“This is where we tell future owners a little more about the temperament of the Akita, and also where we give you tips on how socialize and welcome your new buddy into your life and home.”
As you will be able to see in detail on this section, the training of the Akita should start early, since even as a puppy it is already a very intelligent and strong-willed dog, with a dominant behavior. Think of the puppy as a baby: if you indulge it too much it won’t know its boundaries later. This does not mean that you can’t play freely with your puppy, only that it is necessary to educate in a firm and serious way.
It is important to remember that we are talking about a breed extremely attached to the family, so contact with the owners is important and encouraged. The Akita puppy that spends more time alone in the backyard or locked up in a room does not have the best chances of becoming an adult with a healthy behavior. Regarding hygiene, there is not much for you to worry about - the Akita is a very clean breed and does not usually have trouble with potty training.
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The Akita can develop a wonderful relationship with children, but the success of this relationship will depend on you, on the child's behavior and on the temperament of the Akita in question. Akita puppies raised with children are generally good and attentive to them. But for the sake of loyalty, problems can arise when an adult dog is inserted into a non-supervised environment in which "their children" are interacting with others that the dog is not familiar with. Children playing together can be very messy, loud, and active, and this agitation may invoke the Akita’s protective instinct, resulting in aggressiveness. It is important to supervise children's play at all times when the Akita is present.
If you have your own children, encourage their classmates to play with your puppy in a controlled environment, where they can do it gently. This may be the perfect time to teach your children how to treat animals humanely. Children can be inadvertently harsh sometimes, and the Akita doesn’t tolerate abuse, especially if it comes from someone who doesn’t belong to their circle.
If you don’t have children of your own, take your puppy to playgrounds, squares or parks. Invite the neighborhood children to come visit a few times during the week. You should accustom your dog to children so that it understands and respects their small size. Even the toughest Akitas can be taught to move carefully and gracefully among young children. Socializing your Akita puppy so it learns to respect children is especially important if you plan to have children yourself.
When a newborn is brought into a home where an adult Akita already lives, the dog may interpret this as a threat to its security. This is known as "the second child syndrome”, and it also happens when older children need to adapt to a newborn in the family. Start introducing the dog to the child by familiarizing the Akita with the smell of the baby. To do so you can use the baby’s bed linen or clothes. Then act very upbeat and pleased during the first contact between the two of them. You must be calm, confident, but also happy and excited, so that your dog understands how wonderful this moment is.
Because newborns sleep a lot, it is important to synchronize the moments when you give your dog attention with the baby’s naps. At such times, with the dog and the baby in the same room, drown your Akita in love and affection. Soon it will associate the child with the special attention he receives, and will be more receptive towards the new family member. In other words, the dog should receive more attention in the baby's presence, not when it is missing. When the baby is not in the room, do not reward your dog for it, as if apologizing for having neglected it.
If you are convinced that your adult Akita is a threat to the young child, the dog will pick up these negative feelings and fear. Lacking the ability to understand this behavior, it can understandably attribute these fears to the helpless baby, thus creating a negative vibe between the dog and the child.
As we know, dogs develop pretty quickly, which means that they grow too much too soon, and at 1-year-old they are already considered adults. Therefore, puppies must be fed a lot, three to four times a day. When they reach adulthood this decreases to two times a day. A healthy adult dog should eat between 2.5% and 4% of their weight per day, and their diet should be be built around protein, since it is a carnivorous animal.
Each meal should have an average of 27% to 30% of protein, which can be found in blood, bone meal, and meat protein. Remember that puppies should eat special puppy food, and that at the beginning you can mix it with a bit of water to make it easier to swallow, switching gradually to dry food.
There is a lot of hype these days around feeding your pet with natural, human food. Yes it can be done, provided that it’s monitored by a veterinarian. It’s necessary to develop a specific menu for your dog and remember that food should be prepared with a focus on their needs, with far fewer condiments than ours. Simply sharing your food with your pet can cause problems.
A raw or natural diet can even be a response to the Akita’s lack of appetite, which is no greater than other breed’s. It just so happens that, like us, sometimes dogs get tired of always eating the same thing, and can indeed start rejecting food. One way to deal with this problem is to mix their commercial dog food with small portions of brown rice, beef, or ground chicken.
Being native of a very cold and wet region, the Akita has two layers of fur, or, as we say it a coat and an undercoat. This makes the dog impermeable, preventing its skin from coming into contact with the environment and dirt, which in turn prevents bad odors. In addition, the Akita licks itself all the time, like cats do, which also helps to keep tem clean. For these reasons the Akita should only bathe once a month, at most. Many owners only bathe their dogs every two months.
If you want to clean your dog more often, simply use a damp towel with water, lavender or mint essence, and baby oil after brushing, which should be done once a week. This will keep your furry friend clean as whistle!
Speaking of brushing, one must also remember that the Akita sheds its coat twice a year, and that this process may last from 15 days to a month. IF the Akita resides in a place where temperatures are very high, this may happen more often, and with more intensity.
The end of World War II also brought to an end the hostile environment and the culture of dog fighting in Japan. The moment called for more tranquility and beauty to be spread across the country.
The emergence of dog shows, competitions and canine clubs, combined with a significant improvement in the economy and in social aspects of the country, showed to Akita breeders that they had to make some changes in the temperament and training of the dogs, changes that were absorbed and perfected in foreign kennels. Because of this the Akita is now a highly versatile and adaptable dog, compatible with the contemporary lifestyle.
One of the most striking features of the Akita is its intelligence and ability to quickly learn commands, which means that you won’t have to repeat something too many times before it understands. It also means that short training sessions are more advisable.
Training should begin early, around 12 weeks, and in the beginning it should focus on four pillars: socializing the dog, stressing the relationship and power-play between owner and dog, learning simple commands and learning to use collar and leash.
The puppy’s training should reinforce the desired type of behavior, but it shouldn’t be too rough, because then there is a risk of the dog becoming stubborn and selfish. It is important to note that the sessions should be short, 15 minutes tops, and need not be repeated every day.
Training is very important to the Akita, and can be performed with or without the use of rewards. Much is said about what kind of training is best for the Akita, but good results have been achieved with different types of stimulation. It only shows that you should observe the temperament of each dog individually, and then decide what is best.
Owners should also remember that, during training, the Akita (and any dog, for that matter) has to be exposed to all kinds of places where it is expected to behave, since their behavior can change in environments that they are not familiar with, and whose social rules they don’t understand.