My Akita is stubborn

If you are saying this, please read the entire blog:

My Akita is stubborn.

My Akita is too stubborn and too stupid to train.


I’m on a few Akita Facebook pages, and a number of people post about how their dogs are stubborn and even stupid.  And how they are untrainable.

This is the description of the Akita temperament in the breed standard:  Alert and responsive, dignified and courageous.  They also describe the breed thus:  Akitas are very intelligent and loyal.  The American Kennel Club!  The breed standard!

Every time an Akita owner refers to their dog as stubborn or stupid, he or she reinforces that belief to themselves.  Also to others.

Each time that occurs, they reinforce negative stereotypes about the breed and add to the bias against the breed.

“I’ve tried to train my dog, but….” According to these people, the dog should listen and understand despite shortcomings on OUR parts.  Not the dog’s part.  Ours.

The disconnect comes from a person’s inability or unwillingness to train their dog.  Lack of knowledge and reluctance to train is also part of the equation.  Let’s face it, there’s also this: people may also be lazy.

Dogs are supposed to understand or intuit what their humans want without training or with poor training.  In these situations, it’s not the dog’s fault. It’s the human’s fault.

There needs to be a metamorphosis?  Revolution?  Definitely a change in how we, as Akita owners, view and discuss the trainability of our Akitas.  The breed already gets enough bad press.

Stop reinforcing the incorrect belief that Akitas are stubborn and stupid.  “It’s not what I ask my dog to do,” says my friend Sheila, “it’s how I ask her to do it.”


If you want a dog that is ‘easy’ to train, get a lab or a golden. Know and understand the breed! Your Akita is likely to be more clever than you are.  To quote an Akita lover I know:  “Stubborn means smarter than you.”

This comment makes me chuckle – from a dog trainer I know: “any dog that is called “stubborn” is simply burdened with a rather unimaginative human”

Two deaf Akitas grace our home.  Talk about the checkmate of dog training!

We’d had other Akitas.  Those dogs, however, were mostly aged and/or health challenged rescues, ‘unadoptable’ dogs that deserved a soft landing.  None required much (if any) training.

In short, I was a relative newbie to dog training when I started working with Kiyo, who is now nearly 8 years old.  To complicate matters, Kiyo is not terribly interested in performance. She was bred for conformation (and is lovely), and works for me because I ask her to.  She is relatively soft (for an Akita).

Four-year-old Toka, on the other hand, closely matches the breed standard for temperament.  He works for me because he enjoys the challenge, the puzzles, and (especially) the cookies.  He’s been  conditioned to like to training.

Here’s a poor quality video of him (sorry! over-exposed) as we prepare for a training session.  He’s quite excited about having his collar put on in preparation for our training session.  Training = FUN!  This is a conditioned behavior.  I’ve made training fun and interesting for him, so he associates work with excitement and fun.

My pups now have over 100 performance titles between them.  Let me repeat that I started in dog training with Kiyo – I am not a professional dog trainer and prior to Kiyo, had pets.

There are hundreds of other Akita owners who are working in performance with their dogs.  Here are a few photos of Akitas in action.

In therapy:


Screen Shot 2019-07-23 at 1.12.43 PM

Crisis response:  Screen Shot 2019-06-26 at 2.08.11 PM

Obedience & Rally:



Barn Hunt:   Screen Shot 2016-02-20 at 12.52.50 PM

Screen Shot 2019-06-26 at 2.33.34 PM

Screen Shot 2019-06-26 at 2.56.31 PM

Weight Pull:

Screen Shot 2019-06-26 at 2.26.30 PM

Pack Hiking & Hiking:



Nose Work/Scent Work:




Screen Shot 2016-02-20 at 12.55.01 PM


Screen Shot 2019-06-26 at 2.58.08 PM


Screen Shot 2019-07-23 at 12.59.15 PM

Treiball: Screen Shot 2019-06-26 at 10.01.07 PM

And just for fun:

Retrieving and swimming:

Screen Shot 2019-06-27 at 9.12.27 AM

As a ring bearer at a wedding

:Screen Shot 2018-08-26 at 10.25.45 AM.png

The owners of each of these dogs started in the exact same place. At the beginning. Knowing little to nothing about dog training.  Most probably have very little in common except for two things:  1) Love of the breed  2) blindness about how ‘stubborn’ or ‘stupid’ Akitas are supposed to be.

These photos are meant to inspire and motivate, not intimidate.  They’re posted to demonstrate that Akitas can be trained, by anyone.  My friend Deb said ‘If I can do it, anyone can.’  How often have I said that myself!

What matters is that instead of blaming the dog, the human starts looking at their own part in the matter.

Quit blaming your Akita for your lack of dog training.


2 thoughts on “My Akita is stubborn

  1. There has never been a breed better then the Akita! You have to be diligent in training just as with a child. I bought mine at nine weeks old and he was independent yet loving. He actually understood english language and was alway willing to please. Anyone that does not want to take the time to bond and train this breed should never get an Akita. Mine crossed the rainbow bridge at the ripe old age of 17. I will always miss him, he took a piece of my heart with him.


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