How to Train a Shiba Inu Off Leash

How to Train a Shiba Inu Off Leash
Medium difficulty iconMedium
Time icon2-12 Weeks
General training category iconGeneral

Introduction

Your Shiba Inu has been a welcome addition to the home. Sparky is energetic despite his relatively small size. In fact, holding onto him during walks can prove challenging. Understandably, he's eager to stick his nose into everything. However, that can cause problems. For example, it’s not easy holding onto your Shiba Inu when you have a stroller to push or shopping bags to carry. So training Sparky off leash could prove invaluable. It would mean you’d have more hands and less to worry about.

This training is particularly useful if you are older or have an injury as you don’t want to risk being pulled to the ground. This training will also instill discipline that can be used in a range of other situations, so you may find it easier to stamp out other bad habits. Not to mention, this type of close-contact training will only enhance the bond between you.

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Defining Tasks

Most owners are surprised to learn that training a Shiba Inu off leash isn’t as complicated as it looks. The trick is using obedience commands and incentives to keep them close to your side. Those instructions will soon get them into the habit of following your lead. You will, however, need to gradually transition from on-leash to off-leash.

If your Shiba Inu is still a puppy, then they should soak up all information. This means training could take just a couple of weeks. But if they’re older and used to having total freedom on walks, then it may take a number of months. Stick with training and before you know it your Shiba Inu will be the easiest member of the family to leave the house with. You’ll also have more time and hands to deal with noisy children, car keys, and more.

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Getting Started

Before you can start training, you need to check you have a few essentials. The main component will be food. You can use treats or the dog's favorite food broken into small pieces. You will also need a short training leash.

Set aside around 15 minutes each day for training. You can start practicing at home, but you will then need local fields and parks to practice in. Try and train at a time where you can both concentrate, free from distractions.

Once you have all that, just bring patience and an optimistic attitude, then work can begin!

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The Recall Method

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1

Start at home

Call your Shiba Inu’s name in a high-pitched voice regularly throughout the day. If you don’t want to use their name, you can use a command like ‘come’. Just make sure it’s given in a playful tone.

2

Reward

Once they do come to you, hand over a tasty treat or play with a toy as a reward. This will get them associating staying close to you with positive consequences.

3

Head outside

Now you need to start practicing out in the yard. However, secure the dog to a long leash to start with. Then call them over regularly as you were before. You may need to hold up a treat or toy to lure them over.

4

Up the stakes

Now start taking your dog out for walks but continue to frequently call them over to you. This is the most challenging step so don’t get frustrated if it takes a little while for them to catch on. Keep it upbeat and playful and they will want to come back to you.

5

Lose the leash

Once they are in the habit of staying close by, you can lose the leash when you take them out. Then continue to call them over until it’s no longer needed. At this point you can gradually cut out the rewards.

The Full Package Method

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Always be happy

It’s important you’re always happy to see your Shiba Inu. If they associate you with smiles and play, they will happily return to you and stay close by. If you’re grumpy or indifferent when you see them, then building off-leash reliability will prove challenging.

2

Don’t end play with a recall

You can’t end play time with a recall. This will get them associating returning to you with negative consequences. Instead wait for them to wander back to you of their own accord.

3

Hide and seek

Have your dog wait and then go and hide from them. Now call them over in a high-pitched voice and reward them with a toy or treat when they find you. Shiba Inus learn best when they are playing a game, and this is a fantastic way to build up recall trust.

4

Be watchful

You must watch your dog closely at all times. Even though they are off-leash, you still need to be in control. So call them back whenever they wander too far or you’re in a busy area.

5

Don’t punish them

If you want your Shiba Inu to stay close by and respond when you call, then don’t use punishment. If they are scared of you then they will be less eager to stick around. Instead use positive reinforcements.

The ‘Heel’ Method

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Head out

Secure your dog to a leash and head out for a walk as you normally would. However, keep the leash relatively short and be ready to react. You may want to fit the pup in a body harness as well, as this will reduce the strain on their neck and give you more control.

2

‘Heel’

As soon as they do walk ahead and pull, issue a ‘heel’ command in a firm voice. You can use any word or phrase you like for this instruction. In fact, Shiba Inus can learn hundreds of different commands.

3

Stop

As you give the instruction, stop and wait for the dog to return to your side. It may take a little while for them to catch on at the beginning, but they will soon wander back to you. At this point you can hand over a treat and then continue to walk.

4

Practice

Now comes the time-consuming part. You need to react like this whenever your Shiba Inu pulls. This can make walks long and painful to begin with, but your pup will quickly catch on. And the more frequently you take them out, the quicker they will learn.

5

Lose the leash

Soon enough your dog will be in the habit of always heeling. At this point, you can lose the leash. Just use the command whenever they wander too far and they will return. Before you know it you’ll have a well behaved Shiba Inu who remains closely by your side even off-leash.

Written by James Barra

Veterinary reviewed by:

Published: 04/25/2018, edited: 01/08/2021

Training Questions

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Training Questions and Answers

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illhy

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Shiba Inu

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5 Months

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Hello! I have yet to get the dog, but I am planning to pick up a 5-6 month old puppy in a few weeks. I want to train him to be off leash, but I heard Shiba Inu is especially a tough breed due to their intelligence and stubbornness. I would love to work with a seasoned trainer to achieve this.

March 24, 2022

illhy's Owner

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Caitlin Crittenden - Dog Trainer

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1133 Dog owners recommended

Hello KJ, If you are interested in hiring a trainer through wag I recommend downloading the Wag app, completing your profile and then you will be able to see who is in your area potentially to work with. Not all areas have access to Wag trainers, so regardless of whether you go through wag or find someone else local to you, I would look for a couple of things in a trainer. I would find someone who have experience specifically with Off-Leash obedience. Do they offer off-leash? Even when you are starting on Basic Obedience, if you want to end up off-leash, you want a trainer who regularly trains off-leash so they will teach your basic and intermediate with working up to off-leash in mind. Check out this trainer who offers off-leash and some of the ways they train. I also recommend checking out this article on Come. https://www.petful.com/behaviors/train-dog-to-come-when-called/ https://www.youtube.com/c/JamiePenrithDogTraining/search?query=come Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

March 25, 2022

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Lumi

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Shiba Inu

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5 Weeks

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We want to train him so that if he runs off, he will return when we call him.

July 31, 2020

Lumi's Owner

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Alisha Smith - Alisha S., Dog Trainer

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257 Dog owners recommended

Hello! It's great you are starting at such a young age. I am going to give you the steps to teach "recall". STAGE ONE – 'Catching' or Charging Up the 'Come' Cue Start in a distraction free environment so that your dog can focus only on you. Whenever your puppy or dog is coming to you on his own, wait until he is a couple of feet from you and then say his name and the word 'come.' When he gets to you, make a big fuss. With this exercise, your dog will learn that coming to you is a really good thing. After a while, you can lengthen the distance between you and start using the word when he is coming to you from a greater distance. Coming to you should always be rewarded, whatever the circumstance and no matter how long it took your dog to respond. Motivate your dog to come by being exciting, running away from him, waving a toy, or having delicious food for him when he gets to you. This will show him that coming back to you the best thing he can do. STAGE TWO – Solidifying the Cue Through Play Make sure you play the Back and Forth game with another person that your dog is comfortable with. Start the game in a quiet environment so it is easy for your dog to focus on you. Hold your dog back while the other person calls him excitedly. Try not to use his name or the cue word but talk excitedly to ‘gee’ him up. Do not release him until the person calls his name followed by the cue word “come.” When the cue word is given, release your dog and let him go running to the person calling. As soon as he reaches them they should praise and reward him with a game of tug or a food reward. When your dog has had his reward, have the other person hold him back as you call him and release as you say his name followed by the cue word. When he comes to you reward him with another game of tug or food reward. Repeat this game back and forth but only do a few repetitions so your dog does not get bored or too tired. Keeping it fresh means the game is always fun to play. STAGE THREE – Adding Vocal Cue With Hand Signal Inside Now your dog knows what the word “come” means you can use the cue word to call him to you while adding a hand signal to the word. Hand signals are always good to build with vocal cues so that even if your dog cannot hear you he will understand what the hand signal means. This is good if your dog is a distance away from you. Start in a quiet environment. Walk away from your dog and call his name followed by the cue word and a hand signal. Praise and reward him when he comes to you. Start increasing the distance you call him from and praise for his compliance. If he does not respond, go back to the previous distance and repeat. Only practice this cue for a few minutes so your dog does not get bored. The secret to success is to always keep it fun, exciting and fresh. When your dog recognizes the hand signal, try calling his name and using the hand signal by itself without the vocal cue. You will then be able to use a combination of vocal cue only, hand signal only and the two together. Now your dog knows what the cue word means you can start to call him from different rooms or from areas where he cannot see you. This will encourage him to respond even when you are out of sight. STAGE FOUR – Adding Vocal Cue With Hand Signal Outside Now your dog is consistently coming to you in a distraction free environment you can proof your recall cue by taking it outside. Practice the recall in your yard and then gradually build up to the point where you can use it in the park or similar environment. The ultimate test is to use the recall when your dog is engaged in a different activity. Wait for a lull in that activity and then call your dog to you. Praise his decision to comply.

July 31, 2020


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