How To Read Your Shiba Inus Body Language & Movements

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Have you ever wished you could understand what your Shiba Inu was trying to tell you? Well, you’re in luck!

Shibas are known for their expressive body language, and by learning to read their cues, you can better understand your furry friend’s thoughts and feelings

Shiba Inus use body gestures to pass their message to you. When happy, Shiba Inus often wag their tails while pinning their ears to the side to look like an airplane. When sad, Shibas have low energy and hide from your presence.

Shiba Inu body language like whining, growling, and tail-wagging, make you wonder that you may be missing out on some message.

In this article, we’ll delve into the various ways that Shiba Inus communicate through their body language, including ear position, tail wagging, and more.

You’ll be amazed at how much your dog can tell you just by the way they move their body.

Shiba Inu Body Language: Key Pointers

Quick pointers of your Shiba Inu body language you should always look at include the way they point their ears, when they expose their teeth, and the tale their tail tells.

Shiba Inu body language

Misinterpreting your Shibas body language can make both of you stressed. So, it’s essential to master what body language tells what?

First, when your Shibas ears point upwards and perky, he’s in a great mood. When the ears abruptly point upward, your Shiba is attempting to pick up on some noise. When their ears lay backward, they’re showing submission and fear.

Secondly, Shibas teeth give a lot of clues about what they want or don’t want. More often, your Shiba doesn’t show his teeth to smile; if he does it curling his nose, that’s a clear sign of aggression. Besides, it shows your Shiba is just about to snap.

Also, take note of the tail as it tells a tale. If you want to always be aware of your Shibas mood, take note of his tail’s movement. A relaxing tail shows that your Shiba is in a neutral mood. Alert or aggressive Shibas have their tails standing up and may show bristles.

If your Shiba tugs his tail between his hind legs, that shows fear and submission.

What Shiba Inu Body Languange Shows Happiness?

Several ways to tell that your Shiba Inu is happy using his body language include;

  • Tail Wagging
  • Airplane Ears
  • Showing The Belly
  • Squinting And Blinks
  • Showing His Teeth
  • Paw Signal

How do they do each of the above? See the explanation below;

Tail Wagging (Shiba Inu Body Language)

Constant wagging of the tail tells that a Shiba is happy. Therefore, when your Shiba wags his tail from side to side, you can respond by calling the Shiba’s name. Tail wagging is a happy gesture.

As you play with your Shiba and notice that his tail is low and wags slowly, that tells your Shiba is happy and is looking up to you.

However, no matter how much your Shiba Inu wags his tail, never play with it. The tail is his most sensitive part and might make him suddenly turn aggressive.

Airplane Ears

Every Shiba owner has something to say about airplane years as they often do this. When Shibas are happy, they pin their ears down to the side, which gives their head the shape of an airplane, thus airplane ears.

Shiba Inu Airplane Ears

Often, airplane ears come just before a smile and squinty ears. Also, they pull back their lips, forming a grimace.

Shibas are so smart and ridiculous when they smile by showing their teeth. They hardly dish out that look; it’s only for their favorite person.

Showing The Belly (Shiba Inu Body Language)

Most, if not all, Shiba owners have seen this. They like lying on their back as they show you the belly. It’s a Shiba Inu body language that shows happiness.

You can respond by rubbing his belly slightly with cuddles. Shibas use this body language to attract your attention or when they want to cuddle. So, give them a good belly rub to relax them there peacefully.

While rubbing his belly, think of yourself as a masseuse for a good dog-parent bending session.

Check out our post on, do Shiba Inus like to cuddle?

Squinting And Blinks  

Blinking and squinting show that your Shiba is having a good time around you. In addition to the squints, your Shiba might produce some friendly sounds.

Besides, it implies that your Shiba loves and enjoys your touches and pats. You should continue doing whatever it is you were doing to your Shiba.

However, if the squinting from your Shiba Inu becomes too much, it can mean something different. You can ask the vet about it.

For example, if your Shiba Inu squints more often when in the sun, have the vet check him for eye cataracts.

Showing His Teeth  

Shibas show their teeth to send various meanings depending on their mood and trigger. If your Shiba shows his teeth in an attempt to smile, that means they’re happy and cheerful.

Also, showing their teeth as they snarl at you signifies your Shibas happiness.

However, if your Shiba shows his teeth in a mildly aggressive way, it’s time you back off from what you were doing.

If your Shiba shows his teeth while growling, then that’s not a show that he’s happy.

Paw Signal

Although Shibas don’t know what a handshake is, they understand that it’s a good way to communicate with you.

Shiba Inu Raising One Paw

Therefore, anytime your Shiba raises his paw and looks like he wants something, you need to figure out what he might need.

Some questions you can ask yourself to come up with a clue are, could he be angry? Could he be thirsty? Does he want something he can’t reach?

What Shiba Inu Body Language Shows Sadness?

Ways that Shiba Inu body language implies sadness include;

  • Growl At You More Often
  • Cowering Backwards
  • Destructive Chewing
  • Making Their Head Look Smaller

Shiba Inus can be very destructive when sad. Let’s see what they do;

Growling At You More Often

When your Shiba Inu is sad, he won’t hesitate to let you know. Therefore, he’ll growl at you when you come near or attempt to take something from him.

The growl is slight and non-aggressive. However, from the look on their face, it’s clear that they’re not in the best mood. Therefore, it’s best to back off at this point.

Cowering Backwards

Cowering backward is not only a sign of fear and anxiety but also shows sadness. When a Shiba is sad, they’ll not want to engage in anything; thus, cower back when you try to do anything to them.

For example, if you attempt to have him on a leash, he’ll try to cower backward, almost preventing you from doing it.

Destructive Chewing

It’s something most Shiba Inu owners know about; this breed likes engaging in destructive chewing when sad or angry.

For example, if you fail to take your Shiba for a walk as you always do, they might start chewing off anything, including house carpets.

Making Their Heads Look Smaller

If you’re keen on your Shiba Inus, you might have noticed that his head looks smaller at times. That’s a sign of being sad.

However, this can also happen normally.

What Shiba Inu Body Language Shows Shiba Loves You?  

Signs that your Shiba Inus loves you include;

  • Continuous Eye Contact
  • Bringing His Toys to You
  • Sitting On Your Feet
  • Wanting To Sleep in Your Bed
  • Leaning On You

Shiba’s are keen to show their love to their owners in these ways;

Continuous Eye Contact

This one isn’t clear to interpret; however, if your Shiba continuously stares at you with eyes of affection, there’s no doubt that he loves you.

So, when your Shiba looks at you directly in the eyes with a neutral face, that’s a sign of affection. You can respond by calling his name, and you’ll see him lift his ears in response.

The link-up through eye contact promotes high oxytocin levels in the body, a hormone that nurtures affection and love qualities. Thus the reason your Shiba likes staring at you directly in the eyes.

Check our post on, are Shibas affectionate?

Bringing His Toys to You

Shiba Inus are fond of this behavior. Assuming you’ve been away from home for the whole day and you’re back, your Shiba starts collecting their toys and bringing them to you.

This is a sign of love and trust. It shows that your Shiba has trust in you. With the high level of Shibas territorial and possessive traits, bringing you their stuff shows a lot of love.

Not only the toys, but your Shiba might also collect the fetch balls and bring them to you. Often Shibas think you like what they like, thus the attempt to give you their precious items.

Sitting On Your Feet 

Shiba Inus like sitting on the feet of people they love. Therefore, if your Shiba loves doing it, he wants some attention, perhaps to build a bond with you.

Moreover, sitting on your feet could be a result of separation anxiety. If your Shiba has separation anxiety, he’ll sit on your feet to comfort himself by being next to you.

Wanting To Sleep in Your Bed

Shibas can be a bit stubborn if they love you. Even during bedtime, your Shiba might want to proceed to bed with you. If you decline him, he’ll scratch your bedroom door from outside for some time before giving up.

The reason your Shiba wants to sleep on your bed isn’t related to your bed’s comfort. Instead, it’s your Shiba who wants to be with you.

Leaning On You (Shiba Inu Body Language)

Shiba Inus like to lean on those they love. It’s their means of asking for attention. Therefore, you can respond with cuddles. Your Shiba leaning on you shows he’s affectionate.

Shiba Inu Body Language

Besides, it gives him a sense of security since you’re the owner.

Frequently Asked Questions

How Much Attention Do Shiba Inus Need?

Shiba Inus are independent and thus don’t require much attention. However, they might need your attention once or twice a day. Know that your Shiba will approach you when he needs your attention.

Thankfully, Shiba Inus can stay at home alone for more than 8 hours without the need for attention. That answers how much attention they need, hardly do they need it.

How Does a Shiba Inu Show You Love?

Shiba Inus show love in many ways, such as licking you, cuddling, bringing you their toys, and sleeping near you or staying in close vicinity all the time you’re around.

Other ways in which Shibas show love include being protective of their owners. Yes, Shibas protect their owners and are aggressive to strangers.

Do Shiba Inus Smile When Happy?

Instead of smiling, Shiba Inus give a relaxed yawn when happy. Yawning is a way of talking in Shiba Inus and other dogs; they use it to show when they are happy.

Besides, when Shibas are happy, they follow the owner around the homestead or yard.

Do Shiba Inus Like Affection?   

Yes, Shiba Inus like affection. They are only affectionate to their favorite person. Affectionate Shiba Inus love and show care to their owners. 

To make your Shiba like affection, be the one to feed him daily and take him for walks. Walks help Shiba owners bond with their furry friends, thus making them affectionate.

Concluding Remarks Regarding Shiba Inus Body Language

Shiba Inus body language is a common thing that every Shiba owner should understand. Being aware of their body language eases communication and helps you respond appropriately.

When Shibas are happy or sad, they show it using their body language. Also, when your Shiba Inu want a cuddling session, they’ll use body language to attract your attention.

For example, if your Shiba approaches you and lies on their back with their legs up, that’s a body language to initiate cuddling.

Knowing your Shiba Inu body language is helpful to every Shiba owner. Besides, it helps you communicate with your furry friend easily.

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