Akita Training

Discussion in 'Other Pets & Livestock' started by CharlieBear, Feb 2, 2016.

  1. CharlieBear

    CharlieBear New Egg

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    I bought an Akita back in September. He is now 6 months old. He is fed well, has lots of chew toys and we give him lots of attention. I was taking him to all of my daughter's soccer games, PetSmart, trails, etc. (but the outdoor soccer games have ended). I had been trying to socialize him, as I know that's imperative for Akitas. So far he has been doing well, except last night someone came to our house. I was hoping to leave him loose in the house, but he didn't seem to happy about the stranger and I did not want to risk him biting the person so I kept him in a separate room. I even bought him a new bone thinking that would keep him happy, but it didn't work. I'm trying to do everything the right way, but he is very strong. He is an absolute sweetheart in the house, but as he gets older, he is becoming more protective. I've read a lot about Akitas and I know they can be stubborn. I guess what I'm trying to find out is how do you make them listen? When I walk him he pulls, but I've been trying to teach him "heel" and give him treats when he listens. Any advice would be appreciated. Thank you!
     
  2. Folly's place

    Folly's place Chicken Obsessed

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    Welcome! As you are discovering, Akitas are big tough guard dogs, and need lots of good training and socialization. Early neutering is a good idea too! Explore training options in your area ASAP, call and talk to trainers, visit their classes, and sign up very soon. A military/ guard dog trainer would be best, rather than someone who specializes in toy poodles. (Sorry, couldn't resist!) Your veterinarian may have a list of trainers, and opinions on the best fit for you and your puppy. Mary
     
  3. CharlieBear

    CharlieBear New Egg

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    Feb 2, 2016
    I will check into that. Thanks! :) I did have him neutered.
     
  4. Chickerdoodle13

    Chickerdoodle13 The truth is out there...

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    I agree with Folly's place! A good trainer can save you tons of time. A lot of people like to try themselves (yes, I often fall into this category, but I'm lucky I have a classmate interested in veterinary behavior so I pick her brain a lot). A lot of dogs are fear reactive, which tends to seem like territorial reactivity. A good behaviorist will be able to evaluate him and tell you what his behavior means.

    One thing that could never hurt to do is pirchase a muzzle and get him used to wearing it. I really like Baskerville muzzles (I bought mine on Amazon). They are a basket type muzzle that allows you to give treats and the dogs can still bark, drink water, etc. I think all dogs should be muzzle trained because they are such useful tools. It's really not hard to get them used to it but it does take some time. The way I started was by putting peanut butter on the muzzle and just holding it up to my dogs face. After a few days of peanut butter, I would have her stick her face in it on her own and I would give her a treat. I didn't actually fasten the muzzle (other than to check size) until after a week or so. Then I started fastening the muzzle, treating, and taking it off. After a while I would put the muzzle on and leave her with it for a few minutes at a time while I was doing house work. Now she is able to wear it for longer if guests come over. It's great because I can relax that she won't bite someone, my guests are not afraid, and they can give her treats or peanut butter through the muzzle.

    You can use muzzles for anything though. Introducing new people or children, introducing a new animal, emergencies (I keep a spare in my car in case I break down), vet trips, etc. if you make putting the muzzle on as fun as possible, the dog will get really excited about it. If they get used to it, they really act like normal while wearing the muzzle.

    In the mean time, it may be best to keep him away when strangers come over so his reactivity doesn't escalate. Give him a safe bone or a Kong with peanut butter (freeze it to make it last longer!). Otherwise, every time he is allowed to act out when a stranger comes, he learns that barking and growling will make a person back away and that reinforces the behavior. You do have to be careful with training methods and reactive dogs though. I would stay away from any sort of punishment based training methods. Using punishment doesn't address the problem, it just teaches the dogs not to show his fear by growling or "appearing" aggressive. Instead, many dogs will just start to bite when they feel insecure.
     
  5. Chickerdoodle13

    Chickerdoodle13 The truth is out there...

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    I forgot to mention that I know how frustrating this can be, especially when you have tried to do everything right. I went through a similar situation with my adopted dog. She was sweet to everyone but about six months after I had her, she started acting wary towards females. She would bark and growl any time a stranger would come up to her and it was terrifying for me and the stranger! I used to bring her out all the time but now I have to be careful and watch for people approaching me. She still acts fearful towards strangers (her fear reactivity looks a lot like she's being protective, which is why I say it's best to have a professional evaluate your dog) but I'm managing it and the muzzle + baby gates are the best. Luckily she has never shown aggression to me, my family or my room mates.
     
  6. CharlieBear

    CharlieBear New Egg

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    Feb 2, 2016
    Thank you!! :) The muzzle is a good idea because he likes to eat pebbles. I can't let him run in the yard because of that. I think I will get a trainer because he is only 6 months old and is very big and strong. I need him to listen to me (especially going on walks and being around other people and dogs). Thanks again!!
     
  7. Chickerdoodle13

    Chickerdoodle13 The truth is out there...

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    Those muzzles are great for that! I wouldn't leave it on him without supervision, but if you get them used to it slowly, they should be able to do everything they normally do. The cost of the muzzle is so much cheaper than surgery for foreign bodies! You want to get a size that fits loose but won't come off (it should allow them to open their mouths to a decent size inside the muzzle and not rub on their faces)
     
    Last edited: Feb 4, 2016

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