The famous Akita (dog) has a reputation for their “daring” temperament, therefore it’s common for owners to say Akitas are not easy animals to train. I personally think Akitas can be easily trained, but they require certain necessities.
Akitas can be easy to train if you consider a few things first. The Akita pup needs to be trained as early as 16 weeks and requires an owner who is willing and dedicated to providing a structured regime for them to follow on a regular basis.
Aside from these facts, Akitas also need a positive learning environment, an owner who can control their emotions (no matter how frustrated they can become), as well as positive reinforcement when attempting to be trained. If you combine all these facts, Akitas can indeed be very easy to train! Continue reading to learn more.
Akitas and Training
A common misconception around Akitas is their stubborn behavior and temperament can impede on training, and although this is half correct, it does not mean they are completely incapable of being trained.
In fact, when an Akita has been properly trained since a puppy, owners can receive impeccable benefits!
Why You Should Train an Akita | Are Akitas Easy to Train?
Training can combat bad behavior or inherited traits within your dog, that can become detrimental towards yourself or themselves in the future.
Other reasons to train an Akita:
- Can form an extremely strong connection between dog and trainer
- Well-behaved dog
- Easier to control (such as around strangers)
- To cease dangerous aggression/unacceptable behavior
- Assists in their own safety
- Helps make them more sociable
- Provides mental stimulation
Making Akitas Easy to Train
As mentioned above, the key tools required for making an Akita easy to train is providing a positive environment for them to learn in and grow up in.
They also require an owner who is dedicated to progressing their dog’s development and not allow constant defeats from getting them down. Dogs require a trainer who will praise and encourage their good behavior, but also teach them their wrongs when expelling bad behavior instead of being yelled at.
I explain other key essentials required in successfully training an Akita, as well as how it makes it easier for both yourself and your dog. Continue reading this article to learn all about Akitas and making them easy to train!
Why Aren’t Akitas Easy to Train?
Akitas can be considered slightly difficult to train for a few different reasons, however, it’s mainly due to their complex character traits and nature.
If you compare an Akita to easily trainable dogs such as German Shepherds or Border Collies, you’ll notice their personalities are more “willing, retentive, focused, and determined”.
Whereas for Akitas, their personalities are often “stubborn, pertinacious, and sometimes aggressive”. This is not to say that all Akitas are like this, however, as it’s a known fact that upbringing, environment, and care of their owners play a huge impact in their development (both mentally and physically).
Despite this fact, an Akita can still be trained and it’s best to do so while they’re a puppy. This is because the older you wait, the more likely it’ll be harder to snap them out of any bad habits they may have learned growing up.
Once you have been able to successfully train an Akita, they’ll be one of the best dogs to own as their tameness mixed with their strive for loyalty and love is a perfect mixture in a canine.
How Does Personality of an Akita Affect Training?
The personality of an Akita can indeed affect training, as it can cause difficulty for an Akita to attain information given by their trainer as well as showing a willingness to follow through with the information they may have obtained.
When it comes to an Akitas personality, their hardheadedness can truly get in the way of training.
This is why it’s important that whoever is doing the training, starts with the Akita while they’re still a pup and also:
- Remains consistent
- Never shouts or show aggressiveness
- Rewards appropriately
- Informs the owner to carry on the training whilst at home
- Implement their training three/four times a day
Once you understand the importance of an Akitas personality and how it can affect any future training, owners can identify what they need to work on for their dog’s future upbringing and can ensure to kick any bad habits before they prolong.
What are Some Struggles of Training Akitas?
Apart from their personality which can cause struggles when it comes to training an Akita, other struggles you may endure are:
- Their dominant nature
- Their caution and wariness of strangers
- Training multiple times a day (especially if you’re a busy person)
- Remaining consistent
- Having your Akita attain the information
- Getting your Akita to listen for long periods of times
- Having your Akita repeat or provide signs/actions they understand and respect the training
- Refraining from raising your voice or becoming overly frustrated
- Refraining from anger
Although most of these struggles can be mended (eventually), it does take an Akita significantly longer to train which means you will need to spend twice as much time working on their development compared to other canines.
It’s noted when training an Akita to remain patient, steady, confident, optimistic, and trusting. It can be a difficult job to train this breed, however, with patience comes fantastic success!
The Spirit of Training
Training should be a constructive and positive time for your Akita. Failing to do so from the start can make your Akita despise training, due to their association with how they remember feeling previously.
It is vital to make training a happy experience for them, even if you’re feeling otherwise.
Do’s of Training
- Make training light and easy
- Keep the mood positive and happy
- Encourage them for good behavior
- Reward them often
- Be firm but not aggressive
Don’ts of Training
- Exhibit anger towards your Akita
- Force your Akita
- Yell at them
- Reward for bad behavior
- Do anything to make your Akita aggressive, annoyed, or upset
The Trainability of Akitas: The Power of Praise
The power of praise is a huge tool to use when training an Akita. Incredibly loyal towards their owners, these dogs thrive seeing us happy and knowing we’re happy with their work.
Similar to children, growing up we required constant encouragement from our parents and family to inform us that we’re doing a good job or we’re on the right track. And just like us, Akitas require the same encouragement throughout their training.
Sometimes it’s incredibly easy for us to growl our pets for doing something they shouldn’t have been doing (often unconsciously), however, we forget to praise them for displaying good behavior.
Once you understand the importance of praise, it’s common sense to begin implementing this throughout your training of your Akita.
Ensuring you praise your Akita for behaving well in front of strangers, or letting them know they’re doing a great job by listening to one of your commands.
Encouraging your Akita often (but only for good things) can help them build stronger confidence and trust towards you which in return can assist you in their dog training.
It’s Best to Start Training as a Puppy
The earlier you train your Akita, the easier it’ll be for you, thus starting training as a puppy can provide you multiple benefits. By the time your Akita has reached adolescence, they should already know a decent amount of commands and by maturity, they’ll be fully trained. That is only if you start full-on training as a puppy.
Why Is It Easier to Train as a Puppy?
Basically, when your Akita is still young they haven’t developed any bad habits that may impact training. Habits can include stubbornness, unwillingness, laziness, etc.
Puppies are also much more active and their brains are constantly developing, so the sooner you can implement good habits and training into them the quicker they’ll become well-behaved canines.
Can I Still Train My Akita as an Adolescent or Adult?
Yes, you can still train your Akita as an adolescent or adult, however, it may be harder or take significantly longer.
This is because they have already begun developing certain habits that can be hard to snap out of, especially if your Akita is an adult dog.
Training time may also take longer compared to other breeds, averaging double the time such as 24 – 32 weeks.
When Can I Begin Training My Puppy Akita?
You won’t have any luck before the 12-week mark, however, you can implement certain commands from the ages of 14 – 18 weeks old!
Commands That Akitas Should Be Taught
To begin, basic commands your Akita should be taught are:
- “Let go”
Tip: When teaching basic commands, use actions to demonstrate the world also. Example; Using the word “come”, wave your hand back and forth to imply your dog where exactly to come to.
Other commands or phrases you can teach your Akita:
- “Where is….”
- “Time to eat!”
- “Get down”
Things Akitas Should not be Trained to Do
Things Akitas should not be trained to do can vary from certain actions to certain behaviors or responses. By being mindful of some of the things mentioned below is a great way to ensure you’re not contributing to any unwanted behavior.
Never train your Akita to:
- Show aggression towards yourself, strangers, or other animals
- Become disobedient
- Be scared or anxious whilst in your presence
- Hate training sessions
- Become accustomed to receiving treats after good behavior
- Go for longer periods of time without repetitive training
- Get used to receiving appraisal of good behavior and never bad behavior
- Associate commands with negative experiences or trauma
- Disrespect you
- Getaway with naughty behavior
Positive Reinforcement is Crucial
Positive reinforcement is indeed crucial in the development of any animal, but specifically an Akita.
Akitas are difficult animals to tend to due to their challenging nature, however, with regular positive reinforcement they can flourish into a fantastic domestic dog.
The reason why positive reinforcement is crucial with Akitas comes down to their utmost loyalty with their owners. Akitas will do anything to protect their home and loved ones, so knowing they’re doing a good job can play a huge part in their confidence building.
Establish a Training/Exercise Schedule
Akitas thrive best when you implement some sort of structured routine into their lifestyle.
It’s also extremely helpful for them if you establish a well thought out training and exercise schedule.
Exercise and training can go hand in hand, thus you should seriously consider picking the right time of the day and day of the week you can dedicate to such training.
Inconsistency can play a huge part in the failure of training Akitas, especially because repetition and consistency are known to improve canines development.
If you can dedicate an hour a day, twice a week towards training and taking your dog out to burn off some energy then I ensure you’ll notice a huge difference as time progresses.
Learn How to Motivate Your Akita
When training is done correctly, you’ll have a breeze motivating your Akita. With that being said, it’s not always easy learning how to train correctly, let alone motivating your Akita to participate in training sessions.
If you’re learning how to motivate your Akita, your first step is to release all doubts or worries you may have.
It’s easier said than done, however, if you go into a training session being doubtful or uncertain, your dog will also sense that and become reluctant to learn what you’re teaching them.
Secondly, you need to communicate with your Akita effectively. Communication plays a major part in motivating your Akita to learn, so avoid “wishy-washy” communication and adapt a firm yet precise approach.
Make your training sessions interactive and positive, as it should be an experience your dog wants to do with you. This can encourage motivation and will benefit success in your training.
To further strengthen their motivation, incorporate games, rewards, and even treats into their learning. Followed by plenty of praise and positive reinforcement.
Other tips for motivating your Akita to learn:
- Avoid rushing their learning
- Repetition, repetition, repetition!
- Keep lessons short and simple
- Encourage their development
- Give breaks when necessary
- Allow your dog to attempt certain things on their own, without intervention
Positive vs. Negative Training– Which is Better?
If you compare positive and negative training, they both have certain opinions based on each individual’s needs for their dogs. If they’re being trained as guard dogs, they may have a certain need of training vs a show dog.
The best type of training is one that incorporates mainly positive, but slightly the negative style of training also.
What does this mean? It means you’re not continuously rewarding, applauding, and praising your dog for every little thing they do.
It means to remain firm and grounded, to ensure your dog never forgets the power you hold in their learning. You can do this without using aggression, instead of using sturdy and unyielding communication and actions when conversing with your Akita.
Although I wouldn’t say this is a “negative style” of learning, in my opinion, the best approach is to combine the two together.
Tips to Make Training for Hunting Go Smoothly
Akitas were originally bred as hunting dogs, therefore it’s in their nature to want to hunt.
Tips to make training for hunting go smoothly are:
- Introducing your Akita to their hunting environment as a pup
- Train your puppy basic commands as soon as possible
- Reward them for good behavior and let them know what’s considered bad
- Present decoys and common scents to your puppy frequently
- Have your dog spectate whilst you hunt (do this regularly)
- Get them familiarized with the animals they’ll be hunting as a pup
- Repeat these tips time and time again, until they’re ready
More Tricks to Teach Your Akita
Tricks are the cutest things to watch when training animals and Akitas are no exception to being taught awesome tricks!
Some tricks to teach your Akita:
- Bark on command
- Play dead
- Spin around
- Shake hands
- High five
There are plenty more tricks you can teach an Akita, click here to learn 52 Tricks to Teach Your Dog!
How Long Does it Take to Train an Akita?
The earlier you train an Akita, the quicker they’ll learn. With that being said, if you begin training your Akita from 16 weeks onwards (consistently) they can be taught within 12 – 16 weeks.
If you’re training an adolescent of adult Akita, it may take anywhere from 24 weeks – 32 weeks. (Depending on the consistency and the devotion of the trainer)