How to Train Japanese Akitas

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Originally from Japan, the Akita packs a mighty personality in a solid body. A born hunter and protector, he will never back down from a fight and can become aggressive if challenged. These big boys don't “live to please” like some breeds, making them a challenge to train properly.

Step 1

Be the alpha in the relationship. Akitas are dominant by nature and will assume the leadership role in your household pack if not corrected. Stand tall and confident when dealing with your pooch, and use a firm, deep voice when addressing him. Assert yourself as the alpha of the pack and he should fall into place.

Step 2

Be patient and flexible. Your Akita is an intelligent dog but has little patience for things he deems boring. Work with him in short sessions to keep his interest. Switch to something else if he stops cooperating. Use a treat or praise to reward him, but keep looking for other rewards to keep his interest up. Do not yell, hit or otherwise show aggression toward him if he doesn't cooperate, as this will simply make him aggressive. Reward good behavior, and ignore or give a stern “no” to bad behavior.

Step 3

Use a clicker. Akitas respond well to clicker training and using the little noise-maker can work wonders to keep his attention. Click to get him focused, then issue the command. If he stops responding, don't just keep clicking. Try again later.

Step 4

Use a leash. To an Akita, smaller animals are prey. Strangers are unwelcome, meaning your pooch could turn aggressive and bolt after someone or something he deems a threat. Always walk your Akita on a leash and never allow him to wander free. Train him to obey commands such as stay and sit so he doesn't yank you along for the ride as he tears off after an unsuspecting squirrel.

Step 5

Socialize him. Akitas are loners, and not always welcoming and inviting to other animals or people. Start socializing your pup as soon as you bring him home to minimize his aggression and suspicion toward others. Early and frequent socialization can keep your family dog from turning into the canine equivalent of the bad boy loner.

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