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The right to be paranoid about my shiba off leash?
  • kagurarapkagurarap
    Posts: 208
    So over Memorial Day weekend, my bf and I along with our Shiba Tali went to his mother's new house where she has a yard that's not completely fenced in and right next to a road which isn't too heavy traffic, but cars do come through and surprise you. Tali has never been trained off leash outside and it's not something I planned to do living in the Bronx and right by highways and busy intersections. One time I had to chase her down a floor and to the front door of my apartment complex because she darted out of the door when I opened it to take out the garbage (she doesn't do this anymore now that she's older and I did the crazy door game where I closed the door the moment she moved and didn't stay seated).

    And so, my bf and I have this disagreement and he thinks she'll be fine off leash. And in the yard, he kept removing her leash whereas I kept putting it back on immediately afraid that she might see a squirrel or anything really - and run faster than the wind and I won't be able to catch her or worse, lose her and never see her again. So my bf kept telling me that I'm being paranoid and it's fine *removes leash* and I kept telling him I didn't want to chance anything *puts leash back* and we had this silly 3 minute back and forth where it's him clipping it off and me clipping it back. I was genuinely angry and at the same time - wondering if I'm really this crazy woman that's overthinking things.

    Do I have a right to not feel comfortable having Tali off leash? I always see threads about people losing their Shibas and after I had to chase her in my apartment that one time - I just don't really trust her. Is it just me?

    PS: When Tali was off leash for 3 minutes or so, she was so confused, she just stood in place haha like she still had the leash on.

    [changed category ~mod.]
    Post edited by curlytails at 2014-06-04 12:21:54
  • RikkaRikka
    Posts: 1501
    Tali has never been trained off leash outside

    Considering you've done zero training for off-leash recall, I would also be extremely uncomfortable with letting Tali go off-leash. I don't know why your boyfriend thinks it's OK? I would've just picked Tali up and left if he kept clipping the leash off. :|
    Lauren, living with a 4 y/o Shiba named after a scientist. ☆
  • Yes, you are right to be paranoid. On behalf of men everywhere I can say a few things:

    1) We are always right.

    2) If we were wrong, it was your fault.

    3) We always think you are overreacting.

    Now that that is out of the way, I would bring the little guy to a dog park or empty fenced in area with your bf. Throw a ball and before the dog gets to the ball call him back. When the dog inevitably ignores you, tell your bf "see". He'll still think you are overreacting, but will probably be less vocal about it.

  • BootzBootz
    Posts: 3495
    Immediate reaction: Dump your bf.

    Question: Who's dog is Tali? Yours or your bf? I really hope you don't say "both" as it should be made clear who Tali belongs to

    Ok now for my serious answer. No you're not overreacting. You have every right to be afraid. Yes, Shibas are generally not good off leash and many Shibas have bolted/run away get lost, etc. I really don't think you'd want your bf to learn the hard way that Shibas can't be trusted off leash.

    If anything, have a serious talk with him. Explain to him that they are not good off leash, ESPECIALLY since you have not done any off leash training. If you feel that Tali is capable of being off leash, then let him know that she must be properly trained first. Once you both are confident she is reliable, then MAYBE you can let her off leash.
  • RustyAngelRustyAngel
    Posts: 82
    Bootz is right, you need to have a long talk with your bf.

    You can try compromising and use a longer leash when at your mother's house. A 30' leash gives room for your Shiba to explore, and you can still reel her in if she heads for the road or is distracted by a squirrel.

    But seriously, have that talk.

    Edited for typo.
    Post edited by RustyAngel at 2014-06-04 12:24:37
  • SayaSaya
    Posts: 6678
    Your dog if you feel uneasy don't do it. A 50 or 30foot leash will give bit more freedom, but some safety.

    Shiba isn't breed known for good off leash and not many have the safe land away from dangerous traffic to safely practice it.

    Yes there is some shiba who behave well off leash, but not all do well. You know your dog the best and Like said if boyfriend wants her to have more freedom try long leash.
    Nicole, 5year old Bella(Boxer), and 4year old Saya(Shiba inu)
  • kagurarapkagurarap
    Posts: 208
    @BanjoTheBetaDog Lol yeah that's my usual "I told you so" method - do something so Tali can show she is or is not capable of something in front of him so he can see. XD

    @Bootz - HAHA! Aww, he's a good guy, just thinks he knows dogs more than me since he's had dogs growing up but 1) his mother raised those dogs so it doesn't count if you're just a kid living in the same house as a dog and none of these dogs were actually trained in any way and didn't go outside like ever and 2) this is my first dog but I hang out on forums, read books, do a lot of research about them and so Tali is trained to obey certain commands and is a decent dog due to that effort. To give him credit, he has helped with Tali and watches her when I'm working. So it's "our" dog but technically mine since I paid for her and her shots, and we agreed if something were to happen between us, she'd come with me.

    It's difficult to have a serious talk about dogs with him because he goes from his own experience which is more "dominance pack" behavior like that Cesar guy whereas I try not to go that route. And to prove BanjoTheBetaDog's point - he's always right. XD

    Tali was on a long leash so she could run halfway across the yard, she just wasn't off leash. She has good recall inside but outside, leaves, squirrels, people, whatever - she doesn't even know where to put her face lol. I think I'll do as others suggest and take her to a closed area and unleash her and see what happens. Whether to prove my bf wrong or not, and to also begin training her recall a bit more outside with distractions.
    Posts: 189
    I am, most times, in an urban area, so one thing I would emphasize is that- IMO no matter where you live with a prey driven dog recall (to some extent) should be practiced. I have seen/had many dogs slip out of a harness, an owner get scared and drop the leash, a dog quickly chew through the leash.

    In fact, again IMO, if you are in the bronx or any other urban area, its more important because there are more variables to deal with.

    If you were on a farm your dog could get off leash and run for yards and never come in contact with anything. In the city your dog gets off leash and can run 10 ft and would be in a busy street.

    just my 3 cents :)
  • shibamistressshibamistress
    Posts: 5171
    Yes, you have every right to be paranoid about your Shiba off leash, and he is very wrong to think it is ok to have your Shiba offleash. Tell him this: it's ok to have a Shiba, especially an untrained one, off leash if you want to lose the dog. If you want to keep your dog, then no, your dog should not be offleash.

    Might show him the breed standards, which sometimes note Shibas are not offleash dogs. The amount of Shibas who really are good offleash are minute. (Lots of people let their dogs offleash when they shouldn't so, I'm thinking of really good off leash dogs). Most are never good at it even with training, but letting an untrained SHIBA offleash is a recipe for disaster. Your dog could easily get hit by a car, run off and get lost, be stolen, etc. It's a very bad idea.
  • SayaSaya
    Posts: 6678
    I agree with @NASA even when off leash will never be an option. recall should always be worked on, leave it too. It's good in case something happened and the training might help.

    not sure what the area is like, but I'm guessing there is chance of rabbits, squirrels, coyotes, deer and who knows what else. very high distracting things.

    An recall and emergency recall should be worked.
    Nicole, 5year old Bella(Boxer), and 4year old Saya(Shiba inu)
  • jennjenn
    Posts: 856
    please have Tali on a long line! they usually sell them in 30-50 feet. when we took Rigby to our friends house with a large backyard that is fenced, we still had him on a long line since there were a few gaps. guess what? he tried to go under one of them once because the neighbors were in their backyard! the safety net of the long line made me feel so much better.

    but yeah, echoing what everyone has said: work on recall just in case you ever drop the leash, it breaks, he bolts out the door, etc some day. we love playing the "recall game" in the house with lots of snacks. tell your boyfriend to knock it off, shibas are generally terrible off leash and its okay. they don't need to be off leash outside if its not safe!
    Jenn, Shiba Slave to Rigby /
    Posts: 1507
    I know the Bronx well being born and raised there. No leash is asking for disaster.

    Maybe your boyfriend was projecting his own feelings of being on a leash.
    Posts: 189
    LOL at above post ^^ I dont think it was intended the way it reads.
    Posts: 1507
    It was meant jokingly.
  • kemp108kemp108
    Posts: 4
    Not worth it! Not to be a downer, but read my story from a few months back:

    You know your dog best, don't let anybody tell you otherwise. Work on that recall, it may save his life!
    Posts: 189
    INU RYUU said:

    It was meant jokingly.

    Figured as much that's why I laughed :)
  • ekaseyekasey
    Posts: 22
    I've done a fair bit of off leash training with my 1.5 year old shiba and there is no way that I would ever let her off leash if it wasn't a secure area. I just have not been able to get that recall as good as I would feel comfortable with.

    So, yes, be paranoid
  • JuniJuni
    Posts: 1268
    As Juni is getting older she gets more and more reliable. She doesn't take advantage of situations like if I accidentally drop the leash or if she's off leash on our patio as she would earlier sometimes. She is also more interested in being close to me and is not as independent as when she was younger and bolder.
    The other day we were on a long walk around a lake. In one area dogs are allowed off leash so I said (not my boyfriend, he was hesitant actually...) let's try. She was super good for a long time, just trotting along happily. But then she got " the look". It is a certain stare she does as in "hey I should go off exploring a bit, he he bye bye". And off she went up a hill.
    Luckily she found no rabbits so after a few minutes she ran down the hill straight to me again.
    Ok, lesson learnt, not completely reliable still....
  • natashanatasha
    Posts: 122
    I think with Shibas it's not merely a question of recall training, you can train them till you're blue in the face but no amount of training will be able to suppress their prey drive. So they'll be good, but only till a squirrel runs past, hunting is in their DNA. Shibas that are good off leash are the exception rather than the rule.
  • kagurarapkagurarap
    Posts: 208
    @INU RYUU LOL no worries I got what you were saying. And seriously no one in my neighborhood has their dogs on leashes, it's like okay, I think there's a law or something here guys, but seriously. Big and small, I see half of the population where I live just let their dogs do whatever. That makes me uncomfortable.

    Yeah I don't trust Tali's prey drive - she loves squirrels and we live right by grassy parks and will lunge towards them if she sees them. Yes, I know, bad leash manners, yet another thing I've got to work on with her.

    I'm glad I'm not crazy here - will do what I can to prove to my bf by showing him versus telling him that Tali's not to be trusted off leash and even if she can stay still a minute or two - why chance it. I'd never forgive him if something happened to her because he wanted to take that chance...

    And Tali is way too friendly, she wants to be pet and loved by everyone so I feel like if someone tried to steal her, she would not resist at all. I see people tie their dogs outside of stores too while they go in - I never EVER do that. Ever!
  • Kira_KiraKira_Kira
    Posts: 2482
    @kagurarap - a few weeks ago I started a thread asking about the possibility of someone trying to steal your dog. Given the amount of attention that Shibas get, it definitely could happen given the opportunity. I would definitely bring up with your boyfriend not only the safety issue with keeping her on-leash, but also that people are interested enough in her that they might snatch her up if she were out alone.

    Good luck, I know that our partners probably sometimes think that we are being too paranoid and are just plain stubborn sometimes.
    Cynthia, Proudly owned by Kira
    Kira the Cream Shiba Inu 吉良 - Facebook Page
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    Kira's Life Story & Photo Thread - Chronicles of Kira

    “Dogs are not our whole life, but they make our lives whole.”
  • devonmlewisdevonmlewis
    Posts: 182
    I would definitely take note of what everyone is saying-- their advice is sound. I'd work with her recall off leash in an enclosed space, like the dog park. Who knows-- maybe your puppy is one of very few that would do ok!

    My 6 month old puppy's recall is quite strong when we are out hiking, on the wetlands, and in the woods, so he's able to be off leash. It should be noted, though, that while h e is very interested in animals, his prey drive isn't super high. He's more of a bug hunter than a bird hunter. Bird watching is definitely his favorite past time, but he's ok watching them from a distance.

    This forum put the fear of God in me about letting Yuki off leash, and I am really thankful! Given our unique terrain in Juneau, I am able to take him lots of places off leash (think of it as being the biggest dog park in the land), provided it's not a high traffic (cars, dogs, people); in those instances, he is on leash at all times, and seems to be happy both ways.
  • BUMP

    Our Shiba Inu is 7 months old.

    We recently started letting Thumper off leash at the local park and he does so well.

    People have asked us how my girlfriend and I did it.

    1.) Repetition - Repetition is key if you want the same behavior.
    2.) Recall Training/Positive Feedback
    3.) a 50 foot leash.
    4.) Treats
    5.) Big Park

    We walked Thumper every single day using the 50 foot leash for 3-4 months. It gives him the freedom he wants as a Shiba Inu, yet he knows we are close by and watching. I do believe in building good habits. We would have Thumper sit multiple times before we say "Go", and then he takes off.

    Thumper does wander off to sniff bushes, flowers and trees but we trust him. Once we recall him "Come on" "Lets go", he immediately looks our direction and starts running toward us. Once he arrives, we give him cheese and a good petting.

    We watch from a distance and he knows not to travel too far.

    Using the 50 foot leash has worked wonders for recall training and off leash training.

    One last thing, Keep Calm.

    I remember the very few times I let him off leash and was very nervous, he would chase squirrels and birds. I learned that if I stay calm, Thumper will stay calm too.

    To each their own....
    We wanted a Shiba Inu off leash so we worked/trained him hard. And now we have a Shiba we worked so hard for.

  • sunyatasunyata
    Posts: 8548
    @thumperbumper - Be aware that at 7 months old, your Shiba is still very much a puppy. Their personalities (including prey drive) really change as they mature. Just because your puppy is okay off leash does not mean that once they mature and their prey drive really kicks in that he will always be reliable.

    People get so complacent with Shiba puppies because they are fairly easy and somewhat biddable. However, all of that can change in the blink of an eye as they mature. I have heard many sad stories of people who thought they could trust their dog off leash and it ended in tragedy. :(
    Bella 2Mountains 2Nola 2
    Casey, with Bella and Nola, hanging out in the mountains of Virginia.
    I Wander, I Ride
  • BootzBootz
    Posts: 3495

    I agree with Sunyata, at 7 months your Shiba is still a puppy. Thumper has not hit the rebellious stage yet. I would say after 1.5 years to 2 years is when they mature.

    Shibas are very smart. Generally speaking, I would not consider a Shiba good with recall unless they're completely off leash (dragging 50 ft leash does not count), in a not gated area, and you can snap them out of their prey instincts.

    I've seen one too many owners who think their Shibas are good off leash, but once they get to a not gated park and unclip that leash, their Shiba bolts after a squirrel and ignore all calls from their owner.
  • AntoinetteAntoinette
    Posts: 887
    There is no way I would ever let Quakey off leash. His prey instinct has gotten even stronger as he has gotten older and I will not risk letting him off leash.
  • Appreciate all the information

    Shiba inus are smart.

    Thumper does not bolt for squirrels or birds. He darts for bushes, trees and flowers

    50 foot leash might not count, but I realize that Thumper does not want to use the full 50 length. He travels about 25 feet, looks back and realizes I'm too far and stops or runs back.

    Shiba inus are prey driven, fact.
    I'm trying to train thumper to be off leash. I think I'm doing a good job. If I am consistent with his training, why can't they deviate and be Unshiba Like?

    I'm not saying I have it all down. But this forum is so against off leash, I feel terrible for some of your Shibas. Maybe the owners in this forum could learn to retrain their dogs.

    Thumper is unleashed at the park. No gates, lots of trees, and not on the main road.

    I've read stories of Shiba's being off leash and yet when I read about it, it's mostly that the owner was irresponsible, and let the Shiba off leash on a busy street.

    I would like more feedback from people who actually have an off leash Shiba.

    But Thank you everyone
  • sunyatasunyata
    Posts: 8548

    Thumper does not bolt for squirrels or birds. He darts for bushes, trees and flowers

    This will change as your Shiba matures and his prey drive kicks in. He is still a puppy.

    If I am consistent with his training, why can't they deviate and be Unshiba Like?

    Because your dog is a Shiba. If you wanted an off leash dog, why not get a breed that is proven to be reliable off leash?

    But this forum is so against off leash, I feel terrible for some of your Shibas. Maybe the owners in this forum could learn to retrain their dogs.

    Why do you feel terrible for some of our Shibas? Dogs do not need to be allowed to free roam or be off leash in order to live a happy and fulfilled life. My dogs get off leash time in secured areas and they are extraordinarily happy. I also know that my dogs are safe and never have to worry about them getting into something they should not or running off and not being able to find their way back to me.

    I would like more feedback from people who actually have an off leash Shiba.

    I doubt you are going to find it here. Sure, some people have worked really hard to allow their Shibas off leash. However, they acknowledge the risks and the fact that their dogs are Shibas and deal with risk management in the most appropriate manner (only letting their dogs off leash in rural areas where they know no other dogs, animals, or people are around).

    The reason they have success is because of their risk management, dedication to training, and acknowledge of the breed's instincts. If you are unable to do that, you will be unsuccessful. And no offense, but you seem to be the type of person that refuses to acknowledge that your puppy is a Shiba and will grow up to have Shiba traits and tendencies, including high prey drive. Wanting your Shiba to be "un-Shiba-like" is silly. Why did you want a Shiba if you wanted to suppress the dog's natural personality and instincts?

    It is also my recollection that you live in a metropolitan area. In most metropolitan areas (in the US), dogs are not allowed to be off leash except in designated dog parks. If you are training your dog to be off leash in any other area, you are breaking the law and potentially putting your dog (or another dog) at risk.

    Also, a month ago, you commented about your dog's social anxiety and bolting at crosswalks. Has his social anxiety improved? A fearful and anxious dog off leash is a disaster waiting to happen.
    Bella 2Mountains 2Nola 2
    Casey, with Bella and Nola, hanging out in the mountains of Virginia.
    I Wander, I Ride
  • NikkitineNikkitine
    Posts: 776

    The problem with having a Shiba off leash is that their independence and high prey drive is part of the breed. You can train a tiger cub to perform and act "un-Tiger-like" for the rest of his life, but in the end, they are still predators and the RISK of getting attacked when they mature will be there. The same goes for trying to get a Shiba to not suddenly go chasing after a squirrel. Just because it hasn't happened, doesn't mean it can never happen. You can't take the primitive traits out of one of the oldest dog breeds and to exclude yourself just because he's good at recall when he's still just a puppy is what's irresponsible. Getting ANY dog, not just Shibas, to be reliable at recall can take years of constant exposure and desensitization to every little distraction around them. Even some of the best trainers will have a dog suddenly not want to return when their instincts kick in.

    The forum is not completely against off leash, however will advise against it because there have been countless stories of owners, JUST like yourself, who were also very consistent with their training and let their dogs off leash in an open area, who were confident in their dogs recall, and still ended up in situations like losing their dog, getting into fights with another off leash dog, getting attacked by wildlife, having them stolen, having them ingest something toxic, all these things that could have been prevented had the dog been on a leash. A busy street full of cars is only 1 out of many things that can pose a danger to your dog.

    Also, "feeling terrible" for our Shibas because we want to keep our dogs safe, not to mention telling us to "retrain" our dogs when you've had your puppy for less than a year is pretty insulting and says a lot about how much you still need to learn when it comes to dogs in general.

    You said so yourself that you think Thumper has ADD and is still getting acclimated to loud noises a month ago. He is still a puppy mentally and has barely even started his adolescent stage. My girl just hit 18 months and I cannot even begin to tell you how much she's changed since she was 7 months old. She didn't care for geese, birds, squirrels, or even other dogs back then. That all changed after she hit a year and has gained her drive in wanting to chase anything and everything that moves.

    While I'm sure you feel like we're not providing you with any info that you want to hear, please at least do him and yourself the favor of continuing to use the lead, at least until he's fully mature. We aren't saying that it's not possible, it definitely is and many have succeeded in training their Shibas. We just don't want to hear about another missing/hurt Shiba case that could have been prevented with a leash.
    Post edited by Nikkitine at 2016-04-26 20:21:40
  • niki82niki82
    Posts: 434
    I have a 6 month old Shiba pup.We have practiced recall together almost from the start. She is only a baby so of course she sticks close to me when off lead. However I have always been very very careful with where we practice and am always on constant look out for strange people, dogs, birds and rabbits.Since my pup's broken leg has healed we have had to begin training all over again. Only minutes at a time. I could never ever imagine allowing my pup off lead around busy roads or town etc.. What if a pup decides to break out into a Shiba 500/zoomie near a road? They get so excited they wouldn't hear their owner calling them back. Every time my girl is off lead it is stressful and i am always watching even though i know she is just a baby right now and more dependent on me. This will change though as she ages. I believe that if an owner is going to have their Shiba off lead it can only ever be in isolated areas and constant vigilance is a must. Never be complacent. Regardless of how good a Shiba is with recall it is a risk each time they are off lead. I also believe an owner will need to constantly reinforce recall training for the whole of their Shiba's life.
    Post edited by niki82 at 2016-04-27 02:27:29
  • JuniJuni
    Posts: 1268
    I actually know quite a few off leash Shibas here in Sweden, but mine is not one of them. There's a few places or circumstances that I know are safe for her to be off leash but she has a very strong prey drive so I'd rather not risk it elsewhere.

    The ones I know and have met are usually off leash in the woods but most still take off after fresh tracks or animals but come back reasonably soon. Atleast the owners seem to feel it is reasonably soon.

    It is illegal in general to let your dog chase and stress wild animals and during March-August it is strictly forbidden to have your dog off leash unless you have absolutely full control and perfect recall.

    Some of the owners to the offleash Shibas like to argue on Facebook that it is up to the owner of the dog to get good recall which I find quite provocative since it implies that the rest of us are useless dog trainers and the dog is just a little robot without any instinct or personality.
  • pyleapylea
    Posts: 235
    I don't understand why some people are so eager to have an off-leash dog anyway. Is it to "brag" to other dog owners? Whenever I see dogs off-leash in the city (as opposed to designated dog areas or in nature) I just think the owners are being arrogant and irresponsible. There's nothing wrong with keeping a dog on-leash, particularly in areas where it's illegal and/or ill-advised to have dogs off-leash.

    I work on recall with Pylea a lot, which came in handy the 3 times I accidentally dropped her leash (twice next to a road and once in the forest) because she came back immediately. She also does extremely well at the 9+ acre fenced-in dog park. She's ready to leave the park when I say, "let's go," and comes bounding from the far end of the park or the other side of a hill when I say, "come," even if she was in the middle of digging or investigating a bird.

    That said, I would NEVER trust her off-leash in an open space. She is very much a shiba (and a baby one at that), and I wanted a shiba. I literally don't see the point in risking it...? I clip her leash to me when we go hiking/backpacking/camping, she runs daily in a giant fenced park, and I use a 20-foot leash in unfenced spaces. The hassle is negligible and far outweighs the risk of her running off and getting lost and/or injured.

    I guess this was not much more than a rant, but I get so annoyed when a friend of mine says that Pylea needs more freedom, that I'm being overprotective, and that "she'll be fine" off-leash. >:(
  • LilikoiLilikoi
    Posts: 1199
    This forum is against shibas being off leash because this forum is about shibas. People with experience with shibas just happen to make up most of this site. xD It's not just a forum member thing, it's a responsible shiba owner thing. All responsible breeders that I talked to while searching for a pup made sure I knew that shibas weren't off leash dogs (most said never, one said unless constant dedicated training is put in, and even then it's a risk). Personally, I'd find it hard to trust the world around me enough to let any dog off leash. There are so many irresponsible people who just let their dogs off leash anywhere, even places that aren't allowed, and say "they're friendly" as if that gives them a free pass to break the law. And their dogs still turn out to be aggressive... Plus wildlife, cars, people who would steal a dog... Maybe I'm overly cautious, but it's because I adore my shiba and want him to live a long, healthy life. To me it's just a high risk without much reward.

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