Kenzo – An Update

We received the following update from Kenzo’s foster family:


Kenzo has some very good Shiba qualities and some very challenging Shiba qualities. He needs a strong, consistent leader who has time to work with him and bring out those good qualities more often.

On the one hand, he is extremely intelligent and highly trainable. He doesn’t take long to learn a new command or respond to a limitation or boundary we set for him. He is also very playful and affectionate. He has a good amount of energy and as with any young Shiba male, he needs daily exercise mixed with some ball catching or tug of war. Two of his favorite games. He is also one of the most handsome Shiba’s I’ve ever seen. Those are some of his finest qualities.

On the other hand, due to that high level of intelligence, Kenzo is always looking for a way to get what he wants. He is very willful and we are constantly having to remind him who is in charge. If allowed, Kenzo would happily take over everyone and everything in the house and make it his. We are successful most times in keeping him in line. Consistency is KEY!! We make him work for absolutely everything he gets; from food and affection to entering and exiting a room. Affection is a great reward for him, as he really loves being petted and loved on. Despite being easily trainable he will occasionally “forget” what the rules or boundaries are and needs to be reminded.

Kenzo is definitely a dominant male. He does okay with the other male Shiba when they are in the house, as long as the resident Shiba takes a submissive role with Kenzo around. When they are outside Kenzo is much more prone to try and exhibit dominant behavior toward him (bumping into him, jumping on/at him, walking in front and heading him off, etc). – Kenzo would definitely be better off as an ONLY DOG. Being in a multiple dog household would require constant training. He is also still quite reactive to other dogs. He is very friendly to humans and curious of small children. He hasn’t had much interaction with kids since we’ve had him though. I would keep him highly supervised around a child. He still has some puppy tendencies with being mouthy. Mouthing or nipping is still his “go-to” when he’s really worked up or upset. We are working with him on that.

When Kenzo is bored or wants attention he is like a small child himself. We can’t turn our backs on him for a minute or he’s table/counter surfing and getting into bags or other items he shouldn’t have. I wouldn’t put it past him to take my phone off the coffee table and chew it to bits if given 2 minutes by himself. However, if he’s had a good long walk and some play time we can leave him in his room by himself with the crate door open and he’ll just go in there and lay down. We can also allow him to interact downstairs with the other animals as long as we monitor him and it’s AFTER he’s had a walk.


If you are up to the challenge and would like to make Kenzo a member of your family, please read about the process ( Adopt A Shiba) and send us an application.


  1. I am interested in Kenzo, but I am first time dog owner. Can I still apply?

    • When you submit an application, the adoptions team conducts a comprehensive review to determine which dog is the best match for your family. In your case, they will work on finding you a dog that can live with a person without experience. It will not be Kenzo – he has already found someone to be the strong, Shiba-experienced leader he needs.

  2. I would absolutely love to adopt Kenzo and train him as a PTSD Service Dog for myself. I am an Honorably discharged Combat Veteran with PTSD. Everything that I have read about him sounds like a good match for my personality. I love Shiba Inus as a breed and have been looking for a companion for quite a while.