As the owner of an Akita puppy, it is important to not listen to “experts” who tell you that this breed cannot or should not be trained until an older age than most other breeds. Following that advice can be disastrous. Training Akita puppies is very important and must be done in order to set up a foundation for life.
One of the biggest myth about this breed is that you should not begin teaching a puppy until he is 6 months old. This simply is not true.
The 7 or 8 week old has the same ability to learn as the 6 month old. He does lack a bit of adult level stamina, dexterity and attentiveness, but NOT the ability to learn.
What a pup is trained to do during the first 6 months is the most lasting and enduring than at any other period.
Whether you purposefully choose to train him or you do not, he WILL be learning. Therefore, when left to his own devices, he will “learn” that he can do whatever he wishes and that humans do not give commands. Therefore, it is important to purposefully train him.
The Issue of Pee Pads
While they may work well for other breeds, house training an Akita puppy with the pee pad method will not work in 99% of all cases. Trying to do so will prolong the process.
A Growing Body
Puppies are born with little to no bowel or bladder muscles. The dam stimulates the newborn by licking him or her, which causes a biological reaction that results in elimination. Then, as the newborn matures, control is gradually gained.
At 8 weeks, those bowel and bladder muscles are not yet fully formed. This is important in 2 ways:
1. They must be taken outside for their needs enough times during the day in relation to their ability to hold their needs…which is determined by age.
2. It will be your job to help them, each month, to strengthen those muscles, so that they can hold on longer and longer. If not, they can remain weak and you would have an adult that needs to go out every 3 hours.
The following is expected hold times:
• 2 months old = holding his needs for a maximum of 2 hours
• 3 months old = holding his needs for a maximum of 3 hours
• And so on, until they have reached 8 to 9 hours, and no dog should be asked to wait longer than that.
One of the keys to success is that you choose the area in which will be used as the outdoor bathroom. Once you decide, this should be the area forever, so think about it carefully. You will want to make sure that it is not too close to your patio, barbeque, extra…But not so far away from the house that if you are enduring a snow storm you would be taxed to walk that distance. If you have a completely sound fenced in yard, you can then choose an area that is far from the home, since once your Akita puppy is trained, he or she will know to run there and come back.
With this said, once you have chosen the area, it is your Akita puppy that must be allowed to choose the exact spot. Just about all dog breeds are selective about where they go. You’ve probably heard it before, but especially for this breed, they must feel that it is “just the right spot”.
To allow for this to happen, each and every time that you bring your Akita puppy outside for housebreaking, it should be done with him on a 6 foot leash. Stand in the middle of the designated area. Then, allowing him to roam within that 6 foot diameter, be patient as he sniffs, nudges grass with his nose, lifts up his head to listen to what is happening in the environment, watches the birds fly by…. All while you wonder how long it is going to take.
So many owners come to us asking why it is that their Akita pee’d in the house right after coming in from an attempt outdoors. The answer is because the owner was not patient enough; the person decided how long it was supposed to take the puppy to feel comfortable enough to release…And that was the big mistake.
Therefore, set up a lawn chair if need be, bring a book…But wait at least 15 minutes before deciding that they do not need to go.
Crating is a controversial issue. This breed in particular is slightly to moderately claustrophobic. Most cannot handle being enclosed, especially in a crate that allows for little movement. In addition, there is a huge misconception that a dog will not eliminate in a small area, or close to their food…or other things like that…That is not true at all.
A puppy, or a dog of any age, WILL go to the bathroom when they simply cannot hold on any longer...It does not matter where they are. So, allowing one to eliminate in an enclosed crate is counterproductive to the entire process.
With this being said, a crate can be used for night time sleeping. Please be sure to choose wisely. Too small will create that suffocating feeling that can really stress out a young one. You will also want to keep in mind that:
Your Akita will be growing at a rapid rate, with noticeable gain just about every week
You may need the crate for other purposes, such going to the veterinarian
Umbilical Cord Method
This is the #1 recommended method of Akita puppy training for housebreaking. The premise is simple. Using a 6 to 8 foot leash, you will attach one end to him, the other to you (circling through a belt loop works well).
This allows you to keep him close to you. You are able to go about your business while having him either directly in your view
or in your peripheral vision.
You will not need to do this all of the time. There will be plenty of
times during the day that you will be close enough to watch him…and
other times when you are not home (discussed ahead). But, to have
success with this, do not let him out of your sight. If you do, by
Murphy’s Law, it is right then that they will urinate on your favorite
When To Go Out
Always bring your Akita puppy out to the above mentioned designated area:
• First thing in the morning – Do not brush your teeth first, do not get dressed (your pajamas are just fine)
• Any time that he makes a motion to go (raising a leg, scooting down, restlessness at the door, pawing at you, etc.)
• Every couple of hours, based on age. As stated above, a 2 month old would go out every 2 hours (unless they were just brought out for any of the other reasons above)….A 4 month old every 4 hours, etc.
Note: Always give great praise when they have eliminated in the designated area. Act as if they just did the most wonderful thing in the world…A puppy will feed off of that attention and be more likely to want to repeat it.
During the Night
Even if confined, do not expect them to sleep right through without having to go outside. Now, he may whine for 1 of 2 reasons:
1. He is lonely and wants some attention
2. He needs to go outside
Play it safe and take him out. It is important that he be taken out, allowed to relieve himself, praised for doing so and then placed right back into his sleeping area. Try to keep your voice low and only put on as many lights as absolutely needed to guide you to the area. This is not a time for play or any extended interaction…He must learn that it is a time for being quiet and for rest.
When You Are Not Home
We highly encourage new owners to plan to be home for at least 2 months when obtaining a new puppy, we also know that it is not possible for many. This can and often does prolong training; however it does not mean that it can’t be done.
When you leave your Akita home alone, it is best if you can set up a gated off area. Left in a room, there is too much space to get into trouble or to understand where important elements are such as toys, food, water, etc. Left in a crate is not wise (see above).
Best is a 6 x 6 foot or 8 x 8 foot gated off area. A piece of linoleum can be purchased to place on the floor for easy clean up.
Inside should be: Food and water in no-spill bowls, chew toys, a doggie pillow (or bed or soft blanket) and newspaper or pee pads even though we cannot expect an Akita puppy to ever actually use this method in any sort of permanent way –
The most you can expect is that should you be gone so long that they must go, there is a chance it may land on the pads – Do place them as far away from the food as possible.
Be sure to take them out right before you leave (allotting yourself enough time for that 15 minutes of patience that may be needed) and right when you arrive back. And, at all other times mentioned above in When to Go Out.
As time goes by you will begin to understand your Akita’s signals that they wish to go outside…whether that be pacing at the door, giving you a quick bark, pawing at your shoe, etc. Never delay, always bring them out (remembering to exit first to show that you are the pack leader).
A Dominant Dog Needs Proper Training - The Akita is a dominant dog and it is important that an owner clearly establishes the fact that it is the human who is in charge. If this is not done, this breed can take over. Can you imagine a dog this big, walking around as if he is the leader of the home?
This is best done during the puppy years. For this breed, it is recommended to begin training at 8 weeks, although beginning at any age is preferable to no training or inadequate training. More than any other purebred, specific methods must be followed to: Teach proper behavior (housebreaking, commands, socialization, and inhibit destructive behavior) while at the same time establishing your leadership role.
The following resources are highly suggested for you to achieve this.
Highly Recommended Resources for Akita Puppy Training Needs (All on Amazon)
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