All dogs are pack animals and this means that they instinctively follow a hierarchy which centers on the pack leader. All others are followers and differ in rank from high to low. The Akita temperament is of a very strong need to either be dominant or to be shown his place by his owners, and then he will behave in a positive way to household members….But may react aggressively toward strangers and especially toward other dogs. With
this said, the Akita breed - in general- does not have a nasty, vicious
or savage temperament IF trained correctly AND if an owner is
conscientious in regard to what the Akita can and cannot - by hereditary
instincts - tolerate. Any dog of any breed can be a dangerous dog if
led to be an aggressive attack dog.
They have a take-charge attitude and a desire to lead the pack. They will allow a human to be the leader, but will dominant over other pets. One must understand that dominating does not mean that they are not getting along. It is a game that is playing in the background. An Akita and a tiny dog (in the SAME household) can behave as if they are best friends and the Akita is content knowing he stands ahead of all other animals.
How Age Plays a Role
Aggressive personality (which is actually the dog taking action to establish his role and to be superior to others) begins to emerge between the ages of 9 months to 2 years.
He may simply begin to ignore someone or something that appears to be challenging him….Or he may be more serious and growl. If thrown into a situation that instinctively leaves him no choice, he will bite. And it is the owner’s responsibility to understand what this breed needs and how he will impulsively react if forced into confrontation.
What to Expect
With this said, temperament of this breed gives us a devoted, loyal, happy, calm and loving dog…And one that cannot tolerate an unknown dog. The level of tolerance will go down to dangerous levels if the 2 are of the same gender, size and if both are not fixed (spayed or neutered).
They are very intelligent, giving us a fast learner. However they need motivation for the best success of any type of training.
Some say that they are in independent, and while this may be technically true in some aspects they do require human companionship. They crave interaction. They crave closeness. The main element of temperament that an owner will come to understand is that they will not paw at you relentlessly for attention like other breeds may, however an Akita will calmly lie down on the floor to be in the same room as you, and even if you think that they are not paying attention to anything at all, he is listening for any noises that you are making, he is sensing any of you movements….And when you get up to go into another room, as your best friend and devoted companion, he will be up and following you within seconds.
They are not habitual barkers, but due to their sensitivity to unfamiliar sounds, animals or people, they will aggressively bark at what they consider to be a threat to themselves, you or what they consider to be their territory.
Some worry about how this breed will react when you have company over. Will it be a problem? The Akita temperament allows the dog to sense when someone is not welcome or when you are happy to allow a visitor into the home.
Even when confronted by a threat, they will often act with restraint, only dishing out the minimum force needed. For example, if a prowler were to be on the properly, the Akita may circle him and not allow him to escape, nipping if he should try. He may circle for quite a bit of time, until his human comes to resolve the situation. Do keep in mind that this is an example of how this breed can have control even during a stressful time…And that an intruder may, instead, be bitten before he knows what hit him. Provide the proper guidance and environment to control aggression.
Highly Recommended Resources for Akita Puppy Training Needs (All on Amazon - both hardcopy and Kindle) and written by Faye Dunningham:
Behavior toward youngsters will vary and it will depend quite a bit on the individual dog, the behavior of the children and at what age the Akita was introduced to them. With this said, Akitas and children can develop a wonderful, bonding relationship. Puppies raised with kids are usually very good with them. Problems can arise if the dog is older and protective of “his children” and other youngsters enter the area. This breed MAY interpret:
• Running around
• High spirited play
As a threat to his human childrenand respond aggressively.
It is important to supervise young ones at play when an Akita is present. A great deal of importance should be placed on socialization….allowing this breed to become used to the noise level, behavior and action of children. He can come to respect their small size. Even the largest of Akita Inu dogs can be taught to move carefully around toddlers.
As a general rule of multiple dog households, a male and female will live together in harmony. It is sometimes the female that will become dominant and sometimes the male.
A male is more prone to be tolerant of a new female brought in…a female is often less accepting of a new addition.
2 males together are NOT a good mix. It is rarely successful. RAISING 2 males can work out fine…But adding one to the home or allowing a confrontation with an unknown male = violent behavior.
With 2 females in the same household, once 1 of them enters her first heat, hostility often sets in.
2 males will be fine with each other until the age of 6 months…although sometimes the first combative encounter will not ensue until the age of 1 year.
Basic, Important Traits
While each is an individual, there are common Akita traits:
Affectionate with their human family
Calmly and quietly enjoys your company
Enjoys being included, does not do well when left outside alone
They are generally quite talkative! They may groan, grunt and mumble. They love to carry thing in their mouths and if they want something, many of them will have an endearing traits to mouth your wrist and lead you to what they wish to have.
This breed loves to be a true member of the family and they thrive on companionship, giving back to much more affection than one could imagine.
While a natural guard dog, protecting you is their #1 goal. An Akita will usually only bark when they feel it to be absolutely necessary…There if you hear a bark, it should not be ignored.
This dog is not hyper active and more enjoys a quiet, sedentary life with a daily walk for fresh air and to stretch his muscles.
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