Offering rehoming, rescue, fostering, counseling, assessment, transport, and permanent placement via qualified adoption for Shibas. Our sincerest goal is the preservation, education, and understanding of this special, delicate breed of dog
We've has dealt with Shibas since a visit to Japan in the 1980s. We've seen the changes in the breed through poor breeding ( backyard breeders and puppy mills). We embrace the preservation of the breed by the conscientious breeders. We will help you with problems to help you keep your Shiba rather than surrender. We provide counseling nationwide free of charge to help you work through difficult moments with your Shiba, so you can avoid surrender if possible.
The following steps will help to minimize stress on you and your Shiba, and help the Shiba to acclimate.
Shibas assess humans extremely quickly as they have a keen intuition. Assessing does not translate into accepting quickly! It just means that they’ve figured you out and are pondering what to do with you (let you into their heart or banish you from their kingdom).
1). Please be honest with us in our interview of your experience with Shibas, e.g. people in the household, daily routines, activity within in the house, etc. We rely on this information as a critical method of selecting the right home for the right Shiba; if we are misinformed, we may have missed a better opportunity for that Shiba to be placed elsewhere.
2). You are not dealing with “a dog”. First and foremost, you are dealing with a primitive animal with a survival instinct that has the closest DNA to the wolf. It is disguised in a cute little fox-like fluffy butt with a cinnamon bun tail. They are HIGHLY INTELLIGENT, this comes with their intense survival instinct. You cannot make a serious mistake such as hitting, beating, mistreating this beast, they never forget. If you lose the trust of a Shiba, you will NOT get it back. This is common knowledge with Shiba people.
2). Young Shiba’s (under 3) are still figuring things out, and are often act like teenagers. They are testing and trying new things--they could be too confident, or, extremely timid and need confidence. All of these factors are also part of the selection of an appropriate home. When in a new home, this young Shiba is adjusting to the change from his prior home; “where is my owner who I know?” to “who are you and where am I?”. The Shiba is stoic and does not always show stress, but it is happening internally. The first 2 weeks is typically the “honeymoon period”. The young Shiba will be on his best behavior, observing you, and not letting you into his soul yet. He will also be letting you know if you are getting to close to him during this time, as HE is not ready to let you in yet!!! IT MUST BE ON THE SHIBA’S TERMS, NO EXCEPTIONS. If you can’t handle that, then please find another breed that is more compliant to that human trait.
If you move too quickly into the Shiba’s “space” the dog may retreat, or may develop into a nip—this means, “give me my space, I don’t know you yet, and when I do, I will let you know”. In the first 2 weeks, let the Shiba come to you, ALWAYS. Do NOT go over to pat the Shiba. If he comes you and sits with you on his terms, a quick pat and verbal praise. He is still testing you!!! You are still not allowed “in his space” yet, so exchange must be brief.
Older Shibas may take much longer to adjust, it could take weeks, months and in some cases, a year. It depends on many factors for the older Shiba; was he abused? Was he devoted to one person who he spent 24 hours a day with? Was he a well-socialized Shiba? These extreme factors will add to the time needed to adjust.
3)Treats: Humans can fool other breeds with treats, but not a Shiba! Treats should be used sparingly, so that he is not expecting at treat. Choice of treats should not be certain “high value” treats that can be possessed such as elk bones, yak antler, anything that is of deceased prey. The Shiba is still very primitive, and hunters, so you are flooding his DNA traits with his basic primitive instincts by adding these treats. We have seen good Shibas become monsters when these prohibited treats are introduced. It can create biting, as the Shiba will possess this prize, and not share with you to any dog. AVOID THESE TREATS!
Treats that can be eaten and devoured are recommended.
4) Territory: Let your Shiba have his place, that is his and his alone. It could be a corner in the room, a dog bed (or two or three), a special chair, etc. But let it be his. Do not bother him there until he knows you well enough and has “let you into his heart”. That’s his space. It is not wise to immediately let the young Shiba on your own bed immediately, as he will claim this as his, and you would be the intruder. In time, after he knows what is “his own” space you may consider him on your bed.
5) Do not leave your Shiba unsupervised outside as he will figure out how to get out if there is a squirrel, small prey. Do not leave him tied to a tether, he will chew the tether to free himself.
As a Shiba Inu rescue facility covering all New England states, part of our obligation is to determine the very best new permanent home for a foster in our care. This is taken very seriously, and suitability is critical in order to minimize the unfortunate experience of having to take back the Shiba to the rescue if something doesn’t work out. We do our very best to find out all that we can about the Shiba that has been rehomed to us. Sometimes, we are told nothing about the dog and have to assess him. Of course, this method is very trial -and -error as the dog may display a certain behavior within the rescue/foster household, then be an entirely different dog in another household.
We hope this will ease the transition and enlighten new owners to the unique bliss of being owned by a Shiba Inu!
Adrienne Rowles. Director, Shiba Rescue of New England, Scituate MA