Do Shiba Inus Like Water? (Helpful Swimming Guide)

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When the sun is scorching hot, you might expect Shibas to jump into water for a cool moment like most other dogs. Isn’t that true?

Unfortunately, this might not be the case, as most owners say that Shibas get crazy by crying and howling the entire time when bathing them.

That makes you wonder, do Shiba Inus like water?

do shiba inus like water

The answer is both a no and a yes. Some Shibas don’t like water while others are free and like playing with water. Thankfully, they can learn to enjoy it. It’s just a Shiba thing that they don’t like water. Teaching Shiba to enjoy water takes constant training and unrelenting patience. Also, Shibas learn to like water through swimming. 

In this article, we’ll explore the complex Shiba relationship with water and provide some advice on how to teach your Shiba Inu to like water through swimming.

Do Shiba Inus Like Water?

Shiba Inus are afraid of water. They avoid any attempt to get them in water, even little paddles. Other Shibas despise water to the point they can only tippy-toe.

I once tried to bathe my Shiba at a young age and his response was a sign that this dog isn’t a water breed. Even at a young age, Shibas change their mood when they notice you’re about to bathe them.

Unlike water dog breeds that like playing with water or swimming, Shiba Inus distance themselves from water. Instinctively, Shiba’s don’t go to water and prefer being dry and tidy.

One time as I was going out for an afternoon walk with my Shiba, we passed near a water body. Like any other dog owner, I went nearer to test my Shibas reaction. Here, I noticed the nearer we came to the water, the timid he became.

When I attempted to go near, he became more nervous and tried to resist by pulling the leash away from the water. That’s how I knew Shibas aren’t water breeds.

Nevertheless, you can help Shiba overcome his water fears. You can do that by teaching him how to swim, and indeed, he’ll love and start enjoying the experience.

However, to help your Shiba Inus like water, you need to invest your time and train him. Also, you have to be patient with him. That means you have to approach the exercise step by step.

We all know that Shiba’s are clean and tidy, although their fear of water is what surprises many. Everyone would expect them to love and play with water to maintain their body cleanliness.

Since we now know that Shiba Inus don’t like water, let’s see why they don’t.

Why Do Shiba Inus Not Like Water?

Shiba Inus aren’t water breeds and find it terrifying when learning how to swim. So, below are 4 reasons why Shiba Inus don’t like water.

  1. They aren’t water breeds
  2. They’re instinctively afraid
  3. Shiba’s have no previous training with water
  4. Prior accident

Let’s explore each;

1.     They Aren’t Water Breeds

We have water breeds of dogs that enjoy playing with water and like swimming naturally. Water-friendly dog breeds include the Portuguese water dog and the Irish water spaniel.

Sadly, Shiba Inus aren’t amongst this category of water-friendly dog breeds. Since their origin in Japan, Shiba’s have never been eager to play with water.

Even in the past, they hardly had any interaction with water. As such, by instinct, Shiba Inus avoids water by all means.

2.     They’re Instinctively Afraid of Water

If your Shiba Inus has no previous training or exposure to water, the dog will be afraid to get in the water. The fear of water is common for baby Shiba Inus. Moreover, naturally, most dogs avoid water before getting the first experience.

Whenever your Shiba Inus comes close to water, expect him to get scared and hesitant. Also, your Shiba will attempt to move away from water.

3.     Shiba Inus Have No Previous Training with Water

Some dogs grow up in areas where swimming or interacting with water is a day-to-day experience. However, it’s not the case for Shiba Inus.

Even in the old days, Shibas were hunters and did this in the forest. As such, they hardly came into contact with water.

However, Shibas like playing in the snow or around the beach. But that doesn’t mean they like water.

Shiba Inus don't like water

So, we can conclude that they have no previous exposure to water. As a result, it makes them afraid to get into the water.

Nevertheless, some Shibas like swimming. Check out our other article on, can Shiba Inus swim?

4.     Prior Accident

The previous encounters a dog has with something play a part in shaping the dog’s future reaction in case of a similar occasion.

If your Shiba Inus has previous negative exposure to water, maybe the previous owner tried to introduce him to water using a bad strategy; the dog always shows fear when you attempt the same.

With all the above reasons, it’s important to note that Shiba Inus naturally dislikes coming into contact with water.

However, through training, you can get your Shiba to like water. Let’s some tips for training your Shiba Inu to like water below.

You might want to see our post on, Shiba Inus with other dogs.

How Do You Get Your Shiba Inus to Like Water? 

At all times, the first experience matters a lot. In the case of Shiba Inus, their first experience with water influences the perception they form on getting in the water.

For that reason, I’m sure you want your Shiba Inus to have a good experience when you’re introducing him to water.

Don’t you?

So, I’ll share with you 6 steps that you can use to introduce your Shiba to water in a fun, positive, and exciting way.

  1. Start Off Small
  2. Don’t Rush Your Pup
  3. Move To A Bigger Pool
  4. Let Your Shiba Inu familiarize
  5. Help Your Shiba Inus Overcome His Fears
  6. Take Your Shiba To The Deeper End.

Let’s explore each step and see the best approach to use.

1.     Start Off Small

The secret when introducing your Shiba Inus water is to start off small. You can use a kiddie pool for the first time you’re getting your Shiba Inus into water. Besides, you can have some toys and accessories inside the kiddie pool.

The floating toys in the kiddie pool will likely make your Shiba jump into the water. During this time, be playful and remain calm as you hold your Shiba in the direction of the toys in the water.

Remember, your energy impacts your Shiba Inu.

2.     Don’t Rush Your Shiba to Splash into The Water

You shouldn’t rush your Shiba Inu during the first exposure to doing it. In fact, you need to exercise utmost patience. Give him time to explore the pool on his own as you gauge his reaction.

From there, you can start the fetch game and attempt to toss the ball inside the water. If your Shiba doesn’t splash into the water after you toss the ball inside, end the session and try again later.

Repeat the toss game until your Shiba splashes into the water.

3.     Move To a Bigger Pool

When your Shiba is comfortable around the kiddie pool, it’s time to take a step further. You can now go to a bigger pool. Choose a calm pond that is not extremely large and on a warm day.

In addition, if you have another dog around which loves water, take him along. He’ll be a source of encouragement to your Shiba Inus.

4.     Let Your Shiba Inu Familiarize

When you’re at the bigger pool, don’t take your Shiba Inu directly into the water; let him familiarize himself with the environment first. This helps him to feel comfortable and relaxed.

If he wanders into the water by himself, you’re almost there. The goal here is to ensure your Shiba Inu is calm and relaxed before going to the next step.

5.     Help Your Shiba Inus Overcome His Fears

This step can be a little challenging. So, if you observe that your Shiba Inu is fearful of approaching the water, you can help him do it. Walk into the shallow water together with him, one step at a time.

Also, you can toss a ball a few feet ahead parallel to the shoreline. Initiate the fetch game and keep tossing the ball a few meters inside the pool.

6.     Take your Shiba to the deeper end.

When your Shiba Inu is familiar with swimming at the shallow end, proceed to the deeper end. When he can no longer touch the bottom, keep your arms around him and ensure he doesn’t drown.

If he’s comfortable and knows how to paddle using his feet, let him swim by himself.

Can You Teach Shiba How to Like Water Through Swimming?

Shiba Inus are quick to learn most things, including how to swim. Therefore, you can introduce your Shiba Inu to water by teaching him how to swim and make him like water.

A simple cheat sheet to introduce your Shiba Inu to water is going for hikes with him in regions with lakes, rivers, and streams. This tip can save you the tedious time teaching Shibas to swim using a pool.

However, if a pool is all you have, you can still use it to introduce your Shiba Inu to water. Besides, when teaching your Shiba Inu how to swim, you can add relaxing scents to the shampoo.

Shiba Inus don't like water

Also, some things to consider include don’t pour water on your Shiba when introducing him to water. Besides, keep in mind that Shibas are afraid of the sound water makes when running in a bathtub or sink.

Therefore, for a first experience, you can try doing it from the outside. Of course, follow the steps above to do it successfully.

Frequently Asked Questions

Should I Leave Water Out For My Shiba All Day?

It is safe to leave water out for your Shiba all day because dogs are good at self-regulating their water intake. Besides, leaving your Shiba without water puts him at risk of dehydrating.

Your Shiba won’t overdrink if water is available all day. So, leave enough water unless you don’t want him to poop in the house later in the evening.

Can A Shiba Go 8 Hours Without Water?

Shiba Inus can go without water for 8 hours, but it’s not advisable. Going without water that long encourages dehydration.

If your lights are out by 11 p.m., avoid giving your Shiba water for the preceding two hours.

Do Shibas like baths?

No. Shiba Inus don’t like baths at all. Rarely do you find a Shiba Inu that likes baths.

In case you have one, that’s a gem. As a result, expect your Shiba to scream and bark loud as you bathe him.

If you’re looking for a way to introduce baths, begin the procedure by wiping your Shiba using a warm damp cloth; later, you can start pouring warm water using a cup, and eventually, he’ll give in.

Do Shibas like rain?

Yes and No. I’ve come across Shibas that like rain and others that don’t like rain; they won’t even attempt to play when it’s raining.

If your Shiba doesn’t like to play in the rain, don’t force him to do it. Shibas are independent and know exactly what they’d like to do or not to do.

Do Shiba Inus Like Hanging Around the Beach?

Shiba Inus like hanging around the beach and enjoy playing with fine sand found around beach areas.

Funny enough, your Shiba might be a fan of hanging around the beach but not a fan of water. If that happens, it shouldn’t find you by surprise.

Conclusion On the Question, Do Shiba Inus Like Water?

As we have seen above, Shiba Inus are not water-friendly dog breeds. However, this shouldn’t hinder you from introducing your Shiba Inus to water.

The 6-steps above are good to introduce your Shiba Inus to water. There is no shortcut; since Shiba’s aren’t water dog breeds, you have to follow the steps above for your Shiba to like water.

If you’d like an easy way to introduce your Shiba Inus to water, begin doing hikes and nature walks in regions with streams, lakes, and rivers.

Not only that, encourage him to go in the water by having him paddle as you hold him by the belly. Also, use fetch games to introduce your Shiba Inu to water.

For that reason, the fact that Shiba Inus don’t like water shouldn’t bar you from owning one. They’re intelligent and take a short duration to start enjoying water.

However, you have to invest your time and offer training.

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