Because of their instinctive characteristics of aggression, territoriality, and intelligence, it is absolutely vital that you train your Akita when he is still a small and relatively helpless puppy. It will be a lot easier than training a fully-grown, headstrong Akita weighing in at 130-150 pounds -!
Initial puppy training should include:
The Akita, or Akita-Inu, is a member of the Japanese Spitz class. Originally functioning as guard dogs for the Japanese nobility and hunters of wild boar and bear, Akitas were also bred for their ferocity, intelligence, stamina, and obedience - qualities which they still possess in abundance to this day.
- housetraining (also known as paper-training or crate-training)
- recall training ("come")
- the release command
- bite inhibition
- thorough socialization
The Requirements of Your Akita
- The breed requires demanding and ongoing training in order to keep their minds occupied and to help them grow into happy, obedient adults. Agility classes, formal obedience school, therapy work - one or more than one of these will be necessary to keep an Akita content. All Akitas need ongoing, challenging training. It keeps their minds occupied and prevents them from falling back on destructive traits to prevent boredom. This breed is capable of a very high standard of intelligence which must be utilized on a daily and lifelong process. The attendance of classes and workshops with your dog, as well as dailytraining sessions at home, is necessary not just for the happiness of your dog but also its mental and physical wellbeing - not to mention the wellbeing of your home and garden.
- Puppy training school is an absolute MUST, as these dogs, having been bred to hunt the savage wild boar and bear, have an incredibly high prey drive and are capable of intimidating ferocity. It can be difficult to stop them from chasing and killing small, fleeing animals (cats, other dogs, rabbits, small playing children …). If you want to be able to walk your Akita in public without fear of a dogfight, you must enroll your puppy in preschool training as soon as he has had his last vaccination.
- This is not an outdoor or backyard breed: isolating an Akita from his family and the house will cause him to become miserable, withdrawn, and destructive. Akitas are renowned for their capacity to form intense, devoted bonds to the members of their human family, and to separate such an affectionate dog from its loved ones is nothing short of cruel.
The Upbringing Process
Raising an Akita can be a challenging task. They are a naturally dominant minded breed, and although highly intelligent, it is imperative that you do not undo all the good work accomplished in training sessions by allowing your puppy or dog to violate the household rules that you have set to keep him in his place - such as allowing him to pass through doorways before you, eating before you, or any disobedience. For an Akita to obey you, he must respect you; and an Akita will never respect anyone lower in the chain of command than himself.
Jumping Through Hoops
Once puppy school is through, it's time to enroll your Akita in formal obedience training, agility training, or both. With a high mental and physical capacity for strenuous labor and challenging tasks, your Akita will be much happier - not to mention better behaved and with a life full enough to prevent him turning his attention to eating the walls, killing neighborhood cats, or destroying furniture. These animals are very intelligent, good at thinking independently, and thrive on challenges. The more you test your Akita, the happier he will be.
The Akita is a special dog, possessed of exceptional strength and intelligence. This warrants a special owner, who has done their homework and who is well aware that, just as Akitas can perform some tasks that other dogs cannot, other dogs are permitted privileges that Akitas are forbidden.
First and foremost, you must not permit him to run off the lead if there is ANY possibility of other animals about. Even a well-socialized Akita retains his prey drive and this may overcome his training if another dog shows aggression towards him. This means no walking in the hills off the lead (there may be sheep or cattle about; most farmers shoot first and ask questions later), no beach walks unrestrained, and CERTAINLY no walks in the local park off the leash. If your Akita is particularly headstrong, or has not been trained and socialized properly, it may be necessary to muzzle him when out and about.
Do not leave your Akita alone for long periods of time. The downside of such high intelligence is a correspondingly low boredom threshold, which will most likely result in shredded carpets, furniture, and wiring.
Above all, socialize from the earliest age possible. The earlier your Akita learns the basic rules for communicating appropriately with unfamiliar dogs, the easier it will be when he attains his full size and strength. This translates to a happier, better-exercised, and well-adjusted dog - which is exactly what an Akita should be.