Skip to Content

Can Shibas be clingy?

Shibas can definitely be clingy dogs. As a breed, they tend to bond very closely with their owners and aim to please. This means they often want to be by their owner’s side as much as possible. However, the degree of clinginess can vary from dog to dog based on factors like socialization, training, and personality.

Do Shibas attach to one person?

Yes, Shibas tend to attach very strongly to one person in the family. This is due to their heritage as a primitive breed that evolved to work closely with a single hunter-master. Shibas were bred to think and act independently, but their loyalty lies with their primary person. They often choose this person themselves based on who cares for them and trains them the most.

Once a Shiba bonds strongly to someone, they become that person’s little shadow. They want to follow them from room to room, ride along in the car, and be included in activities. Shibas will often wait patiently by the door when their favorite human leaves and excitedly greet them upon returning. Their devotion is endearing, but it can become clingy if taken to an extreme.

Why are Shibas so clingy?

There are a few key reasons why Shibas are prone to clingy behavior:

  • Strong bond – Shibas were bred to work closely with a single hunter. This created a strong bond that remains innate in the breed.
  • Anxiety – Shibas are an anxious breed. Being apart from their person can stress them out, causing clinginess.
  • Fear – Shibas are alert dogs that can be wary of strangers and new situations. Sticking close gives them security.
  • Boredom – An under-stimulated Shiba will often become velcro dog to get attention and activity.
  • Attachment stage – Shiba puppies go through a strong attachment stage between 6-14 weeks old.

At what age do Shibas become clingy?

Shiba puppies start to show clingy behavior as early as 6 weeks old. During the 6-14 week imprinting/attachment phase, Shiba puppies will start following their human constantly. They will cry and whine if left alone. This early clinginess ensures the pup bonds to its new family.

Between 4-8 months old, Shibas go through a fear phase where clingy behavior may return. They will be wary of new stimuli and want to stick close to their person for security. As they mature, clinginess tends to decrease but usually never fully disappears.

Are male or female Shibas more clingy?

There is little difference between the sexes when it comes to clinginess in Shibas. Both male and female Shibas are prone to attaching strongly to their owner and expressing clingy behavior.

However, unspayed female Shibas may become extra clingy when they are in heat. The hormonal changes make them more anxious and in need of reassurance from their owner. So a female in heat may show a temporary increase in clingy behavior.

Do Shibas get separation anxiety?

Yes, Shibas are prone to separation anxiety due to their strong bond with their owner. Signs of separation anxiety include:

  • Whining, barking, howling when left alone
  • Destructiveness – chewing, digging, scratching
  • Pacing
  • Loss of appetite
  • Depression

Shibas may follow their owner from room to room to prevent being left alone. Separation anxiety often exacerbates clinginess in this breed.

Are Shibas clingy compared to other breeds?

Breed Clinginess Level
Shiba Inu High
Labrador Retriever Moderate
Greyhound Low
Bulldog High

Compared to other breeds, Shibas rate very high in terms of clinginess. Their strong owner-attachment predisposes them to velcro dog behavior. Other clingy breeds include Bulldogs, Golden Retrievers, and French Bulldogs. More independent breeds like Greyhounds and Huskies are less clingy.

How can I reduce clingy behavior in my Shiba?

To reduce clinginess in a Shiba Inu, try the following tips:

  • Socialize early and often – Well-socialized Shibas feel more secure.
  • Crate train – Helps a Shiba learn to self-soothe when alone.
  • Leave toys when gone – Keeps them occupied and less stressed.
  • Practice short departures – Gradually get them used to being alone.
  • Ignore clingy behavior – Don’t reward whining or pacing with attention.
  • Provide exercise – A tired Shiba will settle better when alone.
  • Obedience train – Teaches confidence and security commands like “settle.”
  • Consider doggy daycare – Social time helps reduce isolation stress.

Prevention is the best cure. Socialization and proper training from a young age helps prevent separation anxiety and clinginess in Shibas later on. But even adult Shibas can improve with time and patience.

Is clinginess ever a problem in Shibas?

For most owners, Shiba clinginess is seen as endearing rather than problematic. However, extreme clingy behavior can become an issue, especially signs of separation anxiety like destructive behavior when left alone.

Excessive clinginess can also prevent a Shiba from learning proper independence and social skills. It’s important to gently encourage some alone time and independence in a clingy Shiba to prevent anxiety from worsening over time.

Working with a trainer or behaviorist can help an owner address clingy behavior that negatively impacts a Shiba’s quality of life and ability to function alone.

How can I help a clingy Shiba feel secure when alone?

Try the following tips to help a clingy Shiba learn to self-settle when alone:

  • Provide interactive puzzle toys like food-dispensing balls.
  • Introduce calming supplements or pheromone diffusers.
  • Play white noise or calming dog music to soothe them.
  • Make sure they have access to favorite toys and chews.
  • Let them relax in a comfortable, safe space like a crate.
  • Keep a worn t-shirt with your scent for comfort.
  • Consider hiring a dog walker for mid-day activity.
  • Use baby gates to restrict access vs. shutting doors.

The more you can do to make time alone feel safe and enjoyable, the more independent a clingy Shiba will become.


Clinginess comes naturally to many Shibas thanks to their affectionate temperament and strong owner-bond. While endearing, excessive clingy behavior can become problematic. Addressing it early with proper socialization, training, and gradual alone time is key. With time and patience, most clingy Shibas can learn better independence while maintaining their loving loyalty.