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Leash pulling wasn’t the first concern that crossed my mind after getting my Shiba Inu, but it quickly ballooned into a big deal.
Shiba Inus will regularly pull on their leash due to their high prey drive. A loose leaf blowing in the wind or squirrel dashing across the street can catch your Shiba’s attention and trigger their prey drive. The best way to break their train of thought is to lock their leash and say “no”.
A Shiba’s prey drive is crazy strong, leading them to throw all logic and reason out the window in pursuit of whatever caught their attention. But prey isn’t the only reason a Shiba Inu could start pulling on their leash. And each reason requires its own solution.
Common Reasons Your Shiba Inu Is Pulling
Your Shiba Inu could be pulling on their leash for a number of reasons, the 5 most common of which I’ve detailed below:
Shiba’s Have A High Prey Drive
Shiba Inus are alert, full of energy, and have a very strong prey drive all of which can result in them tugging and pulling on their leash. A rustling bush, squirrel dashing across the street, leaves blowing in the wind, or even a smaller dog could set them off on a wild goose chase with you struggling to control a fuzzy bowling ball desperately trying to dash away.
Poor Social Skills – Overly Excited Or Fearful
Shiba Inus are a Basal dog breed, meaning their one of the most primitive dog breeds still around today. Those baser ancient instincts are still with them with poor fundamental social skills, aggressive tendencies, and they’re at times stubborn or fearful nature taking over.
You Reward Their Bad Behavior
Shibas are smart, they learn quickly and are more than happy to train you instead of having you train them. If you regularly allow your Shiba to decide where you guys are walking, when you are stopping, and when it’s time to go home you aren’t walking them, they’re walking you.
It’s perfectly acceptable to give your Shiba some time to sniff around and explore. But you can’t let them sniff every little thing, your Shiba will assume they’re the one in charge on your walks because, well, they are the one deciding the pace.
You Encourage Their Leash Pulling By Tugging Back
Stubborn and aggressive behavior isn’t resolved by more aggressive or stubborn behavior, it only leads to more. In a similar way, your Shiba Inu’s leash pulling won’t be resolved by you pulling back.
You Aren’t Using A Proper Harness
Shibas do best on a front-attaching harness, and that’s with good reason. Not only are collars less effective, making your pet more likely to pull, but they also do little to guide your pet back towards you when they decide to pull on their leash. That’s where harnesses, specifically no-pull harnesses, come in handy.
No-pull harnesses work by attaching your Shiba’s leash on the front of them, instead of the back of their neck. They give you more control over your pet and redirect any stubborn pulling back toward you. Rabbigoo offers a great harness over on Amazon.
6 Steps You Can Take To Remedy Leash Pulling
1) Stop And Stand Still If Your Shiba Continues To Pull
Whenever your Shiba starts pulling on their leash it’s best to turn and see what’s going on. Most of the time it’s because they want to sniff something, but that isn’t always the case. There will be times you’ll want to stop and wait for your Shiba Inu because they’re:
- Going to the bathroom
- Hot and need a break
- Are scared of something
- Aren’t sure what to do
- Got stuck or tangled in something
- Are hurt and need help
It’s best to take an extra moment to see what’s going on before you start tugging or even dragging your pet.
2) Bring Treats And Train Your Shiba While Walking
Every Shiba puppy needs at least 30 minutes of daily exercise, with adults needing an hour of exercise every day. And with walks being the most common type of exercise dogs get they’re full of opportunities to train your pet.
Whether it’s teaching them to stop or sit at intersections, wait for other people to walk by, or get them to leave something they aren’t supposed to get into. Walks are full of chances to train your Shiba new things, or even provide a quick refresher course for something you haven’t covered in a while. These small training treats from Pet Botanics on Amazon are great for this.
3) Stop Regularly For Sniff Breaks
Walks aren’t only meant to provide your dog the opportunity to stretch their legs or go to the bathroom. Walks are a great way for your Shiba Inu to meet new people, see new sights, and investigate new smells. All of which could lead them to pull on their leash in search of more.
Regular “sniffing” breaks are a great way to keep your Shiba happy, mentally stimulated, and hungry to learn about the world around them.
4) Be Mindful Of Social Interactions
Socializing is one of the most important steps in raising a Shiba Inu. Shibas are naturally weary of strangers and are commonly seen as anti-social towards both people and other pets. Surprise social interactions can easily lead to your pet suddenly pulling on their leash out of aggression, fear, or curiosity. It’s important to ask yourself the following questions when walking your Shiba:
- Is my Shiba good with other pets?
- How is my Shiba around other people?
The reason these questions are important is they give you the chance to think about what you would like to do ahead of time, instead of panicking in the moment when something happens.
Tip – Don’t be afraid to ask another walker or pet owner for a quick “social” session.
5) Don’t Start Walking Until Your Shiba Is Calm
There will be times it’s best to take a minute or two to stand or sit with your pet until they’re able to calm down. Social interactions, close calls with bikes or cars, or even the scorching summer heat can drive a Shiba wild. These breaks are an excellent opportunity to offer your pet any water you bought for them, especially if you’ve planned to take them on a long walk.
6) Be Patient – These Things Take Time
Every Shiba learns at their own pace, do your best not to rush or get frustrated with them if they are struggling with something. Be consistent, supportive, and fair when you are attempting to manage a Shiba’s leash pulling.
How Long Does It Take For A Dog To Stop Pulling?
An adult dog with months or even years of experience pulling on their leash could take a couple of months of consistent training to remedy. Most puppies on average take around one to two weeks to resolve leash pulling, that’s because they’ve had less time to fully develop leash pulling as a bad habit.
Summary Of How To Manage Your Shiba’s Leash Pulling
Your Shiba Inu could be pulling on their leash for a number of different reasons. The first step in stopping them is to understand the reason for their leash pulling. It’s a lot easier to stop your Shiba’s bad behavior once you know why they’re doing it.
Consistency is the second most important part of resolving your Shiba’s leash-pulling. It’s harder for your Shiba to develop good habits if you don’t consistently reward their good behavior while ignoring or redirecting their bad actions towards something more positive.
If you find your Shiba starts pulling when other dogs are around, you may need to work on their social skills. But if you realize your Shiba Inu likes to pull on their leash around the same spot on your walk you may want to give them a few moments to sniff around and investigate.
Frequently Asked Questions
Why Does My Dog Constantly Pull On The Leash?
Dogs are naturally curious and want to explore the world around them, resulting in consistent leash pulling. Leash pulling occurs when your pace is slower than your dog’s pace, leading them to tug and pull on their leash to get where they want to be.
What Should I Do If My Shiba Inu Refuses To Walk?
Most Shiba Inus will refuse to walk when they haven’t been able to investigate the space around them, if aren’t done handling all of their bathroom needs, or if they’re uncomfortably warm. It’s best to let them explore a little, take short breaks on longer walks, and bring water just in case.
How Do I Stop My Shiba From Running Away?
Shiba Inus run away due to their high levels of energy and curiosity. Proper play, exercise, and mental stimulation will tire them out, making them less likely to run away. It’s best not to let this breed off their leash when possible.