How to Train an Akita to be a Guard Dog

How to Train an Akita to be a Guard Dog
Medium difficulty iconMedium
Time icon1-4 Months
Work training category iconWork

Introduction

Imagine that there has been a series of robberies in your neighborhood lately. People are adding security systems to their homes. You own two large Akitas and decide to keep one dog inside and one outside in your fenced in yard at night. You're suddenly woken up by both dogs barking and growling and you quickly rush to the window and look outside. A dark figure is dashing down the road and hops into an unfamiliar SUV, the description of which you write down hastily and call the police. A week later, the robber is caught when his SUV is spotted by a neighbor on the curb one evening and the police are called. He is arrested while breaking into another neighbor's home. You smile at your dogs and let them know what a good job they both did. Not only did your dogs help everyone apprehend the thief but they also protected your home from being the next target

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Defining Tasks

You can generally expect it to take between one and four months to train your dog to be a guard dog. A guard dog is very different from a protection dog. A guard dog is generally taught to scare off intruders by acting intimidating and to pay careful attention to his surroundings. A protection dog should only be trained by someone with extensive experience training dogs. These dogs are taught to bite and hold humans and can be a liability if the owner does not have complete control over his dog. 

A great guard dog should still be thoroughly socialized around people. You want your guard dog to understand what is normal human behavior and what is suspicious behavior. Encouraging a good balance of watchfulness and alertness towards people in general, and friendliness and calmness around those he knows, is important. It is also important to socialize your dog around other dogs and animals in a calm manner teaching him they should simply be ignored.

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Getting Started

To get started, you will need at least one assistant, a busy street where people pass by your home frequently, tasty treats, and a fenced in yard or front window where your dog can see your property line or the sidewalk from. If you are using the 'Alert' method, then you will specifically need a fenced in yard. With all of the methods, you will need to be able to be soft spoken at times, and loud, agitated, and excited at others. Your assistant will also need to be able to act strange, suspicious, boring, and interesting at different times. You might also need a couple of different outfit changes for your assistant, such as a hat and coat or different colored shirts. 

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The Speak Method

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1

Get setup

To begin, grab lots of tasty treats, recruit an assistant, and go to a front window where you can see the boundary line of your property, or go to a fenced in yard.

2

Encourage watching

Next, have your assistant walk around outside, past your property where your dog can see him. Draw your dog's attention to him, praise him, and give him a treat whenever he watches the person. If your dog barks, then simply ignore it for now since the person is not on your property.

3

Encourage barking

Have your assistant walk onto your property, and as soon as he does, act very excited and very concerned to encourage your pup to bark. Tell him to 'Speak' while you are doing this. If your dog barks, then praise him and give him a treat. Encourage him to continue barking for as long as the person remains on your property.

4

Encourage quiet

After a couple of minutes, have your assistant leave your property. As soon as he walks off of your property, act very calm and relaxed and softly tell your dog 'Quiet'. Draw his attention back onto you to help him calm back down. When he stops barking for even a second, then praise him and give him a treat. Any time that he barks while the person is not on your property remind him to be quiet and help him to calm back down.

5

Practice both

Have your assistant walk around and occasionally come onto your property. Whenever your assistant is off of your property, then encourage your dog to be quiet and reward him for doing so. Whenever you assistant walks onto your property, then act excited and tell him to "Speak" again, and praise and reward him when he barks or growls. Practice this frequently.

6

Introduce people

Continue to socialize your dog around people in public so that he will understand what suspicious behavior is and what normal human behavior is. While you are socializing him, whenever he meets a new person, tell him to 'Say Hi', and have that person give him a treat. Practice this until he will relax around someone when you tell him to 'Say Hi'. Do this so that you can tell him to 'Say Hi' to someone on your property who is supposed to be there, to indicate to him that that person is alright.

The Alert Method

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1

Get set up

To begin, you will need a fenced in yard that you would like for your dog to patrol. You will also need an assistant and lots of treats for this method.

2

Teach quiet

Have your assistant walk up and down your street where your dog can see him from your yard. If your dog barks at him when he is far away, then block your dog's view and whisper 'Quiet' in a soothing voice. When he calms down, give him a treat.

3

Reward barking

Next, have your assistant periodically walk onto your property. If your dog barks, then praise him and give him a treat. If your dog doesn't bark, then speak to him in an exciting tone of voice to encourage him to bark. Praise him and give him a treat if he does so. You can also have your assistant jump up and down and act strangely in your yard to encourage him to bark.

4

Calm him down

The entire time that your assistant is on your property, encourage your dog to bark and reward him for doing so. As soon as your assistant walks off of your property, command your dog to be 'Quiet' and calm him back down. Reward him for barking when the person is on your property and for being quiet when the person leaves your property.

5

Recruit new assistants

When your pup has mastered barking and being quiet around your assistant, then recruit a new assistant to practice the same thing with. Practice this with lots of different people so that your dog will learn to do it around strangers in general.

6

Socialize

Make sure that you continue to socialize your dog around new people so that he will understand what is suspicious behavior and what is normal human behavior when he sees it. This is so that he will welcome your friends into your home when you indicate to him that they are alright, and so that you can bring him places with you without him acting aggressively.

The Watch Method

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1

Go outside together

To begin, recruit an assistant, grab some treats, and go outside into your fenced in yard or to a front window where you can see your property line or sidewalk from.

2

Add more movement

Have your assistant walk around outside, off of your property. Whenever your dog quietly pays attention to him, praise him and give him a treat. If he barks at him when he is off of your property, then ignore your pup. Have your assistant walk around in different areas outside of your property so that your dog can practice moving in order to keep an eye on him.

3

Encourage barking

When Fido is paying attention to the person well, then have your assistant walk onto your property occasionally. When he does this, act excited yourself and encourage your dog to bark. If he barks, then praise him and give him a treat. Encourage him to continue barking until your assistant leaves the property. When your assistant leaves the property, then get your dog's focus back on you and calm him down by telling him 'Quiet' in a calm and soft tone of voice. When he becomes quiet again, then praise him and give him a treat.

4

Encourage quiet behavior

Encourage your dog to watch anyone who walks by, but now if he barks when the person is not on your property, tell him to be 'Quiet' in a calming tone of voice. As soon as the person steps foot on your property, then encourage him to bark again, and reward him for doing so.

5

Add new people

When your dog has mastered alerting you when a stranger steps onto your property, recruit new assistants to walk around. Practice all of this until your pup can guard your home. Continue to socialize him around people in public so that he will understand the difference between normal human behavior and suspicious behavior and will welcome people into your home when you indicate that it is okay.

Written by Caitlin Crittenden

Veterinary reviewed by:

Published: 06/06/2018, edited: 01/08/2021

Training Questions

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Training Questions and Answers

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Lady

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Akita

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7 Months

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Question

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How to make more aggressive for guarding home

June 14, 2020

Lady's Owner

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Darlene Stott - Dog Trainer and Groomer

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104 Dog owners recommended

Very cute - love the ears! You will have to consult a professional trainer to assist you. This is not something you can do on your own. A pro will have to work with you and your pup so that everyone is safe in all situations. Once the vet says Lady's vaccines are all up to date, you can enroll her in obedience classes. The bond that you both form as you train will also give her a natural protective nature that is friendly and controllable. Good luck!

June 15, 2020

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Thumper

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Akita

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1 Year

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Question

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1 found this helpful

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1 found this helpful

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A dog recently attacked my dog while we were walking & he did nothing but get bit . How do I teach him to protect himself?

April 7, 2019

Thumper's Owner

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Caitlin Crittenden - Dog Trainer

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1133 Dog owners recommended

Hello Mary, The process of teaching a dog to defend himself comes through encounter with other dogs, some of which would be very negative and confrontational. I absolutely do not recommend doing this or you could end up with an aggressive, reactive, and fearful dog, that actually ends up getting in more fights (even if he wins some of them) because his body language provokes other dogs. When a dog is attacked some dogs will take a submissive posture. A normal healthy dog that is simply being overly dominant or territorial will often recognize the submission and not attack after giving warnings to the intruder. What your dog did was actually not a bad way to avoid many fights. In your case unfortunately you encountered a dog that lacked social intelligence around other dogs and was in a state of rage likely. With most dogs, your dog's submissive posture will prevent a fight from starting to begin with though. Instead of focusing on teaching him to fight back I suggest carrying pepper spray on your future walks, so that if you encounter another dog you can spray the dog to deter it. Your dog's body language will often deter more fights than a dominant, overly confident dog - causing him to get in less fights in the long run. When you do come across a dog that won't leave, keep pepper spray handy. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

April 7, 2019

ok thanks

April 7, 2019

Mary K.


& I was just curious if others would be able to see my animal or is it just me & you?

April 7, 2019

Mary K.


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