Why do Shibas scream?

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Shibas might be one of the quietest dog breeds out there, but don’t let that fool you. If you are a proud owner, you might already know that it can both whine, scream, and make all sorts of other weird noises. Some people even go as far and says that it’s a dog with cat software and a dolphin’s speech system. It’s a very quiet dog most of the time, but some are heavy screamers or just like to scream when there is too much drama (like when clipping their nails). 

If your Shiba is too vocal, it can turn into a problem, especially if you got neighbors close by.

Knowing what you can do about it and how you should interpret the screams is essential if you want to know your dog better and also make it scream less.

Keep on reading, and we will teach you all about this notorious scream!

How Did The Scream Evolve?

The Shiba Inu is genetically very close to the wolf. It’s one of the closest relatives if you look at their DNA.  

In the past, the Shiba was considered to be an ancient dog breed, but modern research has found it to be a basal breed. Basal dog breed still predates modern-day dogs by hundreds of years.

When you know where the Shiba comes from, it’s easy to figure out how the screaming evolved.

Other wolf-like dogs like the Alaskan Malamute howls like a wolf. The Shiba scream is just a take on how their ancestors sounded. Sometimes it can even sound like a mix of a howl and a bark.

Shiba Inus can, of course, howl and bark just like other dogs, but you’ll properly hear the screaming and whining a lot more.

Basal breeds usually don’t like being touch and handled that much. Handling can trigger anxiety, fear, and displeasure, and your Shiba will be vocal and communicate this loud and clear if it feels so.

During puppyhood they scream to alert their parents that something dangerous is happening. Just like a wild dog or wolf would do. This often follow them into adulthood when something they just don’t like is happening, like trimming their nails or taking a bath.

Do Shibas Bark a lot?

The short answer here is no, but in the end, it all comes down to the individual dog. The breed is usually relatively quiet, but some Shibas might find their voice and start to bark. It’s more common if your dog are raised with dogs that tend to bark.

When talking to other Shiba owners, they say that their dogs might bark once in a while and that it sounds more like a dog trying to bark than an actual bark.

Shiba Inu Scream Triggers

I still remember the first time we had to take our little Shiba puppy to the emergency veterinarian.

She needed to get her bloodwork done, so the vet shaved off her fur, and the second the needle pierced the skin, our little pup made the loudest scream I’ve ever heard coming from such a small animal. She was only 12 weeks at the time. 

It must have been quite terrifying for her. The sound she made was deafening for both the vet and me, our ears were ringing, and all I could think was, “the other dog parents at the clinic must think we are killing our dog in here”.

Luckily people handling dogs regularly know that Shibas can scream, and in some situations, it gets REALLY loud.

What she felt was properly a combination of what can trigger the infamous Shiba scream; anxiety, fear, and displeasure.


When your doggo is excited, the scream you’ll hear differs from the typical drama queen scream. It’s more like a louder version of the whining. 

Also, it’s more than often accompanied by the trademarked Shiba airplane ears.

You will notice from miles away that your friend is thrilled to see you!

The “Drama Queen” Shiba Scream 

Even if your dog might not be that vocal, this is one of the most common types of screams you will encounter. Small things like trying to handle their paws, take a bath, or clip their nails can result in a shout so loud that you might consider hearing protection. Often it sounds way worse than it is. Thus people call it the “Drama Queen”-scream.

How Do I Stop My Shiba Inu From Screaming?

Socialize Your Dog Early in Life

It’s important to start socializing with your dog as soon as it moves in with you.

The first months of a puppies life shape its personality and temperament for the rest of its life. Exposing them to a variety of places and situations early in life will make a huge difference.

Doing this right away will make your dog less fearful of unfamiliar situations, like riding a car or new places. But it will also make her used to being in new places and getting handled by people it might not know. Introduce them early to new sights and smells. Let them be curious and make it a positive experience.

Take it in baby steps first and ramp it up when you see that your dog is confident enough in a new situation.

Puppy classes are great for socializing your dog and teaching it when they shouldn’t socialize as well (when you practice new things). 

But what about older dogs? It’s almost the same: reintroduce them to new sights, smells, and people slowly and take baby steps here. And little by little, you will have a more confident dog!

Get Your Dog Used to the Idea of Handling

Just as with socializing, you should get your dog used to handling as soon as possible. Your dog will experience handling in a lot of different scenarios in their life. You trying to trim its nails, hugs from kids, and getting restrained at the veterinarian are just a few that come to mind.

Practicing is the key to get your dog not to scream when getting their paws touched by the groomer or getting examined by the vet. You can start to practice touching their paws and ears already when they are small puppies. Practicing them getting used to hugs and touching will make future encounters easier, and instead of getting vocal and screaming, they will show you with their body language instead. If you practice enough, they might even enjoy the hugs!

One important thing when socializing and getting your doggo used handling is that you can’t force it. As with all training, it may take a bit of time and patience (and some of your friend’s favorite snacks). 

If you know your Shiba loves getting scratched on its head or rubbed on the chest, start there!

Some dogs, not used to handling, might get aggressive during this kind of exercise. It’s of the most importance that you stop directly if you feel that your dog might get aggressive. You are better of getting help from someone more experience like a dog trainer here!


Some Shibas scream more than others, but they usually are quieter with the right socialization and handling.

Starting as soon as you get your dog will make your ears thank you later in life.

But remember that the screaming is a part of what makes the breed. You can’t take it away from them. But you can train your dog to be less of a drama queen!