How To Crate Training A Shiba Inu (Complete Guide)

Crate training is a critical lifelong skill every Shiba Inu needs to learn, but that doesn’t mean it’ll be easy.

Crate training your Shiba Inu slowly and properly. Start with letting them investigate their new crate and leave the door open. Toss a treat inside their crate and once they walk in say “crate” and praise them while leaving the door open. Once they are comfortable you can start closing the door.

Every Shiba Inus learns at their own pace, but there are a few things you can do to help streamline the learning curve by setting them up for success at the very start.

crate training a shiba inu

How To Set Your Shiba Inu Up For Success

It’s crucial that you set your Shiba Inu up for success when it comes to crate training. Their crate is supposed to be a safe place they can reliably turn to when their stressed or tired. But that very same crate can quickly become a terrifying jail cell that your Shiba will avoid at all costs.

Consider Your Shibas Age

A young Shiba Inu puppy can only “hold it” for so long before they’ll have an accident. Making their age plays a big role in how long they can be reasonably crated for. Both for training and at night. A good rule of thumb is a Shiba can “hold it” an extra hour for every month old they are, starting with 1 hour at eight weeks old and capping out at a maximum of 8 hours around the nine-month mark.

AGE8 weeks / 2 months12 weeks / 3 months16 weeks / 4 months20 weeks / 5 months
How Long They Can “Hold It”1 Hour2 Hours3 Hours4 Hours

If you’d like to learn more about making a bathroom schedule for your Shiba Inu, I recommend you check out our “Potty Training A Shiba Inu (A Complete Guide)” article that goes into detail on the topic.

Should I Put A Pee Pad In My Puppies Crate?

Never leave a pee pad in your puppy’s crate. Leaving a pee pad in your puppy’s crate at night teaches them it’s acceptable to pee in their crate when it isn’t, and it’s a choking hazard. If you’ve decided to get pee pads for your puppy, only use them in designated areas under strict supervision.

Make Sure You Have A 36-Inch Crate

Shiba Inus are a medium size dog breed that, when fully grown, comfortably fit inside a 36-inch crate. A simple wire crate is durable enough to withstand any abuse your Shiba decides to throw at it, and many come with a removable divider. Allowing you to adjust the available space for your puppy. This 36-inch wire crate from Midwest House on Amazon has been great.

Put Your Shibas Crate In A Quiet Place

Shibas as a breed are highly alert, quick to play, and even quicker to bark. I recommend you place their crate in a calm and quiet place. That could be in your bedroom, a guest bedroom, or a dining room. Just be sure you are able to hear your Shiba Inu in case they start whining or crying to go to the bathroom.

Prepare A Cozy Space

Your pet’s crate should be a safe and cozy place they can reliably turn to when they’re anxious or tired. A dog bed, or spare blanket, is a great way to provide your Shiba something soft and warm to lay on. Most crates have a hard plastic bottom that isn’t very comfortable. Wrapping their crate with a tailor-made crate cover or even a large towel or blanket can help block out excess light, helping them stay calm and sleep better at night.

Don’t Use Your Shiba’s Crate As A Punishment

Do not use your Shiba’s crate as a form of punishment. Your Shiba will quickly learn to hate and resent their crate, making it nearly impossible to properly crate train them. Most long-term crating problems Shiba Inus have revolve around the fact their crate, at some point, was used as a form of punishment.

How To Crate Train Your Shiba Inu

Shiba inu being crate trained

Introduce Your Shiba To Their New Crate

Shibas are naturally curious, they love being the first to investigate new things. You should give your Shiba Inu a few minutes to thoroughly investigate their crate before you start crate training them. They need to be comfortable with their crate if you want them to make positive progress.

Tip – Start teaching them your command for “crate”.

Once your Shiba seems comfortable with their crate I recommend you grab some treats and start training.

  1. Leave the door open, toss a treat inside and wait for your Shiba to walk in for the treat.
  2. Say “crate” when they step inside for the treat. Be sure to leave the door wide open.
  3. This will help your Shiba associate the word “crate” with their crate. Making it easier to train them without treats in the future.
  4. Repeat this step a few times, or until they confidently walk into the crate with zero issues.

Practice Closing The Door

Now that your Shiba will confidently walk into their crate when you say “crate” it’s time to start shutting the door behind them. Do know, they may quickly turn around and start freaking out. That’s perfectly normal, it’s still new for them.

  1. Give your Shiba a treat after shutting the door and praise them, once they’re done eating it you should open the door and let them walk out.
  2. Give them some attention for the good job they’ve done.
  3. Start over at the very first step, saying “crate” and waiting for them to walk into their crate.
  4. Once your Shiba is inside you should shut the door and praise them with a treat and attention. Repeating each of the above steps with the door shut for a longer amount of time with each rep.

Tip – Make sure your pup had a bathroom break before this.

Step Away Briefly

Once you are confident your Shiba will walk into their crate and not freak out when you shut the door behind them it’s time to move to the next phase in their crate training.

  1. Follow the same steps above, getting your Shiba in their crate and shut the door behind them.
  2. Take a single step back from their crate, wait two or three seconds, then let them out and reward them.
  3. Your goal is to gradually build your way up to leaving the room without your Shiba throwing a fit.

Tip – You can also feed your dog in their crate to help get them used to it.

Slowly Work Up To Longer Stays

When you’re happy with your Shiba’s progress it’s time to dramatically increase the amount of time they spend in they’re crate. For the best results, I recommend at least 30 to 60 minutes of exercise before a longer crate session to help calm them. Also, keep in mind your Shibas’ age, they can only “hold it” for so long.

  1. Say the “crate” command and wait for your Shiba to walk into their crate and close the door behind them.
  2. Start a timer for 1 minute and leave your Shiba in their crate until it goes off, but stay in the room with them.
  3. Once the timer goes off, let your Shiba out and reward them for their effort.
  4. Repeat the above steps and gradually work your way up to 30 minutes.
  5. I recommend randomly leaving the room throughout different sessions once your Shiba is comfortable staying in their crate for around 10 minutes.

Leave The House While Your Shiba Is Crated

Now that your Shiba is comfortable staying in their crate for around 30 minutes and has gotten used to you walking in and out of the room, it’s time to start leaving the house.

  1. Start slowly by crating your Shiba and walking outside for two to three minutes.
  2. Come back inside, let your Shiba out of their crate, and reward them for their effort.
  3. Gradually work your way up to 30 minutes, like in the previous section.

You don’t have to stop at 30-minute sessions, I recommend having 30 minutes as a goal when you’re just getting started. But you are more than welcome to adjust it to your personal needs.

Potential Problems While Crate Training

Some common problems Shiba Inu owners run into when it comes to crate training includes.

How To Manage Your Shibas Whining

Shibas are a very vocal and opinionated breed, they aren’t afraid of giving you a piece of their mind. Especially if they don’t want to be in their crate. Most rampant crate whining is caused by three things:

  1. Your Shiba Inu needs to go to the bathroom
  2. Your Shiba isn’t tired and wants to play
  3. Your Shiba has separation anxiety and wants to be with you

You can minimize your Shiba’s crate whining by taking them on a long walk before playing with them for a few minutes. The long walk gives them plenty of opportunities to go to the bathroom and both the walk and play session help tire your Shiba out. Making it easier for them to fall asleep.

Why Is My Dog Having Accidents In His Crate?

Dogs frequently have accidents in their crate when they either:

  • Weren’t taken for a walk before being crated, so they didn’t have an opportunity to go beforehand.
  • Your Shiba was crated for longer than they could reasonably be expected to “hold it”.

You can reduce the odds of your Shiba Inu having an accident in their crate by taking them on a long walk beforehand and sticking to a bathroom schedule.

Common Crate Training Mistakes

Don’t Over Crate Your Shiba

Shibas that regularly have accidents in their crate are usually being over-crated. Meaning they’re being left in their crate for longer than can be reasonably expected of them. Not only will this leave your Shiba stressed out but they’ll be stuck standing, sitting, or even laying in an accident until you come and check on them.

Don’t Force Your Pet Into Their Crate

A dog’s crate is meant to be a safe space for them, but that won’t happen if you drag, push, or force your Shiba into their crate. Use toys and treats to ease your Shiba into their crate before locking the door behind them. A quick walk or play session can help tire them out, making it easier to get them in their crate.

Summary Of Crate Training A Shiba Inu

Crate training is a fundamental skill every Shiba Inu needs to learn. Not only does it keep them safe while you are busy or away from home, but it reduces the risk of them chewing on stuff they aren’t supposed to or potentially running away. Just be sure you don’t use their crate as a form of punishment.

Dogs, Shiba Inus included, are emotional and sensitive. Negative or even traumatic crating experiences can leave them anxious, fearful, or even aggressive towards you and their crate. Take things slow, steady, and go at work at your Shiba’s pace.

Frequently Asked Questions

When Should You Start Crate Training A Shiba Inu?

You should start crate training your Shiba Inu as soon as you get them, preferably while they’re still a puppy. Shiba Inus are a medium-sized dog that, when fully grown, fit best in a 36-inch dog crate. Use a mix of toys and treats to ease your Shiba into their crate.

Should I Crate Train My Shiba Inu?

Shiba Inus are natural escape artists that get bored at a moment’s notice, leading many to get in trouble. This breed should be crate trained primarily for their own safety. Proper crate training will keep them safe, away from dangerous objects, and prevents them from running away.

How Long Does It Take To Crate Train A Dog?

Crate training on average takes most dogs between two to six months of consistent training. Each dog learns at their own pace, affecting how long it’ll take them to get comfortable with their crate. Don’t use their crate as a form of punishment, your dog will see their crate as a mini jail and avoid it at all costs.

How Long Can You Crate A Shiba Inu?

Adult Shiba Inus can be safely left alone for up to eight hours a day if they had a bathroom break beforehand. Shiba Inu puppies range between one to four hours a day depending on their age. Puppies have a harder time “holding it”, resulting in them needing more frequent bathroom breaks.

Is It Ok To Put Toys In My Shibas Crate?

Every dog should see their crate as their own safe place. Dog beds, blankets, toys, and even dog covers can be used to make their crate more comfortable and inviting. They’ll also make it easier to crate train your Shiba Inu.

Do Shibas Like Crates?

When crate trained properly every dog, including Shiba Inus, will like their crate. Dogs find smaller spaces comforting, and crates are a perfect answer for that. Just don’t use their crate as a form of punishment. You Shiba will quickly learn to detest and hate their crate, making it harder to train them.

Should You Cover Your Dogs Crate At Night?

Crate covers can help block out excess light, making your dog’s crate more comfortable at night. A large towel, spare blanket, or purpose-made dog crate cover will work. Just be sure you don’t cover every side of your pet’s crate. There needs to be enough room for your pet to still breathe and cool off on hot nights.

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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