How to Train a Shiba Inu to Not Bite

Hard
2-8 Weeks
Behavior

Introduction

Now you know Shiba Inus were originally bred for hunting. So you expected to see some hunting characteristics. So yes, there has been barking and chasing. However, what you didn’t anticipate was the biting. Your dog seems to be getting into a habit of biting when you’re playing and they get worked up or when they are hungry and frustrated. Now, this may have been amusing to begin with. But now it is becoming a consistent behavior you are beginning to worry about.

Training your Shiba Inu to not bite, therefore, is essential. Not only does it mean you and your family members are at less risk of painful biting, but it also means the dog won’t get into trouble out of the house. If they bite another, larger dog, then they may end up in serious pain, while you’re landed with a substantial vet bill. This type of training will also increase your control in other areas of their life.

Defining Tasks

Training your Shiba Inu to stop biting may not be easy, but it is definitely manageable. The first thing you’ll need to do is deter them from biting in the first place. You can then focus on obedience training and asserting your position as pack leader. You can also look at other more productive avenues to channel their energy into.

If your dog is just a puppy then they should be fairly receptive and the habit somewhat new. This means you could see results in just a week or two. But if your Shiba Inu has many years of biting under their collar, then the habit will be harder to break. It could be a couple of months before they stop biting completely. Get training right and you will be able to relax when you play around with your pooch in future.

Getting Started

Before you start work, you will need to gather a few items. A short, training leash will be required. You may also want to invest in a muzzle. Plenty of treats or small pieces of food will be needed. A water spray bottle and a deterrence collar will also be used for one of the methods below.

Set aside 15 minutes or so each day for training. The more often you train, the sooner you will see results.

Apart from that, you just need enthusiasm and patience, then work can begin!

The Redirection Method

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Step
1
Exercise
Shiba Inus need plenty of exercise. Their biting may be because they are full of energy. So take them for a decent walk each day. You can also try throwing a ball or stick as you go. They won’t bite anyone if they are worn out and asleep all evening.
Step
2
Tug of war
Spend a few minutes each day playing tug of war. This is a great way to channel your dog's aggression into a safe outlet. It will also help show them what is and isn’t acceptable to bite.
Step
3
Toy replacement
When the dog does bite, give them the toy you use when you play tug of war. This will further reinforce what and when they can bite. Just try and remain calm when they bite. Giving a reaction may only make the problem worse.
Step
4
Attention
Their biting may also be attention seeking behavior. So spend a few minutes each day just lying around playing with your Shiba Inu. Stroking them gently and spending some quality time together may discourage them from biting for your attention.
Step
5
Meet their needs
Make sure they get enough food at the same times each day. Also make sure they have a topped up water bowl and regular toilet visits. This will all help limit frustration and could help prevent biting.
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The Prevention Method

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Step
1
‘NO’
As soon as you catch the dog biting, go over and give a firm ‘NO’. While you don’t want to scare them, which could lead to aggression, make sure the dog understands you are not pleased. This should get them associating biting with negative consequences.
Step
2
Water spray bottle
The next step to take is a quick spray of water near their face whenever they bite. This short, sharp shock will make them think twice before biting next time.
Step
3
Deterrence collar
You can pick up these intelligent collars from a range of online and local stores. Simply hit a button whenever the dog bites and an unpleasant spray of citronella will be emitted.
Step
4
Leash
Keep the dog on a short leash when you are out in public. This will increase your control and allow you to pull them back if a pet approaches that you’re worried your Shiba Inu may try and bite.
Step
5
A muzzle
Until your Shiba Inu’s biting is under control, you may want to fit them in a muzzle. This will prevent any injury being caused to anyone. This is a particularly useful step to take when you are out in public.
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The Full Package Method

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Step
1
House meeting
Call a household meeting and sit everyone down. You need to make sure you all react in the same way. If anyone giggles or laughs when your Shiba Inu bites, then the dog will be confused and won’t stop biting. So make sure you all react in the same calm, stern manner.
Step
2
Food puzzles
Leave your dog food puzzles to get through during the day. This can be particularly effective if your Shiba Inu is a puppy. This is because their biting may be because they are teething. So having something to chew in the day may relieve some of that pain.
Step
3
Obedience classes
Take your pup to obedience classes. This will show them the types of behavior that are and are not acceptable. Dogs often learn best by watching and following others. It will also teach them useful obedience commands that will increase your control.
Step
4
Don’t use punishment
It is important you do not punish your Shiba Inu when they bite. This may only make them more aggressive and worsen the problem. Instead, remain calm and remove them from the area.
Step
5
Gentle play
Spend several a minutes a day playing gently with your Shiba Inu. Hand over treats whenever they play calmly. It is important they learn to associate being calm with tasty rewards.
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Success Stories and Training Questions

Training Questions and Answers

Question
Cleo
Shiba Inu
5 Months
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Question
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Cleo
Shiba Inu
5 Months

She bites a lot always our ankles and legs even when we are trying to play she bites our arms badly

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
461 Dog owners recommended

Hello Elizabeth, The biting is very common at this age. Check out the article that I have linked below and follow the "Leave It" method. Once Cleo has been taught "Leave It", then tell her to leave it when she bites and follow the method's instructions. If she obeys or does not bite to begin with when you know she is tempted to, then reward her with one of her own toys or a treat. If she disobeys your leave it command (once you have taught her the command well), then use the "Pressure" method also found in that article to gently discipline her for the biting. Doing the leave it method, then the pressure method in that order is important. She needs to understand what she is supposed to be doing (not biting - leaving it) for her to be able to learn how to calm back down. Using the pressure method alone before teaching leave it can sometimes get a dog more exciting if they don't understand what you want them to do first. Doing regular obedience training can also help her learn general self-control more. Here is the biting article: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-shih-tzu-puppy-to-not-bite Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Question
Lukas
Shiba Inu
3 Months
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Question
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Lukas
Shiba Inu
3 Months

What are good tips to potty training our Lukas.. We’ve tried the pads but, he doesn’t seem to potty on them. He ends up doing it on the side of the pad. Also, if you’d have any recommendations with the biting part? Do they normally sleep through out the night? Our Lukas seems to be all over the place . Help ! Thank you

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
461 Dog owners recommended

Hello Fely, If you plan to have him use the bathroom outside when he is older, I suggest going straight to crate training. That method takes work but also tends to work the quickest and result in the least amount of accidents. Check out the article that I have linked below and follow the "Crate Training" method. https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-german-shepherd-puppy-to-poop-outside If you want to train him to use the bathroom inside, I suggest using the "Exercise Pen" method from the article linked below. If you need to teach him to use the bathroom inside temporarily but plan to switch to potty training outside later, then use the "Exercise Pen" method from the article linked below when you are not home, the "Crate Training" method from the first article above when you are home, and instead of using pee pads use a real grass pad inside the exercise pen. Also, if you can, set up the exercise pen in an area of the house that he will not go into later in life (if you plan to switch him to pottying outside), set it up there so that you can block that area off later and make the transition to just going potty outside less confusing when that time comes. "Exercise Pen" method for potty training inside: This method mentions litter box training but you can use it for real grass pads or pee pads also. https://wagwalking.com/training/litter-box-train-a-chihuahua-puppy Real grass pad: https://www.amazon.com/Fresh-Patch-Disposable-Potty-Grass/dp/B005G7S6UI/ref=asc_df_B005G7S6UI/?tag=hyprod-20&linkCode=df0&hvadid=309763115430&hvpos=1o1&hvnetw=g&hvrand=3600677507321903399&hvpone=&hvptwo=&hvqmt=&hvdev=c&hvdvcmdl=&hvlocint=&hvlocphy=1015431&hvtargid=pla-568582223506&psc=1 For the biting check out the article that I have linked below. While he is young you can follow the "Bite Inhibition" method while also teaching him the "Leave It" command from the "Leave It" method. Once he gets closer to 4-5 months old and knows "Leave It" well, use the "Leave It" method. https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-shih-tzu-puppy-to-not-bite Some puppies do not sleep through the night until four months of age because of their small bladders; others are able to do it by three months. Occasional night wakings are normal up until five months - but should not be every night be then, usually only during growth spurts or unusual days. A lot of puppies will wake up at night for reasons other than going potty though. If he is asking to go potty sooner than four hours, his wake ups are probably for a different reason and need to be dealt with. To prevent extra night wakings: 1. when you do take him potty at night, keep the trips super boring (no treats or play), take him on a leash to keep him from getting distraction, and after he goes, take him straight back inside and put him into a crate. Night-time potty trips should be calm, quiet, and business-like. If he is not sleeping in a crate, start there. Most puppies won't sleep through the night without an accident, waking you up for play, or chewing things that they shouldn't - which can be dangerous when they get older and their jaws are stronger, unless they are in a crate at night. Crate training at night is EXTREMELY important for safety and learning good behaviors. It also lets them have more freedom when older because they haven't developed bad habits at night, so they can then sleep out of a crate for the rest of their lives once mature enough. Take away food and water two hours before bedtime. Take him outside to go potty right before bed (not thirty-minutes or an hour before), and watch him to make sure that he actually goes potty - puppies need supervision during all potty trips at this age while learning - Ideally on a leash to keep them focused. Try not to let him sleep for longer than 30 min- 1 hour during the evening before bedtime or he will wake up earlier in the morning. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Question
Bo
Shiba Inu
3 Years
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Question
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Bo
Shiba Inu
3 Years

Bo bites when he is told what to do or is startled when sleeping not just a nip full on bite with blood and pain

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
461 Dog owners recommended

Hello Liana, The biting when asleep can be reflexive and not true aggression if pup is waking up not knowing what's going on and feeling the need to defend himself, then biting before he realizes it's you. In that case, you would need professional help conditioning him to waking up to people being in his space and that being a pleasant things - through things like treat tosses while walking past him a couple feet away. This needs to be done with professional help for safety reason though. As mentioned above, the sleep waking biting can be due to a startle/fear reaction but because of pup's other aggression when told what to do, I suspect it's also intentional, and pup is aware that it's you waking him and his biting is his way of punishing you for waking him and expressing his dislike of that. If that's the case, then addressing the overall aggression issue here should also help with the sleep biting. If they are two separate issues, both need to be addressed as two separate things also. You really need to hire a professional trainer who specializes in aggression and uses balanced training to help you. Check out Jeff Gellman from SolidK9Training and Sean O'Shean from the Good Dog. If either trainer is within traveling distance to you I would look into hiring them. If not, they have tons of videos on YouTube. Learn what you can from them, then look for a trainer with that type of experience and expertise to help you in person with Bo. Bo is small, making the bites less dangerous, but the behavior is just as serious as a larger dog and the training to deal with the lack of respect and trust for you, and his belief that biting is an acceptable way to control people to get what he wants, is the same basic issue with any size dog. His size just makes it easier to deal with. He needs to work for everything he gets for a while. He needs to practice long Place commands, lots of impulse control obedience exercises, a structured heel, crate training, and a general attitude adjustment through the use of lots of boundaries, structure, and him working in life. Because of his bite history, you may need professional help to accomplish this safely. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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