Getting Off To A Good Start

Good pack leadership skills are a must when dealing with the developing Akbash Dog. Owners must be capable of properly challenging Akbash Dogs for authority over food and prized possessions and making timely corrections for resistance. The Akbash Dog does not mature until 2 years of age, and a concerted effort to socialize, guide, and lovingly demand respect is critical to the successful ownership of the breed. Therefore Akbash Dogs need to live with owners who are gentle but firm, commanding without being bullies, and understanding of the flock guarding mentality. How soon your Akbash Dog can be considered safe unattended with livestock depends primarily on how well you have supervised the pup and given consistent, well-timed corrections for any misbehavior from the start of ownership.

Supervision and Guidance
All young dogs require strict supervision and guidance as to what is right and wrong. Even puppies with excellent livestock aptitude may try to play with stock to which they have properly bonded as they would with another dog. This is especially true with the single pup without a canine playmate. It is critical they be strictly supervised through the first couple of lambing seasons and never allowed to play roughly with small or young livestock. How good the dog becomes at maturity depends on how well you can guide the dog through adolescence. They require 2 years of strict supervision and training in order to be reliable with young and small livestock unattended.

Fencing and Land Requirements
Companion Akbash Dogs should be placed in homes with a well-fenced (4'-6') yard of at least a quarter of an acre in a rural or semi rural area. They are generally inappropriately placed in town or in subdivisions, where their genetically intense guarding instincts and patrol barking may be a liability. I insist that dogs going to companion homes be taken to puppy socialization and obedience classes. Working dogs also should receive at least puppy socializing and basic obedience. These are large, powerful, rather independent dogs with a strong pack hierarchy and it is very important that they be well mannered and under control, be that home and in public. Dogs working in larger areas are less likely to get bored and develop play chase behavior.

Barking and Territory
Barking is the primary warning flock guardians’ give would be predators, so dogs outside must reside where their barking will not bother anyone. They can be trained to limit their barking to only serious situations but they can still be expected to bark at unusual sounds and scents, particularly at night. The duty of a flock guardian is to keep all uninvited intruders away from the flock. An Akbash Dog's established territory belongs to the dog, and it should not be expected to tolerate intrusions from wandering neighborhood dogs.