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Can I Leave My Shiba Inu Alone at Home? Breed Temperament & Helpful Tips

Written by: Rachel Giordano

Last Updated on April 2, 2024 by Dogster Team

Can I Leave My Shiba Inu Alone at Home? Breed Temperament & Helpful Tips

Many dog owners worry about leaving their dogs home alone while away at work, which can be a huge stress factor. Sometimes, one may add a dog breed to the family without knowing the specifics of the breed, such as if the breed does well being alone or gets along with other pets. Thankfully, the Shiba Inu is an independent breed, and an adult can be left alone for up to 8 hours and a puppy for 2 hours; however, some may be prone to separation anxiety.

Let’s explore the history and characteristics of the Shiba Inu and dive into how to handle separation anxiety issues should they arise when left alone.

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History of the Shiba Inu

The Shiba Inu is the oldest and smallest native dog breed of Japan, having been around since 300 B.C. These dogs have a strong history as hunters in the rugged and dense underbrush of the mountains of Japan, which is where they got their name—“Shiba” means brushed wood, and “Inu” means dog in Japanese.

These dogs almost became extinct after World War II but managed to survive wartime hardships. Today, they are the most popular dog breed in Japan and have continually increased in popularity over the last 50 years in the United States.

Shiba Inu lying on the floor
Image Credit: Akbudak Rimma, Shutterstock

Characteristics of the Shiba Inu

As we’ve stated, the Shiba Inu is an independent breed that is alert, active, attentive, and friendly but tends to be wary of strangers. They are self-reliant, energetic, and playful companions, requiring at least one hour of exercise per day, if not more. You can exercise your Shiba Inu by taking long walks, running, hiking, or engaging him in a game of fetch. They have a long lifespan of 13–16 years and weigh 17–23 pounds.

Early socialization is important with this breed. If not properly socialized, they can become possessive of food and toys; they also may not get along well with other dogs.

Is the Shiba Inu a Good Breed for the First-Time Dog Owner?

The Shiba Inu typically bonds with one or two owners, but this breed is not recommended for the first-time dog owner. They are relatively easy to train due to their intelligence but require an assertive trainer that can handle their sometimes-stubborn streak. They also have a strong prey drive and may not come when called. They also do better with older children, so keep this in mind if you have little ones running around. In short, this breed is not ideal for the first-time dog owner.

If you’re set on adding one to your family, you may want to consider hiring a professional dog trainer or even enrolling your pooch in obedience classes to help you with training.

Shiba Inu on beach
Image By: Thorsten Schulze, Pixabay

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So, How Long Can I Leave My Shiba Inu Alone?

An adult Shiba Inu can be left alone for up to 8 hours per day. However, some may develop separation anxiety when you leave, which can lead to unwanted destructive behaviors, such as excessive barking, chewing, digging, and even going potty inside the house.

For puppies, you should leave them alone for no more than 2 hours per day, which can be challenging when you can’t come home for breaks throughout the day. Puppies simply cannot hold their bladders for 8 hours and need frequent potty breaks, so what do you do? Fortunately, you have options.

Take Time Off Work

If you can’t come home throughout the day to let your puppy Shiba Inu out, you may need to take 2 to 3 weeks off work to be home with your new puppy if feasible. The first few weeks are critical in establishing a bond with your pup, and you can spend this time training and socializing your new furball. If you work from home, then you already have an advantage.

Enlist the Help of Family and Friends

Not everyone is lucky enough to work from home, and if this is you, you may want to ask for help from family and friends who can come over 2–3 times a day to let your puppy out. This may be a pain, but remember, it’s only a temporary situation. Once your Shiba Inu grows out of the puppy stage, you can leave him alone for longer without worry.

You may need to reconsider getting a puppy if you cannot utilize these two options.

shiba inu puppy dog with collar tracker lying on the beach
Image By: Julija Kumpinovica, Shutterstock

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Signs of Separation Anxiety

If your Shiba Inu has separation anxiety, you may notice these signs when preparing to leave your home:

  • Pacing
  • Whining
  • Trembling
  • Destructive behavior (chewing, digging)
  • Urinating or defecating in the house
  • Drooling
  • Panting
  • Excessive drooling
  • Desperate attempts to escape the home
Shiba Inu puppy bored at home
Image By: Mark Pesah, Shutterstock

How Do I Deal with My Shiba Inu’s Separation Anxiety?

Not all dogs of this breed will develop separation anxiety, but it’s wise to learn how to deal with the issue should it arise. Let’s look at helpful tips to help deal with the issue.

  • Exercise your Shiba Inu before leaving for work to tire him out.
  • Grab your keys or anything other objects you usually grab before heading out on a regular basis, but do not leave. Instead, sit down and read or watch TV. Keep in mind this is an ongoing process and takes time—eventually, your Shiba Inu will realize that just because you’re grabbing your keys does not always lead to you leaving.
  • Hire a pet sitter to be with your dog when you can’t.

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Final Thoughts

The independent Shiba Inu can be left alone for up to 8 hours per day. A puppy Shiba Inu can be left for up to 2 hours at a time. Training your pup to become accustomed to being alone takes time, but once he has entered adulthood, you can safely leave him alone while away for longer.

Exercising your Shiba Inu before leaving to tire him out is best. These dogs are active, and if you can exercise him through a game of fetch or a quick walk before work, he’ll do even better while you’re gone.


Featured Image Credit By: M Stocker, Shutterstock

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