Japanese Spitz Behavior Problems & Solutions

Japanese Spitz personality

The Japanese Spitz has a larger than life personality despite their small size. They can be strong-willed, a little stubborn, and independent.

However, they are friendly, affectionate and love company of both humans and other animals. There happy character and fun antics often make their owners laugh.

Due to their people orientated nature they are a breed that doesn’t really like to be left alone for too long. However, if you train them to be alone and provide ways to occupy them while out they will adapt and come to accept being alone. For a guide to leaving a Japanese Spitz home alone see here.

They can be quite possessive of their toys or food and are often diggers. Japanese Spitz can also be a little mischievous and at times naughty. They require an owner that can provide good leadership, training, and socialization.

Japanese Spitz have a bark that is louder than you may expect from such a small dog. They are generally a fairly moderate barker, but this can quickly escalate to nuisance barking if not managed.

Overall, with good socialization and training, Japanese Spitz are well behaved and obedient. However, training alone may not prevent dog behavior issues developing.

Japanese Spitz are also an energetic and very smart dog that requires plenty of daily exercise and mental stimulation. For a full guide to Japanese Spitz exercise see here.

They like to be occupied and kept busy and can become bored easily. Boredom and too much pent up energy are one of the main causes of behavior issues in dogs.

Are Japanese Spitz easy to train

The Japanese Spitz are reasonably easy to train. They are very people orientated. This means they usually form a close bond with their family and are eager to please. The bond you have with your Japanese Spitz is crucial so that they will have the trust to follow your lead.

They are also a very smart dog and pick new things up quickly. They key with training a Japanese Spitz is to be consistent and keep their focus on the job at hand. They can become distracted quick easy as they are always looking for the next fun thing to do.

It is also important to provide good leadership and be firm and consistent with the rules and boundaries. A Japanese Spitz is not afraid to test the boundaries if they see an opportunity.

Causes of behavior problems in Japanese Spitz

If you are consistent with your training and establish yourself a calm and stable leader you will have a well mannered and behaved Japanese Spitz.

If your Japanese Spitz does develop some behavior issues it is most likely due to three main causes.

Boredom and pent up energy – being high energy and highly intelligent means your Japanese Spitz will require plenty of exercise and activities, enrichment, and mental stimulation. For a guide to Japanese Spitz exercise see here.

Rules and boundaries – a lack of consistency with the rules and boundaries can result in a Japanese Spitz thinking they are in charge.

Fear – this can result in behaviors such as lunging and barking at people or dogs and anxiety such as separation anxiety. A Japanese Spitz are generally a confident and outgoing dog. If they do develop anxiety it may be due to a past bad experience or training issue.

We will look at some common behavior issues with Japanese Spitz and how to go about fixing the problem.

Potential Japanese Spitz behavior issues

Excessive barking

Japanese Spitz have a bark that is louder than you may expect from such a small dog. They are generally a fairly moderate barker, but this can quickly escalate to nuisance barking if not managed.

They obviously bark when they feel the need arises such as alerting you someone is coming. If your Japanese Spitz is barking a lot at anything that moves or every sound they hear it is a training or other behavior issue.

There are many reasons dogs bark including being overexcited, warning somebody is there, anxiety, boredom, and attention-seeking behavior.

Yelling at your dog to stop usually doesn’t work and often makes them bark more. To a dog you yelling is like barking. They think you are barking so they think they should bark some more.

With excessive barking, a dog will often get into a more aroused state the more they bark. The trick is to stop this state before it gets too high. Teach them a “quiet command” and provide redirection. This can be as simple as getting their attention from the first bark with a treat or toy they like.

Digging

Digging is an instinctive behavior in dogs. Many Japanese Spitz can be keen diggers You can’t completely train instinctive behavior out of a dog, but you can redirect it.

Often a bored Japanese Spitz can resort to digging either to escape to find adventure or to occupy themselves. If a lack of exercise is contributing to your Japanese Spitz digging, aim to increase it.

If your Japanese Spitz is digging near the fence or gate they are probably trying to escape. For solutions to dogs digging under a fence see here.

These are some more suggestions to stop unwanted dog digging.

Put something in the hole

If there are existing holes that your dog has dug you can put a variety of items in the hole and refill it to prevent them from digging in that same spot. Examples include;

  • Their own poo – dogs won’t dig in areas that they have toileted.
  • Citrus peels, cayenne, or vinegar – these will irritate their nose discouraging digging
  • Rocks – bury rocks, particularly large flat ones to stop them from being able to dig.
  • Plastic netting – bury plastic netting just below the surface of known digging spots.  Avoid wire as this may cut their paws.

Alternatively, redirect the behavior so they dig in an area set aside for them or provide activities or toys that cater to the natural digging instinct.

Toys are a great way to cater to and redirect any natural behavior in a dog. This is true of the digging instinct. By providing a way for your Japanese Spitz to have an outlet for their desire to dig you can avoid destructive digging behavior.

The iDig is the first dog toy that has been specially designed to cater to your Japanese Spitz natural digging instinct. You simply hide their favorite toy or treats in the flaps and let them dig away to uncover the hidden treasure. Not only will the action of digging help burn off pent-up energy, but the mental challenge of working out how to get to the goodies will help to tire them also.

The iDigg comes in two types – the iDigg Go and the iDigg Stay.

The iDigg Go has a soft outer shell making it easy to pack up and take with you and the iDigg Stay has a hard outer shell.

Check out the video to see how this works or view the iDig Go on Amazon.

For more suggested dog toys for diggers see here.

Anxiety

Anxiety is a psychological and behavioral problem and can be improved and even fixed. This may be fear-based anxiety or separation and isolation anxiety. The Japanese Spitz is generally very confident and has a big personality. If your Japanese Spitz has an anxiety issue it is preventing them from being who they really are.

A lot of anxiety in dogs can occur when they are home alone. For a guide to helping a dog with anxiety when home alone see here.

Destructive behavior

Destructive behavior usually involves chewing and destroying your property. This can include furniture, clothing, and items around the house. In puppies, a certain amount of destructive chewing is expected as they are exploring the world and around 5 to 6 months will also be teething.

The most common reason for destructive chewing is boredom. Ensure your Japanese Spitz is not only getting plenty of physical activity but plenty of other forms of enrichment to challenge their minds also.

Another way to tackle this problem is to remove items they may chew if possible or use a deterrent such as a bitter-tasting spray. See chew deterrents on Amazon here.

Redirect the behavior by providing your Japanese Spitz with plenty of chew toys. Chewing itself is not a bad thing for your dog to do unless it is your stuff. Chewing is good for dental health, to occupy your dog, and for stress relief. When a dog chews they release endorphins to the brain making them feel calm and happy.

For the best chew toys for dogs see here.

Lunging towards other dogs and people

This behavior is based on fear and it is the perception by the dog of a potential threat or danger. It can also be an indication that the dog doesn’t see you as the leader and they need to protect you. This can also occur with dogs that haven’t been socialized well.

Often this can be a serious problem and you may need the help of an experienced qualified dog behaviorist.

Leash pulling

There are many reasons a dog will pull on the leash. They may be in a hurry to get where they are going, to meet another dog, or chase something. Ultimately, all these things have the same cause. The dog is getting into an excited state. It is not about stopping the dog pulling. Rather about keeping the dog calm and relaxed on the leash.

Chasing cats

Japanese Spitz are generally good with cats especially if they have been raised with them. However, they may chase a cat but this is usually for a fun game rather than an aggressive behavior.

However, some Japanese Spitz can be dominant and aggressive towards strange cats. Every Japanese Spitz is an individual and with socialization and training, the majority of Japanese Spitz can learn to be good with cats

Ultimately, it comes down to how you go about introducing and conditioning the Japanese Spitz and cat. Even though Japanese Spitz has a chase drive towards small animals they are also a friendly and gentle dog. They are also highly intelligent and respond well to the right training.

For a guide to introducing a Japanese Spitz and cat see here.

Summary – Behavior issues in Japanese Spitz

In general, most Japanese Spitz are well behaved and obedient. When they do have a behavior problem it is usually in 90% of cases the result of boredom and pent up energy. It is crucial to provide your Japanese Spitz with daily exercise and mental stimulation.

Japanese Spitz can also be quite spirited and strong-willed. Being consistent with the rules and boundaries will let them know what you expect and what is not acceptable.

Related Japanese Spitz Articles:

Japanese Spitz exercise guide

Best type of toys for Japanese Spitz

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