Following are actual questions asked of us by potential puppy purchasers researching the breed.
Table of Contents
1. We are a young couple with no children. Will an Akita adapt well if we have children in the future or will he become jealous?
2. We both work 9-5 jobs so our puppy would be home alone during the weekdays, and we're not sure if we should be considering owning a dog.
3. While we both had dogs as children, neither of us has ever been the responsible care giver/trainer. We're looking for a loyal but gentle and loving dog who would make a good companion, but also a good protector. Should we be considering an Akita?
4. How are Akitas with other dogs?
5. What type of lifestyle do Akitas enjoy?
We are a young couple with no children. Will an Akita adapt well if we have children in the future or will he become jealous?
Many people ask if Akitas are good with children or how they will react if children arrive later. Our breeding program is based on Akitas with exceptional, stable temperaments. Our dogs are raised with children (we have four, aged 6 to 17, who all play an active part in helping to care for, feed, walk and groom our dogs, as well as helping to raise and socialize the puppies). Our purchasers often report back that their Akitas just love children, and "insist" on visiting them, even if there are none in their own family. Usually, Akitas show innately gentle behaviour with children, almost as if they know that they must be gentle with these little people. Of course, due to their size (and often exuberance), children and dogs (of any breed) should always be supervised. Due to their protective tendencies, however, Akitas may misinterpret strange children playing with "their own" as threats (kids sometimes will scream and run when playing, all triggers which could make an Akita react in a protective manner). Therefore, it is wise to confine or otherwise control the dog in this type of situation (including removing him to his crate in a quiet room).
If you do not have children, but would like your Akita "child-proofed", it is very important to socialize the puppy with young nieces, nephews, cousins, and neighbours, always in carefully-controlled situations where the puppy enjoys the interaction and does not get hurt, since he will never forget an unpleasant or painful experience. One must never allow an Akita to be harassed or "cornered", especially by children or strangers. A typical Akita of good temperament will walk away from an uncomfortable situation, given the opportunity; however, if he feels trapped or pushed beyond his limit of tolerance, he may potentially retaliate by snapping or biting in an attempt to escape. Unfortunately, in the case of children, this is usually at face level and can have serious consequences for both dog and child.
Back to Top
We both work 9-5 jobs so our puppy would be home alone during the weekdays, and we're not sure if we should be considering owning a dog.
Today's lifestyle is such that most people must work full time, and even in family situations, it is often the case where both adults are out of the house all day. This is something that hinders many people from keeping a dog as a pet; however, since it is such a common way of life, it really depends on how much time the owners are prepared to spend with the dog when they are home. The first year can be challenging with a puppy; if there is a "grandparent" or neighbour who can let the dog out once or twice during the day, this can be very beneficial. Barring that, if the puppy is given adequate space where he has room to play and amuse himself (and not destroy anything of value), he will soon become accustomed to the routine, and sleep much of the day, saving his energy and attention for when you are home. If you are prepared to spend quality time upon your return, to take him out for some play and exercise, and then to keep him with you during the evening (and possibly overnight, sleeping in a crate or on a blanket or mat in your bedroom), he will receive the benefit of your companionship at that time and become a happy, secure adult. If you are not prepared to provide that companionship, if he is simply taken for a quick walk (or yard time) and then returned to his secluded area, you will not have a happy, well-adjusted dog, and you need to decide if you are truly ready for dog ownership. A lonely and bored dog will become frustrated, and this will be reflected in willful, destructive and noisy behaviour, making dog ownership an unpleasant experience.
Back to Top
While we both had dogs as children, neither of us has ever been the responsible care giver/trainer. We're looking for a loyal but gentle and loving dog who would make a good companion, but also a good protector. Should we be considering an Akita?
To own an Akita, you must be prepared to dedicate a fair amount of time to the puppy for socialization and training. This is not particularly time-consuming -- 10 minutes, two or three times per day, for the first 6 or 8 months of the puppy's life -- but it will ensure the puppy becomes a well-behaved, responsive adult who is a pleasure to have around. Once this "basic" training and conditioning is in place, the groundwork is set for the balance of the dog's adult life, as long as expectations are consistent throughout its lifetime. While they are affectionate with immediate family, and usually reserved with friends and visitors (but not always -- ours are extremely outgoing!), Akitas can have a dominant personality, and successful Akita owners are usually very firm and consistent in their training and expectations. To give in to an Akita's challenges (when they occur) can spell trouble. This is a breed that does need a firm (but fair) hand, and it must have respect and affection for its owner. Harsh, physical training methods are not successful with Akitas -- they are too independent and they will rebel. While this may seem a "tall order", any breed of dog that exhibits this protective nature (i.e. Rottweilers, Dobermans, German Shepherds, etc.) will have these dominant tendencies that go hand-in-hand with the dog's ability to protect its owner and property. However, having earned the trust and respect of your Akita, his loyalty will be lifelong, and you can be assured of a dog that will protect you, when the situation arises, while maintaining a stable and possibly even outgoing temperament in all other situations.
Back to Top
How are Akitas with other dogs?
A point to note is that Akitas can be animal aggressive, and will respond to any challenges from other surly or aggressive dogs. They are powerful, ruthless fighters, and care must always be taken when around other dogs. Leash-free zones are generally NOT the best place to take an Akita, because there will always be another dog that will attempt to challenge or dominate your Akita. Puppies and younger Akitas may be quite playful, but a mature Akita will not tolerate any threats from another dog, and, unless training and socialization have been provided during puppyhood, breaking up a dog fight will be very difficult. Even with the socialization/training, this will really only help you "read" a potential situation and take preventative measures. A well-trained Akita may be somewhat more responsive to its owner in ignoring or avoiding a situation, but if a fight does take place, nothing short of physical intervention will separate an angry Akita from its foe, and there are likely to be extensive injuries to dogs and owners alike. This is one reality of Akita ownership that you need to be aware of. Dedicated Akita owners who value the other positive traits of this unique breed must be willing to understand and accept this particular breed characteristic and be prepared; in a way, owning an Akita is like driving defensively -- look ahead for potentially dangerous situations and take action to change or avoid them.
Back to Top
What type of lifestyle do Akitas enjoy?
Akitas can be very "outdoorsy" and enjoy walks, hiking and riding in the car. Some even go canoeing, and many families take their Akitas camping and on holidays, even travelling by air to accompany their owners to distant vacation destinations. However, they will definitely become "couch potatoes" if allowed to, because they like to be with their family. If you are prepared to have your Akita spend as much time as possible with you (except for the times you are at work, or when it is occasionally not feasible for the dog to accompany you) he will be a dedicated and loyal companion, offering his protection if required to keep you safe.
Back to Top
Copyright © 2000 [Akitas of Kireisa]. All rights reserved.
Revised: November 26, 2009 .