Shiba Inus are characteristically known for being aloof and sometimes bossy. Their independent and dominant nature makes it difficult to introduce them to new dogs as they rarely submit, often play rough, and have a tendency to torment others when they know they can get away with it. Socialization, especially when not started from a young age, does not happen overnight. However, by working towards good behavior in small steps and providing positive reinforcement along the way, your Shiba Inu can become better behaved around other animals.
Always Introduce on Neutral Ground
When introducing your Shiba Inu to another dog, always do so on neutral ground. Shiba Inus are territorial and not fond of strangers on their “turf.” Initiating introduction at a park or on a walk is a great first step. Begin at a distance from the other dog, and provide your Shiba with plenty of reassurance and positive reinforcement for good behavior. If your Shiba Inu acts out, retreat to a distance where your dog is not reactive and try again. Bear in mind that Shiba Inus are sensitive to human emotion, so if the person handling the dog is nervous or anxious about an encounter with another dog, your Shiba Inu will be, as well.
On or Off-Leash?
If the initial introduction to another dog on neutral ground goes well, you can graduate to the yard. Bear in mind, however, that a Shiba Inu may act differently in his or her own territory. To begin, both dogs should be leashed in the yard, and proceed as you did in the street: introducing first from a distance, and then gradually closer. Both dogs should be in the same state – either both leashed or both off-leash, but never allow one dog to be leashed and one dog free. This can create tension for the leashed dog, as he or she may feel trapped. When ready, allow both dogs off leash together, but closely supervise their interaction.
Which Dogs Get Along Best with Shibas?
While there is no specific breed that gets along best with a Shiba Inu, there are certain character traits that are better than others. Since Shiba Inus are predominantly dominant, a highly submissive dog does best. Active dogs that are okay with rough play, wrestling, and vocalization do well with Shibas, as well. For these reasons, Shiba Inus tend to play well with puppies, as puppies have endless energy, are tolerant, and will match the level of play of another dog. A Shiba may also feel less threatened with a younger dog.
Be Aware of Inappropriate Behaviors
Although dogs communicate their preferences differently than humans, there are certain behaviors you should not allow your Shiba to engage in around other dogs. Certain forms of dominance, such as humping, should not be allowed, as this can cause even the most submissive of dogs to become uncomfortable and lash out. Be sure to reprimand any bullying, such as toy hoarding or non-playful nipping, too.