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The Shiba Inu is a small, agile, intelligent hunting dog, originating in Japan. They have a reputation for being stubborn to train. While it is true that they can be of an independent nature, making them appear stubborn, this natural independence coincides with natural fastidiousness that often accompanies hunting breeds. Tapping into this natural instinct while potty training your Shiba Inu may make potty training your dog more successful and less stressful.
Consistency and a positive approach are key to training a Shiba Inu to do anything--including go potty! The trick will be getting your Shiba Inu to understand what bathroom habits you want him to pick up and to understand where you want him to relieve himself, and to reinforce desirable behaviors and location.
Shiba Inu puppies can begin house training or potty training as soon as possible, as early as 7 weeks of age, when they beginning to get control of their bladder. Shiba Inus can take up to 5 months of age to have full control of their bladder and other body functions, so be patient and do not expect more than your dog can deliver during potty training. Make sure to make bathroom opportunities frequent. Remember, Shiba Inus are small dogs that have correspondingly small bladders--be realistic about how often your dog will need the opportunity to relieve himself during training. Provide your dog ample opportunity to go potty in the correct area, avoid accidents with vigilance. Punishment for mistakes in potty behavior is generally not effective. Using positive reinforcement to put going potty on command, or associating going potty with a particular location like outside or in a designated corner of your yard, is the most effective way to train a Shiba Inu puppy or older dog to go potty.
Potty training your Shiba Inu means positive reinforcement, lots of treats, and lots of praise. Avoid negative reinforcement or punishment for potty training as it is usually counterproductive and confusing for a Shiba Inu. Shiba Inus are sensitive dogs and punishment is ineffective, often resulting in what appears to be stubborn behavior. Make sure you have a clearly established potty area and are consistent with your Shiba Inu. Establish a clear potty area, either outside or with an indoor litter box or puppy pads. Be prepared to supervise your dog and watch for signs that he needs to have a potty break, such as sniffing around. Schedule meals for your dog so you can predict when he will need to eliminate. Have a deodorizer available so that when accidents happen you can counteract odors and prevent future occurrences of soiling the same area.
The Schedule and Monitor Method
Feed and water your dog at regular intervals throughout the day so you can predict when he will need to go potty, usually an hour, to two hours after being fed. Younger puppies may need to go every hour.
Follow with potty breaks
Take your Shiba Inu for frequent bathroom breaks, especially after eating and drinking.
Do not leave for long periods
If you are not available to take your dog for required potty breaks, hire a dog sitter. A stay at home neighbor may be able to assist if you need to be away from the house or at work for several hours. A young dog can not be expected to go 8 hours without the opportunity for a potty break.
If your Shiba Inu has an accident, clean the area thoroughly with an enzymatic cleaner so that odor does not remain, as this will encourage your dog to use that area again as a bathroom.
Gradually increase the length of time you expect your dog to be able to “hold it” as he matures. Very young puppies need hourly breaks, puppies need breaks every 3 or 4 hours. A mature dog may be able to go up to 8 hours without a break. Remember that whenever you feed or water your dog he will need a break shortly afterwards to relieve himself, so maintain a workable schedule when you are available to let your dog out at appropriate times.
The Prevent Accidents Method
Supervise your Shiba Inu closely at all times, keep him in a room with you.
If you can not supervise your dog, put him in a crate with a favorite blanket and toys. Shiba Inus like to “den up" so your dog will usually adapt to this easily. Your dog will not soil his bed so a crate prevents him from going potty while he is contained.
Catch potty need
When your Shiba Inu shows signs of needing to go potty by circling, sniffing around, or squatting, say “no” firmly. Do not startle or punish your pup.
Take to potty area
Take your Shiba Inu to his potty area, either outside, to a litter box, or puppy pads.
Reinforce correct potty habits
Say, “go potty” and wait for your dog to go to the bathroom. Keep him in the contained area until he goes. When your dog goes in his potty area, give him treats and praise.
The Crate Training Method
Prepare a crate for your Shiba Inu with blankets and toys. Shiba Inus like to “den” and adapt well to crates. Keep your Shiba Inu in the crate.
Take for potty breaks
Every hour, take your Shiba Inu outside to his potty area. If he does not relieve himself, immediately take him back inside and put him in his crate.
If he urinates or has a bowel movement in his potty area, reward him with treats.
Play with your Shiba Inu for several minutes either outside or back in the house before returning him to his crate after a successful potty break.
Increase time between breaks
Increase the length of time your Shiba Inu remains in his crate between bathroom breaks. Increase the length of time he can remain out of his crate after successful potty breaks until your dog has established where he can go potty and is controlling his body functions for an adequate length of time.
By Laurie Haggart
Published: 01/25/2018, edited: 01/08/2021