Are you thinking of welcoming a furry member to your family? There are many different dog breeds out there, and you’re probably wondering which one to adopt. Well, when it comes to intelligence and loyalty, the Akita dog is your best bet. However, being a dog owner is a huge responsibility as they depend on you for food, shelter, love and affection, care, and much more.
You need to research and find out everything there is to know about the Akita before adopting this powerful, fearless, and majestic pup, especially if you’re a novice dog owner. The good news is you’ve come to the right place; stay with me as I take you through every important detail there is to know about the Akita.
- Akita Dog Breed Introduction
- Akita Breed History
- Akita Dog Physical Characteristics
- Size and Weight of Akita Dog
- Akita’s Colors and Patterns
- Shedding Levels and Grooming Routine
- Energy Levels and Akita Exercise Routine
- Lifespan of An Akita Dog
- Common Health Problems of Akitas
- Are Akitas Hypoallergenic
- How Can You Tell if you are Allergic to your Akita
- Feeding Requirements
- Are Akitas Suitable for Apartments
- Can Akitas Live Outside, In Cold and Hot Weather?
- Akita Dog Personality Characteristics
- Akita Dog Training – Easy or Hard?
Akita Dog Breed Introduction
The Akita is a large, bold dog breed known for being courageous and even described as one of the world’s most loyal dogs. They are very friendly, sweet, cuddly (Are Akitas cuddly?), and affectionate with their human family but very suspicious of strangers, making them excellent protectors while being valued companions. On the other hand, they can be stubborn and strong-willed. This can make training a bit of a challenge, although not impossible.
This comprehensive breed analysis will cover what to expect when welcoming this dog into your home. But even as I go through breed generalities, keep in mind that all dogs are individuals. This means that your Akita might have different characteristics from the ones we’re going to discuss, depending on their environment, how you take care of them (Are Akitas easy to take care of?), past traumas (if any), individual personalities, and so on.
Akita Breed History
The Akita is believed to have originated from the Akita prefecture in Japan, hence the name. Its existence can be traced back to the 17th century. At this time, it was reserved for Japan’s Imperial family and leaders, but eventually, its popularity spread throughout the country. The Akita was bred to be a strong and hard-working hunting dog. With a high prey drive and sheer power, this dog could hunt fowl and big game, including bears, boar, and dear, with ease.
As hunting became less common, the Akita transitioned to the role of a family companion. Owners began to notice how loyal and friendly these dogs were with them and their families. The loyalty of this breed is epitomized by the dog Hachiko, who accompanied his owner to the train station every day and returned to escort him back home after work. After the owner’s passing, Hachiko continued their tradition until his death nine years later. Many films have since been made about his loyalty story, and today his statue is still honored with an annual ceremony of remembrance.
The Akita is so revered in Japan that it was designated as a natural national monument in 1931. It’s also a symbol of good health and protection.
The Akita is not only in Japan; it made its way to the US in 1937 when Helen Keller returned with one Akita after a tour through Japan. But it was not until after World War II that this breed’s popularity began to grow as returning American servicemen came back with more Akitas. The American Akita was eventually developed by breeding a larger, heavier-boned, and more intimidating dog.
In most parts of the world, the Japanese Akita and the American Akita are recognized as two different breeds, but the American Kennel Club (AKC) identifies them as one breed. These two dogs differ in size and color patterns, but other than that, they are pretty much the same dog with similar personalities, temperaments, and care needs. So, you can use the information provided below to describe ‘The Akita’ in general.
Akita Dog Physical Characteristics
The Akita is a large, powerful dog with a heavy bone structure and sturdy appearance. It’s slightly longer than it is tall, making its appearance well-balanced. Other physical attributes include a large head, broad chest and neck, small eyes, erect ears, a large and full tail usually curled over the body, and a deep muzzle that completes the look for this breed. Here’s a more in-depth look at other Akita’s physical attributes:
Size and Weight of Akita Dog
Getting this dog should come with the knowledge that you’ll be living with a big dog who will thrive well in larger spaces (Akita Weight by age – how big do Akitas get?). You also need to know how big your dog should be so you can monitor their growth patterns and determine whether they are growing at the right pace.
The Akita is among the largest of the Spitz-type dogs. According to the AKC official Akita standards, a full-grown male will weigh 100-130 pounds and stand roughly 26 to 28 inches tall, while females weigh 70-110 pounds and stand two inches shorter at 24-26 inches. Females tend to be smaller in size and weight than their male counterparts, but generally, this breed will appear muscular, compact, and have an imposing stature.
For those who view the American and Japanese Akitas as different breeds, you may want to know that they differ in size. The former is larger, stockier, and squarer in appearance, while the latter is slenderer and more foxy-looking. The above averages are for the American Akita, so if you want the Japanese Akita, expect them to grow to about 25-27.5 inches while weighing 70-85 pounds. The females are also slightly smaller, weighing 48-64 pounds and standing at 22-25 inches.
This breed forms most of its development between four and eight months. In fact, your Akita will likely reach 20 inches tall by the fourth or fifth month. They’ll be approaching their full height at six months and weigh 60-66 pounds for males and 52-55 pounds for females. The Akita will reach their full size around 10-12 months but continue adding weight until they are two. Once the Akita makes it to their full growth potential, they will not increase in size but can still gain weight by eating more and being lazy (Are Akitas lazy?).
Note that this is simply a guideline. Several factors can affect the growth of each puppy, including genes, gender, diet, activity level, overall health, and whether they are spayed/neutered. Your Akita’s growth may vary slightly from the above averages, which is no cause for concern. However, if they are far off track or are showing other signs of illness, visit the vet as soon as possible.
Akita’s Colors and Patterns
The world of the Akita is a colorful one as its coat comes in a variety of colors, patterns, and markings (Akita’s colors and patterns – full guide). The difference between the Japanese Akita and the American Akita is also evident in their coat colors. According to the Kennel Club’s breed standard, the former comes in four colors: red, sesame (red fawn with black tips), brindle, and white. Except for the white Akita Inu, the rest should have Urajiro markings, which can be found on the sides of the muzzle, cheeks, neck, chest, body, tail, the undersides of the jaw, and on the inside of the legs.
The American Akita has a broader spectrum of colors compared to its Japanese counterparts. In fact, the AKC outlines the Akita’s coat color as any color, including white, brindle, and pinto is acceptable. Pinto coats have a white background with large patches of another color covering the head and more than a third of the body. Brindle is one of the most impressive shades of the Akita. This is a specific color pattern that includes black stripes on a solid base background. With that in mind, here are the standard American Akita coat colors:
- Brown brindle
- Brown, black overlay
- Silver, black overlay
- Red, black overlay
- Fawn, black overlay
The American Akita colors are rich, clear, and brilliant and have distinctive markings on their face, like a black or white mask covering its mouth and nose, thus making it look fierce. Note that white Akitas have no other color, mask, or marking on their body.
The American Akita has endless color patterns, but pinto and white tend to be the most common. Some Akita colors are unique and rare to find. This includes black, fawn with black overlay, and silver fawn, just to name a few.
Shedding Levels and Grooming Routine
Akitas are double-coated with a soft and thick undercoat for keeping them warm in the winter and cool in summer, while the outer coat is a bit longer and coarser for additional protection (Do Akitas shed?). The double coat offers more opportunity to shed, which is why these dogs are often classified as moderate to heavy shedders. The Akita will shed a moderate amount of hair throughout the year but will blow their coat twice a year, typically during spring and fall. They will completely shed out the old fur in fall and bring in a denser coat in preparation for the coming winter months. In spring, their coat will become lighter to help keep them cool in warm weather.
Aside from seasonal shedding, there are other reasons why your Akita might shed excessively, such as due to parasites, a poor diet, fungal infections, and even cancer. My advice is to see your vet, who’ll determine and manage the cause of the excessive shedding.
You can’t stop your Akita from shedding, but you can reduce the amount of hair they leave around with regular brushing. This will remove dead fur from the dog before it falls out, saving you a lot of time vacuuming. Additionally, brushing helps distribute the dog’s skin oils, preventing skin dryness and reducing excessive shedding and you can also avoid any unpleasant smell (Do Akitas smell?)
The Akita is fairly low maintenance when it comes to grooming (Do Akitas need to be groomed?). Weekly brushing is enough to maintain your Akita’s coat, but you may need to accelerate to daily brushing in the shedding season. Despite being a large dog, the Akita is relatively clean and rarely suffers from doggy odor. That’s because they are known to groom themselves just like cats. They will only need a bath (using a good quality dog shampoo) once every 8-12 weeks unless they get dirty or stinky. The rest of the grooming schedule is the same as any other dog. This includes cleaning their teeth at least once a week, trimming their nails when they get long, and so forth.
Energy Levels and Akita Exercise Routine
As a historic hunting breed, it’s no surprise that the Akita is an active dog, though not as highly energetic as you would expect from a working dog. With moderate energy levels, they also require moderate exercise (Do Akitas need a lot of exercises?) to be happy and healthy. Up to two hours of daily activity would be ideal, but most of us may not be able to provide that due to busy schedules. In that case, aim for at least 30-45 minutes of daily exercise.
Knowing a dog’s energy levels is very important, so you know if it matches your own energy levels and lifestyle. If your dog is not getting enough exercise, it will find other ways to release pent-up energy. They will dig through fences ,(Do Akitas dig?) chew on everything, bark excessively, and so on.
There are many ways to exercise your Akita, with daily walks being the most common one. In addition to exercising, walking your Akita allows them to stimulate their minds with smells, sights, and sounds that they come across. Depending on your schedule, you can walk them for at least 30-45 minutes once or twice a day. Be sure to keep your Akita on a leash when you’re out. Their size can be intimidating to others, not to mention their stubbornness and prey drive means they can be out of control.
Another great form of exercise is obedience training. This might not seem like exercise at first, but practicing recall and retrieving, as well as learning new tricks like weaving and twirling, offers both physical and mental stimulation. Don’t forget to allocate enough playtime, as this will allow you to exercise your dog and bond with them as well. You can play fetch (Do Akitas play fetch?), tug of war, frisbee toss, or provide them with toys for mental stimulation and preventing boredom. Last but not least, you can take your Akita to swim (Do Akitas Swim?), go hiking, or even run.
All these exercise suggestions are for a healthy adult Akita. Puppies, seniors, or sick dogs will still need a decent amount of exercise but be careful not to strain them. Additionally, it’s best to exercise your Akita in cold weather as their thick double coat is prone to overheating in hot weather.
Lifespan of An Akita Dog
The Akita is one of the healthiest dog breeds around, with an average lifespan of 10-13 years (How long do Akitas live?). This is fairly long considering they are large-sized dogs, and such dogs usually age faster and live shorter than the smaller-sized breeds like the Chihuahua. That being said, there’s no telling exactly how long your Akita will live for, as it depends on several factors. The world’s oldest Akita is said to have successfully lived 26 years, which shows the flexibility of their lifespan.
There are several ways to improve the lifespan of your Akita and allow them to live a full life. Diet is the key to healthy life and longevity, so ensure your Akita is getting a balanced diet of high-quality foods. If you’re not sure what that entails, consult with your vet to help formulate the proper nourishing diet for your Akita to stay healthy.
Secondly, provide regular exercise. From enhancing blood circulation to reducing stress, increasing immunity, and maintaining a healthy weight, exercise does a lot to keep your Akita physically and mentally fit.
Last but not least, provide the love and affection they need. This will help reduce stress and prevent separation anxiety and other mental issues affecting your Akita’s health and overall lifespan.
Common Health Problems of Akitas
Although Akitas are generally healthy dogs, they are prone to certain conditions and diseases affecting their lifespan. For starters, they are genetically predisposed to hip dysplasia, gastric dilatation-volvulus, hypothyroidism, progressive retinal atrophy (PRA), and sebaceous adenitis (SA).
Like many dogs, Akitas are also prone to dental diseases, parasitic infections, obesity (Are Akitas prone to obesity?), epilepsy, eye problems, and cancer. Keeping an eye on your dog and regularly taking them to the vet will ensure you can catch some of these issues before they become fatal. Remember to keep your pup’s vaccinations up-to-date!
Are Akitas Hypoallergenic
You’ve probably encountered the word hypoallergenic, but to those who don’t know what it means, it’s something that’s less likely to trigger an allergic reaction (Are Akitas hypoallergenic?). Some breeders claim to produce hypoallergenic dogs, but the American Kennel Club makes it clear that no dog breed is 100% hypoallergenic.
The Akita, in particular, isn’t considered to be hypoallergenic at all. As mentioned earlier, these dogs are moderate to heavy shedders. If you have an Akita, you’ll likely find hair on your floor, carpets, clothes, couch, and just about anywhere, and these hairs irritate people with allergies. But dog hair is not the only culprit, as allergies can also be caused by a protein found in the saliva and urine of your pet. The Akita is a big drooler (Do Akitas drool?), and some people might experience severe allergic reactions once they come in contact with their saliva. This protein will also stick to the dead flakes of the dog’s skin when they lick themselves or urinate and is later expelled into the environment during shedding. Seeing as Akitas have a double coat and shed heavily, they release more dander, which can cause reactions in people who are specifically allergic to these triggers. Lastly, if your Akita spends a lot of time outdoors, they will also pick up allergens such as pollen from plants.
How Can You Tell if you are Allergic to your Akita
You’ve probably never thought you were allergic to dogs, especially if you’re a new dog owner. You’ll want to watch out for the following symptoms around your Akita:
- Skin rash or hives
- Coughing, chest tightness, shortness of breath, and wheezing
- Sneezing or a runny or stuffy nose
- Watery, red, or itchy eyes
- Facial pain (from nasal congestion)
You can take several steps to combat allergies and make life with your Akita dog much easier. This includes grooming your dog regularly to reduce the amount of hair they shed. You’ll also need to vacuum and clean your house regularly, including the furniture, carpets, beddings, etc., as well invest in a HEPA air filter to contain pet allergens that might be floating around. That being said, if you have severe allergies, you may need to think twice about adopting the Akita.
Akitas have large appetites and need a lot of food to fuel their large-sized bodies throughout the day (What do Akitas Eat?). But what’s most important is to provide your dog with a balanced diet that includes many different nutrients. Akitas originally enjoyed a meal of fish, rice, and sea-based plants, but today they can do well with dry, wet, or cooked food with the right balance of proteins, carbs, fatty acids, minerals, and vitamins (How much should Akita eat?).
A great source of protein is meat, including beef and mutton, but you can also add some vegetables that contain proteins like lentils and broccoli. Because dogs can’t produce fat on their own, their food needs to have some healthy fats, which help increase energy levels and maintain healthy skin and fur. Safe vegetables and fruits for your Akita include carrots, sweet potatoes, Brussel sprouts, apples, blueberries, and bananas. These offer vitamins and other precious nutrients while also containing fiber that helps improve digestion.
A balanced diet is enough to provide your Akita with all the nutrients they need. However, there are some instances when you may need to provide a dietary supplement to help increase the intake of certain nutrients. This includes when your Akita is pregnant or lactating, sick or in the recovery phase, or a puppy is not growing properly (How long are Akitas pregnant for?). That being said, you must consult your vet before giving your dog any supplements.
When it comes to how much and how often you should feed your Akita, it depends on several factors, starting with age. An adult Akita will need 5-6 cups of quality dog food, divided into two meals per day. This might slightly vary depending on their weight and activity level. A puppy’s meal quantity, on the other hand, will depend on their age. For example, at 2-3 months, your puppy will need 150-200 grams of food divided into four portions. By the sixth month, this should increase to 300-400 grams per day divided into 2-3 portions. Avoid overfeeding your Akita as this can cause bloating, dog fart (Do Akitas fart?), and weight gain. Also, provide consistent mealtimes so your dog can know when to expect food. This will also promote healthy digestion and help in housebreaking your Akita.
Are Akitas Suitable for Apartments
If you live in an apartment, there are several things to consider before bringing home an Akita (Are Akitas good apartment dogs?). This includes the small space for your dog to live in, limited outdoor space for housebreaking and exercising them, and nearby neighbors who could complain about loud dog noises. Fortunately, unlike many medium-large-sized dogs, the Akita does surprisingly well in an apartment. This is due to their moderate energy levels (Are Akitas high energy?), high level of independence, and low level of barking.
While this breed would prefer a large backyard to roam about in, it can adapt to different living situations and can grow accustomed to the smaller space of an apartment. However, it’s imperative to provide enough physical and mental stimulation for your Akita. This will help reduce pent-up energy and is the best cure for crankiness and moodiness. As mentioned earlier, you should strive to offer up to two hours of daily exercise.
Living in a limited space is hard enough on your Akita without having to spend many hours alone. Make sure you spend as much time as possible with them to avoid separation anxiety and boredom.
Factors to Consider
Akitas may be good apartment dogs, but not all apartments are suitable for their overall well-being. For starters, does your apartment complex allow pets, Akitas in particular? And even if they do, are they dog-friendly? If your space is too small and cramped, this large-sized dog may not be the best choice. You also want to keep your Akita in an apartment with both sunlight and fresh air and is also quiet and peaceful.
Being moderate-heavy shedders, expect to find lots of fur in a more compact area. The size of your apartment doesn’t cause the Akita to shed more or less, but it’s much more noticeable since the dog doesn’t have much space to roam about.
Akitas are not so friendly with strangers. This makes it extremely important to provide lots of socialization since they’ll constantly be interacting with people and other animals in an apartment complex.
Lastly, getting a puppy is preferable because that makes their adjustment to living in a limited space much easier.
Can Akitas Live Outside, In Cold and Hot Weather?
If you’re planning to adopt an Akita or already have one, you might be interested in knowing whether or not you can leave them outside (Are Akitas outside dogs?). This is particularly important for those who live in places that experience severe weather patterns. There’s also the element of emotional well-being, how will the dog feel to be separated from their family.
The Akita is quite happy to live outside part-time or even full-time with proper training. Akitas are ideally suited to live in cold weather. They have a thick double coat that keeps them warm in the cold (Do Akitas get cold?). Additionally, their paws have thick padding with plenty of subcutaneous fat, which is another way the body keeps warm while protecting the dog from frostbite. They also have webbed feet to help walk on snow (Do Akitas have webbed feet?).
But despite their tolerance to cold weather, this dog breed is not immune to frostbite and hypothermia when left outside for long periods or in extremely cold temperatures below the freezing point. Puppies and dogs who are sick, old, or deconditioned are at a higher risk for these life-threatening conditions.
Akitas don’t generally do well in hot weather. They can handle hot weather of 86°F (30°C) without problems, but anything higher can lead to heatstroke (Can Akita live in hot weather?). Also, avoid making your dog do strenuous activities like jogging or hiking at a temperature that goes beyond 68°F (20°C).
Raising your Akita as an outside dog isn’t something that happens overnight. You need to train them slowly and gradually, so they are mentally prepared to stay outdoors. You’ll also need to provide everything they need to thrive outdoors. This includes a comfortable bed to sleep on, a shade to keep them cool in summer, dog coats and boots for keeping them warm in winter, and access to water. You also want your Akita well-secured to keep them from chasing after prey, wandering off into the streets where they could be stolen or hit by a car, and protecting them from predators. Lastly, address any behavioral problems like if your Akita is constantly barking while they’re outside.
Akita Dog Personality Characteristics
The Akita has a strong and dominant personality that can be overwhelming, especially for novice dog owners or timid ones. They need a strong leader they can look up to; otherwise, they can become unruly, which doesn’t make for a happy household. That being said, they can be affectionate (Are Akitas affectionate?)and playful but also protective and stubborn (Are Akitas stubborn?). In short, the Akita can be different things depending on the situation, as described below.
Living with Children and Family Members
The Akita has a wonderful temperament towards their owners (Are Akitas good family dogs?). They consider their human family part of their pack and love them more than anything. They will be playful, kind, friendly, affectionate, and highly loyal to their family members. Just look at Hachiko! As one of the best guard dogs (Are Akitas good guard dogs?), the Akita is quite protective of their owners and will even lay down their life for them. For this reason, they can be aloof with strangers. With this dog, trust has to be gained first.
While devoted to their human family, the Akita doesn’t enjoy visitors and the disruptions associated with family life. They are always wary of strangers and can exhibit hostility if triggered by a particular event. This makes them good companions in a quiet house and not the best fit for households where they need to interact with new people regularly. The good news is you can turn them into the perfect family dog with training and early socialization.
Akitas are gentle and patient with children and can also make the perfect playmates as they have an energetic and mischievous nature. Akitas are very friendly to humans but can be aggressive when provoked (Are Akitas good with kids?). A mistreated Akita can become a liability and may even endanger your child’s life. So, teach your child to be gentle, respectful, and kind in all their interactions with the dog. They should avoid rough play, taking the dog’s toys or food, pulling on their tail, and things like that. It’s best not to adopt an Akita if you have small children that you can’t teach how to treat the dog. The Akita should also undergo early socialization and training to learn to live with children and be safe together. In short, the Akita is ideal for families with older kids, but even then, you should supervise any interactions between the two.
Living with Cats and Other Dogs
Akitas were initially bred as bear hunters and were also involved in dogfighting, which has given them very aggressive genetics and a dominant personality (Are Akitas good with cats?). They are not usually friendly with other dogs, especially those of the same sex. Even two Akitas of the same sex should never be left alone together because it will be a straight contest for dominance, food aggression, as well as jealousy over attention and toys. Do you want to spend every moment breaking up fights with two mighty dogs? It’s not only unsafe for the dogs but you as well or your family members, as some could get hurt in the process. The Akita is best suited to live in a one-dog home but if they must be two, consider a male and female pair, both neutered and spayed, and with an age gap of about 18 months to two years (Are Akitas good with other dogs?).
Secondly, the Akita has a strong prey drive, and when small animals like cats and rabbits run (How fast can Akitas run?), they can mistake them for lunch. With their large size and strong bite force (Do Akitas bite?), Akitas are capable of killing another household pet before you even have a chance to intervene.
For your Akita to get their best chance of being the best family dog, they must be socialized and trained from a young age. Akitas tend to be naturally wary of unfamiliar situations, so socialization will make them comfortable and happy to meet new dogs and other animals. If you adopt an adult Akita that has not been socialized, all hope is not lost. Take them to dog classes, to the park, and even daily walks so they are exposed to other dogs and animals as well. Fully socializing an adult dog can take a long time, so be patient and only use positive reinforcement.
Barking Levels of An Akita Dog
These canines were originally bred for tracking and taking down tough prey like bears. Today they are used in all manner of protection. Due to their past and current line of work, the Akita doesn’t have the luxury of making so much noise (Do Akitas bark a lot?). As a result, they have developed a much quitter and stealthy disposition, allowing them to stalk and sneak up on whatever they are hunting, whether a criminal/intruder or an animal. While they are generally quiet dogs, Akitas make various noises and grunts to express their emotions and mood.
The Akita rarely barks, and when they do, it’s usually for a good reason, and their bark can be pretty loud (Are Akitas loud dogs?). As guard dogs, their main reason for barking is to alert you of impending danger or scare something off. They are also territorial and will bark at other dogs or strangers to declare ownership over their territory. The Akita will also voice their frustration, anger, hunger, worry, loneness, or even pain through barking. While it’s normal for your Akita to bark or howl from time to time (Why do Akitas howl?), there are certain instances when you may have a problem. For example, if your dog is barking excessively even after the stranger or animal leaves the vicinity or if they are becoming increasingly agitated.
If that’s the case, you can train your Akita to stop barking excessively or unnecessarily (How to stop Akitas from barking?). All you’ll need is a command phrase like ‘quite’ or ‘hush,’ some treats, consistency, patience, and love. It’s also important to socialize your Akita so they can get used to other dogs and different environments. Another great solution is to exercise your dog daily. A tired dog will not have the energy to bark all day; instead, they’ll want to rest and sleep. Your Akita may also bark as a way to seek attention. Try to identify such cases and ignore them for as long as it takes them to keep quiet.
Are Akitas Good Guard or Watchdogs?
Guard and watchdogs are types of security dogs. The former is trained to protect their owners and intervene in case of a hostile intruder, while the latter is trained to watch out for intruders or trespassers and alert the owners by barking. There are several reasons to want these kinds of dogs: for your protection and that of your family, property protection, or simply to know when someone is approaching your home.
The Akita is often ranked one of the top guard or watchdogs. This breed is extremely loyal (Are Akitas loyal?)to its human family and will fiercely protect them from any kind of danger. The Akita was bred to be a guard dog; they are skeptical of strangers, sharp, and attentive. They are also intensely alert and will immediately investigate any hint of intrusion into the home. They do so quietly and only bark when something is seriously wrong.
Aside from their temperament, Akitas are large and muscular dogs with a confident disposition. Their imposing build commands authority and poses a scary sight for strangers, thus acting as an effective deterrent. This breed is generally calm but can be aggressive when faced with a potential threat. This, together with their strong bite force, means an intruder doesn’t stand a chance if you have an Akita in your home.
Akitas are natural guard dogs and require little to no training to perform this task. However, to be excellent at their guarding duties, they have to be under control. Because they view all strangers as a potential threat, they require obedience training and proper socialization to avoid unnecessary standoffishness or aggression. You can also offer guard dog training to help sharpen their skills. An excellent guard dog is not aggressive but knows how to examine and respond to different scenarios even as they safeguard their owners and house.
Akita Aggression Levels
The Akita is gentle, playful, and relaxed with their own families. However, when it comes to strangers and other dogs or animals, they are not so friendly. Akitas’ aggression is usually towards other dogs, particularly large dogs of the same sex (Are Akitas aggressive?). They often feel territorial (Are Akitas territorial?)and competitive and growl, bark, and even fight the other dog to show dominance. Secondly, Akitas are very protective (Are Akitas protective?)of their owners, and some of the behaviors they exhibit while performing this duty could be perceived as aggressive.
Akitas don’t always act out aggressively. But like any other dog, they could be triggered by specific events. For starters, this breed is known for not liking eye contact. They interpret this as a challenge on your part and might react aggressively. For this reason, never go down to your Akita’s eye level unless you’ve earned their trust. Their environment and upbringing are another huge factor in aggressive levels for Akitas. Loving owners who take good care of their Akita will go their entire lives without experiencing any form of aggression. But dogs who are mistreated will grow to be aggressive. This dog will respond aggressively if you hit, kick, or shout at them, so learn to treat them with respect, and you may develop a close bond. Another trigger is sickness or injury. Your Akita may act out aggressively because they are in pain.
How to Prevent Aggression in Akitas
Early socialization and training are two of the most important steps of preventing aggression in this breed. Seeing as they are naturally suspicious of unfamiliar people, dogs, and environments, they need exposure to get used to different situations and proper training on the appropriate way to act in such situations. It’s also important to exercise your dog and keep them entertained. This helps to release pent-up energy and prevent boredom, which would otherwise cause them to become destructive. That destruction could morph into aggression. Another way to prevent aggression is for you and others to learn how to act around this dog. Children, in particular, need to be taught to be gentle and respect the dog in all of their interactions.
Can Akitas Be Left Alone
Dogs are very great companions, but at some point, you’ll have to leave them at home, either to go to school, work, shopping, or even on a trip. If you’re a new Akita owner, you’re probably wondering if and for how long you can leave them behind as you take care of your other responsibilities. Well, Akitas are very independent and intelligent dogs and don’t mind spending a few hours alone (Can Akitas be left alone?). They are very loyal and will trust that you’ll come back whenever you leave. And perhaps this is well described in the story of Hachiko, the sweet dog who waited for his owner long after they had passed away.
The key is to have a gentle approach and consistent training. Start your Akita puppy on the right foot by leaving them for small durations of time, say around 20-30 minutes, and gradually increase the length that they are alone for. A well-trained adult Akita can be left alone for up to 6-8 hours. But for that long period, your furry friend will need access to enough food and water, as well as something to keep them entertained like toys. If you have to go for an extended period, consider hiring a pet sitter, or leave them at a dog daycare, or be sure to come back on your lunch break to let them relieve themselves outside.
That being said, do make it a habit of leaving your Akita alone. These dogs do love and thrive on the companionship of their human family. And if they are constantly left alone for long periods, they’ll start to think you don’t love or care for them. Dogs are prone to separation anxiety (Do Akitas have separation anxiety?), and Akitas are no exception. And when this happens, the dog will develop destructive behaviors such as digging, excessive barking, chewing, peeing in the house due to anxiety, or even trying to run away (Do Akitas run away?).
While Akitas generally don’t mind spending a few hours on their own, it depends on an individual dog. For example, it’s pretty common for a rescued dog to suffer from separation anxiety, abandonment issues, and fear of isolation throughout its life. But with love and training, they can learn to trust humans again.
Akita Dog Training – Easy or Hard?
Proper training is the key to a well-behaved dog (Are Akitas easy to train?). And given the Akita’s stubbornness, be prepared for training to be a bit challenging and take longer than it would for some breeds. Akitas also have a dominant personality and can be difficult to train if they have an unconfident trainer. The good news is they are pretty smart (Are Akitas smart?), which means they can easily understand new skills and follow commands. Like training any other dog, consistency and patience is the key to successful training. Akitas also respond well to positive reinforcement. Last but not least, they tend to get bored quickly, so make training sessions entertaining with games and treats.
Akita dog training can be as simple or complex as you. Below we look at some types of specialized dog training your Akita can undergo to gain specific skills for various tasks.
Akita Dog Potty Training
Potty training your dog is such an essential task that everyone in the home will breathe a sigh of relief once it is successfully mastered (Are Akitas easy to potty train?). After all, who wants their house smelling like dog pee and poop? Akitas are generally clean dogs. They like to self-groom like the cat does, which is quite helpful when it comes to housebreaking.
There are many methods of potty-training an Akita that I will go over a few tips and tricks that can help make the process successful. First off, you need to differentiate between an Akita puppy and an adult. A puppy doesn’t develop full control of their bladder until they are 4-5 months old. In that case, they need to eliminate more frequently. A good rule of thumb is to take them outside to do their business when they wake up in the morning, after each nap, meal, or drink, randomly during play, and finally, before retiring for the night. Repeat this every day until they have developed a habit out of it.
An adult Akita will need to relieve themselves every 4-6 hours, of course, after successful housebreaking. The key is to get them used to go out on a schedule. Eventually, their elimination system will be stimulated at the same time every day, allowing your dog to do their business outside and not all over your home. Be sure to create a designated location outside for your Akita. Once you bring them to this area, provide a cue for them to do their business. Praise your dog or reward them with treats after he eliminates at the right place.
Even a fully trained Akita may have accidents in the home now and then. Never punish them for this or even rub his nose in his mess. The only thing you’ll get from this is a fearful or aggressive Akita. Remember, patience, consistency, and positive reinforcement are all you need to turn your Akita into a perfectly potty-trained dog.
Akita Dog Obedience Training
Akitas are smart, strong-willed, confident, and dominant dogs. And novice owners might view this as stubbornness. Like most dogs, they are pack animals and believe in a well-defined pecking order. They need and want a leader, and if their humans don’t provide that leadership, the dog will assert their dominance and try to take the role themselves. You do not want that to happen because then your Akita will not listen to you.
While it’s important to build your Akita’s natural confidence, you also need to train them to be obedient to you. Start basic obedience training with easy, basic commands like ‘sit, ‘come,’ and ‘stay.’ Offer lots of praise and treats to reward your Akita for mastering obedience and good behavior.
When your Akita is offered basic obedience training, they will follow basic commands and be open to learning more complex commands. When you work hard to train basic obedience, you’re getting an obedient dog that you can nurture and love while building a relationship with them.
Basic obedience training sets the pace for how your relationship will be years to come and builds a foundation for any future training, whether it be potty training, socialization, etc. Your Akita will need to learn how to act with you, how to behave in public around other people and animals, and even how to behave when you’re not around. You want to make sure you can get them under control when the moment counts. Be sure to set your expectations high as the Akita can most certainly handle them.
It’s best to start obedience training at puppyhood, but all hope is not lost if you’ve just adopted an adult Akita. Focus your obedience training on positive reinforcement, which means rewarding good behaviors rather than punishing bad behavior. While it’s also important to schedule distraction-free training sessions to teach obedience training, your Akita is always open to learning. So, think of moments you can turn into learning opportunities.
Akita Dog Behavioral Training
Behavioral training is a bit similar to obedience training. However, it focuses on helping your Akita unlearn bad behaviors like digging, biting (How to stop Akita from biting?), chewing, excessive/unnecessary barking, eliminating in the house, and even leash manners. This type of specialized dog training is appropriate for young Akitas that are just getting started and don’t really know how to be good citizens as dogs. It may also be necessary if your adult Akita is currently having behavior problems. As mentioned earlier, Akitas tend to be aggressive with dogs of the same sex, especially if not properly socialized or trained. It’s important to curb these aggression tendencies early on before the Akita starts being aggressive towards humans.
Behavioral training includes some basic commands, but the goal is to guide your Akita into making the proper choice of what behavior to offer in any given situation. Behavior training generally lasts longer than obedience training and doesn’t necessarily need for a human to be present to give a command. The key to successful behavioral training is to reward good behavior and ignore or redirect bad behavior. You want to set clear boundaries and communication to avoid confusing your dog and foster mutual respect and trust between you two.
Like any other type of training, patience and consistency are key during behavioral training. You can use the Canine Good Citizen Test to assess their progress. This program was developed by the AKC and is recognized as the gold standard for dog behavior, so you can trust it to help you know how well-behaved your Akita is.
Having a dog with issues can be frustrating, both for you and the dog. If you’re still struggling with behavioral problems even after following these tips, perhaps it’s time to involve a professional behaviorist.
Akita Dog Protection Training
Akitas are one of the best guards and protection out there. In fact, their original task was to guard royalty and elites in Japan. They are known for their loyalty and willingness to do whatever it takes to keep their owners safe. These dogs are courageous and naturally alert and are wary of any stranger.
In short, Akitas are natural guardians with a we-developed protective instinct and don’t necessarily require protection training to perform the task. However, given their aggressive tendencies and the fact that they view any stranger as a potential threat, they might not think twice before attacking them. For this reason, they will need some training, so they learn how to assess the situation before acting. Start with basic obedience training, so the dog learns to act on command.
Though Akitas are natural protection dogs, they could still benefit from protection training to help to sharpen their skills. You want your dog to learn to differentiate between normal human behavior and what’s suspicious. And the best way to do that is through early socialization, so they are used to people and other animals, thus preventing unnecessary standoffishness or aggression. Another great way to train your Akita to be a great guard dog is to create a real-life situation in front of them and teach them how to act accordingly. This will help him understand what types of situations he should act in and when to be quiet. Give him treats whenever he successfully barks at a suspicious action or person and also when he stops barking on your command.