Do Shiba Inus Bite? and What to Do About It


If you’re thinking of getting a Shiba Inu or if you already have one, you may be wondering if they bite? Of course, you may already be aware that sometimes they do and then what you as their loving owner can do about it to minimize the behavior?

Shiba Inus like all dogs can and do bite sometimes. The reasons why can be anything from their scared to simply boredom and pent up energy. Most of the time it is nothing malicious to it. It’s just that a dog’s mouth is their primary way of interacting with the world and being that they are so small they may not even fully realize how much it can hurt.

So it is true that Shiba Inus can bite but probably no more than any other breed of dog. They are not an especially aggressive breed, usually more on the playful cute side, but they are very independent and strong-willed which can lead to them acting out negative behaviors like biting if they are not carefully trained and socialized.

While that can be considered the bad news there is good news as well. Which you as their owner and chief trainer are not simply beholden to fate as to whether your Shiba Inu has a biting problem or not.

There are many tools and techniques that are in your power to try to train them not to bite, which is not only very possible but if you train them right any dog can be made into a loving not biting member of the family.

It’s just important to realize that if you have a dog with a biting problem their not doing it on purpose just to be mean, but usually there are some underlying causes or in most cases they simply don’t realize how much it hurts their loved ones.

In this article, we will give you some good strategy to deal with negative biting behavior in a Shiba Inu, so that you and your dog can have a wonderful fulfilling friendship.

Why Do Shiba Inus Bite?

Shiba Inus have mouths with teeth. What they do not however have is hands like people do. So when they interact with things their mouths are generally their only way of being able to hold and grasp various objects.

This mouthiness to a certain extent is a normal canine behavior. It’s their primary way of interacting with the world. But when this turns into serious biting that can lead to broken skin and injuries then this becomes a problem.

Their are several reasons that your Shiba might be biting:

  • They are teething and need something to chew on.
  • Your dog might be stressed by something.
  • They might be scared and poorly socialized.

Your Shiba might also have too much energy that they need to burn off with some good exercise. Or there could be an underlying health problem, but generally, the reason for your dogs biting can be traced back to one or several of these three causes.

What to Do About Shiba Inu Biting?

The best way of dealing with it is when their young, just puppies, before it has progressed to a serious level.

There are a wide variety of techniques and forms of training that you can do with your Shiba puppy to teach them the right way of not biting hard. You should still expect a certain amount of mouthiness because this is normal but you have to differentiate between your puppy simply putting its mouth on something versus actually biting down hard.

  • Verbally reprimand them and redirect them to good items to chew.
  • Use a timeout time when your puppy starts to get too aggressive.
  • A water spray bottle can sometimes work wonderfully depending upon your puppy’s temperament.
  • Avoid any aggressive negative forms of training with Shibas they tend to not work well with this breed of dog in particular.
  • Play with your puppy regularly and make sure they get enough exercise, sometimes all a dog needs to behave well is a good way to burn off excess energy.

Reprimand and Redirect

One of the best ways to train a puppy to not bite down hard is with a verbal reprimand and then redirecting them to an acceptable chewable object like a toy of some kind.

Some puppies get trained not to bite hard by their mother and siblings. In the course of their roughhousing and play with the other puppies biting will take place. When this happens too hard the other puppies will let out a little yelp and the fun time play will stop for a moment.

This serves as a type of training that dogs can do upon themselves when they’re in a larger group of dogs. A Shiba puppy will learn from this not to bite their playmates too hard or else the fun times will stop. Of course some biting will take place but it will be soft playful bites.

When we do a verbal reprimand combined with a time of ignoring or redirection to a chewable object we are imitating the natural type of training that the Shiba puppy we go through if they were being raised by a pack of dogs. We are serving as the training stand-in for the puppies pack.

Whenever your puppy bites down on you at a level that hurts or is too hard respond with a sharp attention-getting verbal sound. This can be an ACK-ACK sound or you can try imitating a puppies yelp. The important thing is that the sound is quick and sharp and gets the dog’s attention. Some people have even used little mechanical clickers for this to good effect.

After doing this then stop playing and ignore the dog for a very short amount of time, like 20 seconds or so before trying to return to play. Or you can also do your verbal reprimand command followed by grabbing a chewable toy and putting it in your dog’s mouth. This can work well especially if the source of the biting problem is really just teething.

Since sometimes a puppy is merely teething and they just need something to chew on to distract them from the pain and bother of their new teeth coming in.

Put Your Dog in a Quick Timeout.

Another strategy that you can do with a biting Shiba Inu puppy along with a sharp verbal command is a short timeout. If your dog is being extra bitey, don’t do it if there’s only one bite or they’re being a bit mouthy, then you can put them into a short time out in a boring secluded space.

Some people use a laundry room or a bedroom. The room needs to not have anything really entertaining and it must be especially safe. Since when you pull out the time out card your dog is probably extra frisky it’s important that the room not have anything dangerous that your dog could chew on or get themselves in.

When using the timeout on your Shiba Inu its also important to make sure that the time is not very long. Dogs do not have the best understanding of time so if the timeout is too long the Shiba may not really understand what exactly caused them to go into the time out and then it just becomes cruel and overly punitive.

The timeout should be no longer than 15 minutes, and ideally should probably be in the 3-5 minute range and not much longer. Also, it may not be effective with some types of dog personalities so if it’s not really working don’t push it too much.

Don’t use a crate for your time out location as in ideal training you want the dog to associate a crate as a good place to be and not at all a punishment.

A Squirt Water Bottle Can Work Wonders

One of the most effective methods to stop puppy biting and biting in older dogs that I have personally found is the use of a squirt water bottle. Just get a little squirt water bottle or you can even use a little plastic toy water gun and fill it with just plain old water. Don’t put anything else in it or add anything in the water that could be dangerous for your beloved dog.

Whenever your Shiba Inu starts getting bitey then just give them a quick spray of the squirt water bottle. You don’t want to do a prolonged spray but just a very quick surprise burst. If it works ideally then your dog will be surprised and won’t associate you with the water bottle but instead will associate it with biting.

They’ll be like I bite person and then all of suddenly I get sprayed with water okay I won’t bite anymore cause I don’t like getting sprayed. You will have to be consistent with it and probably need to do it over a period of weeks. Once again it may not work with all dog personalities but I have personally found it to be exceptionally effective with my own dogs.

Don’t Use Aggressive or Painful Methods They Will Backfire

Shiba Inus are extremely independent and strong-willed dogs. Generally, if you come straight at them so to speak they will respond very negatively and it will just become a battle of wills. Ironically they may even find the battle of wills fun while you’re pulling your hair out in frustration. Because of this, you shouldn’t use any aggressive or painful methods of bite training with your Shiba Inu it is much more likely to just make them mad and even more aggressive.

You need to use kinder trickier methods like the verbal command and misdirect, timeout, or squirt water bottle those are much more likely to have positive results.

If the biting of your dog is starting to get out of hand then please seek the help and advice of professionals who will be able to help you and your dog with your specific complex needs.

Getting Enough Excercise Can Create Positive Change in a Dog

Besides all the other techniques listed in this article one of the most important things, you need to have a healthy well behaved Shiba Inu is to give them plenty of exercise. In a lot of cases, dog aggression especially in dogs younger than 2 years old can actually be traced back to boredom and too much pent up energy.

Unfortunately, a negative reinforcing cycle can happen when dealing with an aggressive or biting dog. They bite you or hurt you and now you don’t want anything to do with them so you don’t play with them enough or give them enough exercise which then just feeds the negative behavior.

So its best to try to cut the problem off at what is generally the root and play with your dog in a way that will give them a lot of exercise. This could be playing a game of chase in the yard, fetch, playing with a water hose(a favorite of many dogs), or just taking them out for nice long walks.

Either way doing rambunctious play with your Shiba Inu will help with a lot of negative behaviors since a lot of times their bad behavior is just really a sad cry for attention and love.

Refer to our article on playing with your Shiba Inu for some more good ideas of positive activities you can do with your dog.

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