How Long A Shiba Inu Can Be Left Alone (For Beginners)


Figuring out how long I could leave my Shiba Inu at home wasn’t as cut and dry as some places make it out to be. There’s more nuance and boxes you want to check before leaving your Shiba Inu at home.

Adult Shiba Inus may be left home alone for up to 8 hours at a time after they are properly trained, housebroken, and had gotten plenty of exercise beforehand. Shiba Inu puppies require more attention and frequent bathroom breaks, and should only be left home alone for up to 2 hours at a time.

shiba inu alone in apartment on couch with blanket

But proper housebreaking, training, and exercise aren’t the only things you need to think about before leaving the house without them. While Shiba Inus are more independent they still have needs and can’t be left home alone with zero preparation and the expectation of nothing bad happening.

How To Know How Long Your Shiba Inu Can Be Left Home Alone

While Shiba Inus as a breed are more independent and require less attention, when compared to other dog breeds, that doesn’t mean you can just go to work and expect them to be fine at any age. Your dog’s age, level of training, and exercise schedule all play a role in determining how long they can reasonably be left on their own.

A properly trained and house broken adult Shiba Inu can be left either out and about or in a designated room or area for up to 8 hours at a time assuming they get enough play and exercise beforehand. Play and exercise are big for Shiba Inu’s as a breed. Not only does it help burn through the seemingly endless amount of energy they have it’s also their number one way of destressing.

Properly destressing your Shiba Inu, with play or exercise, helps reduce separation anxiety, the chance of an accident, and the odds of them finding and chewing on something they aren’t suppose to. That’s all great to know for adults after training and everything, but what if I just got mine or we aren’t done training yet and I have work?

Thankfully there’s an easy rule you can use and follow to help determine how long your Shiba can go between bathroom breaksOpens in a new tab.. The number of hours you get here is your theoretical maximum and, while you may have to at times, you want to do your best not to hit or exceed this number.

AGE8 weeks / 2 months12 weeks / 3 months16 weeks / 4 months20 weeks / 5 months
How Long They Can “Hold It”1 Hour2 Hours3 Hours4 Hours

So with this chart a 4 month old Shiba Inu puppy should only be expected to hold it for up to 3 hours, much less than the average full-time or even part-time worker’s shift. If that isn’t something you are able to do, especially during the first few weeks, you have a few options:

  1. If you just got your Shiba Inu puppy, or are planning on getting one soon, the first 2 to 3 weeks of them being home are the most crucial for initial training, socializing, and bond building. Ideally you’ll want to take 2 or 3 weeks of vacation time to properly help your puppy grow and adjust to their new home and lifestyle. Better yet, if you work at home or are able to, you want to make that transition beforehand.
  2. Not everybody has the luxury of working at home or taking 2 or even 3 weeks off at work at the drop of a hat. If this is you, you’ll need to look into getting help. Friends, family, roommates, or even pet sitters are all amazing options at least while you are working longer shifts than are reasonable for your Shiba Inu to be home alone. Following the rule above.
  3. If you aren’t in option 1 and aren’t able to get option 2 to work, you unfortunately will want to hold off on getting a new pet until your circumstances have changed. It’s not fair to abandon a 6 month old baby at home alone, and the same goes for a puppy.

Hopefully you fit in one of the first two options, and if you do, you can move on to the next step of building out a bathroom schedule. Each Shiba Inu and person is unique so you many need to make some adjustments to this, but here’s a great starting point.

Time Of Day2 Months Old4 Months Old6 Months Old12 Months Old
8 amPotty Break Potty Break Potty Break Potty Break
9 am Potty Break
10 am Potty Break
11 am Potty Break Potty Break
12 pm Potty Break
1 pm Potty Break Potty Break
2 pm Potty Break Potty Break
3 pm Potty Break
4 pm Potty Break Potty Break
5 pm Potty Break Potty Break
6 pm Potty Break Potty Break
7 pm Potty Break
8 pm Potty Break Potty Break
These are theoretical maximum time frames they can hold it before having an accident, more frequent breaks are always better.

You should make any necessary adjustments then compare this to your work schedule. In an ideal world there won’t be any conflicts, but if there are, those are the times you’ll want to ask the people around you for a helping hand. Be sure to either hand them a print out of your pet’s schedule or leave it nearby in an easy place to see.

How To Pet Proof Your Dogs Designated Area

Knowing if your Shiba can be left alone, or attended to while you area gone, is only part of the problem. Making sure they are in a safe, trusted, and comfortable environment is another. The last thing you want is to come home to a shoe, pillow, or piece of furniture completely destroyed.

Shiba Inus are notorious for finding their own forms of entertainment while bored and alone, commonly resulting in your belongings becoming “their” entertainment. Destructive chewing is a bad habitOpens in a new tab. any dog and breed can pick up, but Shibas are more susceptible to it than others.

This is due to what they were bred for, independent hunting dogs. That self sufficient independent personality of theirs works wonders hunting small game like rabbits, but is a real nightmare for the living and non-living things around your home or apartment.

Unless you are crating your pet when you leave the house do your best to meet the following:

  • Give your Shiba Inu a dedicated space. This could be a specific room, series of rooms, or a play pen.
  • Make sure any doors, gates, and cabinets you don’t want them getting into are closed or locked. Opening doors isn’t an issue but shutting and locking themselves in a room they weren’t suppose to be in is. Shiba’s have also been known to open kitchen and bathroom cabinets at times, make sure the doors are shut or the cabinets themselves have child locks if your pet has shown interest in them before.
  • Verify they can’t get ahold of anything you don’t want them to. For example: hide shoes in a closet, keep food or ingredients on the counter, make sure you put away small pillows or candles before leaving, …
  • Double check their water bowl before leaving. You always want to make sure your pet has access to plenty of water at all times so they don’t become dehydrated.

A note on play pens – While you could put them right on top of your floor I recommend you get a doggy pee pad. they’re large reusable water lined mats that help catch any accidents or spilt water, and are far easier to clean than most carpets.

Step-By-Step Checklist For Leaving A Shiba Inu Home Alone

After you have figured out how long your Shiba Inu can be left alone, and they have a place to be you want to be, run a final check before heading to work or the store. You want to make sure:
1) Double check your helper is still available before getting ready to leave.
2) Your Shiba has gone to the bathroom close to the time you plan on leaving.
3) Your Shiba has gotten an adequate amount of exerciseOpens in a new tab. beforehand.
4) You have fed your Shiba Inu and they have open access to clean water.
5) Your Shiba has access to a handful of toys you want them to play with.
6) There isn’t anything in their reach you are worried about them getting ahold of.

Colby Adkins

I am a proud Shiba Inu owner who is just looking to share any tips, tricks, or advice I have to help others.

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