How to Train a Shiba Inu to Not Bite

How to Train a Shiba Inu to Not Bite
Hard difficulty iconHard
Time icon2-8 Weeks
Behavior training category iconBehavior

Introduction

Shiba Inus were originally bred for hunting. So, you would expect to see some hunting characteristics in their personality. Do you have a Shiba Inu that has been barking and chasing critters? This is an innate trait. Does your dog seem to be getting into a habit of biting when you’re playing? Do they get worked up when they are hungry and frustrated? Although these actions may have been amusing to begin with, it can become a consistent behavior you will worry about.

Training your Shiba Inu to not bite, therefore, is essential. Not only will 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, 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 as well.

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Defining Tasks

Training your Shiba Inu to stop biting may not be easy, but it can be done. 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, 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 now and you will be able to relax when you play around with your pooch in the future.

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Getting Started

Before you start daily training sessions, you will need to gather a few items. A short, training leash will be required so that you can handle your Shiba Inu with control. To help your busy canine focus, plenty of irresistible treats or small pieces will be needed. A spray bottle full of water will also be used for one of the methods below.

Set aside a minimum of 15 minutes or so each day for training. If your pooch is having fun, keep the training going a bit longer. The more often you train, the sooner you will see results. The important thing is to end every session on a positive note. Don't keep your dog working if they are showing signs of fatigue and boredom. Stop when they are still having fun and move onto a game as a reward after the training.

Apart from that, you just need enthusiasm and patience. Then the work can begin!

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The Redirection Method

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Exercise

Shiba Inus need plenty of exercise. Their biting may be because they are full of energy. Take them for a long walk every day. You can also try throwing a ball or stick as you go. Your pup won’t bite anyone if they are busy with a job to do.

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.

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.

4

Attention

Their biting may also be attention-seeking behavior. 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.

5

Meet their needs

Make sure your Shiba Inu gets enough food, and at the same time each day. A schedule is a good training tool. Also, make sure they have a topped up water bowl and regular bathroom breaks. This will limit frustration and could help prevent biting.

The Prevention Method

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‘NO’

As soon as you catch your Shibu Inu biting, go over and give a firm ‘NO’. While you don’t want to scare them, which could lead to aggression, make sure your dog understands you are not pleased. This should get them associating biting with negative consequences.

2

Water spray bottle

The next step to take is a quick spray of water near their face whenever they bite. This short surprise will make them think twice before biting next time.

3

Treats

Have a pocket full of treats that you can use as a distraction. When you see that your pup is losing focus and looking to have an altercation, give them the opportunity to refocus with a yummy treat.

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 dog approaches that you’re worried your Shiba Inu may try and bite.

5

State your purpose

If you don't feel comfortable in a situation because you feel your Shiba Inu needs more training, feel free to state to others who approach, "my dog is in training," to explain why you'll be moving along.

The Full Package Method

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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. Make sure you all react in the same calm, firm manner.

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 partially due to teething. Having something to chew during the day may relieve some of that pain.

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. The socialization is essential, too.

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.

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.

By James Barra

Published: 04/11/2018, edited: 01/08/2021

Training Questions

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Training Questions and Answers

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Lobinha (little wolf)!

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Shiba Inu

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3 Months

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Question

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I just want to thank you for having this trainings available for everyone. Thank you so much. Best wishes Luciane Kalakun

Dec. 5, 2021

Lobinha (little wolf)!'s Owner

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Alisha Smith - Alisha S., Dog Trainer

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You're very welcome!

Dec. 5, 2021

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Tifa

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Shiba Inu

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11 Weeks

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Hello, I am having some little issues with my new Shiba, the main thing is biting. I’m aware that she is teething so trying to give her plenty of toys to chew on, but there’s two main things: 1. She will normally start biting when I believe she wants to play, then during play she will play fetch but a lot of the time she just wants to bite. 2. When stroking sometimes she will bite or show teeth, am I right to assume in these scenarios she just doesn’t want to be touched and to leave her alone? Thank you!

Sept. 19, 2021

Tifa's Owner

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Caitlin Crittenden - Dog Trainer

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Hello Jay, For the playing, pup is probably trying to play with you like she would with another puppy. When playing with another puppy, normally the other pup would yelp then stop playing if pup was too rough, having that happen often would teach your pup how to be more gentle so the play could continue. Check out the article linked below. Starting today, use the "Bite Inhibition" method, that method will mimic a puppy yelping and stopping the play. By the time pup's jaws develop at 5 months of age you want all biting to stop completely if it hasn't already, in addition to pup learning control of pressure right now, so begin teaching "Leave It" from the "Leave It" method right now too. Leave It will take some time to teach, so the Bite Inhibition method can be used until pup has gotten good at Leave It. As soon as pup is good as the Leave It game, start telling pup to "Leave It" when she attempts to bite or is tempted to bite. Reward pup if she makes a good choice. Playing games where pup keeps something in her mouth, or the biting is directed at an object like a toy to fetch, instead of something to tug, and using toys that are long enough you can hold one end while she holds the other end, can also help at this age. Once she knows Leave It, if she disobeys your leave it command, use the Out command from the second article linked below to make her leave the area as a consequence. The order or all of this is very important - the Bite Inhibition method can be used for the next couple of weeks while pup is learning leave it, but leave it will teach pup to stop the biting entirely. The Out method teaches pup that you mean what you say without being overly harsh - but because you have taught pup to leave it first, pup clearly understands that you are not just playing (which is what pup probably thinks most of the time right now), so it is more effective. https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-shih-tzu-puppy-to-not-bite Out - which means leave the area. Check out the section on Using Out to Deal with Pushy Behavior for how to calmly enforce that command once it's taught. https://www.petful.com/behaviors/how-to-teach-a-dog-the-out-command/ Another important part of this is puppy learning bite inhibition. Since this is best taught through playing with puppies, see if there is a puppy class in your area you can attend safely, that comes well recommended and has time for moderated off-leash puppy play. If you can't join a class, look for a free puppy play group, or recruit some friends with puppies to come over if you can and create your own group. You are looking for puppies under 6 months of age - since young puppies play differently than adult dogs. Right now, an outside class may be best in a fenced area, or letting friends' pups play in someone's fence outside. Moderate the puppies' play and whenever one pup seems overwhelmed or they are all getting too excited, interrupt their play, let everyone calm down, then let the most timid pup go first to see if they still want to play - if they do, then you can let the other puppies go too when they are waiting for permission. Finding a good puppy class - no class will be ideal but here's what to shoot for: https://www.petful.com/behaviors/puppy-classes-when-to-start/ When pup gets especially wound up, she probably needs a nap too. At this age puppies will sometimes get really hyper when they are overtired or haven't had any mental stimulation through something like training. When you spot that and think pup could be tired, place pup in their crate or an exercise pen with a food stuffed Kong for a bit to help her calm down and rest. Practicing regular obedience commands or having pup earn what they get by performing commands like Sit and Down before feeding, petting, tossing a toy, opening the door for a walk, ect... can also help stimulate pup mentally to increase calmness and wear them out. Commands that practice focus, self-control, and learning something a bit new or harder than before can all tire out puppies. For the biting when you touch her, I would work on helping her associate your touch with good things to desensitize her to touch. You don't want that low tolerance to turn into an adult who bites when touched, but you also don't want to make it worse by touching her a lot when she wants to be left alone. What you do want to do is make touches fun for her so she learns to like them. Use puppy’s daily meal kibble to do this. Gently touch an area of puppy's body while feeding a piece of food. Touch an ear and give a treat. Touch a paw and give a treat. Hold his collar and give a treat. Touch his tail gently and give a treat. Touch his belly, his other paws, his chest, shoulder, muzzle and every other area very gently and give a treat each time. Keep these times calm and fun for pup. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

Sept. 20, 2021


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