Originating in Japan, the Shiba Inu packs a big personality in a small body. Caring for your new Shiba puppy requires dedication and control, as this hardy pooch is headstrong and may test his limits more than other breeds. He's a nature lover, and loves to romp outside whenever possible.
Feed your Shiba pup a healthy puppy food two or three times a day. The specifics depend on a number of factors, including how active your pooch is and his age, but generally he should get between one and one and a half cups of food over the course of a day. Alter the amount as necessary, as you don't want a pudgy puppy waddling around your living room. Always have fresh water available to him too.
Brush your puppy once a week. The Shiba's coat is odor-free and never needs to be trimmed, but he sheds constantly and blows his coat twice a year. Brush your puppy weekly with a slicker brush to distribute oils and remove dead hair. Start this grooming routine as soon as you get your pooch so he gets used to the feel. Brush more often when he's switching his seasonal coat.
Bathe your Shiba only as necessary. Your puppy's ancestors were used to hunt wild game, and his waterproof coat helps keep him comfortable in the elements. Wash him only when he really needs it, to prevent stripping and drying out his coat. Use a gentle dog shampoo and rinse all residue away thoroughly. Unless he's been rolling in the mud, a bath once every three or four months should suffice.
Take your puppy outside. Shibas are active pups who love to run and play outside, so give him this opportunity as often as possible. Fence a section of your yard and be sure to check for weak points regularly, as Shibas are escape artists. Walk your puppy regularly to get him used to the leash and to obeying safety commands.
Start obedience training early. Puppies in general need discipline, and Shibas are notoriously stubborn and headstrong, and sometimes hard to train. Teach your puppy appropriate behavior as soon as he comes home. Address bad behavior such as nipping and barking early. Find a local dog trainer for advice if your puppy refuses to listen to you. Socialize him as you train to prevent aggressive behavior toward other animals or people.
- Offer your puppy plenty of toys to keep him entertained when he's stuck inside.
- Have a professional groomer trim your pup's toenails once every month or so to prevent them from growing too long.
- Visit your vet regularly to keep your puppy's vaccinations up to date.
- Shibas are possessive pups, and yours could snap if you grab his toy or food dish.
- Socialization is important for Shibas, as they tend to be prone to aggression toward other dogs. Introduce your puppy to other animals and people to get him used to this interaction and reduce the possibility of his snapping in the future.
Jane Williams began her writing career in 2000 as the writer and editor of a nationwide marketing company. Her articles have appeared on various websites. Williams briefly attended college for a degree in administration before embarking on her writing career.