Why are Shiba Inu aggressive towards other dogs?

Best Japanese dog food

Are you wondering why your Shiba Inu dog is overly aggressive towards other dogs? Listen, with the popularity of Shiba Inu puppies in many of our homes in recent years, there is no surprise that this dog breed is one of the most popular dogs that is native to Japan. It is a small to a medium-sized dog that was originally bred to be a hunting dog.

While this dog breed was predominantly Japanese household pet, nowadays, Shiba Inus have spread across the world. With their extreme loyalty and affectionate temperament, the Shiba Inu is an excellent pet. However, there is an issue that the Shiba Inu tends to get very aggressive, especially around other dogs.

Why is the Shiba Inu aggressive towards other dogs?

The Shiba Inu is aggressive to other dogs because it is naturally territorial, reserved, and dominant to other dogs, including Shiba Inus of the same sex. These dogs hate to have new faces around them, and they don’t like the idea of having other dogs in their space, especially in an unannounced manner.

Once they meet new dogs, they get aggressive in order to establish themselves as the alpha among the new faces. As such, they are often seen growling or barking very loudly.

They also have this same behavior around unfamiliar human faces. However, they can be naturally trained out of this behavior if they are socialized at a very young age.

With that out of the way, let’s get into the main characteristics of the Shiba Inu breed. Later, I will give you some tips on how to best train your Shiba Inu.

Characteristics of the Shiba Inu

1) Shiba Inus like to be the boss

Naturally, Shibas do not like having a boss, whether it is a human or another canine. These dogs don’t like to be submissive to anyone. As such, Shibas can be very disobedient in taking commands.

Sometimes, they may only decide to follow certain requests from their humans, but this only happens if they see a treat in your hand.

Because they are not submissive, these are the type of dogs that won’t surrender when wrestling with another dog, even if the playful opponent is larger. That said, Shibas like to wrestle.

2) Shiba Inus like to play rough

Shibas like to play rough and they will often get along well with other dogs that will play rough with them, particularly larger dogs.

So, it is very important never to let your Shiba play with smaller adult dogs because he will very quickly overpower them. They also like to bully other smaller dogs.

While this wrestling may seem overwhelming to some dogs, puppies tolerate this behavior very well, mostly because they are more submissive, and they also like to play.

3) The “Human” factor

When you are training your Shiba, it is best to keep it away from fearful people as well as their dogs. This is because they will likely project bad energy that may trigger extreme behavior in their dog.

Also, never try to socialize your dog with unstable dogs and/or unstable owners. If you do, these factors may teach/cause your Shiba to engage in bad interaction habits, such as mouthing people.

That said, Shiba Inus are said to be very sensitive to all emotions of the people around him, so they will quickly pick up if the people around them are fearful, angry or excited, and this can cause your dog to become very crazy and much harder to control.

If you are planning on having some people with dogs over, you should stay very calm. Your dog’s behavior will likely follow suit.

4) On-leash vs. off-leash

When a Shiba is meeting dogs, it may sometimes display completely different behaviors on-leash or off the leash, and this shouldn’t surprise you.

This is because the leash can sometimes create fear, especially because he won’t be able to run away. Also, the leash can create a barrier frustration, and this is because the Shiba won’t be able to get to the other dog. The same effect can be caused by a muzzle.

Consequently, a Shiba may show more aggression when he is on the leash compared to when he is off the leash. All the same, it is useful to teach a Shiba polite greetings whether he is on the leash or not.

But, if your Shiba is only aggressive when he is on the leash, then you can use time when he is off the leash as a reward for good on-leash behavior. This system usually takes longer but it works.

5) Socialize your Shiba slowly

A Shiba isn’t like other dogs. He has to be socialized very slowly. I recommend starting socializing your Shiba by walking him on-leash in your own neighborhood.

During these walks, observe how your Shiba reacts to calm dogs, fenced reactive dogs that he can’t see as well as the fenced reactive dogs that he sees.

You should consider desensitizing him to each of these situations very slowly, ensuring that he doesn’t get aggressive.

On top of that, make sure that you are calm throughout the process. If you are tense, your dog is likely to become unstable, so anything you try to teach him won’t get through.

One you have taken walks around the neighborhood and your dog isn’t getting aggressive, then your training is working and you have to move to the next step. Take him to a nearby SPCA and desensitize him there.

How to do a dog-to-dog socialization

So, you want your dog to get along well with other dogs? Here are some helpful tips that will get you there.

1) Consider Dog Playgroups

These playgroups are commonly organized by training facilities or dog daycare facilities. The benefit of a playgroup, especially when compared to an enclosed dog park, is that these sessions in the playgroups are supervised.

Also, owners are usually very careful about making sure that their dog is behaving properly, while cleaning up after him.

For the most part, dogs in these playgroups tend to be more balanced. This is because they are socialized better.

The only downside about playgroups is that they usually only occur weekly or monthly, and at a specific time; while a dog park is open any time of the day.

2) Try a Dog Daycare

While Shibas are known to be naturally reserved, they actually like spending time with their humans. This is where you can take advantage of a doggie daycare.

At a dig daycare, a Shiba has the chance to enjoy both dog and human company all day long. In the long run, your Shiba will be able to socialize better. This also increases your dog’s confidence, particularly when meeting new dogs or people.

However, it is important to run a check on the daycare facilities as well as the staff before you enroll your dog. Also, make sure that the groups are not too large.

3) Enclosed dog parks

The next option is to use enclosed parks. Like other dogs, Shibas have to spend some time off the leash too. Enclosed parks are a good choice if you do not have a backyard. These dogs are very active and they like to run to burn off some energy.

That said, Shibas need to be exercised a lot. Take your dog on walks then follow this up with some playtime and take them to the park.

And when you are selecting dog parks, you may want to find one that has responsible dog owners. Unfortunately, these are very hard to find.

If you take your dog to an unsuitable park, your Shiba may get into fights and get himself injured. What’s more, he may end up picking up bad behaviors from the other dogs.

4) Group Dog Walking

Sometimes all you dog needs is sometime to burn some energy while socializing with other dogs, and this can be through Group dog walks.

These group walks can work if your dog is uncomfortable being in a large group of dogs. Dog walks usually have a maximum of about 6 dogs per walk, so it will be less stressful for your Shiba.
Are group dog walks really effective?

Yes, they can have a big impact on your dog’s overall behavior. These walks are a lot more structured, well supervised, and they are mostly conducted in an interesting environment.

The bad side here is that it can be very difficult to find a good dog walker who can handle a Shiba, especially without applying other methods of controlling the dog.


Shiba Inus are aggressive to other dogs because they like to have their space. Any dog that gets into their space unannounced can get growl or a loud bark from a Shiba.

The aggression only gets worse if there is a new dog in the house. If it is a new dog, your Shiba will take a while to get used to the new face, during which he will constantly show that he is the king or the alpha.

The good part is that the aggressive behavior can be socialized out of the dog. Just make sure that there are no unstable people and dogs around when you do.

If the dog’s aggression increases, do not push him too quickly in the socialization process. A Shiba has a mind of its own, so it’s better not to force him to interact or play with other dogs if he prefers not to.

Recent Posts