Hunter, a 7-year-old Shiba Inu, loves to spend his free time painting and even has his own Etsy store! His owner Denise says he seems to really enjoy it, and she feels he communicates with them through his art.

“He likes the challenge, he likes doing different things with us and interacting with us. He is very vocal about what he likes and what he doesn’t like, so we communicate in that sense,” she said.

Denise says that he’s a pretty laid-back dog now that he’s older, but as a puppy, he had a lot of energy. He wanted to learn new tricks all the time, and Denise taught him the usual commands such as sit, stay and paw. “Then eventually we ran out of tricks to teach him, so we ended up teaching him how to paint!”


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Hunter the Shiba Inu sells his artwork on Etsy

She says that seeing his paintings hung up in offices and homes around the world gives special meaning to his work. It makes it rewarding for Denise to see others enjoying his art, and Hunter seems to have a good time with it, too.

“They’re a very special breed. They’re not like your typical dog – they’re very stubborn,” Denise says. “You have to give them a lot of exercise and a lot of attention, so that they don’t get disruptive or they don’t cause you and your family trouble when you take them out.”

Well, even though Hunter might have a stubborn streak, his creative side comes through just as much! Perhaps this hardheaded mentality gives him the discipline and drive to continue with his paintings. He seems to enjoy learning new things, and painting just stuck with him from a young age. Hunter appears to go for the abstract style of painting, and uses all different shades of color for his work.

So far, he’s made almost 300 sales on his Etsy store, which customers have given a 5-star review. Denise classifies them by three categories: Classics, Night Sky 2017, and Seasonals. However, you can also request a custom order and Hunter the Shiba Inu painter will do his best to fulfill it!


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Denise runs a YouTube account for Hunter as well where she occasionally posts videos of him painting. His most recent video shows him painting on a Korean game show, so it seems that he’s getting pretty popular! He’s also been featured on another program called HARU TV.

It’s amazing what dogs can learn and how quickly they pick up on certain skills. Just like humans, dogs learn by repetition and practice, whether you teach them commands or painting. Of course, reinforcement with treats always helps dogs remember things better or perform a desirable action. However, with Hunter the Shiba Inu, it seems like he doesn’t need any extra encouragement or bribing.


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He truly enjoys painting, and his owners love to bond and communicate with him through this medium. It’s fascinating to see how intelligent and adaptable dogs are, and how they all have different likes and dislikes. When Hunter isn’t painting, he seems to enjoy going on hikes and trying out new dog treats. He also hangs out and celebrates birthdays with some other dog friends, including fellow Shiba Inus.

How to teach your dog to paint

If you want to try out painting with your dog, follow these tips from Little Dog Tips:

Tools and supplies you will need to get started:

  • Modified paintbrush
  • Washable, non-toxic paint – Children’s tempera paints are cheap, washable and fun to use. Acrylic paint is brighter and more opaque, but should be wiped out of fur before it dries
  • Protected surface – an old bedsheet on the floor, for example
  • High value, bite sized treats
  • Blank canvas – or maybe paper taped to a wall
  • A creative dog – ideally an adult dog past the chewing phase

Step 1: Teach “Touch” Or “Paint”

Bring a canvas into the room; your dog may go up and investigate it, or look confused at first. If your dog goes up to it, make sure to reward him or her with a treat. After your dog goes up to the canvas a few times, you can add in the cue “paint!”

You want your dog to approach the canvas nose-first. In the beginning, your dog may claw at it, but you should only give treats for nose touches. Tell your dog to sit if he or she keeps pawing at the canvas in order to “reset” him or her.

Step 2: Teach “Hold”

The hardest part about teaching your dog to paint will be getting him or her to hold the brush. Make sure to work on this step for a few weeks before moving onto the next phase.

Step 3: Teach “Give”

In order to keep messes under control, you’ll want your dog to give you the brush after each stroke. If you taught your dog the “retrieve to hand” trick while playing fetch, he or she should know how to return objects to your hand.

Step 4: Hold, Paint, Give

So, after you feel comfortable with each step, move through the sequence with your dog. Hand your dog a clean brush and ask him or her to “paint.” Make sure to stay close to the canvas so your dog doesn’t have to hold the brush for very long after each stroke. Once you’ve gone through the steps several times, your dog should feel comfortable painting with you!

Also, make sure to keep some dog wipes on hand, as this can get a bit messy!

Does your dog know how to paint or do any other cool tricks? Share with us in the comments!