For all new members, please check out the thread New to the Forum? What to do and forum guidelines.
Discussion on shiba reactivity
  • SayaSaya
    Posts: 6678
    I see this stated a lot as shiba ages they might be less accepting of strange or new dogs or get more reactive to dogs..

    Is this normal for the breed? Something breeders breed for? due to poor socialization or not enough? or genetics?

    Is it due to them being so highly prey driven?

    I only own one shiba she used to be great with all dogs of all ages and size, but after two bad experience at dog park and one bad experience with a on leash dog she is reactive to other dogs.

    She does seem get a long bit better with shiba inu or other certain dogs.

    I don't mind it my last two boxers were a lot worse behavior wise with strange dogs due to being attacked two times by off leash dogs plus we didn't socialize our dogs with other dogs much too busy with school or work..

    At least with Saya she tries to tell dogs to back off most times by curling lip and growling.

    [mod edit: re-categorized due to addition of new category]Photobucket
    Nicole, 5year old Bella(Boxer), and 4year old Saya(Shiba inu)
    Post edited by sunyata at 2013-06-06 10:23:39
  • atlasatlas
    Posts: 360
    Mitsu was socialized to an insane degree. Doggy daycare for almost a year, sporadic play days with other dogs, etc. Everything positive! She never had to be put in time out and passed other-dog assessments with flying colors. It was so important to me that she be socialized with other dogs so I worked hard and spent good money for it. And in fact, she even helped a scared dog learn to come out of her shell a little, during our advanced obedience classes (we practiced before the rest of the group showed up). Despite that, she has become less tolerant, but it isn't extreme. Usually it's just if she's hot or swamped by a lot of dogs at once, or in overwhelming circumstances (about to get her nails cut), she's a lot less likely to enjoy other dogs. She's much better with proper introductions and dogs she decides she likes. It does seem like there have been a couple of dogs that she has decided she's not fond of for seemingly no reason, but who knows.

    I think all the socialization is what taught her not to bite if she IS annoyed, because she never does, nor does she try to bully dogs. It's never aggressive, just a little reactive - she just growls and walks away, as if to say, "Well, I don't care for you." Or for the one time a group of dogs swamped her with excitement, it was probably more like, "Get out of my way."

    She still runs around and socializes with dogs in small groups. Not too long ago I was using the dog park after it was empty (for fun, even though we do have a yard - it was nice and cool out from rain and Mitsu enjoys exploring the large park) and a small group of dogs showed up. She was fine - played with the cocker spaniel, fine with a puppy - they just ran and ran and had fun. She's not leash reactive at all, either. We pass dogs on our walks in the park sometimes and she shows only mild interest, but nothing more than that, and definitely nothing negative.

    So my conclusion is that socialization has definitely made a difference for Mitsu, as she isn't aggressive, she isn't a bully, and annoyance doesn't make her bite or lash out. She still can enjoy and have fun with dogs. She can walk past dogs on a leash without a problem. But, I do think she's less tolerant and more selective of other dogs, so I'm more watchful now if she's around them. If I'm going to meet someone and their dog, I encourage them to let our dogs have proper introductions, first, rather than just letting them go at it.

    My husband thinks that we should still keep an open mind about dog parks since she's capable of enjoying other dogs, but I decided against it. I don't feel like I'll be missing much. They kind of make me nervous since you never know what kind of dog is going to show up anyway. I feel like it's a hard balance though, because I don't want to discourage other-dog interaction in case it encourages her to get choosier, but I also don't want to put her in situations were she will be annoyed or other dogs (and owners) may be uncomfortable with her. I need to make friends with more people that understand proper introductions! Then I think it'd be perfect. I also think that putting her in a class (rally) will be good because she'll be around other dogs for training, but without romping around like there would be at a dog park.
    Post edited by atlas at 2012-09-01 00:22:10
  • INU RYUUINU RYUU
    Posts: 1507
    This is the same dilema that I have with my boy INU. At about a year and a half he began to get into "disagreements" with other dogs as his tolerance for their rudeness diminished. I still take him to dog parks with Penny but tend to avoid letting him mix with new dogs whenever possible. In the past he would be ready to fight the other dog. Recently, when he gets snarky with a new dog he just barks and responds to me telling him to cut it out. After calming him down he is just fine like nothing happened. Penny's snarkiness has always been to bark at the other dog. Penny seems to have a higher threshold and will not start a fight.

    One thing I have noticed though, is that, the reactivity only happens when he is off leash. When walking him and meeting new dogs he is calm and friendly. Many times he will assume the play bow position. Could it be that he feels less anxious and not threatened when he and the other dog are tethered?
    犬竜
  • tatonkatatonka
    Posts: 1210
    I think it would help if you guys added whether your dog is spayed/neutered or not.

    Tatonka is friendly but he's young (and un-neutered).
    Monkey!
    Post edited by tatonka at 2012-09-01 01:49:50
  • LosechLosech
    Posts: 2516
    Conker was pretty good with other dogs until he was about a year and eight months old. He started to get really annoyed quite easily, then he just stopped being tolerant of other dogs. Now, if I introduce them slowly and on Conker's terms, he'll get along with them fine if the other dog is not rude and gets up in his space. Conker is real big on his personal space...

    He is leash-reactive, moreso than when he is off-leash. I think it might have something to do with him knowing he can't get away if he needs to while on-leash, or something like that. But he's not exactly a friendly dog. Curious for sure, he wants to sniff the other dogs, but he doesn't want to actually meat them. That other dog's got to be paying no attention to him and cannot sniff him back, unless we take the time to walk around forever so Conker can get used to the other dog's presence first. (Most people aren't willing to do that.)
    There are certain dogs Conker just doesn't get along with, and that's fine. I just avoid them. Others he will wage war with through the fence, but be best buds when they are not separated by a barrier. And a few dogs he loves. I can generally tell how he will like a dog by watching it's behavior before he meets it, so I basically screen the dogs I allow him to interact with to avoid triggering any disagreements.

    Conker was acquired from a shelter, originally from a puppy mill at the age of four months, he was neutered between two and a half and three months by the shelter I got him from. I think that his breeding, and the lack of socialization to real-world stuff, is a possible contribution to his reactivity and fear of strange people. (Amongst other things, he was a real big project for the first few months.)
  • Everyone whose dog has become less tolerant of other dogs, what were they like when they were younger? Tolerant but not gregarious? Rude themselves? Is there a commonality between less tolerant dogs when they're young or do a variety of attitudes tend to mature into being not particularly tolerant of other dogs? Basically, it occurs to me that perhaps all Shibas go through this to a certain extent, but those that were really dog focused as pups simply become less gregarious while those who were ok with everyone start disliking very rude dogs but liking everyone else, etc.
  • LosechLosech
    Posts: 2516
    @notoriousscrat Conker would get along with most dogs after about five minutes or so. He was still specific about who he would actually play with, but he was a lot more open to dogs other than just calm polite ones. He didn't particularly like small fluffy dogs (got attacked by a pack of Poms on the first day I had him) and wasn't overly fond of dogs bigger than about 90 pounds (scary, I guess?), but in general he got along fine with everyone and only had a snarkfest when somebody nipped him wrong or shoved him over in a manner he deemed completely unnecessary. He was sometimes rowdy when meeting new dogs, but he was rarely rude. He would only charge at dogs he already knew and was comfortable with.
  • lindsaytlindsayt
    Posts: 4784
    I was able to dog park and day care Beebe (first Shiba) until she was about 1 year old and then she just started becoming very fearful to the point of defensively aggressing to other dogs since they always bum rushed new dogs at the door. I started asking the owners of the dog day care to carry her back or let her go straight to a crate by herself since the level of excitement was so high, but I think the situation was just poorly managed with the introductions there and we stopped going. Same thing with dog parks. She began to become fearful of new dogs and acted fearful and the entire park picked up on it and would mob her. This is the period when I began meeting with a behaviorist and determined that Beebe was more comfortable with a few calm dogs that she knew well, and so I got Ike to be her companion.

    He was raised in a day care also, but this day care was very special and run by his breeder with dogs from her breedings as her clients. So the temperaments of the dogs are well known and understood, the dogs are all well socialized and the introductions extremely well managed. There is very little snarking and there are smaller areas for more reactive dogs to play or be in timeout. Ike has zero dog aggression issues and was a happy outgoing puppy from what I can gather. Now he is mature and very calm around new dogs (unless it's girls in heat). New intact males can provoke some posturing and lessened tolerance now that he is 5 and experienced with the ladies.

    I try to emulate the breeders' pack management strategies at home as much as I am able. We had some bumps with a couple females in the beginning, but now the trick is running smaller groups of dogs with compatible personalities.

    I think it's a variety of temperamnets that develop into being more selective of their canine company as they age, and I have seen this with all of my dogs, not just the Shibas. I think it is a maturity thing, like how most puppies love people, but then as they age, learn to distinguish which people are "theirs" or "safe" and which aren't. When they become seniors however, they stop caring and can again be exposed to more dogs without issue it seems.

    I will say there is a type of Shiba puppy temp I have seen that really never like other dogs at any time of their lives, other than a very limited few, and even that takes a tremendous amount of work, which if isn't done in a fairly narrow window and than consistently onward, results in some nasty behavior patterns as adults. I think these are similar to the early Shiba temps, and why that "rule" for matching dogs with an opposite sex play mate came about.

    IME there seems to be a fine line with having a very outgoing Shiba vs having a very prey driven Shiba vs having a Shiba with tendencies to be very intolerant of new dogs. Sometimes you get a balanced mix, but the more drive and gregariousness, the higher level of reactivity imo. And of course there are the Shibas who are obviously fearful and afraid of all new things. I'm specifically thinking of the Shibas who are soo excited to meet other dogs and are drawn to socialize (gregarious), but lack the skills or confidence to appropriately interact and soon tip over their thresholds and lunge and snap.

    They are outgoing dogs, but they are unbalanced. You can blame their training, and you can blame their genetics, but fundamentally there are flaws in the temperament and likely in the dogs' training. So, training can't fix everything or cure the dog of having a natural suspicion or distrust of new people/dogs, or of being born with insane natural drive, given that it is a selected instinct in this breed, but it can patch over some flaws that may allow the dog to seem to be more at ease in social settings with friendly not-in-your-face dogs. I know training has really helped Beebe focus on me instead of targeting new dogs, for instance.

    It's rare to find this (ideal) trifecta of traits where a Shiba is friendly to new people, has some drive to work, and is also tolerant of other dogs. My male Ike is very very close to this and what I would consider the perfect Shiba.

    *edit-This isn't ment to be a negative personal reflection of dogs I know or judgement on how they were raised, since I made lots of these mistakes over the years with my own dogs, some of whom are reactive and fearful (like Beebe).
    "Common sense isn't so common"
    photo c5d87957-61b6-48af-a440-4187cbfc861b_zps88ccdf88.jpg
    Post edited by lindsayt at 2012-09-01 10:20:04
  • tatonkatatonka
    Posts: 1210
    @lindsayt, what mistakes do you think you've made to contribute to a reactive/fearful dog? Apart from snarky intros at day care that you've mentioned, I mean..
    Monkey!
  • atlasatlas
    Posts: 360
    @notoriousscrat Mitsu loved other dogs, would get super excited to see them, tail wagging and all. She couldn't wait until we pulled up at doggy daycare. She loved running around with them and never showed any signs of not being tolerant when she was younger. She never growled or got upset, and also had tons of patience for puppies around the apartment complex where we used to live.

    The daycare was familiar with shibas. At first Mitsu was wary of the people, but that changed over time because they were patient and understanding, and she got used to trusting them and being handled by them. However never had trouble adapting to her daycare pack. But, they did require that she attend on the same day, so I'm sure the extra familiarity with the Tuesday pack of dogs helped.

    We also played with random dogs around our apartment complex and had play dates with friends and their dogs. Never any growling or snark. Never any selectivity. Always positive - I honestly cannot think of one even minor negative thing that may have happened in her experiences with other dogs.

    So, by my experience, she was dog-focused and that changed to being more selective and less interested in dogs, but not aggressive. She isn't afraid of other dogs, but seems to have an opinion about the ones she likes and doesn't. And she can still focus on me while other dogs pass by during walks and things like that, no problem. She never looks to start something, just reacts with a growl if she's approached in by an overzealous dog or a dog she doesn't care for. She also tends to want them out of her face, which is strange, because she loves being in Kratos' face, haha.

    However, her love of people has never wavered. She thinks other people are the best thing in the world, especially if they come to our house. She won't necessarily curl up with them, but she gets excited to see other people and likes to play it cute for them. And I'm glad for it, because I worked even harder at getting her to like people.
    Post edited by atlas at 2012-09-01 13:28:05
  • SayaSaya
    Posts: 6678
    Thanks everyone. :)

    Saya did well in puppy class she never was snarky, but told pups if they were too rough and the pups behaved well to and stopped being rude when she said enough.

    A 2year old big dog came with his owner all the pups were not sure of the huge dog Saya went right up to meet the dog.

    I didn't post this to try change my dog I'm fine if she is only good with dogs she knows she behaves well in public and doesn't lung or freak out when she sees other dogs.

    I take the good with the bad she is a great shiba and she helps keep rabbits out my garden good at chasing them and returning.
    Big dog in the puppy class.
    Photobucket

    Saya and duke
    Photobucket

    Photobucket

    Photobucket

    Here's pics of Saya at dog park
    She was fine with this big dog and others
    Photobucket

    Saya with her boxer friend Mollie
    Photobucket

    Photobucket

    Saya having fun with a black lab
    Photobucket

    These two loved to play chase, wrestle and jaw spar soon Blue came in he ran to Saya or Saya ran to Blue. hehe
    Photobucket

    Photobucket

    Photobucket

    Saya was well socialized did great in puppy class, obedience, and meeting good well behaved dogs on leash even at age of two, but she had some bad experiences at the dog park two of them and one on leash so I think her reactivity to strangers is from those bad experiences.

    I could be wrong.

    She seems to get a long better with shiba inu with other breeds it takes slow and multiple quick meetings before she does good.

    I plan get a second dog if I ever move out and I think she'll do well with him or her.
    Photobucket
    Nicole, 5year old Bella(Boxer), and 4year old Saya(Shiba inu)
  • I think my male Shiba, Toby, probably has the trifecta....of bad Shiba traits! *lol* I made any number of mistakes with him, but I believe his temperament is also inherently reactive, because his behavior was evident when I got him at 7 weeks of age. If I had been more experienced, perhaps we would have been able to socialize some of that out of him, but that didn't happen.

    Toby is like the Shibas Lindsay was talking about that never like other dogs. He comes from very good lines, dogs that have consistently produced very good puppies. Nothing wrong with his lineage, that's for sure. I'm not so sure about the breeder, who has since gotten out of Shibas, but the lineage was quite good. When I went to get him, at 7 weeks at the breeder encouragement, he was "feisty" as she said, and she described him as a "typical Shiba." He was a bigger than average puppy, and already quite food aggressive. In the first 48 hours I had him, he bullied three dogs--a GSD puppy, and an adult rottie and my adult GSD. (The adult dogs were very, very tolerant of him). He bit the vet during his vet check. He growled at every dog he met.

    But I certainly didn't know then what I knew now. The vet suggested the alpha roll (when she demonstrated, he bit her again). That seemed to make him worse, so I took him to a training class that did (mostly) positive training, but he bullied all the other dogs (and he was smaller than most of them) except for the pit pups who he could play rough with. They didn't really show me how to work with him, and I didn't know how, so most of the time he was in time outs for rough play.

    He was neutered at 5 months, which I don't think helped much at all.

    He got along with my adult GSD--the most patient of dogs--but that was it, and because I didn't have enough experience to know what to do with him, I didn't try to socialize him much outside of the dogs he lived with and my friend's dogs. And the thing is, it got worse. By 1.5 years of age, he would not even tolerate my friend's GSD, even though they'd been raised together. After Toby started (and lost) a fight with her GSD and got hurt, we realized he couldn't be with that dog anymore. By then, I'd gotten Bel as a puppy, and he tolerated her, but bullied her too (and again, I didn't understand that what I was seeing was not normal Shiba behavior at all, but was bullying, so I ignored the fact that Toby guarded space in the living room, for example, attacking the other dogs if they tried to walk past him, etc. Or that Bel was equally problematic: hanging from the other dog's necks, etc) So I brought in an unsocialized, temperamentally unsound Shiba from a puppy mill (Bel) into a household with a bullying male Shiba with serious issues with resource guarding. Is it any wonder we had such a terrible terrible outcome with a fight that almost killed Toby?

    Now at 8, Toby has been hurt by Bel so many times that he is very fearful and very reactive of other dogs. he does not tolerate any other dogs, including puppies. We've worked with him in some behavior modification techniques, and the result is he can be calmer when he sees other dogs so he can function--we can go for walks without him freaking out, but we haven't gotten much further than that, and even though I'm way more experienced now, I haven't made a lot of progress with him, and honestly, I'm not that committed to it, because our household management plan means that he needs to be separated anyway (from Bel who we can't seem to rehabilitate in her behavior problems). Toby's reactiveness now--and perhaps always, but especially now--is very much fear based, and I feel like he's been through so much, that if he's more comfortable not being with other dogs, than I'm going to let him have that space.

    So he has gotten more reactive as he older, but he never really had a time he wasn't like that.

    Could he have been socialized and trained to be more tolerant of other dogs? I think there was a point that could have happened, if I had only had the knowledge to know how to do it. But I didn't, and his history has conspired to make him more and more reactive. It's probably almost the worst case scenario with a Shiba, honestly, and while I certainly wish I could have done things differently with both of my Shibas, at least I know I learned enough to do things differently with my other dogs.
  • Kira_KiraKira_Kira
    Posts: 2482
    I'm going to bump this thread for some feedback\ recommendations.

    Kira is two years old, we got her as a puppy and I socialized her in a variety of different environments. On occasion I've taken her to dog parks but avoided them for the most part because I am scared of dog attacks. Kira has never been attacked by another dog, so she hasn't really had any reason to be reactive. Besides the fact that she's a mature Shiba...

    Kira has many dog friends that she loves, I can still take her to a dog park and she would do fine, and we still attend dog events like expos.

    There were a couple isolated incidents here and there (always happened on leash) when a dog she didn't particularly care for got in her face and she snarked (showed teeth or growled/barked) telling him to back off.

    These incidents have increased in frequency and while I can still take her to dog events like expos, I watch her body language like a hawk and we usually have to leave once she reaches her threshold.

    It does seem to only happen when she is on the leash so it's definitely leash reactivity, when a dog gets within her personal space. I've had a few shocked owners and dogs when she snarks but have been able to recognize her behavior and move her away so we haven't had any serious issues yet. And that's what concerns me...yet. I'm worried that one day she'll snark at the wrong dog and I won't be quick enough to remove her from the situation.

    What do you guys think? Stop taking her to dog congested events all together, or work on her leash aggression/reactivity? If so, are there any books that someone can recommend? I really don't want to give up on her because off leash she acts very differently.

    She's at that intolerant age, I knew this would happen and I'd like to work and help her through it as best I can... Besides that Kira is such a good and wonderful dog. Thanks in advance!
    Cynthia, Proudly owned by Kira
    imageimage
    Kira the Cream Shiba Inu 吉良 - Facebook Page
    Follow Kira on Instagram! Kira_the_cream_shiba_inu
    Kira's Life Story & Photo Thread - Chronicles of Kira

    “Dogs are not our whole life, but they make our lives whole.”
  • NikkitineNikkitine
    Posts: 776
    Tali is starting to get to that point as well, except much earlier than I thought. She's 9.5 months now and I choose to no longer bring her to the small dog park for fear of a fight breaking out when then wrong dog comes along. She's attacked one dog already that kept trying to take her ball and snapped at a few that wouldn't leave her butt alone.

    I find that she does much better when she's in the same area as my lab so we've only been in the large dog area lately. She can be reactive both on and off leash so I'm constantly on guard and watching for all the signs when a dog starts becoming a bother.
    image
  • zandramezandrame
    Posts: 1106
    Let's not forget that growling and lip-curling are proper dog language, when appropriate. We don't want to rob our dogs of this etiquette, or risk defaulting to a more serious correction.

    That being said, if your dog enjoys social events with other dogs and people, that's fine. Continue going. If they don't, and are just tolerating until their threshold is filled, that's not good.

    In general, Shibas are poor dog park dogs altogether, and when mature, expect a certain amount of personal space to be respected by other dogs. This is totally fine. It's not fair to expect they can greet all new dogs enthusiastically. As always, set your dog up for success, and don't require them to meet all the dogs at these events. Request adequate space. Let the dog focus on enjoying time with you instead.

    Kouda was an extremely gregarious puppy. He loved every dog he met and was always ready to play. But around 7-8 months he started being picked on at dog parks, and attacked for playing with other dogs' toys, and became reactive himself. This was our mistake, and to answer the question asked earlier in this thread, dog parks are my biggest regret. Until he was about 1.5 yrs he was still tolerant enough to meet new dogs in controlled settings (among friends) and get along and play. But now approaching 3 yrs, he prefers socializing with his core group of buddies he's known since puppyhood. We still do social activities, like the OC Pet Expo, and dog shows, and forum meetups - but we stick with people who understand or have NKs themselves, and know what to expect.

    As for training tolerance, the key is keeping the dog under threshold and the experiences positive. (Don't wait until the dog is past threshold, leave BEFORE that happens, on a good note.) Some of the other threads on aggression may help too.

    This book might also be helpful, there is a section on leash manners.
    Fight!: A Practical Guide to the Treatment of Dog-dog Aggression

  • Kira_KiraKira_Kira
    Posts: 2482
    Great info @zandrame
    Thank you, I will pick that book up!

    I think that the key with Kira is making sure that the situation is not too overwhelming for her. She's noticeably more laid back when another dog that she knows is with us.

    The last expo we attended, we didn't know anyone and went alone. The entrance and sign in area was extremely congested and when we'd gotten through the expo and were ready to leave, I decided to carry her through the area that would've caused her stress. We got through fine and then received a text from her GSD friend's owner. We hung around and let them play so that the experience ended on a positive note. In the future, we will only attend dog congested events if she has a friend that will give her more positive energy.

    As zandrame states, dog parks can very quickly set back a Shiba's socialization and I'm thankful that I was forewarned enough times on this forum to avoid that. I've never been a huge fan of dog parks to begin with, and having a sensitive breed like Shibas makes me even more hyperaware of them.
    Cynthia, Proudly owned by Kira
    imageimage
    Kira the Cream Shiba Inu 吉良 - Facebook Page
    Follow Kira on Instagram! Kira_the_cream_shiba_inu
    Kira's Life Story & Photo Thread - Chronicles of Kira

    “Dogs are not our whole life, but they make our lives whole.”
  • NikkitineNikkitine
    Posts: 776
    There are times when Tali fully enjoys herself at the park and plays with every dog. Then there are her moody days where all the dogs just annoy her and she keeps to her herself.
    image

Howdy, Stranger!

It looks like you're new here. If you want to get involved, click one of these buttons!

In this Discussion

Who's Online (1)