With his fox-like appearance and independent personality, Shiba Inus are hard to resist. Sometimes noted for their stubbornness, aloofness, and resourcefulness, they can actually be surprisingly playful when the mood strikes them.
This primitive breed originated in Japan as a hunter of birds and small game and dates back to approximately 300 B.C. The courage, loyalty, and strong will that they are famous for have survived generations and are still hallmarks of the breed today.
Do Shiba Inus like to swim? Shibas are not a water breed and generally don’t instinctively take to water. They can be socialized to enjoy swimming, however. When slowly and correctly introduced to water as part of the socialization process, they can indeed develop a love of swimming.
Many dog owners are always looking for new and exciting adventures that their dogs can enjoy with the family, but with Shiba Inus’ reputation of preferring to stay dry, is swimming a possibility? Let’s look at how swimming can become an activity your dog will come to love.
We’ll discuss the Shibu and water below, and get into how you can get them acclimated to swimming!
Do Shiba Inus Like the Water?
There are so many ways to have fun with water, such as bathing, splashing in a puddle, playing with a hose, frolicking in the rain, wading in the shallows, and of course swimming, but do all Shiba Inus enjoy these various activities? No. They are a complex breed with individual tastes.
Shiba Inus have a very clear understanding of what they like and what they don’t like, and each individual dog has its own unique perspective. Their likes and dislikes are generally formed early in life, but can be shaped by proper socialization techniques.
That being said, Shiba Inus usually do not care for bath time, no matter how pleasant you attempt to make it. They can learn to tolerate it, but very few will actually enjoy being bathed. Puddles too are often disliked, and many Shiba Inus will go to great lengths to avoid stepping in one.
What about playing with a hose in the backyard? Many Shiba Inus delight in this game, enthusiastically chasing after the water as it comes shooting out. Many a hot afternoon can pass by quickly while watching your dog dash after the elusive spray of water, determined to catch, bite, eat, or triumph over it.
Taking pleasure in the rain appears to be a personal decision with this breed. Some Shiba Inu refuse to go outside to do their business when it is raining heavily. Other dogs seem to not mind the rain one bit, and will happily dash outside to play with the raindrops.
Shiba Inu who have been gently and slowly introduced to wading at a young age normally have great fun playing in the shallow water and will indulge themselves whenever the opportunity presents itself. They will frequently bounce, splash, pounce, chase after little fish, and even try to dig in the water while playing.
Actual swimming is an entirely different issue. Many Shiba Inus will remain close to the shore of a pond or lake, preferring to remain in shallow water where they are able to stand and not have to actually swim. Others will readily venture out into deeper water to fetch a ball or simply enjoy a swim. Swimming is apparently all about personal preference with Shiba Inus.
How To Introduce Your Shiba Inu To The Water
The method in which a new experience, like water, is introduced can profoundly influence the opinion that your dog forms. You always want the first water experience to be a fun, positive one, and with Shiba Inus, letting them think that the whole thing was their idea is a great way to convince them that swimming is a good thing.
For your dog’s first water experience, start off small. A kiddie pool with a couple of his favorite toys floating on top is a great first introduction. Remain calm, positive, and playful, and chances are, he will too.
Don’t rush your pup. Allow him to explore the pool and water on his own at first while you gauge his reaction. Venture over and offer him a wet toy. After a few minutes, initiate a game of fetch and eventually land one of those tosses in the pool. If he doesn’t splash in after it, that’s okay. End the session on a positive note and try again later.
Once your Shiba Inu is fairly comfortable and relaxed around a kiddie pool, it is time for the next step. A calm pond or small lake coupled with a beautiful warm day is ideal. Bringing along another dog who already loves to swim can be a real encouragement and confidence booster for your own dog.
Let your Shiba Inu investigate the area for himself before encouraging him to get wet. Again, you don’t want to rush things. You might find that he wanders into the water all on his own and starts splashing around.
If you feel that your dog needs a little encouragement, walk out into the shallow water with him, just a little bit at first. Perhaps toss a ball a few feet ahead of you, parallel to the shore, and encourage him to play. If he isn’t interested or seems fearful, give him a break and try again after a few minutes.
After your dog has discovered the joys of splashing around in shallow water, try walking him out to a deeper area. Keep your arms around him when he can no longer touch the bottom to make sure that the doggie-paddle reflex kicks in. If he seems comfortable, let him go, but remain within easy reach should trouble arise.
By keeping each swimming experience positive and fun, your Shiba Inu should adjust to this new activity in no time and will quickly gain confidence in his new skill.
As with any activity, your dog’s safety should be first and foremost in your mind. Swimming can be a great way to spend a summer afternoon, but there are risks involved as well.
- Always supervise your dog around any body of water.
- Starting out: For the first couple of outings, keep your Shiba Inu close by and encourage him to play in shallow water until he gains strength, confidence and your trust.
Whether you plan on jumping in your backyard pool or heading over to a nearby lake, make sure your dog has had plenty to drink before allowing him to swim. It’s also wise to double-check that your pet is up to date on his vaccinations and pest-control medications. You don’t want him to bring home a little something extra from his adventure.
Be on the lookout for underwater dangers such as broken glass, sharp sticks, fishing gear, and jagged rocks, Also, if common to your area, snapping turtles, venomous snakes, and alligators can pose a serious threat. Check online to see if there is an elevated risk of blue-green algae blooms for your location.
A life preserver designed for dogs is highly recommended (here are our favorite safety vests), at least for the first few swimming excursions. Leaving your dog’s leash on is also a good idea in case you need to reach for him quickly. Just be sure that the leash floats so that there is no risk of it becoming tangled around underwater plants, limbs or worse, around your dog’s legs.
Do Shiba Inus like snow?
Yes. Most Shiba Inus love romping in the snow and will happily play until brought inside. Their thick, double coat is also rather waterproof, so they stay warm and fairly dry when playing in the cold. They can be quite entertaining as they roll, leap, pounce, dig, and burrow in freshly fallen snow.
Do Shiba Inus like the beach?
Those who love to swim will usually also love the beach and spend many hours cooling off and chasing after waves. Shiba Inus who don’t particularly like getting wet might be afraid of the constant waves and dislike the sand in their coat. The dog’s personal preference will be the deciding factor.