Some of our Akitas currently looking for new homes.

Akita Behaviour & Temperament - Page 27



A dog that is not afraid of noise is more pleasant to own. To some extent, noise shyness is an inherited characteristic. Steadiness to shot is of primary importance in the temperament of gun and guard dog breeds. If you attend a Schutzhund or field trial, you'll find the dogs impervious to the guns going off all around. They are also fairly staunch in the face of all noise.

Historically, I suppose Akitas have little reason to be unaffected by noise, and many seem unsettled to some degree by loud noises. I had a female who hated the sound of generators. Believe me, getting into a show site without passing a generator can be difficult depending on the parking. If we walked by one, I might just as well have turned around and gone home as take her in the ring. Somehow, she seemed to think they were mobile and any minute, one would make an appearance.

Most dogs aren't so neurotic, but you never know what will happen. We've all seen dogs react poorly to loudspeaker announcements, falling chairs, or other unexpected sounds at a show. Years ago, while the groups were going on at the dog show site on one side of the river, the city set off fireworks on the other for some sort of celebration. We spent hours trying to catch a Sheltie that had gotten away from its handler. A multi-group winning dog, it was so traumatized by the experience, it was never shown again.

Noise shyness is a trait you can breed away from, although it is of considerably less importance than many others. If you think you might have a problem, the time to start working with your puppies is while they are in the whelping box. Make sure they are in a noisy environment, although it should not be at such a level it makes them unduly nervous.

Play a radio on rap, hard rock, and talk stations. I have a satellite dish and one of the channels we get has nothing but war movies. My last few litters listened to bombardments, machine guns, and bombs every night.I took two of them out to a Schutzhund German Shepherd Specialty when they were six-months old, I was very pleased by their response to the guns fired off in the ring right in front of us. The male, who was asleep, looked around, then curled back up and went back to sleep. The female was unconcerned initially, but after about ten shots, she turned around and looked at me for reassurance. I continued talking to my friend and after a few seconds, my puppy began playing with her toy. Her mother, on the other hand, would have bolted out of there at the first shot, so I think early exposure has helped.

Desensitizing puppies to noise is also important if you live in an area with frequent thunderstorms. Since these never go away, the dog's fear tends to escalate. In the worst cases, the dogs engage in escape behavior which means destruction of their confinement area. This may be a crate or your windows and doors.



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