How to Train a Shiba Inu to Not Bite

Hard
2-8 Weeks
Behavior

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.

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.

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!

The Redirection Method

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2 Votes
Step
1
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.
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. 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 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.
Recommend training method?

The Prevention Method

Effective
0 Votes
Step
1
‘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.
Step
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.
Step
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.
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 dog approaches that you’re worried your Shiba Inu may try and bite.
Step
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.
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The Full Package Method

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1 Vote
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. Make sure you all react in the same calm, firm 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 partially due to teething. Having something to chew during 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. The socialization is essential, too.
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.
Recommend training method?

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
614 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
614 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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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
614 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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Charlie
Shiba Inu
3 Months
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Question
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Charlie
Shiba Inu
3 Months

Hi, I’m a bit worried about my shiba puppy’s behaviour. I got him about a month ago and he and I are staying at my parents’ house for the time being. My parents have a 10 years old mini poodle, any my pup already grew to be about her size. He does a little biting of hands and other stuff he’s not supposed to, but he’s a puppy so I’m not that surprised. What worries me is that a few days ago he started to show some signs of possesive behaviour against my parents’ dog (e.g. he jumped at her when I was holding his bowl of food and she was standing near). Otherwise he wasn’t really agressive toward her, just nipping her to get her to play with him. But she is quite an old dog, she has always been very calm and rather cautious of other dogs, so she doesn’t really like other dogs and now she doesn’t want to play with my dog at all, when he attempts to initiate play she growls and snaps at him to get him off her. But today he bit her hard enough to tear skin on her arm and drew blood. She is really scared of him now, and I’m really afraid about how they are supposed to be together at the same place from now on. Is he agressive or did he just not know that he can’t play that roughly? How can I prevent him from biting her? Please I need advise. sincerely, Kate

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
614 Dog owners recommended

Hello Kate, I would enroll pup into a puppy kindergarten class as soon as possible so that pup can learn correct social manners from playing with other puppies, Look for a class that has time for moderated off-leash play with other puppies - where pups are interrupted to calm down whenever they get too rough, then the shyest puppy released first to see if that pup is ready to play again. If they are, then other puppies can then join in and start playing again. Puppies play with other puppies differently than with adult dogs - puppies give each other feed back about how hard they bite to teach each other to control the pressure of their bites. This is only something that can be learned while young so see if you can get into a puppy class with him asap. It sounds like he isn't learning proper social manners from anyone - dogs specifically. He is learning to bully your other dog because he doesn't have another doggie roll model to help him learn - this really needs to come in the form of a puppy class because puppies do the best job teaching each other to be gentle through play. It also sounds like he might have a pretty bold temperament and does need a lot of boundaries from you to stop any early possessive behavior quickly. He needs to learn from you to be respectful of the older dog - the older dog won't teach him and the bullying needs to be stopped - it probably started as play but it's slowly turning into him picking on the other dog. To teach pup some boundaries, work on teaching pup Place, Out, Leave It, and crate train him. Place: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=omg5DVPWIWo Crate manners: https://thegooddog.net/training-videos/free-how-to-training-videos/learn-to-train-the-good-dog-way-the-crate/ Leave It: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-shih-tzu-puppy-to-not-bite Out - which means leave the room: https://www.petful.com/behaviors/how-to-teach-a-dog-the-out-command/ When pup begins to go over to your older dog, tell pup Out. If he obeys, reward with praise and a pet or treat. If he disobeys your command, use the section on "dealing with pushy behavior" from the Out article to enforce the command a little more firmly. When pup is really wound up, crate pup with a dog food stuffed hollow chew toy - like a stuffed Kong. Puppies tend to throw little puppy tantrums or act super hyper when they get overtired - its probably a sign that pup needs a break to rest quietly for a while - and give your other dog a break. I suggest feeding both dogs in separate locked crates to avoid future food possessiveness from starting also. A locked crate is a quiet, safe space where another dog can't try to steal their food so it creates less stress around eating. If pup gets worse, don't wait to hire professional help via a private trainer who specializes in behavior issues and comes well recommended by their previous clients. Aggression and behavior issues are far more likely to have good training outcomes if you address them while a dog is still young. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Question
Remington
Shiba Inu
3 Years
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Question
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Remington
Shiba Inu
3 Years

Our dog started biting my son out of the blue (within the past 6 months). It typically occurs when he walks by him. Sometimes the dog will be hiding food or have a treat near by. He has bite me 1 time because of this. We didn’t have any problems until 6 months ago. At first I thought he was lonely. We had taken care of my brother’s dog for almost 10 months before my brother was able to take his dog back. At first I thought my dog was lonely because the biting started after the other dog left. We have gotten another dog. The biting stopped for about 1 month, but started again recently. Over the past summer we had him neutered. I know he was older when it happened, but we had wanted to try and breed him. Our dog would always mark his territory and we didn’t want continuing this behavior when we moved into our new house. It seems like once this happened his aggression slowly began to creep up on us. Yes, my dog gets lots of exercise. We are lucky that we can leave him outside, off a leash, for a period of time (2-3 times a day). Plus he plays with the other dog a lot. I have 2 other kids that he has bitten one time since this all started, but for some reason he seems to get easily provoked by my son. Before you ask, no my son isn’t mean to him. My son has never hit our dog or been aggressive to our dog in any shape or form. My kids aren’t mean to our dog. They are very loving. Yes the dog gets a lot of attention from me as well as the kids. Again we didn’t have this problem until recently. I am not sure what to do. I have had many dogs throughout my life and have never had this problem. Prior to this dog we had an old English bulldog. She had never bitten anyone. Any feedback would be helpful.

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
614 Dog owners recommended

Hello Michelle, You need to hire a professional trainer right away to help with this in person. Look for a trainer who specializes in aggression and will work with you and the dog and with your kids and the dog. I would put this dog into doggie bootcamp immediately - with the supervision of a qualified trainer. Pup should work for everything they get in life - no toys, treats, food, petting, or anything else unless he earns it by doing a command first. Pup needs to have a lot of structure - crate training, heeling behind you on a while, long Place command, ect...I would have him work to earn respect in a gentle way. Place: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=omg5DVPWIWo Crate manners: https://thegooddog.net/training-videos/free-how-to-training-videos/learn-to-train-the-good-dog-way-the-crate/ Thresholds: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_-w28C2g68M Heel article - The turns method: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-poodle-to-heel Heel Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OTiKVc4ZZWo Working and Consistency methods: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-doberman-to-listen-to-you Finally, pup needs to be desensitized to the kids being nearby, especially your son, but all of the kids. This needs to be done with the help of a qualified trainer to ensure its done right and safely. Check out the videos linked below for examples of this. Notice the back tie leash to ensure pup can't bite the kids, the timing of rewards - when pup is doing well not during aggressive displays, and the corrections via a remote training collar with the correct timing. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KIJoEJfTS-E https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BYs76puesAE https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kEYQ9Hx9K-Y Aggression video: https://youtu.be/mgmRRYK1Z6A Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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