This is not a dog - You're dealing with Royalty
Clean, Proud, Magnificent - Worthy of a King
Naturally protective - Socializing is a Must
Akitas are large and powerful. They have strong and intimidating personalities. The breed is naturally fearless and will instinctually protect their family. They stay away from strangers but make no mistake they are not afraid of them. They are very territorial to outsiders paying no attention as to whether they are two or four legged. To their family, the Akita is loving and respectful, demonstrating unparalleled loyalty. This is why you must socialize the Akita if you are going to have help regarding their care.
The Akita must be trained to adapt to their environment. The Akita has a very strong personality and he is a born hunter and protector. They are hugely independent and their goal is not to fetch a ball and they don’t aim to please everyone like a Golden or Labrador. This makes training them quite a bit challenging. You need to be firm and assertive while training them as they are dominating by nature. You will get further with patience, kindness and flexibility. Ask and they will perform, tell and they will generally ignore you. If you think you are going to be aggressive and "man-handle" them, think again. This is a dog that will not tolerate that type of behavior, ever.
The Akita is highly intelligent with a long memory. However, the Akita has little patience. Keep training sessions interesting and short. Reward him with treats but small treats, remember they Akita never gets full of snacks. Always use a leash if training in a public area. The Akita does not like strangers and will protect when feeling threatened. Never allow your Akita to walk without a leash. Again, socializing is of the utmost importance. By nature the Akita is a loner and always suspicious of everyone.
Different breeds have different food requirements. Large breeds require more protein. We advise that you meet with a pet nutritionist to make sure you are feeding them correctly. We feed Fromm to all our dogs and highly recommend it.
Make sure you always have fresh water. The Akita drinks a lot of water, especially in warmer climates. Akitas are also prone to bloat, so wait thirty minutes before and after exercising to offer food or water.
The Akita is very food aggressive and serious injuries can occur to other pets during feeding time. We strongly recommend your Akita is fed alone, preferably in a kennel. If you have other pets or more than one Akita, it is not recommended to leave food, treats or bones lying around. Of course there are always exceptions to the rule and as you and your Akita grow together you will find those exceptions. Just keep in mind the Akita is closest to the wolf, so by nature the Akita's behavior can be very similar.
American Akitas have a double coat that protects them from the cold; regular brushing is very important to keep their coat healthy and shiny and to avoid having to bathe them too often. When you do bathe your dog, remember that you must use specific shampoo for dogs to avoid damaging their skin and prevent allergic reactions. Weekly brushing is enough, but it must be daily, especially in spring and autumn, the two seasons the American Akita molts or "blows out" its coat.
If you are lucky and have a groomer then you have a groomer because you socialized the Akita as a youngster. If you don't introduce the Akita to grooming while they are young then most likely you will not find a groomer willing to take on that kind of challenge. Most Akitas do not take bathing or having a blow dryer pointed at them by a stranger, too kindly.
Other tips to care for an American Akita
The American Akita has a life expectancy of 10 years, but with proper care it can live for 12 years. Here's what you can do to monitor all aspects of your dog's health:
Prevent tartar build-up on the teeth and gums by practicing regular oral hygiene with toothpaste and a dog-specific toothbrush. Accustom your dog to this routine from an early age.
American Akitas should be given specific feed for large dogs, as it will help them prevent joint diseases and maintain their cartilage. Suitable feed will also help keep their coat in top condition. Click the button below for more information.
Oversee all aspects of general care: follow the vaccination and deworming schedules, go to the vet for regular check-ups and learn about the common diseases of American Akitas.
The Akita is unique among some of the working group in that they are more comfortable being an only dog or as a pair, rather than being a true pack dog. This may be caused by their fighting heritage or because of their role in the rural areas. It would have been uncommon for people to keep more than one or two of these very large sized dogs, even when they were used for hunting or for herding and protecting flocks, which were a major part of the early Akita's role.
Unlike many of the pack hunting and herding dogs, the Akita can and will be very dominant and dog-aggressive, especially towards dogs of the same gender. Akita puppies raised with other dogs will do well together however trying to introduce an adult Akita that has not been socialized to other dogs, especially in the Akitas own home or yard is not recommended. When raising an Akita with another dog from a puppy it is best to get breeds of about the same size as well as of opposite genders. Early spaying and neutering of both dogs will also help prevent any of the more common aggression issues. Intact male Akitas can be very aggressive and difficult to manage when females in heat are in the vicinity, so very close monitoring of intact males for signs of aggression combined with lots of socialization in essential.
Akitas can, as with other dogs in the family, be suitable for homes with cats. While the Akita will learn to tolerate his or her own family cats, they are avid chasers of other cats. Often the Akita will see stray cats in the yard as a threat, and they will kill smaller animals that venture onto their property. This trait is occasionally so strong in some Akitas that they should not be left unsupervised even with a family cat. Raising the Akita in a household with cats from the puppy stage is really the only safe option for the cats and the dog to interact without the potential for disaster.
The breed, as a whole, is outstanding with children. They are playful but careful, loyal and patient with children and simply love to be around their family. Some Akitas may be food aggressive and toy possessive, so it is essential to include training around having the children take the food or the toy away from the Akita and then give it back when the puppy responds by sitting to wait. This needs to be done only when adults are present to manage the puppy. This type of training should never be done by a child with an adult Akita as they can easily knock a child down and learn a very dangerous behavior. Some Akitas are intolerant to teasing and this needs to be carefully monitored and children taught how to avoid teasing the dog.
The Akita is a highly intelligent dog that won't need to be taught how to be a natural watch dog. They are not prone to barking however they often "talk" to people and almost seem to carry on a conversation. This talking sound is part howl, part yodel and some growling or grunting type noises, all done when the dog is happy and content, not showing signs of aggression or anxiety. When an Akita does bark he or she needs to learn to stop, since they have a very deep, penetrating type of bark. Many Akitas also have natural guard dog tendencies and will often step between a stranger and the owner as if putting up a shield for protection.
Like many of the large breeds of dogs the Akita is not typically a dog that jumps to aggression until they see if you are welcoming the stranger or if you are showing any signs of anxiety or fear. Akitas tend to sit back and watch new people and are rarely a dog that is overly affectionate with strangers. Since they are so bonded to the family they can be very difficult to rehome once they mature, however with the right match an Akita can transition from one home to another with patient and understanding new owners.
Housetraining an Akita is unlike any other dog. Always naturally clean the Akita is often fully housetrained in just a couple of weeks after coming home for the first time. They learn by positive reinforcement and seem to remember any type of harsh treatment and avoid that individual, so simply positively rewarding the dog for going outside is typically all that is needed for full housetraining. If you spank the dog or yell at the puppy if he or she has an accident they will become distrustful and may simply stop responding to that particular individual.
Training needs to be started immediately with these dogs. They will go through a period of time where they can be rather challenging, especially common in males, at about the teenage stage. For most Akitas this will occur at between one and two years of age and owners need to understand the dog is testing the limits of your leadership ability. Early and consistent obedience training can be very effective in both training as well as socialization.
All training routines need to offer a variety of commands as the Akita will become bored and cease to respond to very repetitive types of training. They love a mental challenge and can learn words for many different toys and commands and will continue to learn all through their lives. Using these types of training techniques will help to keep your Akita mentally active.
A poorly trained Akita is really a dangerous dog due to their potential for high aggression levels as well as their large size. It is not uncommon for a male Akita to weigh up to 120 pounds, with females typically just slightly lighter. Combining their weight with their fighting dog history is something that owners need to keep in mind when training. Never teach aggression or use aggressive training methods with the Akita as they are very likely to result in highly negative behaviors. However, channeling the positive behaviors into obedience, scent and tracking, retrieving and even agility types of activities and training is a great way to develop a well behaved and highly socialized dog.
All puppies must be socialized in order to have stable, balanced behaviors in their adult life; however, this is especially important when we talk about the American Akita. Why? To put it simply, they are strong, robust, territorial and headstrong dogs.
Here is what you must bear in mind when socializing an American Akita puppy.
Your American Akita puppy should have a durable toy suitable for dogs, since it will love to nibble on it and it must be able to channel all its energy through the appropriate accessories. Here you can learn more about bite inhibition in dogs.
From a young age, your American Akita should have contact with the whole family, including any children in your home.
The sooner your American Akita gets used to the presence of other dogs and animals, the better. They are very territorial animals, especially in the case of male dogs, so they must learn to share a space with others from an early stage. Neutering is highly recommended.
This is a serious and powerful dog that has one thing on his mind, business. Don’t expect that this breed of dog is going to be anything like a Golden Retriever or Labrador, playful and full of fun and games. The Akita has one thing on his mind and that is to protect you and give you his loyalty. These are fiercely attentive to their owners and their loyalty is what they want to show you. They are known to protect their owner and their families from anyone – any kind of threat and he is at your side ready to come to your rescue. This breed requires certain care, starting from a young pup, in order to help them develop into well-adjusted adult Akita. Here are seven special tips for taking care of Akita puppies.
Training your Akita pup needs to start as soon as you get your puppy home. Akitas get bored easily and do not do well with repetitive type training. Whereas some breeds of dogs can learn from teaching a command over and over until they get it, an Akita learns better when training consists of two commands taught in short intervals, with training switching back and forth between the two commands. They will often give you different answers to your commands, therefore you will want to change up how you offer the command, such as, with the command “sit,” command them to sit while they are standing in front of you, beside you, behind you, etc. They need to learn that the command, “sit” means the same no matter where they are next to you.
Your puppy needs to start the socialization process as early as possible. Socialization means to introduce your Akita pup to all kinds of situations and experiences. The sooner you start the socialization process, the better your canine will learn to feel more comfortable with the situations. Some examples would be to start to gently open his mouth and examine his teeth so that he gets accustomed to dental checks. Look at his feet and handle his paws, trim his nails and perform grooming tasks, such as brushing him. He needs to get used to being handled, and handled by all family members. Pick him up and hold him often, have all family members spend time with him to get him used to everyone in the pack, and everyone bonds with him.
Crating your pup in the begging months will help to teach your puppy where he is allowed to be and not to be. It will also help tremendously in the housebreaking training. Allowing your Akita pup to freely roam in the house will let him start to dominate the home and think he can where he wants, when he wants. He can also get into mischief and be destructive. Crates are also a place that gives dogs a sense of security. They are den animals and like to have a feeling of security in enclosed areas. A crate recreates that for them.
Your Akita will require a different type of feeding habit than most breeds. You Akita needs a good kibble food, as opposed to wet food, which can expand in their stomachs and cause digestive issues. High protein puppy food is recommended in the first couple of months to help with their growth, and after, a combination of fresh fruits and veges, with a good dry kibble food, is the preferred way to feed your dog. Blue Buffalo Wilderness is a good source of nutrition, along with fresh apples, no seeds or skin, blueberries, raw carrots and cooked peas, are also recommended throughout the week, in their meals. White or brown rice is also a good source of carbohydrates for your Akita. A day of fasting once a week, should also be a part of your nutritional plan for your Akita. Choose one day a week that you will have your Akita fast every week, and keep the plan the same, week-to-week. This is done to help your Akita’s digestive system rest, however, during the fasting day, you can offer him some fresh fruits and veges.
Your Akita will need to be properly groomed in order to keep him clean and free of skin issues. Brush your Akita often to help remove fur from the undercoat that will start shedding. Check his nails regularly and make sure they are kept at a good length that won’t cause him problems walking or damage your floors. Your Akita’s teeth should be brushed regularly to avoid dental decay, just the same as humans get, as well as his ears should be regularly cleaned and around his eyes. Proper grooming helps to ensure your Akita will be healthier and happier from puppyhood, through his adulthood.
Your Akita pup will have a lot of energy that he needs to get out. You will want to spend quality time every day, dedicated to playing with your Akita pup. They love to be outside and play games. Playtime not only allows you to bond with your Akita pup, but it gives them a chance to get exercise and stimulate their minds. Play games with balls and other dog toys, with your Akita pup. Teach him how to play properly by not playing rough with him to encourage rough behavior or aggression. Don’t rough and tumble, push him around or other types of aggressive type play, using your hands around his mouth, or play that creates frustration in your puppy.
Your Akita is going to grow into a very large dog, ranging anywhere between 70 and 130 pounds. He is also a breed of dog that was bred to hunt and guard, so although they can be passive and calm, they have an instinct to protect and if provoked, there is a risk of aggression. Your Akita should always be on a leash when out with you, and having complete control of the leash is important, to avoid the chance of it getting out of your hands if your Akita should happen to try to lunge or take off, away from you. Training your Akita to obey you and your commands is high priority, while also training them how to walk on a leash and obey you while on it.
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Does the Akita Shed? I don't call it shedding. Twice a year in the spring and fall they have what is called a blow out. After the blowout (usually 2-3 weeks) there is minimal to no shedding. You only have a spring and fall blowout to get through and then you can enjoy!
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