You’re used to barking dogs, right? Depending on where you live, it’s likely you hear a chorus of dogs barking every day when a stranger passes by.
Regardless, it’s one of the first things we learn as kids. What does the doggie say? Woof-woof!
But have you ever heard a dog scream? If you’ve ever known a Shiba Inu, you may have. These dogs are famous for their scream, which often comes out instead of a bark or whine.
So what is the Shiba scream and what should you know about it if you’re thinking of adding a Shiba Inu to your family? Find out here!
What Is the Shiba Scream?
Cats meow, ducks quack, and dogs bark, but apparently one particular type of dog, the Shiba Inu, screams.
If you’ve ever owned a dog, you know that barking isn’t the only sound they emit. They can growl, whine, yip, and some will even make sounds at you that almost sound like talking. If you’ve ever seen the Internet-famous Husky “I Love You” videos, you know what we mean.
But Shibas have a sound that’s all their own. Something like a loud whine mixed with a howl and a cry, the best way to describe this high-pitched sound is as the unique Shiba scream.
What Does a Shiba Inu Scream Sound Like?
Have you ever heard a puppy whine or cry loudly? Like when you’re trying to give them a bath or when you come home after being gone a while and they’re really hungry?
The Shiba scream is kind of like that, except louder and shriller.
To describe it, try imagining a shrill noise that sounds like something between a howl and a whine. They can make a continuous pitch for a few seconds or they might bounce around among a few pitches, which can kind of sound like a shrill version of the famous Husky “talking.”
However you describe it, it’s a sound that you wouldn’t normally expect to come out of a dog. Most people are quite surprised and entertained the first time they hear the Shiba scream.
Does the Shiba Inu Scream a Lot?
The screaming can be funny and even kind of cute depending on how often it happens. Hearing such an unexpected noise come out of a dog is a little disconcerting at first but then it becomes funny.
Of course, after listening to it for hours on end, most people would find it less endearing and more annoying. Should you expect this chorus to become a regular part of your life if you add a Shiba Inu to your family?
Shiba Inus may have a famous scream but they are generally quiet dogs. The scream comes out when they are upset or concerned about something.
They’ll scream if they are afraid or nervous, such as when you want to give a water-wary Shiba a bath. If they sense danger, such as when a stranger approaches, they may scream though another dog would bark. And sometimes they’ll scream with excitement when playing with their family.
If they don’t have a reason to scream, they won’t. And most Shiba Inus don’t find a reason that often.
Are Shiba Inus Drama Queens?
That being said, the Shiba Inu has earned a reputation for being a drama queen. This is mostly because of their overreaction to events.
For example, many dogs are unhappy about getting a bath or getting their nails clipped but they won’t scream at the top of their lungs about it.
Plus, the Internet has made the Shiba Inu scream famous, but life with a Shiba Inu (generally) isn’t as noisy as those videos make it out to be.
Why Do Shiba Inus Scream?
If you’re concerned about your dog being too noisy, the road to correcting the behavior begins by understanding why they do it.
The broad reason is that they are a basal breed. This simply means they are more closely related to wild dogs or wolves than, for example, a Golden Retriever.
Because of geographic isolation over the years, their genetics have not been diluted as much as other types of dogs. Thus, they tend to be more territorial, wary of strangers, and, apparently, prone to a different form of communication that was probably prevalent among the ancient dogs. Even with this geographic isolation, Shibas can still come in a variety of colors.
More specifically, Shibas only scream when they have a reason. Of course, it can still feel baseless to you until you understand what that reason may be. With Shibas, you can loosely boil their reasons to scream down to about 5 causes. Let’s look at them here.
1. Fear or Anxiety
Shibas can be a little on the dramatic side. Any time they have reason to be afraid or anxious, they might let out a Shiba scream.
So anything from a trip to the vet, a bath, or even the arrival of a strange dog can provoke their dramatic vocalizations.
Anyone considering owning a Shiba should be aware of their separation anxiety issues. Shibas do not like to be alone and they will let you know how they feel in no uncertain terms.
When they know you’re getting ready to leave the house, they may follow you around vocalizing their complaints. Mainly, they’re looking for attention as well as hoping that you won’t leave after all.
3. Happiness or Excitement
The cause of the Shiba scream isn’t always a negative emotion. Sometimes they’ll let out a happy scream when they get excited about something.
After the horrible depression of their separation from you, they may greet you at the door with a shrill, excited scream because they are happy to see you. Or if you pick up the leash or their favorite ball, the scream may sound out as they race around in their excitement for the anticipated activity.
4. Socialization Issues
Shiba Inus tend to be wary of strangers. Socialization early on is essential if you want your Shiba to be calm when meeting new people or animals.
Without this training, your Shiba may scream and carry on every time she meets a new person or animal.
Shiba Inus know their own minds and they know when they are not happy about something. Any time you expect anything from your Shiba Inu that he doesn’t like, you can bet you’ll hear about their displeasure in no uncertain terms.
How to Prevent a Shiba Inu From Screaming
The Shiba scream is entertaining, but only when it happens infrequently. Excessive screaming will get old really quickly.
But luckily there are simple ways to help avoid the Shiba scream.
The first and easiest is early socialization and exposure to activities you don’t want your Shiba to fear. Shibas scream out of fear and anxiety, which is commonly caused by vet visits, grooming, baths, nail trimming, strangers, etc.
Thus, early exposure to these triggers is key. Help your puppy to understand that these events are not to be feared and he won’t spend his whole life screaming about them. If one of your Shiba's fears is nail trimming, you can try a scratch board to help.
Also, make sure your dog is getting what he needs. Shibas are energetic dogs that need lots of exercise and attention from their owners. Spend time playing with your dog every day and ensure that he gets enough exercise. A tired dog is less likely to spend his downtime screaming.
Are Shiba Inu Easy to Train?
Shiba Inus are strong-willed dogs. If training with an experienced hand begins early, they are somewhat manageable. But you must maintain a dominant hierarchy. They will happily walk all over you if they get the chance.
You must be consistent, patient, and realistic about your Shiba Inu’s training (and the reduction of their screaming). You can’t expect to eliminate screaming, but you can keep it to an appropriate amount.
How to Train a Shiba Inu to Stop Excessive Barking, Howling, or Screaming
First, understand your Shiba’s reason for screaming. If they are trying to get your attention, deny attention while screaming. Redirect your Shiba (perhaps with an ultrasonic dog training device) and shower them with affection when they are behaving themselves.
If you pay attention to them when they scream, they will do it more. But if you start ignoring them, they’ll be more likely to stay quiet.
Again, early exposure to activities that commonly cause the Shiba to scream will make it a non-issue for your Shiba.
But even if your Shiba is older, you can help him get used to the activities by exposing him to them often and showering him with lots of love and attention. Once he associates positive things with these activities, he will feel less anxious about them.
Is a Shiba Inu Right for You?
Shibas are fantastic companions. Though wary of strangers, they love spending time with their families and you can expect a loyal friend in one of these energetic bundles.
However, owning a well-behaved Shiba that only screams occasionally means proper training and socialization. But if you’re willing and able to take on the challenges, you’ll be more than rewarded for your efforts!
Get more expert advice on pet-parenting by visiting the Off Leash blog at TryFi.com.
TryFi's The Fi Dog Collar is a must-have for any pet parent, it's a GPS tracking collar that helps you keep tabs on your dog's location, activity, and sleep patterns, and alerts you if they escape your backyard. Try the Fi Dog Collar today!