The Akita Inu - Training

Forever with you, Loyal till the end I Am the Akita

Training an Akita is a learning experience for its owner and the dog itself. It starts off with housebreaking and continues with fun daily exercises.

Table of Contents

Akita Inu training

Training is a crucial part of every dog’s early life; that applies doubly when it comes to Akitas. If not trained the right way, an Akita will try to assert its will, overpower its human host and continue dominating any human or pet around.

The training should start as soon as possible in the form of playful teasing and continue well into early adulthood. Praises, treats and simple commands can teach the Akita to sit, come and behave. Getting the Akita accustomed to a collar and leash marks a major training milestone and sets the foundation for a strong training routine that can be maintained indefinitely.

Puppy Akita

Treats are invaluable when training Akitas but so is the presence of the puppy’s mother, who can be put on a leash and walked through the same exercises. Puppies learn the fastest from imitating their mother and, if she is willing to cooperate, the puppy will behave much better.

The breeder can start those exercises, with the new owner joining in so the puppy gets accustomed to both of them. As an owner, you can learn from the breeder to later refine and expand the obedience exercises to any environment, be it forest, countryside or suburbs.

The frequency of the exercises is as important as their correct form but keep in mind Akitas hate a forced routine. I suggest you to pick exercise days when they are repeated in quick succession, such as twice in a day rather than twice a week.


As soon as you bring an Akita puppy to your home, start with housetraining. The dog should understand where it can sleep, where’s the food, drink and where’s the toilet. Choose wisely, because the dog will keep returning to the same place in expectation of the same function throughout its life.

Place a basket, blanket, mat or even the towel the breeder used with the puppy where you want it to sleep. The chosen spot should have no drafts, have low footfall and provide some sense of security to the dog’s mind. If the spot has a good overview of the surrounding areas, especially the doors so the dog can see who’s coming in, that’s even better. Watch how your Akita reacts to the spot you chose; if it chooses another one, place whatever material the dog likes there.

Food, water and bodily functions

Establishing feeding and drinking areas for your Akita puppy is easy — place filled water and food bowls in the same spot 3–4 times a day and the dog will quickly sniff them out, returning there in the future. Regularly attending to your Akita’s thirst and hunger in this way has the added benefit of curbing the bad habit of begging for scraps at the table. It may look cute to have your puppy eating scraps out of your hand, but it can quickly get out of control.

As for bodily functions, you should be ready to take your puppy out to empty its bladder every 2 hours, seeing how it’s small and fills quickly. That would imply the place for the dog to relieve itself should be easily and quickly accessible. A surefire way to housetrain your puppy is to lift and place it on the spot where it’s meant to urinate and another spot a bit further for bowel movement. Later on, the dog will be able to hold it in and relieve itself during your walks.

The puppy will not soil or wet itself during sleep, holding out about six hours. So, if you take your puppy out at 6 p.m., it relieves itself and goes to sleep at 7 p.m., expect to have walk it out at 1 a.m.

Housetraining an Akita is straightforward, seeing how it has a cat-like instinct for hygiene — it won’t sleep or eat near areas where it relieves itself. Breeders can tell you how Akita puppies as young as three weeks have a natural instinct to seek out a sheet of old newspaper and relieve themselves there before crawling back to their litter.

The newspaper strategy

Newspaper training is a valid strategy with Akita puppies, at least until they grow big enough to control their bodily functions. At first, don’t let the puppy roam the house or you will find stinky puddles and landmines in nooks and crannies. Make a barricade where the floor can withstand urine and waste or use a crate to keep the puppy on the spot until it’s housebroken. Be consistent with where you place the newspapers and praise the puppy for relieving itself cleanly.

Whenever the puppy wakes up, plays or feeds, put it on newspapers or take it outside and keep it there for a bit. Those three occasions are the most common triggers for bodily functions in puppies. You’ll notice the puppy turning in circles, looking for a place to relieve itself or squatting immediately before doing its business. Don’t lose your temper if it’s in the wrong spot; simply say “no”, put it on newspapers or take it out until it gets the idea.

When taking it outside for relief, always take the puppy to the same spot and the odor will trigger the urge to urinate and defecate. Breeders can actually housetrain the puppy for you, saving you the trouble of deploying and juggling newspapers.

Female Akita puppies are known to urinate from joy when seeing their owner or when they’re too excited. Don’t treat them harshly when this happens or the anxiety will only make it worse. If possible, make it so female puppies don’t get too excited indoors until they grow a bit older and can contain themselves.

Crate training

Parallel with housebreaking your Akita puppy, give it crate training. This is perhaps the highest priority part of puppy training but also one dog owners skip because they think it’s cruel. When a puppy comes into your home, it’s only natural that you want to cuddle with it, tease it and watch it explore the surroundings.

However, the puppy can get overwhelmed by such intense experience, at which point it will seek shelter to rest. Especially if you expect there to be kids involved in Akita’s living space, you should train it to seek shelter in the crate.

Animals in the wild will naturally hide in tight spaces where they’re shielded from three sides and can defend against frontal assaults. If you have a fussy baby around, you can crate your Akita to give it respite and gain a few free hours to take care of the baby.

Choosing and placing the crate

The best Akita dog crate is adult-sized, about 20% bigger for males than for females. It should be spacious enough so that your Akita can comfortably sprawl inside it. True, the puppy will find the crate too big at first, but the extra space can be used for special water cups that hook onto the side of the crate. The next best option is a wire crate, which allows for contact and socialization while still giving some personal space to Akita.

Start out by finding a comfortable place for the crate, one that isn’t exposed to drafts and where the dog has an overview of the front door. Leave the crate door open and place the dog’s toys inside. Let the puppy explore the crate and settle in at its own pace.

When the puppy is no longer afraid of the crate, close the door for a few minutes and increase the time until you’ve reached 2–3 hours. Placing puppy’s meals inside the crate will help the adjustment process. This will let you run an errand, though keep in mind puppies won’t tolerate crating for longer than 4–5 hours at a time.

The crate should have no negativity involved with it, no drama, anger or excitement. It’s not a prison cell but a place just like any other, except that it exclusively belongs to your Akita. Doing housebreaking alongside crate training has at least one upside for your puppy — it will learn to control its bodily functions much faster since it won’t want to soil its crate.

When riding by car, the crate will be a godsend. Your Akita will enjoy the ride while staying put and not peeking out the window or causing a ruckus. If you happen to get in an accident, the crate will probably save your Akita’s life. Staying at a motel becomes effortless when the Akita is crated; you can be sure it won’t cause any damage. If you leave an Akita like that while you run an errand, lock the crate so nobody can mess with the dog.

Dog training school

Your Akita should go through a dog training school at some point; the sooner, the better. Having an actual dog trainer work with your Akita within the dog training school is the best possible option. If not, you will have to improvise to create a similar experience . For starters, familiarize the dog with the collar and then the leash before you use either and then start with slow running. Later you can try simple commands, such as “sit” and “come”.

When you attend a dog training school, the trainer will give you suitable tips to help stop your bad habits before they transfer to Akita. Also, if your Akita obeys but there’s one particular sticking point, such as a specific command the dog simply won’t obey, the trainer will help you overcome the blockage.

Dogs are incredibly attuned to our behavior; there are plenty of studies detailing how they can read emotions from our faces, posture and tone of voice. Whatever it is you’re feeling, Akita will mirror and reflect back into the world. A professional dog trainer will help you identify and get rid of your underlying negative emotions to become a confident dog owner.

There are dog training schools with trainers who are equally good with dogs and humans but there are also poor schools, in which:

  • the trainer focuses on just the dog
  • the trainer focuses on just the human
  • the trainer believes Akitas can’t be trained
  • the dog school has a one-size-fits-all approach to all dogs
  • the training group is too uniform (all females or all males or all dogs of the same breed)
  • one or more dogs in the training group are overly dominant

If you hear a dog trainer praise your Akita for being a fast learner though quickly bored, that is a good sign of a patient, experienced dog handler.

Obedience school

At 5–6 months old, your puppy is ready for obedience classes. You can run them yourself at home after consulting your breeder, studying books, sites and articles on the matter or you can find an obedience school. The goal of obedience training is to teach your Akita that it must yield when asked to.

At home, you can teach it the simplest commands, but you are not likely to be able to teach it to tolerate other dogs. In an obedience school, there are new dogs and the Akita has a controlled environment where it will go through more scenarios.

Talking to other Akita owners will most often reveal where they’ve found an obedience school. You can ask around parks and recreation departments to see who conducts dog obedience classes. Meet an instructor to see if that person is compatible with you and your Akita.

Ask questions about the work process and the size of classes but also about problems with your dog in general to gauge that person’s expertise and self-confidence. The ideal obedience school trainer is one with whom you and your dog feel a sense of camaraderie and rapport. I don’t recommend arranging for your Akita to stay at a boarding school as it might alienate you two.

Having a bad day

Don’t work with your Akita when you’re emotional or distracted. Remember that everyone can have a bad day, meaning your Akita too. Instead of banging your head against the wall, go back to what the dog knows well and start from there. Be generous with praise when it does as you asked.

If you can consistently recognize and avoid bad days when working with your Akita, you will quickly build up a positive attitude in training. Training your dog when you’re in a bad mood will translate into issues in your dog’s behavior, which will be difficult to correct later on.

Show training

Akitas can also undergo show training, which is most often done in special classes but you can do it yourself as an extra challenge. Exercises include walking the dog in a circle, making it sit and other simple actions. Working together in a simulated show experience bonds an Akita and its owner while avoiding the pressure of a genuine competition.

Show training classes for Akitas are rare but you can invite other Akita owners to your “show” and make it a social affair. If you can find an experienced dog handler to attend, that’s even better. You can create agility or fetch challenges, with the primary goal to have fun and spend quality time with Akitas.

Show-winning qualities

The two most common dog show types are: conformation shows and agility shows. Akita is well-suited for conformation aka. dog breed shows but not so much for the agility ones. There are different levels of challenge in both types of shows and titles for dogs that can overcome them. Having an Akita champion that has won the highest level of challenge is a mark of excellence for both the owner and the dog.

Akita can display agility and a sense of balance, though that requires an innate disposition towards them. Such Akita should be unwilling to start and engage in fights, while also having a high jump and a potential for explosive starts. Playful Akitas are a perfectly fine family companion but they don’t have the inner spark that makes them show winners, at least not when it comes to agility and balance. Where they can excel is in obedience exercises.

Almost all Akitas that underwent proper training have the potential to win obedience titles in dog shows. There are special tests that can help you determine if your Akita puppy is fit for dog shows and whether the deficiencies can be amended. They are best applied when the puppy is 1–2 months old and include:

  • Exploratory instinct — how often does the puppy show interest in new things? If seldom, it may be difficult to keep its attention on exercises.
  • Obedience — will the puppy follow you around if you try to move away? If not, the puppy may not have enough innate obedience to fully trust the human leader.
  • Fetching — does the puppy show an inclination to play fetch without your urging? If not, it may have just a passing interest in fetching but will otherwise be difficult to train to do so.
  • Steadfastness — when there’s a startling noise, will the puppy react in a panicked, frightful manner? If so, will it return to investigate the noise? Unless both of those conditions are true, the puppy could have poor hearing or may not have enough steadfastness to face the unknown.
  • Pain reaction — if you pinch the puppy’s webbing, does it yelp? If so, does it return back to its normal behavior? Unless both of those conditions are true, the dog may be too insensitive to pain and show signs of avoidance, which disqualify it from all types of dog show training.

Genetic heritage

When first picking a puppy, try to meet its parents and gauge if they have the kind of personality you’d like your Akita to have. The puppy’s genetic heritage will determine how pliable and trainable it is and whether its talents lie in fetching, agility, obedience or some other niche. In any case, an ideal Akita puppy will be more of a dog than a wolf and will be eager to please.

The puppy’s parents should have a calm, friendly attitude towards humans and other dogs. If not, that most likely means the breeder hasn’t paid enough attention to training the litter either, which means lower trainability. An Akita’s pedigree consists of a physically healthy lineage but also has a consistently mild-tempered stock of parents and grandparents with proven trainability.

That doesn’t mean the puppy should be a blank slate and you should start from scratch. The breeder can do a lot of training for you, such as:

  • housetraining
  • coming on command
  • tolerating collars
  • tolerating leashes
  • tolerating car rides

Once you bring the puppy home, you can build on that training, saving yourself plenty of time and energy.

Ignoring distractions

Training to ignore distractions is the most challenging part of training an Akita. The key is repetition until the Akita can ignore distractions, no matter when or where they happen. That way, you will be able to take your Akita wherever you want.

In one exercise, take your Akita on a busy street and have it sit still as people pass by. When the Akita is no longer bothered by the crowd, walk it over and down stairs, across grates and other strange terrain. Dogs are usually confident and dominant in a familiar terrain; taking them to a strange environment makes them timid and observant. In that state of mind, a dog will always follow the owner’s lead; all you have to do is know where you’re going.

By encountering novel situations with your Akita while remaining calm and confident, you will gradually inspire your dog to feel the same way. Your Akita will be perfectly mannered without you having to shout, scream, tug on the leash or otherwise struggle with your emotions or the dog. Of course, you should use a muzzle and tie the end of the leash around your waist for just in case.

By following structured work patterns, the dog can be let off the leash and trusted in to behave and obey. However, that does not imply such Akitas are fit for being let loose in urban environments or left to their own devices in the presence of other dogs. Remember what I mentioned about training Akita to ignore distractions — when its mind is fixated on the other dog, there’s barely anything that can bring it to heel.

Playing fetch and search games

An Akita has a range of needs that go beyond the mere physical and ultimately contribute to the dog’s happiness. A happy Akita is a calm, healthy dog with a strong mind and body.

Even when only a puppy, you can start to recognize each of Akita’s unique needs. Some will prefer search games and others might enjoy fetch games. Both kinds of games play into Akita’s primal instincts, which are to hunt for the prey and retrieve it.

You can teach the Akita to differentiate between different objects and fetch the one you indicate. After the dog completes the task, you provide the praise and/or a treat, reinforcing the training and grooving your bond. In search games, you show your dog an object, secretly hide it and indicate you want it found.

Gauge the dog’s mood and see if it has fun with the activity. It’s crucial the two of you have fun with the game together or you’ll be wasting your time and stressing out the Akita. Respect the dog’s intelligence and don’t bore or pester it if it’s not in the mood. You should also avoid the types of activities that prod the Akita into being aggressive or displaying dominance, such as guard duty.

Akitas trained to attack, bite the forearm and tackle a human to the ground develop a grudge against the people pestering them, in this case the trainer with the protective sleeve. Instead of becoming capable of guarding and protecting, which is inherent in their temperament, these Akitas actually learn it’s OK to tear into anyone who pesters them, including children and other pets.

Collar vs harness

Akita owners often have the same dilemma — collar or harness. Being a powerful dog with the tendency to lunge, Akita on a leash can make the owner feel like trying to hold on to a rocket. Still, that doesn’t mean a harness is always better, since it can chafe and constrict a dog worse than any leash. In my opinion, a harness is for dogs pulling sleds, not for walks, since the dog can start hunching in expectation of resistance from the owner.

Dog owners use harnesses to give themselves a feeling of control when they might have none. One dog trainer I talked to summed it up this way: “Harnesses can’t compensate for a lazy owner that doesn’t want to train the dog.” If you’ve trained your Akita properly, it will learn not to tug on the leash to the point of hurting itself. That’s best achieved during Akita’s puppy years.

Your Akita should associate the collar and the leash with the daily walk and a wonderful adventure, not strain and resistance. At first, take short round trips and don’t exhaust the little fellow. Puppies can be so fatigued that they can barely move because it’s simply too much exertion for them. The rule of thumb is that a walk should last one minute for each week of age. However, going out again once the puppy recovers is a splendid idea.

Adolescent Akita

If properly trained during early years, an adolescent Akita is a pleasant companion for other animals and humans. One such dog knows the daily routine to a T, obeys the rules without prompting and looks up to its owner. A well-mannered Akita also doesn’t display aggression or domination because it knows — the owner will nip all such behavior in the bud.

That is one relaxed and calm dog, never causing a scene or a ruckus. It’s a team player that follows the leader, sitting by the owner’s feet and patiently waiting for the cue to get up and follow.


After leaving the puppy phase, an adolescent Akita enters puberty and acts like a human teenager would during puberty. There is a difference between pubescent male and female Akitas; females may become even more insecure than you’d ever expect them to be. That includes shying away from crowds, being startled by inconsequential noises and developing a fear of the unknown. As for males, they might show higher aggression.

The cause of behavior change in both males and females is hormones. For males, that also means intense fixation on female dogs; for females, the result is going into heat and rallying male dogs, who will often fight for her. If you have trained your Akita to come to heel when you call out, that will save you many headaches at this point.

Arm yourself with patience and work to make your Akita as comfortable as possible during this phase.  Increase physical exercise to boost their confidence and help them let out some steam. Consistency is key here, as pubescent Akita will challenge everything it knew during its puppy years.

You’ll discover that raging hormones give Akita enormous enthusiasm when it comes to exercise, so create a consistent exercise schedule. By leveraging this enthusiasm and showing consistency, you will set the stage for any training you do with it in maturity.

Dominant Akita

Akita Inu Japanese Akita

An Akita that’s under the influence of hormones may decide to challenge or intimidate family members by barking or growling. Yielding in such cases can lead to a dominant Akita that bosses everyone around. The solution is to teach the family member to stand firm, say “NO”, turn around and completely ignore the Akita. Repeated as many times as necessary, this simple reaction will make the Akita yield and whimper for attention.

“NO” is a powerful word and it can be applied across a range of undesirable dog behaviors. When the Akita tries to nibble on hands or ankles, it’s a seemingly harmless game that shouldn’t be tolerated or the Akita will bite for real while thinking it’s still a game. The solution is to say “NO” and gently push the dog away. Don’t rant at the dog or provide a psychoanalysis of the situation; just say “NO”.

If the dog realizes nibbling is not fine and returns to lick the person, it’s a sign of submission and one that deserves a reward. Other simple words, such as “stay”, “come” and “sit”, have the same stopping power that can end undesirable dog behavior in an instant. That’s a universal rule when working with Akitas — use single word commands, preferably after the dog’s name.

There are stories of some Akita owners making their dominant dog submit by rolling it over on its back and holding it until it surrenders. Other nonsensical advice includes growling at the dog, staring it down and even biting the dog’s muzzle! Goading the dog to fight for dominance is never a good idea, especially when done in such a visceral manner that is more suitable to how wolves act. By using pain and fear, you engender mistrust in your Akita, which then transfers to everyone else nearby.

If you manage to make your Akita surrender in this way, it will learn it’s acceptable to dominate others in such a direct, brutal way. The dog will simmer down and obey as long as you’re present but may strike at any target in the vicinity when you’re gone or distracted. Ultimately, the dog might decide to ignore your commands entirely, suffering through any kind of pain or discomfort with indifference.

Possessive Akita

As Akita’s personality crystallizes, so does its awareness of territory, personal space and personal items. The dog’s temper might flare up if you disturb it during meals or play time with toys, which might prompt you to flinch and yield. Such behavior is expected and you should indeed let Akita enjoy its food and toys in peace, but that is not an excuse to let the dog command the household.

You might come back home one day to find your Akita snarling at you from the sofa or recliner. If you yield at that point, the Akita will only become encouraged to keep taking more domain. Unless corrected, this behavior will inevitably culminate in the theft of food and destruction of furniture and personal items of others.

It’s not that an Akita will always become possessive if it occasionally mimics you and plays with your shoes or sits on your furniture. Still, you should see such acts as the dog playfully testing your limits and gradually encroaching on your personal space. If you want to oust Akita from your recliner so you can sit there, have an assertive body language and an indomitable frame of mind. Be patient, don’t yield and don’t lash out; Akita will understand your intentions and move away without causing a scene.

Consistently correcting possessive behavior during Akita’s formative years eliminates these struggles for domination and establishes you as the sovereign owner of Akita’s living space. Your actions, inactions and the frame of mind during both represent the kernel around which the Akita’s personality forms throughout the years.


Akitas can become fond of certain items, such as toys and comfort blankets, and loudly demand them.  For newbie dog owners, it is most often amusing how the dog vocalizes its demands and they readily give in, yielding the item. That can also happen with food, where the owner is eating a snack the dog has been trained to pester for. This is another mistake that can have long-term negative consequences.

Adolescent Akita that’s been trained in pestering by the owner yielding the item can turn violent and actually bite someone nearby if its request isn’t fulfilled immediately. If the owner yields and shows submissiveness often enough, the dog might make it a habit of biting the human. At that point, it’s only a matter of time before the dog becomes abusive. There is no safe treatment for such a dog and dog experts will generally advise for radical solutions.

You shouldn’t fret about this kind of scenario, seeing how it happens rarely and you’ll get plenty of warning. For example, you will get complaints from visitors and neighbors that your Akita has become increasingly aggressive and is nipping or biting them or hunting their pets. You will also notice your dog is treating other animals, especially other dogs, with cruelty. Children, who are normally attracted to dogs as if with a magnet, will shy away from your Akita.

Take those complaints seriously and don’t ever take them personally. Heeding those warnings can prevent a tragedy and a prolonged legal battle if the bitten human decides to sue you. Don’t put yourself in a position where you yield to your Akita’s pestering, no matter how cute it seems. The social media likes and shares aren’t worth the damage you’ll do to your dog. If you truly want to give in, wait for the dog to calm down and walk away before setting the item where the dog will find it.

Being alone

Solitude pains an Akita that hasn’t been accustomed to it. The sooner you start teaching your Akita to handle loneliness, the better. Start out by leaving the puppy alone for a few minutes. Go to an adjacent room or outside for a while, making some noise so the puppy knows you’re there.

When you hear whining and whimpering, don’t run back and console the puppy. If you do that, the dog will learn that you can be summoned with whining or crying. Wait for the crying to wind down, return and pet or console the dog.

Wait for a bit and repeat the exercise, slowly extending the duration of your absence until you’re confident the puppy can stay calm for a few hours. Getting the Akita puppy some toys or perhaps turning the TV with its favorite show on are options as well.

Don’t make a grand entrance when you come back; it’s preferable if you can sneak in so the dog barely notices you. That way, you attach no significance to your departure and hence none to your return, relieving some of the stress a dog normally feels during the owner’s absence.

Obsessive digging

An Akita craves attention and physical activity. If you deny it both, don’t be surprised if you discover a backyard filled with holes. Tree and shrub roots, lawns and garden beds are equally likely to be demolished by a fervent Akita who has too much time and not enough novelty in its life. This kind of destructive behavior comes naturally to Akita so, unless you catch it digging, don’t scold it or discipline it for the holes.

The simplest solution to obsessive digging is to not let the Akita roam around the backyard unsupervised and with pent-up energy. Crate the dog or give it an outdoor toy, such as a soccer ball. If that still isn’t enough, choose a suitable spot where the dog may dig as much as it pleases.

Hose the earth with some water to make it easier to dig or even start digging yourself. By consistently steering your Akita to the chosen spot, you can let it vent all that energy without destroying the precious part of your backyard. When the Akita does dig a hole where you want, praise and reward it.

Reward vs punishment

What should you use to train your Akita — reward or punishment? That’s a trick question because you should never use punishment. Instead, you use disciplining. When you’re in a heightened emotional state, everything you do with your dog is a punishment, no matter how you perceive it.

The word implies roughness, injury and a certain perverse pleasure from demeaning another creature or yourself. Punishment means that you lost control of yourself and let emotions take over, which is a failure on your part, not the dog’s. Your Akita is likely to resent you and refuse to cooperate if you start lashing out and punishing it, especially for something it didn’t do.

There is something about the feeling of power that makes dog owners fall in love with forceful, harsh training methods. I think that has to do with how a bruised ego works — it needs to subdue and micromanage other beings in order to feel worthy. Such owners actually take pride in how they brought up their Akita, not realizing the use of force is counterproductive and engenders resentment.

Conversely, when you are emotionally centered, you can clearly see the dog’s faults and discipline it to correct them. By setting your ego aside and acting with patience and maturity when disciplining the dog, it starts trusting you, which boosts your self-confidence. Through reinforcement of simple, sensible lessons, such as training the Akita to come when you say “come”, and rewarding the dog appropriately, your self-confidence transfers to the dog, who wants to please you to earn your love and respect.

Operant conditioning

Training your Akita with rewards is done through what’s known as “operant conditioning”. In simple terms, it means the dog learns that:

  • you do A (tell it to come)
  • the dog does B (comes to you)
  • you do C (give rewards)

As you repeat A-B-C, the dog is conditioned to act the same way in expectation of rewards. It develops muscle memory and an emotional response that compensates for the poor short-term memory of dogs, which punishments ignore.

For example, if you come home to see that your Akita had chewed out the sofa and punish it, the dog won’t associate the bad act with the punishment; it simply can’t connect the act and the punishment. However, if you find it in the act of chewing out a sofa, you should scold and discipline it.

You can use scolding or stern voice to create aversion in the dog but you should quickly move past them and onto more constructive ways of training that have less chance of harm. The sole exception is when you’re dealing with the fighting spirit inside Akita, which can override any conditioning or training.

The problem isn’t if your Akita engages in a fight but if it doesn’t receive any scolding or disciplining when doing so, which may encourage it to seek round two. Akita owners most often deal with this problem by having it as their only pet, which remedies the problem but doesn’t solve it. True, it’s a breed celebrated for its fighting history and you shouldn’t ignore that but you shouldn’t set yourself up for trouble either, especially if you know better.

Clicker training

The dog can also be trained to respond to commands when you use the clicker, a small hand-held device that makes a short, sharp sound. It can also help with operant conditioning that creates positive reinforcement, shaping the dog’s behavior.

If you want your Akita to sit, you click and reward the dog for every movement that leads to a sitting position. You can guide the dog with your body language and use that simple trick I mentioned at the start — hold a treat above the dog’s head and it will naturally sit and raise its head to see the treat.

If the dog still can’t figure out what you want, you keep moving the treat until it settles nearer to a sitting position. You must always praise or reward the dog when it obeys the clicker, no matter how tiny the success.

The dog will figure out that each tiny movement leads to a reward and will naturally connect the dots, so to speak. It’s actually your attention your dog craves the most, which you manifest as rewards, praise and hugging, motivating it to rise above its innate behavior.

Dog trainers enthusiastically recommend clicker training, calling it the best way to communicate with and train your dog. They brag about teaching a dog to fetch in two weeks or less using a clicker; the dog not just fetches but is thrilled to do so.

There is one downside of clicker training — it’s useless when used on an easily distracted dog in an environment filled with distractions. For those dogs, you should first try clicker training in a private indoor area, such as a garage. Plan on working on your dog’s distraction issues and create a training program, preferably with the advice of seasoned dog trainers.

A clicker has its downsides and can’t work wonders. It’s just a tool and you should treat it as such. If used the right way, a clicker can eliminate confusion and frustration that’s so common in dog training. Another downside of clicker training is that, if it’s used exclusively in dog training, the dog may protest when some other method of training or manipulation is used.

Therefore, the best way to train a dog is by using a healthy mix of techniques rather than relying on one, as efficient as it is. Gently touch the dog and guide it to the position you want it to take or use the collar to guide it. You can use the clicker to teach the dog to “stay” when it’s on the leash, conditioning it to never go a certain distance from you. Combine the tools so you exert as little force as possible and then slowly increase it until the dog understands your intention.

Start clicker training with your puppy as soon as you bring it home, preferably at seven weeks old. The first lesson is the dog’s name. While an Akita can’t understand what you’re saying, it can attach emotional significance to your tone of voice and the sound pattern. In the case of the dog’s name, it should mean “come right away”. By training an Akita to immediately come to you when you call it out, you’ll help it avoid bad encounters and scuffles.

Puppy vs adolescent obedience

At first, your Akita puppy will naturally follow you around because it’s afraid to be left alone. However, as the dog grows up, it gains confidence and starts being drawn to other interesting items. This might cause it to break off and go its own way.

Keep the dog’s attention on you with a toy, a treat or just your voice. When you find the Akita puppy keeps following you around, you can simply add a leash and make your routine a pleasant, predictable stroll. As you repeat this exercise, vary the route you’re taking to keep it interesting.

Leash is a powerful tool for the Akita owner. If used correctly, it does not hurt the dog and protects it from accidents the same way a human is protected from injury when wearing a seat belt.

It’s during puberty that your beloved Akita will stop following you around and sniff for female scents. If you panic and try chasing it, you risk your Akita bolting when it realizes it’s the faster one. Whenever you can, make sure the dog’s attention is squarely on you when you’re outside. You can even leverage that natural fear of loneliness in strange places if you hide behind some cover while Akita is busy. Upon realizing you’re gone; it should start looking for you.

For both puppy and adolescent Akitas, limit all training sessions to 15 minutes twice a day. Those 30 minutes should be exclusively dedicated to your dog, not checking your phone. Still, you should not limit the sessions to just one place.

As the dog masters the exercises, move them to a place with more distractions to challenge it. Always end the sessions on a positive note. Reserve a simple exercise for last and praise your Akita when it completes the exercise. In that way, the dog will eagerly await the next training session with you.


Past the formative years of its life, an Akita becomes a grounded, reliable dog that is a pleasant company to dogs and humans alike. Still, the habit of fixating on another dog may be so deeply ingrained that it becomes the chief challenge, one you will constantly struggle to overcome.

Vigilance is the key in handling a dog that’s as powerful as Akita. By noticing the earliest signs of aggression and squelching them, you can have your Akita at its best at all times.

Further Reading

The Akita Inu — Breed Characteristics

The iconic Akita dog is first recognized by its curled-up tail, pointed ears and fluffy fur. It has an imposing size but also a noble, calm demeanor that can still quickly turn sour if it’s agitated. It’s one of the most impressive dog breeds, carrying in itself the spirit of ancient Japan.

Read More »


Eye Health Of The Akita Inu

Akita eye problems always happen because of a nutritional deficiency and a congenital defect. Diet fortified with nutrients and early eye exams are the simplest way to detect and manage eye problems in Akita

Read More »

Communicable Diseases In Akita

Akitas might not like to mingle but they can still catch communicable diseases just like any dog breed that does. These diseases quickly spread through a litter, especially an unvaccinated one, even without physical contact; all it takes is an infected bowl, toy, or blanket to spread the disease.

Read More »

Akita Joints And Spine Problems

A limping Akita is a sad sight to behold. It seems to need help but suddenly the limp disappears and the Akita acts fine. This is a warning sign that trouble is afoot and the Akita is about to develop an issue with its joints, spine or both. Here is an overview of joint and spine problems in Akita, with probable causes and suggested remedies.

Read More »

Akita Forest Walk

All the best adventures start with a simple walk and end up in exhilaration. Join me on Akita’s forest walk to see how a natural hunter stays fit in the wild.

Read More »

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