Akitas are the perfect family dogs in every way. They are calm, caring, independent, loyal, rarely bark, and can be athletic or not. They have great energy along with a robust body and, therefore, need daily physical exercise to keep their body in optimum condition. Exercise helps to prevent obesity, enhances the dog’s learning process, helps them sleep better and be calmer, facilitates appropriate and balanced behavior, and improves their overall well-being. While exercise is necessary for all healthy canines, the amount you’re offering is equally important. You don’t want to over-exercise your Akita as this may lead to resistance to exercise in the future, anxiety, exhaustion/lethargy, or develop mobility issues, among other risks.
So, do Akitas need a lot of exercise? Akitas require a moderate amount of daily activity to remain fit and healthy. It would be best if you took them for long daily walks along with a few play sessions in the backyard. Other suitable forms of exercise include running, cycling, swimming, playing fetch or tug of war, etc.
Although the Akita generally has moderate exercise needs, exercise requirements vary from one dog to another depending on their age, temperament, health status, and weight. There’s no one-size-fits-all exercise regime for all Akitas, so be sure to adjust activity levels and duration to suit your dog’s specific needs. Keep the activities fun and new, and you’ll both look forward to the time you guys exercise together. Mental stimulation is just as crucial for your Akita as physical exercise, so find ways to challenge their minds as well. Read on to find out the type and amount of exercise your Akita needs to stay at optimum health.
Do Akitas Need A Lot of Exercise?
Akitas are relatively active and energetic and need a moderate amount of exercise regularly. Ideally, they should get at least one hour of daily exercise, divided between two sessions in the morning and evening. And if you can make up to two hours a day of activity, even better. There are different types of exercise and activities you can provide your Akita. This includes daily walks, intense activities such as running/jogging/hiking, or a play session that gets your dog moving and entertained, such as playing fetch or tug of war. You can also set up an agility or obstacle course in your backyard to allow your Akita to exercise their muscles while helping them learn discipline.
That being said, how intense an exercise session depends on the dog’s age, weight, and overall health. Older dogs are less active with lower energy levels, and many tend to develop arthritis. They need to remain reasonably active to manage their weight, but over-exercising can strain or make their joints and muscles sore. On the other hand, if your Akita is under-exercised, they’ll have pent-up energy and will look for ways to release it, like through digging, chewing, barking excessively, and even becoming aggressive.
Mental exercise is just as important as physical exercise. It tires them, helps to release stress, prevents boredom, etc. Some mental stimulation methods include puzzle toys, scenting and nose games, chew toys, and learning new commands and tricks.
Do Akitas Need A Lot of Exercise as Puppies?
When it comes to Akita puppies, their exercise needs are pretty different from the ones above of a healthy Akita adult. With muscles, bones, and joints that are still growing, you don’t want to stress them by over-exercising them. The best form of exercise for your Akita puppy is to free play with age-appropriate toys. As the puppy gets older, you can take them for walks. The general rule of thumb is to provide 5 minutes of walking for every month of age. For instance, a 4-month old puppy should walk for 15-20 minutes.
How Often Should Akitas Be Walked?
Walking is considered one of the best forms of exercise for any dog. That’s because, in addition to helping your dog burn calories to maintain or lose some weight, a walk offers them the opportunity to interact with others. Socializing your Akita is important as it allows them to get comfortable with the world around them. Walking outside also lets them satisfy their need to sniff while stimulating their minds with sights and sounds. This leaves your dog calmer and more well-behaved the rest of the time.
The problem is many owners struggle with what is the best way to walk their dog and how often they should do it. Ideally, it would be best if you strived to walk your Akita daily for at least 30-45 minutes. Remember that dogs like routine, so try to schedule the walks at around the same time every day. I understand that we live busy lives that often include very long work hours. So, while you may not be able to walk your dog daily, you should aim for a minimum of 2-3 times a week and supplement with interactive play.
That being said, the right frequency and length of walks depend on the Akita’s age, size, energy level, weight, and overall health. For instance, puppies’ bones are still being formed, and it’s important not to over-exert them with excessive walking or exercise in general. I recommend short walks of 10-15 minutes, 3-4 times a week. Also, younger dogs are more energetic than seniors; as such, they’ll need more exercise.
How Do You Know If Your Akita’s Walks Are Frequent and Long Enough?
Akitas that are allowed to release their energy tend to be relaxed and calm at home. Therefore, if your dog is resorting to destructive behavior like digging, chewing, and barking, chances are they haven’t had sufficient exercise and are looking for ways to release pent-up energy. Secondly, if they are gaining weight, it could indicate that they are not getting enough exercise. That being said, you don’t want to force them to go for long walks as that will only make them resent exercising in the future. It’s also essential to observe your Akita during walks to determine if what they’re getting is the ideal amount and intensity.
Do Akitas Need A Lot of Attention?
Akitas can be left alone most of the time without issues. But despite being very independent, they still need attention in many different forms. First off, they are pack animals and love companionship. They consider their human family part of their pack, which is why they are always loyal and very protective of them. Needless to say, they crave and need human interaction, especially their owner’s affection, approval, and attention, to remain happy and mentally healthy. It would be best if you didn’t leave them for prolonged periods; otherwise, they might become anxious or bored and resort to destructive behavior such as digging, barking, and chewing.
Besides spending time with your Akita, you need to ensure they’re getting enough physical and mental stimulation, training, playtime, grooming, and even general cuddle time.
While it’s true your Akita needs attention to be happy and healthy; you don’t have to be there 24/7 or offer it on their terms. It’s essential to know the difference between your Akita’s actual needs and unhealthy whims. Dogs can be pretty manipulative and will resort to anything to get your attention. Excessive barking is one example of ways they can extort attention, and this should never be encouraged.
Each dog is different, and the amount of attention each Akita needs will vary depending on their age, health status, and lifestyle. For instance, you cannot compare the amount of work and attention involved in caring for a puppy vs. an adult Akita. Puppies eat, play, sleep, chew, explore, etc., and that goes on all day, so they need constant supervision. The first years of their lives are also the most important. You’ll need to spend more time with them providing their basic needs and training them. On the other hand, an adult Akita generally requires less intensive care as most are well trained and confident enough to spend most of the time alone.
Do Akitas Like to Run?
Traditionally, Akitas were bred for hunting, guarding, and fighting purposes, which involved excellent energy levels. But the modern-day Akita has been domesticated and only has the stamina for moderate exercise. In fact, they don’t really like to exercise for too long and would instead take a nap.
Akitas generally don’t like running. They might be down for walking and climbing up to 3-4 miles in a hiking adventure but will most likely give up running after 30 minutes or so. They can run fast and even retrieve Game due to their high prey drive but will get exhausted after running for a mile or two because of their reduced stamina.
Furthermore, since running has to be done outside, these dogs struggle to run in a hot climate. They have a double-layered coat and are prone to getting heatstroke if they run in hotter weather.
Akitas may not love to run, but they are good runners. Your furry friend will run a considerable distance, especially when the weather is cold and they are not running on asphalt. They are suitable for sprints but not for running long distances. These dogs can run at an average speed of 20-35 mph but probably won’t keep up the consistency for more than one or two miles.
Although exercise is essential for maintaining your Akita’s health, running too much increases the risk of developing health problems such as respiratory disorder, back/joint injury, cardiovascular issues, etc. Puppies shouldn’t also run as it can hurt their limbs, leading to a sprain and strain. You’ll find your pup grunt or cry out if they’re being overexerted. They might also have a hard time getting up due to muscle stiffness. Last but not least, your dog will show some behavioral changes when being overworked, like throwing tantrums and refusing to listen to you.