I always love it when my Shiba Inu is excited, it shows me she’s happy and loves what’s going on. But there is a limit. When she gets too excited she starts acting out and causes a lot of problems not only for myself but for the people around me. Here is what I have learned while trying to get her to live a calmer life.
An excited Shiba Inu is a happy one, but over-excitement leads to a slew of large-scale problems if left unchecked. Knowing your individual dog’s signs of excitement, along with the root cause, tells you what to look for and how to respond accordingly to mitigate any long-term behavior issues.
Breaking down the “excitement” problem into three key parts has made managing my energized furball not only easier but less stressful, it’s as simple as notice, identify, and implement. Let me show you.
Notice Signs Of Excitement
While each dog is different and unique, they all follow similar patterns when going off the deep end, here are some of the most common signs of over-excitement in Shiba Inus:
- Barking / Screaming
- Chewing / Gnawing
- Eager biting
- Excessive whining
- Flat ears ( Airplane ears )
- Not listening to commands
- Reduced attention span
- Reduced bodily control ( Submissive peeing )
- Running around ( Zoomies )
- Wagging Tails
One, two, or several of these may be present during any crazy episode. Be sure to note which of the above they are actively doing, this will help you form a solution that is perfect for your individual Shiba Inu and situation. The next step is figuring out what caused this.
Identify The Root Cause
Knowing your pet is over-excited is half the battle, the next key thing is “What caused them” to go crazy. The better you understand the root cause, the better you will be able to work with them on minimizing or preventing future outbursts. Here are some of the most common triggers for excessive excitement:
- Conditioned behavior ( You have inadvertently trained them to respond to something in a specific way )
- Excess energy ( Need more playtime or exercise )
- Going on a walk
- Going outside
- Meeting people
- Meeting other animals
- Your behavior ( They are playing off of you and your emotions )
While not an exhaustive list, this is an excellent place to start if you are completely lost. We’ve all been blindsided by problems, and having a quick checklist to help start breaking things down can make all the difference.
Knowing the exact causes of your Shiba Inu’s excitement makes curving it that much more effective and easier. But some dogs get excited over many different and sometimes little things, be sure to note all you see, then rank them in order of priority to work on.
Tackling one thing at a time is important, while Shiba Inus are smart they are still animals and are stubborn. Trying to do everything at once will only lead to failure and not only deter you but confuse your pet.
Implement Excitement Solutions
Different things bother different people. Jumping and excessive barking may bother me while whining and running around annoys others.
Each dog, person, and situation is different. Meaning you will have to customize your solution and approach depending on what you are working on avoiding. But here are some issues I had and the steps I took to work on them.
Over-excitement when meeting people – Meeting a new person or animal can be a fun but overwhelming experience. Jumping, biting, whining, and consent running around for attention were some of the issues I had with Faith, my Shiba Inu.
Ask your guest to do the following:
- Minimal eye contact with your pet
- hands in pockets
- Turn with a “no” and ignore the dog
give them a few minutes to naturally calm down, once calm slowly give them attention to prevent a repeat of the original meeting
NOTE: Dogs learn and are motivated by attention and food. If your pet is doing something you don’t want or like, turn around and ignore them. Once they stop the unwanted behavior and do what you are looking for, give them a treat and attention.
A Lack of control when going outside – Either going for a walk or just being let into the backyard to play. This is a sign your Shiba Inu has a lack of impulse control, which is important for both people and dogs.
1) Gently push your pet back from the door and have them sit
2) Start to slowly open the door when they are making eye contact with you and are quiet
3) If they do any of the following:
- Break eye contact
- Bark or whine
- If they try to run out
shut the door and put your hand down by your side until they calm down. Then calmly go back to step 1 and repeat until successful
Excited leash pulling – Getting out of the house for some fresh air and sunshine can be amazing, all the better if you bring your best friend along. While a relaxing walk may be on your mind your Shiba Inu definitely has other plans, and pulling you is exactly what they’ll do.
Some common causes for leash pulling are meeting people, pets, chasing a squirrel, investigating a tree, and so much more.
Letting your dog pull you to a spot you want to sniff lets them reward and reinforce the behavior of pulling all by themself
1) When your Shiba Inu starts pulling, stop walking
2) Follow it up with the “sit” command and shorten their leash
3) Wait until your pet calms down before giving them their “release” command
4) If they start pulling again, restart at step 1
If somebody is walking by while you are waiting for your pet to calm down, make sure they are on the opposite side from the person. This helps put some distance between the stranger and your pet, making it harder for them to pull towards them.
Everybody makes mistakes, and a common mistake while raising a dog is accidentally reinforcing, and rewarding, bad behavior without realizing it. A puppy getting excited and going crazy while meeting somebody new is cute, but a fully grown dog jumping and barking at a stranger desperately trying to meet them unfortunately isn’t.
This is a perfect example of accidentally rewarding bad behavior that seems small and innocent at first but gets outta hand as they get older.
Trying to manage and work with your pet’s excitement can be incredibly frustrating, he is a list of mistakes I made along the way so you don’t have to:
- Waiting to train – The sooner you start the better, there are only positives to training your pet young
- Inconsistency – just like going to the gym, if you want any results you have to follow a schedule
- Missing the window – Dogs have a short memory, if you don’t stop bad behavior when it happens they won’t understand what you are disciplining them for
- Negative incentives – Dogs learn best from positive rewards, not harsh discipline. Give them a treat and praise for the good work they are doing. Hitting, yelling, and grabbing can cause doggy aggression.
- the “One-size-fits-all” approach – Every dog learns and responds differently to rewards, so find what works best for your Shiba Inu
- Not verifying they got it – Some dogs will understand “sit” on the first day, but that doesn’t mean they will do it every time you say it or will listen to you while outside. Make sure they know what to do everywhere
While the above are perfect for training your Shiba Inu new commands or tricks, they are essential when it comes to managing bad behavior. You are trying to help them learn a new behavior or unlearn a negative behavior.
It’s a process, it will take consistent effort and potentially a lot of time. Do things right the first time so you don’t have to start from scratch a few short weeks or months later.