Do Akitas Fetch? The Surprising Truth and Tips for Training

To truly understand Akitas, we must first look into their rich history. Originating from the mountainous regions of Japan, Akitas were initially bred for hunting large game, such as bears and boars. Their robust physique and fearless demeanor made them perfect for these tasks.

Akitas in Japan’s History

In Japan, Akitas hold a special place in the hearts of the people. They were considered symbols of strength, courage, and loyalty. In fact, Akitas were often gifted to newlyweds as a sign of good luck and fortune. Their popularity grew so much that they eventually became designated as a national treasure of Japan.

The Nature of Akitas

Akitas as Independent Thinkers

One striking characteristic of Akitas is their independent nature. They are known for being intelligent and strong-willed, which can sometimes make training a challenge. While this independence can be seen as a positive trait, it also means that Akitas may not readily engage in activities that don’t align with their natural instincts.

Akitas’ Loyalty and Protective Instincts

On the flip side, Akitas are incredibly loyal and protective of their families. This loyalty stems from their wolf-like ancestry and their history as guardians. Akitas have a strong instinct to protect their loved ones, which can sometimes manifest as a reluctance to engage in activities that they perceive as unnecessary or potentially harmful.

Can Akitas Fetch? The Surprising Truth

Understanding the Instincts Behind Fetching

Fetching is a behavior that comes naturally to many dog breeds, but it may not be as instinctual for Akitas. Unlike retrievers or spaniels, Akitas were not originally bred for fetching games. Their hunting instincts were focused on tracking, holding down, and even killing prey. Therefore, the desire to fetch may not be as strong in Akitas compared to other breeds.

The Challenges of Teaching Akitas to Fetch

Due to their independent nature and less innate drive to fetch, training Akitas to play this game can present certain challenges. Some Akitas may simply lack interest in chasing after a ball or toy repeatedly. However, with patience, consistency, and the right training techniques, it is possible to encourage Akitas to engage in the fetching game.

Tips for Training Akitas to Fetch

Establishing a Positive Association with Fetching

When training Akitas to fetch, it’s crucial to create a positive association with the activity. Start by associating fetching with something that Akitas already enjoy, such as treats or praise. Use these rewards consistently to reinforce the idea that fetching is a fun and rewarding game.

Using Rewards and Reinforcement

In addition to establishing a positive association, using rewards and reinforcement during training sessions is essential. Reward your Akita with treats, praise, or playtime whenever they engage in fetching behavior. This positive reinforcement will motivate them to continue playing the game.

Working on Basic Commands First

Before diving into fetch training, ensure that your Akita has a solid foundation of basic commands such as “sit,” “stay,” and “drop it.” These commands will provide a framework for teaching the more complex behavior of fetching. It’s important to remember that building a strong obedience foundation will greatly assist in the success of fetch training.

Gradual Introduction to Fetching

Introduce fetching gradually to your Akita. Start by simply tossing a toy or ball a short distance and encouraging them to pick it up. Reward them when they interact with the toy, even if they don’t bring it back immediately. Over time, gradually increase the distance and encourage them to bring the toy back to you. Remember, patience and consistency are key in this process.

Finding Alternative Ways to Engage Akitas

Exploring Brain-Teasing Toys

If your Akita still doesn’t show a strong interest in fetching, don’t fret! There are alternative ways to engage their intelligent minds. Consider introducing brain-teasing toys, such as puzzle feeders or interactive games, that will stimulate their problem-solving skills and provide mental enrichment.

Engaging in Interactive Training Sessions

Another effective way to keep Akitas mentally stimulated is through interactive training sessions. Teach them new tricks, engage in obedience training, or participate in activities like agility or scent work. These activities not only provide mental stimulation but also strengthen the bond between you and your Akita.


In conclusion, while Akitas may not have a strong natural inclination to play fetch, it is possible to train them to engage in this game. With patience, consistency, and the right training techniques, you can tap into your Akita’s intelligence and loyalty to create a positive association with fetching. If fetching doesn’t seem to be their cup of tea, don’t worry. There are plenty of other ways to engage Akitas and keep them mentally stimulated. Remember, every dog is unique, and it’s important to embrace and celebrate their individuality.

ThePetFaq Team