The Shiba Inu was originally bred to hunt small birds. They are playful, energetic, and have a high prey drive. They are also fast learners and intelligent. But one thing that an owner must know is that Shiba Inus need regular exercise.
Statistics show that 1 out of 5 Shiba Inu owners don’t regularly walk their dogs. This might lead to health problems in the future. This is why exercising your Shiba Inu is important. If you want them to live a long and healthy life, always take some time and engage them in fun activities.
How much exercise does a Shiba Inu need?
Shiba Inu needs at least an hour of exercise every day. Since they are intelligent dogs, they need a way to stimulate themselves mentally. If not, they can become frustrated, and this will lead to destructive or aggressive behavior.
For a healthy adult Shiba Inu, there are three types of exercise you must do every day: daily walk, purposeful activity, and mental stimulation.
The exercises of a Shiba Inu puppy are different. Since they are still growing, the wrong type of exercise and inappropriate frequency can cause injury to their still-growing bones and joints.
The same goes for an older Shiba Inu. Since they are less active and have lower energy levels, it is best to adjust the exercise you give them.
The daily walk that you give your Shiba Inu is not only for its physical health but also for its mental health. When you walk your Shiba Inu, you are giving it the chance to release its energy and aside from that, you are also stimulating its mind with the surroundings, sounds, and smells.
Walking them provides socialization, which is important for Shiba Inus, and is also a good training opportunity.
Ideally, a Shiba Inu’s daily walk should be 45 minutes to 1 hour. Depending on your schedule, this could be a one-time walk or split into two walks a day. Since Shiba Inus likes routine, try to walk around the same time every day.
Note! Daily walks are recommended, instead of no walking all week then a longer walk at the weekend.
As mentioned, Shiba Inus are originally bred for hunting smaller animals. They have a high prey drive and they find birds, hamsters, and cats very attractive for a good round of tag. This being said, you can’t trust a Shiba Inu off-leash.
Shiba Inu Purposeful Activities
Aside from the typical walk, playing games with your dog is also another great way to release its pent-up energy and stimulate their minds.
Below are some exercising ideas that your Shiba Inu would love!
Most Shiba Inus, or dogs in general, love playing with balls. Even if they are not, you can always play fetch with their favorite toy. Dogs can play fetch hundreds of times so you are assured that you are burning your Shiba Inu’s energy just fine.
Tug of War
Shiba Inus loves tug of war and will literally fight you for anything! It could be their favorite toy, a rag, or an old sock.
But now, there are a lot of special rope toys designed just for a good game of tug war. These are recommended because they are made to be grip between the teeth without hurting your dog.
However, a nice game of tug of war can quickly turn on an aggressive Shiba Inu. When your dog is showing signs of aggressiveness, switch to a more calm game.
You don’t usually see Shiba Inus in obstacle races. They can be quite stubborn and disobedient, you see so there is a likely chance they’ll do their own thing during the competition. However, that doesn’t mean they are not for agility exercises.
Once you’ve introduced your Shiba Inu to agility activities, you have woken up its hunting genes and you’ll learn that “wow, my Shiba Inu sure can run.”
If you have a large backyard, you can set up an agility or obstacle course. You can use the items you have at home and improvise or scour for reasonably priced agility sets online or at local pet stores.
Your obstacle course can include weaves, hurdle jumps, tunnel, and jumping sets.
You can also make use of the stairs you have at home. Walking up on hills or stairs can strengthen the legs of your Shiba Inu.
Starting at the bottom of the stairs, have your dog “stay” and then throw the ball up to the top of the stairs and have your dog chase it. Let them run up the stairs and tell them to slow down while running down to avoid injuries and accidents.
Shiba Inus love digging and it can be a good form of mental stimulation and exercise too. You can provide your Shiba Inu their own digging area or fill a sand box with soil or sand. To encourage them to dig in that area only, hide some chews or toys.
If you choose to use sand, remember that it can get hot during the warmer seasons so before allowing your dog to use it, make sure to wet it down so that it cools.