Puppy Training and My Shiba Inu

kuma and rileyThese are my dogs. Don’t let their sweet, innocent faces distract you- they are not sweet and innocent at all. When they don’t get their way they are like teddy bears that have come to life and scream and have very sharp teeth and claws. There is a special term called the “Shiba scream”. Trust me, people were not kidding around when they made up a special term for this. It’s like nothing you’ve ever heard. When we lived in an apartment, we were afraid dog control would show up when we brought out Kuma’s nail clippers.

Anyway. All of that to say, Shiba Inus are very smart and can be easy to train. If they want to learn something, no problem. If not, well… good luck to you. You will be subject to shrieking, thrashing, and general theatrics worthy of an Oscar.

Riley is 5 1/2 months old now. We have had her for 2 1/2 months, and started immediately on a few things to establish a routine and pack order: crate training, sit, and house training. Crate training was the easiest, and she really only cried for a few nights (her crate is in our bedroom, and she won’t have to sleep in it forever- just until she can be trusted to not eat everything she sees and kill herself).

Sit took several weeks, but she finally got it! Once she had it, we kept reinforcing it every time she got treats, when she gets fed, before she goes outside, etc. It’s the most basic command, so I wanted to know that she had it down. Then we went to lay. She doesn’t care for it. I think it’s because she has to lay all the way down and it’s submissive, but obviously I’m not sure. It only took her about two weeks to learn lay. Check out how cute she is!

House training was a big strain on the whole household. We thought it would be easy. We were mistaken. Neither of us had ever raised a puppy (we decided as children doesn’t count. the adults do all the work!), and we read everything we could find. In a fashion that I can only assume is similar to raising a child, it seemed a lot easier on paper. I would take her out every half hour, but she still would pee all over the floor with no warning- even when she had gone outside! We have wood floors, but she also managed to ruin every throw rug in the house that couldn’t be washed. Pee pads didn’t work, taking her outside didn’t work- I was so frustrated that I wasn’t able to communicate with her. I had heard of using a dog bell, but it seemed so ridiculous and annoying. I knew she would ring the bell every time she was bored, and probably not when she needed to. Weeeellll… in a fit of desperation, I got these bells from Amazon (this is an affiliate link- if you buy this I will get a small percentage. I bought these myself!). They have directions on how to train the dog to use the bell, but I skipped several steps (she is a fast learner when she wants to be, I’m telling you…). She learned in one evening. That was two weeks ago, and she has only had one accident since (before 5-7 a week was not unusual). She rings the bells a lot, but it’s far preferable to the alternative. She thinks it’s a fun game ringing the bells and watching people come running to cater to her. Try it with your puppy if you’re getting desperate- I think they are miracle bells.