Are Shiba Inus Hard To Train? | Everything You Need To Know

With all the talk around how hard Shiba Inus are to train, is any of that actually true? Shibas are intelligent and fast learners, how hard could it be to train them?

Shiba Inus are one of the hardest dog breeds to train due to their stubborn and independent personality. Unlike more modern people-pleasing breeds like Golden Retrievers, Shiba Inus prefer to do their own thing, even if that means ignoring their owner. Motivation is the major factor.

There will be pet owners that struggle to train Shiba Inus due to this breed’s unique traits, especially when compared to more modern breeds.

are shiba inus hard to train

Shiba Inus Are One Of The Most Difficult Breeds To Train

While Shiba Inus are one of the most difficult breeds to train, that doesn’t mean it’s impossible. You’ll just need to take a few extra steps and really build out a training routine if you are looking for the best results.

Shiba Inus are smart and genuinely love their owners, many people are shocked to find out how loyal Shibas truly are. But all of that goes out the window then they get to training this breed. Shibas are a basal breed, meaning they’re one of the 6 most primitive dog breeds still around in our modern times.

That ancient heritage is a blessing and a curse. They’re incredibly smart, quick to learn, incredibly affectionate, and weird enough to fill many nights with smiles and laughter. But they’re independent, stubborn, and notoriously hard to train. Commonly leaving people to ask how much training Shiba Inus really need.

The reasons for that are Shibas get bored incredibly easily, making motivation especially important, and are more than happy to train you instead. Due to their at times bossy and domineering personality, not all but definitely some Shibas are right at home training you instead. And with that, let’s dive into the common challenges of training Shiba Inus in more detail.

Common Challenges Of Training A Shiba Inu

While every Shiba and situation is different and unique, I’ve listed out some of the most common struggles me and other owners have faced while trying to train their Shiba Inus.

Shiba Inus Are Bossy 

While medium-sized dogs, most Shiba Inus are right at home taking over the “alpha” or dominant position in their household hierarchy, if you let them. This Intelligent breed will routinely push the envelope to figure out what they can, and can’t, get away with. Not only with you, their owner, but with other people and pets they’re around.

Inetvertently attempting to train you, their owner, in the process. Making this both a point of frustration and a potential opportunity to work with them. Even with the fact Shiba Inus can be incredibly loud, they aren’t one of the most vocal dogs. But they can be excellent communicators. If you spend a little extra time trying to learn and understand what your Shiba is saying you’ll make both of your lives significantly easier.

Shiba Inus Will Frequently Ignore Commands

With motivation being a key part of training every pet, it’s even more important for Shiba Inus. The primary reason Shiba Inus ignores commands or walks off to do their own thing is boredom. If they don’t find it fun, entertaining, or see what’s in it for them, why would they bother?

Most of the time you’ll be able to remedy this problem with a short walk or a few minutes of play. Mentally stimulating your pet while also burning any excess energy they have, making them more likely to slow down and actually listen to you.

Shiba Inus Require A Lot Of Physical And Mental Stimulation

While routine play and exercise are crucial for every dog, it’s even more true for this breed. Shibas are full of energy and love to play, making them amazing family pets when they’re raised and trained correctly. But one thing many Shiba Inu owners will struggle with is properly mentally stimulating them.

Shibas, unlike a lot of other breeds, get bored easily due to a lack of mental stimulation. That boredom, when left unchecked, generally results in them seeking out their own entertainment. Which almost always results in destructive chewing. Longer walks, play sessions, or even a puzzle toy or two can help give your Shiba the mental workout they’re looking for. Making training them easier the most consistent you are.

Shiba Inus Thrive On Habits And Consistency

Shockingly enough, Shiba Inus love habits just as much as we people do. Habits are an excellent way to build consistency into not only your daily life but your Shiba’s as well. Helping keep them happy, healthy, lean, and most importantly easier to train. If you are struggling to get your Shiba Inu to learn a new command, or even listen to you, I’ve found inconsistency is a common factor.

If your Shiba Inu has a schedule for when you two go on walks and eat meals throughout the day, build out a training schedule the two of you can follow. Building a new routine and healthy habit for your Shiba to look forward to each and every day.

Stick To Positive Reinforcement When Training Shiba Inus

Another possible reason your Shiba could be resisting or even avoiding training sessions could be based on how you reward or discipline them. Nobody likes getting hit or yelled out, your pet included.

Shiba Inus thrive on habits but they also thrive on positive reinforcement like pets, praise, treats, and play. Motivating them to try again and again to get that next reward. But all of that goes out the window if they’re scared of you. 

Avoid Negative Reinforcement Whenever Possible

Things like hitting, kicking, crating, yelling, or even rubbing a Shiba’s nose in an accident are all forms of negative reinforcement. These negative actions teach your pet to fear you or fear whatever you are trying to communicate to them. Making them scared and anxious just being around you, that fear can even turn to aggression if you continue provoking or punishing them.

Making your Shiba less likely to listen to you and more likely to hate you, trashing any relationship or bond the two of you had. Even if you are frustrated and at your wits end when you are trying to teach your Shiba Inu something, never ever under any circumstances turn to negative reinforcement. It only ever makes things worse.

Proper Socializing Makes Shiba Inus Easier To Train

Correct reward and discipline aside, socializing is another way to ease the frustrations of training a Shiba Inu. Shibas are a basal breed with primitive responses to different situations. They commonly don’t like being held or generally handled and almost unanimously don’t like strangers.

Training is fundamentally a game of keeping your pets attention, communicating to them what you want them to do, and more often than not touching or holding them to help step them through the motions of what you are asking for. And if that’s something you’re struggling with I recommend you start socializing your Shiba Inu. Just like training, socializing should start as soon as you get a Shiba Inu.

Summary: How Hard Are Shiba Inus To Train?

Shiba Inus are one of the most difficult dog breeds to train, but it doesn’t have to be that way. The biggest struggles your Shiba is facing during training are motivation, excess energy, and proper social skills.

If you can burn off your Shiba’s excess physical and mental energy, get them used to other people and pets, along with find out what motivates them best training will become significantly easier. You can even use habits and routines to add some structure to your Shiba’s day. Not only making them easier to train in the long run but keeping them happy and healthy in the process.

Frequently Asked Questions

How Stubborn Are Shiba Inu?

Shiba Inus are one of the most stubborn dog breeds out there. Shibas commonly stare at their owners while ignoring commands, but there’s a trick. Shiba Inus are smart, so if they’re ignoring you or seem abnormally stubborn that’s because you aren’t motivating them properly.

Are Shiba Inus Obedient?

Shiba Inus are an incredibly loyal breed that is often too much to manage for amateur dog owners. First-time owners, or even experienced pet owners, will struggle with the Shiba’s “less than people-pleasing personality”, a common issue for basal breeds, but uncommon in more modern dog breeds.

Are Shiba Inus Good Beginner Dogs?

Shiba Inus are rarely recommended to first-time dog owners due to their stubborn personality and primitive traits. A Shiba’s stubborn nature makes them more likely to ignore commands and be aggressive, while the primitive traits can make them harder to control and discipline properly.

Colby Adkins

I am a proud Shiba Inu owner who is just looking to share any tips, tricks, or advice I have to help others.

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