How to Train an Akita to Stop Biting

Medium
3-6 Weeks
Behavior

Introduction

It's pretty common for Akitas to nip and bite, especially when they are puppies and still teething. While Bowser might not think much more of biting than as a normal part of play, his sharp teeth can, in fact, be quite painful. If you don't break this habit while he is a puppy, by the time he gets to be an adult, his bites can cause serious injury. Bear in mind, while teething puppies will chew on just about anything they can get their teeth on. The chewing helps to relieve his pain in much the same way it helps a teething baby. 

Defining Tasks

Your first job is to discover why Bowser is biting. In young pups, it is usually because they are teething or playing. In the wild, they cut their teeth biting and chewing on anything they can find and will learn to control play biting with the help of their litter mates. But in your home, this is just not acceptable behavior. In an older dog, biting is part of the hunt and survival, but again this is not necessary in a domesticated situation. Bear in mind, you are trying to train your dog to do something that is completely against his nature. Be patient, stay calm and keep working with him until he finally stops this unpleasant behavior.

Getting Started

While you will need a few supplies to use during training, the most important of them you cannot buy. These are time and patience. You need to make sure you set aside time every day for at least one training session until Bowser finally learns not to bite. It will help to have a few supplies handy as well:

  • Treats – For rewards
  • Chew toys – Chew toys, bones, or a combination of both
  • Quiet room – This training is best done in a nice quiet room or corner of your yard

Keep working with Bowser, don't give up if he seems like he isn't getting the idea. This is the time to try a little harder--he will figure out, it just might take a little extra time. 

The Good Dog Method

Most Recommended
1 Vote
Step
1
Treats go in your palm
Palm one of Bowser's favorite smelly treats and call him over. Let him get a good whiff of the treat before you close it in your fist.
Step
2
Give it your best shot
Bowser is going to do just about anything he can to get at the treat, including nipping at your hand. But, do not let him get it.
Step
3
Never mind
After a while, Bowser is going to get tired of trying and will simply give up and walk away.
Step
4
Good boy!
When he does, tell him what a good boy he is and then let him have the treat.
Step
5
Repeat the lesson
The rest is all about repeating the training until he figures out he only gets a reward when he doesn't bite. This may take some time, but stick with it Bowser will eventually figure it out and stop biting.
Recommend training method?

The Hey, You Bit Me Method

Effective
1 Vote
Step
1
Choose a training time
Choose a time every day that you can set aside specifically for training Bowser.
Step
2
Time to play
Start your training time playing with Bowser. You need to get him good and excited.
Step
3
And now the bite
It shouldn't be long before Bowser gets so excited he starts nipping or biting you. Keep in mind tiny nips may not hurt, but they turn into bites that can be extremely painful.
Step
4
Time for your cue
The next time Bowser bites, say "Ouch!" in a firm voice. Do not sound angry, just firm enough to establish your place as the Alpha in your pack.
Step
5
Redirect his attention
Each time Bowser goes to bite you during play, redirect his attention using a chew toy or bone. This will help Bowser learn his boundaries with biting and he will eventually limit his biting and chewing to his toys and bones.
Recommend training method?

The Understanding Method

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1 Vote
Step
1
Why?
Start by observing Bowser to help you understand why he is biting you in the first place. Puppies bite as they teethe, adult dogs may bite if they become overexcited or if they have been backed into a corner they will bite out of fear or anger.
Step
2
Just say no!
There are a couple of ways you can let Bowser know you are not happy with being bitten. You can talk to him in his own language and "Yelp!" or you can speak to him in English and simply tell him "No!" in a firm voice.
Step
3
I don't want to play
Once you do this, turn away from Bowser to let him know you don't want to play anymore. Wait for him to calm down and then give him a treat.
Step
4
I can't calm down
If Bowser seems to be having a problem calming down, put a baby gate across the doorway and go into another room where he can't see you. Wait there until he calms down.
Step
5
Back at it
Return to working with Bower, repeating the training again and again until he finally learns that biting is not acceptable.
Recommend training method?

Success Stories and Training Questions

Training Questions and Answers

Question
Zeus
American Akita
13 Weeks
1 found helpful
Question
1 found helpful
Zeus
American Akita
13 Weeks

Whenever I try and stroke my pup he starts to nip. I've tried yelping saying no and removing him from the room but he still does it constantly as he's getting older the nips are starting to hurt more and more we have had him since 9 weeks old and have been doing the same routine with the nipping but it isn't getting much better

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
865 Dog owners recommended

Hello Ann, First, check out the article that I have linked below. Use the "Leave It" method. Once he learns "Leave It", when he starts to bite, tell him to "Leave It", if he disobeys, then use the "Pressure" method" - also found in the article below, to gently discipline him. Practice petting him with a thick glove on so that you can follow through without pulling away. When you pull away and stop petting him when he bites he might be learning that he can get you to do what he wants by using his mouth - stop touching or brushing him in this case. Using a glove and the "Please" method AFTER he understands "Leave It" if he disobeys "Leave It" will let you continue to pet him and gently discipline him until he stops biting. https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-shih-tzu-puppy-to-not-bite Also, it sounds like he needs to practice being handled. Get his breakfast or dinner kibble food, call him over, gently touch him somewhere with one hand and at the same time feed him a piece of kibble from your other hand. Practice touching his ear, touching his paw, touching his belly, opening his mouth (carefully), touching his tail, touching his collar, and touching everywhere else. As he improves, then touch him first, then give him a treat right after as a reward. Praise him softly when he lets you touch him. Practice this as often as you can. You can feed him his entire meal this way. Continue practicing this as he grows into an adult during the first year or two of his life. As a puppy you can do this every day when you are home with him. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Question
Angus
Akita
3 Years
0 found helpful
Question
0 found helpful
Angus
Akita
3 Years

He has bitten 2 children in the last month. He has never done that before and we don’t know what caused this behavior to start. We put him in obedience school when he was young, unfortunately we stopped the training. We got busy and just dropped the ball. We can not tolerate biting, but desperately want to keep the dog. Please advise.

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
865 Dog owners recommended

Hello Robin, You need to hire a professional trainer to help you in person. How severe were the bites? If the bites did not leave a mark, the case is less serious. The temperament issue still needs to be addressed and taken seriously but it will be safer to address. If he drew blood both times, that is definitely more serious and training needs to be done carefully. If there were multiple punctures or rips in the flesh, that shows a definite lack of control and makes him a very dangerous dog. Kids are more likely to be bitten because of their unpredictable body language and movement, sometimes lack of respecting a dog's personal space, and generally less well respected size and voices. If he ran up to the kids and attacked without being provoked or frightened, kids are less likely to defuse a threat by standing still or avoiding eye contact like an adult would in the same situation. If they panic, run or stare at the dog, the dog is more likely to attack. When that is the case, the dog is probably a threat to adults too but simply hasn't yet because adults usually respond differently to a dog's threat - that would make it a general aggression issue and not only specific to kids (being specific to kids might be a socialization issue or dominance issue). When training be aware that the aggression might be exhibited with adults too in the wrong situation if it was unprovoked with kids and he rushed them first. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Question
Jesse
American Akita
4 Months
0 found helpful
Question
0 found helpful
Jesse
American Akita
4 Months

he randomly bites people’s feet even when they are not trying to play with him. When he doesn’t like something his first response is a bite. He usually will play with his toys for a few minutes then get bored of it so redirecting him is harder than how it was before. How do I stop him from biting and teach him that his mouth cannot touch human skin.

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

Hello! I am going to send you information on the nipping/biting. Nipping: Puppies may nip for a number of reasons. Nipping can be a means of energy release, getting attention, interacting and exploring their environment or it could be a habit that helps with teething. Whatever the cause, nipping can still be painful for the receiver, and it’s an action that pet parents want to curb. Some ways to stop biting before it becomes a real problem include: Using teething toys. Distracting with and redirecting your dog’s biting to safe and durable chew toys is one way to keep them from focusing their mouthy energies to an approved location and teach them what biting habits are acceptable. Making sure your dog is getting the proper amount of exercise. Exercise is huge. Different dogs have different exercise needs based on their breed and size, so check with your veterinarian to make sure that yours is getting the exercise they need. Dogs—and especially puppies—use their playtime to get out extra energy. With too much pent-up energy, your pup may resort to play biting. Having them expel their energy in positive ways - including both physical and mental exercise - will help mitigate extra nips. Being consistent. Training your dog takes patience, practice and consistency. With the right training techniques and commitment, your dog will learn what is preferred behavior. While sometimes it may be easier to let a little nipping activity go, be sure to remain consistent in your cues and redirection. That way, boundaries are clear to your dog. Using positive reinforcement. To establish preferred behaviors, use positive reinforcement when your dog exhibits the correct behavior. For instance, praise and treat your puppy when they listen to your cue to stop unwanted biting as well as when they choose an appropriate teething toy on their own. Saying “Ouch!” The next time your puppy becomes too exuberant and nips you, say “OUCH!” in a very shocked tone and immediately stop playing with them. Your puppy should learn - just as they did with their littermates - that their form of play has become unwanted. When they stop, ensure that you follow up with positive reinforcement by offering praise, treat and/or resuming play. Letting every interaction with your puppy be a learning opportunity. While there are moments of dedicated training time, every interaction with your dog can be used as a potential teaching moment.

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Question
Kita
Akita lab mix
2 Months
0 found helpful
Question
0 found helpful
Kita
Akita lab mix
2 Months

She doesn't seam to want to come back when I call her back, she also continues to bite even though I have continued to firmly tell her not to. What do I do?

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

Hello! I am sending you some information on recall, as well as nipping/biting. Recall: STAGE ONE – 'Catching' or Charging Up the 'Come' Cue Start in a distraction free environment so that your dog can focus only on you. Whenever your puppy or dog is coming to you on his own, wait until he is a couple of feet from you and then say his name and the word 'come.' When he gets to you, make a big fuss. With this exercise, your dog will learn that coming to you is a really good thing. After a while, you can lengthen the distance between you and start using the word when he is coming to you from a greater distance. Coming to you should always be rewarded, whatever the circumstance and no matter how long it took your dog to respond. Motivate your dog to come by being exciting, running away from him, waving a toy, or having delicious food for him when he gets to you. This will show him that coming back to you the best thing he can do. STAGE TWO – Solidifying the Cue Through Play Make sure you play the Back and Forth game with another person that your dog is comfortable with. Start the game in a quiet environment so it is easy for your dog to focus on you. Hold your dog back while the other person calls him excitedly. Try not to use his name or the cue word but talk excitedly to ‘gee’ him up. Do not release him until the person calls his name followed by the cue word “come.” When the cue word is given, release your dog and let him go running to the person calling. As soon as he reaches them they should praise and reward him with a game of tug or a food reward. When your dog has had his reward, have the other person hold him back as you call him and release as you say his name followed by the cue word. When he comes to you reward him with another game of tug or food reward. Repeat this game back and forth but only do a few repetitions so your dog does not get bored or too tired. Keeping it fresh means the game is always fun to play. STAGE THREE – Adding Vocal Cue With Hand Signal Inside Now your dog knows what the word “come” means you can use the cue word to call him to you while adding a hand signal to the word. Hand signals are always good to build with vocal cues so that even if your dog cannot hear you he will understand what the hand signal means. This is good if your dog is a distance away from you. Start in a quiet environment. Walk away from your dog and call his name followed by the cue word and a hand signal. Praise and reward him when he comes to you. Start increasing the distance you call him from and praise for his compliance. If he does not respond, go back to the previous distance and repeat. Only practice this cue for a few minutes so your dog does not get bored. The secret to success is to always keep it fun, exciting and fresh. When your dog recognizes the hand signal, try calling his name and using the hand signal by itself without the vocal cue. You will then be able to use a combination of vocal cue only, hand signal only and the two together. Now your dog knows what the cue word means you can start to call him from different rooms or from areas where he cannot see you. This will encourage him to respond even when you are out of sight. STAGE FOUR – Adding Vocal Cue With Hand Signal Outside Now your dog is consistently coming to you in a distraction free environment you can proof your recall cue by taking it outside. Practice the recall in your yard and then gradually build up to the point where you can use it in the park or similar environment. The ultimate test is to use the recall when your dog is engaged in a different activity. Wait for a lull in that activity and then call your dog to you. Praise his decision to comply. Nipping: Puppies may nip for a number of reasons. Nipping can be a means of energy release, getting attention, interacting and exploring their environment or it could be a habit that helps with teething. Whatever the cause, nipping can still be painful for the receiver, and it’s an action that pet parents want to curb. Some ways to stop biting before it becomes a real problem include: Using teething toys. Distracting with and redirecting your dog’s biting to safe and durable chew toys is one way to keep them from focusing their mouthy energies to an approved location and teach them what biting habits are acceptable. Making sure your dog is getting the proper amount of exercise. Exercise is huge. Different dogs have different exercise needs based on their breed and size, so check with your veterinarian to make sure that yours is getting the exercise they need. Dogs—and especially puppies—use their playtime to get out extra energy. With too much pent-up energy, your pup may resort to play biting. Having them expel their energy in positive ways - including both physical and mental exercise - will help mitigate extra nips. Being consistent. Training your dog takes patience, practice and consistency. With the right training techniques and commitment, your dog will learn what is preferred behavior. While sometimes it may be easier to let a little nipping activity go, be sure to remain consistent in your cues and redirection. That way, boundaries are clear to your dog. Using positive reinforcement. To establish preferred behaviors, use positive reinforcement when your dog exhibits the correct behavior. For instance, praise and treat your puppy when they listen to your cue to stop unwanted biting as well as when they choose an appropriate teething toy on their own. Saying “Ouch!” The next time your puppy becomes too exuberant and nips you, say “OUCH!” in a very shocked tone and immediately stop playing with them. Your puppy should learn - just as they did with their littermates - that their form of play has become unwanted. When they stop, ensure that you follow up with positive reinforcement by offering praise, treat and/or resuming play. Letting every interaction with your puppy be a learning opportunity. While there are moments of dedicated training time, every interaction with your dog can be used as a potential teaching moment.

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Bubba
Japanese Ak
8 Weeks
0 found helpful
Question
0 found helpful
Bubba
Japanese Ak
8 Weeks

Looking for trainer to train my puppy and us for we can show good manners like not biting toilet training

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
865 Dog owners recommended

Hello Yudish, Congratulations on your puppy. If you download the Wag! app and create a profile, select that you are looking for training, and you can put in your location and see a list of trainers in your area. You can then click on and contact the trainer who seems like a good fit with details about your training needs and the job. Unfortunately, I am likely not in your area and only handle remote training needs. If you have any issues please see the link below: https://help.wagwalking.com/t/18sln4/downloading-the-walker-app Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Xena
American Akita
8 Weeks
0 found helpful
Question
0 found helpful
Xena
American Akita
8 Weeks

I’m having issues with my pups consistency of using the pads. She starts off good but then as time goes by she won’t use the pad. What can I do to have her master using the pads

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

Hello! I am going to give you some training information on how to work with your dog to use a potty pad. Choose Your Spot Pick a space in your house where you want your dog to go. Obviously, you’ll want this spot to be a low-traffic area. Make sure this spot is easily accessible to your dog, and make sure the floor surface is linoleum or tile, as opposed to carpet. If your dog “misses,” it will be easier to clean up. If the only spot you can put the pee pad is a carpet, you might consider getting a small tarp to put underneath the puppy pee pad to guard against spillage. Choose a spot that is outside of your “smell zone.” An important tip to remember is to make sure not to let your dog decide the spot he likes. Not only might he pick an area you won’t like, but he’ll learn that he is in charge – not you – which can cause a host of problems down the line. Monitor Your Dog When you are potty training your dog, full-time monitoring is an absolute necessity. It’s impossible to correct bad behaviors if you don’t see them happen. Dogs have very short memories. It is important to catch your dog in the act. If your dog goes on the floor, and you try to correct him hours after the fact, he will be confused and upset, not knowing what he did wrong. This can hinder training and your relationship with your dog. Puppies, in particular, must be watched constantly. They have less control over their bowels and will go when they have to go. If you miss these moments, you lose precious training opportunities. Of course, it’s nearly impossible to be with your dog 24 hours a day, but try to spend more time at home during the weeks you are potty training – it will pay off in the long run. Learn Your Dog’s Schedule Dogs, for the most part, are predictable. They will go to the bathroom at predictable times. You should be able to learn when your dog has to go based on timing as much as on his signals. Take some time to study your dog’s bathroom habits. You’ll learn the amount of time after he eats or drinks that he has to go, and you’ll get in rhythm with his daily bathroom schedule. This will help you reduce accidents and speed up the potty training process. Studying your dog’s habits can also help you identify his bathroom “triggers” – like having to go after a certain amount of playtime. Once you learn your dog’s schedule, use it to your advantage in potty training. Bring him to the pee pad a few minutes before he normally goes, and encourage him. This will help him get used to going in the right spot, and help you establish repetition in your training. Choose a Command Word Dogs have keen senses – they respond to sight, smell, and sound. When you begin pee pad training, choose a command word and use it every time you take your dog to the pad. Just about any word will work. The tone of your voice is more important than the actual word. Try phrases like “go on” or “go potty” in a slightly elevated, encouraging tone. Make sure to repeat this same command, in the same tone, every time you take your dog to the pee pad. Avoid Punishment When your dog has an accident, it’s just that – an accident. When you punish your dog during potty training, he will become confused and scared. He doesn’t know what he’s done wrong, and can’t understand why the person he loves most is mad at him. Most importantly, it will not help his potty training. Positive Reinforcement Both human and dog behavior is largely based on incentives. Dogs’ incentives are very simple – they want to eat when they are hungry, play when they are excited, and sleep when they are tired. But the most important thing your dog wants in life is to please you. Use this to your advantage. Whenever your dog goes on his potty training pad, shower him with lots of praise. If he sees that he gets praise for doing his business on the pad, he will be incentivized to keep going on the pad – and he’ll be excited to do it! Potty training – whether it’s a pee pad or going outside – will take time, but if you do it right, can take less time. Many dogs are potty trained in less than two weeks. Just remember that you and your dog are partners. Do everything you can to help him learn the proper etiquette, and you will enjoy a long, quality relationship together. Please let me know if you have any additional questions. Thank you for writing in.

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Question
Bailey
Huskita
9 Weeks
0 found helpful
Question
0 found helpful
Bailey
Huskita
9 Weeks

When it comes to food and biting Bailey is extremely aggressive and excitable. I am aware of the consequences of physically punishing a pet or punishing them, as well as the breeds temperament. However no matter what we do she insists on biting and chewing even after trying several methods of positive reinforcement and hours of training. She responds to her name and the few commands she knows, but as she is still too young to go for walks or have free range of the garden (as she has eaten cat and fox poo and nearly got sick) we rely on toys, training and play to calm her down. I am going to try the methods shown on the page for Akita puppies to help reduce biting but really need some more physical methods of stopping her from eating every single tiny rock/item of food or plant she sees.

If you could help I would be super grateful. Thank you.

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

The "leave it" command is great for teaching your dog to break his attention from whatever it is he is interested in. Other dogs, squirrels, cars, or from ingesting anything potentially dangerous. Teaching your dog a few simple tricks is fun and entertaining for both you and your pet. It's best if your dog knows and can perform the basic obedience commands of sit, stay and down reliably before advancing to tricks. Most tricks are built on these commands and your dog will have learned to pay attention to you during training sessions. If your dog has any type of arthritis or degenerative joint disease, check with your veterinarian before proceeding. Even simple tricks can place stress on joints that are painful and sore. The success of training your dog relies on rewarding correct behavior. Rewards differ from dog to dog; for some it may be food and for others praise. Some dogs will do whatever you want just to have a little playtime. Find the reward that best motivates your dog to learn and work daily in 5 to 15 minute sessions. Keep itfun and end the session with a reward. If you feel yourself getting frustrated or tired, quit and try again later. The goal of teaching your dog to "leave it" is to stop her from taking something into her mouth or investigating something questionable. Dogs that have already picked up an item are given a different command of "drop it" or "give." The "leave it" command is a very valuable communication to impart to your pet. It will help her learn what is inappropriate to chew, and it may keep her from consuming something harmful or toxic. Some owners teach their pets not to accept anything offered by strangers. One method to teach your dog to "leave it" is to start by letting her play with a favorite toy for a few minutes while wearing her leash. Introduce a new item by tossing it into her field of vision. Most dogs will show some interest in the new item and will want to investigate. As she approaches, give the command "leave it." Until the command is understood, natural curiosity will prevail; so gently arrest her investigations by using the leash to keep her from advancing. Give her a reward for responding as desired and then let her play with her toy again. Repeat the exercise and use a few different items. Once she stops on hearing the command, try the exercise without the leash. Another method uses food. Place a treat in your hand. Allow the dog to sniff your hand so she knows there is a treat. Close your hand around the treat and say, "leave it." Keep your hand held out. Your dog may lick at your hand, paw at your hand, or even nudge you to try to get you to give up the goods. Don't cave in and don't repeat the command. You only need to say, "leave it" once. If you keep repeating a word, the dog will not understand that it is a command. As soon as your dog turns away, immediately praise her and give her the treat. Continue to do this exercise over and over until your dog turns away as soon as you say, "leave it." You will be happy when you can stop your dog from investigating the garbage, feces, a dead animal, or a box of mouse poison, so take the time to teach your dog to "leave it." The way to success in teaching your dog tricks is patience, practice, praise, and persistence. Every step in the right direction should be rewarded as though she has just won the lottery. Tricks are fun – learning how to do them should be fun, too.

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