I'm sure this is a topic open to much debate... but since I have never had a dog formally obedience trained, I have some questions. My "soon-to-be" financee` and I are still unsure as to the type of dog we want. We've narrowed it down considerably. She still wants a Chihuahua, and I still want an Akita - but we both agree on Weimaraners and German Shorthaired Pointers. WHEN? I understand that it is very important to get an Akita (and most other dogs I'm assuming) obedience trained at an early age. What age is good to start training? HOW? What's the best way to go about training? Take the dog to a class with other dogs? (Possible problem w/ the Akita?) Hire a trainer to come to the house? (The more expensive chioce - better?) MORE THAN ONE PERSON? It would be important - especially if we decide on a bigger dog, that it would listen to me AND my "soon-to-be." How possible is this? I'm sure it is possible, but what kind of training is needed to effectuate this? WHAT CAN I EXPECT? Of course, I would expect more out of the larger dogs than the Chihuahua, but what things beside sit, lay down, stay, roll over, and walk without a lead should I expect the dog to learn? ATTACK ON COMMAND? Seriously. I am not interested in a prize-fighting dog, but I am near the end of my legal education, and my long nights may leave my "soon-to-be" alone at home. **IF we did get the Akita, is there a way to train it such that it would provide physical defense / attack on command? Thoughts!? Thanks. -- Lou
I can't answer all of that...but for my two cents I would like to tell you that German Shorthaired Pointers are awesome! I think they are also very smart. There is a great GSPA site I think that deals with German Shorthaired Pointer Rescue. They are so great. I would give them a try!
You should not teach a dog to attack. Especially not some one who is not widely versed in obedience training. This is best left to the proffesionals. Most dogs will instinctively attack if they feel threatened, or they feel that their family is threatened. You should attend obedience classes with your dog. There are many in most areas. You can check the phone book or find one by word of mouth. There are lots of great books on the matter as well. You should have books and classes for the best results. The classes teach you how to teach your dog. They can also give you experienced advise on specific problems you may have. All dogs need to be very socialized. No matter how big if your little Fifi or giant Rex bites a kid you are still going to pay the price. Socialization is the most important part of owning any dog. The bonding with people will help you pet learn how to live happily with all people. Good luck choosing your new dog!
Are you planning on getting a puppy, or getting a dog that is older. My husband had an Akita before and they are very smart, but are agressive with other dogs. His akita was not human agressive. I think most akitas love people, ecspecially children, so I do not know if you can teach them to attack another human. Anyway, why would you want to. If someone saw you with an Akita I think that will scare them away. I think four months is a good time to enroll in obedience classes.
with any breed you want to start obedience classes asap. usually most places have classes starting at 4 months old for socialization purposes. that would be essential for an akita. continuing through at least the age of 2 years is highly recommended seeing as how the larger breeds tend to mature between 18 months and 2 yrs. and that is the time they will start testing their boundaries. your fiance and you should both attend the training classes and take turns participating. that way the dog will learn to obey both of you. kinda like a child who knows which parent will give in to them. in home obedience is good if you are having problems specifically related to household behaviors. classes are better for socializing with other dogs. i would never train an akita for attack purposes. they are a natural guard and take protection seriously so it is not something you need to teach them. i think the opposite would be true for an akita. you would need to train it to accept people and friends coming into your house. being a lawyer i am sure you know what kind of liability you would have on your hands should the dog bite inapprpriately. i have an anatolian shepherd, which is another natural guardian breed. i was specifically told not to teach the dog any protection because they are naturally instinctive in this area and can determine between real and imaginary threats. i was told to socialize her as much as possible so she recognizes normal human behavior and she can make that distinction. she is very people friendly but i have seen her in action once and and she made a sound choice. there are a few other people on this board that are more familiar with akitas and hopefully they can give you more advice. good luck with your choice.
Since I actually owned an akita, I can provide some answers for you regarding them. First off, yes, obedience training is extremely important for akitas, and really for any large powerful dog. But in akitas, it serves a dual purpose, it exposes them to other dogs and people in a controlled situation and thus helps socialize them and somewhat reduces dog on dog agression, and of course, it helps you train and bond well with your dog. When we got our akita, we took her everywhere we could, from the day we got her. Short trips to Mcdonalds, the park, any store that accepted pets. The more situations you can expose your dog to, the less likely they are to react to new places, this is extremely imoprtant especially for show dogs (we showed our akita at first). But while it's important to take your dog to other places, it's also important to keep it controlled. I have heard that one bad experience at a dog park can ruin an akita's nice dog attitude vs other dogs. So when you take your dog to the park, you need to keep your dog on a leash at first and assess the situation, and make sure there's no irresponsible owners letting agressive or overly dominant dogs run around and bully the other dogs. Most akitas will not be bullied, and they wont' back down. I've heard many people say, "My dog won't start it, but he'll sure as hell finish it." If you notice a dog like this, keep your dog on the leash at all times, and come back another time when there's fewer dogs or dogs that aren't goingto be a problem. Many of the akita people I know attend 'puppy' classes with their dogs, as soon as the 2nd set of shots is over. It's a great idea for any breed, really. Then after puppy classes, formal obedience classes start at 6 months or so. You really can typically slip a large dog like an akita into a 6 month class at 5+ months age. Most people have no idea on the age of large breed dogs. I will say, don't put an Akita through any type of 'guard dog' training. They are already such instinctive and natural protectors, there is totally no need for it. If you are threatened, trust me, your dog will respond without any formal training. I am active on an akita owners forum if you want to drop in and ask more questions there, it's at www.akitaforum.com There's all kinds of akita owners, breeders, and showers on that forum so it's really a wealth of info.
The age to start training is as soon as you get your puppy. You can start with simple things like "come" and "sit" right away. I like to take puppy kindergarten classes at good obedience training places. i have nothing against petsmart, but a place that only does obedience in my experience goes more in depth. after puppy class do a basic obedience class. i've been in more that one class with akitas and it was not a problem. you have to keep your dog under control in the class with other people and dogs and that's one reason you are there. the trainers help you with that. i think hiring a trainer to come to the house is not as good because you have to control your dog in public and it has to learn to be controlled in public, and a group class starts that. it's very possible and i think required for the dog to listen to more that one person. if not, the dog will think the person not doing any training or enforcing is equal with the dog. you don't want that. you both have to use the same methods and train for the same things and correct the same things consistently. a chihuahua can learn anything a big dog can learn. dogs can learn more tricks- shake, play dead,etc.; and "stand"- standing still in a stay for an exam, you can teach hand signals for commands, too. if you are going to protection train only go to a reputable place with lots of experience. personally, i don't think this is necessary with an akita. they are naturally protective of their people and property. also, you would have a big liability on your hands, not at all a pet any more.
The breed is up to you, An Akita for an unexperienced owner, would make me a little nervous. Training classes are a good idea right after the second puppy vaccination. These are puppy classes to expose the puppy to other people and other dogs. Both of you should be on the same page when it comes to training. Meaning both of you involved in obediance training. Get at least the basic commands covered. The attacking on command is a little alarming, but look into shutzhund.
Reputable akita breeders won't even sell you a dog if you are considering guard dog training like schutzhund with them. They say that akitas take to it so well you can turn a great animal into a monster.
I enrolled my boxer is puppy school for some basic training and also to socialized. She was 15 weeks old at the time. The class was an hour long and her attention span could not handle an hour long class. Towards the end of class she didn't want to do anything but be the class clown. Before we even took her to puppy school she already knew the basics and what they were already teaching. We are still working on the basic training right now and will then enroll her in the next step of obedience. When some people train their dogs for protection, they are not educated to do the training. Most people who know nothing about protection training will not be able to control their dog in a situation that arises when they are suppose to protect. The dog will not listen to the owner or commands, the owner will not be able to control their dog or call them off. This type of training should be left to someone who specifically works in this field. One thing you need to research if you do choose an Akita is homeowners or renters insurance. This breed of dog is labeled a "bad" breed with some insurance companies. Some insurance companies will not insure you if you own this breed of dog. Good Luck :)
WHEN? Before six months, usually 3-4 months. HOW? Classes. They double as a way to socialize. MORE THAN ONE PERSON? Yes. You both go to classes and both train it seperately. The best way to train it to listen to both is to teach it that you both are top. You should both be alpha dogs WHAT CAN I EXPECT? They should cover any problems you have already, teach boundaries, heel, sit, down, come, no, basically anything that you need to know, they should cover, whether on their own or if you ask. ATTACK ON COMMAND? I wouldn't get an Akita as a guard dog because it's already in their nature to be protective. A less "ferocious" (lack of a better word, sorry) should be taught to bark at strangers, but you shouldn't have a dog that doesn't handle strangers or you risk attacks. I think barking should be enough because if you have a large dog that barks, it will be mencaing to potential intruders or attackers (just my opinion).