DO AKITA HAVE HIGH PREY DRIVE
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Whilst dogs have been bred away from being predators like their wolf ancestors, most of them still retain the instinctive ability and want to hunt – due to breeding, the prey drive manifests in many different ways in different dog breeds. Prey drive includes a few different behaviours including searching, stalking, chasing, biting to grab or biting to kill. Obviously not all dogs have such a strong prey drive, but it’s good to be aware of the specific behaviours as all dogs are individuals and temperaments can vary. The large and regal Akita is known to have an extremely strong prey drive. They are a powerful breed, and you should extreme take care when allowing your dog off lead in areas where they could come across other animals. Due to the breeds’ strong prey drive, as an owner, you need to be aware that it can be a mistake to trust an Akita around any small animals and pets – including cats and small dog breeds. These impressive dogs need to be well stimulated both physically and mentally in order for them to be well-balanced dogs and to prevent them from developing destructive or unwanted behaviours. Being independent dogs, they need an experienced owner that can handle the breed and gain the dogs respect as the calm and consistent leader in the home and outside. They are a high maintenance breed and have very high intelligence which makes them very instinctive and, being extremely good escape artists, they need a secure garden and an owner who is willing to put in the effort to train this impressive breed. Even when an Akita is well-trained, the extremely strong prey drive in them is complete instinct and so can become a real issue if you decide to take your dog to areas that are not secure where there will be smaller animals guaranteed to be around. It is fair to say that Akitas are known to be “dog-aggressive” and even if they have grown up with those other dogs then you shouldn’t 100% trust that they will always get along. Akitas are strong willed dogs and if they feel that they are being challenged in any way then they will not easily back down – they are fearless dogs. Akitas that have not been properly socialised from a very early age can show aggression towards people – specifically those that are strangers to them. They are devoted dogs, but usually to one person and this protective instinct can cause issues if not properly corrected. They form a very strong bond with their owner and show this devotion to them in a calm and quiet manner and wanting to know where their owner is at all times without being in your face. They are independent thinkers with very strong characters that are not suited to first time owners. It is in their genes to protect as historically this is what they have always been trained to do, so, again, if they feel threatened or they feel that you are in danger then they will instinctively protect due to their impressively perceptive nature. As I mentioned already, the Akita is extremely intelligent and so can be very challenging to train. They must be socialised from a very young age with other dogs, people and situations. Even with an owner who is very familiar with the breed, you should never assume that your Akita can be fully trusted in all situations because of their prey drive being so strong. It’s important to understand the difference between prey drive and aggression as they can very easily look like they are one in the same. A dog’s aggression is driven by very strong emotions like fear whereas their prey drive is instinctive. Aggressive dogs will want to increase the distance between themselves and the object of their aggression, but a dog’s prey drive will draw them closer to the target. So why does this really matter? Well – as a dog’s prey drive is not driven by emotions, it is most often easier to manage than emotion-based aggression. An extremely strong prey drive can be particularly problematic if you dog wants to chase absolutely anything that it sees – going for walks could become a nightmare for you as an owner. So, they need to be properly trained and corrected in order to prevent your dog from ignoring your every call. Most of a dog’s prey drive behaviours are harmless, but can cause problems for you as an owner, being unable to go for a walk with your canine companion and to be constantly worrying that they are going to take off. It’s super important to look into the specifics of a dog breed before bringing them into your home to make sure that you and your pup will be a good match. Plus, it’s good to be aware of the different behaviours that your breed of interest may show more than another breed would.