|Barked: Tue Feb 12, '13 8:02am PST |
|Thanks for the responses. I have done a TON of research on Akitas. A lot of it is very helpful, a lot of it is just a constant regurgitation of the same facts and a lot of it is just very, very general. For example, Akitas "can be fine with the family cat if raised from a young age" is a VERY VERY common line you will see in the midst of all the warnings. But that's ALL it says.
We have 3 cats and ended up trying the Bitter Apple on the youngest, the one who is outright instigating the dog, because she simply will not keep her distance-- to the point where if she wasn't actually mentally disabled I'd think she had a death wish-- well, it worked but not as intended- it made her mad at ME and I spent about an hour giving her a bath (the wipes didn't work). Have you ever given a cat a bath? I'd rather let the akita chew my arm off LOL
We use Bitter apple for objects around the house (as well as our shoes & pants). Considering this is the only dog I've ever met who is insisting on eating GLASS, it was not optional for objects. We have used it on our hands on occasion. It's not that he's a BAD puppy (actually he's the best behaved puppy I've ever had), but his excitement level can raise rapidly. Now he has gotten to the point where the SMELL of the bitter apple is enough for him to not bite (my stairs are grateful for that). And if we spray it ANYWHERE during a bite fit (on the glass table, the couch etc) he will lose interest in what he was going after. Clearly if we were considering doing it on a cat then we were worried. The real fix to this situation, in the long run, is to keep the cats upstairs which is absolutely not fair to them. Lots of the problems we've been having are because they have to cross his path to use the litter box and that's also not fair.
He's now getting to the point where he has individual relationships with the cats. The fat orange one who scares him, the little grey one he is desperate to play with but will probably kill, and the black one who he is the most tolerant of. This is because that cat doesn't RUN (unless chased... we have a no tolerance "no chase" policy, but with the litter box being so close to the door we have made mistakes).
Anyway, one thing I wanted to post here that we have done which has worked-- AMAZINGLY-- is for bedtime. We had some issues with crating, but now that he has a newf-sized cage (w/puppy panel), it's starting to subside... but he STILL hates going in his cage. We put his food in the cage and it's freaking adorable the way he will STREEEETCH to get to his food without putting his back paws in the cage. We have cage rules- we don't take toys out of the cage, or treats. We only toss them in. We do not lock him in there when he is bad (though we have set aside gates on our dining room as a "time out"/"quiet room" area where he can just go to settle down when he gets over excited, we're careful to make sure he knows he is not being punished for this).
So to finally get him settled at night, to not hate his crate AND sleep through the night, we established a lullaby. Music training worked REALLY well with our cats and seems to be working even better on the dog. Basically after his last time out for the night, we get treats and then we go near his crate and relax, giving him love for a few minutes while playing his lullaby (which is "asleep" by the Smiths). When the song ends, we put him in the crate and play the song again. This time just whispering comforting things to him and letting him know that it's bed time. When it ends we put up the gate over the family room (so the cats don't sleep on his daytime bed right in front of him), say goodnight and go to bed.
It is ADORABLE to watch him try to struggle to stay awake. But within 20 seconds of that song going on he is yawning and ready to pass out.
Again- thanks for the responses. We're doing much better.
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