While hiking doesn’t come naturally to me, I know plenty of people who love to go and I don’t want to miss out on the party. But if I’m going, why not bring my Shiba Inu along so she can join in on the adventure? What do I need to do for her to join? That’s what I’ve looked into, tested, and detailed here to help anybody else asking those same questions.
The best hiking dogs are agile, full of energy, and have a flexible all-weather coat. All of which can be found in a Shiba Inu. Proper socialization and both basic commands and leash training are all you need to get started. Followed by proper supplies and enough water to last the trip.
Fantastic, Shiba Inu are born to hike and adventure, but there has to be more to it. If you want to know exactly what you need to get your hiking companion ready, then please continue reading below.
Shiba Inus Were Built For Hikes
The core things you want in a hiking companion are high energy, endurance, agility, and a flexible coat for all types of weather.
Shiba Inus have those in spades.
Being a medium-sized breed bred for hunting, they are naturally tuned for life and excitement outdoors. They also are intelligent, athletic, bold, and have a great sense of smell. All amazing bonuses for an outdoor friend.
But there are pros and cons to everything, and Shiba Inu aren’t perfect.
They are commonly independent, stubborn, have selective hearing, want to do things their way, and can be antisocial at times. While not every Shiba falls into these commonly negative aspects of the breed, it’s good to know them ahead of time.
Making proper training and socializing critical for them to thrive as they grow up. Both will help immensely when it comes to not only listening and following directions, but it makes a major difference when it comes to meeting and greeting both strangers and their pets.
Which you will be doing a lot of while hiking.
Once you are confident with the basics and how they are on a leash, the next step is making sure they are ready for an adventure.
Make Sure Your Shiba Inu Is Ready
Going on a hike, especially with your best furry friend, can be an exciting time. But that doesn’t mean you can just rush out the door together and hit the trail without a backup plan.
There are a few key things you need to do first before going on that adventure. Preparing properly ahead of time can make the difference between an amazing time and an absolute nightmare.
The first two things you need to know before backing any bags are:
1) is my Shiba Inu up to date on their shots?
2) Is my dog friendly with other pets and people?
It’s impossible to know for sure what is waiting for you out on the trail. A new friend, deer, a few free-roaming pets, and so much more. Having a “safety first” mindset is critical to having fun stress a few times with your four-legged friend.
The best way to start with that “safety first” is to check in with your vet. Make sure your Shiba Inu doesn’t have any medical issues: hurt leg, problems breathing, a cold, … Then make sure you are up-to-date on all of your shots.
Odds are you won’t be the only pair on the trail, with enough time other people, dogs, and bikes will pass you. Knowing your Shiba has a clean bill of health will take a mental weight off your shoulders when you run into others.
Next is having an idea of how your pup responds to new people and pets. Every dog is unique and different. Some love meeting people and playing with other dogs.
Others, not so much.
If you know your pet isn’t fond of strangers, or even other pets, you need to be proactive by putting distance between them and your Shiba Inu.
A lot of people love letting their pets off-leash, so there may be times a dog randomly shows up with nobody in sight.
This can be incredibly frustrating, but avoiding potential fights or pet aggression is important for everybody involved.
On the other hand, if your pet loves meeting new dogs and people, this can be an amazing way to connect with others and let your pet cut loose for a few minutes.
Hiking can be an amazing way to help work on your Shiba Inu’s social skills. Most people who hike are friendly and understanding, and a fair amount of them will have a pet with them. Don’t be afraid to ask them questions, like a play session or for any advice they have.
The third thing you need to understand when picking a trail to follow is how active your pet is. If you go on long walks, or even hikes, regularly through the week then you don’t have much to worry about here.
But if this is your first hike or it’s been a while, start small. The last thing you want to do is overestimate what you and your pet can do and you both end up stuck, tired, or upset. We’ll go into more detail about this and other common problems in a little bit. But now that you know your Shiba is ready, did you pack what you need?
Always Over Prepare On Supplies
Being physically prepared for an outdoor adventure is just as important as being mentally and medically prepared for one. Having not only the right supplies but enough of them to share with your Shiba Inu is vital.
Both of you are going to be physically active, and odds are for a fair amount of time. The last thing you want to do is run out of water partway through and have to cut things short.
Let’s quickly go over what you want to pack before going:
- Food & treats ( for both of you )
- A few containers, for them to drink or eat from
- Doggy bags
- A leash you trust – they will want to pull and explore
- A bag to carry everything in
- A small emergency medical kit – cuts and scrapes happen
Out of everything about, water will be the most important thing you bring on your journey. Judging how much you will need can be easy, but what about your pet?
Luckily there is a simple rule we can follow here. Your pet will need roughly 1 ounce of water per pound they weigh:
Example 1) A 22 lbs Shiba Inu will need 22 ounces of water.
Example 2) While a 17 lbs Shiba will only need 17 ounces of water.
But that changes when they are active for long periods of time, while each dog is unique I like to just double the result of that equation. So, instead of bringing 22 ounces of water for Faith, I pack around 44 ounces of water instead.
It doesn’t have to be exact, this is what I consider a “buffer” for any extra water she wants or accidentally wastes by stepping in her container, tipping it over, just making a mess while drinking, or leaves in her cup when we’re done taking our break.
Other supplies like bandaids, doggy bags, a backpack, along with snacks and treats are easy enough.
Another thing you want to leave with is your Shiba Inu’s tag. It should have their name along with your name, cell phone number, and address. This is a lifesaver in case they get away from you and you can’t find them.
Sometimes they’ll get distracted and end up finding another hiker or their pet, and they can use that info to try getting in contact with you.
Common Hiking Problems With Pets
Avoiding potential mistakes not only helps you but also helps keep your pet from stressing out. Here are some common mistakes I and several other hikers have made when adding a pet to the equation:
Overestimating your dog’s ability – You may be able to do a 10-mile hike, but your Shiba Inu may not. Start slow and build them up to that grand adventure you hope and dream of.
Bringing too little food or water – Running out of snacks stinks, but running out of water can be a day-ruining mistake. Always bring more than you think you’ll need, you” thank yourself later.
Not bringing a first aid kit – Cuts and scapes happen, but you aren’t the only one who can get them. Your pup could slip on a rock, step on a thorn, or brush up against anything and end up with a cut, scrape, or rash just like us. Bring something along just in case.
Inconsistent activity – Going for long hikes on the weekend is a blast, but being a couch potato during the week also affects your Shiba Inu. Just like how you need to consistently go to the gym to build muscle and see results, both of you need to go on long walks to help build up your endurance. It’ll also help keep them from getting bored and possibly destructive while you are at work.
Take their puppy out too young – Make sure your Puppy has a clean bill of health and all their shots before making a break for that trail. The last thing you want to do is go on, what would be for them, a mini-marathon and they end up sick or hurt from being overworked.
Not properly socializing your Shiba Inu – It’s only a matter of time before you run into other pets and people on your hike, make sure your Shiba can handle the stresses and excitement of being around new dogs and people.
Letting their pet drag them around everywhere – It’s impossible to get anywhere if both of you are going in opposite directions. Proper leash training is essential for not only walks but the outdoors.
Letting a Shiba Inu off their leash – Yes, odds are you’ll run into others who don’t have their dog on a leash. That does not mean your dog will behave just as well as them off-leash. Shiba Inus were bred to be independent hunters, meaning they have a high prey drive and WILL take off and leave you in the dirt all alone.
Hiking Is Great And All, But What About Camping?
Each individual dog is unique and has their own personality and preferences.
Some love being outside, playing in the dirt, running around in a stream, climbing rocks, and some don’t. Some prefer to stay home laying on the couch and just going for a quick walk around the block to get their steps in.
Ultimately, a well-trained and socialized Shiba Inu is an amazing hiking and camping companion, but your mileage will vary depending on what they prefer.
You may be able to take them out on short camping trips to get them use to it, but some will do nothing but hate it and throw a tantrum until they are back home laying on the couch.
Thankfully all the steps you take to get them prepped and ready to go on a hike are the same ones you’ll want to take when getting ready for a camping trip. Just will way more supplies and time involved.