Some of our Akitas currently looking for new homes.

Akita Behaviour & Temperament - Page 3



Bite inhibition is a concept that, as a dog owner, you know about, but you probably pay it little attention unless and until your dog bites. Most dogs are inhibited from biting. That's what makes them desireable companions.

A few people seem not to mind living with an animal that might inflict serious injury on them. They buy lions, tigers, wolves, and dogs that are likely to bite, often and hard, They probably also like bungee jumping and parachuting. While these all have a large element of risk to the individual who likes living on the edge, only the first presents a hazard to others.

Inherited Component

Bite inhibition begins before birth, since it is partly inherited. Unless you are a telepath, you have really no way of knowing how quickly a dog might reach its flash point. It may have a good reason for biting, but, again, unless you're telepathic, youll also never know.

When a dog bites, the family's first impulse is to find a good reason for their dog's behavior. Most people love their dogs deeply and feel hurt, guilty, defensive, and protective when it transgresses. "He was protecting his owner, was abused by the former owner, was startled" The list of reasons is only limited by the owners'imaginations.

You will seldom be in a position to judge the accuracy of their reasoning, and if you like the dog, your regard may shade your opinion, too. Because the willingness of the dog to bite a person has a genetic component, the safest option in breeding is to select dogs that have never done so.

Simply stated: Don't use any dog for breeding if it has bitten a human.

Training Not to Bite

While the height of the threshold at which a dog will bite may be initially determined by inheritance, it can certainly be raised or lowered by training. Puppies begin learning it from each other and from their mother.

Learning the Limits

When puppies play with each other, they engage in biting behavior. The strength with which they bite is tempered by the response of their playmates. The hurt puppy protests with a loud, high-pitched scream, and the offending puppy lets go.

Likewise, nursing puppies can bite their mother once their teeth come in. Moms react by moving away from the puppy, pushing it away, or, in extreme cases, by growling at the biter. She may also intervene in the puppies' play should one puppy prove too aggressive to his siblings. In these ways, puppies learn to set limits on the force they exert when biting.

Time To Grow Up

Social interactions are very important for the developing puppy not just for bite inhibition but for learning proper doggy manners. The lessons they learn here will remain with them all their lives which is why leaving the litter together past the traditional six weeks is vital.

At six weeks, puppies are just beginning to play with each other, with toys, and with their mother and other dogs. Taking them away too early can deprive them of valuable lessons in life.

What Does This Mean To You As the Breeder?

You and the rest of your household should jump right in with the rest of the puppies, teaching them that humans are very delicate beings. You will be bitten because that's how puppies test their world. As soon as a puppy mouths you, even if he does not bite hard, you should mimic his littermates and give a high-pitched yell. The puppy should immediately let go and will probably lick a couple of times. Give him a warm "thank you," and wait for the next time.

Very young puppies will continue to bite but the bites should get progressively softer until they disappear altogether. Extend your indications of discomfort to bites on your clothing as well. If you walk among the puppies in a long night-gown, scream when they bite the edges.

This technique is highly effective and will work with young dogs even more quickly than it does with puppies. All children should be taught to deal with nipping puppies and young dogs this way since they rarely have the social standing to correct the dog by indicating their disapproval.



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