How to Obedience Train an Akita

Medium
4-12 Weeks
General

Introduction

Your Akita is a smart and strong-willed dog. He is confident. Novice Akita owners might see that confidence as stubbornness, but you can build on your dog's natural confidence and desires to learn and train him to be obedient to you. 

Obedience training has a few basic elements like 'sit', 'stay', 'down', 'come', and leash manners or learning the 'heel' command that are imperative to training your Akita to be an obedient dog. An obedient dog is one you can nurture and love for a long time. When your Akita is trained basic obedience, he will not only listen to these foundation commands, but he will also be open to learning other commands as well. You can give him advanced obedience training and teach him more difficult commands, or you can teach him fun tricks for entertainment. When you work hard with your Akita to train basic obedience, you are building your relationship with him and setting your expectations for how your relationship will be in the years to come.

Defining Tasks

Because basic obedience training builds a strong foundation for any future training, you are going to go about training your Akita several different ways. The first thing you will be doing with your Akita is potty training if he is not house trained. Once he's old enough to socialize with people and other dogs, socialization will be the next step to obedience training. Teaching him the appropriate physicality between him and humans or other dogs sets expectations. Your Akita will need to know how to act with you as well as when you're not around. He will need to know how to behave when he's in public around people and other animals and when he's on a leash or off a leash. 

Set your expectations high with your Akita because he can certainly handle them. Whether you’re starting at puppyhood or with an adult Akita, focus your training on positive input and output and rewards for good behavior.

Getting Started

When you train positive reinforcement with any dog, especially your Akita because his personality is so strong, you will need to have lots of tasty treats on hand for rewarding positive behaviors. When time allows, schedule quiet distraction-free training sessions to work on basic obedience commands one-on-one. Other times during the day, think of moments you can turn into learning opportunities. Your Akita is open to always learning.

The Socializing Method

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Step
1
Early on
As soon as you bring your Akita home or as soon as he is old enough and vaccinated, socialize him. Take your Akita on walks with a leash, to dog parks, around your neighborhood, and to pet stores. The more your Akita interacts with other people the better-socialized he will be. A social dog is a well-behaved dog.
Step
2
Basic training
Become your Akita’s master by offering him basic obedience training. Start small and easy with basic commands such as 'sit' and 'down' and then move up to more difficult commands such as 'heel' and fun tricks.
Step
3
On a leash
Take your Akita out for walks and practice your basic obedience commands. Be sure while you're walking your Akita on the leash, he understands your expectation for leash manners. If he pulls on the leash while you're walking together, stop in your tracks and wait for him to redirect his behavior in a positive manner.
Step
4
Introduce
Introduce him to people he will see often. These people can be friends or family outside of your home, pets around the neighborhood, the groomer, veterinarian, or pet store staff. Set your expectation for him to sit before they are allowed to touch him. Be sure you allow them to pet and touch your Akita so he gets used to this kind of handling.
Step
5
Rewards
Set yourself up as the master of your Akita by giving him rewards when you see good behavior, when he succeeds at obedience commands, or is successful performing a trick. By giving him rewards for good behavior, he will begin to understand you are in control.
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The Basic Obedience Method

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3 Votes
Step
1
Easy commands
Start basic obedience training with a few easy commands such as 'sit', 'down', 'stay', and 'come'. Be prepared with lots of treats to reward your Akita for good behavior and for mastering obedience.
Step
2
'Sit'
Hold a treat up over your Akita’s head slowly move it back towards his tail and watch as he sits in anticipation of getting the treat you're holding over him. When he sits, say the command and give him the treat. Keep practicing until he masters this command.
Step
3
'Down'
Start training the down position by having your Akita sit first. Once he's in a sitting position hold a treat in front of his nose and slowly bring it down to the floor, pulling it closer to you and away from him. He will likely lie down when he sees the treat down low and pulling away from him. When he does this, say the command ‘down’ and give him the treat. Be sure to practice a lot with rewards.
Step
4
'Stay'
They will take a little bit of practice. Put your Akita in a 'sit' position. Tell him to stay and take a step away from him. If he comes towards you, repeat. If he stays, even if only for a moment, give him the treat. Practice this a lot moving farther and farther away from him once he understands what you're asking him to do.
Step
5
'Come'
The 'stay' command typically joins with a 'come' or 'release' command. Once you put your Akita in the 'stay' position, he will need to know when he's free to go. Typically this will happen when you step away and offer him a treat if he comes towards you. Use the command to 'come' each time he moves towards you and reward him. Practice a lot, so he understands the command.
Step
6
Leash manners
Leash manners take a lot of practice and a lot of walks. Start your walks off short with lots of rewards as your Akita walks next to you and is well-behaved. Increase your challenges with longer walks and more distractions as he understands your expectations.
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The Play and Reward Method

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Step
1
Exercise
Be sure to give your Akita lots of exercise. He's a highly energetic dog and needs to release this energy throughout the day.
Step
2
Playtime with you
Take some time every day to play with your Akita. If the weather is nice, go outside for a walk or play fetch in the backyard. As your little guy releases his pent-up energy give him lots of reward for playing well.
Step
3
Playtime alone
There will be times your Akita needs to play alone, entertaining himself instead of depending on you for entertainment. Provide him with enough toys to keep active whether he is inside or out.
Step
4
Engaging play
As you are playing with your Akita or as he's playing on his own, give him commands and engage with him when you can. This will set the stage for him to listen to you and begin to learn to do what you ask instead of being exclusively independent.
Step
5
Obedient training
Outside of playtime, help your Akita burn off excess energy by scheduling basic obedience training sessions. These sessions should be fairly short but highly energetic and rewarding for your Akita to learn new commands. Focus on building foundation commands such as 'sit', 'stay', leash walking, 'down', and 'come'. Then move to more advanced training, teaching him lots of tricks and fun activities.
Step
6
Treats to come
Be sure your Akita knows any time he is playing with you, listening to you, giving you his attention, behaving well, making good choices, or sitting through a training session and is successful, he's going to earn a treat. Have lots of tasty treats on hand to reward positive behaviors and reinforce obedience training with rewards.
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Success Stories and Training Questions

Training Questions and Answers and Success Stories

Question
Rosie
AnimalBreed object
2 Months
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Rosie
AnimalBreed object
2 Months

She pees Alot in the house, is it bad to have water out all the time, and how often and how much should we feed her, she goes out alot too

Alisha Smith
Alisha S., Dog Trainer
91 Dog owners recommended

Hi there! It is fine to have water out all day, but keep in mind that puppies usually have to go potty about 20 minutes after they have water. And 30 minutes after solid food, even treats. So limiting meals to twice a day, and being mindful of treats will help with potty training. Also cutting off all water about 2 hours before bed time will help with night time accidents.

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Michika
AnimalBreed object
3 Months
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Michika
AnimalBreed object
3 Months

hello, I actually have a bunch of questions , don't know where to begin

Alisha Smith
Alisha S., Dog Trainer
91 Dog owners recommended

Hello. I can give you some advice on a starting point. I know it may seem overwhelming right now, but everything will start to fall into place as everyone in the household adjusts. You will be training your puppy from the moment you bring it home and start to house train. Puppies start learning from birth and good breeders begin handling and socialization right away. Some training can begin as soon as the puppy can open its eyes and walk. Young puppies have short attention spans but you can expect them to begin to learn simple obedience commands such as “sit,” “down,” and “stay,” as young as 7 to 8 weeks of age. When training is started at 7 to 8 weeks of age, use methods that rely on positive reinforcement and gentle teaching. Puppies have short attention spans, so training sessions should be brief, but should occur daily. Puppies can be taught to “sit,” “down,” and “stand” using a method called food-lure training. We use food treats to entice the dog to follow its nose into the proper positions for “sit,” “down,” “stand,” and “stay”. How do I get started using food lure training? Small pieces of food or a favored toy can be used to motivate your puppy to perform most tasks. Provided the reward is sufficiently appealing, the puppy can be prompted to give the desired response by showing the puppy the reward, giving a command, and moving the reward to get the desired response. For example, food held up over the puppy's nose and moved slowly backwards should get a 'sit' response; food drawn down to the floor should get a 'down' response; food brought back up should get a 'stand' response; food held out at a distance should get a 'come' response; and food held at your thigh as you walk should get the puppy to 'heel or 'follow'. By pairing a command phrase or word with each action, and giving the reward for each appropriate response, the puppy should soon learn the meaning of each command. How often should I give the command? Ideally you should give the command phrase once and then use your food to move the puppy into positions. Once the puppy has performed the task, add in verbal praise and an affectionate pat, which are known as secondary reinforcers (see below). If the puppy does not immediately obey on the first command, then you are likely proceeding a little too quickly. If you keep repeating the command, the puppy will learn that several repetitions are acceptable before it needs to obey. Keeping a leash attached can help to gain an immediate response if the puppy does not obey. "If you keep repeating the command, the puppy will learn that several repetitions are acceptable before it needs to obey." Remember that, early in training, your puppy does not know the meaning of the word. Therefore you could just as easily teach your puppy to sit with the word bananas (or sit in any other language) as you could with the word sit. The key is to associate the word, in this case “sit,” with the action of placing the hind end on the floor. How should I phase out the lure and food rewards? At first you are going to let the puppy see the food in your hand so that you will have her attention and can use it to guide her into position. As your puppy begins to comply more readily, you can start to hide the food in your hand, but give the command and repeat the motion or signal that she has learned to follow. Soon the puppy will come to expect the treat each time she performs the task. Then, signal and give the command, but when she performs the task, reward only with praise and give the puppy an affectionate pat. Next, you can begin to vary the frequency, giving praise with “good dog” and perhaps patting each time, but giving the food randomly, perhaps every 3 or 4 times. In time, the puppy should respond to either the hand signal or the command. Over time, the words “good dog” and the affectionate pat become secondary reinforcers. Because they have been paired with food in the past, they take on more meaning and become reinforcement in themselves. It is important to use secondary reinforcement because you will not always have food with you when you need your pet to obey. In addition, if you rely on food to get your puppy to comply, you will have a puppy that will only do the task when you have a treat. At first, begin training in designated sessions throughout the day, with a variety of family members. All rewards should be saved for these training sessions. Over time however, you should begin to ask your puppy to perform the tasks at other times. How much time should I spend training my puppy every day? You do not necessarily need to train in a set session daily. Rather, integrate these tasks throughout the day. A goal to strive for is at least 15 minutes of training every day. These can be short 5 minute sessions spread throughout the day. Try to have all family members ask your puppy to do these tasks. Remember to try to train in every room of your house. You want your puppy to “sit,” “lie down,” and “stay” everywhere, not just in the training location. Practice in all locations you would like your puppy to behave and feel comfortable and relaxed in the future. Use these training tasks as you integrate the puppy into your life. For example, ask your puppy to “sit” prior to receiving her food, “sit” before you let her in or out the door, and “sit” before you pet her. These are times when your puppy wants something and is more likely to comply. In this way, you are training your dog all the time, throughout the day and also establishing predictable rules and routines for interactions and helping the dog to learn who controls the resources. Training your puppy prior to getting each requested necessity, helps to prevent problems. Having your puppy sit before getting a food or treat prevents begging, while teaching your dog to sit before opening the door can prevent jumping up or running out the door. Be creative. The time you spend training your puppy now will pay off when you have an adult dog. To have a well-trained dog, you need to be committedto reinforcing the training tasks on nearly a daily basis for the first year of your puppy's life. The more you teach and supervise your puppy, the less opportunity it will have to engage in improper behaviors. Dogs do not train themselves, when left to choose their behavior they will act like dogs. What can be done if my puppy is too distracted or excitable to control? Training should begin in a quiet environment with few distractions. The chosen reward should be highly motivating so that the puppy focuses entirely on the trainer and the reward. Although a small food treat generally works best, a favorite toy or a special dog treat might be more appealing. It might also be helpful to train the puppy just before a scheduled mealtime when it is at its hungriest. For difficult or headstrong puppies, the best way to ensure that the puppy will perform the desired behavior and respond appropriately to the command is to leave a leash attached and to use a head collar for additional control. In this way, you can prompt the puppy into the correct response if it does not immediately obey, and the pressure can be released as soon as the desired response is achieved. When should I start socializing my puppy? Socialization should begin as soon as you get your puppy and often this means at 7 weeks of age. Puppies naturally accept new people, other species and introduction to new situations during the socialization period which occurs between 7 and 14 to 16 weeks of age. This period provides an opportunity for a myriad of introductions that will provide positive memories that last a life time. Puppies are eager, exploratory and uninhibited during this period and it is important to take advantage of this enthusiasm. Be sure to protect your puppy during this period and ensure that all experiences are positive, fun and not fear evoking. Why does my 16-week-old puppy seem afraid? There is a normal, natural fear period that begins around 14 to 16 weeks. During this period, a puppy may become wary and suspicious of new people, species or experiences. This is a normal adaptive process. Watch your puppy closely for signs of fear (cowering, urinating, and refusal of food treats). Avoid pushing or overwhelming your puppy during this developmental stage. Should I also consider training classes? Pet owners who are novices at training can begin a training program with these few simple steps. It takes repetition, time and perseverance for the puppy to predictably and reliably respond to commands in a variety of situations. Consider only classes that use positive training techniques. However, a training class serves many functions. Trainers can demonstrate techniques and help guide you through the steps in training. They can help advise you on puppy training problems, and can help you advance your training to exercises that are more difficult. The puppy will be learning in a group situation, with some real life distractions. And, considering human nature, the pet owner who takes his or her dog to a puppy class will be forced to practice (do their homework) throughout the week if they do not want to fall behind by the next class. Finally, a training class is a good place to meet and talk to other new puppy owners and see how all puppies behave. Training classes for young puppies are also an excellent way to socialize your new puppy to a variety of people, dogs, and other stimuli in a controlled environment. In addition, you will learn how to prevent problems before they can begin, or deal with them as they emerge, rather than having to find a way to correct problems that have already developed. Your puppy might also make some new friends of the same age. You could then visit these friends (or vice versa) with your puppy for social play and exercise sessions. Since the primary socialization period for dogs ends by 3 months of age, puppy socialization classes are most valuable for puppies 8 weeks of age and older. If all puppies in the class have had initial vaccinations, are healthy and parasite free, the health risks are low and the potential benefits are enormous. Discuss the location of classes in your area and when to start them with your veterinarian.

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Aki
AnimalBreed object
1 Year
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Aki
AnimalBreed object
1 Year

AKi has just returned(3 days ago) from puppy school. At first he executed the commands perfectly. But now I have problems with the "down" command. I have no doubt that he knows the command, but he deliberatly chooses to disobey me and I think that is quite a problem. I also do not know how to react when he does not execute the command, even at the tenth try. Should I leave him alone? Or should I insist even more?

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
673 Dog owners recommended

Hello Maria, First, you can check with the school to see whether they practiced around distractions, or could only perform the command without distractions (a basic level vs. intermediate level of obedience). If pup can't do the command around distractions, pup will need to practice it around distractions - starting with easier distractions first and working up to harder ones. If pup can do the command around distractions and is just choosing to disobey you because they aren't used to having to listen to you, check out the article linked below and the Leash Pressure method. Only use this method if pup has never shown any form of aggression toward you. Another option I suggest integrating is having pup work for life rewards by having to do down first - have pup Down before feeding meals - and wait pup out, not putting the meal down until they comply. Have pup Down before leashing and taking on a walk or before tossing a toy, ect...Use every day things that pup wants as rewards and motivators to Down before giving those things to pup. It might take 10-15 minutes to get a down out of pup the first time. A bit of calm stubbornness can go a long way to showing pup without being too harsh that you mean what you say and pup needs to listen. When using the leash pressure method, do not force pup to the ground, the goal is to simply apply enough pressure that not obeying is uncomfortable, so that they will eventually choose to lie down - because you aren't forcing pup to the ground but waiting, expect this to take a few minutes the first time. When pup obeys and finally lies down, praise and reward the Down as if pup did it right away. Down: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-german-shepherd-to-lay-down Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Diesel
AnimalBreed object
8 Years
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Diesel
AnimalBreed object
8 Years

My grandad has adopted an 8 year old Akita, we were told by the dogs home he used to live on the streets, he is gernally very very well behaved, calm and friendly but my grandad is having issues with him walking on a lead - he becomes aggressive when other dogs approach him and will not listen to my grandad and becomes very difficult to hold, rearing up on his legs and barking very deeply. I believe this is because Diesel is in a new territory with a new person and he is being protective and asserting himself in his area, but my grandad needs and wants to train him to obey him properly when other dogs are near by, and to walk on when he is told to - Diesel is a stubborn sniffer, and can go 3-4 minutes at one spot - can you advise the best way to teach Diesel to stop pulling when other dogs are near until he is told to walk on and to respond to being told to walk on when he is engrossed in sniffing something for too long?
Many thanks
Beth

Darlene Stott
Darlene Stott
Dog Trainer and Groomer
85 Dog owners recommended

Thanks for the great pictures. He is a big boy! And yes, this makes it important to have full control when walking him. Teaching Diesel to heel is essential. This guide has a couple of great methods that are very effective. Try the Turns Method:https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-poodle-to-heel Have grandad use this practice method on every walk. Whenever someone else walks Diesel, they need to do the same. As for the meeting other dogs, the Passing Approach Method is a good one to work on: https://wagwalking.com/training/greet-other-dogs. If control of Diesel is not accomplished with this training, consult a trainer for in-person help. With Diesel's size, it is important to have him comfortable, obedient, and listening. Good luck!

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Rocky and bandit
AnimalBreed object
2 Years
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Rocky and bandit
AnimalBreed object
2 Years

Whenever they are left alone they rip the stuffing out of the couch and go to the bathroom on the floor they never went inside the house before but now do very often how do I get them to stop ruining the furniture and going in the house??

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
673 Dog owners recommended

Hello Maggie, Both pups need to be crate trained in separate crates. and crated when you cannot supervise. You won't be able to make forward progress until the current bad habit is stopped when you aren't there to enforce boundaries, so crating is a must to begin with. Chewing: https://www.petful.com/behaviors/train-dog-not-to-chew/ Introducing a crate: Work on teaching the Quiet command during the day using the Quiet method from the article linked below. https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-shih-tzu-puppy-to-not-bark Second, during the day practice the Surprise method from the article linked below. Whenever a pup stays quiet in the crate for 5 minutes, sprinkle some treats into the crate without opening it, then leave the room again. As they improve, only give the treats every 10 minutes, then 15 minutes, 20 minutes, 30 minutes, 45 minutes, 1 hour, 1.5 hour, 2, hour, 3 hour. Practice crating him during the day for 1-3 hours each day that you can. If you are home during the day, have lots of 30 minute - 1 hour long sessions with breaks between to practice this, to help pups learn sooner. Whenever they cries in the crate, tell the crying dog "Quiet". If he gets quiet - Great! Sprinkle treats in after five minutes if he stays quiet. If he continues barking or stops and starts again, spray a quick puff of air from a pet convincer at his side through the crate while calmly saying "Ah Ah", then leave again. Only use unscented air canisters, DON'T use citronella! And avoid spraying in the face. Surprise method: https://wagwalking.com/training/like-a-crate If pups cry at night (in the crate - where they need to be sleeping for now if accidents or destructiveness is happening then too) before it has been 8 hours (so you know it's not a potty issue), tell that dog Quiet, and correct with the pet convincer if he doesn't become quiet and stay quiet. Don't give treats at night though. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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