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To adopt an 18 month old Akita or not - this is my question.

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Member Since
08/28/2012
 
 
Barked: Tue Aug 28, '12 10:53pm PST 
Okay Akita owners, I need your help!

I have always had dogs growing up and I am within months of moving out of my parent's house. I began thinking recently of living without a dog and I cannot imagine it. Today I went to my local SPCA to look at an Alaskan Malamute I had seen online; however, upon arrival and a short interaction time I found that the Malamute in question would not be ideal for me due to behavior problems, etc. As I was leaving the shelter I saw a white and black dog that was all skin and bones with his hair hanging in patches. To be honest, it broke my heart that a dog should be treated in such a manner. I instantly inquired and found out that the dog, Taz, was a male Akita around 18 months old. He had been in the shelter a month and was just starting to gain weight. Now, I have had a Collie and Bassett Hound before, and currently have a male and a female Bassett Hound that are brother and sister, but I have been unable to get Taz from my mind. I was able to take him for a short walk, about a mile, before having to leave him at the shelter. He is certainly one of the most mild-mannered dogs that I have had the opportunity to meet, and the shelter workers informed me that he gets along wonderfully with all the other animals at the shelter.

Here is my question: should I adopt him? Taz has been in the shelter for a month, but it is very overcrowded and few to no people have shown any interest in adopting him. I am a 6ft1in male and have always wanted a large dog. I have spent probably 6 hours researching Akitas this afternoon and I am returning to spend some more time with Taz tomorrow. At my parent's house we have 1&1/2 acres enclosed with an invisible fence. Our house is two stories, and provides ample space of a dog that size. The house I am going to be moving into at the end of Sept. is a log cabin that offers 2 acres enclosed by an invisible fence. The cabin itself is one bedroom, but the den/kitchen area is open with a lot of room.
I have no one to ask these questions of, but as I said, I simply dread the thought of such a sweet and loving dog being put down after an already hard, but short, life. Do you believe that I could meet his needs? Will invisible fencing work or should he be a strictly indoor dog? I am more than willing to put in the time to train him and earn his trust and love, but do you think the area I have to offer will benefit or harm him? Please reply soon as I don't think the shelter will wait for me to decide too long.

Thank you for your advice!

Hunter
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MIKA&KAI

Akita Pals- Always.
 
 
Barked: Wed Aug 29, '12 7:32am PST 
Hunter,
Invisable fences are not a good idea with Akitas,should something of interest catch their eye they will ignore the "shock of the fence and cross it anyway,because of what they were bred for,they tend to have a very high pain tolerance and will simply ignore it. They do have issues with Same sex agression that tend to develop between the ages of 18 months to 3 years and may suddenly develop a hatred for a dog they previously got along well with.
In spite of their coat,they tend to fare far better inside than as outside dogs,they bond very closely with their people but when left outside tend not to bond as well and can become territorial and agressive. They also need TONS of socialization regularly and throughout their lives to keep them from becoming overly protective of their territory. They require firm,fair,consistent training but use of physical force with them is unlikely to do anything but get them to mistrust you and possibly get you bitten. To learn a bit of the good,bad,and what can be the ugly side of the breed you might want to go to the Akita rescue of western ny and check out their profile of the breed as well as take their assesment of what a good Akita owner is. I will post more later.
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Member Since
08/28/2012
 
 
Barked: Wed Aug 29, '12 6:49pm PST 
Thank you for your response! I visited the 18 month old male Akita again today, and will do so again tomorrow. I took him for a walk, and as happened the first day I took him for a walk he was ready to lead me where he wanted to go. However, unlike the previous walk I I took charge and took a different path from our first walk. He tried to get ahead and lead me, but I firmly and calmy told him no and gave him a little tug to bring him to my side. He responded well to this and after a few gentle "tugs" on his leash he did not attempt to do so again.
Also- I wanted to personally witness his interaction with another dog of the opposite sex before witnessing his interaction with the same sex. A SPCA volunteer chose a female pitbull to first "test" him with. I have spoken with 4 handlers and all have testified that he acts wonderfully, but as I said, I wanted to witness his interaction. (The workers have named him "Taz" and have called him so for a month now, but I am going to slowly change his name to Kato) Kato interacted beautifully with the pitbull even though she was jumping and, playfully, biting on him. Next came the true challenge - a male Siberian Husky. While the Husky was only mildly interested with Kato, he acted as if he could not care less. In fact, he walked over to me and sat down and looked up at me as if to say, "See? They know what they're talking about. I'm a cool guy". Haha. I know this is not indicative of how he will react with the Bassetts my father has, but it is a start.

However, enough with the stories - more questions:
- What dog food do you recommend since you have experience with Akitas? How much do you feed your Akitas at morning and night?
- How often do they need to be bathed?
- What are some good ways or ideas to build a trusting and loving relationship with an Akita? I am very nervous since if I do get him, he will be past the early puppy stage.
- Do Akitas, in general and in your experience, like short rides in a vehicle?
- Is it unhealthy to leave an Akita alone, inside a double-wide trailer during the day while I am working? Generally 10am-6pm are my working shifts. Of course, he would join me on my morning and evening walks/jogs, but is this enough room for him with a biweekly opportunity to run inside an enclosed area a bit smaller than a football field?

I know this is a lot of information, but I have researched more websites than I can count and they all say about the same thing. Also- I prefer to rely upon the experience of Akita owners as they must face these challenges with their own companions.
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MIKA&KAI

Akita Pals- Always.
 
 
Barked: Thu Aug 30, '12 6:11am PST 
It sounds like you are doing well in the firm but fair part of getting him to listen,problems may still develop in SSSA later but good supervision will halt any major issue.

As far as food,I recommend ANY godd quality Grain-Free. I personally use Blue Buffalo Wildreness but just because mine do well on it does not mean yours will.

As far as exercise and alone time it sounds like your schedule is pretty normal.At 18 months there shouldn't be an issue with it. Akitas love,adore and bond very closely with their people. While they accept others they tend to pick one person over the others that they will do anything for. If at all possible a nice spot in your bedroom is a great place to put his bedding or a crate,he will be close to you,feel secure and bond better. Many websites although helpful to some extent are either outdated or extreme and tend to show the bad points of the breed moreso than the good,but those bad points are a good thing to know so that you become aware of what is necessary NOT to have that be your Akita. Socialization with as many people in as many different situations as possible is essential because Akitas are to begin with very aloof and wary of strangers. It is very hard to see that in a shelter situation. In 17 years of actual experience with the breed,I have found even when well socialized home is home,and behavior while not as home is very different. I can take both of my current Akita's to Petco,different events,and places that allow them and they will be very well behaved,allow people to pet them,and given their public persona,you would think they are very friendly,however at home,they are very different,they have neighbors that know them well that they know well and adore,but if someone unusual walks in front of the house,near our vehicles,or my neighbors yards where the members of their extended pack live,you would think they were out to kill. My Kai allows strangers to get within about 3 feet of me,then he will warn them off. They also take time to warm up to new people who come into their surroundings,we always advise people to just pretend they aren't there and allow them to approach on their terms and when they have decided you are not a threat,they will come to seek attention again on their terms,there are certain people that visit us who are greeted like family or one of us simply because of the trust that they have built with the dogs,and they can come anytime without a bark,2 are family members,2 are close friends. We however have one close friend that is welcome as long as my husband is in the room,if my husband steps out of the room he must stay at least 3 feet from me. I will post more in a minute but need to go back to your post to remember everything you have asked.
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MIKA&KAI

Akita Pals- Always.
 
 
Barked: Thu Aug 30, '12 6:58am PST 
The ammount to feed. My pups get about 3 cups per day free fed. I put the kibble in the bowl and they eat what they need. In very hot weather they tend to prefer to eat in the middle of the night. Yours will need a bit more than that most likely with being underweight and also still growing,Akitas do not mature until around age 3+. Again any good quality grain-free food.

Crating or allowing him to sleep in your room is excellent for bonding as is training and feeding from your hand,especially in the beginning.

Akitas rarely need to be bathed,once or twice a year is best,and unless they are blowing their coats or have rolled in something nasty they have no doggy smell at all. A good brushing once or twice a week is usually all that is required. When blowing their coat (shedding entire undercoat all at once) brushing twice daily is better. Please do not consider shaving to prevent shedding,it really does nothing except ruin the weather protection they get from their top coat and takes about 3 years for the coat to return to normal.
Akitas are not very heat tolerant due to their thick double coat so if you are going to keep him inside alone,AC or a fan and plenty of cold water are essential I keep ice water in ceramic crocks to keep it cooler. To keep him busy while alone try an appropriate sized Kong filled with peanut butter,canned food, or whatever with him only for use while you are gone,not as a regular toy. Also avoid treats that contain soy. Studies have shown that Soy ferments in the stomach and increases the risk of bloat,common in Akitas and even when caught early about 95% fatal.

How much exercise he needs will depend entirely on him. Mine actually require very little. They are very content with about a 30 minute walk in the morning and evening,and a weekly run in an area about the size you plan on and about an hour or two of play with us or each other and I live on a city lot. Some however are more active and will require a bit more exercise.

Since we do not know if he is actually housebroken tethering him to you,leashing him to a belt loop,when you are home,sothat you can begin to recognize when he needs to go will be very helpful and save you a great deal of trouble and mess,since he will not be more than a few feet from you at any time,you can correct undesired behavior instantly.

Keep training sessions short,not more than 15 minutes at a time,Akitas become bored very quickly. They can be a bit willful but are also highly intelligent. Kai arrived here at the age of 8 weeks,within a month at best he could open his crate and every security gate in and out of the house.Opens doors,knows how to work the ice maker,knows how to wake us and let us know his food/water bowls are empty or stale,he needs to go outside,which part of the air conditioner turns it on,where every treat in the house is kept and how to let us know he wants one and which type he wants as well as basic obedience. Akitas can also count. I have no clue how but all three I have had the pleasure of being owned by knew exactly how many bites of what they had and when you try to get away with giving them less. They also catch on to a great deal of human language quickly and we have to spell words like walk,ride,outside,and other things they enjoy or they will demand to go. They generally do enjoy car rides but at long distances mine have gotten carsick,ginger snaps about 15 minutes before hand as well as taking away regular food about an hour ahead of time helps with that.

Akitas are also prone to allergies,thyroid problems,skin issues,hip problems and some eye problems. Flea prevention is fairly essential and depending on how bad heart worm risk is in your area you might want to consider prevention for that,they also have medication sensitivities so be careful to find a vet that knows the breed. We use Advantix II and Interceptor (which is currently unavailable) to prevent fleas and other pests and interceptor for heartworm because Ivermectin (common ingredient in many heart worm meds) can be more toxic for Akitas than other breeds. It sounds like you have already fallen in love with this male Akita and should you choose to add him to your life,raised properly you will as many others have become addicted to the breed and not be able to imagine your life without one. I know because it hapened to me.
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MIKA&KAI

Akita Pals- Always.
 
 
Barked: Mon Sep 3, '12 7:03am PST 
Have you decided yet? Just wondering?
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Leah

1274645
 
 
Barked: Thu Nov 8, '12 6:27am PST 
If you adopt this dog you will most likely have to work VERY hard with it. I rescued a 4 mos. old that was obviously abused and neglected. My Akita LOVES car rides!!! She has her issues but we are working thru them, at her pace. Good luck...
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