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Any Chance Of Akitas Being Off Lead?

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18 replies to this topic

#1
Maj

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Hey everyone,

 

So glad I'm apart of this community already got great advise from the raw feed section so thought i would try and pop a question in the training forum too. 

 

 

I have a Akita and she's 12months but her recall is pretty bad. Since the age of 10 weeks she's been going puppy classes then when she got a little older I took her to private classes. 

 

She's really good at everything else she does walk to heel (sometimes) but that doesn't bother me as she doesn't actually pull me anyway just walks slightly infant. 

 

The trainer said these dogs have too much of a high prey drive and maybe a problem having her off lead. She's lovely with every dog and people she's more likely to lick some to death than to bite, a big big softy she is :)

 

It gets me frustrated when she is on lead because she can't go out and run if I'm not running with her :(

 

Just to mention - the times I have let her off lead any loud bangs she hears she just bolts in the direction of home and nearly got hit by a car she has done this on 3 occasions (2nd one was when she learnt to take her collar off by pulling out) which has led me to always have her on lead on a harness now.

 

I have tried to desensitise her by playing fireworks or loud noises but on the lowest volume and she still runs and hides her my room (Cant put the volume any lower as it is on 1)

 

Any help will be appreciated and if any one has personal experiences with Akita that will be most welcomed. 

 

Thanks

 



#2
TRDmom

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In my experience with Akitas and primitive hunting breeds, it is best/safest to keep your dog on leash while in urban areas. My dog is of a similar nature and I do NOT trust him off leash because he would happily chase a squirrel/rabbit/cat and not pay attention to dangers around (e.g. cars). Also, loose dogs have the potential to get in dog fights (even if the other dog started it, you still DON'T want to deal with that. Trust me) or hurt another person (my friend's Labrador knocked over an elderly woman trying to play with her and she called the police on them). Whenever I see other dogs and people, my dogs are on leash. If we're out hiking (not packing, I keep him on leash for that because I don't want to lose any of my stuff! hehe) and no one's around, he does OK off leash. For your dog's safety and to avoid any legal problems, its best to stay on leash. :)



#3
jagger

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Guess it depends on how well the dog listens and will he recall.

 

People say miniature pinschers shouldn't be off leash either, prey drive will kick in and yada yada yada. We don't find that at all but I will take him actively hunting for mice and such - that will change his personality but he still doesn't run off.



#4
Iorveth

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I don't know about Akitas in general but that is a dog I would keep on a leash when not in a securely fenced area. I know how it feels to have a dog that you just can't have off leash as well as a dog afraid of thunder and fireworks (although not in the same dog). My Bluetick Coonhound can't be off leash because of your typical hound reasons. His nose locks on to something and there he goes with his ears turned off. It's commonly referred to as "nose deafness" in hounds. So, Buck must be on a leash at all times if we are not somewhere secure.

Old Man Collie is the one afraid of thunder and fireworks, however, he has never been a bolter. I am 98.4% sure this dog has never once, in his entire 11 years on this earth, run anywhere as fast as he is capable of running, even as a youngster. Always a slow, lazy bounce. When HE hears thunder/lightning/similar noise, he just shuts down. He paces and might trot off a few steps before realizing he has left the safety of the group and comes back. The shaking starts and then it's just pacing or circling the other dogs/people he's with. He's never been a bolter but, no matter the reaction, it can be hard to get through to communicate with a dog that frightened. Loud noises in general don't bother him unless he was sleeping. Then it will just startle him awake. Oddly enough, he is my very reliable off leash dog that can be off leash anywhere (provided it is safe and there are no leash laws, of course).

My youngest guy is a similar type to TRDmom's dog. I don't know if Akitas are anything like the primitive breeds but I HAVE heard they can be very independent and almost catlike which makes me think there are some similarities. Iorveth can be off leash on our property up by the house and will even leave a chase for a bunny or bird when called back but, he is still mentally very much a young dog (they mature around 3-4 years and he is only 2) with a very strong prey drive so he IS leashed when we leave his "safe" area. He will probably never be a dog that can be trusted off leash like Dude can be but he is a far cry better than Buck and we work on it just about every chance we get. 

Give your dog more time to mature and keep on with the desensitization. Old Man Collie isn't nearly as bad as he was when he was younger. I grew up in Southern California where Dude also spent the first 7 years of his life and we just didn't get thunder storms and fireworks are illegal. When I moved up to Washington, we moved to a neighborhood right on the edge of a small bay (we now live in another house on a different bay). We don't get a lot but we do get thunderstorms more frequently here than in SoCal and fireworks are constantly going off through the last half of December through the first half of January because of New Years, frequently throughout the summer, almost every day starting halfway through June, and our house sounds like it's in the middle of a war zone during the entire week of July 4th. Because of where we live on the edges of these bays, we have a huge number of people all the way around lighting off fireworks two times a year. Dude was a wreck. 

The road to a mellower dog actually started when I discovered just how sensitive he was to them while I was playing Red Dead Redemption. A storm came up on the game and Dude flipped. That was it. If that bothered him then that really made it clear how awful real storms and fireworks were. I started playing thunder and fireworks 24/7 as faint, background noise. Yes, it bothered him at first but it became normal. I started doing it sporadically until turning it on didn't bother him. We worked up to louder and louder until it was very loud and didn't get much of a reaction. Of course, that can't compare to the real thing and he still gets nervous but some Benadryl and some cotton in his ears can help him settle down and go to sleep until it's over. That didn't used to work but now it does.


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#5
Maj

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Thanks for the replies everyone.

If i keep the dog on leash im afraid she may not get the excersise required.

what do you guys do for those who have their dogs on a leash?

Like i have her on a rectrable lead and i run with her in the park so she can stretch her legs but obvioisly i get tired way before she even gets warmed up lol.

Our walks are fairly long and over the weekend she gets 3 hour walks but by the end shes still full of energy..

Playing with dogs gets quiet difficult as she is on leash and dont like for her to play with other dogs like that. I just feel so bad because she is so desperate to play with dogs but I always turn away. And then she lays down when ever she sees a dog apparantly that means 'hey im friendly lets play' lol

I take her to one to one training sessions which cost a fortune but its only so that its a controled environment and she gets to have some play time with the trainers dogs off lead... The trainer is helpful but his methods dont work for recall everything else hes amazing (training wise).

I guess il have to keep runing (keeping up with her more like) with her On lead

#6
Iorveth

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I don't know how fast Akitas grow but, keep in mind that too much exercise for a growing dog can be detrimental to their joints. 

You CAN give a leashed dog all the exercise required but, in my opinion, mentally, it just isn't the same as off leash time. We live where there is lots of rain and even the dogs don't like being out in it. For those days, we use a treadmill for physical exercise and things like Kongs, puzzles, and "treat hunting" in the house. Outdoors, until we can get that dang pasture fenced in (wire that's only suitable for horses and large ponies), we take them out on lunge lines used for lunging horses since they are heavier and don't get caught on everything. We can bring tuckered out dogs back to the house this way. 

Once she is older, you could consider biking with her. Our two younger dogs are like your Akita. We're tired LONG before they are! Unfortunately, we have no safe place to do this but, if we did, I would definitely be biking with my guys. It enables you to get a dog going at a faster pace while you are getting a form of exercise that doesn't wear you out as fast. I would avoid concrete as much as possible and wait until you are sure she is finished growing. 

The best thing for you to do is to find a few friends' dogs that she likes and that are a good size and energy match and have private "play dates". It sounds like you are the one without a yard so these friends would have to have yards. That way, she gets off leash and social time. It's a nice way to hang out with friends and socialize while you watch your dogs play together. 



#7
TRDmom

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Do you have dog-owner friends who have a fenced in garden where you could have a playdate? Maybe someone from one of your classes?

 

I do biking and packing with my dog to help burn energy. Packing is simple--get a dog backpack and put stuff in it (start light and build her up to heavier loads). :) You can also do it anytime (while hiking or just around the block). Some dogs may need reassurance with treats the first time they see it and others have an aversion to things going over their head. My dog isn't a big fan of the pack going over his head, but a few moments of dislike are easily outweighed by the benefits. Also, I try to put it on him with the saddlebags below, then twist it after its over his head so it fits correctly (sorry, its kind of hard to explain). This is what we use http://www.amazon.co...ds=dog backpack

 

I also use a flirt pole (like a cat toy) with my dog in the house when the weather is yucky. Here's something similar to what I have (to give you an idea) http://www.amazon.co...t pole for dogs

After jumping, chasing, and pulling for 10-15 minutes, he's usually breathing heavy and wants a break.



#8
naturalfeddogs

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I remember as a child, my older sister had some friends who lived across the street from her and they had an Akita. I remember walking with them and the dog to a nearby park to play ball with the dog. He was off leash, and I remember him being very obedient and never a problem. But, he was the first and so far the only pure bred Akita I have ever had any contact with. So, I would say if properly trained they would be fine. 



#9
Maj

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Thanks for every ones replies. 

 

TRDmom-  That toy looks great it is definitely something my dog will love and enjoy. What breed is your dog by the way? 

 

My backyard is big enough for her to stretch her legs and she does get to play with my uncles husky who is few months younger than her and they play really well together, although they have destroyed my garden! 

 

She does not get to play with her that often just now and again when they pop over. 

 

As far as play dates go its a shame because when i walk Kita other dog owners tend to walk the other way assuming she will attack their dogs so dont get to meet that many dog owners and the ones I meet they wont let her play as there worried their dogs may get hurt which is a fair point. 

 

I will have to figure something out. 

 

Thank you everyone for all your help


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#10
TRDmom

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I remember as a child, my older sister had some friends who lived across the street from her and they had an Akita. I remember walking with them and the dog to a nearby park to play ball with the dog. He was off leash, and I remember him being very obedient and never a problem. But, he was the first and so far the only pure bred Akita I have ever had any contact with. So, I would say if properly trained they would be fine. 

 

I have been around Akitas and lived with one for a Summer while visiting family. He was great with the family, the owner's possessions (he didn't mess with the livestock unless they got in his space, then he'd tell them to back off), and reserved though polite with strangers. As for strange dogs, particularly other males, forget it! From what I have heard from other Akita owners, that's typical. Its not unique to Akitas though, Boxers are rather notorious for same-sex aggression (not saying EVERY dog of that breed will be, but it is common within the breed).

 

People are probably afraid of your dog's size and because she probably reminds them of a wolf. Does she have a bow or something you can put on her? Pink or another "feminine" color may reduce the fear of other owners. You might feel silly, but when people see bows and cute colors, it tends to reduce their anxiety (I had a therapy dog and needed to "dress" her up a bit when she was "working" as it did help the patients realize she was friendly).

 

BTW, my current dog is a Mah Thai Lang Ahn (aka Thai Ridgeback Dog).



#11
Maj

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Actually never thought of something as simple as that I probably will give it a go lol. 

 

Wow these dogs look amazing just googling them now lol


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#12
naturalfeddogs

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I have been around Akitas and lived with one for a Summer while visiting family. He was great with the family, the owner's possessions (he didn't mess with the livestock unless they got in his space, then he'd tell them to back off), and reserved though polite with strangers. As for strange dogs, particularly other males, forget it! From what I have heard from other Akita owners, that's typical. Its not unique to Akitas though, Boxers are rather notorious for same-sex aggression (not saying EVERY dog of that breed will be, but it is common within the breed).

 

People are probably afraid of your dog's size and because she probably reminds them of a wolf. Does she have a bow or something you can put on her? Pink or another "feminine" color may reduce the fear of other owners. You might feel silly, but when people see bows and cute colors, it tends to reduce their anxiety (I had a therapy dog and needed to "dress" her up a bit when she was "working" as it did help the patients realize she was friendly).

 

BTW, my current dog is a Mah Thai Lang Ahn (aka Thai Ridgeback Dog).

I have heard that about them, but I haven't ever been around many. Just not the breed for me I guess.



#13
Iorveth

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I have heard that about them, but I haven't ever been around many. Just not the breed for me I guess.

 

Too much hair for me! I am just so solidly convinced that Xolos are for me. Well, half the breed... The hairless ones. Although I have known a few Akitas(not well enough to say I know the breed) and they really are beautiful dogs. That fur is so luxurious. It was fascinating to run my hands through their coats. I remember it feeling very thick and unique.



#14
naturalfeddogs

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They are very pretty, I know that also!



#15
arie

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Maj, does your trainer offer treadmill sessions or teaching your dog how to walk on a treadmill?

I had my lab taught how to walk on a treadmill and its great during bad weather or if I'm feeling lazy. During the summertime, temps hit 100s in Texas, so going on walks just isnt wise. You can even do multiple 10 minute sessions throughout the day as long as she is supervised on every session. I cant tire out my lab even if we did 2 hours of powerwalking. Two 15min treadmill sessions does the trick for Abby! (Then again, she is slowing down a bit at 7 yrs young).
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#16
Jordann

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Regarding play dates, if you are on Facebook or if you have an online classified website, you could try making a post saying you are looking for some playmates for your Akita. Obviously you'd have to meet the dogs to get a feel for how they act, but it may be worth it. I bet there is an Akita Facebook page for your area. You could pst there saying what you're looking for and I bet people could help or at least have other suggestions. :)

#17
Maj

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I have not yet tried FB but will look into it. I ended up booking a training session with a trainer who has had a lot of experiences with Akita's so I will see what he has to say also. 

 

Thanks everyone



#18
Jordann

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Let us know what he says!

#19
LeonilKyle

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Well, most Akitas enjoy carrying things around in their mouth, including your wrist! They may take you by the wrist to lead you to the cookie cupboard or to their lead. It is not an aggressive act.... it is an endearing trait. And If their "mouthing" is annoying to you, give them a job to do: allow your Akita to bring in the newspaper or the mail. They love to do these types of jobs.






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