A Little Bit Background: How is Shiba Inu Like?
Shiba Inu is an ancient dog breed originated in mountainous areas in Japan. It is a small to medium sized, agile, good-looking, fairly independent dog breed that has very few health issues. They are athletic, alert, clean and quiet, which is great for both outdoors and indoors.
I got a Shiba Inu puppy this April. Today, my Shiba Inu, Daisy, is almost 10 months. I and my wife enjoy walking with her and socializing her with other dogs and people (early training and socialization is key for successful dog training). So far, feedbacks on Daisy from my vet, dog day care folks, my dog training class teacher, and other dog owners in off leash parks are all very positive.
“Daisy is like a party dog. She’s outgoing and plays well with other dogs. Her temperament is so good and she is the best Shiba Inu I’ve ever seen.” – A Dog Daycare Girl.
Some people’s first impressions of a Shiba Inu is like “so cute”, “most beautiful puppy I’ve ever seen”, “it’s like a little fox”, “her coat is so soft”. And Shiba Inu owners are so proud of owning one: “he has so much character”, “I will never forget her”. Of course, each dog (even of the same breed) is different and any dogs, including Shiba Inus, could pick up bad habits and become trouble-makers. Here are a few of my viewpoints on dog training:
All Dogs are Trainable (and Can Be Well Trained).
Some Dogs are Easier to Train than Others.
Using the Right Method is Crucial to Successful Dog Training.
How to Train a Shiba Inu (or Any Other Dogs) Effectively: the Best and Fastest Way?
Each puppy is born different. But just like human babies, they are all curious about the surrounding environment, eager to learn more without knowing the potential dangers (e.g., hot surfaces, things not suitable to eat, and furniture not supposed to be chewed on). As a dog owner, you want your pet to learn the house rules, teach him/her what you like and what you don’t. You also want your pet to enjoy his/her time with/without people in the house so that you can be a happy and peaceful dog owner.
The method I am using was and is very effective on obedience training my Shiba Inu, which is a dog breed that is known to be smart, independent (cat-like) and hard to train.
Some people may argue with me, but I really believe that the key point of successful dog training is to prove that you (or people in general) are the “pack leader”. Respect and trust are earned, not given (true for both people and dogs). Some dog breeds like Shiba Inu are smart but “stubborn”. They understand your commands but they may choose not to listen (Shiba Inu: “Wait, this rabbit is apparently more interesting than what you asked me to do…”).
The best and fastest way of good dog training is to have consistency and patience. For example, you reward and only reward (consistently) when your dog is behaving well. You don’t yell and waste your words when your dog does not respond to your commands, like, “Sit, sit, sit, Shit, sit you son of…”. Instead, you say “Sit” once calmly and firmly, and then patiently give him/her up to 10 seconds before you take actions, i.e., physically make him/her sit and then say “Good Sit”, immediately followed by a treat. Below, I will talk about the details of the method.
1. Do Submissive Training at Least Once Per Week: Building Respect and Trust
It’s a lot easier to train a puppy than an adult dog. My breeder raises her puppies with people and other dogs around. The parents of the puppy I got were quiet and super friendly to people. The best advice I received from my breeder regarding dog training is “Do Submissive Dog Training Regularly”. This is especially true for training a Shiba Inu.
By doing submissive training regularly, you prove that you are stronger than your dog and he/she is safe with you, and he/she will always be rewarded for his/her patience. And you as the dog owner is rewarded with a dog full of love and joy 🙂
a) Make sure your dog is not hungry, thirsty or in a hurry to do his/her business.
b) Make sure you are in a comfortable place and have plenty of time.
c) Lie your dog’s back on your lap and hold his/her front legs’ armpits.
d) In the beginning your dog will struggle and try to get up. But you need to hold your dog in position, until he/she gave up and his/her legs become very relaxed like what’s shown in the picture (but your hands are still on him/her).
e) Now you want to move your hands away from your dog slowly (it took me 30 minutes to get to this step for my first time doing submissive training to my dog). If he/she tries to get up, then you need to hold him/her back to position again. Stay like this for at least another 10 minutes and try to move your hands away slowly again. Repeat this step until your dog stays on your lap patiently without trying to escape. And,
f) Then, touch your dog’s body on the sides by moving your fingers from his/her front to the rear. If he/she moves (i.e., legs become straight, not relaxed), then hold him/her back in position and repeat step e) and then f) until your dog is assured that he/she won’t get away with this until he/she submits and put his/her trust in you (“I won’t get away but this human won’t hurt me anyways”). You as the dog owner must finish all the above steps, otherwise the training will never be successful.
2. Reward Your Dog’s Good Behaviors with Treats and Say “Yes”
Dogs are food driven. Naturally they want to please you to get food/treats and your attention. In the very beginning, your dog won’t understand your commands like these very useful, must-learn daily commands: “sit”, “let’s go”, “come”, and “leave it”. But after you teach or “force” (properly) your dog to perform the actions several times and reward him/her (with treats or by playing a game with your dog) immediately after he/she finishes the action, he/she would associate performing the action to tasty food and would likely react correctly to your commands later on.
3. Be Clear When You Don’t Like What Your Dog is Doing: Say “No” or “Leave It” Firmly and Use the Collar Wisely
When your dog breaks your house rules, try not to yell at him/her. Instead, calmly and firmly say “No” to him or her. Try to distract your dog with a toy or play a game with him/her (if you have time, of course). If necessary, hold his/her collar with your hands so that he/she won’t be able to move around and have fun for a few minutes (“time out”). When you don’t want your dog to check out something (e.g., a rabbit or some other dog’s poop), say “Leave It” and either keep going or say “Let’s Go” and start going away. If your dog is chewing something like wood chips and won’t give up when you say “Leave It”, try to hold his/her mouth and squeeze her mouth a little bit so that if he/she continues to bite, he/she would hurt himself/herself with his/her teeth against his/her lips/flesh.
4. Be Consistent and Patient: Don’t Waste Your Words
By being consistent, you avoid confusion and save time in the end. By being patient, you’ll finally achieve success in dog training and enjoy your time with human’s best friend. In addition, if you say your commands too many times in a row, your dog will get tired of doing the same thing. For example, do not use the command “Come” too often. And when you do, make sure you reward your dog every time when he/she does come to you (from chasing a rabbit, running too far away from you, etc.).
5. Allow Your Dog To Have a Lot of Fun Whenever You Can
People get bored, so do dogs. Some dogs/puppies are very energetic. They need a lot of exercise everyday. If you don’t allow them to get nice and tired, they could become anxious, bored, and want to chew on something or do something bad to get your attention. You could take nice long walks with your dog, or stay in one location and play “fetch”, or bike with your dog, or whatever way that fits your lifestyle and mood. When they get their exercise they need, you’ll find them so lovely in your house.
Have fun with your dog! I wish you every success in your dog training.