching them not to chew, you should teach them what they can chew on. Remember that you cannot stop a dog from chewing, so this is a better way to tackle the problem.
Below is a step-by-step process on how you can correct this behavior.
Step 1: Grab Their Attention
To do this, you need to catch your Shiba Inu in the act. So whenever they have free roam of your home, keep a watchful eye on them.
Once they are going for an inappropriate item that they chew on, you need to distract them right away. Let out a firm “no” and this will make them forget about chewing and focus on you instead.
Step 2: Divert Their Focus on Something Else
As soon as they focus on you, bring out a chew toy or any other appropriate item that you have for them to chew on. You can also give them rawhide, dental chews, and more.
This will redirect their attention from an inappropriate item, like your shoe, to a chew toy. What you are doing here is giving them a safer chewing option.
Step 3: Reward Their Behavior
Once your Shiba Inu takes the chew toy, shower them with verbal praise and give them a treat. This will reinforce and encourage them to chew on their toy instead. In time, your Shiba Inu will want to go for their chew toy instead.
Step 4: Keep Practicing
The important things in training your Shiba Inu are repetition and consistency. So keep doing the steps above whenever you see that they are plotting to destroy your stuff.
Although you now know how to teach your Shiba Inu what to chew, you may need a few more pointers. There is a lot that goes on into training them that is not covered in the process above.
With this, here are some helpful tips that you may want to try along with training your Shiba Inu.
Dog-Proof Your Home
While you are still training them, you need to keep hazardous items out of their reach. Some of these include electrical wires and cleaning agents. Your Shiba Inu may decide that these are fun to chew on, but these can harm them.
Provide Them With Lots of Chewing Options
Variety is always great for keeping them interested. This will encourage your Shiba Inu to chew on the items that you provide them. The key here is to make these accessible for them at all times.
So buy some chew toys, inedible chews, and edible chews. Rotate between each one of them to keep the fun alive.
But make sure to inspect their chews from time to time as well. Remove any broken chunks that they may swallow as this can lead to choking and digestive issues.
If their chew is already worn down, it is best to throw it out.
Figure Out Their Schedule
Your Shiba Inu may incline to start chewing at specific times of the day. Knowing when this happens may help you in correcting their behavior too.
Once it is time, give them a treat-dispensing puzzle toy filled with yummy treats. You can also put part of their meal ration in their toy.
Use a Chewing Deterrent
If your furry friend is hard-headed, never punish them as this will only make their issue worse. Instead, you can use a chewing deterrent spray on items that you want to protect.
The first time you use a deterrent, spray some on a cotton ball or a piece of tissue first. Then put it inside your Shiba’s mouth for them to taste.
This does not taste nice for them so they may spit the cotton or tissue out. They may also drool, retch, or shake their head as a response. Your Shiba Inu will not want anything to do with the tissue or cotton again.
They will soon associate the smell of the chewing deterrent with something unpleasant. So now you can spray this on items that they are not allowed to chew on. Your Shiba will avoid anything that smells like it from now on.
But keep in mind that this is not the solution for their chewing issue. You should only use deterrents to go with any form of training you have.
Do Shiba Inu Lick More Than Other Dogs?
While the Shiba Inu is not one of the top dog breeds that are lickers, they do like to lick themselves a lot. One thing that stands out in this breed is their cleanliness, which is why they are cat-like dogs. They have a meticulous grooming routine like a cat, and they will stick to this daily.
When it comes to licking their owners, generally, a Shiba Inu may not do this a lot. This is because this is not how they show their affection, they are not cuddly dogs.
But keep in mind that a Shiba Inu’s personality will vary from another. While one may prefer to love you from a distance, another may want to give you sloppy kisses all the time.
Why Does My Shiba Inu Lick So Much?
Shiba Inu take their time licking themselves as they like to keep their coat spotless. This extensive grooming routine is normal and is nothing to worry about. But you need to keep an eye on this habit as their licking may have other scarier causes.
It could be a lack of stimulation, skin issues, unhealthy habits, and even health issues. This is why you need to spend time with your furry friend. This will help you know their baseline so that you can act fast if their licking becomes unusual.
If it is, you need to consult your vet so that you can rule out any medical condition. But you can speed up this process if you try to narrow down the causes at home.
With this, below is a list of all the possible root causes behind their excessive licking.
Your Shiba Inu Lacks Stimulation
The Shiba Inu is a smart and active hunting breed that needs plenty of mental and physical exercise. You need to create a daily routine that involves both of these. Otherwise, your Shiba Inu will get bored and this can lead to other issues.
With boredom, your Shiba Inu may engage in excessive behaviors, such as licking. They may lick themselves, your skin, or other unusual items like the carpet. This is their attempt to entertain themselves because they have nothing else to do.
So while you are at work or running errands, give your furry friend something to do. Surround them with stimulating toys, such as puzzle toys and interactive feeders. This will distract them from licking anything they set their eyes on.
Your Shiba Inu Is Anxious or Stressed
Licking is not only pleasurable for your Shiba Inu, but it also feels soothing. This triggers the release of endorphins and dopamine, which are feel-good hormones. With this, licking is your furry friend’s way to feel better.
If you feel that their licking is due to these, you need to assess the situation that they were or are in. Stress can be due to moving homes, having a new family dog, or getting punished. While anxiety can get triggered due to a certain stimulus, such as the loud sounds of fireworks.
These behavioral issues need a different training method. For your Shiba Inu to overcome these or have a better reaction, you may need to speak with a vet or a behaviorist.
Your Shiba Inu Is in Pain
It is always best to inspect areas that your Shiba Inu frequently licks. Look for any scratches, open wounds, cuts, stings, or inflammation and irritation. Licking, as you may already know, helps them to soothe their pain.
But sometimes, their pain may be invisible to you. Arthritis, for example, is also a painful condition for them to have. If they have this, they will resort to the same self-soothing tactic that they know.
So if you cannot see anything in their heavily-licked area, then you need to see a vet. Your Shiba Inu will need tests from your vet to figure out the problem.
Your Shiba Inu Has Allergies
Allergies are a common skin issue in dogs, especially Shiba Inu. They are prone to inhalant allergies most. But they can also have food allergies and dermatitis as well.
Common environmental allergens include pollen, dust, and grass. Food allergies in canines are usually due to wheat, soy, dairy, and chicken.
No matter what allergy they have, all these can make their skin itchy, dry, and irritated. Licking is their way to soothe their inflamed skin too.
Your Shiba Inu Has a Bad Habit
While licking is natural for dogs, they may sometimes find it too pleasurable. Your Shiba Inu may begin to habitually lick themselves and odd items such as furniture. If left untreated, this can lead to them developing OCD.
Your Shiba Inu Has Canine Compulsive Disorder (CCD)
It is rare for dogs to develop CCD, which is like obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) in humans. But this does not mean that you should dismiss this possibility.
What was once a bad habit can lead to compulsive behaviors if left unchecked, and this can be destructive. It may even cause your Shiba Inu to harm themselves in the process. Excessive licking can lead to bald patches and sores on their tongues.
Keep an eye on your Shiba Inu the next time they groom themselves. You should already get alarmed if they groom themselves for more than 5 minutes, several times a day. Once you see this, you must take your Shiba Inu to the vet to get their expert opinion.
What Does It Mean When a Shiba Inu Licks You?
Having a dog lick you is often understood as their way of kissing you. While that may be true in some cases, this is not the only reason your Shiba Inu licks you. It can be as silly as them wanting a taste of what you ate, or it can be them sensing that you need some comfort.
Decoding this doggy behavior can be tricky. But below is a list of why they do this and explanations to help you understand your Shiba Inu more.
Your Shiba Inu Loves You
As you already know, licking you is your Shiba’s way of kissing you. But have you ever wondered why this is their sign of affection?
Back when your Shiba was a puppy, its mother also showed their love for them with licks. Other than that, it is also their way of grooming their puppies.
Mothers will spend time licking their puppies each day to care for them. This is also their way of bonding with the litter and your Shiba now does this to you.
Licking is them showing you their care and affection for you. This also helps in strengthening your bond with your furry friend in the process.
Your Shiba Inu Is Cheering You Up
They may seem more aloof than other dog breeds, but the Shiba Inu is also an empathetic canine. Your furry friend loves to build strong bonds with you and your family. So if they notice that you feel under the weather, licking is how they try to comfort you.
Your Shiba Inu Wants Your Attention
This breed is quite independent, so they are not as demanding of your attention as other dog breeds. But this does not mean that they do not need your time. When they are ready for it, your Shiba Inu will bug you for attention.
A Shiba has many ways to get you to notice them. Barking and whining may be their tactic, but these can be annoying to you. A more subtle way for you to notice them is by licking you.
They may have resorted to licking since you do not notice them whenever they bark. When they lick you, may want your attention for various things.
Your Shiba Inu may want to play, they may ask you for food, they may need to go out and potty, to name a few. Now the goal here is to figure out what they need and the licking will stop.
Your Shiba Inu Is Showing Submission
As a pack animal, it is instinctual for dogs to lick the alpha of the pack with slobbery licks. And in your home, your Shiba Inu knows that you are their pack leader. By licking you, they are submitting to you and recognizing your dominance over them.
When they do this, their body will sit lower than usual. So if you see this body language, this may be why your Shiba Inu is licking you.
Your Shiba Wants Some of What You Ate
It is no secret that canines have a much better sense of smell than humans. So whenever you eat something they find appetizing, they will know only by using their noses. But what does licking have anything to do with this?
This behavior stems from their ancestor’s survival tactics in the wild. When their mother comes home after hunting, the puppies lick her face and muzzle. This is so the mother regurgitates the food for the puppies to eat.
As grim as it may sound, this is why your Shiba licks your face when you eat. Domesticated dogs do not need to do this anymore. But there are still remnants of this behavior that may come out.
Your Shiba Inu Finds Your Skin Tasty
This may sound scary, but no, your Shiba Inu does not have the intention of eating you. Human skin tastes salty, especially when you are sweaty. With this, your Shiba will enjoy licking your skin for the taste.
You may notice that your Shiba Inu licks you or another person more than the other. Not everyone has the same smell and taste for your Shiba. So they will go for the person that suits their tastebuds the most.
Why Does My Shiba Inu Lick My Mouth?
When your Shiba Inu licks your mouth, they are showing you that they submit to you, their pack leader. This may happen more whenever you come home since the pack licks the leader once they come back. So before you open the front door, prepare for some mouth licking from your furry friend!
But they can use this behavior to communicate other reasons as well.
One is that they are trying to take care of you. As a puppy, your Shiba’s mother licked their mouth as a form of bonding, grooming, and showing love. Your furry friend learned at a young age how to show their affection to those they love and so they may do the same to you.
Other than that, their mother’s licks also stimulate the digestive system. So your Shiba Inu may do the same to you after you eat your meals. Or, it can also be because you have some leftover food on your face that they want to eat!
A less endearing reason for them to lick your mouth is displacement behavior. You may notice this when you put your face directly in from of your Shiba Inu’s face. This makes them uncomfortable, given their love for keeping a distance from people.
Sometimes, this may also frighten your furry friend. But instead of snapping or growling at you, they will lick your face and mouth. This is a more subtle and acceptable way of showing their discomfort.
So how will you know if their licking is due to endearment or displacement behavior?
If it is the latter, your Shiba Inu’s body language will look more defensive. They pull their ears back and hang their tails low. Once you see these, you better back away from them or they will start growling.
But if you do not see these signs, then their face licking is an act of love and submission.
Why Does My Shiba Inu Lick My Hand?
Licking your hands may be your buddy’s way of greeting you when you come home. It can also be them submitting to you or trying to comfort you when you are not feeling well. There are a few other reasons for this behavior, all listed below.
Your Shiba Inu Is Reminiscing
As you know, your Shiba’s mother used to lick them and their littermates. This was their mother’s way of bonding, grooming, and nurturing them. Your furry friend may want to relive this endearing memory by licking your hand as well.
Your Shiba Inu Is Trying to Groom You
Once your Shiba has warmed up to you, you are more than just their owner. You are now their pack member and they will look for ways to bond with you and strengthen your relationship.
Grooming is a social experience for dogs and it is also a way of nurturing and protecting each other. By licking your hand, they are trying to emulate this with you as they see you as their family.
Your Shiba Inu Is Analyzing You
You can trust your furry friend to do some nose work to assess their surroundings and those who are in it. Humans release pheromones in their sweat that your Shiba Inu can easily pick up on. These pheromones are a good indicator for them to know how you feel and what your intentions are.
But how does this have to do with licking? Well, your Shiba Inu licks to boost their sense of smell. By doing this, they bring in more of the scent and send it to their Jacobson’s organ.
Your Shiba Inu Is Tasting Your Hand
Of course, this is a more obvious reason to explain why your Shiba Inu licks your hand. Your salty skin tastes nice to them, especially your sweaty palms. But it can also be them cleaning up the food crumbs from your hands.
Tasting your hand does more than this, though. It lets your Shiba Inu know where you have been or what you have been doing.
As you go on with your daily activities, you pick up scents from places you go to or anything you have touched. They will learn more about this when they lick your hand because you use this body part a lot throughout the day.
Your Shiba Inu May Have a Compulsive Behavior
Canine compulsive behavior, or OCD in humans, can explain this. You may think that a dog who suffers from this will only lick itself excessively. But they may also extend this behavior to you.
If your Shiba Inu cannot seem to get enough of your hand, you need to see a vet right away.
Why Does My Shiba Inu Lick My Legs?
Your Shiba Inu licks your legs to show affection, empathy, and respect. It can also be that they want to taste the sweat on your skin after an exercise. This can also be their way of trying to get your attention more subtly.
As you can see, the reasons why your Shiba Inu licks your legs can be the same ones as licking another body part. But there is something about your legs that makes it more enticing for them.
Your legs are easier for your Shiba Inu to reach, and they are accessible for your buddy most of the time.
For example, if they want to greet you, they may not be able to reach your face unless you squat on the floor. So, they go for the next best thing and that would be your legs.
This also happens when you are working on your desk, watching TV on the couch, and more. It may take them more effort to get up on the couch or table and lick your face or hands. But your feet are almost always on the ground, ready for them to lick.
Why Do Shiba Inu Lick the Floor?
Usually, dogs lick the floor because they like the taste or texture. So your Shiba Inu may have found some spilled food on the floor. But once the taste is gone, they should move on and stop focusing on that spot.
Or, they may enjoy the texture of your carpet, but this can apply to other types of flooring. This is also not limited to the floor, they may enjoy licking other surfaces such as walls.
If they only do this from time to time, this is normal and nothing to worry about. But if you notice that they have been licking the floor more, this can be a sign of many other issues. And so, you need to figure out the root of the behavior to help your Shiba Inu.
With this, here are all the possible reasons why your Shiba Inu licks the floor.
They Have Nothing to Do
If you do not give your Shiba Inu anything to do, they will get creative and look for something to entertain them. Oftentimes, the activities that they end up doing are either unusual or destructive. And this includes licking your floor or other surfaces.
They Have Anxiety
Repeatedly licking the floor is one of the many symptoms of anxiety. They start licking in response to a scary trigger, such as fireworks, the vacuum, and even when you leave home.
To know if your Shiba Inu has anxiety, make sure to watch out for these other symptoms:
- Excessive drooling and barking
- Frequent accidents
The next thing you need to do is to figure out what type of anxiety they have:
- Fear anxiety
- Age-related anxiety
- Separation anxiety
They Feel Stressed
Like anxiety, your Shiba may start licking the floor during certain situations. This is because they only have a few options to soothe themselves. And one of their self-calming behaviors includes licking.
If you suspect that your Shiba Inu is feeling stressed, they may also exhibit the following:
- Whining or crying
- Pacing around
- Heavy panting
- Frequent accidents
- Unusual shedding
Now you have to figure out why they feel like this. Some of the common causes of canine stress include moving houses and having a new pet at home.
They Have Compulsive Disorders
If your Shiba Inu likes to lick the floor a lot, they may have a canine compulsive disorder. This repetitive behavior is their way to relieve their chronic anxiety and stress. But with CCD, their habits already interfere their daily activities.
They Have Oral Issues
Any dental problems can lead to your Shiba Inu having unusual and excessive licking habits. Oftentimes, these issues cause them to be in constant pain. So they will also drool more, have trouble eating, and have bad breath.
The common culprits of these are the following:
- Broken, infected, or loose teeth
- Periodontal disease
- Foreign objects stuck in their mouth
- Tumors of the mouth
With these, you need to inspect your Shiba Inu’s mouth to see if there is anything wrong. If there is, you need to take them to the vet as soon as you can. Usually, these issues get worse with time so you have to act fast.
They Have Pica
Dogs who suffer from this condition have a weird craving for nonfood items. So your Shiba may eat random items at home, even your flooring or carpet. They may fixate on a specific item or try to eat everything they can.
This can put your Shiba Inu in harm’s way as they may ingest a toxin. Or, they may ingest items that upset their stomach.
They Are Sick
If your Shiba Inu does not feel well, they will lick more to produce excess saliva. This will help them to vomit whenever they feel like it.
Several health issues have a link to excessive licking in dogs. Like other odd habits your Shiba has, you first need to rule out the possibility of health issues. With this, below is a list of medical conditions that you need to watch out for.
Most dogs who have excessive licking of surfaces also had problems with their GI tract. The common culprits are the following:
- Irritable Bowel Syndrome: A condition where the muscles of the intestine do not function right. This leads to diarrhea and chronic vomiting.
- Chronic Pancreatitis: The inflammation of the pancreas. Some of its symptoms are vomiting, diarrhea, and loss of appetite.
- Giardiasis: This condition is an infection of the intestinal tract due to parasites. Other than vomiting and diarrhea, it can also cause weight loss and lethargy.
- Delayed Gastric Emptying: This affects the rate at which food passes through the GI tract.
These can lead to behavioral changes in your Shiba Inu. One of the changes they may exhibit is excessively licking the floor or other surfaces. Although, floor licking is not a common symptom of these issues.
An older dog may experience cognitive dysfunction, like dementia in humans. This can explain the unusual behavior.
Other possible issues include the following:
- Brain tumors
This medical condition occurs when there is an increased production of cortisol. This is the stress hormone and if your Shiba Inu suffers from this, they will have chronic stress. And as you may already know, stress contributes to repetitive floor licking.
Why Do Shiba Inu Lick Their Paws?
Your Shiba Inu licks their paws as part of their usual grooming routine. This breed values cleanliness and they want to make sure that their paws are free of dirt and debris. But there are many other reasons why your Shiba Inu does this.
Paw licking is also a common way to calm themselves whenever they are anxious, stressed, or scared. Licking releases happy hormones, which is why this is a very soothing activity for them.
Or it can mean that your Shiba Inu is suffering from boredom. This breed is intelligent, high-energy, and has a history of being hunters. All these traits mean that you have to give them lots of stimulation, more than other dog breeds.
But sometimes, the root of this behavior can be more serious. You can tell that your Shiba needs help if they engage in excessive paw licking. The possible culprits for this issue are the following:
- Allergies (inhalant allergy, food allergy, dermatitis, and flea-allergy dermatitis)
- Damaged paws (cuts, inflammation, bruises)
- Parasites (flea or mange)
- Chronic pain due to a medical condition
- Foreign objects getting stuck in their paws
- Yeast or bacterial infections
- Separation anxiety
The only way to figure out which one of these is the culprit is to take your Shiba Inu to the vet. Their licking issue can get worse over time and it can lead to bald spots and hot spots. So if they are taking too much time each day to lick their paws, it is best to take action right away.
Do Shiba Inu Love to Dig?
Dogs of any breed like to dig, but digging may be a more hardwired behavior in your Shiba Inu and they love to do this. There are a few reasons to explain their strong inclination to dig.
One is that digging is a survival tactic used by the ancestors of dogs. Digging served them many purposes in the wild, where they had to hunt for their food and make their bed.
One of the purposes of digging is to clear out the ground from hard rocks or insects before they lie down and rest. Another is that they can find animals under the ground or in holes. Digging was their way to look for their dinner, and these creatures were an important food source.
Another is that before they were pets, Shiba Inu were hunting dogs. They had to catch small animals that were often burrowed in the ground. This includes moles, rodents, and rabbits.
The last reason is that they are less domesticated than other dog breeds. With this, much of their instinctual behaviors are still intact today. They may not need these anymore, but it is harder for them to ignore their nature.
Why Does My Shiba Inu Dig So Much?
There are several possible reasons why your Shiba Inu has been enjoying digging too much. Casual digging is natural, but if they do it a lot, this will tell you that something is wrong.
Your Shiba Inu may dig to the point of self-injury. They may damage their claws, wound their paws, and will continue to dig.
With this, you need to take action right away once you notice this unusual behavior. It will help you and your vet to narrow down the root of the behavior right away if you have a rough idea of this already.
The following is a list of possible causes for your Shiba Inu’s excessive digging.
They Are Hiding Their Treasure
This breed is usually protective of their belongings, such as their toys or bones. If they live in a multi-pet household, or if they live with kids, they will hide their treasured items. Your Shiba Inu does this so no other dog or kid can get to their toys.
This is your furry friend’s way of preventing any fights from happening. Because if they see their toy or bone in another dog’s mouth, it can get nasty.
What you need to do here is to work on your furry friend’s socialization. They may have a lack of understanding of the situation and see the other dogs or kids as strangers. So you need to work on making your Shiba understand that they are part of their pack.
They Are in Hunting Mode
As a hunting dog, your Shiba Inu has a high prey drive. Your garden or yard may have smaller animals for them to catch, such as rodents and insects.
So when your Shiba senses that there have creatures to hunt, their high prey drive will activate. Their instincts will tell them to run after these pests and dig into the ground that they are hiding in.
You can usually tell if your Shiba Inu is digging so much because of this. If you see holes near your trees, shrubs, or other plants, this may be the root of their behavior.
What you need to do is to control the pests in your yard. The best way to do this is by calling your local pest control service provider.
But you need to let them know that you need their services because of your Shiba’s digging issue. This way, they will use effective yet safe chemicals to kill your garden pests.
They Are Coping With Stress
Digging may be your furry friend’s displacement behavior. As a human, when you feel stressed, you have many options to relieve your stress. You can watch a movie, enjoy a good meal, or even hang out with friends.
But your Shiba Inu can only do so much, so they may resort to digging to soothe themselves.
There are many possibilities behind their stress. Some are more obvious, like the sound of fireworks or loud, unpleasant music. While others are more subtle, such as stress due to the air freshener that you use.
Whatever the cause may be, you need to figure this out and remove your Shiba from the situation. Your goal now is to create a comfortable and secure environment for them.
They Are Trying to Entertain Themselves
Boredom can lead to many unusual and destructive behaviors. This is especially true in active, high-energy, and intelligent dogs like the Shiba Inu.
One of the activities that your Shiba will resort to due to boredom is digging. This will not only entertain them, but it will also release all their pent-up energy.
This can lead to the destruction of your yard or garden. If you see scattered holes, without any clear pattern, or reason behind them, boredom may be to blame for this.
With this issue, you need to make sure that your Shiba Inu has safe options at home to divert their boredom. Leaving various interesting toys for them to play with is a great idea. You should also make sure to play with them for an hour before you leave home and not to leave them alone too long.
They Are Regulating Their Body Temperature
This breed has a good coat as insulation. But their fluffy coat is not enough for them to handle harsh weather.
Extreme weather conditions outside will push them to create their shelter.
If it is too hot, they will dig holes to expose the cooler ground underneath. If it is too cold, they will try to find warmer ground by digging a hole.
You can tell if this is why your Shiba Inu is digging holes if they lie down on it afterward. Take this as a sign to bring them home where you can control the temperatures.
They Are Planning Their Escape
The Shiba Inu is notorious for being escape artists, and they are pretty good at it. Your furry friend is an independent and headstrong breed. And they will make decisions without even asking for your permission.
Digging holes near the fences is their way of trying to escape home and look for adventure. They may be visiting a friend nearby, or the smell of your neighbor’s barbecue must have lured them.
It can also be that they smell a mate nearby, so they are acting on their instincts. Or, your Shiba Inu may have gotten too bored at home, so going outside is more interesting.
Why Does My Shiba Inu Dig at the Floor?
It may be odd, but dogs find digging at the floor to be fun. But this behavior serves many purposes for your Shiba Inu. It can be for calming them down, for their comfort, and it can also be a sign of a medical issue.
As a fur parent, communicating with your Shiba Inu is tricky. So if this behavior already worries you, figuring out the cause is taking a responsible step. To help you out, the following is a list of the common causes of floor digging.
Digging Due to Boredom
As a dog lover, you may know that digging holes is one of a canine’s favorite pastimes. But why does your Shiba Inu do this on your hardwood floor, where they cannot make holes in?
Well, your Shiba Inu may love how the floor feels on its paws. They love the kick they get out of digging, so they will not be picky about where they do this.
They may resort to this activity if they have nothing else to do at home. Keep in mind that this breed needs a lot of stimulation. So if you leave them to their own devices, they will get creative in entertaining themselves.
So make sure to spend time with your Shiba Inu. Take them outdoors for a walk, to play fetch, and more. You should also exercise their minds by having them play puzzle games.
Digging Due to Negative Emotions
Fear, anxiety, and stress can bring out unusual behaviors in your Shiba Inu. They have a range of odd behaviors to cope with how they feel. This may include digging at the floor.
You may notice this during a thunderstorm or when you have strangers in your home. Many circumstances can make your Shiba Inu feel these emotions.
So digging is their way to escape from scary situations. You may also see this as their way to try and control their surroundings. These are all their attempts to make them feel safer and more secure.
Digging to Fluff Their Bed
Like how you fluff your pillows before bedtime, your Shiba will also do the same. Even if they are fluffing the cold, hard floor.
This is an inherited behavior that came from their wild ancestors. Wild dogs would dig the floor to create a place for them to lie down on.
It could be that they removed hard rocks or creepy crawlies hiding in the ground. Or, it can be that they are trying to expose cooler or warmer ground underneath. This is one of the ways that they regulate their body temperature.
Your Shiba Inu may not need these indoors anymore. But they will still do it because they are following their instincts.
Digging to Mark Their Territory
There are two ways that your Shiba Inu marks their territory by digging at the floor. One is to leave visible evidence of their presence on the floor. Another is to leave their unique scent on the floor.
Your furry friend’s paw pads contain sweat glands. Whenever they sweat, their paws also release pheromones, which other dogs can smell.
So by digging on the floor, they are sending a warning to other dogs. Your Shiba is letting them know that this is their spot and no other dog should come near it.
Digging to Investigate
There may be something on the floor that sparks your furry friend’s interest. Your Shiba may drop everything and fixate on a specific spot on the floor. It may have an intriguing smell, so they will go into detective mode.
This may also happen when they sense something moving underneath. Take this as a sign to call your pest control service provider. You may have rodents living in your home!
Digging Due to a Medical Issue
Dogs tend to hide their pain from you and this makes it hard to figure out if something is wrong. This inherited behavior is their way of protecting themselves. If they show any sign of weakness in the wild, other predators may target them.
But they cannot hide it forever. And if they are in pain, it will show in their behavior as well.
If your Shiba Inu is in pain, they may dig at the floor like there is no more tomorrow. This is one of the ways that they distract themselves from the discomfort that they feel.
Digging Due to Cognitive Dysfunction
This is usually seen in senior dogs. The most common form of this is canine cognitive dysfunction (CCD) or dog dementia.
If your Shiba Inu suffers from this, they will experience a lot of changes. The primary aspects that dog dementia targets are their comprehension, learning, and memory. This also leads to unusual behaviors, like digging at the floor relentlessly.
Why Does My Shiba Inu Dig at My Legs?
Your Shiba Inu digs at your legs to communicate something with you. It is often seen as their way of telling you that they love you.
By petting your Shiba Inu, you let them know that you love and care for them. This smart breed learns what it means and they may do the same to you. They will pet you back to reciprocate your affection.
But this is not the only thing that they communicate to you by digging at your legs. It can also mean that they need something, they are challenging your authority, and more.
If you want to understand this unusual behavior more, below is a list of all the common reasons why they do this.
Your Shiba Inu Wants Some Love
The Shiba Inu is not the cuddliest of dog breeds. Most of the time, they show their love for you from a distance. Keeping an eye on you from afar to make sure that you are safe is one of the ways they do this.
But like all dogs, your Shiba wants some cuddles from time to time as well. But they only want this on their terms.
This makes spending quality time with them extra special because they do not allow this all the time. So the next time your Shiba Inu digs at your feet, try to give them some love and attention for a bit.
Your Shiba Inu Wants Something
As an energetic breed, you can expect your Shiba to bug you throughout the day to ask for playtime. They have many other tactics to ask for play, such as jumping at you or barking at you. But they may learn that you do not like these, so putting their paw on you may be a more subtle tactic.
Digging at your legs can also be their way of reminding you to refill their bowls. You may not have noticed that their water bowl is already empty. Or they may be reminding you that it is time for their meal.
If this is the reason for their behavior, they may try to bring you to their food bowls. Once there, your Shiba Inu will nudge their food bowl to let you know what they need.
Your Shiba Inu Needs Your Help
Sometimes, your Shiba Inu will dig at your leg to tell you that something is wrong. It can be that they are anxious or stressed, so you need to remove them from the situation. It can also mean that they are in pain, whether it is due to an injury or a medical issue.
This can mean something serious. But how do you differentiate these from other, silly reasons for this behavior? The answer is in their body language.
These are some signs that they are either anxious or in pain:
- Hanging their tails low
- Tight mouth
- Shifting their gaze
- Excessive panting
If you see any of these signs, make sure to take action right away. Assess your surroundings if there is anything that is causing them pain. Next, you should inspect their body to see if this behavior warrants a visit to the vet.
Your Shiba Inu Is Apologizing
Your furry friend cannot verbally say that they are sorry when they do something bad. Instead, they make use of their body to apologize to you.
If they dig at your leg with a guilty look on their face, they are trying to ask for your forgiveness. This is them submitting to your authority as well.
Be careful not to forgive them right away, because they will learn to use this against you in the future. Make sure to reprimand them gently before you give in to their cute, puppy eyes.
Your Shiba Inu Is Challenging You
Instead of apologizing, some dogs will try to talk back with their paw when they have been naughty. If they dig at your leg with playful barks, your Shiba is showing you some attitude!
Your Shiba Inu Is Showing You Who the Boss Is
There are two possible scenarios for this. One is that your Shiba Inu is telling you that you are their boss. Or, it can mean the opposite and they are telling you they are the boss.
Digging at your leg with a lowered body means that they are submitting to you. But without other submissive signs, then they are being dominant.
A dominant canine will put its paw on a weaker one to establish the hierarchy. This is a subtle way for them to assert their dominance. Unfortunately, your Shiba will do the same to you if they see fit.
Should I Let My Shiba Inu Dig?
Unless their digging is excessive and destructive, you should not stop this behavior. Digging is in their nature, it is an instinctual behavior that serves many purposes. It is your Shiba’s form of entertainment, self-soothing activity, and more.
To make them completely stop digging is cruel, so you should not take this away from them.
Instead, what you can do is create a digging spot for them outside. You can also use a sandbox and have them dig there as well. This way, you make sure that their paws and claws are safe from items that may harm them.
Once you have that setup, you should teach your Shiba Inu where to dig. Let them know that if they want to dig, they can only do so in their designated digging spot.
You can do this by burying their favorite toys in their digging zone. Or, you can place some of their favorite treats in their spot as well. By doing so, you encourage them to use this area for digging.
With this method, you can save your furniture and floors from destruction. All while not denying them of this pleasurable and instinctual behavior.
Keep in mind that if their digging becomes unusual, you should see a vet right away. This behavior change can be a sign of a medical issue, so you need to act fast.
How Do You Teach a Shiba Inu Not to Dig?
There are many methods that you can try to curb your Shiba Inu’s digging. You need to have various options for this because not every method will work for your Shiba. There are many reasons why they dig and each of these will need a different approach.
But keep in mind that their digging will never stop. Getting rid of this behavior in your Shiba is impossible as it is a hardwired behavior in dogs. So while training your Shiba Inu for this, you should manage your expectations.
Spend More Time With Your Shiba
Your furry friend may dig because there is nothing better for them to do. With this, you need to spend quality time with them, even more than you do now.
Make an effort to spend an hour of your day playing with them. You can take them out on a walk, visit a dog bark, or play a good game of tug-of-war.
Whatever you do, you need to be a hundred percent present for them. Make eye contact, talk to them, and make sure they feel that you are focusing your attention on them.
This will not only release their pent-up energy. But this will also strengthen your bond with your Shiba Inu.
Be sure that you are consistent with this and make this a part of your daily routine. If you drain their energy, they will not even think about digging holes in your garden.
Provide Your Shiba With Distractions
Digging may be your furry friend’s last resort to entertain themselves. But you can divert their attention into doing something more fun!
Have an assortment of toys with you and make sure they have access to them all the time. But make sure to keep a few of them hidden from time to time. So once your Shiba gets bored of some toys, hide them, and replace them with your stock.
Some fun options that you can provide them with are:
- Plush toys
- Rope toys
- Tennis balls
- Interactive feeders
- Dental chews
You can use these to stop them whenever they try to dig as well. Once you see them going for your carpet, hold a toy up, wag it around or do anything to catch their attention. This way, their focus will be on their toy instead of the carpet.
As soon as they come to you, command them to sit and then give them the toy as a reward.
Desensitize Your Shiba Inu
If your Shiba Inu digs out of fear of a specific stimulus, it may need more work. You should make an effort in getting them used to the stimulus so that they do not react to it anymore.
But keep in mind that this may not work for every stimulus, such as the sound of fireworks. You can only use this on triggers that you can control, such as the sound of skateboards.
The idea is to introduce them to the trigger in increments. For example, have them watch someone who is on their skateboard from afar. The next time you try this, keep moving closer to the person.
In time, your Shiba will have no issues hearing the sound while they are next to it. But make sure that this is a slow and gradual process. Otherwise, you are only scaring your Shiba even more.
Teach Your Shiba Where They Can Dig
Creating a digging zone for your Shiba is one of the best things you can do for them. Place some loose sand or soil in their spot and set up a barrier around it so they know what the place is for. Or, you can use a sandbox if you want.
Then try to make their digging spot attractive by burying some toys and treats there. This will give your Shiba the chance to discover these items, making their spot more fun to use!
Whenever they use their digging spot, make sure to shower them with praise and give them treats. This will further encourage their good behavior.
Whenever you catch them digging in the wrong areas, stop them right away. Do this by saying “stop” in a loud and firm voice. Then take them to their digging area for them to continue their activity.
You can also make other spots of your yard unattractive for them to dig in. Here is how you can do this:
- Bury flat rocks in areas unacceptable areas where they like to dig
- Bury some plastic chicken wire in areas where they dig a lot
- Place vinegar or citrus peels in areas you want them to avoid
- Use thorny shrubs as a barrier for areas where you do not want them digging in
Keep Your Area Clean
Clean up any food that you drop on the floor right away. Do the same when you spill any liquids, such as juices, on the floor. These are all enticing smells for your Shiba, and this can make them dig on the floor.
This curious breed will investigate interesting smells on the floor. And you can expect them to get to the bottom of it right away.
Get Rid of Pests in Your Area
Small animals running about and hiding in your home can trigger their prey drive. As a hunting dog, your Shiba will not stop until they catch these critters. Even if it means digging holes in the ground to look for them.
So make sure that you control and prevent any pest infestation on your property. When you do call your local exterminator, be sure to tell them you have a dog. This way, they will use chemicals that are safe for your Shiba Inu.
Provide Your Shiba With a Comfortable Bed
Dogs will dig their bed to make them more den-like so that they find it more comfortable to sleep in. You can stop them from doing this by getting a bed that resembles a den.
You can opt for a bed with raised edges or one that is round. This mimics the bed that they are trying to make by digging.
Your Shiba Inu will need time to get used to their new bed, though. So you need to use positive reinforcement to speed up the process. This is as simple as rewarding them whenever they go near their bed or use it.