How to Train an Akita to Stop Biting

How to Train an Akita to Stop Biting
Medium difficulty iconMedium
Time icon3-6 Weeks
Behavior training category iconBehavior

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. 

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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.

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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. 

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The Good Dog Method

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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.

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.

3

Never mind

After a while, Bowser is going to get tired of trying and will simply give up and walk away.

4

Good boy!

When he does, tell him what a good boy he is and then let him have the treat.

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.

The Hey, You Bit Me Method

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1

Choose a training time

Choose a time every day that you can set aside specifically for training Bowser.

2

Time to play

Start your training time playing with Bowser. You need to get him good and excited.

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.

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.

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.

The Understanding Method

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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.

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.

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.

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.

5

Back at it

Return to working with Bower, repeating the training again and again until he finally learns that biting is not acceptable.

By PB Getz

Published: 04/12/2018, edited: 01/08/2021

Training Questions

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Training Questions and Answers

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Diane

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Akita Inu

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10 Weeks

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Question

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She always bites while playing, I’ve done everything but she always bites

Dec. 26, 2021

Diane's Owner

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Caitlin Crittenden - Dog Trainer

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Hello Noussair, Check out the article linked below. Starting today, use the "Bite Inhibition" method. BUT at the same time, begin teaching "Leave It" from the "Leave It" method. As soon as pup is good as the Leave It game, start telling pup to "Leave It" when she attempts to bite or is tempted to bite. Reward pup if she makes a good choice. If she disobeys your leave it command, use the Out command from the second article linked below to make her leave the area as a consequence. The order or all of this is very important - the Bite Inhibition method can be used for the next couple of weeks while pup is learning leave it, but leave it will teach pup to stop the biting entirely. The Out method teaches pup that you mean what you say without being overly harsh - but because you have taught pup to leave it first, pup clearly understands that you are not just playing (which is what pup probably thinks most of the time right now), so it is more effective. https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-shih-tzu-puppy-to-not-bite Out - which means leave the area, is also a good command for you to use if pup bites the kids. Check out the section on Using Out to Deal with Pushy Behavior for how to calmly enforce that command once it's taught. https://www.petful.com/behaviors/how-to-teach-a-dog-the-out-command/ Another important part of this is puppy learning bite inhibition. Puppies have to learn while young how to control the pressure of their mouths - this is typically done through play with other puppies. See if there is a puppy class in your area that comes well recommended and has time for moderated off-leash puppy play. If you can't join a class, look for a free puppy play group, or recruit some friends with puppies to come over if you can and create your own group. You are looking for puppies under 6 months of age - since young puppies play differently than adult dogs. Right now, an outside class may be best in a fenced area, or letting friends' pups play in someone's fence outside. Moderate the puppies' play and whenever one pup seems overwhelmed or they are all getting too excited, interrupt their play, let everyone calm down, then let the most timid pup go first to see if they still want to play - if they do, then you can let the other puppies go too when they are waiting for permission. Finding a good puppy class - no class will be ideal but here's what to shoot for: https://www.petful.com/behaviors/puppy-classes-when-to-start/ When pup gets especially wound up, she probably needs a nap too. At this age puppies will sometimes get really hyper when they are overtired or haven't had any mental stimulation through something like training. When you spot that and think pup could be tired, place pup in their crate or an exercise pen with a food stuffed Kong for a bit to help her calm down and rest. Practicing regular obedience commands or having pup earn what they get by performing commands like Sit and Down before feeding, petting, tossing a toy, opening the door for a walk, ect... can also help stimulate pup mentally to increase calmness and wear them out. Commands that practice focus, self-control, and learning something a bit new or harder than before can all tire out puppies. Finally, check out the PDF e-book downloads found on this website, written by one of the founders of the association of professional dog trainers, and a pioneer in starting puppy kindergarten classes in the USA. Click on the pictures of the puppies to download the PDF books: https://www.lifedogtraining.com/freedownloads/ Know that mouthiness at this age is completely normal. It's not fun but it is normal for it to take some time for a puppy to learn self-control well enough to stop. Try not to get discouraged if you don't see instant progress, any progress and moving in the right direction in this area is good, so keep working at it. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

Dec. 27, 2021

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Bear

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American akita, shepard, q heeler and boxer

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9 Months

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My dog Bear won't stop biting and continuously growls and barks at me when I tell him to stop, but he is getting aggressive towards me after I tell him to stop. What is the best for him?

Dec. 5, 2021

Bear's Owner

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Caitlin Crittenden - Dog Trainer

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Hello Rebecca, At this point I would start by desensitizing him to wearing a basket muzzle and have him wear it routinely when you are home and he is loose with you. I recommend hiring a professional trainer to help you in person. You are at the point where I believe you need professional help with this training need from someone who specializes in behavior issues like aggression, and comes well recommended by their previous clients. Check out trainers like Thomas Davis from the Canine Educator. Please take safety measures like a basket muzzle and professional help in this case. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

Dec. 6, 2021


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