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What Is the Proper Way to Hold a Shiba Inu (and How Not to Do It)?

There is a lot of care that goes into carrying your Shiba Inu and you cannot lift them in any way you want. A lot can go wrong in this process and you may cause them a lot of pain. So as a responsible Shiba Inu owner, you must know the best way to do this.
What Is the Proper Way to Hold a Shiba Inu

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As much as possible, it is best to avoid lifting your Shiba Inu. But this is inevitable if you are a dog owner. And sometimes, you need to carry them, such as when you need to take them to the vet.

Carrying your Shiba Inu may put a lot of strain on their body and this can be painful for them. But when done correctly, your Shiba Inu will not feel any pain.

There is a lot to think about when carrying your Shiba Inu. But you can find everything that you need to know about this below.

How Do You Properly Pick Up a Shiba Inu?

The proper way to pick up your Shiba Inu is to make sure you support their back and keep it leveled. There are two ways that you can do this, depending on your Shiba Inu’s size.

Picking Up a Smaller Shiba Inu

First, place your dominant hand under your Shiba Inu’s chest. Spread your fingers apart to give them the best support.

Then, place your other hand under their rump. You can also tuck their hind legs into your other hand if you are more comfortable with this.

Once you have positioned your hands, slowly lift your Shiba Inu, and then hold them close to your body.

Picking Up a Bigger Shiba Inu

Begin by placing your dominant arm behind their hind legs. Then use your free arm and wrap it around their front chest. As you rise to lift them, hold your Shiba Inu close to your body, against your chest.

No matter which method you choose, make sure to put them down if they squirm around. This may cause your Shiba Inu to fall and hurt their paws or their back.

Keep in mind that Shiba Inus are not a very cuddly breed, so they may not like it when you pick them up. So be extra careful if you do this as they are likely to protest against you.

But they can learn to tolerate this with time and repetition. Try to pick them up for a few moments then set them back down before they retaliate against you. Keep doing this until they are familiar with the sensation.

How to Hold a Shiba Inu Puppy

Even if your Shiba Inu puppy is still small, the best way to pick them up is still by using your two hands. Place your dominant hand through their front legs from the front end of their body. Then use your other hand to go between their hind legs from behind.

Now position your hand on its underside and spread your fingers out. The further out they are, the more you are supporting their back. Then lift them with care, making sure that their back is straight throughout the process.

If they are tiny enough to fit in one hand, you can lift them with only one hand as well.

You can do this by placing your hand under the middle of their chest. Make sure that your fingers are apart and that they face your Shiba Inu’s head. Their chest cavity should fill the palm of your hand. This is a safe way to carry them with one hand as it supports their torso and makes them feel safe.

Getting lifted into the air can frighten a young pup. So make sure that once you lift them from the ground, tuck them close to your body. This will make them feel like they are not going to fall.

How to Pick Up a Shiba Inu With Back Problems

Keeping your Shiba Inu’s back straight while picking them up is crucial if they have back issues. Moving their spine around too much can cause them a lot of pain. This can also worsen their condition even more, which you do not want.

So to pick up your Shiba Inu, you first need to let them know what you are going to do. This will help them mentally prepare themselves so they will not move around much.

Now place your dominant hand underneath their chest. Make sure that you cover most of their chest cavity by spreading your fingers. This will support the biggest part of their torso.

Then place your other hand under their rump, in front of their hind legs. Or you can wrap your other hand around their hind legs instead.

Begin to lift them carefully, keeping their spine straight the whole time. Once done, you can hold them close to your body to maintain their back support.

How Do You Not Pick Up a Shiba Inu?

There are many ways you can pick up your Shiba Inu the wrong way. Picking them up like a baby, for example, can lead to strained ligaments. Knowing the wrong ways to pick them up is just as important as well.

Below is a list of how you should never pick up your Shiba Inu.

Lifting Them by the Scruff

You may think that this is okay, as mothers carry their puppies by the scruff. But you should never do this to your Shiba Inu as it is quite uncomfortable and painful for them. The pain will be worse once they are older and heavier dogs.

Lifting Them by the Tail

Your Shiba Inu’s tail is extremely fragile. Picking them up by the tail can cause severe damage to nearby muscles and nerves. This can also exacerbate any back problems that they have.

If you pick them up this way, they may lose control of their movement. A tail injury can also affect their ability to relieve themselves.

Lifting Them by the Legs

This includes lifting them by their armpits, like a baby. Picking up your Shiba Inu this way will strain not only their ligaments but also their muscles. This is also not the most secure way to lift them since you are more likely to drop them with this.

Lifting Them by the Collar

It is easy to see why this is dangerous for your Shiba Inu. Picking them up by the collar chokes them, cutting off their air supply. This may also damage their trachea and the consequences can be permanent.

Is It Bad to Pick Up a Shiba Inu?

Picking up your Shiba Inu is not bad, as long as you do this the proper way. What makes this worse is if you lift them by their scruff, collar, tail, and legs. These cause your Shiba Inu immense pain and they sometimes will not let you know this.

Dogs tend to hide their pain and so it is hard to tell if you are harming them. This is why you should always look for signs of pain when you pick them up.

Sometimes, they will let out a yelp to tell you that they are in pain. But other times, these signs are more subtle and so you need to look at their body language.

Some signs of pain include lip licking, not making eye contact, and yawning. If your Shiba Inu is struggling as you carry them, this is also a sign that they are uncomfortable.

The moment you see any signs of pain, you should set your Shiba Inu down right away.

Why Does My Shiba Inu Yelp When Picked Up?

Yelping is usually a sign of pain and this may be the reason why your Shiba Inu does this when you pick them up. The reason behind their pain can be due to many things, like picking them up the wrong way. But there are many other reasons for this.

To help you narrow this down, here are possible reasons why your Shiba Inu lets out a yelp when picked up.

A Yelp of Excitement

Yelping is not always a sign of negativity, like pain. Sometimes, it can be the opposite. It is common for dogs to yelp due to the intense happy emotions that they are feeling.

You can easily differentiate this from yelping due to pain. An excited Shiba Inu will have their eyes wide open, wag its tail, and show its tongue.

If you do not see any of these signs, then the other possible reasons for this are quite scary.

Being Picked Up the Wrong Way

Retrace your steps and see how you picked up your Shiba Inu. The incorrect way of picking them up is by their tail, collar, scruff, and legs. These are all painful for them and they will let you know this by yelping.

Your Shiba Inu Hates It

Dogs will also yelp as a sign of displeasure and your Shiba Inu may not be a fan of getting carried. This is likely to happen with this breed as they are very independent dogs. Shiba Inus like doing their own thing and they feel like you are preventing them from doing so.

With this, they may also not like cuddle time as much as other breeds. But keep in mind that dogs are individuals with different personalities. This may not be the case for your Shiba Inu.

It Is Scary for Your Shiba Inu

Being so high up from the ground can be scary for your Shiba Inu. Usually, medium-sized dogs have a fear of heights. And Shiba Inus fall into this size category, which may explain why they yelp when picked up.

If your Shiba Inu is still a puppy, this may also be due to their fear periods. But if they have always been like this, their yelping can be due to past trauma.

For example, getting dropped from carrying them, is a traumatic experience for them. Your Shiba Inu will then be extra fearful when you carry them.

You Startled Your Shiba Inu

Did you pick up your Shiba Inu without letting them know beforehand? Taking them by surprise can cause them to yelp when you pick them up.

This happens when you pick them up while they are sleeping, playing, or generally unaware. Being lifted so high up without warning can send them into a panic.

With this, you should always give your Shiba Inu a cue before lifting them, especially if they are a senior. If your Shiba Inu has poor eyesight or hearing, pat them to let them know.

Your Shiba Inu Has an Injury

Make sure to check your Shiba Inu’s body when they yelp as you lift them. They may have soft tissue injuries, so look for bruises or open wounds. You may have touched these while picking them up, which is why they cried.

But some injuries are deeper and you cannot see them by looking at your Shiba Inu. Bone fractures sprained ligaments, and muscle strains are examples of these.

Your Shiba Inu may have sustained these from an accident, such as falling from a high place. They may also brush up their body on sharp items, causing cuts or wounds. It can also be because they pushed their bodies to the limit, such as excessive play.

Your Shiba Inu Has an Infection

Skin infections are all too common for Shiba Inus. It makes their skin itchy, causing them to scratch excessively. This can lead to wounds and open sores that are tender to the touch.

You should also look into lymph node infections as a possibility. With this, they will have small, inflamed bumps all over their body. When you pick them up, you may press on these bumps by accident.

Lymph nodes are often found under their jaw, on their armpits, groins, and other areas of their body.

Blisters, tumors, and cysts are also something that you should consider. So make sure to do a thorough inspection of your Shiba Inu’s body.

Your Shiba Inu Has Abdominal Issues

It is inevitable to touch your Shiba Inu’s body when you pick them up. But if they have a stomach ache, they will yelp when you do. There are a few possible reasons for this issue such as:

  • Gas buildup
  • Bloating
  • Pancreatitis
  • Gastrointestinal upset
  • Ingesting a foreign object

Other than yelping when picked up, they will also exhibit other symptoms. This includes lack of appetite, vomiting, and diarrhea.

Your Shiba Inu Has Leg Cramps

A symptom of leg cramps in canines is frequent yelping. You can tell if this is the case for your Shiba Inu if their legs twitch. They will also find it hard to stretch and straighten their legs. Other than that, they will breathe much faster and appear restless.

Usually, leg cramps will resolve themselves after a few hours. But you can apply a cold or warm compress on their legs to help them out.

Leg cramps in canines are often due to overexertion. So make sure to give your Shiba Inu plenty of rest and limit their activities.

Your Shiba Inu Has Spinal Problems

Moving the spine around too much is painful for a dog with spinal issues. Unfortunately, carrying them will be tricky since this may bend or twist their spine.

The most common spinal disease in dogs is intervertebral disc disease (IVDD). This is a serious medical condition that can lead to complete paralysis.

If you suspect that your Shiba Inu has this, take them to the vet right away. This is crucial as IVDD worsens the more you wait. Early medical intervention is necessary for a better prognosis.

Your Shiba Inu Has Joint Issues

Arthritis is a common joint issue in dogs, especially in older ones. Shiba Inus who suffer from this have chronic pain. And if you carry them, this may make their joints throb more.

But there are other joint issues to consider, such as hip dysplasia. Unfortunately, Shiba Inus are prone to this genetic health issue. This causes them to have mobility issues, like reluctance to get up.

What Size Cage Does a Shiba Inu Need?

Usually, an adult Shiba Inu will need a large, 36-inch (914 mm) crate. This gives them enough room to feel comfortable in their crate. But if your Shiba Inu is smaller than the average, a medium, 30 inches (762 mm) crate will do.

If your Shiba Inu is still a puppy you need to get a smaller crate that is appropriate for their size. But it might get expensive to buy a new one each time they get bigger.

In this case, you can buy an adult-sized crate and use a divider instead. This way, you can adjust their space inside the crate as they grow older and bigger.

What Size Dog Crate Do I Need for a Shiba Inu?

A medium-sized crate that is 30 inches (762 mm) is comfortable for an adult Shiba Inu. But if they are bigger or if you want to give them more space, go for a large-sized crate that is 36 inches (914 mm).

Keep in mind that this is a general recommendation for the breed. If you want the perfect size for your Shiba Inu, you need to measure them. Then go from there to find the best crate size.

Here is how you can pick the best crate size for your Shiba Inu:

  • Step 1: Let your Shiba Inu stand up and measure their length from the tip of their nose to the base of their tail.
  • Step 2: Have them sit down and measure from the top of their head to the floor.
  • Step 3: Add 4 inches to each measurement. Use this as a guide when you are crate shopping!

To give you a headstart, here is a guide on dog crate sizes that you can follow.

  • Small Crates: 24 inches (609 mm) in length
  • Medium Crates: 30 inches (762 mm) in length
  • Large Crates: 36 inches (914 mm) in length
  • Extra Large Crates: 42 inches (1066 mm) in length

What Is the Best Crate for a Shiba Inu?

There are four crate types to choose from and the best one for your Shiba Inu will depend on you. It will also depend on the purpose of the crate as well. Each crate type has its pros and cons and some may be more comfortable than others.

So make sure you know what you are looking for first before buying a crate. Below are the crate options that you can choose from.

Wire Crates

These crates are great for training your Shiba Inu, especially potty training. Wire crates are durable and easy to clean. It also has the best airflow among all four types, bringing comfort to your Shia Inu during summer.

This crate type does not make your Shiba Inu feel as cramped as it is quite open. But if they prefer to hide, you can buy a cover for their crate. You can also place a blanket over it too.

Wired crates are okay for travel purposes. Depending on the material, it can be lightweight enough to carry around. Wired crates are also foldable for easy storage.

The downside of a wired crate is that it is not the best option for escape artists, such as Shiba Inus.

Plastic or Resin Crates

This is the best crate type for your Shiba Inu if you want to travel with them. Planning to travel by air with your Shiba Inu? Plastic crates are what airlines accept.

These crates are very lightweight, making them easy for you to carry with you. There is also a heavy-duty option for plastic crates. These are best for traveling with your Shiba Inu outdoors.

Plastic crates may be the best option for you if your Shiba Inu has a habit of escaping. This is a great crate for them if they have destructive behaviors, such as excessive chewing.

Soft-Sided Crates

These comfortable crates are best for Shiba Inus who are already crate trained. Soft-sided crates are often made with lightweight and flexible materials. This makes them easy to set up, tear down, and store.

Since soft-sided crates are lightweight, you can also use this for travel. But keep in mind that these do not meet the airline requirements.

Wooden Crates

Out of all the four crate types, these are the least common. Wooden crates come in various designs, which is great for you if you are style-conscious. These often blend in with other home furniture as well.

But wooden crates are only for indoor use as they are difficult to carry around. These serve more of an aesthetic purpose rather than being functional.

Why Is It Important to Find the Right Crate Size for a Shiba Inu?

The perfect size crate for your Shiba Inu is crucial as this will make them feel comfortable. Dogs are den animals and staying in a small space is naturally calming for them. So your Shiba Inu should see their crate as their den, their safe space.

A crate is also our Shiba Inu’s training accessory. A lot of training methods use crates to make teach dogs. This is another reason why the perfect size is crucial.

Too small of a crate will make them feel cramped up. They do not have enough space to get into a comfortable position when trying to rest. Your Shiba Inu will then not find their crate experience pleasurable.

This is an issue because they will feel insecure in their crate. The worst-case scenario is that they will reject it. When that happens, training your Shiba Inu will become tricky.

Too big of a crate is also not the best for them. Your Shiba Inu may end up soiling their crates since the space is too big. This should not be the case, as canines like to keep their dens spotless.

Other than that, the appropriate crate size for your Shiba Inu also has other benefits. You can find all these listed below.

Crates Eases Your Shiba Inu’s Anxiety

The right crate size will make your Shiba Inu feel safe and secure. They will view this as a place they can retreat to for resting and calming themselves down. Contrary to what you might think, dogs find their crates cozy and relaxing.

Crates Keep Your Shiba Inu Safe

Shiba Inus are quite the curious canines, more than you may think. They will inspect anything that catches their eye and this may put them in harm’s way.

Your Shiba Inu may go through the trash and eat whatever they can find. They may also nibble on cleaning products lying around. Or, they may find electrical wires fun to chew on.

All these scenarios put your Shiba Inu in great danger. They may ingest toxic materials, get into accidents, and more.

But by keeping them in the appropriate crate, they will enjoy their time relaxing. Your Shiba Inu will not be able to do any activity that can harm them.

Crates Reduce Their Risk for Injuries

Staying in a crate will limit your Shiba Inu’s movements. You can use this to give them a time-out if they have been exercising too much.

This playful breed may push their bodies to the limit since they love to have fun. They ignore what their body is telling them and carry on goofing around. It is your duty then to put a stop to this and let them rest.

The best way to do this is to keep them in their crate. And only the right crate size will help in calming them down.

Crates Make Traveling With Your Shiba Inu Safer

If your Shiba Inu’s crate is too small, they cannot stretch their legs in their crate. This makes them uncomfortable during travel.

If their crate is too big, they may move around too much in their crate. This can harm your Shiba Inu as they will constantly bump themselves on the sides of the crate. But the right size should not do any of these. It should make your Shiba Inu relaxed during the trip.

Traveling by car with a loose dog with you is not the best idea. Your Shiba Inu may distract you while you are driving. But by keeping them in their crate, you can focus on the road and keep both of you out of harm’s way.

Crates Help Your Shiba Inu Recover

Most of the time, your vet will recommend strict crate rest while your Shiba Inu is recovering. This can be due to surgery, injuries, or for other reasons. But you cannot restrict their movement by letting them roam your home.

If you keep them in their crate, they can recover well as this restricts their movement. This will help ensure that they bounce back after a recovery period.

How Do You Crate Train a Shiba Inu?

There are a few methods you can try to crate train your Shiba Inu. Some methods may not work for them, so it is best if you have a variety of options. But before that, make sure you already have the following items:

  • Dog bed
  • Blanket
  • Food and water bowls
  • Toys (such as kongs and puzzle games)

And of course, you need the right-sized crate for your Shiba Inu. You can also have pee pads and a crate cover ready, but these are optional.

Now that you have these ready, here are some crate training methods you can try.

Turn Their Crate Into a Den

Step 1: Make Their Crate Cozy

The first thing you should do is to fluff up their crate and make it extra welcoming! This will entice your Shiba Inu to go in their crate and spend time in it.

So make sure to place a dog bed in their crate so they have somewhere soft to lie down on. Or you can use old towels as well, but you have to make sure that your Shiba Inu is comfortable lying down on these.

Now add some extra soft, fluffy blankets in their crate to make their space extra comfy.

Step 2: Add Familiar Items Inside

Your Shiba Inu should feel a sense of familiarity with their crate. This will make their safe space more comfortable for them to stay in.

Add some of their favorite toys inside, as these have their unique scent. Then, add some of your used clothes inside too to make their crate more enticing.

Step 3: Cover Their Crate

This will help your Shiba Inu feel more secure while they are in their crate. You can use a crate cover to make their crate feel more like a den. Or, you can place a blanket over their crate to give the same feel.

This will also help in blocking out any stimuli that may disturb your Shiba Inu. For example, seeing a bird while they are resting in its crate will drive them into alert mode. As a result, they may bark a lot and disturb your neighbors.

Step 4: Place Food in Their Crate

Food is one of the greatest motivators for dogs and this includes your Shiba Inu. Try to hide some treats in their crate and have your Shiba Inu use their nose to look for them! This will help them create a positive association with the crate.

You can also try feeding them their meals in their crate as well. In time, they will learn to love their crate and they will have no problems staying inside it.

Use Positive Reinforcement

Step 1: Have Them Explore Their Crate

Shiba Inus are curious furry creatures. So if they see that there is something new in the home, they will go ahead and inspect it. This will apply to their crate as well, so have them explore it on their terms.

Introducing your Shiba Inu to their crate should be a slow and gradual process. You have to be patient, as rushing them will only make them see their crate in a negative light.

So have your Shiba Inu inspect their new crate. Whenever they interact with it, make sure to give them verbal praise and treats. This will not only boost their confidence, but it will also show them that the crate is nothing to fear about.

Step 2: Use the Crate for Playtime

This will further help your Shiba Inu form positive associations with their crate. You can do this by playing fetch with them, but throw their toy near the crate. As you go on, throw the toy closer to the crate each time.

In time, you can throw the toy inside the crate and have your Shiba Inu retrieve it. But remember not to force your Shiba Inu each time. This independent breed is hard to please because they want to do everything on their terms.

You have to trick them into thinking that going inside to get their toy is their idea. This fulfills their need to be self-sufficient dogs.

Whenever they try to go inside their crate to get the toy, make sure to reward them. Use verbal praise with a happy and soothing voice. Add in some tasty, high-value treats to encourage them even more.

Step 3: Use Treats to Motivate Them

Sit near the crate and call your Shiba Inu. Have some treats in hand and make sure that they know what awaits them if they listen to you.

Now, command them to sit beside the crate. If they listen, make sure to give them a treat right away! Do this several times and each time you do, have them sit closer and closer to their crate.

With repetition, you should be able to get them into the crate. Do this by placing a treat in their crate and letting them get it. If they retrieve their treat and go out of the crate, that is no problem.

Your goal for now is not to make them stay in their crate. Instead, you only want them to feel comfortable going in and out of it.

Step 4: Try Closing the Door

Now that your Shiba Inu has no issues going in their crate, you can practice closing the door on them. Begin by following the previous step. But once your Shiba Inu goes inside the crate to get their treat, have them stay inside it.

Now try to close the door slowly so that they do not panic. Do not lock it for now. Your goal is to let your Shiba Inu know that they are not getting trapped whenever they are in their crate.

So if they try to open the door, leave them be. You are taking gradual steps to make them feel comfortable in their crate.

During this step, command them to sit in their crate before letting them leave when they want to. Practice this whenever you make them go in their crate as this will come in handy in the future.

Keep the door of their crate open even when you are not using it. This is so that your Shiba Inu can explore their crate even in your absence.

Step 5: Try Locking the Door

After practicing the previous step, you can try locking the door. Have them go inside and lure them with treats, like how you did in step 3. Then command them to sit inside their crate, close the door, and lock it.

Make sure to feed them treats while they are inside and shower them with verbal praise. This will make them feel more at ease being behind closed doors.

If they start panicking, give them more treats and reassurance. This will help in distracting them from the situation. But make sure that you are not rewarding and encouraging their whining or barking.

How Long Does It Take to Crate Train a Shiba Inu?

It may take your Shiba Inu a few months before they are fully crate trained. There is no exact answer to this as each dog will learn at different speeds. But with time and a lot of positive reinforcement, your Shiba Inu will learn to like staying in its crate.

Make sure you do not do anything for them to dislike their crate. Pushing them inside, for example, will only make them more afraid of using their crate. This may even cause them to reject using their crate.

How Long Can a Shiba Inu Stay in a Crate

Adult Shiba Inus can stay in their crate for up to 8 hours, do not keep them crated any longer than this. Also, this does not mean that you can keep them in their crate for this long each day. This has a significant negative impact on their physical and mental health.

Your Shiba Inu is happiest when they are free to explore and play around. But they cannot do this while they are behind closed doors.

If your Shiba Inu is a puppy, it should not stay in its crate this long. A good guide to follow is that a puppy can hold their bladder for an hour every month of age. This is crucial as your Shiba Inu may have accidents in their crate if you leave them inside too long. Holding their bladder or bowel for a long period will also affect their health.

So if your Shiba Inu is a month old, they can stay in their crate for an hour. If they are 2 months old, you can crate them for 2 hours.