The Akita is a large breed of dog that is closely related to but physically distinct from the Japanese Akita Inu. Akitas are fairly popular breeds for a few reasons; they’re generally pretty quiet in normal circumstances, while their vigilance and wariness of strangers make them excellent guard dogs.
Are Akita Dogs Stubborn? Akitas are very independent, strong-willed dogs, meaning they can often be pretty stubborn. This, in turn, can make them difficult to train and not the best kind of dog to get for a first-time owner.
In this article, we’ll be going over what you should know about your Akita’s stubbornness, and we’ll share with you some tips you can use to make training your Akita a bit easier.
Are Akita Dogs Stubborn?
As we’ve mentioned, Akitas are indeed fairly stubborn dogs. Not all Akitas are going to have the exact same temperament, of course, but in general, you can expect to deal with a fair amount of stubbornness when trying to train a young Akita. Akitas get their stubborn nature from the fact that they were originally bred to be guard dogs and hunting dogs. As such, Akitas are often unwilling to back down from a challenge and are likely to try and assert their dominance over you if they don’t perceive you as being in charge.
Akitas have very strong instincts, and since they were originally bred for hunting and guarding purposes, this means that they can be aggressive with people they’re not familiar with as well as other animals in general. In addition, Akitas are often pretty subtle in terms of their body language and facial expressions, and it can sometimes be tricky to gauge what an Akita is feeling at any given time. It’s not uncommon for an untrained Akita to suddenly try and attack a nearby dog or another animal without warning.
The flip side to this stubborn and obstinate nature is that they can be very loyal and fearless, so if you take the time to train your Akita right, they can easily become a steadfast companion that will protect your home and your family no matter what.
Are Akitas Hard to Train?
As you might expect, Akitas can indeed be difficult to train due to their stubborn nature. However, they’re not impossible to train, as long as you’re using the correct techniques.
That being said, Akitas are only difficult to train in terms of obedience training; when it comes to housebreaking, Akitas don’t require a ton of training to learn how to go to the bathroom outside. This is because Akitas are quite fastidious dogs, and enjoy being clean; Akitas will actually groom themselves with their tongues as cats do.
Being that Akitas inherently don’t do well in the presence of unfamiliar people or dogs, it’s important that you begin socializing your Akita as soon as possible. This will help them acclimate to being around strangers and prevent them from overreacting in these situations.
How Do You Train an Akita?
Training your Akita needs to begin early on in their life since as we know, older dogs have a much more difficult time learning new things than younger dogs do. Starting obedience training earlier rather than later will definitely make things easier for both you and your Akita in the future,
For the same reason, you should begin socializing your Akita at the same time as you begin training them. It’s important to train them correctly, however, as to how you train your Akita will lay down the foundation of the relationship you’ll have with them for the rest of their life.
With that being said, let’s get into how to properly train and socialize your Akita.
How to Socialize Your Akita?
Before you can really get into obedience training, it’s important to socialize your Akita first. This is because socialization helps set the stage for more complex obedience training, as your Akita will learn what is generally expected of them in terms of their behavior.
Being that Akitas are such strong-willed dogs, they require a lot of positive reinforcement for their training to be effective. To that end, make sure you have lots of treats on hand and be sure to reward them whenever they display good behavior.
There are a few different methods you can use to socialize your Akita:
This method involves introducing your Akita to a situation where they might be aggressive, then quickly distracting them with a treat. The goal of this method is to get your Akita to stop associating these situations with danger and start associating them with rewards. Here’s how the Immersion Method is used:
- Introduce your Akita to a situation where they might act mildly aggressive, such as seeing an unfamiliar person walk by outside.
- As soon as your Akita takes notice of this situation, distract them by showing them a treat. Give your Akita the treat as soon as they start following it.
- Keep practicing this routine, and start using a command just before giving your Akita a treat. Your goal is to direct your Akita’s attention towards you just before giving them the treat.
- When your Akita has no problems doing this, gradually increase the stimulus of the situation and continue distracting them with treats. For example, once your Akita has gotten used to seeing people walk by outside, you can try getting them used to having someone come right up to the front door as the next step.
This is a more direct method that involves getting your Akita used to being in direct contact with people they don’t know. Here’s how it’s done:
- As a precaution, you should muzzle your Akita for the first little while before attempting this method. You don’t want your Akita to become stressed because of the muzzle though, so you’ll need to get them comfortable with it first. To that end, start by having your Akita wear a muzzle in non-stressful situations, and consider rubbing a bit of peanut butter or something else tasty on the inside of the muzzle as well.
- When your Akita is comfortable with being muzzled, ask some friends or other volunteers if they’d be willing to babysit your Akita for a little bit. You might also want to bring your Akita to someone else’s home for this step.
- Make sure your friends/volunteers are gentle and kind with your Akita and that they give them lots of treats. Eventually, your Akita will stop associating strangers with danger.
- When it seems like your Akita is friendly (or at least non-aggressive) around new people, you can start letting them spend time around others without their muzzle on.
This method is pretty similar to the previous method, except it involves a bit more input from you:
- Start by getting your Akita used to wearing a muzzle, as discussed in the previous method.
- Take your Akita somewhere with other people that they don’t perceive as being their territory, such as a friend’s house.
- Ensure that anyone else who is around stays fairly still but otherwise acts naturally.
- Keep your Akita on a loose leash, but let them wander around and mingle with whoever else is in the room. Anyone else who is there should be encouraged to give your Akita treats and affection if your Akita approaches them.
Obedience Training Your Akita
Now that you’re familiar with some of the methods of how to get your Akita used to being around others, let’s go over how to train your Akita for obedience.
- To teach your Akita to sit, hold a treat over their head and slowly move it towards their tail. When they sit, say “sit” and then give them the treat. Repeat this process until your Akita sits after you give them the command.
- After your Akita learns to sit, the next step should be to teach them to lie down. With your Akita sitting, present them with a treat and slowly bring it down to the floor and away from them. When your Akita lies down, say “down” and give them the treat.
- For the “stay” command, have your Akita sit down, tell them “stay” and walk away from them. If they follow you, repeat this step until they stay still. It doesn’t have to be for long; as long as they’re able to stay for a second or so, give them a treat.
- Once your Akita is familiar with the “stay” command, you can move on to the “come” command. With your Akita waiting after being told to stay, tell them to come while offering them a treat. Do this often so that they understand “come” means “approach me”.
- For leash manners, start by taking your Akita on lots of short walks and rewarding them with treats for good behavior. As their behavior improves, you can try taking them on longer walks.