Shiba Inu owners refer to the ‘Shiba 500’ as the Shiba’s tendency to run laps around the yard or inside the house as if it were a racetrack. A high-energy, seemingly unprovoked episode of running laps is seen in most breeds, especially during puppyhood—animal behaviorists call it a "frenetic random activity period" or FRAP, while many non-Shiba owners call it the "zoomies." Shiba Inu owners say the breed's Shiba 500 rivals even the most energetic dog's zoomies.
The activity is a way for a Shiba Inu to release pent-up energy. More exercise and activity may lessen the occurrence of these Shiba laps, but it's not a behavior that should be punished as it is a way for them to burn excess energy. Some Shiba 500s are triggered in response to specific activities such as vacuuming the floor, the doorbell, getting out of the bath, or other stimulation.
If the behavior seems related to anxiety rather than for fun, minimizing stressful situations that cause the Shiba 500 can help. Some Shiba Inu may jump and nip during their '500'—any nipping behaviors should be discouraged.
Videos of clever Shiba Inu talking are all over the internet. Shiba Inu are vocal by nature and will yodel, howl, yip, groan, and more to show their excitement, boredom, or displeasure. Many Shiba owners have harnessed the Shiba's natural howling and barking behaviors by teaching them how to mimic words. Stories often recount the time someone's Shiba Inu approached them and mimicked a word they had heard regularly, such as 'walk,' without any training to do so. One of the benefits of teaching a dog to speak—or talk, in this case—is that it may lessen the undesirable barking or howling that happens without the command. Though, with a breed that loves their own voice as much as a Shiba, there's never a guarantee.
One of the most talked about Shiba Inu vocalizations is the 'Shiba scream,' a surprising shriek in response to something undesirable—nail trimming, a trip to the veterinarian, or other anxiety. Shiba Inu aren't fond of handling, especially by strangers. Minimizing anxiety, desensitizing Shiba to handling for nail trimming and grooming, and providing early socialization may help reduce the stress-induced behavior.
Shiba Inu are born with floppy triangular ears, but between the ages of 6 and 10 weeks their ears begin to stand up. Purebred Shiba Inu ears will stand up by a few months of age unless there is a health concern such as an ear infection.
Shiba Inu ears often reveal the many moods of a Shiba—'airplane ears' laying flat like airplane wings display pure joy, perked-up ears exhibit alertness, while ears held straight back may be a sign of an impending Shiba 500.