Why Shiba Inus Scream And How To Prevent It (For Beginners)

Every breed has its own quirks, and the Shiba Inu has many. These ancient hunting dogs added the odd habit of screaming to their communication toolbelt.

Shiba Inus commonly scream during vet visits, nail trims, and baths because they’re a more primitive dog breed that doesn’t like being handled. Other possible reasons a Shiba may start screaming include fear, anxiety, pain, discomfort, or if they find themselves surrounded by strangers.

If you find yourself struggling with this odd-ball of a quirk, I’ve listed out possible reasons your Shiba Inu may be screaming for along with potential solutions.

screaming shiba inu

What Is A Shiba Scream

Shiba Inus use screaming as a form of communication, typically to relay discomfort. The “Shiba scream” is a loud, clear, and high-pitch scream that most Shibas turn to when they are stressed, afraid, angry, or displeased.

If Shiba Inus Scream, Do They Still Bark?

Shiba Inus are famous for their trademark scream but they can also bark like every other dog. Shibas may bark, scream, whine, or make other weird noises depending on the situation. Fun fact – Shiba Inus have the same vocal cords as other dogs, they just use them differently.

Are There Other Dog Breeds That Scream?

Other talkative breeds like Siberian Husky or Beale will yelp, howl, or even make a screaming sound similar to Shiba Inus, but they aren’t the same. While they aren’t the most talkative breed, Shiba Inus are definitely one of the most dramatic. Leading them to become famous for screaming.

6 Common Reasons Shiba Inus Scream

While every Shiba Inu and situation is unique, there are a few common reasons many Shibas will scream in. I’ve shared the most common reasons your Shiba Inu may be screaming below, along with what your next step should be if you believe that’s your exact issue.

1) Anxiety

Anxiety is a big deal, for people and Shibas alike, and shouldn’t be taken lightly. Some Shiba Inus will turn to scream when they’re feeling anxious, like if they’re left alone for too long. But that isn’t always the case, some will scream if they’re unfamiliar with a new person, place, pet, or situation. Like going for a car ride when they haven’t been in a car recently. Take some extra time and care to identify your Shiba’s problem.

2) Attention Seeking Behavior

While Shiba Inus aren’t the most vocal dogs, that doesn’t mean they won’t communicate with you when they want something. Shibas are smart, learn quickly, and have a wide vocabulary. From barks to whines and yes, even screams.

If you routinely respond to your Shiba when they paw a door, whine at you for pets, or look at them when they scream, they’ll quickly learn what’s effective at getting your attention. But you have to be careful with attention-seeking behavior. You don’t want your Shiba Inu to continue their bad behavior, screaming at you, but you also can’t ignore them.

I’ve found taking my Shiba on longer walks, playing with her randomly throughout the day, and giving her attention throughout the day, with or without her input, greatly minimized her attention-seeking behavior.

3) Fear

Fear can drive people, and Shibas, to do some pretty crazy things. An unfamiliar sight, sound, person, place, pet, car, motorcycle, or shopping cart could freak your Shiba Inu out, leading them to scream to voice their fear or discomfort. Your best course of action is to slow down, stop, and figure out what’s scaring your Shiba.

4) Happy Or Over Excitement

Some Shiba Inus get a little too happy and excited to see someone they haven’t seen in weeks or months. Screaming, zoomies, and jumping are common signs your Shiba Inu is over-excited and may need a moment to calm down. Excitement isn’t inherently bad or unhealthy on its own, but if left unchecked it could lead a Shiba to develop bad habits. Like screaming at or jumping on people.

5) Pain Or Discomfort

Pain and discomfort are another possible reason your Shiba Inu may be screaming. Discomfort could be as simple as they’re in an unfamiliar place, while pain may or may not be obvious. If you believe your Shiba Inu is in pain you should check up on them and contact your vet for additional help.

6) Poor Social Skills

Social situations can be stressful, especially if your Shiba Inu isn’t used to being around other people and pets. This breed as a whole heavily relies on proper socializing to minimize bad behaviors, like aggression. And the way to improve your Shibas social skills is by starting small, being consistent, and getting to it today.

If your Shiba Inu is old enough to train, they’re old enough to start socializing with other dogs and people. I recommend starting small, with less frequent and short sessions to gradually ease your Shiba into meeting others. A quick and friendly “hello” with a neighbor or stranger walking a calm dog is a great place to start. Gradually working your way up to one-on-one play days and trips to a nearby dog park.

How Do I Stop My Shiba’s Screaming?

With things like fear, anxiety, or even poor social skills leading a Shiba to scream, figuring out how to stop it can be a real handful. If you are struggling to stop your Shiba’s screaming I recommend you look into the following.

Proper Socialization Goes A Long Way

With discomfort and displeasure being common reasons Shiba Inus turn to scream, I’ve found proper socializing helps. Shiba Inus are a basal breed, meaning they’re more primitive than modern breeds like golden retrievers, so they respond to things differently. Shibas commonly aren’t fond of being handled or being in social situations, but that can change with a bit of work.

Social situations are stressful for this breed, which is why most Shibas turn to aggression or screaming when meeting others. Proper socializing introduces Shiba Inus to a variety of new stresses and situations. All of which makes them less likely to scream and freak out next time. It’s one of the reasons proper socializing is stressed so heavily for this breed.

Familiarize Your Shiba With Different Types Of Noises

New noises can leave you worried or confused and the same can happen to your Shiba. And considering Shiba Inus are highly alert, they’re more likely to hear new things and start stressing out before you. Just like socializing, you’ll want to desensitize your Shiba to as many new sights and sounds when possible.

Every day sounds like cars driving by or the wind blowing is easy enough for Shibas to get used to. Less common sounds like a creaking noise upstairs or someone knocking on the door may snap your Shiba into action. The flip side of familiarizing your Shiba with different types of noises is how you yourself respond to them.

For example: I don’t have a doorbell for my apartment, so people commonly knock on either my door or my neighbor’s door. Both of which set my Shiba off. I’ve found saying something like “thank you” to acknowledge her barking and screaming then going and checking the door calms her down instantly. Most of the time it’s a false alarm, like someone at my neighbor’s door or even downstairs, so I turn around and say “nobody’s there”. Then she calmly walks off to lie on the couch or bed and goes back to her nap.

Get Your Shiba Comfortable Being Handled And Groomed

Shiba Inus don’t like being handled, commonly things like paw holding or even nail trims can leave them stressed and anxious. Resulting in barking or screaming. The only real way to handle this type of screaming is to get them used to it.

I had a lot of luck getting my Shiba Inu used to people touching her ears or tail because I always played with them when she was a puppy. So she’s very comfortable being touched and pet, including being picked up. One thing I didn’t think about as much were her paws, which she hates being touched or held, especially for nail trims.

Giving her a treat followed by laying my hand on one of her paws has helped with time. I’ve also had luck getting her use to nail trims by sticking to a regular nail trimming schedule, which is once a month. While slow at first, she did get better, screaming and freaking out less than she did before. It’s not perfect and, unfortunately, it’ll never be, but it is positive progress.

What Should I Do If My Shiba Inu Won’t Stop Screaming?

The best thing you can do is quickly identify why your Shiba Inu is screaming, and respond accordingly. Generally speaking, this involves removing any new or additional stressors and giving them time to calm down. Things like pets, talking calmly, giving them a toy to chew on, or a small treat can also help.

Summary Of How To Manage Your Shiba’s Screaming

There are countless reasons your Shiba Inu could be screaming for, but most of them fall into one of a few categories. Anxiety, attention-seeking behavior, fear, pain, discomfort, or even poor social skills. Each potential reason, and overall category, require its own steps and solution to stop the screaming behavior. Take some time to figure out why exactly your Shiba Inu is screaming, it’ll save you and your pet a lot of unwanted stress.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do All Shibas Scream?

Shiba Inus aren’t known for being particularly vocal dogs, but that can change in an instant. All Shiba Inus are capable of screaming, commonly called the “Shiba scream”. While typically quiet dogs, Shibas will turn to bark and scream when they’re stressed, excited, or scared.

Why Does My Shiba Inu Scream?

Most Shiba Inus will turn to scream as a last resort to make it clear they don’t like something. Fear, anxiety, anger, or general displeasure are common reasons your Shiba may be screaming. Shibas aren’t fond of being handled, leading them to scream during nail trims, especially from strangers.

What Breed Of Dog Screams?

The breed most distinguished for screaming is the Shiba Inu. Their trademark “Shiba scream” is a loud and high-pitch scream that makes their lack of comfort or satisfaction clear as day. Most Shiba Inus are relatively quiet dogs, only opting to scream or bark when sufficiently provoked.

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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