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

ribbon-method-3
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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

ribbon-method-1
Effective
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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

ribbon-method-2
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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
Diane
Akita Inu
10 Weeks
0 found helpful
Question
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Diane
Akita Inu
10 Weeks

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

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
1123 Dog owners recommended

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

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Question
Bear
American akita, shepard, q heeler and boxer
9 Months
0 found helpful
Question
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Bear
American akita, shepard, q heeler and boxer
9 Months

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?

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
1123 Dog owners recommended

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

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Question
Mya
Akita, Pit, Husky, Samoyed, Retriever, Supermutt,
10 Weeks
0 found helpful
Question
0 found helpful
Mya
Akita, Pit, Husky, Samoyed, Retriever, Supermutt,
10 Weeks

Mya was brought into my home with her litter mate (also female). They both started out rough playing with each other, but Mya doesn't understand when to stop and when she gets too rough. When her sister yelps, Mya doesn't let up. My wife is worried that she will become a liability as she gets older and bigger. They are very much attached to each other, sleeping and eating together. They're pretty much joined at the hip, but her sister tries to separate herself when she's had enough or is ready for a nap. Mya doesn't get the hint. Any training suggestions for this problem in a two pup household? Thank you.

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

Hello! I am going to send you information on the nipping/biting. Nipping: Puppies or older dogs 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
Fuji
Akita Inu
11 Weeks
0 found helpful
Question
0 found helpful
Fuji
Akita Inu
11 Weeks

He keeps trying to hump my leg and bite trousers and shoes when he is high energy

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
1123 Dog owners recommended

Hello Anej, First, I recommend teaching the Leave It and Out commands. Out - which means leave the area: https://www.petful.com/behaviors/how-to-teach-a-dog-the-out-command/ Leave It method: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-shih-tzu-puppy-to-not-bite I suggest practicing something called "Jazz up and Settle Down". Which is a bit like red light, green light for dogs. During training, get him a little excited, then command "Stop" or something he knows like "Sit", and freeze. Wait and completely ignore him until he calms back down. As soon as he gets calm or sits, praise and give a treat. Tell him "Let's Play!" again, and start playing and getting him a bit excited again. As soon as he starts to get a little worked up (not too much at first), command "Stop" or "Sit" again, then wait, reward with a treat when he calms down, then continue the game after he is rewarded. Repeat this a few times each training session, then end the session (have lots of frequent shorter sessions throughout the day at his age). As he improves, and can really calm down quickly, let him get a bit more excited before calling Stop. Gradually work up to him becoming more and more excited and having to calm down quickly from a higher level of excitement as he improves. Also, understand that this will take some time and practice. Puppies have to learn self-control just like any other skill, while young. This game can help him develop it sooner though. A lot of young puppies also need a rest time when they get especially wound up. Many are actually over-tired, sort of like a toddler who is getting hyper when they really need a nap. I would crate pup with a dog food stuffed chew toy to give some rest time, when pup seems to be having a lot of trouble with self-control. Sometimes pup will also need mental stimulation to wear out mentally and help with calmness too. Practicing obedience commands and tricks with treats can be a good way to wear a puppy out mentally, while also training pup in the process. I would keep these sessions shorter, about 15-30 minutes. Crate Training: https://wagwalking.com/training/like-a-crate Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Question
Mushu
American Akita
1 Year
0 found helpful
Question
0 found helpful
Mushu
American Akita
1 Year

My akita is very well behaved…when my husband is around. The second my husband leaves my akita will destroy the house, eat everything, and the biggest issue of all, bite me severely and persistently. I have tried everything to get him to listen to me and to not bite me and nothing seems to work. Its getting to a point where i am scared of him and will have to put him in another room alone. What can I do to stop this behavior as I am considering giving him up but do not have it in me to leave him.

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
1123 Dog owners recommended

Hello Jaime, It sounds like pup lacks respect for you. I highly recommend hiring a professional trainer to work with you in person for training pup. I also recommend desensitizing pup to wearing a basket muzzle. Pup likely needs a doggie bootcamp, with a basket muzzle and drag leash on, working on obedience commands, things like a 2 hour place command, structured heel, ect... Check out trainers like Thomas Davis from the Canine Educator on youtube. I would recruit your husband to desensitize pup to wearing the basket muzzle and putting it and a drag leash on pup before be leaves. I would definitely crate train pup and utilize that when you cannot be safe with pup in the meantime. Again, I would hire a professional trainer to work with you on this since pup is a bite risk for you. The trainer needs to involve you in the training however, and teach you how to work with pup with safety measures like the muzzle in place, since you are the one pup lacks respect for. I would look for a trainer who specializes in behavior issues like aggression, comes well recommended by their previous clients for their dog with aggression cases, and probably who also uses both fair corrections and positive reinforcement, along with a lot of obedience and boundaries as part of their training. You want to gain pup's respect by getting them working with you, practicing obedience commands, and correcting in ways that aren't putting you in harms way, and not through methods that would involve very physical confrontation like alpha rolls from you. This might be a case where low level remote collar training might be utilized so that you can enforce commands once taught while keeping some distance for safety. Counter conditioning will probably also be done if pup has specific triggers that lead to the biting, like being touched. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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