Akita attacks!

Posted by cbddav
Jun 27, 2008
Our 4 year old Akita has had a few random attacks with little or no warning. The only common denominator has been the person being on his eye level. Two of my son's teenage friends have attempted to hug him and he "freaks out". These boys are not strangers to him and have been in our house on several occasions and played with him. When I grab his collar to pull him off, he tries to turn on me, then plants himself, until he realizes he has to go out. Another time, the little girl who sold me girl scout cookies was just petting on him and he was loving the attention when she came to sell the cookies. When she came to deliver, he tried to go after her. Luckily, I grabbed his collar and got him outside. He is normally very loving, and enjoys anyone who comes to the house. Now we do not feel like we can trust him. It is like he just flips out for a few seconds and then reverts back to himself, not realizing he has done anything wrong. Any suggestions?
Posted by cbddav
Jun 27, 2008
Help needed with random attacks.
Posted by Annie
Jun 28, 2008
Hi there,
sorry to hear this, it sounds really scary....
Our dog is a bit nervous and also potentially aggressive. We have a 9 year old and a baby and I am always watching for potential problems. My tactic is that the dog must be seated on her sofa when anybody comes to the door, she will not be greeted or petted straight away. She is not the guard dog, or the welcoming commitee so a problem is avoided in that she is not present.
She is now relaxed with visitors.
When we have children here I am ever vigilant and the dog is never alone with the visitors. I also instruct the visitors about basic rules like no face to face eye contact. It is really hard with little kids and my big dog as they ARE face to face, but I get her to sit and they can pat her on the neck and back.When she was a baby I considered a muzzle for this socialization, but didn´t need it in the end.
I also NEVER presume that because there was no problems once that the next time is OK. Every visitor is protected the entire time, and if I am not secure, the dog is asked to stay on her sofa. A lot of my discipline is towards the humans as they seem to make a lot more mistakes than my dog does!
I have also banned and rough housing with the dog, and now after 2 years, visitors can play ball throwing with her ( she must always sit whilst the ball is collected from the ground) and I am VERY happy that the chilren and visitors can play with her like this.
I hope this helps a bit.....she shouldn´t be greeting people at the door, and it would be good to find a game for visitors and the dog that maybe doesn´t involve contact for the moment.
Remember, some dogs need a bit more personal space and although are happy with being petted for awhile, there is obviously a point that, for the dog, to stop the contact involves biting. Try to avoid getting to that point.

When my dog is on her sofa she must not be bothered by anyone. I give her some respect and personal space.
keep trying. This does not sound like an impossible problem...
good luck,
Posted by Annie
Jun 28, 2008
one more thing....humans like hugging and eye contact. Generally dogs do not. There is no need to `hug`a dog, unless this is within your relationship together. I would hope that a visitor would not pinch my husband on the ass (!?) this would be considered rude and too much! the same goes for a dogs tolerance. try to see a little bit through the dogs eyes....
Posted by cbddav
Jun 29, 2008
Annie - Thank you so much for the input. I have been reading until my eyes are crossed and I have decided my dog also has a dominance issue. My husband allows him to jump up on him, go out the door before him and down the stairs. I am trying now to retrain both of them. How did you ever get your dog to stay on her sofa when you have visitors or the bell rings? I took Max to obedience training during his first year, but have not done a very good job of following up on all that we learned. Today when my son's friends were here, I put him on a short leash and made him sit. When one of them that he knows very well, tried to approach him and pet him, he started to growl. I am so worried that he has developed an aggression issue with age and lack of being reminded of his place in the pack. My fear is that we are past a point of no return.
Posted by Annie
Jun 29, 2008
Hi there!
It doesn´t sound SO bad ie. past a point of no return....it sounds to me like your spoilt little dog is trying to boss everybody around and tell you where the borders are
I wouldn´t like this from my kids and not from my dog either. The Alpha tipps work really well for me, so have a read again and impliment some of the techniques.
I would suggest that your friends TOTALLY ignore your dog ( for weeks possibly). nobody likes a deserate friend, neither does your dog, so then your dog can come begging when he realises that people are not `begging`to be his friend.
Staying in a place when the door goes is a slow process, but I made it clear to my friends that they may need to wait outside the door a moment longer whilst I deal with the dog first.
We started first with her on the line held by somebody else, and I gave the command to stay, then opened the door, told the person to entirely ignore the dog ( very hard for people to do, but insist!) and welcomed them in.
Now, when the door rings she runs to her place and jumps on so she is in the best possition for viewing the new arrival, and she will stay there till I say. The hardest bit was interrupting my guest mid sentence to tell the dog to return to the place, but I would say èxcuse me,.....`same as I do when the kids are up to something.I do not put being polite to my guests before dog training!
Occassionally the dog will be asked to come to the door with me, but she will sit ( previously on line) and will stay sitting the entire time. Again, I have no problem interrupting the visitor to do this. I`m sure in the long run they will appreciate this
With some regular visitors, the dog is so relaxed she doesn´t even open her eyes to check who it is....I am very proud
The most important thing is to commit to clear rules in your head ie. she will NOT come to the door, she will never greet a guest first, and she will Not leave her place until asked to do so ( a good 15 minutes after arrival is good)
When you stick by these rules ( or other rules that you decide) then it makes it easier to interrupt your guest to enforce this.
Another trick. Over our dogs place for many months was a sign that said in HUGE letters...IGNORE ME PLEASE! sounds crazy but really helped for forgetful friends. ( and of course family!)
Our dog has a clear place that the children and visitors are not alowed to visit. When she is wanting company she comes to the kids, not vice versa.
Give your dog time to be a bit of an outcast, and then watch while your dog trys to sweet talk you all back again !
Your teenage visitors should be able to do the whole `cool-I´m not looking at you`thing quite well I expect really lifting the eyes and looking cooly away. Later they could try to give some basic commands for treats.
I think it´s better that you accept that for now you do not have a cuddle bear dog, and don´t be dissappointed. That warmth will come again when your dog feels more relaxed and less pressured to have to `hug`any old person who comes in the house. I´m sure it would be nice for you to see the dog `laugh`more, but it´s a bit like tickling for us....too much is not so nice!
Find what gets your dog laughing....
hope some of this helps...
take care,
Posted by cbddav
Jun 30, 2008
Annie - You have been more help to me than you know. My own vet has not returned my calls! I love the idea of visitors being instructed to ignore him, especially the teenage boys he loves (or maybe that is used to love) to come over. I don't think the "ignore me" sign is silly in the least. I think he needs one displayed above his head for a while. If you think of any more ideas or tips that you think would work in this situation, I would great appreciate hearing them. Once again, thank you so much for your suggestions and relating your own story. I will keep you advised.
Posted by foxi7778
Aug 11, 2008
Hi cbddav, As the owner of 2 Akitas I felt I had to reply. Akitas and dogs in general do not like eye contact as Annie has said, as they look at this like a threat....have you ever seen 2 dogs trying to stare each other down before a fight????
The fact that your dog has met these boys before makes no difference as Akitas will only act consistantly with their immediate pack/family. Akitas as a breed can be quite aloof and will not appreciate being hugged, or held in the one spot as they would view it, they like the option of being able to walk away if they don't want to be fussed over.
Your dog will go for you if you try to pull him off as when your dog is freaking out/frenzied they will strike out at anyone or anything that touches them.
As for the girl scout and other visitors...don't let your dog come to the door with you, this may give him the idea that he decides who enters and who doesn't...if you welcome your guests, then your dog should to. I also make people coming into my house ignore my dogs until they are calm and then they are called over to be petted.
Posted by Liz-amp-Koa
Aug 12, 2008

I had to put my two cents in since I have a rescue GSD. He was eight months old.

When we first got him a year ago, he was great, but since then he has started to have fear of strangers. I took him to a behaviorist and we concluded he had a fear based aggression. The vet gave me the following plan:
I ask all My friends to call first. I put the gentle leader on him, have him sit next to me and ask my visitors to ignore him when they come in. If he is calm and not barking I give him chicken. The minute he barks we ignore again. Sooner or later he gets the idea. They are here to see me, not him. After about five minutes I have him go to his bed and stay, also in the same room as us, again, if he is relaxed, he gets chicken. Eventually, I say to him "would you like to say hi to whoever?" I have the visitor give him a cookie and then I call him right back to heel before he get to thinking about nipping at there knee. In this case I have given him the command to say hello and heel, so he has not made the decision on his own.

It has worked great, it's only been a month and he is so much better. My vet feels that in a year I should be able to have guests over and not worry, but I don't know if that will happen.

Good luck and keep at it.