The Akita dog is a big powerful dog that is by nature aggressive and can be stubborn. They are however, good loyal dogs that once trained, make wonderful protective companions. You should choose your Akita puppy carefully to ensure you get the right Akita for your own temperament. If you are an unassertive person then you don’t want a dominant Akita that won’t submit to your authority.
Here’s a few ways to test the temperament of an Akita puppy before you commit yourself to getting one. Most respectable Akita dog breeders will allow you to look at the Akita pup while it is still in a litter.
The first thing you need to do is remove the Akita puppy from the litter and place it in an unknown environment. This can be any area that the puppy is unfamiliar with.
The objective of this test is to see how the Akita puppy interacts with people, especially with you. Observation is the key to all these tests. Pay close attention to the puppy’s behaviour.
Sit on the floor and call the puppy in a calm soothing voice. If he comes to you look at his tail. Is it up and wagging or down? How is he moving towards you? Is he happy and willing, or slow and reluctant? Does he appear to be suspicious of you, overly cautious?
If the puppy fails to respond to your calls and is distracted with exploring the new room, go get him. Stroke him and talk soothingly to him. Once you have stroked the puppy and eased yourself into his environment stand up, and start to walk around the room.
Talk to the puppy as you walk and watch his reaction. Does he follow you? Where is his tail, up or down? Is he following reluctantly, almost sulkily, or is he skipping happily behind you? The next test is to determine the puppy’s reaction to dominance. Sit back down on the floor and playfully roll the puppy onto its back.
Restrain the puppy on its back by placing your hand across its chest and observe its reaction. Does the puppy accept this and acknowledge that it cannot move?
Does he willingly accept that you have the dominant position, or does he struggle to free himself? After about twenty seconds allow the puppy up and watch his immediate reaction. Move your face close to his and see what he does, stroke and sooth the puppy.
Finally pick up the puppy by placing your hands across its chest and him it off the ground. Hold him in that position for a few seconds and observe his reaction.
Evaluating Responses To The Tests
Akitas are not stranger friendly, Observing your puppy’s behaviour on the social interaction tests can reveal much about your him. Some Akita puppies will not respond to you at all, this alone though does not mean that the dog is antisocial.
Remember you are choosing an Akita; it’s a dog with a strongly independent nature. You can’t expect it to be instantly subservient.
The Akita will probably ignore your initial attempts to get its attention. It will usually explore the new surroundings, sniffing and looking around. This allows it to do two things, first it can evaluate its environment, and second, it will be evaluating you. Continue to call the puppy in a soothing voice.
After a few minutes of sniffing around the puppy will have made its mind up about you and begin to follow you. As the puppy approaches observe it closely. Its manner of approach will reveal much about it. If the puppy approaches with its tail down and ears back, it is approaching you in a submissive manner.
The average puppy will approach with its tail up. The confidence of the Akita puppy will be apparent by its attitude on approaching. If its tail is wagging, the puppy is confident. If it begins to paw at your hands, it is displaying an assertive attitude. Really assertive puppies will bite at your hands.
An average puppy will walk beside you as you walk around the room. An assertive puppy will wander between your feet purposely. It may even bite at your shoes. If the puppy is not very social it will approach with its tail down and ears back in a submissive manner.
Most Akita puppies will approach you after some exploratory behaviour. This is a dog that is easily bored, so don’t expect to hold its attention for long. It will probably go off and start exploring its new surroundings.
When you hold the puppy down on its back, the response you are looking for is for the dog to avoid eye contact with you and to lie still without struggling. This indicates a submissive response to your dominance and establishing your dominance is essential if you are goingto have an Akita dog as part of your family.
A puppy that struggles slightly, casting glances at you, indicates a more aggressive response, but still within the realms of accepting your dominance. If the puppy fights and refuses to lay still and makes constant eye contact with you, then it is exhibiting an aggressive response to your dominance.
When you lift the Akita into the air it will usually just hang there in a relaxed posed with his body calm. A more assertive response will be if the puppy paws at you or tries to bite you. A very assertive puppy will try to make eye contact.
These tests, while not perfect, can give you some clue to the puppy’s natural tendencies. If the puppy has fought everything you have done and made constant eye contact with you, then it is assertive. This does not mean it will not make a good dog; simply that it will require more training to accept its place in the pack.
Akita dogs are by nature dominant and look to take control of a pack. To have a healthy relationship with an Akita you need to establish your position as pack leader. Once the Akita dog accepts this you will build a good relationship with the dog and it will prove a loyal friend.
Michael runs the website Japanese Akita Dogs and is the author of the book “The Akita”(everything you need to know) A book about Akitas. He lives in the north of England with his family and dogs. For your free, 12 day email course about Akitas Go here now Akita Dogs and find out what’s involved when owning an Akita.