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.
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.
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.
When a friend comes over, my dog is very protective and he doesn't really allow strangers inside, he nearly bit my friend so i want to teach him the difference between a threat and a friend
Hello Nedas, Many dogs who seem protective are actually being possessive of their owners and guarding them the way a dog would a toy. A truly protective dog that bites friends is often either not socialized well around other or being possessive of their owner. If the dog is protective and really can't tell the difference between a friend and stranger a lot of desensitization around people in general is needed so that he learns what looks normal in human behavior and what is not, likely while wearing a basket muzzle for safety - this is best done with the help of a qualified trainer who specializes in aggression and behavior issues and has a large enough stuff for the dog to get to know various "strangers - i.e. the staff" and be desensitized to them. If pup is possessive, which is more common, then this is partially a respect issue. Check out Thomas from the Canine Educator, Jeff Gellman from SolidK9Training and Sean O Shea from the Good Dog on YouTube. They all have tons of videos on aggression. I HIGHLY suggest hiring a professional to help you through this process with the aggression. The protocol will likely involve having pup work for everything in life by doing a command like sit first -like being being petted, fed, walked, played with, practicing a lot of obedience that builds respect, trust, self-control, and calmness, like a structured heel, long Down Stay, Place, crate manners, not rushing through doorways, Sit Stay. Desensitizing pup to the presence of other people while he is doing something like heeling or Place and calm. Carefully doing things like the video linked below to discipline outbursts and reward calmness around people. Using tools like a basket muzzle and back tie leash to keep everyone involved in training safe. Always take safety seriously. Any truly good trainer is serious about safety. Check out this video by Jeff Gellman, who specializes in aggression. Here he demonstrated safety measures (a back tie), when to have people reward a dog (during calmness and not during aggressive displays), and how to appropriately use punishment when treating aggression (with good timing, calmness, and in combination with positive reinforcement for calm behavior and with the appropriate safety measures for your guests). Aggression video: https://youtu.be/mgmRRYK1Z6A Possessive dog drop off at training: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4tiHairtYUc Same dog after a lot of structure, protocol like the first video linked above, lots of obedience, and gradual desensitization: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8juiJ-Hq8dI Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden
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Hi! Ive been reading up a lot on Akitas and stuff to watch out for/how to train them and I just came across a few questions. My dog is 4.5 months old and very obedient. He knows sit stay and come and were working on down/leash training. He barely is obstinate with us. We also make sure he meets a few new people a day and he is constantly in a social environment as of the moment. He is also crate trained. That being said, I go back to work soon so he will be alone around 8 hours or less a day during the work week. Do you think this will affect his temperament? Also, am I socializing him enough or should I do more? I am just very concerned because he is SO mild mannered now, but Ive heard that can change from when he's a puppy to when he is an adult
Hello Kyra, First, be aware that a puppy can only hold their bladder for the number of months they are in age plus one - meaning that at four month of age he can't hold his bladder for more than five hours during the day, so you will need to plan for a walker or come home during lunch. - You may already know that though s it sounds like you are being very conscientious - which is great. As far as your other questions, leaving him alone shouldn't effect temperament too much as long as you are very intentional during the time when you are home. Continue to make socialization a priority during the first 18 month of his life. The first 4 month are the most crucial but for a breed like an Akita it needs to continue intensively until adulthood, and ideally by adulthood he will be well mannered and social enough you can continue taking him places for the fun of it for the rest of his life to maintain it but it won't have to be quite as intensive by then. It's great that he is mild mannered and he very well may grow up to be more mild mannered than some Akitas but a lot of the temperament issues associated with really driven breeds are related to sexual and mental maturity that happens closer to 1-2 years of age - meaning it's early to tell for sure, but being mild mannered now will likely make it a bit easier. Once he reaches adulthood, if you have a relationship of trust and respect with pup, have prevented socialization issues, and taught obedience before then, then pup is far more likely to listen and be more relaxed as an adult - it's not that the issues and drive aren't potentially still there but that the dog trusts you and lets you handle situations instead of trying to take charge themselves - leading to less possessiveness, aggression and reactivity. With a driven breed, socialization is super important and obedience is important, but equally important is to give pup structure and boundaries - teaching things like impulse control through a long Place and Down command, a structured heel where pup not only doesn't pull but also walks slightly behind you and actually follows your leadership, learning to focus on you and obey around distractions, enforcing rules the first time you give them with consistency. None of this should require anger or harshness - but a calm, consistent, confident attitude, where pup knows that when you give a command you mean it and you will calmly enforce that command every time. The socialization you are doing now sounds great. I would add joining a puppy play group or kindergarten class that sets aside time for off-leash puppy play with other puppies under 6 months of age. The play should be moderated - interrupting puppies if things start to get too rough or a pup feels overwhelmed, until they all calm down, then letting the more timid pup go first to see if he feels like playing again, before letting the rest of the pups go again too. The benefits of these classes are mostly for socialization than just obedience - as a trainer I attended someone else's puppy kindergarten class with my youngest dog for the purpose of socialization, even though my pup already knew all of the obedience and I later off-leash trainer her myself - it made a huge difference in her confidence and gentleness around other dogs later in life. Puppies play with other puppies differently than adult dogs do, so they learn important skills interacting with puppies, plus if you can find a class that practices having owners handle each others puppies and give treats that can help with stranger socialization and getting used to touch. https://www.petful.com/behaviors/puppy-classes-when-to-start/ Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden
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Hi we are looking for our first puppy as a family. We currently have 2 cats and 1 child aged 8 who is used to dogs. We fell in love with a American akita at a rescue shelter. I’ve heard a lot of stories on how hard Akita’s are to train, but once trained they are rewarding dogs. Do you think it’s wise to get a Akita as a first puppy. We are all animal lovers but these to us seem to be another level of dog. We are more than happy to put the time and effort into training but we also both work. My wife who is a teacher will have six weeks off in the summer and that’s when we plan to purchase the puppy.
Hello Chris, Not knowing you personally I cannot say for sure. I can tell you that Akitas do tend to be more prey driven and not all of them are alright with cats, even when raised with them. They can also be more dominant, strong-willed, and have more of a tendency toward aggression toward people and other dogs if not raised with enough structure, socialization, and consistency. They can be a lot of dog, but they can also be very loyal. That loyality can be wonderful but it can also make friend's kids coming over difficult if your dog feels protective of your child. Akitas were orginally bred to hunt powerful, large game like bears. Each dog is different though. The Akita at the rescue may not fit the typical characteristics, and might turn out to be mild mannered, but that is very hard to predict in a puppy without knowing the parent's temperament. It might be worth contacting members of your local Akita club if you have one, or a pure bred Akita rescue and asking honest questions about the temperament from those who have them to help you decide. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden
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My girl akita is a year and a half old and is very attached to me....she sits, does paw, and comes to me when we’re in the house. if we are outside and she gets off of a leash she does not come i have to chase her. she barks at friends and family coming in the house and will not stop until they leave which makes everyone very uncomfortable. i don’t know how to make her stop barking at people who are not a threat.
Hello Alison, For the Come, check out the Reel In method from the article linked below: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-whippet-to-recall For the barking, first work on adding more structure, self-control and boundaries into her routine. Things like a long Place command and structured heel, so that she learns to let you handle things more and listen to commands even when she doesn't feel like it. Certain types of obedience exercises can be a good way to increase respect and trust without being overly confrontational: Place: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=omg5DVPWIWo Crate manners: https://thegooddog.net/training-videos/free-how-to-training-videos/learn-to-train-the-good-dog-way-the-crate/ Thresholds: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_-w28C2g68M Heel article - The turns method: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-poodle-to-heel Heel Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OTiKVc4ZZWo Quiet method: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-shih-tzu-puppy-to-not-bark Working and Consistency methods: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-doberman-to-listen-to-you Especially work on a structured heel and a long Place command, where he can stay on place when you walk in and out of the room and around distractions. Place can help manage behavior when guests are there and teach self-control and calmness. Look for someone who is very experienced with aggression and different types of aggression to help you implement the training related to guests - many trainers are only experienced with fear based aggression and you likely have some dominance- based, possessive, or territorial aggression going on too, and they are treated a bit differently than fear. People Aggression protocol video- notice the back tie for safety (your guest should never be put at risk. Only train with the correct safety protocols to keep everyone involved safe. https://youtu.be/mgmRRYK1Z6A Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden
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Hello , My Akita inu is 3 months old. He knows many obedience commands like site , down , come etc, he obeys them always only if he knows i have a treat or a toy , but never listening to me without them. I train him every day for 1 hour on obedience and play with him a lot. What can i do to let him listen to me ?
Hello Lucien, First, know that what you described is normal for basic obedience, especially at this age - the initial goal is just to teach pup what a word means and motivate them to learn. What comes next is intermediate obedience. For intermediate obedience, you will gradually work up to distractions and pup developing the skills to obey in those situations too - at first the distraction might be someone walking through the room, a squirrel in the yard, a leaf blowing by, ect...Start with less distracting environments, then gradually move onto harder environments and spend intentional time practicing in each of those new environments until pup can focus there too. For example, in your home without others around is easiest, your backyard is a bit harder, your front yard is even harder, your neighborhood is even hard, your home with guests present is even harder, a pet store is even harder, ect...Go out of your way to practice at the current level pup needs to learn at and to create the distractions pup is ready to learn to overcome during training sessions when you can control things - so that pup can also respond when things are more out of your control in every day life, but keep the distraction level what pup is ready for at that point in the training so pup can still succeed with your help - the goal is to guide pup and provide consistent, calm boundaries at this point. Second, you may need to switch some of your training methods now that pup knows the commands and is sometimes choosing to disobey. For example, when teaching Sit I would first recommend using the Treat Luring method from the article linked below. Once pup knows that method well and has worked up to some distractions, I would enforce my command using the Pressure method from that same article when pup chooses to disobey something they know. The pressure method will still reward some but will also give a gentle consequence for disobedience to encourage pup to obey even when they don't find it as fun. Be patient with pup and know that a 3 month old puppy is skill developing their attention span and ability to learn so I wouldn't be too strict at this point - keep things more positive and very gradually transition to intermediate methods for commands over the next 4 months - especially as you near 5-6 months. https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-german-shepherd-puppy-to-sit Some other methods to help enforce commands when pup is ready: Reel In method for Come: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-whippet-to-recall Turns method for Heel: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-poodle-to-heel The Leash Pressure method for down: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-german-shepherd-to-lay-down If pup doesn't know these commands really well already, start by using the treat luring methods with each command before using the slightly firmer methods to proof that command once pup has learned the command and just needs to be reminded. Right now you can also keep a drag leash without a handle (for safety reasons to get caught less around the house) on pup while you are home. That way when you give a command like Come and pup ignores you, you can calmly walk over to them and lead them back to where you were - gently teaching them that they need to listen in every day life too. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden
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