Having a dog companion not only love you, but also protects you is a dream come true. The real question is “is my Shiba Inu up to the task?”. While physical protection unfortunately isn’t a Shiba Inu’s strong suit they can help keep you safe in other ways.
Shiba Inus are naturally alert, vocal, and wary of strangers making them excellent watchdogs. It is important to know that while they are warning system they are not protectors or guard dogs. Weighing in around 17-24 lbs. they are too small to physically intermediate or subdue potential threats.
Every Shiba Inu is different, having their own personalities and individual quirks, meaning they will show signs of protection in their own unique way. It’s impossible to know how protective or supportive your dog will be in your time of need, but here are some key things you should know.
A quick note on watch and guard dogs
A watch dog’s, or alarm dog’s, primary job is to alert their owner to any potential threats around them or their property. Typically, trespassers, intruders, or potential vehicles and noises that are out of the ordinary.
Size isn’t a concern here because watchdogs are expected to make noise, not engage with potential threats.
Although the barking is primarily for their owners to know something is off, they have the chance to scare away potential trespassers or intruders, but this is not guaranteed.
Generating a lot of noise is one of the Shiba Inu’s specialties.
Shiba Inu are also smart enough to know not everything is a treat to them or their owners, so they generally don’t bark endlessly at nothing.
Guard dogs on the other hand have a much more serious and active role.
The only similarity guard dogs have with watchdogs is that they both need to be alert while informing their owner of any potential situations. But that is where the similarities end.
Guard dogs are expected to actively deter and fiend off those same threats watch dogs alert you to.
Size is definitely a factor here. Both for intimidation and for actually protecting you or your property. You can’t expect a 20-pound dog to fight and win against either a 160+ pound person or a wild animal.
What makes a good watch dog?
Just because your Shiba Inu makes a lot of noise when something is happening outside does not mean they are instantly a world-class watchdog.
The most important skill that can’t be taught is understanding what does and doesn’t warrant alarm.
I doubt you want your dog to bark every time your neighbor comes home or is getting their mail. The same goes for people going for a jog or walking their pets around the block.
A car parking in front of your home or a person walking up to your property on the other hand maybe more valuable information.
In all the examples above, being able to distinguish a real threat from common occurrences is the difference-maker.
Thankfully Shiba Inu are surprisingly smart while mostly being wary of strangers and protective of their owners. Another thing in a Shiba Inu’s favor is that they are a very vocal breed.
Not all Shiba Inu are equal when it comes to the qualities touched on above, each one’s unique personality and quirks can and will affect their decision making.
Are shiba inu capable of protecting you?
While yes, some Shiba Inu will put up a fight in hopes of keeping you safe, do not expect it or willingly put a pet in an emergency. Due to their size, most threats won’t have a hard time dealing with them.
Shiba Inu are more reliable as an alarm, not a final line of defense.
They are very loyal and faithful dogs but are still a stubborn breed and some can be selfish. If your Shiba Inu doesn’t want to help, then they simply won’t, and you can’t force them to. Not all or even most Shiba Inu are like that, but some are, and it is better to know and learn what type of dog yours is ahead of time if possible.
Should you invest in training?
Training a Shiba Inu for everyday things such as walking properly on a leash, sitting when asked, or even getting off the sofa are time-consuming and can be frustrating. That’s the double edge sword of this breed, they are incredibly smart, but they are also independent.
Yes, it is possible to train a Shiba Inu to keep an active lookout or even to protect you but be warned it will be more difficult than the other examples I listed above.
If it is something you are dead set on it is best to start training them from a very young age. The earlier you start training your dog the better.
Just keep in mind, as I’ve touched on several times, they are smaller than recommended protective or even guard dog breeds, so they are more likely to get hurt.
Please keep your shiba inu’s health and safety in mind, theirs is just as important as yours.