Improving A Shiba Inu's Recall

Posted by Kirk-B
Oct 12, 2008
I have a 9 mnth old Shiba named Tango. He is a wonderful dog and my best friend. Until it's time to come in. If I call him from the door or deck he'll ignore me everytime. (Unless he's hungry) If I go down into the yard and command him to go upstairs he generally pace back and forth for one or two minutes and then go upstairs and into the house. The way I command him is by saying "Tango, upstairs" and then after 30 to 60 seconds I'll use " Go on, upstairs". I say these in a firm but not harsh voice and it it is roughly 90% effective for me. I would prefer to be able to call him from the door if the weather's bad. Also, at the dog park he'll generally come when I call him but if he's having a good time he balks as soon as he sees the leash. Any suggestions or tips would be appreciated.
Posted by KOPsRobyn
Dec 24, 2009
Hi Kirk

Shiba Inus are very intelligent dogs but can have a mind of their own so you will have to be patient and perservere when training Tango.

Teaching him to come consistently is one of the most important commands that you can teach him, as this comes in handy in all sorts of situations. First of all, you need to reinforce your status as leader of the pack. Once he sees you as the alpha dog, he will start relying on you more and more for commands. There are a few things you can do to establish this, including going through doorways in front of him, feeding him after you have eaten and only acknowledging or playing with him on your terms. Greet everyone else in the household first when coming home, and if he comes and asks for attention, ignore him until you decide that it is time to greet him. Lastly, don't forget to reward him when he is behaving himself, as this gives him something to strive towards, instead of just avoiding undesirable behavior.

The simplest way to teach him to come is to attach a long rope to his collar, with the rope being as light as possible so he doesn't notice it. Take him to a place where there are no distractions and call him to you when she is a short distance away. If she does not come to you immediately, give her a small tug on the rope. In the initial stages, praise her as soon as she takes a step in the right direction. Make sure you are only giving the command once, in a firm voice, and then tugging on the rope. If you repeat yourself a few times, he will come to think that you didn't really mean it the first time. You want him to know that you will only tell him once and you expect to be obeyed immediately.

Find out what is of value to your dog, for example a treat or toy, and use this as a reward when he comes. Even if he takes a while to come to you, make sure you never tell him off when he does come because he won't know what you are annoyed about and will think you are telling him off for coming to you. You may even want to crouch down with arms wide open to make yourself appear more inviting. Always put on a cheery voice and praise him lavishly when he does come. Once he is coming consistently, you can reward him once every few times instead. You should reinforce this command each time you are on a walk just to keep it fresh in his mind.

I hope this helps and all the best with the training! I look forward to hearing how it all goes