How to Obedience Train an Akita

How to Obedience Train an Akita
Medium difficulty iconMedium
Time icon4-12 Weeks
General training category iconGeneral

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.

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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.

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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.

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The Socializing Method

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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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

The Basic Obedience Method

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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.

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'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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

The Play and Reward Method

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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.

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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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

By Stephanie Plummer

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

Training Questions

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Training Questions and Answers

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Uki

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American Akita

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4 Months

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Question

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Sometimes he gets agressive only towards me but not the other family members i believe he considers me to be the alpha but sometimes we play hard and he bites but not that hard.

June 24, 2022

Uki's Owner

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Caitlin Crittenden - Dog Trainer

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1133 Dog owners recommended

Hello Bardh, First, I would switch how you play with pup. Pup is at an age where they need to learn to control the pressure of their mouth. I would work on teaching things like fetch and hide and seek come and flirt pole chasing, rather than wrestling or tug games. Also, work on getting puppy used to touch and handling, so pup can learn how to be touched by you without expecting rough play and respond calmly to your touch. Use puppy’s daily meal kibble to do this. Gently touch an area of puppy's body while feeding a piece of food. Touch an ear and give a treat. Touch a paw and give a treat. Hold his collar and give a treat. Touch his tail gently and give a treat. Touch his belly, his other paws, his chest, shoulder, muzzle and every other area very gently and give a treat each time. Keep these times calm and fun for pup. Finally, check out this article on puppy biting, and also teach Out. Leave It method: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-shih-tzu-puppy-to-not-bite Out - move away: https://www.petful.com/behaviors/how-to-teach-a-dog-the-out-command/ Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

June 27, 2022

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Nova

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Akita Inu

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2 Years

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Question

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She had food aggression and bit my daughter when she was near her food.

April 17, 2022

Nova's Owner

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Caitlin Crittenden - Dog Trainer

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Hello, First, I would have pup on a back tie leash in your feeding area before you ever bring food out, so pup can't reach anyone while feeding and training, to stop the bites through proper safety measures. I would also hire a professional trainer who specializes in behavior issues like aggression to come to your home to work in person with you for this level of aggression. I would desensitize pup to wearing a basket muzzle gradually using food rewards before starting the obedience training and having pup work for what they want, since pup may bite any time you ask them to do something new or something they don't feel like doing, if there is general aggression towards you present. I would also address the specific feeding behavior, building trust around food while pup is on a back tie leash and can't get to you to bite them. You will need a trainers help to do this safely in my opinion. I would have pup's bowl on a leash so you can pull it away without getting too close while pup is tethered. I would feed pup their meals in portions, so you are giving small amounts several times. It would look something like, give 1/5 the meal to pup once they are not behaving aggressively, without getting too close just in case. While pup is eating sit far enough away pup isn't acting tense around you. Toss treats that are lot better than pup's current food at pup's food bowl when pup relaxed with your presence in the room. After pup finishes the first portion, once the bowl is empty, toss a treat away from the bowl where pup can reach it, to get pup to move away from the bowl. Say Out while you do this, then reel the bowl on the rope back to you. Place the next food portion in it and return to pup carefully using something other than your arm to push it toward pup once pup is not behaving aggressively. Repeat the treat tosses during the meal. Do this until you have fed the entire meal that way in portions. As pup improves, gradually sit closer to pup while they eat and you toss treats. Only toss treats for good responses. Depending on the specifics of why pup is guarding the food, you may also need to use low level remote collar corrections to interrupt aggressive responses toward you, while at the same time staying far enough away that the aggressive responses are rare, and focusing mostly on rewarding the calm, tolerant responses to have pup associate you being near the food with good things to continue to build trust. Resource guarding is often related to both a lack of trust and a lack of respect. Sometimes the dog has a strong food drive that's part of the reason they guard. Sometimes a dog has experienced with neglect or interactions with people pestering them while eating that caused food aggression, and sometimes their is a lack of respect for the owner and so pup simply doesn't want the person near something they view as their own. I don't recommend doing this on your own. Be sure your trainer has a lot of experience with aggression and counter conditioning, and comes well recommended by their previous clients for aggression work. Once this is addressed with the adults in the home, the same training with a lot of safety measures and adult supervision and direction and help would be done around the kids, one at a time, with the child always remaining out of reach of pup, even in later stages of the training. There should not be a situation where pup biting a child is a potential, safety measures should be put in to place first and careful adult help and supervision given. Finally, feed pup in a closed crate for every meal and do not leave pup's meals sitting out to free feed from here on out. Once the resource guarding is addressed, there should also be ongoing management of the situation to avoid another incidence or it's return from stressing pup out while eating, or putting a kiddo in danger unintentionally by having pup's food be in the open often. An example of another aggression case with some safety measures like a back tie leash you can see. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mgmRRYK1Z6A Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

April 18, 2022


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