Shiba Inu are independent dogs who can handle themselves quite well. So no matter where you live, this breed makes do with what they have. They can look for some fun and entertainment, even without your help.
Because of this, Shiba Inu can adjust to any living space, no matter its size. Thus, the main consideration here is how you take care of them. Their exercise needs are not the only factor here, but also how you set up their environment.
This breed needs structure in their life: a routine, boundaries, and more. If you leave them to their own devices, they will be unhappy, even if they have a large space to run around in.
With this, you are the biggest factor here, and not the place that your Shiba Inu lives in. So what can you do to keep them contented? If you are looking for ways to do this, this article will have that and more.
How Much Space Does a Shiba Inu Need?
Shiba Inu need a home with a large yard, around 8,560 to 10,000 square feet (795 to 929 square meter) of outdoor space, to be exact. They may be small dogs, but they need a lot of room to run around and explore to be happy and shed off their excess energy. But other than that, this independent dog also needs a large area for their personal space.
Keep in mind that you must only let your Shiba Inu roam in a fenced yard. They love to explore and let their curious minds take them to places, and they do not like restrictions. If you do not put limits on where they can roam around, they will stray far away.
Other than that, Shiba Inu are notorious for being escape artists. So you need a high enough fence that they cannot jump over.
But more than their area, the most important thing is their daily exercise. Shiba Inu can live happily in an apartment without a yard. And this is possible if you allow them to explore the outside world a lot.
You can take them to nearby parks and have them frolic around. But keep in mind that this is different from their exercise needs. So you will have to invest more time in your Shiba Inu if you do not have much yard space.
Are Shiba Inu Good House Dogs?
As long as you put in the effort, Shiba Inu can be great house dogs. This means that they should get proper training and ample socialization. With the correct upbringing, your furry friend can be a well-mannered dog.
Both are especially necessary if you have other pets and children in your home. Shiba Inu are dominant dogs and love to play rough with everyone. Because of this, you need to teach them how to interact with small children and other pets.
Other than those, you need to keep in mind that this is an active and playful dog breed. While they are happy to lounge on your couch, they need lots of physical and mental exercise. You need to spend time interacting with them, and you need to provide them with a variety of toys.
These are a must, otherwise, they will get bored and destructive. Shiba Inu are prone to boredom, and they will get creative in looking for something fun to do. This may mean chewing on your furniture, clawing on doors, and more.
So the keys to making your Shiba Inu a great house dog are their needs, training, and socialization.
Can a Shiba Inu Live in a Flat
If you provide them with proper care, Shiba Inu can be excellent flat dogs for many reasons. Although they love having a big space to frolic in, they are adaptable to a smaller living space. They also have certain characteristics that are a big bonus for living in a flat, such as:
- Less tendency to bark
- Small and compact
- Values cleanliness
- Easy to potty train
- Easy to groom
- Great watchdog
Shiba Inu Are Quiet
This breed is not a nuisance barker, and they only bark when they have a good reason to. They may warn you about something, ask for food, and more. Thus, a Shiba Inu is a great dog for avoiding noise complaints from your neighbors.
But keep in mind that this is an opinionated breed, and they love to speak their mind. Shiba Inu are vocally talented dogs that make head-turning noises. One example is the Shiba scream, where they make a loud, shrill noise whenever they are happy.
Shiba Inu Are Small
Living in a flat is not the best idea for larger dogs, but Shiba Inu are medium-sized dogs that fit well in small spaces. Their size makes them have enough space in a flat to go around.
Male Shiba Inu are larger and heavier. They stand at 14.5 to 16.5 in (368.3 to 419.1 mm) tall at the withers. And they weigh around 23 lbs (10.4 kg).
Meanwhile, female Shiba Inu are smaller and lighter. They have a height of 13.5 to 15.5 in (342.9 to 393.7 mm) and weigh around 17 pounds (7.7 kg).
Shiba Inu Are Clean
Much like a cat, Shiba Inu spend hours a day grooming themselves. Because of this, they do not have a strong doggy odor that many do not like. These dogs even go around puddles to avoid their paws getting wet.
Not only do they like to keep themselves clean, but they also like to keep their environment spotless.
Shiba Inu Are Easy to Potty Train
Because they are clean freaks, you will have an easier time potty training a Shiba Inu than other breeds. As long as they always have access to their potty area, they will do their business there. If they do have potty accidents indoors, you will know that there is something wrong right away.
Shiba Inu Are Easy to Groom
It does not take a lot to maintain a Shiba Inu’s good looks. They do not need haircuts, frequent baths, and more. All they need is a regular brushing routine to keep their coat shiny, clean, and mat-free.
Shiba Inu Are Great Watchdogs
This is an alert and hyperaware dog that can catch anything unusual quite fast. And once you gain their trust, they will often worry about your safety. So if they sense any danger, they will alert you right away with their barking.
Shiba Inu Are Independent Dogs
Compared to other dog breeds, Shiba Inu are not as needy for your time and attention. They handle alone time well, and they can look for ways to entertain themselves.
Sure, a large yard that they can access whenever they want is ideal. But even if you do not have one, they can adapt to the small space that they have. As long as you provide them with various toys and give them daily exercise, they do not mind.
How to Keep a Shiba Inu in an Apartment
To keep your Shiba Inu happy in an apartment, you must make extra effort to give them adequate exercise. If you have a home with a big yard, you can let them run around to shed off their energy. But since you have limited space, this becomes a challenge.
While that is your main issue, this is not the only thing to consider. You must also ensure that their environment is safe, stimulating, and comfortable. And your Shiba Inu must know how to behave indoors unsupervised to keep the peace at home.
With this, here is a list of what you should do if your Shiba Inu is an apartment dweller:
- Many trips outdoors
- Obedience and potty training
- Teaching them boundaries
- Pet-proofing your home
- Enriching their environment
Many Trips Outdoors
Again, the big downside to living in an apartment with your Shiba Inu is they have fewer means to exercise. Having them play and run in a yard will cut back the time you need to walk them. But since you do not have space, you need to be more diligent in taking them outside to walk, play, and more.
Look for the nearest dog-friendly park nearby, and make daily trips with your Shiba Inu there. This gives them the chance not only to walk but also to socialize with other dogs. If your Shiba Inu is well-socialized, then they will have the time of their life.
Shiba Inu usually need two to three trips for walks outside in a day. But in an apartment setting, you may need to take them outdoors up to five times a day. This keeps them happy and entertained so they do not misbehave at home, especially when you are not there.
Obedience and Potty Training
This one is a no-brainer, and every dog needs this regardless of where they live. In an apartment though, you may not have a balcony or a yard. This means that your Shiba Inu does not always have access to a potty area outdoors.
Thus, you must have a potty space for them indoors using potty pads. Part of housebreaking your Shiba Inu is teaching them where they can poop or pee. If they know they have a spot for this, they will choose to do their business in the proper area.
Other than that, your Shiba Inu must know their basic obedience commands. Command cues like sit, stay, come, and drop are the foundation of their training. If they know these, you can control your Shiba Inu indoors and outdoors.
Teaching Them Boundaries
Your Shiba Inu must know what they should never do, and what they can only do with your permission. Once they have a good grasp of this, you can rely on them to roam your home freely in your absence.
For example, your Shiba Inu must never bolt out the door when you go out. They must wait for your signal before they can walk out.
Anything else you set for your Shiba Inu will depend on your house rules. One example is that they can never climb on certain furniture. They may knock off something on top of it, and you will not like this.
Pet-Proofing Your Home
Your Shiba Inu can be especially mischievous when they are still young and untrained. So early on, you cannot trust them to be alone in your home without expecting any accidents. Thus, you must ensure that your home environment is safe for them.
You can put your Shiba Inu in a crate but only if they are crate trained. This restricts their movement so they will not touch or chew anything that they should not.
But if your Shiba Inu is not crate trained, do not force them to go into one. Instead, you must clear out your home. Here are some things that you should do:
- Hide your shoes, slippers, or other items they may chew on
- Unplug electrical cords and then hide them
- Store food items, cleaning agents, and other toxic substances to dogs
- Secure doors and windows to prevent them from escaping
You may want to use a playpen or a baby gate to block off certain areas of your home, such as the kitchen. This is a great extra measure to be on the safe side.
Do not worry, though. As your furry friend matures and becomes fully trained, you can trust them more to have free roam of your home.
Enriching Their Environment
Like you, your Shiba Inu also gets bored if they spend most of their time in your apartment. Taking them out several times a day helps with this, but what if you are still away from home? This is where your buddy’s home entertainment comes in.
As a smart breed, mental stimulation is a big thing for Shiba Inu. Putting their minds to work is even more tiring than physical activities. And once your Shiba Inu gets tired, they will nap the day away until you come home.
With this, consider investing in brain toys for dogs. Puzzles and interactive feeders are great for keeping them entertained. They keep your Shiba Inu occupied so they will not even think of misbehaving.
Are Shiba Inu Easy to House-Train?
Shiba Inu are naturally clean dogs so you will have an easier time potty training them than other breeds. This breed likes to keep their place clean, so they will try their best to go to their designated potty area. As long as you take them out to poop or pee, your Shiba Inu will hold their waste products.
Keep in mind that each Shiba Inu is different, though. They will have a preference about their potty area. Some like to do their business outside, while others prefer to do so on their walks.
You must figure out which one your Shiba Inu prefers. This way, you can give them plenty of chances to relieve themselves. As you know, holding their poop or pee is always bad, so you must avoid this at all costs.
How Long Does It Take to House-Train a Shiba Inu?
Once your Shiba Inu puppy is 4 to 6 months of age, it will already be fully potty trained. Because this is a smart and clean breed, some of them may learn faster than this. But they still have some maturing to do, so potty accidents will still happen.
Your Shiba Inu puppy will only gain full control of its bladder and bowel at around 4 to 6 months of age. So they may already know what to do and where to do their business, but they cannot help themselves. Thus, you must wait a little longer before you have full confidence in them.
But if you have adopted an older Shiba Inu, you have other challenges to face. They already have full control over their bladder and bowel, so this is not a problem. The issue is that they may already have picked up bad potty habits.
In the past, your Shiba Inu may have done their business wherever they like, including indoors. Or, they may have gotten used to pooping or peeing on a specific surface, such as concrete.
With this, your Shiba Inu will not only have to start from scratch with potty training, but they also have to unlearn all these unwanted behaviors moving forward.
Unfortunately, this means work for you, especially because they can be quite stubborn. But this is a necessary process that they have to go through to be great house dogs.
How Do You Housebreak an Adult Shiba Inu?
You need to go through a few steps to potty train your Shiba Inu. They may have a strong instinct to keep their area clean, but bringing them to their potty area alone will not teach them anything.
Forcing your Shiba Inu in any way will also not work as they will only fight back. You must be careful in training this breed, as you do not have much leeway for mistakes.
With this, here is how you can potty train your Shiba Inu properly:
- Earn their trust
- Establish a potty schedule
- Provide a designated potty area
- Prevent potty accidents
- Watch out for potty signs
- Take them to their potty spot
- Clean up any potty accidents
Step 1: Earn Their Trust
If your Shiba Inu is a new addition to your family, do not jump into training right away. You need to give them time to warm up to their new family and home. This breed is not a fan of unfamiliarity, so this is a crucial step.
You must also gain their trust and respect for you at this stage, and they should see you as their pack leader. Once you have that down, they are more likely to listen to you during training sessions.
Step 2: Establish a Potty Schedule
A potty schedule gives your Shiba Inu more chances to learn while leaving less room for mistakes. Adult Shiba Inu will need to relieve themselves every 6 to 8 hours, or 3 to 4 times a day. While earning their trust, you must also figure out their potty pattern to help you make a schedule.
Other than their normal schedule though, you must take them out at certain points of the day. This includes after each meal, after playing, and after waking up from a nap. You must also take them out to relieve themselves first thing in the morning and before going to bed.
The more you give your Shiba Inu a chance to do their business, you are helping them learn faster. This also regularly empties their bladder and bowel so you can worry less about mistakes.
Step 3: Provide a Designated Potty Area
Your Shiba Inu must have a potty area, and they should know that this is a place for them to poop or pee. If they do not have one or do not understand this, they will find somewhere to release their waste indoors.
While potty training your Shiba Inu, it helps to make their potty area obvious.
If you live outdoors, you can use a playpen around the area so your Shiba Inu can see it right away. If you live in an apartment, create a potty space like a cat’s litter box. Whichever you have, make sure that their designated spot is easy for you to clean.
Step 4: Prevent Potty Accidents
Prevention is an important aspect of potty training a Shiba Inu. You have less time to clean up after them and spend more time helping them learn. Accidents are not something you want, especially because it is hard to get rid of the smell of their pee.
You have three ways to do this, and they will come in handy in different scenarios:
- Keep an eye on them
- Keep them in a crate
- Keep them in an enclosure
Supervising your Shiba Inu is the best way because you get to take action as soon as you see signs that they have to go. Dogs only learn if you respond to their action within five seconds. So if you interrupt their action with a “no” and take them out, you are teaching them where they can and cannot go.
You are not around your Shiba Inu all the time, though. Even with this, potty accidents are not ideal because you are not there to correct them. You end up cleaning up their mess and move on.
Thus, you can either keep your Shiba Inu in a crate or an enclosure if you have to leave them alone.
Keeping your Shiba Inu in a crate discourages them from pooping or peeing. Dogs like to keep their den, where they sleep, clean. So they will hold their bladder or bowel until you take them out to relieve themselves.
You can also put your Shiba Inu in an enclosure, such as a playpen or a spare room. This is better if you have to be away longer, as you can set up a potty area for them inside. You can either use puppy pads or an indoor grass system, whichever your buddy likes more.
When your Shiba Inu does have a potty accident, there is a right way to clean up their mess. You should not use regular water and soap, as this does not get rid of the smell of their waste. Your Shiba Inu will still catch on the scent, and they may pee on the same spot again.
Instead, go for an enzymatic cleaner for dogs. This will get rid of the scent and leave no trace for your Shiba Inu to sniff. Make sure not to use ammonia cleaners, as it smells like their urine.
Step 5: Watch Out for Potty Signs
Your furry friend’s body language is a powerful communication tool. It can tell you how they feel, and even when they need to go to the potty. So make it a habit to always observe your Shiba Inu and watch out for signs that they need to poop or pee.
Whining, barking, sniffing the floor, and circling are all signs to look for. Once you see these behaviors, take your Shiba Inu to their potty area right away.
Step 6: Take Them to Their Potty Spot
When you do take your Shiba Inu to their potty spot, do not rush them. Be by their side and wait for them to relieve themselves. Some dogs still have accidents indoors after going out, and rushing them is why this happens.
The moment your Shiba Inu begins to poop or pee, say “potty” or your chosen verbal cue. By doing so, your buddy can associate the act with the word. So when they hear this in the future, they know what it means and what they need to do.
Once they are through, make sure to give your Shiba Inu high-value treats right away to let them know they did well. This will encourage them to keep doing the behavior you want to see. In this case, it is doing its business in the right area.
While Shiba Inu is not a people pleaser, you must also give them verbal praise. This will help you in the future once they get the hang of their potty training. In time, you can replace their treats with praise instead.
Can Shiba Inu Live Outside?
While Shiba Inu can technically live outdoors, this is not the best for them as they are better as indoor dogs. They have a thick coat to protect them from the cold and a great love for their personal space. But living outdoors takes a toll on their physical, mental, and emotional health.
No matter how thick their coat is, no Shiba Inu can withstand such extreme temperatures. They will do better in colder months, but hotter months are a nightmare for them. You are putting your Shiba Inu at risk for heatstroke if they live outdoors.
Temperature is not your only enemy here. You also have to consider other environmental elements. This includes heavy rains, strong winds, and more.
Another thing to consider is that allergies are common in this breed. To be specific, Shiba Inu often have inhalant allergies. Environmental allergens trigger their immune system to act up, such as the following:
And if your Shiba Inu sleeps outside, they are constantly in contact with these. Allergies can put your buddy in a great deal of discomfort as this makes their body very itchy. They are also at risk of open wounds and infections from all the scratching.
Sure, you can make a sturdy and adequate shelter for them outdoors to protect your Shiba Inu from this. But they are much safer spending the night inside your home. And can you imagine how they will feel being away from their family throughout these?
This breed may be aloof and has a strong dislike for cuddles, but they love their families a lot, and they show their affection in more subtle ways. One way they do this is by staying close to you, keeping an eye on you to ensure that you are safe.
Shiba Inu often think about their owners, especially if they do not see their loved ones. So by keeping them outside, your Shiba Inu will keep worrying about you. They assume the duty as your protector, and they do so with pride.
Other than that, they still want the attention of their loved ones. Sleeping outside only cuts this back, making your furry friend an unhappy dog.
The last reason why you should not let your Shiba Inu live outside is their safety. This breed is a well-known escape artist, and they will jump over your fence to explore what lies beyond. Once this happens, they may get into an accident, get lost, or even suffer extreme injuries.
You can keep them on a leash to prevent this, but this is cruel to your Shiba Inu or any dog for that matter. This only makes your buddy even more unhappy, and they have a strong dislike for restraints.
Taking all these into account, your Shiba Inu will do best as an indoor dog. Their heart may lie in the great outdoors, but sleeping inside your home near you will keep them happier.
How Do You Keep a Shiba Inu Outside?
If you insist on keeping your Shiba Inu outdoors, then your priority should be their shelter. But like keeping them at home, you must also do other things to keep them safe and comfortable outside. With this, here is a list of everything that you need for them outdoors:
- Sturdy and comfy shelter
- All around access to water
- Clean food
- Safe surroundings
- Outside entertainment
Sturdy and Comfy Shelter
This is where most of your investment should go in. Your Shiba Inu must have a durable, waterproof, and insulated kennel to stay and sleep in. It should protect them from the sun’s rays and strong winds.
Elevated kennels are the best for your Shiba Inu. It keeps them off of the hot or cold ground, depending on the season. Thus, it will go a long way in helping them maintain their body temperature.
Other than that, you must provide them with a heating pad and lots of fluffy blankets during winter. But keeping them cool during summer is more important since they have thick coats. Providing them with cooling pads is a must during hot months.
Make sure you pick the right place placement for their kennel, too, for extra comfort. You can place their shelter on your porch, by your home, or under a sheltered spot. This still keeps them close to you, and it may make them feel more at ease.
All Around Access to Water
Your Shiba Inu must be able to drink water whenever they want. But if they spill their bowl or if the water freezes overnight, this is nothing to worry about. Just make sure to replace their water first thing in the morning.
The material of your furry friend’s water bowl matters here. Metal or ceramic bowls are not the best, as it cools their water fast. So opt for plastic water bowls for your buddy instead.
Other than that, a cool water bowl is also dangerous. Their tongue may stick to the bowl if it is cool, and this is uncomfortable for your poor pooch.
Consider getting an electric water heater for your Shiba Inu if you live in a cold area. This way, their water does not cool fast or freeze overnight.
The cleanliness of your buddy’s drinking water matters too. Since they are outside, their water gets dirty fast. So make sure to switch their water at least twice a day, but the more you do this, the better.
If you disregard this, your Shiba Inu may get sick from their water. They may ingest bacteria or other microorganisms from their water.
Even if your Shiba Inu stays outside, free feeding is still a bad option for them. You must always have a feeding schedule for your furry friend.
During colder months, your Shiba Inu needs extra calories. Thus, you must give them more food and meals that are high in fat. Salmon and chicken necks are a great option for this.
Make sure that you clean their food bowls after they eat. You may attract unwanted critters and bacteria to their food bowl if you neglect this.
Shiba Inu are curious dogs, and they may poke their noses in stuff that they must not. This can be a big issue if they get in contact with harmful or toxic substances.
Because they are outdoors, your Shiba Inu is likely to come across these. And since you cannot supervise them all the time, this is an even bigger issue. With this, you must make sure that your yard is free of these:
- Stagnant Water: Puddles and other bodies of water are breeding grounds for mosquitoes and parasites. Your Shiba Inu may get heartworm larvae and even giardia.
- Harmful Chemicals: Pesticides and other similar products are toxic to your Shiba Inu. So make sure that you use dog-safe items to maintain your garden or pool if you have one.
- Poisonous Animals: Various outside critters are poisonous to both dogs and humans. This includes black widow spiders, cane toads, and more. If your area has these animals, take extra precautions.
- Toxic Plants: There are so many plants that are toxic to dogs. This includes hydrangea, daffodils, lilies, and more. So you may want to barricade these or remove these if you have them in your garden.
- Dirty Outdoor Items: Other items, such as compost bins, are an issue for your Shiba Inu. They may get attracted to the smell and go through it, but these bins have molds, bacteria, and other icky stuff that may harm your buddy.
Your Shiba Inu may love to spend time outdoors, but they can get bored too. This breed always needs stimulation, otherwise, they will get into trouble.
So make sure your Shiba Inu has toys, too, in your yard. Puzzle games and interactive toys are popular for this breed.
But a good variety of balls are also fun for them to play with! You can have a soccer ball and an extra large ball for them to have free access to. They will push the balls with their noses and chase them around for playtime.
You may also want to set up a designated digging spot for them. A sandbox with some hidden toys is a great searching game for your Shiba Inu.