While I did a lot of research before picking up Faith the information on excess chewing was a bit everywhere. And it turns out she loved to chew on anything and everything when she turned 3 Months old.
Shiba Inus explore the world with their mouth so destructive chewing is a common problem. Shibas are a high energy breed that are happy and better behaved after getting around 1 hour of exercise each day. Most behavior problems for Shiba Inus are a result of boredom, or a lack of proper exercise.
Knowing the fact Shiba Inus are high energy, and typically chew to burn said energy, is nice but vague. I’ve shared the specifics I have been able to research, learn, and go through below.
Why Your Shiba Inu Is A Destructive Chewer
Some common reasons Shiba Inu’s will chew on carpet, furniture, molding, door frames, window sills, or more are:
- Clean their teeth
- Excess energy
- Puppy teething
Dogs and puppies chew for many reasons, all of which can be both expensive and frustrating if they are chewing on the wrong things. The best way to prevent any damage to your carpet, furniture, or other belongings is to understand the reason they’ve started chewing.
- Could their favorite toy be out of reach?
- Did they finish that rawhide you gave them?
- Are they in timeout and frustrated?
- Did you go to the store and come home to a giant mess?
- Does it look like they were chewing to get to something?
Take a step back and start asking yourself these questions. The sooner you understand the “why” the sooner you’ll be able to get them to stop. Hopefully before it becomes a bad habit.
How To Remedy Excess Chewing
Some steps you can take to help breakdown their behavior to find the right solution are:
Step 1) Did you catch them in the act? Catching your Shiba in the act of chewing on something they’re not suppose to drastically changes the first thing you should be doing:
- If yes, give them a firm “no” and remove them from the area. A minor punishment like a timeout while you are cleaning works best here.
- If no, nicely remove them from the area, without a punishment. Dog’s memories don’t work like ours, so your Shiba Inu won’t understand why they are in trouble unless you catch them within 5 seconds of the bad action.
Step 2) Ask yourself the questions above, once the mess is clean you want to look into preventing it from happening again in the future. The best way to prevent a situation is by understanding what caused it in the first place.
Step 3) Implement your first fix. Your “answer” here will be different based on what you believe caused the destructive chewing behavior. For example, if you believe your Shiba Inu was chewing due to:
- Anxiety – You may want to try crating them, or putting them in their play pen, before heading to the store or work.
- Boredom or Excess energy – Make sure they have access to their toys, food, and water. If they did you can try letting some music or a movie play on loop so they have something to listen to. If that didn’t help make sure you are working them out enough, your pup may need another or longer walks. I have some more specific information on how much exercise Shiba Inus need here.
- Frustration – Let’s say you put your Shiba in timeout and you came back to let them out and they destroyed something, they definitely did it out of frustration. Move their “timeout” to an enclosed place, like a metal play pen on a mat, so they don’t have access to anything you don’t actively want them to have.
- Puppy teething – This one will happen to every Shiba and Shiba Inu owner, there is no avoiding this. The best thing you can do is make sure they have loads of things to chew on, both soft and hard, including in their crate. This will be a process for them and they are going from puppy to an adult, time and patience are key.
Step 4) Give it a few days then grade your guy’s results. If things are trending in a positive direction, keep it up, if not, take a step back and see if you missed the real reason your Shiba started chewing on things.
Step 5) Repeat until you can trust them. Consistency, fairness, patience, and time are key. Just like learning something in school, or teaching your pet a new command, this will be a process. Be calm, cool, and fair at all times. Also make sure you are consistent when it comes to your rewards, “punishments”, and mistakes.
Why Your Shiba Inu Isn’t Interested In Their Toys
Each pet is different, just like how each toy is different. Some toys squeak, others are fuzzy, some are hard, and many are soft. Each Shiba Inu has their own personal preferences just like you and I.
It’s possible the toys you’ve gotten for your pet aren’t engaging enough:
- Maybe the stuffed animal that just lays around isn’t fun or exciting until you throw it.
- Some Shiba’s love noise, making squeaky toys an instant favorite.
- Many pets are motivated by food. So filling that Kong with peanut butter and freezing it may keep them busy for hours instead of just a few minutes.
You need to take some time to get to know your unique pet. This not only helps the two of you build a bond but it helps you learn how to read their body language so you can better understand what they are communicating to you. It’ll help you understand when they are bored, stress, frustrated, or when they really need to go outside.
When Chewing Turns Into Biting
It’s possible that somewhere down the line a Shiba may turn their mouthy attention from your furniture to you.
Most of the time this mouthy behavior is meant to be fun to get you to play with them. It’s possible they’ve lost interest in their toys, that don’t normally move on their own, and have instead picked you as their new focus, who definitely can move on their own.
If this becomes a regular occurrence your Shiba is building a biting habit, which will be harder to break if left alone. You can learn more about identifying and stopping excessive Shiba Inu biting at any age here.
Aggression isn’t something you need to immediately worry about if they have transitioned to you from your belongings. Shiba Inus display a number of warning signs when they are starting to get stress, irritated, or angry such as:
- Ears are pulled back
- Lips curling
- Showing teeth
- Stiff body language
If you notice multiple of the signs above while playing with your dog it’s possible they are getting frustrated or too worked up. A short break from playing to let them calm down usually does the trick.
But if you notice it’s consistent and they are trying to lung at you while getting loud it can be the start of aggressive behavior. The best thing you can do in this case is catch them in the act, identity the root cause of their aggression, and take steps to redirect their attention and behavior. All of which I go into more detail in another article: How To Prevent Shiba Inu Aggression (With Tips).