10 Things To Know Before Getting a Puppy With Your Shiba Inu
Shiba Inu owners know a few things for certain: their dogs are not descended from foxes, their pups are as adorable as stuffed animals, and the companion in question has a unique personality that takes finesse to handle.
As pets, Shiba Inus remain stately and confident. One of Japan’s national dog breeds, the Shiba Inu employs its alert gaze, emotional intelligence, and stubborn personality to situate itself in the hearts of its owners.
When looking to add another dog to a family with a Shiba Inu as a primary dog, owners should understand a few things. Keep reading to discover the 10 considerations before getting a puppy alongside your Shiba Inu.
The Shiba Inu Personality
Known as “cat-like dogs” to many, the Shiba Inu breed has an interesting, confident, and stubborn personality that makes training a challenge. According to the American Kennel Club, “The one thing every Shiba owner must know is that a Shiba can never, ever be considered reliable off lead unless in a confined area. No amount of obedience training will ever change that.”
Shibas are independent by nature and hard-headed to a fault. They will choose to do what they want when they want. Despite the aloof independence of a Shiba Inu, it can be very affectionate with its family.
Like some other breeds, the Shiba Inu is prone to resource guarding. It won’t share very well — including its food, toys, and owners. If the Shiba Inu isn’t socialized from a young age, they may chase smaller animals around (thinking they’re prey) or generally dislike being around other dogs. Each individual dog’s personality differs based on their ancestry, lifestyle, socialization, and upbringing.
The best word to describe the Shiba Inu breed’s temperament is perhaps “free-willed.” While stubborn and independent, they’re not altogether obstinate. And they really do love and bond with their families easily.
Considerations When Getting a New Puppy
If you’re getting a second (or third) dog, your experience won’t be the same as the first time around. With your Shiba Inu, you needed to work on obedience and leash training right away. However, you probably didn’t struggle with potty training all that much.
With your new puppy — especially if it isn’t a Shiba Inu — its wants and needs will be different. Unless it’s a similarly clean breed to a Shiba, your puppy will need more potty training work. They will need to eat different food, have different toys, and learn the “rules of the road” all over again. This may frustrate some owners, as your Shiba Inu already knows the routines and rules of the home while the new puppy seems to be “messing up.”
Finally, veterinarians and behaviorists differ in their thoughts about the sex of a new puppy. It’s best to ask your kennel manager, vet, and boarding associate how your Shiba Inu interacts with other dogs it socializes with to ascertain if they’ll enjoy being around a male or female puppy more.
Here are some additional considerations to reflect upon before adopting a new puppy.
Do you have enough time to train a new puppy?
As you’ll remember, puppies take work. They’re babies and need guidance on everything — not to mention clean-ups of accidents, spills, and destruction. This second puppy requires additional time for adjustment to the new dog, as well. You need to keep the dogs separate, especially if you’re out of the room or house, to ensure everyone stays safe.
Adopting a second (or third, or fourth) dog adds an extra cost to everything. This means you’ll pay twice as much for:
- Vaccines and medicine.
- Clothes and accessories.
- Vet visits.
Sure, you can use some of the “old” puppy toys and extra leashes, but you’ll have to buy the new dog their own essentials. It may sound like common sense but remember that new puppies cost $1,000 on average in their first year. Getting a second dog is a money commitment as well as a time commitment.
Speaking of commitment, a new puppy requires more than food and time. They need your attention and love to grow up into well-adjusted, sociable pets that play well with others (dog or human).
Why are you getting this second dog? Is it only because you think your first pup is lonely, or do you feel a hole in your heart and home that you want to fill with a dog? Maybe they’re a rescue that needs an immediate home. Whatever your reason is for adding a puppy, understand the love commitment as well as time and money.
The New Puppy and Your Shiba: 10 Things To Know
You’re committed to your new puppy and need to figure out how to introduce them to your Shiba Inu. Here are 10 things to know about the first meeting and their eventual life together.
1. An Adjustment Period Is Normal
The new puppy was your idea, not your Shiba Inus. They didn’t pick their new housemate, so it’s natural for them to become inquisitive or standoffish for the first few weeks. Bringing a new puppy into the house disrupts the routine and invites a plethora of new smells, situations, and experiences. Give your Shiba Inu time to adjust. Depending on how pliable their nature is, this might take a week or two to three months.
As your Shiba Inu gets used to the new addition, your puppy is learning more about the world. Whether they came from a breeder or a rescue, this change in environment is jarring for them, too. Keeping your puppy quarantined from your Shiba Inu in a separate room can allow both dogs to acclimate to the change without being in each others’ faces. It also avoids infecting the other dog with parasites or illnesses.
2. Jealousy Is Normal, Too
As mentioned above, Shiba Inus tend to become possessive of their things — whether it’s resources or their humans. Once you introduce your puppy to your Shiba Inu and interact with both dogs in the same space, you may notice your Shiba Inu demonstrating jealous tendencies.
The good news is that recent canine behavior studies have found that while dogs feel a broad range of emotions including jealousy, they do not have the nuanced social competition that humans feel in these situations. They’re sensitive to fairness but not equity. So, showing your Shiba Inu the attention and love they deserve should quell the jealousy they display.
If your Shiba Inu’s jealousy turns to aggression toward the puppy, it’s time to intervene, and fast. Consult your veterinarian with the specific situation to understand how best to curb the behavior.
3. Resource Guarding Shouldn’t Be Punished
While resource guarding varies from dog to dog, Shiba Inus tend to have at least a bit of a tendency to resource guard. If they’ve been the first and only dog in the house for a year or two, it’s out of the ordinary for them to see a puppy approach and try to eat from their bowl.
When your Shiba Inu resource guards, understand their fervor and remove the puppy from the situation. This is a learning opportunity for all three of you — the puppy needs to learn what is theirs and what is off limits, your Shiba needs to learn that you’re there to help and protect them, and you need to learn the lines to draw for your dogs’ behavior. Puppies may try to antagonize older dogs while they’re eating or with their favorite toys as a way to instigate play, so owners should keep a special eye on their dogs during mealtimes and playtimes.
If your Shiba resource guards, they shouldn’t be punished for the behavior. They’re already feeling insecure about their food, treat, or toy, so further admonishment may lead to fear or aggression. Instead, understand why they feel this way and do your best to provide for their needs while giving them space from the new young pup.
4. Training Your New Puppy Isn’t Your Shiba’s Responsibility
If one of the reasons you got a second dog was to curb your Shiba Inu’s boredom, reverse the thought and step up to take some accountability instead. Even if your Shiba Inu is bored, the new puppy doesn’t become their responsibility when it enters the house. As its owner, you’re the one who needs to teach the house rules, potty training, how to walk on a leash, how to sit and stay, and more.
While major training responsibility resides with you, your Shiba Inu may take up a few jobs to help the puppy on their way to adulthood. One such way is teaching bite inhibition. Puppies begin to learn bite inhibition with their mothers and in their litters. As they grow up, they’ll learn what’s too hard and how to take things with their mouth. Your Shiba Inu may also teach basic manners and etiquette, like how to instigate or stop play and when to back off in a social situation.
5. Pups Shouldn’t Be Left Alone Together
Never leave your Shiba Inu unattended with your puppy. It only takes a moment for a usually happy pair of pups to turn ugly. Unintended injuries, especially if you’re out of the house, can have fatal consequences.
Until the pups are fully grown — and even after — your Shiba Inu should have its own space away from the puppy. Depending on your lifestyle, you may allow them free reign of the house if they’re potty trained and well-behaved. If you do, make sure the puppy is secure in a pen or crate.
6. Your Dogs Are Unique Individuals
As your puppy acclimates, they may fall in line with your Shiba Inu and do the things they do — similar to how younger siblings imitate their older brother or sister. This is cute behavior and may convince you your dogs are two peas in a pod, but you should always remember these dogs are individuals.
Spend one-on-one time with your pups, buy them their own treats and toys, and exercise or play with them the way they find the most fulfillment. It’s easy to fall into the trap of doing everything together, but your dogs have individual personalities with unique wants and needs — do your best to respect them.
7. Training Is a Must
With more than one dog in the house, you must invest time in training them. Your puppy will need potty training, leash training, house training, obedience training, and knowledge of various commands outside of sit, stay, and come.
Your Shiba Inu, on the other hand, will need to learn the new puppy’s name, how to interact and share affection, and when playtime turns aggressive. They may help you enforce the house rules for the new puppy, or they may test you to see what they can get away with while your focus is split.
8. Keep Rules Consistent
With more training comes consistency. If your Shiba Inu tests the waters of what it can get away with as you attend to the new dog, keep the rules the same as they’ve always been. Similarly, don’t lose faith or become lackadaisical with your new puppy if they don’t understand the house rules immediately. It’s important to set them up for success and avoid punishment, but that doesn’t mean they can do what they want.
Consistency and patience are the two vital keys to creating well-behaved, well-socialized dogs that respect each other and you, the pack leader.
9. Balance Is Key
Maintaining balance in affection, training, time spent, and every other aspect of the relationship will help owners build strong relationships with their Shiba Inu and new puppy.
Separation helps to maintain balance in the home. This includes quarantining the new puppy to let it and your Shiba Inu smell each other through the door for the first few days, separate water and feeding bowls, separate toys, and one-on-one exercise and training time.
Striving for balance in every aspect of your dogs’ lives reinforces your commitment to their well-being. It ensures their needs are met outside of “the pack” and they’re treated as an individual rather than half of a whole.
10. Prioritize Politeness
Your Shiba Inu doesn’t have to become best friends with your puppy right away. They never need to become best friends at all. Your pups should, however, develop a comfortable respect for one another after six or eight months of living together.
The dominance theory remains disproven and out of date — but owners should know that social situations are dynamic and can change at any given time by the situation and people (or dogs) present. In every case, owners should discourage and reduce the opportunities for the older or more confident dog to bully. Shiba Inus have strong personalities and tend to be resource guards. Because of these personality traits, they may feel they can and should bully. This behavior can damage the confidence of a puppy and develop fearful tendencies in them. Owners should work to manage their home as an inclusive and fun-loving space instead of a realm of “dominance.”
Two Times the Love
For all the things to remember, time to train, and money to spend, at the end of the day you get to come home to two loving dogs who see you as their leader and best friend. Some days may feel more difficult than others. Still, consistency and patience in introductions, training, and rules will afford you a Shiba Inu and a growing puppy that respect each other and love you unconditionally.