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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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Lobo

"Stubborn" dogs- don't need- corrections
 
 
Barked: Tue Jun 26, '12 2:25am PST 
Ergh... I'm sorry...

I meant **learning, photography, as well as, of course, dog training**

It's late, haha.
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Bear

Everybody's- Buddy
 
 
Barked: Wed Jul 11, '12 11:30am PST 
Well, unfortunately, the breeding has not been able to take place yet. However, I have been doing some research and found a different breeder. We actually spoke today. We have first pick of the females when the litter arrives in August. The timing is actually better because we are moving to a new place. If there are no females, we will get a male, but my fingers are crossed! I've seen photos of prior litters, and was invited up to see the parents, hopefully in a few weeks. It is about an hour away from where we live, and we are heading that way soon. I'm very excited, and I think the timing will actually be a lot better!
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MIKA&KAI

Akita Pals- Always.
 
 
Barked: Thu Jul 12, '12 6:37am PST 
Sometimes you can get very lucky. We were 40+ on the list for a male puppy when we had talked to the breeder about Kai and wer beginning to wonder if we were ever going to get a puppy but I happened to be awake and e mailing the breeder on the night the first litter after we contacted her was born,and the first 4 pups in the litter of 9 were females,and the first male was white,the one color we really didn't want. Kai was the second male in the litter and when the breeder e-mailed me she said," I think we have your pup" He was darker than we expected,but we were more concerned about his personality fitting our family. By our second visit with him at 3 weeks it was pretty obvious that he was meant to be ours,he allowed me to hold him upside down,meaning in my arms like a baby rather than all fuor feet on the ground,and fell asleep im my arms,something he had done with no one else. When we picked him up at 8 weeks he walked easily away from Mom and siblings and followed me to the car,he has been Mommy's boy ever since.
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Bear

Everybody's- Buddy
 
 
Barked: Fri Jul 13, '12 6:34am PST 
I do feel lucky.
Now I did want to present a few questions...

1) Crate Training. I've done this before, and am very much for this method with puppies. But is it necessary with a trained adult Akita? Here's my logic. After we crate trained our pomeranian, Bear, we purchased a baby gate and let him have a room in the house. He does fantastic with this, and enjoys the extra space. It's not a huge room, but it lets him get up and move a bit. Can I do this with an Akita, crate train as a puppy, then give her a small room? Obviously the two dogs would not be in a room together. My parents crate trained their dog, and now at age 3 she is allowed loose in the house.
Your thoughts?

2) What is the deal with all of this stuff I've been reading about how important it is to be the "Alpha" when owning an Akita? I value teaching a dog commands such as: sit, stay, down, and come; but is all of the stuff I read accurate? Don't pet the dog if they ask for the attention, do it own your own terms...that seems a bit excessive to me. I understand that an Akita is a large, powerful, dominant dog, but to go that far? I'm not sure I agree...how did you all handle that?

3) How do people react in public to your Akita? Are they afraid because of his/her size? Are they drawn to them because they are not a dog you see everyday? It is very important to us that we socialize our puppy so she is good with people and does not show aggression towards them. But I've read Akitas just "know" the difference between a good stranger and a bad one. I enjoy walking, but I have to do it really early in the morning (4:30 a.m. beofre I get ready for work) or late at night after our daughter goes to bed. Living in a city, I'm not favorable of walking by myself while it's dark...just a paranoya thing I guess. But will my Akita be protective of me if I'm approached by someone I don't know and have not introduced her to?

Perhaps I'm a bit too thorough, but I want to be as prepared as possible.
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MIKA&KAI

Akita Pals- Always.
 
 
Barked: Sat Jul 14, '12 7:02am PST 
Actually,I have never crate trained any of mine,tried with all 3 but just ended up with a mess. No matter how small we made their space they would urinate/deficate in the crate and lay or roll in it. We just kept them in the room we were in or tethered to us and had no problem.

Throw away all the alpha crap you have heard. Yes you have to be firm and consistent,especially consistent,do not allow from the start what you do not mean to allow later. Ours are not permitted on the furniture except for our bed,that was a rule even when they arrived from day one. If you do not want them to beg,never feed them from the table or give them a bite of what you are eating until you are done,and only after they have sat quietly and waited. We did this with ours from day one and I can leave a complete steak dinner on my coffee table and go upstairs to get medication or wash my hands and will come back to find my food untouched. When we are eating they will lay quietly at our feet and even have drifted off waiting for us to finish a meal.

When mine were puppies everyone adored them,now there are alot of people who are afraid mostly because of bad things they have heard about the breed but mine are in fact very well socialized and will allow strangers to pet them if we say it is okay. What you have heard about them having a keen sense of people who have bad intent is true. Mine are usually fine in public and great with anyone we allow in our home but there are a few people that even as puppies they have not liked and to this day do not trust or allow near them let alone us. They are very protective of their pack even from a very young age. The landlord of the house next to us that was converted to apartments for some reason set both of mine off at as young as nine weeks,he in fact was the first person Kai ever barked at at all of 8 weeks,to this day Kai will watch him closely and if he gets too close bark,they just don't trust him,even Mika after nearly 6 years of having him on the other side of the fence has refused to ever allow him to pet her,I don't know what they know,or how they know,they just know there is something untrustworthy about him.
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Bear

Everybody's- Buddy
 
 
Barked: Sat Jul 14, '12 10:09am PST 
Thank you for the reply.

Glad to hear that everyone isn't all about crate training. I like using it for puppies, and my familiy, as well as myself, have had success with it. So I'll probably try it and see how it works. Then, once potty training is complete, she'll have her own room, filled with bones, kongs, and other goodies!

I'm also pleased that this "Alpha" stuff isn't all it's cracked up to be. What you said, is basically what we've always done...though I must admit, with Bear, we were a little more relaxed because it was "so cute" as a puppy. (the begging at the table) Now he doesn't have to. He sits beside our daughter and simply waits.

It's also nice to know that many of the "instincts" I've read about are accurate. Dog's seem to just have that extra, or 6th sense in regards to people. However, it seems as if the Akita is more in tune with it than many other breeds, which I like. I know they aren't barkers and have read that when an Akita barks...you pay attention. I don't want people to be scared of her, but when I'm walking when it's dark, I want someone to think twice before approaching.

We plan to do a lot of socializing too. Obviously we want her to be good with kids, as we have a daughter, but I have plenty of younger cousins she'll be around. We'll also take her to get her food, have her groomed, go to parks (Not dog parks...I'm not a huge fan of them; too many risks IMHO.), hopefully the beach, etc. so she interacts with a variety of people in multiple settings. I also don't want her to be other dog aggressive, but she'll be raised with our dog, and I know that will help, at least with him. But we'll also visit my parents monthly, and they have a doberman/beagle mix who she'll need to positively interact with on occassion, so they'll be introduced very early on.

I'm so excited...we already have some names picked out that we'll need to decide on. So far we have compiled a very modest list of: Juno, and Luna. I want something unique, beautiful, and dignified...just like the Akita. Hopefully I can add a few more.
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MIKA&KAI

Akita Pals- Always.
 
 
Barked: Sat Jul 14, '12 7:00pm PST 
Just in case you are interested it is a tradition to give your first Akita a Japanese or at least Asian name for good luck. Mika is Japanese and means blooming flower. Kai is also Japanese and means ocean. When we first saw him and until he was around 4-5 months he had a little white line on his forehead shaped like a wave but sideways. We found the names by looking on an Asian names for either boys or girls depending on the sex website. I do like both of your choices though.wishes
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Lobo

"Stubborn" dogs- don't need- corrections
 
 
Barked: Sat Jul 14, '12 10:28pm PST 
Lobo wasn't crate trained, but my future puppy will be. It depends all on your preferences, really. ^^

Agree 100% with M&K on the whole alpha thing. Load of bullpies. As for the attention thing, well, Lobo is one of those dogs who wants attention when HE wants it, and personally, that's never been a problem for us. I don't want him to be uncomfortable with me or anything. That said, I don't give him attention if he barks. I don't mind barking at all, but my family find it extremely irritating, so it was easier to just not allow barking. Lobo "asks" for attention by bringing me a toy, pawing at me, or if I'm busy/ignoring him and haven't paid attention to him all day, he'll "tickle" my thighs.

BSL isn't a problem where I live, so I've never had an issue. Most people here don't even know what an Akita is. I've met one little girl in my neighborhood who actually knew. She said she was surprised that Lobo was laying down with dogs and other little kids surrounding him, and that she knew Akitas were difficult to train. I wanted to hug her. laugh out loud Most people only see Husky in Lobo, though I've never really seen Husky in him... shrug So he's just "A pretty Husky dog" to most people.

I'm actually scared sometimes when people are really interested in Akitas. They aren't for "just anyone" and in the wrong hands, can be dangerous. But, in all honesty, I'm more afraid of GSDs than Akitas. laugh out loud
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Bear

Everybody's- Buddy
 
 
Barked: Sun Jul 15, '12 11:18am PST 
As far as names, that is our very short list. We are looking at Japanese names or words as well, but I haven't found too many that have captivated me. I do like Suki (meaning elegant pursuits), but I haven't seen too many I'm fond of, or that I like with the name Bear, our other dog. We did consider using the word Geisha as a name. Although some associate it with a negative connotation, Geishas were actually something many women aspired to in traditional Japanese culture. So that was a possiblity as well. But I've been stuck on Juno and Luna since we contemplated getting a female dog.

I completely understand what was said about people fearing Akitas. I know many insurance companies don't cover GSDs, Dobermans, Rottweilers, Pit Bulls, and Chows; but have never seen an Akita on that list. So many misconceptions are associated with breeds of dogs, and it frustrates me. Now, I'm not really scared of any breed of dog as I believe it is all about the owner and how they work with the dog individually. But people tend to fear a dog based on its appearance, and while the Akita is a beautiful dog, its large head, muscular shoulders, and confident gait (at least I think it walks/trots as if it knows no fear) I believe are the things that intimidate people. That's just my guess...

I would also be more afraid of other dogs, though I think the Rottie would top my list. They have some powerful jaws.

When I talked to our breeder about what size to anticipate he said both parents were 100+ lbs. The father obviously being larger than the female. But if the mother weighs 100 lbs, (as did her previous ancestors) can I expect a female dog to rememble the size of her mother? The only female Aktia I've seen weighed about 80 lbs. I assume it all comes down to genetics though. If the parents and ancestors are larger, than you can anticipate, to the best of your ability, a larger dog.
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MIKA&KAI

Akita Pals- Always.
 
 
Barked: Tue Jul 17, '12 5:35am PST 
I'm sorry I forgot to adress the attention thing. Mika will suck up all you are willing to give her,Kai on the other hand is more aloof,even with us,but when he wants attention he is very enthusiastic about it and will do the same things that Lobo does.This does not seem to apply to children however,both of mine will follow my grandchildren everywhere and suck up attention from them like a sponge. None of mine has ever been much of a barker,so when they bark we do not ignore them,it is for a reason. Akitas are in fact on many insurance companies lists,we were lucky with ours(Allstate). Except for Mika my others have also been very vocal,they tend to have a grumble that can be mistaken for a growl if you are not used to it or prepared for it. I understand what you mean about Asian names,not many appealed to us either.
We do not have BSL either,but Akitas have gotten a bad reputation in my neighborhood because someone picked a cute puppy from a pet store and failed to properly train or socialize it. Socialization is extremely important throughout their lives,although I don't like the dog park thing. The one that caused the bad attitude toward the breed was only occasionally walked,not encouraged to be petted or played with by anyone outside the family,and kept behind a fence and away from people most of the time,it bit 4 people,one seriously,also one of my neighbors knows that at one time in Japan,Akitas were used for pit fighting and happily let the rest of the neighborhood in on that little tidbit,along with a profile of the worst of the worst an Akita can be when raised improperly,so we had a very uphill battle in trying to show the neighborhood just how wonderful they can be in the right hands with someone willing to put in the time to meet their needs for proper training and socialization. We finally have mostly won that battle.hug
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