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My New Akita Puppy!

Got a new, young, furry love in your life? This is the place for you to ask all of your questions-big or small! Just remember that you are receiving advice from other dog owners and lovers... not professionals. If you have a major problem, always seek the advice of a vet or behaviorist! Most important is to remember to have fun with your new fur baby.

  


Member Since
02/01/2013
 
 
Barked: Thu Feb 7, '13 10:36am PST 
Hey everyone, first post here on Dogster!

My wife & I just got our new Akita puppy (Koga) last week, and we're adjusting pretty well.

We had some crating issues at first, but now we got him a large 48" crate that will (hopefully) last for life. One thing nobody tells you about Akita puppies- they roll over a lot in their sleep. Now he only cries for about 10-15 minutes when we go to bed. I'm a light sleeper and I'm shocked he's actually sleeping through the night now (2 nights in a row, whole night-- no accidents, if he does well again tonight we're going to move the puppy panel back another notch).

I've read Akita's can be okay with cats as long as they are socialized at a young age (and never left alone... obviously), but I haven't seen much on specific exercises we could do to get them used to each other. What behaviors (besides chasing) might I look out for with an akita puppy that are tell tale signs of problems. We have a cat who is curious but aloof (knows he's safe if he's up high, but loves watching the dog), one who is a hider (will flee immediately on seeing the dog, stays upstairs at all times except to use litter box) and one who wants to play with the dog (they have a game of pawing at each other- I usually break this up if the cat gets cornered or if I see the dog gnawing anything close to her).

We've had good luck curbing biting by putting bitter apple on our hands... wondering if maybe I should put a little on the cats and then introduce them to him one at a time. Obviously we would need to get some cat bath wipes and clean them up after so when they go to tongue clean they don't stop from the taste.
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Toto, CD, RN, CGC

We don't do- doodles!!!
 
 
Barked: Thu Feb 7, '13 1:05pm PST 
I would much rather train my puppy to NOT bite human skin and/or the cats than use a deterant such as bitter apple. The bitter apple is preventing him from biting and chewing, it is not teaching him what he should be doing instead which makes for much more successful long term training. What's gonna happen when you forget to spray the bitter apple??? BAM, he bites the cat!
Furthermore, it will be impossible to wipe that stuff off a cats fur so they cannot taste it... it is made to last thru washing and is pretty much impossible to remove unless you use some sort of detergent to break it down.
Try posting over in behavior and training for tips on stopping your baby from biting as well as training him to leave the cats alone using positive methods, not negative deterents.
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MIKA&KAI

Akita Pals- Always.
 
 
Barked: Sat Feb 9, '13 8:54am PST 
All I will say is I hope you did alot of research and Good Luck!!! My first Akita and my cat were fine for their first 3 years together.All it took was one badly placed nip during a small scuffle and there was a tragedy. They actually liked each other,both slept in bed with me,and had been alone in the house together probably thousands of times over that 3 year period. I was on the other side of the door 10 steps away and both wanted out to me,I didn't see it happen but in the time it took me to open the door and get to the cat,she was already gone...
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Member Since
02/01/2013
 
 
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. smile

Again- thanks for the responses. We're doing much better.
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MIKA&KAI

Akita Pals- Always.
 
 
Barked: Tue Feb 12, '13 5:56pm PST 
My only suggestion is to keep the puppy tethered to you so that you can control him a bit more for right now. I did that with all of mine and it worked very well. I just slipped the handle end of the leash through my belt loop,the rest of the leash through the handle,then hooked it to the collar.That way the pup was always within 6 ft. of me and always supervised. It made potty training and most other training much easier for me as well. You will need to work on the "leave it" command. I used "leave it" you can use "stop" or another work if you prefer. The idea is basically to get the pup to freeze right where they are and not go after or pay attention to the cat or whatever it is they have spotted and want. I refocused mine by showing them a "high value treat"something they really liked such as a small piece of cooked chicken breast,when they ignored the object and sat down,they got the treat. It didn't take all that long before they caught on and eventually I could tell them to "leave it" they would come to my side drop to a sit,and look at me,the only reward necessary was some praise. I hope this helps but please be very careful. Although Koga may learn to coexist with the cats,there is a reason that it is recommended that Akita's not be in a home with other small animals and that is because Akita's are natural hunters and can see smaller animals as prey,especially when the smaller animal is running and the Akita has a strong prey drive. If for any reason you can't be there to supervise please either crate Koga or give the cats a safe haven away from him. All it took for me to lose my Kayla(10yr old cat)was being on the other side of the door for a minute and Mattie nipping in the wrong place. I know Mattie had no intent to kill Kayla,she even tried to nudge her and lick her,it was just a tragic accident,and I take full responsibility because I had done my research as well and was warned that Akitas could have issues with smaller animals in the home. There were no issues,and there was no warning. As I said before Good Luck!! I have raised 3 Akita's and have 17 years experience with the breed. If you make a profile please feel free to p-mail me if I can help with anything else. Also,thank-you for responding. There have been several people on the breed specific forum who have asked questions but have not responded when I have asked questions in an effort to help them,I only ask when I need clarification on a problem or the issue is complicated. So I appreciate your help as well.
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