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Adding an Akita Puppy to our Family--Questions for Experienced Akita Owners

This is a forum for bonding with your fellow Dogsters about the traits, quirks and idiosyncrasies of your favorite breed. Please remember that there are absolutely no animal sales or requests for studding or breeding allowed on our sites. All posts and interactions should be in the spirit of Dogster's Community Guidelines and should be fun, friendly and informational. Enjoy!

  
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Member Since
04/12/2012
 
 
Barked: Thu Apr 12, '12 5:08am PST 
An Akita puppy. That is the dog we have chosen to add to our family. We found a reputable breeder, not a "backyard breeder", but someone who genuinely loves the breed and has an affinity to carry on the breed standard.

I would like to hear from experienced Akita owners, who will graciously elaborate on training an Akita puppy, explaining the ins and outs, dos and dont's etc. I am aware they require different training methods than other dogs, so I would appreciate some details. Our puppy won't be ready until late summer, so I'm doing my homework now, so when we get our puppy, we are able to properly train him/her to acclimate to our family environment.

One last comment: we have a 7 year old pomeranian who has been around other dogs his entire life. {We are all about socializing our dog(s) and giving them various experiences to better their temperment.} I've read Akitas can be tempermental with dogs of the same sex. We have been informed that we will be receiving first pick of the litter, so since our dog is a male, should we choose a female, or will it not be an issue since the puppy will be raised with our older dog?

Any comments would be greatly appreciated if you have experience with this breed!
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Member Since
04/12/2012
 
 
Barked: Thu Apr 12, '12 5:29am PST 
Reading through my post, I wanted to clarify something. I'm not asking for training tips because I am "unaware" or ignorant of what the breed needs. Nor am I trying to mold a specific breed to my lifestyle. I love the breed for what it is: loyal, protector, dignified, etc. There is simply so much useless information floating around out there, that I thought I'd come to a place where people have legitimate experience with the breed and could perhaps give some helpful tips.
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MIKA&KAI

Akita Pals- Always.
 
 
Barked: Fri Apr 13, '12 5:33am PST 
Congratulations on adding an Akita. Glad you did your research first!! Thank-you! It is not so much that training is different as your attutude and expectations must be different. Akitas can be very well behaved,and well trained,it just takes longer. They catch on very quickly to things but at around a year and a half to age 3,become stubborn and chose to do things in their time no yours.Being harsh or physical with an Akita may get even you bitten,they are very proud and will not be beaten or bullied into submission.
Clicker training has been very effective for alot of people but you may find that you have to mix methods a bit. I did not use a clicker,but something referred to as "positive marking" same principle but praise and a treat instead of click and treat. Training sessions must be short and frequent with puppies and even older Akitas because they will just become bored after as puppies about 5 minutes,as Adults 15-20 minutes. Every pup is motivated differently and you'll need to find what motivates your pup,I can tell you with Akitas,typically it's a certain food beyond that you will just have to see what your puppy likes. Please watch for foods with soy,wheat,and corn in particular but going grain free I have found is best. Who is the puppy for?
Akitas bond very closely with their people and we have always kept ours in our bedroom when very small,eventually they will become independent and want to sleep where they choose but for bonding you will want them,even if crated in the room of the person you wish them to bond with. I hope that some of this helps you but it is very difficult to help with general information.If you could please try to come up with some more specific questions,and even possibly what you expect from the dog and I may be able to help more from there. I am currently raising my second and third Akitas.my first was an Akita in GSD clothing. Only those who knew both breeds could see the Akita in her physically but as far as behavior/temperment/traits, she was an Akita.
Since you stated that you already have a male dog in all honesty I would suggest your Akita be female. Although they can be taught to tolerate and even like other dogs,they are much more selective about who they share their home with and an Akita will take a backseat to no one.Good Luck and I am more than willing to help you along the way. I adore the breed and my only concern is that they get into the hands of people who are fully aware of the good,bad,and ugly of the breed and are dedicated enough to see that theirs becomes one of the good examples. It sounds like you have made the choice to own one with eyes wide open and a willingness to work as hard as necessary to see that your pup doesn't become an example of what is bad in the breed,but rather an example of the beautiful,wonderful,and dignified dogs they are supposed to be.
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Member Since
04/12/2012
 
 
Barked: Fri Apr 13, '12 1:39pm PST 
Thank you for your response M&K.

To answer your questions:

1) We want the puppy for a family pet. We are all about socializing the pup (our pom, Bear, we took EVERYWHERE) with kids, adults, and other dogs. We have a two year old daughter, so while I am aware they are protective and loyal to their family, especially the kids, we do not want the dog to view visitors as a threat. SOCIALIZATION will be KEY. However, I enjoy going on walks in the early morning hours, and our pom doesn't exactly make me feel...protected. wink So when researching dogs, we looked for one that is loyal to its' family, and has protective instincts. After doing all the research we realized that an Akita would be work, but WELL worth it. We're willing to put in that extra effort to have such a fabulous companion in return.

2) As far as training, we are still considering our options, but have always preferred the "praise and treat" type of training. We always used positive reinforcement when training our pom, but are firm. From what I've read, and from the people I've talked to (our future pup's breeder) that is key.

Having moved from a small town to a city, I'm a bit more cautious when by myself walking/jogging, and when researching dog breeds, the Akita fit the bill. Then I ran into a woman, who we will be purchasing the puppy from, who had an Akita and the ball started rolling from there. It all just seemed to fit together so perfectly. We even went over to the breeder's house so my husband and daughter could meet the "mommy dog" as we explained to our little girl. Their dog was so good with our daughter, and our DD just adored their Akita.

After reading your comments regarding same gender conflict, I think we will be leaning towards a female, just to avoid the possibility of that conflict. (We even have a name picked! big grin )The puppy won't be ready until the end of summer (as the breeding isn't for another week or so), however, we view that as a good thing, as it gives us more time to prep for an Akita puppy!

Thanks for all the info. If you have any other helpful comments, I'd love to hear them!
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MIKA&KAI

Akita Pals- Always.
 
 
Barked: Tue Apr 17, '12 7:42am PST 
I think the praise and treat method will be a good choice,but as your breeder explained to you firmness is required. With praise and treat you can be fair and firm.Potty training is also usually pretty easy. Even with experience with the breed and having had more than one female in the house on more than one occasion during my lifetime,I too chose to avoid the same sex agression issue by adding a male pup as our second Akita family member. With proper socialization and having guests in your home,your pup should become comfortable with anyone you say is okay and not overly protective. Both of mine have adopted the family on the other side of the fence as part of their pack and will bark at strangers near the kids until properly introduced and let know that no harm is intended. If my grandchildren are here visiting for a weekend and a stranger approaches the kids,both of mine will step between the kids and the unknown person and bark,to let the person know they do not want them any closer,if left know that the person is okay,they will remain watchful but calm and will eventually warm up to the person. In my experience if you show them fear they will become more intimidating but that is also true of a threat,if you during a walk or jog feel threatened they will become more vigilant and establish what they consider a safe distance between you and the threat and warn the threat away. In spite of their reputation,when well socialized,they are protective and watchful not vicious. I'm glad you have already met the parents,are they calm or nervous? If they are told that you are a welcome guest do they allow you to pet them? Have you asked the breeder about temperment and agression in previous litters? Are you willing to be flexible about color in order to get the puppy that matches what you feel will fit your family and lifestyle best? With Mika we failed to ask alot of questions and although she fits our family perfectly,she did have some early issues with being fearful of almost anything new and even now changes in routine make her a bit jumpy. With Kai,he is and always was the total opposite,he was bold and confident but very laid back and tends to be more outgoing,he is still just as sweet as can be but would if necessary defend us to the death. Mika's confidence and willingness to be less aloof and more friendly was actually helped by Kai's boldness and confidence. I just appreciate more than you will ever know that you are going into owning an Akita knowing and preparing all you can beforehand. I will warn you that for the first year,they are notorious for chewing everything and anything,my first the GSD mix actually ate the better part of 2 swivel rockers because of separation anxiety even with another dog in the house. They are not needy and clingy like some breeds can be but absolutely need their people and only truly relax when their whole family is home and everyone is where they should be. Please start an account when you are able to get the first pictures of the puppies from the breeder. Feel free even now as a guest if you can to p-mail me anytime. I don't know how guest memberships work,you can also start a regular account with the dog you have and add your Akita later. We added Kai at about a day and a half old. We also knew at the time he might not be the pup we actually decided along with the breeder was best for us but as it turned out he was the perfect match.
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Member Since
04/12/2012
 
 
Barked: Tue Apr 17, '12 7:08pm PST 
Thank you again! Such wonderful, detailed responses!

I really like hearing all that information, and it is just so reassuring to hear those positive things about the breed. The more I hear, the more excited I am, because that is the exact personality I wanted our dog to have. Protective, yet intelligent!

We have met the mother. The owner met us outside, and let us in the house. Since we entered the house with her, her female Akita greeted us with a wagging tail. We were fine by her. Very nice. She was playful, friendly, and LOVED playing with our daughter. (She kept taking the ball to her, wanting her to throw it...so cute!) We have not met the father, but the owner has done her homework, which was very refreshing to hear. He has very good lines, and I have researched his background (we have the bloodlines) and pups from previous litters he has sired. All have very good reputations.

As far as color goes...we have told the owner the color(s) we would prefer, but ultimately it's about finding the pup that best fits our family personality versus color. We'll love the pup no matter what it looks like! (In case you were wondering, the mother is a pinto with reddish brown, the father black with a little white) Our preference is black, or we LOVE that smokey gray color with the black mask...but we'll take whatever we can, as I said before.

I'm getting ready to formally set up my account (hopefully) so I can get that done officially. Thank you again!
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MIKA&KAI

Akita Pals- Always.
 
 
Barked: Wed Apr 18, '12 7:09am PST 
I'm glad that you understand that the right personality is so much more important than the ideal color. We actually wanted a fawn with a black or split mask but Kai was the closest we could get,and the changes in color with him even shocked the breeder. If you go to Mika&Kai's page and go to the meet my family section you can click on the pictures and see their individual pages. So puppy color is never a sure indicator of what they will look like grown. There is also a picture of my Mattie at the bottom of Mika and Kai's combined page. She was my Akita in GSD clothing. We had the perfect comparison of the breeds right in front of us for nearly a year. When we got Mattie from an Oops! litter we already had a GSD female in the house and they were together for nearly a year before we had to have our GSD put to sleep. I was prompted by the huge difference in behavior to do more research and would have had an Akita sooner had she had any inclination to share her space after her companion and mentor was gone but she absolutely refused to tolerate another dog except as an occasional playmate after that,and only on neutral ground,never in our yard.
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Bear

Everybody's- Buddy
 
 
Barked: Sun Apr 22, '12 10:19am PST 
Thank you! We have already discussed the possibility of training/obedience classes. We've never had to do them before, because we always handle behavior of dogs on our own. However, if there are any good classes when we get our puppy that we are able to attend, we might be doing that as well. I know most people suggest it, so I am already looking into them.

Yes, since we've been told by the breeder that we will have first pick, she asked us about color/gender, and we told her we simply wanted the puppy that best suits our family, though since we have a male dog, we would prefer a female. Between the pedigrees of both dogs, any color is a possibility though pinto or black are probably going to be the dominant genes in the dogs, as I've looked at the sire's past litters/siblings/parents, and have seen the mother's bloodlines as well.

It's a lot to think about, but it's exciting to anticipate!
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MIKA&KAI

Akita Pals- Always.
 
 
Barked: Wed Apr 25, '12 4:44am PST 
Actually all of mine were self trained. With Mattie there really weren't any trainers in my area at that time so we just had to try different methods until we found what worked best. I tried with both Mika and Kai to get them into classes in our area but because all of the programs in this area use an Akita profile that is the worst of the worst,no one will take them,including private trainers.In fact,I had one trainer laugh at me at the very thought of an Akita being trained and a second one tell me that I should not bring Kai home but should get my money back and that I should have Mika euthanized before she bit us or someone else "because everyone knows those dogs are vicious killers". Hopefully you will be able to find a class that will train your pup just like they would any other breed. The only real difference I have noticed is that you need to find the right motivator,you need to start from day 1,and you need to be prepared for adolescence to rear it's ugly head making them seemingly forget all they have been taught and do things more when they want than when you want for a bit. Good Luck,sounds like you are very prepared and morethan able to add an Akita to your family,just watch out,I have run across so many people who were amazed at their first,that they became addicted to the breed,myself and hubby included.
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Lobo

"Stubborn" dogs- don't need- corrections
 
 
Barked: Tue Jun 26, '12 2:08am PST 
May I jump in for a moment?

In my experience, "firm" was never needed for Lobo. Lobo is a Japanese Akita Inu/Siberian Husky mix, and both breeds have been known for their bullheadedness and apparent "need" for firm training.

Lobo is clicker trained, and, as M&K already mentioned, this has been wonderful for him. I highly recommend at least doing research about clicker training, calming signals, counter conditioning, as well as operant conditioning.

With that out of the way...

WELCOME TO THE AKITA FAMILY! hug Once you go Akita, you never go back! laugh out loud Believe me. I didn't even know what an Akita was until I met Lobo. He has opened my eyes to SO many things. I discovered my passion for... EVERYTHING thanks to Lobo - more specifically, dog training and photography. As well as, of course, dog training! M&K can help you A LOT with the breed. She helped me with different behaviors that Lobo was giving me, that I wasn't sure about. They aren't usually in the Akita handbooks. laugh out loud

Like mouthing. Akitas "mouth" as a way of showing affection and bonding. Lobo mouths us quite frequently - but he has a VERY soft mouth. In other words, he could bit up an egg, and not crack it. Unless asked to. laugh out loud

Like M&K said, there IS a stage where they become EXTREMELY bullheaded. I am beyond happy to report that Lobo is FINALLY finished with that stage.

You've already said you plan to socialize - awesome. Just, yes, be careful of dogs of the same gender. What's interesting about Lobo, is that he has been attacked by a female dog, and simply turned away from her and ignored her. He gave her lots of calming signals, but not once snapped back. Of course, the second she snapped at him, they were both quickly leashed up and moved away from each other. Yay for Lobo. ^^

Ummm, other than that, M&K has really covered everything.
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