Many, if not most, people tend to pick a dog primarily for their appearance. They see a cute little furball with big imploring eyes staring up at them, and it’s love at first sight. While this may be an effective way to pick a Teddy Bear, it is not recommended for choosing a family pet that will be with you for the next twelve to fifteen years!
Let’s face it, All dogs are cute and cuddly. If they happen to be currently residing at an animal shelter, they all want that “forever home” — and will do whatever it takes to get it, including melting your heart! But such a long-term commitment requires at least a modicum of forethought.
One breed that seems to have that heart-melting effect on dog lovers is the Shiba Inu. A “Shiba” has many good qualities and can indeed be that ideal choice for some dog owners. However, it is also a perfect example of the importance of entering into a commitment with both eyes open. If a person has all the facts, is willing to put in the extra time, and exercise the extra patience required, a Shiba can indeed be a good pet and companion.
The first thing that comes to mind to those who know the Shiba Inu, however, after getting past its sweet, fox-like appearance, is that this is a dog that sheds BIG time! Any Shiba owner, or its groomer, will attest to this fact.
Fortunately, the majority of its shedding is seasonal, about three weeks during the spring and again in the autumn. During the rest of the year they only shed – A LOT! Yes. Expect to find little doggie hairs all over your carpet and furniture all the time! You have been forewarned!
If this does not deter you from your resolve to be a Shiba owner, take comfort in the fact that they do have good qualities. Just know, your groomer is about to become your new best friend (or worst enemy, depending on his or her feelings toward all that shedding). With your groomers help, however the shedding can be kept under control. The suggestions below, shared by a groomer who has had numerous Shiba Inu clients, can go a long way in helping you manage your dog’s shedding issues.
Schedule Regular Visits with the Groomer
This is imperative if you don’t want your house and clothes to look like they too are shedding! Your groomer can keep the shedding under control to a reasonable degree, but only if they get some cooperation from you between visits.
Bathing and Brushing
Your groomer will give your dog a good thorough bathing on each visit. A good deal of the shedding fur will come out during that bath, especially if the groomer massages the shampoo deep into the dog’s fur. The high powered hand sprayer she uses is very effective in loosening the fur and the high powered blow dryer will take care of most the rest. If you are having a difficult time dealing with your shedding Shiba Inu, we recommend bathing your Shiba with natural dog shampoo that contains oatmeal. Oatmeal is a gentle abrasive and will assist with the fur shedding and encourage new growth.
She will probably spend twice as much time brushing a Shiba Inu than she does with most other breeds. This may or may not be reflected in the grooming bill. But most Shiba owners will probably agree, it is worth every penny!
Brush. Brush. Brush.
Between grooming, you can help a lot by brushing and combing him often — using the proper grooming tools. One of the best things you can have in your home arsenal of grooming equipment is a deshedding rake. It has rounded edges to protect the dog’s skin from suffering any cuts or scrapes. But its “fingers” are very effective at raking deep into the fur and drawing out any loose hairs.
A good brush is also recommended. Leave the pin brush to your groomer, who knows how to use it properly without scratching the dog. All you need is a nice bristle type brush with soft tips. And, finally, a good sturdy metal grooming comb is recommended.
Start your session with a nice brushing with the soft bristled brush. You might even brush in a circular motion to loosen the hair. Don’t worry. It’s a Shiba Inu; it’s not going to run out of hair! Next, use your rake. This gets deep down where the hair meets the skin. This rake is a fantastic tool and very inexpensive, especially given how often you will use it.
Finally, run the comb through the dog’s fur to pick up any last stray hairs. If you do this between grooming visits, you will find the shedding quite manageable and you can enjoy your Shiba Inu, your little Japanese fox, to your heart’s content.
A Shiba is a challenge in other ways as well, but has brought pleasure to many households who have the patience and know-how to train their dogs properly. Keep him well-exercised, well-trained and well groomed and you too will enjoy sharing your life with this adorable dog!