How Much Play And Exercise Shiba Inus Need (Complete Guide)


Shiba inu playing fetch with a toy

While I new regular play and walk sessions were important I didn’t know if there was anything “specific” I was suppose to be aiming for.

Shiba inus ideally need 45 minutes to 1 hour of activity each day. A one-time walk or two separate walks work depending on your schedule, but consistency is key. Shiba inus work best with routines. The intensity of their walk can be varied be it’s pace or the terrain.

After getting a better understanding of what Faith, my shiba inu, generally needed I wanted to understand specifics. Does play count? Does the time change if she’s still a puppy? Does training count? all of which I was able to find and list in more detail below.

Finding The Right Amount Of Play And Exercise

Shiba Inus are a high energy, agile, hunting breed. Meaning finding the appropriate amount of exercise to wear them out is important.

Excess energy that isn’t burned off by walks or play turns into destructive behaviors or even aggression if left unchecked.

This is where most shiba inu owners fail and find themselves in over their head.

A hyper active shiba inu will always find something to do if you don’t for them. Leading to torn up carpet, furniture, shoes, and so on.

Thankfully there is a simple and straightforward answer to this, at first glance.

Shiba inu’s do best when they spend between 45 and 60 minutes a day playing or exercising, which is spot on for a dog that’s 1+ years old but not a growing puppy. It fails to take their age into account.

Different ages have different play time needs, especially when they are transitioning from a puppy to an adult.

Every month a shiba inu grows they need an additional 5 minutes added to their play or exercise sessions. Past a year they’re exercise needs are roughly the same.

AgeTimeDaily Needs
1 Month Old5 MinutesTwice Daily
2 Months Old10 MinutesTwice Daily
3 Months Old15 MinutesTwice Daily
4 Months Old20 MinutesTwice Daily
5 Months Old25 MinutesTwice Daily
6 Months Old30 MinutesTwice Daily
7 Months Old35 MinutesOnce Daily
8 Months Old40 MinutesOnce Daily
9 Months Old45 MinutesOnce Daily
10 Months Old50 MinutesOnce Daily
11 Months Old55 MinutesOnce Daily
12+ Months Old60 MinutesOnce Daily

But the types of play or exercise they do also plays a role, especially while they are young.

While a 1 or 2 year old shiba inu may be perfectly fine hiking, a 3 or 4 month old shiba inu puppy won’t be.

Too much exercise can cause additional stress and strain on their joints, just like us.

It’s best for shiba inu puppies to go on shorter walks and play at home to build up their strength and stamina.

Do your best to teach them commands and socialize them at the same time, it’ll make taking that next step and trying a hike much easier down the road. Let me explain.

How To Drain Your Hyper Active Puppy

There are 3 excellent ways to wear out a shiba inu puppy:

Play
Playing indoors at home with your puppy not only familiarizes them with you but their home, especially if they are still new.

It’s also a great way to teach your new shiba inu manners, commands, and keep an eye out for potential aggressive behaviors all at the same time. A quick game of tug-of-war or even fetch are excellent choices to wear them out while also introducing the “no” or “drop it” commands in a mini training session.

Walks
Walks are amazing for your shiba inu in countless ways but fall into two main categories, physical and mental.

Walks are physically demanding, especially if you increase the length or pace, helping them build both endurance and strength. But walks are also fantastic at stimulating their mind and senses.

The everchanging sights, smells, and sounds help keep them mentally busy. Crosswalks are a fantastic way to start teaching them “sit” and “break” or “cross” commands for some quick and practical training.

But the best part about walks are the other people. Some will be alone or in pairs while others may be walking their pets just like you and me. Giving your shiba inu a chance to socialize, which is a massive for their growth and development. More on this later.

Training
Not all exercise is physical, mental workouts will tire your shiba inu out just as effectively. Whether it’s fresh training for a new addition to the family or a review session here or there for adults, both work wonders for helping tire them out.

Making sure your shiba inu puppy is on a consistent schedule for the above helps keep them out of trouble, and you sane.

Shiba’s, when poorly trained or socialized, are seen as a “chaotic” and “destructive” breed. But it’s all about the habits they build as they grow up.

Why Proper Puppy Exercise Is Important For Shiba Inus

Shiba inu puppies are seemingly always full of energy, and finding a way to channel that in a safe and healthy way will make a massive difference when they grow up.

Shiba inu’s learn and develop most of their habits, both good and bad, when they are growing puppies.

For example:

  • If you let them chew on shoe laces when they are a puppy because it’s cute.
    • They will continue to do so when they are an adult, causing more damage and is definitely not cute.

Which is the biggest mistake shiba inu owners make. Letting their puppy get away with basically anything only to turn around and make a stink about it when they’re all grown up.

Praising your puppy for something that “cute” rewards the behavior, making them more likely to repeat it in the future, but the same is also true for ignoring a behavior.

Ignored behaviors tell your shiba inu “this is ok” meaning whatever they are doing isn’t seen as a problem and is “normal. Both build a bad habit unintentionally or even by accident.

It’s harder to change these bad habits when a shiba inu grows up not because they can’t learn anything, but because they are an intelligent stubborn breed.

A shiba inu gets “set in it’s ways” just like you and I do.

And the best remedy for that is to avoid the potential situation entirely. Play, exercise, training, proper socialization, and a consistent routine are critical for that. Even more so when they are young.

Simple Ways To Work A Shiba Inu Out

Dog Parks

An excellent way to burn a shiba’s excess energy is play and socialization, both of which dog parks nail. Playing outdoors in a wide open area is fantastic for fetch, or chasing other pets. Playing into socialization.

Fetch

Ball games like fetch is a great way to get your shiba inu active, helping burn any pent-up energy they have. Tennis ball, ropes, stuffed animals, or even their favorite toys all work. Fetch is great for reviewing commands or even getting friends or family to join in.

Hikes

Dogs love running around and investigating the great outdoors, and shiba inu’s are no exception. While hiking isn’t for everyone, or every dog, those who do enjoy it swear by it.

You get all the benefits of walks, listed in more detail below, but with a higher intensity. Also, most of the people out hiking are friendly and bring their own pets.

Just make sure you wait until your shiba inu is at least up to date on their shots before venturing out. You should also make sure you bring enough supplies with you like water, I have more information on preparing your shiba inu for a hike hereOpens in a new tab..

Laser Pointers

Cats aren’t the only ones who like to chase laser pointers, many dogs will as well. Laser pointers grab a dog’s attention by hitting their prey drive.

Which is fantastic for getting your shiba inu up and running around, but there is a downside. Your shiba will never actually catch the point, meaning they won’t get a reward, which can develop unhealthy behaviors. So do at your own risk, it isn’t for everybody.

There is one massive thing you need to know before trying it out, eyes. Lasers are terrible for both our eyes and our shiba inu’s eyes. If you are willing to try this you must always always always keep the pointer on the ground and more it away or turn it off when they turn around to look at you.

Puzzle Toys

Mental stimulation is just as important as physical stimulation, and something that strikes that balance are puzzle toys. Most work by locking a treat away for your shiba to earn as a reward for solving their new puzzle.

I recommend grabbing a couple different ones and rotating them out every month or so. Helps keep things fresh and interesting.

Training

Commands and regular training and important for every dog, but even more for shiba inus. As stubborn of a breed as they may be, they aren’t impossible to work with. And the best way to prevent potential issues is to start young.

Training sessions, while a shiba inu is a puppy, helps both of you build good habits, weed out bad habits, and help mentally stimulate them. Helping wear them out.

Treadmill

While dog’s can use treadmills, there are dog specific ones, they aren’t a replacement for a proper walk. Treadmills fail to replace walks in 4 different ways:

  • Nails – Sidewalks and other hard surfaces help maintain and slowly grind down a shiba’s nails.
  • Socialization – They can’t meet or greet anybody while they are stuck indoors at home.
  • Training – Besides getting the trained to use it, that’s it. The commands aren’t practical.
  • Mental stimulation – Exercise is a 2 part system, physical and mental. While treadmills are physical they fail to stimulate your shiba inu’s sense of sight, smell, and hearing.

Tug of war

A fan favorite of most shiba inus, tug of war is an intense and fun fully body workout for them. It’s an amazing way for the two of you to bond and burn some time, when done right.

While it’s all fun and games, you’ll hear some gruffing and minor growling, you should do your best to de-escalate anything past that. Any aggressive behaviors displayed while playing tug should end the game with a couple minute break.

Tug of war is also a fantastic opportunity to get some practical training in. Commands like “no” and “drop it” are commonly used and very helpful incase your shiba get’s ahold of something they aren’t suppose to.

I do recommend you avoid yanking the toy when possible. Dog’s use their mouths for everything, so it’s best to avoid accidental injuries when possible.

Walks

Like I said before, walks are amazing for your shiba inu. They physically wear them out, mentally stimulate them, and even give you chances to socialize and train them on the fly.

Just make sure the length and intensity of your walks are sized up to your unique shiba inu. While adults could go on walks that are several dozen minutes long at a time, and at a brisk pace, puppies can’t. Do your best to pay attention to them, if they seem tired and burnt out you should end it there and start heading back.

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.

Recent Posts