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When did your shiba puppy become well trained?
  • Hey all,

    I had gotten my puppy from a reputable breeder and my breeder has been amazing. I started him in puppy training classes at 9 weeks and I made the terrible mistake of only training my puppy at home and not outside (this was due to the fact that my puppy hadn't gotten any other vaccinations yet and my apartment complex is FULL of other dogs). Due to that, he didn't have the ability to go outside and run around since it was an open grassy field. He had built up all of this energy and had begun releasing it by barking, pulling on leash, play biting, etc when outside. The trainer and my breeder was SO shocked that at 10 weeks, he was not leash trained yet. The breeder was especially concerned about his attitude and hinted at me putting him through a boarding & training week with another trainer.

    Because he was so out of control at his second puppy training class, he is behind on his training. Of course now, I'm going to attempt to train him outside where there are a ton of distraction. But I am wondering when you guys had a fully trained puppy and how did you deal with letting your puppy exercise when you live in an area that has a bunch of strange dogs and an open field? For context, I discouraged all biting by stopping and holding him until he calmed down before resuming play. From reading the forum, it seemed like as long as you are consistent and persistent, he will eventually get it and stop biting. But my breeder and trainer are SO concerned about his biting that it made it seem like he shouldn't be biting at all? Overall, he's very calm at well behaved at home. Outside, he's super excited and energized and has a ton of energy.

    I am just wondering if my breeder and trainer is overreacting?
  • LilikoiLilikoi
    Posts: 864
    I big time doubt the credibility of your breeder and trainer if they're so shocked that a 10 week old puppy isn't perfectly leash trained and is biting. ALL puppies, especially shibas, are very mouthy for a long time; like a little kid flailing their arms around and hitting because they haven't yet learned how to communicate their excitement and frustration. And just like you wouldn't ground or send a baby / toddler to their room for punishment, you shouldn't be too concerned about harshly reprimanding a baby dog or trying to put an immediate stop to their typical puppy behavior.

    I also don't think there is really any reachable point for any dog where it turns from total miscreant to well behaved angel haha. I think training is a forever ongoing process. My Shiba boy is 9 months old. He's pretty well behaved, but still when he's overly tired or hasn't had enough stimulation, he can and will act out. He's also in his adolescence so be looking forward to that with your pup. ;) Earlier today he was barking at me while I was eating food hahah. I've never shared food with him, and he now knows that he's not going to get any of my food no matter what he tries...jumping, begging, barking, being destructive to get my attention on him... Haha they will test the boundaries. That's totally normal.

    Ozzy was very bitey as a younger pup. Now he no longer bites but he loves to lick instead haha. I taught him "soft" by having him lick a little bit of peanut butter off of my hand, and I always had a toy in my pocket to redirect his biting. If he gets his mouth on me accidentally, like during play and isn't being careful to look out for hands, I'd use the "ouch" method. If we were playing and he started biting me intentionally, I would get up and leave in a huff haha. I would sometimes put him in 15-30 second time outs in the kitchen (behind baby gate) if he was particularly intentional in his naughtiness, then release him like nothing had even happened. Or, if he was over excited and biting because of it, I would redirect to practicing some obedience with treats like sit, down, etc.

    It's definitely good to practice obedience in other settings than just at home. I still take time during our walks to practice in different settings. I think it really helps to build trust and strengthen the connection between you two. I was more concerned about making sure that my pup got plenty of socialization, so I carried him to many places when he was a puppy, and practiced walking on a leash even in our apartment and around outside.

    Don't beat yourself up too much. Raising a rambunctious puppy is a lot of work! So don't be discouraged. Stay consistent and positive, don't worry about other people and their opinions about what your pup should and shouldn't be capable of. Focus on what's best for your pup and stay motivated.
    Post edited by Lilikoi at 2016-08-16 19:23:11
  • imBLASIANimBLASIAN
    Posts: 360
    Although non-vaccinated areas and dogs are a worry, you still need to socialize your pup and get them accustomed to seeing other animals, sites, sounds, etc. I did that by carrying my pup everywhere with me for the first few weeks. I too started a positive puppy socialization class at 9 weeks, but I made sure that wasn't the only social interaction or exercise she got that day by playing fetch, chase, tricks, etc. so that some of the energy was used up before the class. The class structure was about 30 minutes play/socialize and then 30 minutes of training, which also helped.

    How long have you had your pup? Are you trying clicker training? Do you make sure to treat him when he is silent and reacting positively to his surroundings (ie as soon as you see a stranger, start stuffing him with treats so he associates strangers with treats)?
  • You said that something about his attitude concerned them, do you remember what they said?

    Is it just play biting or him being over excited? During class are they implementing anything to calm your dog down? We had dogs in our puppy class that were way too excited and we always took the time to wait for our pups to calm down before moving on. If a dog was having a hard time calming down, they were taken a little further away in the room and they sat down with the trainer and the owner while the rest of us worked on whatever we were teaching our pups that day.

    There were some quirks that other people might have said my dog had an attitude about but really wasn't an attitude thing. Ham doesn't like being pet on the top of his head by strangers. Period. If someone asks to pet my dog I tell them to go under the chin. Ham doesn't react badly, but he will walk away from someone who tries to pet him on the top of his head. People might perceive that as anti-social behaviour, but it isn't. In fact, Ham is and has always been extremely people friendly.

    Ham hated being touched on his collar when he was a puppy. He wouldn't bite, but he would put his mouth on people when they tried to grab his collar if he wasn't able to slip away first. So my puppy class instructor and I worked to desensitize Ham to that. So that any time Ham earned a reward, as he was eating it from our hand, we lightly touched his collar, for a moment, then a few seconds, then we held onto his collar. Then we were able to get him to stay calm if a stranger did the same thing.

    Ham was (and is) always very excited to see other dogs and he was notorious for play biting and even today if he gets distracted on our walks, he might pull the leash. Ham is two years old.

    Personally, leash training, particularly loose leash took a long time for me and Ham. I wouldn't feel bad about that. I still don't feel bad about that. I don't feel bad about Ham's mouthiness, that's how he engages with his environment, my puppy class instructor and I put more emphasis into soft mouth training.

    Ham and I also live in apartments and when he was a puppy, we would have extended playtime sessions indoors until he was relatively tired. Then I would take him out to train outside. When Ham was tired, he was much more agreeable to keep his focus on me so he could learn the rules of being outside. But it takes time. You've had your dog for two weeks and you and your puppy are still learning how to communicate with each other.

    Going back to my earlier question about his behaviour, unless there's something else that is concerning your puppy class instructor or breeder, I personally wouldn't be too concerned, but I would try to stay consistent and dedicated to your training times.

    But one of the nice things about Shibas is they are pretty small. So if your dog ever gets overstimulated, you can carry them away from the situation before it goes sour. But getting your pup outside is a great first step, I think your trainers are over-reacting.
    Post edited by Justifiedgaines at 2016-08-16 19:47:34
  • @Lilikoi and @imBLASIAN: I got him from San Jo Kennels in Redmond (Leslie as she's pretty well known in the Shiba world). I carried him everywhere with me too just to get him socialized, which is why he's not leash trained. However, when the trainer and Leslie saw that I was always carrying him outside, they wanted him to walk on the floor and wanted him leash trained. In fact, they think he's behind on training because I was told that by this time, they should be walking respectfully and politely on a leash. The trainer isn't using clickers, but is using positive reinforcement and treats. My dog loves people to the point he will jump on them, lick them, and sometimes play with them by biting. I didn't think carrying him around for the first few weeks was a big deal but apparently it is for leash training. At this point, it kind of feels like I have to put him in a potentially vulnerable environment to train him well. Thanks for the encouraging words...I was discouraged because they made it seem like I shouldn't have carried him at all and that because he wasn't behaving outside, I wasn't doing my duty as a dog owner.

    @Justifiedgaines: During the puppy training class, my dog was constantly pulling on his leash trying to get to the other dogs. He wouldn't listen to me or focus on me regardless of what treats I had. When he did smell the treat, he would attempt to bite it from my hand and not listen to commands. If he didn't get the treat, he'd just go back to pulling at the leash to get to other dogs. At some point during the class when the trainer was demonstrating something with another dog, my dog started barking at the demo dog and the trainer. The trainer even came by to tell me that my dog was being a brat and he needed to go to daycare. The trainer then emailed my breeder detailing these attitude issues.
    Post edited by Jessawong at 2016-08-16 19:50:37
  • spacedogsspacedogs
    Posts: 222
    [mod edit: removed inappropriate language] Can I say that? I don't know if I can say that ... :-? [mod note: No, you can not say that.]


    When were my dogs perfectly leash trained? So far, never.

    Mostly, sure yeah they walk lovely if there's just one of them maybe 98% of the time but maybe 75% of the time they walk lovely if I take them both at the same time on the tandem leash. And by lovely I mean they walk without pulling me in to ditches or other dogs but they still exhibit interest, occasionally pull toward something, sometimes ignore me when I say "leave it" as they snatch up whatever supposed prize they'd discovered. They have learned not to bite at the leash, that's really about the only thing they get right 100% of the time.

    Perfectly trained for everything? PFFFFFFFTT.

    Also your puppy is ignoring you because it doesn't know any better. First thing you teach a new dog is that it's rewarding to focus on you and follow your lead. The simplest way to do this is with something like a "watch me" command. Find a treat that he sees as really high value, hold it behind your back or out at arms length, and wait for him to make eye contact with you. As SOON as he does say YES! (or use a clicker if you have one) and reward him with that treat. Repeat process, he'll learn that you're looking for eye contact, eventually add in a command word (we personally use "watch me" with our dogs, a friend uses "eyes" with hers). Once he's learned this at home, start doing it other places. Different rooms in your home, hallways, elevators, cars, shopping. Proof the behavior in as many places as you can. Once he learns that it's rewarding to pay attention to you no matter where you are he'll pay attention to you whenever you ask.

    Also you can work on leash training in your home, too, and I'd recommend trying a harness for it instead of a collar. See if you can pick up one that fastens at the back and the front so you can work on his pulling (front clipping harness) and then swap to the back clasp once he's got his manners down.

    Given your pups age and unwillingness to pay attention to you thus far I also suspect you're lacking some consistency in laying down boundaries and expectations. If something is not allowed it has to always be not allowed. You can't say "no chewing on shoes" and then allow chewing on shoes at 4 am on a Tuesday because you left the hall light on and your dog can see them & it's 4 am and you don't want to get up to stop them or turn the light off because a dog will translate that in to "I can chew on this shoe at 4 am on Tuesday when my Owner is in bed and the light in the hallway is on." It's exactly the same as proofing things like "sit" in different rooms and places and scenarios, because if you don't your dog learns that "sit" means sit on the kitchen floor on Monday when Dad is wearing slippers and it's exactly 3:30 p.m. and he has the bacon treats in their hand and a glass of water on the counter and the cat is sitting on the table looking out the window."



    Post edited by sunyata at 2016-08-18 08:28:24
  • imBLASIANimBLASIAN
    Posts: 360
    Oh you're in the PNW? So am I. Half the people I met have pups from San Jo. In fact Ponyo's main shiba buddy is from there.

    He's a puppy though, he'll grow out of it. Ponyo used to do that, but now the only strangers she is excited for are men in suits, motorcyclists, and construction workers. She still jumps and licks and mouths all of her(my) friends, much to my dismay. However, she is getting a lot better. How do you take your dog potty? Ponyo practiced on leash on the way to the potty and she practiced in puppy class and is now perfectly fine. Yes, there were times when she was really distracted, and did the exact same thing as your pup does (looking at the distraction, but still trying to get the treat) but as we went through the classes, she definitely got better with focus. As long as you're consistent, he'll grow up to be wonderful. You may also want to look at more high-value treats and also maybe go to a really distractiony-place outside of the class and practice without that specific trainer.
  • So I just got back from his daycare and my breeder suggested that I sell him back to her. She said she's worried that he might go to the dark side and that he may be too much dog for me. She suggests I go with an easier breed or a dog that doesn't require a ton of exercise. She says that if I'm willing to really work with her, him, and the trainer, there may be hope for him yet.

    Obviously I'm not feeling too good. She says that he was fighting her when she would do things to him and he needs a strong pack leader. She says he currently sees me as a dog which is why he tries to bite me or mouth on me.
  • spacedogsspacedogs
    Posts: 222
    Persistence and consistency. If you don't have either you should not own a dog of any breed.

    Dogs are not pack animals and your dog knows you aren't a dog, it isn't blind or stupid, just young and lacking clear boundaries and rules.

    Work on teaching him to watch you. Use a higher reward treat (some hot dog or cheese - very tiny pieces). Take him out of his crate, put a harness and a leash on him, and don't let him wander off. Reduce his options, set him up for success as much as possible, and be CONSTANT and on point with rewarding and acknowledging the behavior you want.
  • LilikoiLilikoi
    Posts: 864
    Ok. I didn't recognize your name before and was thinking your pup was still 10 weeks. Yeah San Jo has a pretty good reputation. This trainer telling you your puppy is a brat for not being a perfect angel was pretty uncalled for lol. You're attending a class, you're obviously there to work on behavior and she is supposed to help you, not blame you.

    I also don't agree with the pack leader mentality. And I feel like the situation might be beyond what we know... Keep working with your breeder and the trainer. I really hope it can all be worked out, keep us updated! Definitely requires a lot of dedication. Are you nearby enough for Leslie to work with you in person??
  • niki82niki82
    Posts: 434
    I know that ethical breeders will never hesitate to take back one of their pups. I guess what I'm struggling to understand is the language that has supposedly been used by this breeder in regards to your pup and it's training etc..
    I have to wonder what exactly they meant when they said they wanted you to"return" the pup to them because they are worried he is going over to the "dark side." what an odd thing to say. What exactly do they plan on doing with the pup if you agree and give him back to them.
    I really feel like I'm missing a vital part of the story here, are you sure there isn't anything else that has happened? This just seems like such a strange way for a breeder to behave unless she is concerned for the pup's welfare. If I may ask, how pressured do you feel to give up your pup?
  • @niki82: This all started from how he was behaving at puppy training and my breeder got an email from the trainer about his behavior. I do not know what was in the email so I can only tell you what I observed my puppy doing during the training class and what the trainer said to me. I contacted the breeder about taking him in for something like a supervised play time and she emailed back asking me to consider putting him in daycare the next day (something my trainer also suggested but I had a misunderstanding that my breeder wouldn't take him because I thought she had a time restruction). My breeder also said in the email that she had saw some of his attitude when I had brought him in at 9.5 weeks to get his nails trimmed. When I brought him in for daycare, she said she was concerned because he should be further along in his training already (I. E leash trained and walking politely). At the end of the day care, I went to pick him up and she told me she'd like me to consider selling him back to her. She said he was growling at her when her hand went under his chin and it took her half an hour before he finally gave up and realized he couldn't pull any bs with her. By the dark side, she meant that she didn't want him to end up biting some stranger when he grows older which is why she wants him back to ensure that doesn't happen before it's too late. She wants to correct him so she can place him with someone else. She says that I need to discipline him more and show him I'm the pack leader and that he can't pull crap with me. She also said he needs a lot of exercise and that I need to provide that to him and also have him play with other dogs. I agree with all of that which is why I plan on bringing him to day care twice a week for the next few weeks. She says she's willing to work with me if I'm willing to work with all of them and that there "may be hope yet" if I do. I feel kind of pressured because it was really discouraging to hear all of that. I didn't think the situation was that bad and honestly thought I would have more time to get him to that level of training.
  • LilikoiLilikoi
    Posts: 864
    I'm confused. I thought your pup was a girl..? hahah so confused.

    I think it's good that you're doing the daycare and working with the breeder. It definitely takes a strong leader to own a shiba (though I wouldn't use "pack leader" myself because it sounds a lot like dominance theory).
  • imBLASIANimBLASIAN
    Posts: 360
    Is part of the issue that you got two puppies at the same time? If you got a girl puppy (Rey) back in February and now you have a 10-week-old boy, that's a lot to handle and I could understand why Leslie would offer to take him back. I'm actually surprised that she let you have one of her puppies if you already had Rey, since its pretty well known that raising two puppies at the same time is extremely difficult and not advised. You would have to train, play, and feed them separately and puppies are a lot of work, especially for first time or new-puppy owner.....
  • No I don't have 2 puppies at the same time. It's just the one puppy and I do not ever plan on getting a second puppy or dog. I am well aware that it's very difficult and I do not want a second one. Rey is not mine. I'm sorry for the confusion as I share this account with my previous roommate who owns Rey.
  • LilikoiLilikoi
    Posts: 864
    If he is only 10 weeks than I don't think it should be a shock that he isn't perfectly trained, and maybe you just need to show the breeder that you're dedicated. Also I don't think you're allowed to share an account.
  • imBLASIANimBLASIAN
    Posts: 360
    Okay thanks for the clarification. Shibas are really cute and i could see why you would want one after having spent some time with a shiba puppy, but the breed isn't "eager to please" like a golden retriever or border collie. Ditto the rest of what Lilikoi said.
  • zandramezandrame
    Posts: 1086
    First thing, sharing accounts is not allowed. You or your friend should create a separate one as soon as possible.

    Second, how old is your puppy now? The implication here is that he is 10 weeks, but none of the behavior you describe is unusual for a young Shiba, they are usually mouthy and rude and terrible on leash. And this lasts for at least 6 months.

    However, your breeder is one of the best in the country. If she is seeing warning signs in this puppy I would trust her on that. I think all that stuff about having a perfectly trained puppy at 10 weeks is BS, but she might be seeing other signs that are not as easy to focus on. Though I am surprised she didn't notice sooner - breeders usually have a good idea of puppy temperament before they are matched to appropriate homes. If he's really only 10 weeks old, those 2 weeks would not make a drastic difference. And yes, many people carry their young puppies around to socialize while minimizing disease exposure. There might be more to this story than you are able to convey.

    But it sounds like Leslie has reevaluated him and offered to take him back. Did she offer a replacement? Or she thinks a Shiba is a bad fit for you? Her comment about exercise and socialization stands out. Tell us more about your daily routine. Are you up for the challenge of a "difficult" Shiba? Would you be willing to work with a behaviorist to address issues, now and later? I do suggest you get an evaluation from somebody not affiliated with Leslie, who will give proper feedback to you rather than report back to her.
  • @zandrame: Ahh I see sorry about that. We just figured it would be the quickest way since we had lived together at the time and we would need help when she had gotten her pup.

    He just hit 11 weeks. She thinks a Shiba is a bad fit for me. She thinks they need a strong pack leader, which I was not putting myself up to be. She says the things he was displaying was textbook him not respecting me. I also think she probably saw him starting to get aggressive (judging by his initial response to me or Leslie doing anything to him he didn't like by growling and then escalating to biting). She says that had she saw him display those symptoms when he was with her, she would not have placed him with me.

    My daily routine was this:
    715-730AM: Wake up. Take puppy outside to potty on a flexi lead. I usually carried him down the stairs and to the grassy area where he is then able to run around and do his business/a little bit of play.
    800AM: Breakfast
    830-10: Puppy play time (usually involved him playing with his toys indoors).
    10AM: Potty break. Again carry and flexi lead.
    1015: Nap
    1230: Lunch
    1PM: Potty
    130: Puppy play time. I use some of this time to play catch or I have a long rope toy that I drag around and he chases.
    3: Training
    330: Potty then Nap
    530-6: Dinner
    6PM: Depending on what I need to do, I'll repeat puppy play time from above and training or I take him out to run errands to get him socialized.
    10PM: Bedtime.

    I plan on changing it so that 2/7 days of the week, he will go to daycare with Leslie, if I plan on keeping him. I'm also going to incorporate more training sessions in between.

    It is exactly like you said. Had anyone else but Leslie (who is VERY well known with the Shiba community) told me that Shiba's might not be for me, I would have disregarded it. I would have thought "yeah but training takes time and i'll take him out to get socialized with dogs and people". I also think one of the biggest issues is that I do not know how to train a dog (but that's what I thought puppy training classes were for?). She constantly told me he needed to be disciplined and that I needed to be a strong pack leader.

    I get where she's coming from. She wants the best for her dogs and if I'm not providing the puppy a structured and disciplined enough environment, it wouldn't make sense for me to keep him.

    I guess my question now is, what would you guys do?
    Post edited by Jessawong at 2016-08-17 20:35:26
  • spacedogsspacedogs
    Posts: 222
    I gotta ask, what type of training are you taking your puppy to?

    What methods do they use, and how much do you participate?
  • I'm taking him to a positive reinforcement training class that Leslie has on her recommendations list. What do you mean by participate? We just finished the second lesson this past Sunday. It's an hour long and the instructor usually demonstrates a trick, which the entire class then tries on their own and the instructor and TA walk around to help you if necessary. Thats the entire hour. You are free to stay after or email the trainer with any questions. I ask a few questions that I have at the time and have sent a few emails for advice on certain things. I always try to get him to do the tricks while there. The first week he was fine. The second week, he was so disruptive and rowdy, I couldn't get him to do anything except look at me and 1 down.
    Post edited by Jessawong at 2016-08-17 21:23:45
  • LilikoiLilikoi
    Posts: 864
    I would've prepared a lot more for a puppy by learning how to train a dog. It's not that the dog needs to be trained, it's that the human needs to be trained. Waiting until the dog is there to learn training means you're going to make a lot of mistakes which could've been prevented by being more prepared. Do you not work? During your pup's nap times, I'd do a lot more research on training if you're really dedicated to giving your puppy the best life possible. Sophia Yin has a lot of good videos, as well as a book. I also really liked the book the Puppy Primer.
  • I work across the street which is why his schedule is so flexible. I did a ton of research but everything is conflicting. The only thing that stayed consistent is the fact that you cannot enforce bad behavior. How and when you enforce bad behavior also varied. Believe me I am trying and he is okay with commands at home along with leash training. I am working on outside and I even talked to my trainer about it and she said it's expected, since he's a puppy and to give it time. He's not bad... He doesn't yell or scream or growl in his crate.he doesn't chew on furniture or scratch at anything he's not supposed to. He bites me when he plays with me but I'm working on that. AFAIK it doesn't take 3 weeks for that to go away. He would bark at me or jump at me when being disciplined but I am also working on that. If I knew how to train a dog, I wouldn't need to go to puppy classes. I could just go to puppy playtime.
  • Also about half of the things in the puppy primer book discourages things my trainer and breeder recommended. :/
  • LilikoiLilikoi
    Posts: 864
    Like what? It's a pretty gentle introduction to raising a puppy lol. If you read something searching for contradictions, you're not going to find a forum very helpful. Training is different for every dog and every owner. There's no secret recipe that exists in one puppy class or one book. It's always a learning process. But it's never too early to begin.

    If he's not naughty, then congratulations, the problem you originally brought up as been solved.. Though it seems like the issue is bigger than you let on if the breeder is suggesting you return the puppy.

    Also, make sure you're doing what's best for the puppy rather than focussing on your pride and not wanting to fail at raising a puppy or prove to anyone that you're capable. Of course you are. But some pairs don't mesh, and if what's really best for this puppy is to work with the breeder and find a better match while he's still young and extra impressionable, that's no fault of your own. Talk with your breeder about what is really best for this pup, and commit to whatever the outcome is wholeheartedly. Puppies take a LOT of dedication. And it sounds like your scenario is going to take extra dedication from you. If that's something you look forward to, do it. Take it on. If that's something that makes you feel unsettled and doubtful, know that it isn't your fault if the match isn't perfect, and luckily since you went with a good breeder, you have the option to let her work with him and get him to a place that is a better fit for his personality if necessary. It's better to give him a second chance now than in the future if you later decide that the challenge is too much for you to handle. If you're okay with the additional cost and strain of caring for a potentially aggressive or resistant pup and can provide him with a forever happy home for the next 15+ years, awesome. We're here to help as best we can, as is your breeder.
    Post edited by Lilikoi at 2016-08-18 01:32:03
  • Like choke collars were recommended to me by the breeder to get him leash trained. Also that when it comes to the home grooming part, i should let him throw his tantrum but still continue with it until he stops struggling and then praise him. Also holding down his tongue when mouthing me or pulling his leash when he's jumping on strangers. These were all recommended for me to use on him.

    I'm not saying he's not naughty at all. He just isn't showcasing a ton of those usual bad habits I usually read about at home and I do not know what other habits he was demonstrating while at day care aside from what happened the second class at puppy training. Its not a matter of pride. I understand where she's coming from and I am thinking about it. What gets to me is that it's only been 3 weeks. I don't understand what the expectations should be already at 11 weeks? And it seemed so rash to suggest giving him back when I was willing to put him into her day care twice a week? It doesn't seem like she's worried about the puppy problems. It seems like she's SO doubtful of my ability to handle a dog that she's not willing to risk it.
  • niki82niki82
    Posts: 434
    @jessawong I'm so sorry you and your pup are going through this. Your original question was "when did your shiba puppy get trained?''
    In answer to your question, my girl is 10 months old and is going through adolescence and enjoying pushing boundaries. I work on lessons with Sora every day and she has also been to puppy preschool. I have recently contacted an obedience trainer who specializes in teaching owners positive techniques to teach their dog and get them on track to successful behavior. Sora is not completely trained and I'm pretty sure there is no completely trained off switch anyway. We work with our dogs the rest of their lives to reinforce what they have learned.
    I can hear the frustration and fear in your words. I Also hear how much you love your puppy and want to help him be the very best he can be.you also seem overwhelmed and confused. @zandrame mentioned that you should seek an opinion with a trainer or the like not affiliated with your breeder.... I agree with that statement.
    This is your puppy.enjoy him and have fun with him. Also, until you seek that advice from different professionals, (who also understand shiba behavior) please don't give him up.work with him and practice his lessons and play together. You sound really down and puppy play time and a puppy hug can do wonders. ;)
    Post edited by niki82 at 2016-08-18 04:05:34
  • zandramezandrame
    Posts: 1086
    I don't see anything wrong with your schedule, except that you could probably do more socialization. Check out this thread for ideas -
    http://www.shibainuforum.org/forum/discussion/5953/a-socialization-checklist-puppies-before-16-weeks/p1

    So based on what you've added, I recommend finding a different trainer entirely. Choke chains and forceful methods are just asking for trouble with a willful breed, especially if you aren't really committed to it. Forceful handling is still pretty common in the show circuit, but these people are also very experienced (i.e. prepared to handle the backlash) in what they are doing.

    Training is important to introduce pups to basic manners, but trick training is entirely unnecessary. At this stage you should be focusing on socialization with your environment and safe play with other dogs. A puppy kindergarten class is the best start. Here's a link that discuses Seattle trainers -
    http://www.shibainuforum.org/forum/discussion/comment/227821#Comment_227821

  • spacedogsspacedogs
    Posts: 222
    @zandrame I think she said it was the breeder who recommended a choke collar and dominance methods, not the trainer. Sounds like she's going to a positive reinforcement trainer that was on a recommended list from her breeder.

    I think the trainer is probably fine but a proper behaviorist might be a good route to go instead of doing anything the breeder has suggested. :o
  • @spacedogs exactly. I think what she's also worried about is that he's showing a ton of aggression... Like growling at her and me when we try to handle him to get him to do things like sit, down, or grooming. I don't really know how he developed such aggression with me for 3 weeks.
  • spacedogsspacedogs
    Posts: 222
    @Jessawong Is it possible for you to get a video of what you're referring to as a "ton of aggression"?
  • zandramezandrame
    Posts: 1086
    Ah, I see. That makes more sense. In that case I'd actually stay away from her daycare because those are probably the methods she'll continue to use on him - the ones he fights her back on. As long as he's your dog and not hers, the training style is your decision. Sits and downs are easy to shape without physical force, and should be fun for both of you. It isn't good that he is "aggressive" while training. Handling is the same - he should be taught that hands on him are a GOOD thing rather than something to fight (the opposite is what can lead to a bite).

    But I also think the class you are in is a poor fit. You don't need trick training right now. Your puppy is frustrated and wants to play, and that's fine for his age. And a trainer who skips over me to give feedback to the breeder instead would not continue to see my business. Most puppy classes mix in a fair bit of training in between play anyway, the sits, downs, leash walking, etc.
  • I agree, a tired dog is easier to train with.

    At our puppy class, they would have some play time at the beginning of class to burn off some energy and allow them to meet the other dogs in the room. After that, it was much easier to keep Ham's attention.

    Even when we worked on training outside of puppy class, training would follow a lengthy play session and would be full of cheese and boiled chicken for Ham. Have you tried playing with him for a significant amount of time before taking him to class? Even before a walk or other training?
  • @spacedogs I don't have a video and I don't really want to intentionally get him into an aggressive situation. I'll give you an example of what happened at home though. After day care, around 7pm, I took him in a room I usually have him play and nap during the day. He really likes chewing on this cow hoof and he went straight for that in his play pen. Now he likes to take that hoof and bring it out to the middle of the room and chew on it. This time though, I was sitting at the entrance of the play pen so he'd have to go around me or on me to get to that spot. But as he tried to get past me, I stopped him by moving him back to the play pen. Eventually he snapped. As in he tried biting my hand, and launching himself at me while barking and baring his teeth and pawing at my arms. I had to hold him by his collar so that he couldn't get to me. Eventually he calmed down and stayed in that pen. I have to ask, is that nornal for a puppy? Should I have let him pass through? How should I have handled that situation?


    The trainer I'm working with does not allow dogs in the classroom interacting with each other. Her handout specifically states that the dogs are not allowed to sniff or do anything to the other dogs. Her reasoning is that some dogs will do something that could completely traumatize the other dogs so she doesn't allow it. I try taking him to puppy playtime at petCo, but either I was the Only one there or I couldn't make it. I'm going to try taking him to another petCo this weekend in addition to day care over the week.

    I hope this is him just not getting enough play and exercise and not a more serious and deeper issue.
    Post edited by Jessawong at 2016-08-18 17:04:12
  • imBLASIANimBLASIAN
    Posts: 360
    I wouldn't take him to play time at petco as they dont usually sanitize their floors and the training/play area is right in the middle where your pup could pick up some disease since he hasn't had all his vaccinations yet.

    I agree that maybe you should find a different training class that allows play time. It really does help when they're a bit worn down. A tired shiba is a good shiba.
  • LilikoiLilikoi
    Posts: 864
    Also socialization and interaction with other dogs is really important for social development as puppies. It sounds like you're determined to do what's best for your pup but are just learning what that is. That's awesome.
  • Not to shit on your parade but my Shiba is 7 years old and is obedient when it suits her.
  • spacedogsspacedogs
    Posts: 222
    I wouldn't want you to put him in a situation to deliberately encourage aggression, was more asking if it was possible to set up and record something you know is most likely to inspire it - like record one of your training sessions, for instance.

    Definitely look in to puppy play times, and probably a different trainer, and definitely a different day care. Your breeder uses dangerous training methods, you don't have to tell her that but the puppy is still yours and I think if you want to give him the best possible chance of being a great dog & yourself the best tools to being a great pet parent it's time to look elsewhere. Find a positive reinforcement trainer that allows & encourages socialization, and a daycare that does too. I'm not sure what's available where you are but the dog school we used offered classes, grooming, daycare, and boarding services all under one roof & also had an Animal Behaviorist on staff that does in home consultations. Maybe you could find something similar near you.
  • The class you're in sounds like an obedience class and not a puppy class. Many puppy classes start some obedience foundation work, but many puppy classes are heavily focused on socialization, not only with other dogs and people but to strange things like wheelchairs, canes, strollers, skateboards, different terrains, like walking on a sewer lid, or a grate on the sidewalk, vacuum cleaners, prosthetics, people who walk with a strange gait or a limp, train sirens and other loud noises, just to name a few. Obedience classes are fine, but if you puppy isn't getting socialization there, you need to take special care to do it yourself. Even still, perhaps you can exercise your dog before your class. I also used to reserve some of Ham's food throughout the day. So he was well exercised and hungry (willing to take treats) before class.

    Treating and rewarding your puppy for good behaviour is super important, but I think having consequences helps better outline the rules.

    Do you have a time-out system in place? I don't remember Ham ever seriously snapping at me when he was young. But if he was misbehaving or had a bad attitude towards me or someone else in the house, he got some time in time-out. Ham's time out spot was his crate but if you can scrounge up another time-out spot I would advise it. I'd put him in his crate, and leave the room for 15 seconds or so. If he was calm and quiet, after fifteen seconds, he got to come out and play again. If he whined, cried or screamed, I'd wait until he was quiet for 10 seconds before coming in and letting him out. Time-out prevents puppy from getting what he wants when he wants it if he's being a butt about it. Taking away the thing the wants for a short period of time until he calms down can help teach him the rules.

    I used a similar thing with leash training Ham. If he pulled in a direction, wanting to go somewhere, he would not get to go there. Either we would stop and try again, or we would go the opposite way. If Ham got too frustrated, I picked him up, and we went home and both of us cooled down. It took time (a long time for us), but Ham learned that if he wants to go somewhere, he has to walk nicely to get there and if he doesn't want to follow the rules outside, he doesn't get the long walk outside that he wants. That being said, he's still not perfect at this, but doesn't get frustrated when we stop, he simply calms himself down.

    In addition, I had some simple commands that I worked on with Ham pretty early on, like 'inside.' I use the 'inside' command with Ham a lot. Ham has bones to chew on and he is only allowed to chew on them in certain areas, either inside his playpen or inside his crate. I don't have to physically move Ham and I didn't have to that much when he was younger. I could tell him to go inside. He'd go inside and get a high-value treat like come cheese or cooked chicken. That way, instead of potentially annoying my puppy (who generally didn't like to be touched [we worked A LOT on handling]) I was able to reward him instead. (This might be useful in the situation where he didn't like you physically placing him back in the pen).

    Some other ones I worked on in my puppy class to keep Ham's attention was look at me but something that was also helpful was teaching Ham to check in periodically with me--even in a very distracting area. When we were outside, anytime Ham glanced in my general direction, he got a piece of cheese, then he'd go back to looking around. And if he glanced in my general direction again, he'd get another cheese. After a while, he'd intentionally look at me for a fraction of a second. I'd reward him again. Then he'd stare at me for a second or two, more treats. This shows him that it's fine to enjoy the surrounding area, but even now, as we walk or go to the dog park, Ham checks in with me to see what I'm doing, and then can return to looking around. We usually sat on a bench in town while other people were walking their dogs. It would take him a while to calm down to that point he'd glance around, but I waited for it, so I can reward his good behaviour and build a new habit in him.

    The thing with stuff like this is to take baby steps. I always teach commands in baby steps. Even 'inside,' I started off by throwing cheese from outside the crate or pen into the pen. Ham would run in and get it. Then as he is coming out I'd say his release word 'come out.' I then worked my way to saying 'inside' then throwing the treat. Then I'd just say inside and Ham would run in. I'd then close the door and give him the treat through the crate. Say 'come out' and let him out. We did this over the course of a few weeks.

    I'd also say, if you feel it necessary, any time your puppy has a positive interaction with you, reward it either with play or a treat or something else that he wants. Also give him a lot of praises 'good boy' 'nice job' 'thank you.' If he is trying to do something against the rules, try to set him up for success to be rewarded by re-directing and giving a high-value treat/praise/toy/other-thing-that-puppy-is-interested-in.

    Some more questions from me aside from the time out thing, what kind of treats are you using? Is your dog more interested in toys than treats? Maybe instead of getting him to eat a treat, you can reward him by a short play session with a favourite toy. My instructor always says that a reward for a dog is anything that they want at the time. In our puppy class, they had these safety cones, Ham was always so interested in them. If he wasn't trying to get to another puppy, he was trying to get in the safety cone. So if Ham did the exercise we were doing, he got to go to the safety cone. Or he got to go sniff whatever else in the room he was interested in that day. Puppy classrooms were particularly distracting for Ham because they were full of tons of smells from other dogs that had been there throughout the week.

    My last puppy class was outside (ours was a series of three classes). I used to take Ham early to the spot that we were practicing in, and let him sniff around. If he found something that was interesting, a stick, leaves, a pinecone. I would pick it up and put it in my pocket. That way, our area was clear(ish) of distracting things, but then as a reward, Ham could get the stick that he wanted to chew on or to shred up the leaves he saw before.

    I would also say, don't feel bad if you feel like you are falling behind in your puppy class compared to everyone else, both you and your puppy are learning to communicate with each other. Go at your own pace. I'm sure if you really wanted, you instructor could email you some notes for when you're ready to go further.

    Lastly, I'd want to re-emphasize handling. Especially if you are physically moving your dog as a consequence of his actions. Make sure you work on handling with tons of treats and rewards so he doesn't associate hands on him with being punished or corrected. Especially for collar grabs.

    Sorry, I'm kind of long-winded and roundabout in my thoughts, but I hope this helps a bit.
    Post edited by Justifiedgaines at 2016-08-18 20:50:01
  • zandramezandrame
    Posts: 1086
    Jessawong said:

    He really likes chewing on this cow hoof and he went straight for that in his play pen. Now he likes to take that hoof and bring it out to the middle of the room and chew on it. This time though, I was sitting at the entrance of the play pen so he'd have to go around me or on me to get to that spot. But as he tried to get past me, I stopped him by moving him back to the play pen. Eventually he snapped.

    Just addressing this, what was the point of preventing him from exiting the pen with the hoof? Was he not supposed to have it? Did you not want him to leave the pen? Both of these are addressable with redirection and containment - trade him for something else so it's his choice, or simply close the door to the pen to keep him from leaving. Or was it "just because?" Avoid unnecessary confrontation with him, with physically trying to have your way. Always think first, is there a better way, a way for him to choose to agree with what you want from him. You'll see this phrase a lot around here but "set him up for success instead of failure." This applies to all training, handling, and socialization - if the dog is resisting something then slow down or try a different approach.

    Additionally, because you mentioned the cow hoof and have an "aggressive" labeled pup, I have to say - don't mess around or play games with his food. Don't take things special to him away without trading (like treats or toys, give something of equal or greater value to him). Don't put your hands in his food bowl while eating, or interrupt and remove the bowl/chew/toy to enforce "dominance." All of this leads to a fear of objects of value being taken, which directly causes resource guarding and aggression.

    I think you really need a good trainer who can help you out. Really, I see nothing wrong with your puppy's behavior. But you've been misguided by inappropriate expectations and training.

    Earlier I linked to a thread that discussed Seattle trainers. I'll go ahead and copy them here -

    Ahimsa in Ballard,
    Seattle Humane Society in Bellevue
    Four Paws is in Lynnwood
    Pawsitive Packleader, aggression specialist
    Diane Rich
    or look into some of these: http://best.king5.com/best/training/pets/western-washington
  • @zandrame and @justifiedgaines thank you so much for your post. What you guys were saying helped a lot. Honestly, I was going at my own pace and I was attempting to find what he's interested in. He's sometimes interested in treats. I haven't found one that he absolutely goes crazy for. He also will sometime want to play with a toy if I'm holding it or something. I admit I should have exercised him more in the first few weeks. But his breeders reaction to my progress with him and the fact that he didn't respect me really threw me off. I thought respect took time (longer than 3 weeks). She was also so concerned because when he was young, she handled him to get him used to handling and he was also handled by other people. But his reaction when she tried to handie him was growling. I was so confused. I had no idea because he would sometimes cuddle up to me. This entire situation was so confusing.

    The hoof thing was to train him to come out of the pen when I said "okay" to signal that he's okay to come out. We were also working on this with doors. But also, my breeder was talking about how he'll bite at me or come at me because he doesn't respect me and that I need to show him I'm the pack leader. This is all verbatim.

    I think now I'm going to go back to what I was doing and try to form a bond with him again but add more exercises and socialization. I want to see him successful. I was being pulled in so many directions but I am going to stick with positive reinforcement instead of trying to dominate him.
  • sandrat888sandrat888
    Posts: 576
    I am in your area and train my Shibas in sports, such as agility, obedience, rally and scent work. If you want, feel free to send me an email at dognewbie @ Google's free email

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