We love Misaki for a ton of reasons, but we also have no illusions about what she will or won't do. As a Shiba (like Akitas) they take a little more work to learn the "normal" dog commands, and even then if it's something you really want to enforce you have to consistently staty on top of them. See, Shibas simply won't sit on command if they don't see a good reason to do so.
For us, that's totally fine. Misaki is one of the most polite dogs we have ever met. She walks nicely on a leash. She responds properly to "Leave it." She is friendly towards all people, even kids. She barks rarely, and when she does it's two at most (and they are oh so cute - wait, I mean ferocious) and for a good reason. She is tolerant of dogs, even the annoying ones who bark at her out on walks. She defers to us before going into rooms and responds to a "Wait" command if issued. She responds when we call her name.
But she won't sit on command, even with treats. To teach her that stuff would take serious focus and, honestly, it's not that important to us. We've accepted it.
Which, of course, leads me to a story.
We signed up for this Shiba Meetup group in Portland and they had a get together a couple weeks back in our neck of the woods. We decided to take Misaki, hoping she would be polite with all the other Shibas running around an indoor arena.
First she needed a bath, and I'm only mentioning that so I can share this picture:
Sure doesn't look like a Shiba who hates baths, does it? She claims to, then practically purrs as we rub her up and dry her off.
Meetup day came and Misaki was a good dog (she wondered why we possibly could have expected otherwise). She sniffed the other dogs and allowed herself to be sniffed - for the most part - but didn't really play, preferring to watch from the periphery the more rambunctious (read: younger) Shibas. Instead she made the rounds of the room, stopping at each and every human and allowing them to pet her wonderful self.
We kept an eye on her, just to make sure she didn't get any trouble. (I did have to snatch her from an angry dog who didn't want to be sniffed. She was all ready to defend herself, she told me, but I think she was secretly happy I saved her from doing so.) Then she snuggled up to this man, who had brought a very pretty sesame Shiba with his wife.
Wifey and I watched this exchange from about 10 feet away, far enough we could be detached but close enough to hear what he was saying. Right at this exact instant he's asking Misaki to "down." She, of course, is ignoring him and wondering why he won't just skritch her head. As the man asked a few more times, Wifey and I could barely contain our giggles because we knew she wouldn't do it.
Then I also overheard him asking her what she did do. Her only response to him was a grin as she leaned against his leg.
Yep, that's our puppy - so damn coy.
Now, lest you think Misaki isn't capable of learning these basic commands, I need to point out it's perfectly obvious she knows exactly what they mean. On occasion she will let her guard down and actually sit when asked, such as in this picture below.
Also notice we are outside and she wants us to throw the ball so she can fetch it. Yep, exactly - she's sitting because she knows we will throw the ball if she does that, not because we asked her to sit. Who is training who here?!
Sometimes we'll catch her doing a sit and then congratulate her: "Good sit Misaki!" She jumps up like she was stung by a bee. "I did not!" she seems to be saying. You get halfway through the praise and she's already up and looking at you like you have four tails and purple skin.
That sit above also isn't what she typically does. A typical Misaki sit - and this seems to be common among Shibas - looks more like this:
Notice the one back leg splayed out to the side and the other one tucked underneath. Apparently this is more comfortable than the rigid sit most dog owners expect. It's also a slight muscle twitch from lying down, which is of course more comfortable.
See? Even when our cute Shiba does a sit, it's on her terms. If she was my teenage daughter, I'd probably chide her for slouching in this position. "Sit up straight!" I was always told as a kid.
It's just further evidence no human really owns a Shiba. Nope - humans are owned by their Shiba.
And you know what? We don't mind one bit.