Some of our Akitas currently looking for new homes.

Akita Behaviour & Temperament - Page 16

My veterinarian gave me a great piece of advice about dealing with anxious, fearful, or angry dogs. Physiologically, the dog's activated state is maintained by the release of adrenaline. Since the adrenals can produce only so much of it, eventually, the dog's hyper-attentive state will wear off. The more agitated the dog is, the more quickly this will happen; the calmer, the less so.


While you and your visitor are talking, observe your dog's behavior. He will eventually have to relax When you see this, you can acknowledge his good behavior with some attention and a treat, so long as he remains on the down-stay. If he gets so bored he goes to sleep-great, you've made a giant step forward!

Take all this in small steps and realize you may have some set-backs. When your dog is comfortable with visitors that sit and talk, have them stand up and walk about. Reinforce the dog's down- stay and ignore any signs of suspicion or wariness on the dog's part. Eventually, the visitors can give him treats for good behavior. Perhaps you can teach him to shake hands for a treat to break the ice. All sorts of techniques can defuse the dog's suspicions.

If your problem is with children, you will have to stand or sit with the dog while your child and a visitor play quietly. Over time, the dog will become more comfortable in the children's presence. Then, their play can become more active. The trick here as with adults is to let the dog get control of himself, learn that the situation is not dangerous, and develop appropriate responses that get everyone's approval.

Desensitization should be reinforced repeatedly and done with many different children The dog should still not be left alone with them, but if someone forgets, which will inevitably happen, the children and the dog won't have to pay for the oversight.

In summary: If you have a dog that has a behavior problem, you not only have to correct the problem, you have to give him a socially acceptable alternative to that behavior. He doesn't like children, he has to learn to leave them alone; he doesn't like visitors in the house; he has to learn to accept them.

You have to learn how to recognize the initial indicators of problems and instead of making excuses for them, you've got to move quickly to stop them. You have to lead your dog on a path that makes him an acceptable companion and pet.

Breeders must learn not to accept the owner's comments at face value. Ask specific questions about the dog and his behavior so that you can identify any problems that might be developing. You'll have to listen carefully to the replies and be ready to offer constructive advice about handling problems.



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