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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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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Written by Stephanie Plummer

Published: 04/01/2018, edited: 01/08/2021

Success Stories and Training Questions

Training Questions and Answers

Question
Hugo
Akita
5 Months
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Question
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Hugo
Akita
5 Months

Trying to house train my akita I put down my mates at my front door and if I see him sniff around I take him to the mat but as soon as he leaves it he will pee or poo seconds after leaving the
mat

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
946 Dog owners recommended

Hello Dean, I am a bit confused about what mats you are using and how you are using them. Since pup will be a large breed, if you are referring to pee pads, I would get rid of all pee pads and go straight to taking pup outside to go potty. I recommend the Crate Training method from the article I have linked below, to encourage pup's natural desire to keep a confined space clean, prevent as many accidents as possible (which leads to potty training soonest), and reward pup for going potty outside. You can also use the Tethering method found in the same article, in combination with the Crate training method found there, if you wish to keep pup with you more when you are home, but I would use the crate training method by itself first, until pup is consistently going potty outside more often. Crate Training method and Tethering method: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-german-shepherd-puppy-to-poop-outside If there is a reason why you cannot take pup outside and will need to transition to outside potty training later, then I would set up an exercise pen in a room that you can close off access to for pup later, like a bathroom (pup will be learning to go potty in this room, so don't do this in your den). Cover the floor of the exercise pen with disposable real grass pads, and reward pup with a treat whenever pup goes potty on the grass in there. Wait until after pup goes potty before you let pup out of the pen, returning pup to the pen again when it's been 2 hours since pup last went potty, keeping pup in the pen until pup goes potty, and repeating this cycle until pup will go potty immediately when you take pup there. When pup is going quickly on the grass when you take them to it, then you can gradually remove the extra grass pads until you are left with 1-2 in the pen for pup to go potty on. At that point you can add a non-absorbent bed like www.k9ballistics crate mats one one side of the pen for pup to rest on. I would have pup stay in the pen while you are gone off and asleep. When you are home, keep that door closed and pup with you and practice the Tethering method mentioned above to get pup used to going potty outside. Once pup is old enough to hold their bladder then entire time you are away, then transition to going potty fully outside and phase out the use of the pen. I would go ahead and get pup used to the crate while young though, so that pup can still be crated for safety once older and ready to move away from the exercise pen but still chewing enough that they can't be given total freedom in the home just yet. Surprise method for introducing the crate: https://wagwalking.com/training/like-a-crate Disposable real grass pad brands- also on amazon: www.doggielawn.com www.freshpatch.com www.porchpotty.com You can also make your own with a piece of sod and a large shallow plastic storage container, like the kind that slides under low beds. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Question
Aki
Akita Inu
3 Months
0 found helpful
Question
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Aki
Akita Inu
3 Months

Hello,
How many times do i train him in one day. How long are breaks forom eash training and does that change when he gets older?
Thank you.

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

Hello! Right now you can set aside 3, 20 minute blocks of time for training a day. As your dog approaches 5 months, you can increase that time to up to about 45 minutes a day. You can spend 30 minutes going over leash walking right now also.

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Question
Vito
Akita Inu
28 Months
0 found helpful
Question
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Vito
Akita Inu
28 Months

Hi, The biggest problem with Vito is, when we go out. When he see a dog ,sits and waits
Then he starts to barking loudly and he wants to attack 😞 He went to school for 3 months
And there were a lot of dogs but this problem is not solved. I don’t know what should I do?!

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

Hello! Your dog needs to learn new behaviors to quell his fear. First we reduce his fear around new dogs, and then we begin adding cues such as “watch me” or “sit.” Research tells us that most leash reactivity is caused by fear, not by aggression. Dogs bark and lunge at other dogs to warn, “Go away! Go away!” Dogs fear other dogs because of genetic reasons, lack of socialization, fights when they were puppies, or any scary (to the dog) interaction with other dogs. Sometimes having low thyroid levels contributes to unwanted canine behavior. During this time, avoid any punishment for reactivity. Doing so will make her concerns even bigger. Dogs learn by making associations, and you want your dog to associate other dogs with pleasant things — never punishment. The first step is to reframe what an oncoming dog means to your dog. From a safe distance — your dog determines the distance, not you — have your leashed dog view another dog. As the new dog comes into view, drop a lot of enticing meat treats just in front of your dog’s nose. Ignore any hysterics for now, but back up and create more space if your dog is unwilling to eat. This part is hard for humans — I understand. It helps to see your dog’s behavior for what it most likely is: fear vs. disobedience. The training reinforcer MUST be a great one, such as real meat. It is critical that the appearance of the new dog causes meat to fall from the sky. When the other dog is out of your dog’s view, all treats stop. We want your dog to predict that other dogs near him means that YUMMY FOOD will appear! As you are reframing your dog’s opinion of seeing other leashed dogs, be careful where you take your dog, and be protective of what she is exposed to. One fight can create a reactive dog. Consider not walking your dog for 30 days as you reprogram her opinions of other dogs. Instead, sit on your front porch or in your garage (or somewhere out of the way if those two options aren't possible) with your dog on leash, and practice treating every time another dog comes into your dog’s line of sight. During this time, engage your dog’s mind with mind puzzles, obedience work, and fun stuff like games in the house or yard. You know you have made great progress when your dog sees another dog, and he turns his head away from the once-threatening dog and looks into your eyes, expecting a treat. Once your dog is looking at his (former) trigger and then looking expectantly up at you for a treat, you can begin to put this skill on cue. Tell your dog "watch me" every time you see another dog approaching. Your end goal is for your dog to see another dog, and remain calm, looking at you for guidance. And this will be either continuing your walk, or being allowed to interact with the other dog. Please let me know if you have additional questions. Thanks for writing in!

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Question
Keni
Akita
3 Years
0 found helpful
Question
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Keni
Akita
3 Years

So when I try get to him to meet new people he tends growls, and that’s worry’s me he gonna hurt the new person

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
946 Dog owners recommended

Hello Kaicee, For the type of training you are needing, I highly recommend hiring a professional trainer who specializes in behavior issues or animal behaviorist to work with you in person. Look for someone who is experienced with aggression, who comes well recommended by their previous clients, and works with a team of trainers or staff so that counter conditioning around other people can be safely practiced with a variety of people to help pup generalize the training with a wide variety of people. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Question
Koda
American Akita
6 Months
0 found helpful
Question
0 found helpful
Koda
American Akita
6 Months

How do I get my dog to react better to my commands?

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
946 Dog owners recommended

Hello Kenya, I need a bit more information to answer your question. How is Koda reacting right now when you give commands? Do they know the commands well enough? Are they disobeying when distracted? Are they struggling to learn the commands to begin with? Are they acting fearful? Are they acting aggressive? Sometimes the issue is that pup doesn't understand a command well enough, using a different training method or practicing more can often improve that. Sometimes their is an underlying respect issue, the method from the article below can often help. If there is an aggression issue more safety measures like a basket muzzle and help from a trainer will be needed. https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-doberman-to-listen-to-you If pup is fearful or aggressive, I would need more information to address that, and I recommend hiring a professional trainer to help in person for aggression. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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