Are Akitas Trainable? Tips and Tricks for Training Your Akita

Akitas are a breed known for their loyalty, independence, and strong protective instincts. They were originally bred in Japan for hunting large game and guarding properties. These traits make them excellent watchdogs and companions, but they can also make training more challenging. Akitas are intelligent dogs, but they have a reputation for being stubborn and aloof at times.

Understanding Akita Temperament

To effectively train your Akita, it’s important to understand their temperament. Akitas are known for their strong bond with their family members and their natural instinct to protect them. They can be wary of strangers and may exhibit dominant behavior if not properly socialized and trained. Additionally, Akitas have a high prey drive, which means they may chase after smaller animals. Understanding these traits will help you tailor your training approach to suit your Akita’s needs.

Effective Training Strategies for Akitas

Now that we have a better understanding of Akitas’ unique characteristics and temperament, let’s dive into some effective training strategies.

Positive Reinforcement Techniques

Akitas respond well to positive reinforcement techniques. Reward-based training methods, such as using treats, praise, and play, can motivate and encourage your Akita to learn and obey commands. By rewarding desired behaviors, you can create a positive association and strengthen the bond between you and your dog.

Consistency is Key

Consistency is crucial when training an Akita. Establishing a consistent routine and using consistent cues and commands will help your Akita understand what is expected of them. Inconsistency can confuse your dog and make training more difficult. Make sure all family members are on the same page and consistently reinforce the training rules.

Building Trust and Establishing Leadership

Building trust and establishing yourself as a strong, confident leader is essential when training an Akita. Akitas are naturally independent dogs, so it’s important to earn their respect through fair and consistent training methods. Avoid using harsh punishment or physical force, as this can lead to fear or aggression. Instead, focus on positive reinforcement and building a strong bond based on trust and respect.

Socialization with People and Other Animals

Early socialization is crucial for Akitas to develop good manners and become well-rounded dogs. Introduce your Akita to various people, including strangers, children, and other animals, in a controlled and positive environment. Proper socialization will help reduce the risk of aggression or fear-based behaviors later in life.

Common Training Challenges with Akitas

While Akitas are intelligent and trainable, they do come with their fair share of training challenges. Let’s explore some of the common obstacles you may encounter and how to overcome them.

Independent Nature and Stubbornness

Akitas’ independent nature and stubbornness can sometimes make training a bit more challenging. They have a mind of their own and may question commands or choose to ignore them. Patience and persistence are key when training an Akita. Consistently reinforce commands and use positive reinforcement techniques to motivate and encourage cooperation.

Guarding and Protective Instincts

Akitas have a strong protective instinct, which can manifest as guarding behavior towards their family and property. While this instinct can be beneficial, it’s important to teach your Akita appropriate boundaries and when it’s appropriate to exhibit protective behaviors. Proper socialization and training can help channel their protective instincts in a positive way.

Barking and Vocalization Issues

Akitas are known for their deep, powerful bark, which they may use to communicate or alert their owners. However, excessive barking can become problematic, especially in residential areas or if it becomes a nuisance. Training techniques such as teaching the “quiet” command and providing mental and physical stimulation can help address barking issues.

Important Commands and Skills to Teach Your Akita

Now, let’s cover some essential commands and skills that every Akita should learn.

Basic Obedience Commands

Start with basic obedience commands such as “sit,” “stay,” “come,” and “down.” These foundational commands will provide the framework for more advanced training and ensure that your Akita understands basic manners and boundaries.

Leash Training and Loose Leash Walking

Proper leash training is crucial for the safety of both you and your Akita. Teach your Akita to walk politely on a leash, without pulling or lunging. Use positive reinforcement techniques and reward your Akita for walking calmly by your side.

Crate Training and Housebreaking

Crate training is an essential skill for any dog, including Akitas. Introduce your Akita to a crate as a safe and comfortable space and use positive reinforcement to encourage them to enter and stay in the crate. Crate training can also aid in housebreaking, as dogs naturally avoid soiling their sleeping area.

Leave It and Drop It Commands

Teaching your Akita the “leave it” and “drop it” commands can be lifesaving. These commands will help prevent your Akita from picking up and potentially swallowing dangerous or inappropriate objects. Use positive reinforcement and gradually increase distractions to reinforce these commands.

Recall Training for Off-Leash Control

Recall training is important for off-leash control and safety. Teach your Akita a reliable recall command, such as “come,” and practice in controlled environments before gradually increasing distractions. Use high-value rewards, such as treats or toys, to motivate your Akita to come back to you.

Advanced Training Techniques for Akitas

Once your Akita has mastered the basics, you can explore advanced training techniques to challenge their minds and provide additional stimulation.

Agility Training and Mental Stimulation

Agility training is a great way to engage your Akita physically and mentally. Set up an agility course in your backyard or join a local agility club. This activity can help channel your Akita’s energy and provide a fun and challenging outlet for their natural athleticism.

Trick Training and Canine Sports

Akitas are highly intelligent dogs and enjoy learning new tricks and participating in canine sports. Teach your Akita fun tricks such as “roll over,” “shake hands,” or “play dead.” Additionally, consider engaging in canine sports such as obedience trials, scent work, or even dock diving.

Therapy and Service Dog Training

Akitas have a gentle and sensitive side, which makes them suitable candidates for therapy or service dog work. Consider exploring training programs that focus on these areas if you believe your Akita has the right temperament and disposition.

Tips for Troubleshooting Training Issues

Despite your best efforts, you may encounter some training issues along the way. Here are some tips for troubleshooting common problems.

Addressing Separation Anxiety

Akitas can be prone to separation anxiety, which can lead to destructive behavior or excessive barking when left alone. Gradual desensitization, using positive reinforcement techniques, and providing mental stimulation can help alleviate separation anxiety. Consult with a professional dog trainer or behaviorist if the problem persists.

Dealing with Aggression or Dominance

If your Akita displays aggression or dominant behavior, it’s important to seek professional help from a qualified dog trainer or behaviorist. Aggression can be a serious issue, and it’s essential to address it using the appropriate techniques and guidance to ensure the safety of both your Akita and others.

Overcoming Fear and Anxiety

Some Akitas may be prone to fear or anxiety, which can affect their training progress. Patience, positive reinforcement, and gradually exposing your Akita to the things they fear in a controlled and positive way can help them overcome their anxieties. Consult with a professional if your Akita’s fear or anxiety becomes problematic.


Training an Akita requires understanding, patience, and consistency. By utilizing positive reinforcement techniques, building trust, and addressing specific challenges, you can effectively train your Akita and build a strong bond with them. Remember to tailor your training approach to suit your individual Akita’s needs and always prioritize their well-being and happiness. Happy training!

ThePetFaq Team