How My Shiba Inu Made Me a Better Human
Updated: Jan 16
What's the first thing that comes to mind when you hear "Shiba Inu"?
The doge meme of course!
Shiba Inus are also notorious for being smart, sneaky, and stubborn as hell. They know all the commands, they just don't want to obey them. My Shibe, Toshi, is no exception.
At first, I thought that it was obvious that I was the alpha since I'm the dog owner, but Toshi didn't see it that way. Not at all. Whenever I wanted him to do something, he would instinctively do the opposite.
While we're on a walk, sometimes I would pull him in one direction, and he will immediately yank the other way. He doesn’t care if I’m pulling him out of the way of an oncoming car. His instinctive reaction is to do the opposite of what I'm trying to make him do. Toshi taught me that no matter what my intentions are, he will see my actions as imposing on his will. If I get upset, he may temporarily do what I ask, but ultimately he will still resist. But when I gently coax him, give him time to decide, and praise him when he does something well, he will follow me.
He taught me how to be patient. He taught me that my mood can affect others, even if I try to hide it. He taught me that if I want him to follow the rules, I need to be held accountable too (that dog ALWAYS knows when it’s 5 pm because he'll stand in front of his bowl for dinner…how does he know??). He taught me that there is no such thing as bad dogs, only bad owners.
I’ve had Toshi since he was eight weeks old and now he’s almost ten years old. He taught me that the adage “you can’t teach an old dog new tricks” is completely untrue. When you build a strong relationship based on trust and understanding, then there is so much more you can learn together. Also, time helps; it really mellowed out both of us.
We also depend on each other. There is a social contract that I will feed him, shelter him, and play with him. He will let me cuddle him and put him in funny outfits. He kept me out of trouble, gotten me out of the house, and moved across state lines and even across the globe with me. I think that is why some people treat their dogs like they are their children, except that dogs are better because they are always happy to see you.
Toshi taught me how to slow down. They say that the reason why dogs have short life spans is that they are put on this Earth to teach us to not take our time for granted. That's why we go on long walks and even longer cuddle sessions.
Thank you for teaching me, Toshi Bear.