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Never Met A Shiba. What Do I Do?
  • Okay, here's the deal. My boyfriend and I are planning to get a Shiba puppy next year. I am not a first time dog owner, I have grown up with dogs my whole life. However, both of us have never seen a Shiba in person in our life. Never seen how they act, how they interact with people, ect. And I wanted to meet one.

    Sadly, I'm in an area were people don't really have Shiba Inus. I live close by a dog park and have visited there often, but never encountered a Shiba. I went the extra step and have asked potentially breeders that I was interested in, to see if I can meet them and their Shiba Inus. One person said wait until August for the Shiba picnic, the other person has not responded yet.

    Someone said I should try to be around Shibas as much as possible, but I don't exactly know how else to go about it. I feel awkward and bad as it is asking breeder's to take time out of their day to meet them just to see the Shiba ane not be ready to buy a puppy yet. So, what do i do? How can I socialize with as many Shibas as possible before I bring one into my home?
  • If it helps any, I live in the mid-eastern part of Wisconsin.
  • AnjyilAnjyil
    Posts: 720
    Hey, AloraOfHearts. Don't feel too bad. I have had dogs all my life, too, and never really met or interacted with a Shiba before getting one. I live in Japan, and my husband had a Shiba when he was young, but the times have changed since those bygone days lol.

    You can watch videos and check out the life stories here on this forum--they give a great snapshot of the different personalities of Shibas. Videos give you an idea of how they behave/react.

    From what I have read, you shouldn't feel bad about talking to breeders to meet their dogs/etc. It is part of the job, and if they are reputable, they should be more than happy to help you out. At least, that is what I understand.

    Also, there is a meetups section here that you might want to check out and maybe even organize your own meetup. I think I have seen a few people on here claiming mid/north east areas. You might be able to get something or something might already be in the works. A year is a lot of time, so don't fret just yet.

    My assessment is that my Shiba is extremely cat-like. He is as obsessed with me as a dog, but he has the attitude of a cat XD
    Post edited by Anjyil at 2017-03-20 12:20:43
  • Mochi920Mochi920
    Posts: 357
    I personally don't believe it's necessary to meet a lot of Shibas to determine if you really want to raise one as long as you promise yourself and your future shiba that you'll stick through the responsibilities of owning one. Mochi is my first dog and I live in an area where there's very little to no Shibas (there aren't even any dog shows or as many dog meet ups) but I still went ahead and welcomed a shiba into my home. I did a lot of research before committing to one so I kind of already knew what to expect and such. What I did was watch tons of videos on Shibas and stalk this forum :)) when I brought mine home, I already expected certain behaviors and such. Did I need help? Sure as hell I did because they are a handful and no amount of research will fully prepare you for shiba puppyhood lol As long as you can truly and honestly commit to a shiba, did your research (A lot of it), and have patience and time for training one, you don't have to worry about not being able to meet a lot of Shibas before welcoming yours home.

    If you really want to socialize with a shiba, then go ahead and meet with a breeder. A reputable breeder will be glad that you want to get to know Shibas before committing to one so they will be more than happy to let you interact with them. Even if you aren't going to buy one now, theyll know you're preparing to bring one into your home later on and that you're a responsible potential buyer. They will be more welcoming towards you when you are ready to bring one of their puppies to your home. So don't feel bad about pestering them because most of the reputable will understand and will stay patient with you.
  • JackStateJackState
    Posts: 120
    There's a Dane County Shiba group on Meetup.com. I didn't see anything closer when I searched. I don't know what mid-eastern WI is so I just punched in big radius around Neenah.

    It's totally a good idea to go pet Shibas at a meetup like this. Videos are a great idea too. I think you'll find that they are dogs first and foremost, and if you are familiar with dogs then you have translatable skills. You probably have seen in other dogs some of the behavioral traits associated with the breed such as independence, intelligence, stubbornness and alertness, though maybe not packaged all together and to the same degree.

    But I can't really endorse the idea that going and meeting some stranger's Shiba is going to make you more prepared to own one than you already are from being familiar with dogs in general. A) A big part of the typical Shiba temperament has to do with trainability, and you won't get a good grasp of that aspect from just meeting someone else's Shiba. B) Sort of contradicting all that, even though some aspects of temperament may be pretty consistent among the breed as a whole, there's still some variance between individuals even before the effect of environment on behavior is considered. It's like a weighted dice roll. Conscientious breeders factor behavior in when planning litters which can keep consistency between generations in spite of natural genetic variance, but I wouldn't be surprised if more weight is given to morphology than temperament even among plenty of breeders who treat their dogs right and aren't running puppy mills (because this isn't a working dog breed). (Case in point, Ichabod thinks frogs are friends and can't abide us pooping without giving him access to visit.)

    TL;DR, when you do get your Shiba pup, you may or you may not get one who has, in relation to other dogs, heightened stubbornness, aloofness, reactivity, or prey drive, but you won't come away any more competent to deal with that just by briefly meeting some Shibas who may or may not tick any of those boxes. That you have past experience with dogs, that you care enough to research like this, and that you've got another human to help you speaks favorably enough about y'all's prospects. Find a good breeder, keep up the research, and get the pup when you and BF feel pretty stable in home & finances; but for now, just go find a way to play with a Shiba for the inherent value of playing with a Shiba :)

    Also, while you can't really teach a dog to be alert, socialization/friendliness to other dogs is something you have more control over. If you get a puppy, that is. Iirc, Sunyata has a lot to say on that matter, especially about dogs who have had traumatic experiences.
    Post edited by JackState at 2017-03-20 16:02:52

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