If you own an Akita-pitbull mix, you are blessed to share your life with a loyal, tough and protective companion. Unfortunately, the same traits that so many people adore in these dogs, such as physical strength, intelligence and protective behaviour, also make them difficult to train. Pay special attention to properly socialising these animals around both people and other pets, or their aggressive instincts are likely to get the better of them.
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Things you need
- Harness (optional)
Establish your authority. This will be more of an issue for the Akita side than the pit bull side. All dogs need to learn to obey human commands, and the sheer muscle strength of a pit bull can be problematic if the dog does not. However, pit bulls tend to accept human authority much more readily than Akitas, who can struggle with their owners for control.
Establishing your authority means always getting your own way, for the good of the dog: you decide which commands they will obey, where you will walk and how fast, and how often you dispense treats. Do not give in to your dog if it displays stubborn behaviour; calmly continue issuing commands until the dog obeys.
Reward your Akita-pitbull mix with treats, praise and petting for obeying your commands. If the dog does not, or engages in destructive behaviour such as shredding, do not yell or scream at it. Clean up and ignore the bad behaviour. (The animal may see negative attention as a better alternative than no attention, and could repeat it again for that reason.) Both Akitas and pit bulls have high intelligence, and positive reinforcement is something that both sides of the dog's nature will pick up on quickly.
Get your mix used to being around others, including humans, dogs and various other types of domesticated animals. If you can start when your Akita-pitbull mix dog is a puppy, this increases the chances you will end up with a calm and well socialised dog. However, if you received your dog as an adult, it's not too late. Start by spending time at home or in the backyard with just family members. Pit bulls need to spend a great deal of time with humans, and Akitas are most comfortable with the immediate family. Once your dog does not display shyness or aggression toward these people, take it on walks where other people and animals will be present. Save places like the dog park for last, so you can observe how your animal interacts with others before letting it loose with them.
Consider using a harness to walk your dog until it is better trained. Akitas and pit bulls are extremely strong -- and strong-willed -- dogs. If they do not yet obey commands such as "heel" and "stay," they are likely to excessively tug a human of average strength using a regular leash. A harness gives you more control over the dog's movements.
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