The Shiba Inu, a famous dog breed known for being the face of Dogecoin, is the perfect companion for those looking to adopt or purchase a dog of their own.
As a proud dog mom to a loving Shiba Inu named Bella, I can attest that Shibas are fiesty with loads of attitude in all of the right ways, strangely curious and wildly adorable by nature, and relentless balls of energy that need and love physical activity and mental stimulation.
I highly recommend getting a Shiba Inu if the optimal dog breed for you is geared toward occupying your time doing physical activities with a special four-legged friend, such as walking or hiking.
If you are planning on taking your Shibu Inu out on the trail, here are some things about this particular breed that you need to keep in mind.
Shiba Inu’s Can Be Anxious
Yet it is important to note that the Shiba Inu is prone to anxiety issues, and tends to be timid around new people and in new places. It was the first day with my Shiba puppy that I quickly realized that often she panicked around bicycles, loud trucks, or booming construction noises.
This slight anxiety problem has lessened as she grows and becomes more exposed to these things that once scared her during our daily walks.
While I tried to slowly show her these things were nothing to be scared of as a puppy and into her adulthood, I found that she walked with ease in rural, wooded areas like park trails or hiking routes.
Start Walking with Shibas Early
Furthermore, it is important that you begin walking your Shiba Inu as a puppy in rural areas like hiking trails to prevent sensory overload and the onset of anxiety symptoms.
As soon as I adopted my Shiba as a three month old puppy, I began training her on a leash and took short walks throughout the day to stimulate her mind and exert her energy.
While I originally purchased a retractable fifteen-foot leash, I found that a standard, shorter leash was more effective in training my Shiba to stride alongside me and stay close to me in more populated areas of our walk.
Walking your Shiba as a puppy is also highly important because it makes your Shiba familiar with a common walking routine. If your Shiba has never been on a proper walk before you hike with him/her, they’re more likely to be timid in the unfamiliar environment and may have issues completing the hike because of their anxiety.
Because my Shiba was used to going on walks at an early age, hiking with her months later was no issue and she was calmly walking beside me and casually exploring without becoming overloaded by her senses. Early leash training and consistent exposure to walking is imperative if you wish to progress to longer, more strenuous hikes with your Shiba when they get older.
Once your Shiba has been walking for the first few months of their adolescence, the physical and temporal length of the hike is at the owner’s discretion given their Shibas physique and fitness. If your Shiba is not used to daily walking and is a bit out of shape, it is not a good idea to hike longer distances for extended periods of time.
Because I walked my Shiba daily and she was in better shape than I was, I was able to do a longer first hike with her, about 3 miles on rocky, uneven terrain. My Shiba performed well during her first few hikes, but there are a few things that I found to be noteworthy during my hiking experiences with my Shiba Inu:
5 Tips For Hiking with a Shiba Inu
Keep a Close Eye On Your Shiba
Shibas are curious by nature. It is a big part of their animated personalities, and I often found my Shiba with her nose pressed to the ground and searching for anything she may find interesting. While this is a great way to exert mental energy, it can potentially be hazardous.
Be sure to monitor your Shiba’s activities and be certain that he/she is not eating or interacting with anything that could be harmful.
Shiba Inu is a Hunting Dog
Shibas are known for being the Japanese hunting dog. They were bred to hunt small rodents and animals, like rats, mice, and squirrels.
During my hikes with my Shiba, I found that she was sniffing the ground frantically and acting in an excitable way at random points in our adventure. Since hiking in nature exposes your Shiba to many of the animals that they were bred to hunt, it is helpful to be mindful of how your Shiba is acting in order to prevent them from harming a wild animal.
Before leaving for our hikes, I always check the weather and pack certain things that may be helpful to myself and my Shiba. I have walked my Shiba in freezing and blazing temperatures, yet I am careful to bring what I need to accommodate for extreme weather.
While the Shiba Inu has a thick double coat that makes them able to withstand colder temperatures for long periods of time, I still like to pack a little dog sweater for her in case the wind chill is uncomfortable. It is still incredibly important to take hiking in warmer weather into consideration since their double coat may cause them to overheat.
Take frequent breaks in shaded areas and bring extra water when hiking in warmer weather with your Shiba.
Off-Leash Can Be Dangerous
Shiba Inus are notoriously known for being fantastic escape artists. After one too many near-escapes by my Shiba, I decided that off-leash would not be an option for her, especially when hiking.
The wonderful thing about a Shiba’s personality is that they are stubbornly independent and have a hard time listening to their owners when they see the option to run wild and free. Therefore, many Shiba owners have chosen not to train their Shibas to walk or hike off leash for their safety.
The “Shiba Pull”
If you are a Shiba owner, you will come to know and love the “Shiba Pull” as much as I do.
When your Shiba is done with the hike, he/she will let you know of this by stopping in their tracks and yanking all of their weight backward into a sitting position.
Even the slightest tug on the leash as positive encouragement to continue on with the hike will not sway them from their spot, and will simply result in the extra skin and fluffy fur around their necks and chests plumping in the cutest way.
If your Shiba does this, they are telling you that they are tired and want to be done with the walk. My Shiba does this often, and I always listen to her signals when she shows them to me, especially while hiking outdoors.
At the end of my hike, I check my Shiba for harmful pests, like fleas and ticks, before I let her enter the car.
The Shiba’s double coat does provide some protection against bugs since the bugs would have to find their skin beneath the thickest fur. Check in common areas, like under the front and back legs, near her paws and lower front and back legs, and neck.
Once your Shiba is cleared, give them extra water to remain hydrated and ensure that the car is cooled off or warmed up before you leave. If your Shiba is not cooled off in hot weather before you let him/her into the car, he/she is at risk for overheating.
Be sure the air conditioning is cranked to the max to be certain that your Shiba is comfortable, healthy, and happy.
“Dogs are not our whole life, but they make our lives whole.” Truer words have never been spoken about our favorite furry companions that weasel their way into the crevices of our hearts. They fill the cracks in our hearts that we didn’t know existed, and load our lives with joy, laughter, and peace.
Dogs have become the household pet of the world, and rightfully so given their unyielding loyalty and love to their owners.
Owning a Shiba Inu is one of the best experiences of my life, and being able to bond with her through frequent hiking is an indescribable feeling. Perhaps it is the warmth of her loving company beside me, or the way she glances back at me occasionally with what looks like a smile on her face, that makes me enjoy hiking with her so much.
Whatever it is, hiking with your Shiba Inu is an adventure I implore everyone to embark upon.