Some of our Akitas currently looking for new homes.

Akita Behaviour & Temperament - Page 22



How do these idiosyncrasies translate to training? Akitas, like many hounds, have a very low tolerance for repetition. Once boredom sets in, and it does so quickly, the dog looses interest, which means repetition is not the key to successful training. The problem is that dogs learn by repetition, so as a trainer, you have to balance the two by mixing a variety of exercises, using short training times, and by keeping training a manageable challenge.

Therefore, in class, when your Akita has done two great figure eights, instead of doing three more, praise him and go on a couple of other exercises regardless of what the rest of the class is doing. Of course, you need to discuss this with your trainer first so she doesn't think you're being uncooperative.

Even as early as seven weeks on the PAT, Akita puppies show little persistence. They often attack the mop but abandon the attack after a few seconds, while Rottweiler puppies in the same situation may have to be pulled off of it. The Akitas will chase a ball that rolls in front of them but quickly loose interest in favor of some other activity.

Variable Behavior

They also tend to vary their behavior rather than stereotyping it quickly. When we test puppies, one of the things we do is put them on a box, stand in front of them, and call them. In most herding and sporting breeds, done a second time, the puppy tends to repeat what he did the first, even if it is falling off the box backwards! Akita puppies may jump off towards the tester once and to the side the second time. They might jump off once and refuse a second time; jump off to the side and explore their surroundings the first time, and go right to the tester the second.

One of the characteristics we consider "smart" in a breed is the ability to consistently repeat a learned behavior. Dogs that stereotype quickly are easy to train. A resistance to stereotypical behavior does not make a dog dumb; it makes it more flexible. Akitas tend to try more than one approach to any problem; just because they did it one way first does not mean they will do it the same way next time.

For the obedience trainer, these traits present a real challenge. You have to work harder to reinforce correct responses and learn to shrug off those times when your dog adds a new wrinkle.



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