Naming Your Shiba Pup and Communicating with Him

You have just adopted a Shiba Inu puppy. But you have not come up with a name. Because a Shiba Inu is a Japanese dog, you might think of giving your new pup a Japanese name. You can use the following information to inspire you.

Japanese Names for Boy Dogs

Any Japanese name with “Aki” in it translates to bright. Therefore, Japanese names for boy dogs that “give off light” include Aki (bright), Akihiro (extreme brightness), and Aki (bright man). If you want to give your dog a seasonal name, you might choose Haru (spring), or may opt for a winning name, such as Katsu (which means victory).  Masaru also means “victory.”

Does Your Dog Rule the Roost?

Is your dog seemingly the ruler over its turf at home? If so, you might choose to name it Nori, which means “to rule.” Another good name is Takahiro, which translates to “nobility.”

If you want your dog to be lucky or happy, you might give it the name Yoshi (which means “lucky”) or Yoshio (which means “happy life”).

For a female Shiba Inu, names such as Akemi (“bright and beautiful”), Hana (“flower”), Katsumi (“victorious beauty”), Kimi (“noble”), Manami (loving and beautiful), and Miki (beautiful princess) are the ultimate in Shiba girl names.

More Shiba Girl Names

You will also find a lot of girl Shiba names begin with “S.” Here is a sampling:

  • Saki (bloom of hope)
  • Sakura (cherry blossom)
  • Satomi (beautiful and wise)
  • Shiori (poem)
  • Shizuka (peaceful summer)
  • Sora (sky)
  • Suzu (bell)
  • Suzume (sparrow)

One name to treasure is Takara (which, of course, means “treasure). Tomomi means “beautiful friend.”

Shiba Names that Relate to Animals

If you want to choose a more generic name, you might name your Shiba Inu after an animal. Because the dog resembles a fox, you might give it the Japanese name for fox, which is Kitsune. Other appropriate animal names include Neko (the name for cat, given to the Inu because he cleans himself life a cat), Kuma (bear), Sika (deer), or Ookami (wolf).

Japanese Place Names for Inus

Another fun idea for naming is giving your dog a Japanese place name. Below are some examples:

  • Tokyo (the Japanese capital)
  • Osaka (a large city in Japan)
  • Kyoto (a city in the center of Japan)
  • Fuji (the mountain and a city in Japan)

Shiba Names that Are Japanese Foods

Some people name their Shiba Inus after a favorite Japanese dish. Popular choices include the following:

  • Sushi (raw seafood and rice in a seaweed wrap)
  • Soba (Japanese noodles made of buckwheat)
  • Ramen (A soup and noodle dish)
  • Tempura (Deep-fried vegetables and seafood)
  • Udon (Thick noodles made of wheat flour)
  • Sashimi (A Japanes dish made of raw fish or meat thinly sliced)
  • Manju (A sweet treat made of beans and boiled sugar)

Other Names to Consider

Here are other Japan-themed Shiba names:

  • Manga – Japanese comics
  • Haiku – A Japanese poem with three lines with a format of 5, 7, and 5 syllables
  • Bonsai – Miniature trees that have been artistically pruned and shaped
  • Samurai – An ancient feudal warrior of Japan

Japanese Family Names

You might also think about giving your dog a name that is one of the traditional family names of Japan. Top 10 names include Sato, Suzuki, Takahashi, Tanaka, Watanabe, Ito, Yamamoto, Nakamura, Kobayahsi, and Kato. Make sure you are pronouncing the names correctly by visiting a name pronunciation site, such as NameShouts.

Japanese Dog Commands

Want to make things even more interesting? If you give your Shiba a Japanese name, why not teach it dog commands in Japanese during its obedience training? Who knows? It might understand Japanese better than if you try to teach it dog tricks or commands in English.

Can You Say Osuwari?

Below are some of the English dog commands and their Japanese language equivalents:

  • Sit – Osuwari (oh-soo-WAH-ree)
  • Stay – Mate (MAH-tay)
  • Lie down – Fuse (foo-say)
  • Come – Koi or Oide (oh-EE-day)
  • No – Dame (DAH-may)
  • Good dog – Iiko (eee-ko)

Stick to Japanese or English When Obedience Training

You just need to remember not to switch commands back and forth from English to Japanese or from Japanese to English. Shibas may be smart, but mixing up the languages will confuse them. If you want them to follow you, you either have to stick to issuing dog commands in Japanese or English. If you start saying “Sit!” after they learn “Osuwari!” they will probably just give you a blank look. Therefore, choose English or Japanese and stick with one language when issue dog commands.

Hand Signals

You can also use hand signals to enforce your commands, regardless of the language. This is a great way to communicate with your pet into his older years when its hearing may not be so good. In fact, you can use hand signals before you start issuing verbal commands.

To get your Shiba’s attention, say its name and use a clicker or snap your fingers. When he looks up, start with hand signals for the dog’s training.

How to Get Your Dog’s Attention

If you have already completed training your dog with voice commands, use a hand signal followed by the voice command. Over time, your Inu will relate the voice command with the hand signal you use. When you use a hand signal several times successfully, your dog will not need the language cue to do what it is told.

The Standard Signal for Sit

If your dog masters being told what to do with visual clues, it does not matter whether you speak Japanese or English. There are standard signals that trainers use but you can also make up your own. The standard hand signal for “sit” or “osuwari” involves keeping the palm upward and bringing the hand down as if you are ready to give your dog a treat.

AKC Visual Clues

According to the American Kennel Club (AKC), you can use luring or capturing as a hand signal to get your Shiba Inu to sit. When using capturing, stand in front of your Inu, holding a treat. Wait until he sits, then say “yes” and reward him with the treat.

Luring Your Pup to Sit

Luring involves getting down in front of our pup, holding his treat to lure him to sit.  As you slowly lift the reward, he usually will sit. When he sits, give him the treat. Once he understands this signal, you don’t have to say anything.

Having a Shiba Inu as a pet can be fun for you culturally. Whether you use Japanese dog commands or stick to basic English, welcoming this Japanese dog breed into your home is one action you won’t regret.

2 thoughts on “Naming Your Shiba Pup and Communicating with Him”

  1. We will be picking up our 8 week old Shiba pup in 4 days!!!!!
    We are so excited as we have been waiting for her since April. All summer long we have been eagerly anticipating this moment, and so, we have decided to name our Shiba Inu, Natsuki , which means “Summer Hope” in Japanese. Of course, we’ll call her Suki for short.

    1. That is a beautiful name! Very meaningful too 🙂 How exciting. The few days before bringing home your new pup are the best — you wait for so long and then those few last days are full of preparation and craziness and then when you finally hold them, you feel it is all worth it and you just fall in love! What were the other names you guys considered?

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