Some of our Akitas currently looking for new homes.

Akita Behaviour & Temperament - Page 13

Problem Areas


You may see problems with your dogs or puppies you place depending on how they are raised and trained. Certainly, the worst- case scenario is a dog that is left outside all the time in a house with little social activity and that is rarely taken anywhere else. These dogs can be time bombs. The best way to avoid tragedies is to make sure you sell puppies only to homes where they will be kept inside.

I also require contractually that puppies be taken to training classes. To encourage this, I help buyers locate classes and provide information about them and rebate $50 when they bring me a certificate that says they graduated from a class.

Training classes

I do have one serious reservation about classes and discuss it with buyers when they take the dog. I bring it up again when we discuss class. Allowing the instructor to take an post-pubescent Akita, especially a male, for a demonstration can be a real prescription for disaster.

Dogs taken to training classes are socialized to strangers outside the home. If the dogs are then shown or continue to be taken out in pubic, this socialization is reinforced and eventually will become a way of life. Here, dogs that get into trouble usually do so because the trainer has a major lapse in judgement.

I suspect that most trainers are alpha-types who on a subliminal level are bugged by the typical Akita's lack of concern for their authority. Sooner or later, they feel compelled to use the Akita as a demonstration dog, so they take it away from the owner and try to make it do something. In the best case, the Akita turns into a sack of meal and steadfastly resists all their efforts to elicit a proper response which just makes the trainer look like a fool.

In the worst case, the dog is offended by the instructor's orders and tells him so. He may whirl around and face the instructor, a very mild refusal, or he may growl. Calling what he thinks is a bluff, the trainer may meet the challenge by some sort of discipline, perhaps a jerk on the collar or a smack. Unfortunately, Akitas don't have a lot of bluff. They are very serious dogs.

Having failed to make his point, the dog ups the ante and tries or succeeds in biting the trainer. Since most trainers have been here before, they usually just get nipped which means they have to escalate their response. This can go on until the trainer is mauled or the dog is hung by his collar and passes out.

I've heard this story so many times, I now tell puppy buyers never to let their instructors take a dog once it is an adolescent or older. Some dogs are fine, but if they are not, the owner will drop out of training. (If you're thinking, what kind of trainer would do this, believe me, some really good ones can get caught in this trap before they realize that it is one). Keeping the dogs and their owners in class is more important than refusing an instructor.



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