Message for Todd - AKITAS

Posted by nydianaponte
Jul 13, 2008
I write you hooping that you give me some advise. I have a 2 year old female Akita and an 8 months old male Akita. My female Akita is very aggressive toward other animals. Before I got the male I tried to mate her twice because I wanted to have another dog. She never let the male dog get close to her. I took her to the vet and he told me she has a problem with her cycle. So I decided to get a male poppy. I spent close to two months building their relationship because she used to show her teeth at him. Finally she accepted him and they spent most of the time together until night. She sleeps outside the house on the porch, he sleeps inside the house. Three weeks ago she started her period. Her mood suddenly changed and out of nothing she attacked him and he responded. They had a huge fight, they both were injured she more than him. She weights 65 pounds, he is still a puppy (8 months) but is weighting close to 80 pounds. I have them separated since then. Today I decided to try and put them back togheter. First in the morning they seemed to be ok, not best friends, but ok. A second time in the afternoon everything was ok until she climbed over him growling at him, he stayed still but not submissive. I had to separate them again to prevent a fight.
I believe she is trying to make him submissive to her so she can still be the alpha dog. But he is getting bigger and is not submissive any more. I am planning to neuter her...would this help? What can I do to make them be friends again. What can I do to help them resolve the alpha issue without letting them get hurt? Please advise...I don't know any people who know Akitas temperament. Thanks in advance for any information you can give me... Nydian
Posted by Todd
Jul 17, 2008
Hi there and thanks for the post.

Sorry for the delay in replying. Akitas often get a bad rap from people as being aggressive. I don't believe this and think it is more a factor of them seeming big and scary than anything else.

Firstly i think getting both him and her desexed is really the best place to start. Hormones play a huge part in dogs behaviour, good and bad. Removing these can have a massive effect especially on interdog aggression.
Not only this but there are a huge number of other benefits from getting animals desexed.

Secondly i cannot over emphasise how important alpha training is. This is probably the most important thing you can do for these 2 dogs. A dog that knows its place in the pack is far less likely to cause any problems in the household.

Thirdly obedience and exercise. Obedience needs to be a daily ritual, each dog needs around 20 minutes of training a day until they are very well behaved then sessions can be shorter. Work on sit, stay and come to make sure that you can control both dogs when you need to.
Exercise is as important, a 30 minute burn out before any interaction sessions will help take some of the edge off and tired dogs aren't as aggressive.

You have caught the problem quite early so if you religiously stick to training and alpha work a lot of the problem will dissolve. But we will need to work on some specific areas to make sure they are manageable.

I would separate the two for around 2 weeks after you get them desexed. Continue to work on obedience and alpha stuff during this time. Then we need to gradually reintroduce them in a controlled setting.
A second handler may be a good idea so that you have full control over the two for a while. If you think you may need muzzles then dont hesitate.

On the first session have the two dogs at opposite sides of the lounge. Run through their obedience sessions.
If they show any aggression whether it be a barks, growl or snap they need told off. Blankets, water pistol as well as a loud GRRRRRR work brilliantly. Once they have the idea they have misbehaved they need to be asked to sit. If they respond then they get praised.

Good behaviour during the sessions gets praise as well as some treats. Keep sessions short to start with and only a couple of times a day.

After a few days start to move them closer eg 1/2 a metre every few days (but only if they are behaving). After a few weeks let them play with each other. Only gently, if it gets out of hand separate them for a bit and try again.

After a few sessions of this let them off together, but only in the lounge. You must keep an eye on them and praise/tell off as needed. Slowly over the next few weeks let them into more and more rooms in the house.

The other place to work with them is when they are getting fed. Start with them on leads and the food bowls separated by say 2 metres. Slowly get them closer and closer and once they are close try them without the lead.

Another good idea is to feed them side by side from your hands (when you feel comfortable) as this does a great job to build up trust.

Please let me know how things are going and ask for help. This will be a slow process and patience and consistency are most important. Good luck

Posted by foxi7778
Aug 11, 2008
I had to reply to this as I am the owner of 2 of these gorgeous animals. Todd is right that these dogs get a bad rap, but this is mainly due to poor ownership and little or no training and socialisation. Akitas need a lifetime of socilisation with animals AND people. Aggressive Akitas should never be bred from, so please get both of them to the vets. Your dogs need to know who is boss, Akitas are a dominant breed and if they sence you are weak they will challenge you for the alpha role. As for training, Akitas are extremely clever and bore easily. Keep training sessions short and varied.....if Akitas don't see a reason to sit or stay 10 times in a row they won't do it It is possible that your dogs may never be friends again as Akitas are known to hold a grudge...this is also why you must never used forced training methods with them or physically correct any bad behavior.
If you need any more information about Akitas please feel free to contact me as I know of several reliable resources that may be of interest to you.