If you’re thinking about getting a Shiba Inu you may be wondering how aloof are they? This brings up the question, what even is an aloof dog? How we define it plays a large part in understanding if Shibas are aloof and why they might be that way.
Shiba Inus are definitely considered by many to be one of the more aloof breeds. Does this mean that they won’t love you though? Most certainly not, they can be just as loving as other dogs. It’s just that they also have a strong independent mind of their own, and this tends to drive their behavior more than pleasing other people. Essentially Shiba Inus are unique spirited souls that serves many people just fine, but don’t expect them to be the big people-pleasers like a golden retriever or more social and obedient breed.
Why Are Some Dogs Considered Aloof?
Generally, when we’re talking about aloofness in dogs, we don’t use the word in the same way as if we were talking about people. With people, we usually might describe someone as aloof if they are haughty and don’t seem to really have any reason for interacting with us. Almost as if other people just don’t exist to them.
With dogs though when we say that they are aloof, we usually mean it more in the way of saying that they have their own things going on. They have cares and interests of their own that may or may not involve people.
The dog might be more interested in sniffing something interest or might be playing some sort of game of their own that we may not completely understand. So when they’re doing their thing in the backyard and you walk out they might not just come running up to you but be a bit more involved in what they are already doing.
Aloofness can also mean that they may like and be into just a few people. They might take a while to fully warm up to strangers. I had a friend once who had a labrador and she seemed to love everyone unconditionally no matter who they were or even if she had just met them. That kind of behavior would be considered the sheer opposite of aloof.
Aloofness In Shiba Inus
Shiba Inus have sometimes been compared in personality to cats. This can be quite an apt description. Just like how your cat loves you, or at least we might hope they do, so does your Shiba. But your cat has their own things to do and they might just not have to patience to always be listening to you. Shibas are kinda the same.
How is it that Shibas got to be like this? Well, a lot of it probably has to do with their breeding and what they were bred for.
Much of a dog’s personality is shaped by how they were trained and raised as a young pup. But another very strong part of it is their genetics, what humans bred them to do. See humans usually get to pick their own destiny and occupation. This is not the same for most dogs, however. The job that they were meant for was determined for them, sometimes before they were born by human beings.
In the case of Shiba Inus, they got a double helping of this. One from mother nature herself and the other from the Japanese hunters who molded Shiba genetics to conform to the style of hunting that they needed.
Shibas belong to what is sometimes called primal breeds of dogs. This is just a fancier way of saying that these breeds are believed to be closer in genetics and temperament to the original dogs than other breeds.
This can make Shiba Inus quite aloof at times as even though they now live in a world where most of them are the comfortable pets of people who want them for cuteness and companionship, they still partially live in that world where they must make decisions to their own survival.
Of course, added on the mother natures gifts are the original Japanese people who bred the Shiba Inu to hunt birds. Which as you can imagine is a very independent activity. Especially since this bird hunting was not done with guns as modern hunters might with a retriever breed.
What You Can Do To Help Make Your Shiba More Social And Less Aloof
Sometimes a dog is not so much aloof as afraid. They simply might be scared of things that are new to them or that they don’t trust. This could cause them to act in a way that can appear as them being aloof.
So one of the first things to do to help make your Shiba less aloof is to introduce them to a lot of new things as a puppy. Play with your Shiba and make sure that they have exposure to a wide variety of people, places, and things. This is often referred to as socialization and it is a vital part of properly training any dog.
Much of the solution to aloofness must begin when the Shiba is young, about the first 4 months. Assuming that you got the dog from a breeder and didn’t breed it yourself. Then that might give you only 2 months or so of this vital youth period.
Of course, don’t panic if your puppy is older than that as dogs are still probably the most amenable to training in their first two years of life. Older dogs though can still be trained and become better socialized than they are, though it will take longer and be more difficult. They also might have a bit of a ceiling in how far their training can realistically go unless you are or get the help of a professional.
During this ideal time though you need to try to put a lot of energy into socializing them. It may be hard work at first but it will pay out dividends to both you and your dog for their entire lifespan.
Here are some good ways to socialize your Shiba Inu, to cut down on aloofness.
- Dog park
Take your young Shiba Inu to the dog park. This can be a great way for your dog to get to meet and interact with lots of other dogs and different kinds of people in a safe protected setting.
It will also give your dog good exercise and a way to get out and smell the flowers in the breeze so to speak.
2. Take your Shiba for walks!
Your Shiba needs two important things, exercise and a chance to see the world. With regular walks, you can give your beloved pup two things in one. Plus it can be a great way for you to get exercise as well while also maybe making friends with people in the neighborhood.
Taking your dog for regular walks will expose them to a lot of new situations, which will definitely help them to be less aloof and more social.
With Shibas it’s probably best to try to shoot for nice short quick walks often. Too long of walks may exhaust your Shiba’s attention span and lower their mood as they get too tired. Increasing the chance that a situation may become stressful and imprint upon them as a negative thing.
We definitely don’t want that so try to make your walks together as short and sweet as possible.
3. Use Positive Reinforcement.
Different breeds and personalities of dogs respond to different kinds of training in various ways. One thing that might work for one type of dog may not work at all for another type.
With Shibas, though this can vary somewhat based upon your dog’s specific personality, they tend to respond the best too training that encourages them and uses rewards when they’re good.
Negative based training involving punishments and such, these Shibas are generally too stubborn to respond well too.
In addition, the Shiba Inu can have remarkably long memories so any experience that is awful and negative they will remember for quite a long time. However, something fun and happy they won’t forget for a while either.
So try to make any activity or behavior that you want your dog to manifest give them treats and praise in great heaping doses.
No Matter What Love Your Dog
One of the most important things in any human and dog relationship is acceptance. Generally, dogs are masters of this and will love and accept just about anyone in their life, Shiba inus are no exception and also are blessed with these great gifts of dogs.
With people though we can struggle in the acceptance department a lot more. We tend to want to mold the world to our own expectations, which can sometimes be a good thing but there are times when things are out of your control and you would be best to try to accept it as it is.
When it comes to your dog’s temperament especially with an older dog, acceptance may be necessary. While you can further socialize them and definitely make them less aloof, there will probably be a limit to how far you can go with depending upon their age.
Generally the older they become the more stuck in the ways they are. In this case we dog owners have to accept that this is the way our dog is and just love them. They will, of course, love us back too if we do that, even if it might be in a rather aloof manner.