Akita agression
  • Hi , hoping for some advice ..... my 7 month old female JA has attacked my 4 year old maltese female ( desexed ) dog today . When we got home we found her ( the maltese ) hiding , in shock with several puncture wounds . She is staying over night at the vet to be assessed in the morning. This is the second time they have fought and obviously the maltsese is always going to come out worse . I feel lucky that she was not killed. I really do not want to have to rehome my JA as in all other aspects she is a lovely dog and has never shown any aggression toward any person or other animal. She gets on very well with my cat and my other male maltese cross. Any advice would be most welcome , thanks :-)
  • Aw- that's so stressful! Im sorry you are going through this :( I hope your maltese will be okay? :(

    Sounds like the size difference in your two females is too hard on the maltese while your akita is in her testing teenage months - same-sex aggression can be common in Nihon Ken breeds and has to be managed carefully. Some dogs and owners can create a peaceable kingdom, but its dependent on the personalities involved and how much relationship management you want to do.

    It is hard to know what exactly triggered it since you weren't there to see it. Separation while you aren't able to supervise to keep the little one safe- then you can see how they react to each other, post-fight. It may be the maltese is afraid of the akita now and wants nothing to do with her, or they may reconcile with your guidance. At the worst, you separate and rotate the girls. It's not fun but keeps everyone safe and allows you to keep both dogs you love.
  • Separation, separation, separation.

    I don't know why people leap to rehoming when its so easy to separate and confine dogs when you can't be there to manage them.

    Honestly I don't think its a great idea to let them run loose around the house when you're not home anyway. So many things can go wrong (eating something toxic, destroying furniture, dog fights, escape through an unsecure door, etc etc), and there's no drawbacks to proper confinement.
    「怪獣荘秋田犬」Kaiju Kennels Japanese Akita and Hokkaido, Claire Matthews
  • Actually I am not ' leaping ' to rehome Megumi , I was merely asking for advice from experiened Akita owners on this forum
  • omgtainomgtain
    Posts: 240
    Do they only fight when you are not home ? or is it while you are home too?

    I personally would start picking up all toys / bones / chews so there is one less thing to fight over.
  • TheWalrusTheWalrus
    Posts: 1624
    Separation. Crate training.
    None of my dogs are loose in the house while I am gone. The more dogs you have, the more things can go wrong.
    And for dogs that have quarreled, I only have them together when I am attentive enough to watch their interactions. When there's a size difference like there is between your two girls, things can go wrong very quickly (and can easily be deadly for the smaller dog). It would actually be helpful to figure out what it is they are squabbling over too.
  • So sorry to hear that. Do you leave any toys there? there must be something that trigged JA to attack maltese. Yes, I agree with everyone else. Separate the dogs when you are away is the key.
  • omgtainomgtain
    Posts: 240
    a JA female that is maturing and close to heat (if she isnt spayed) .. the wrong look would be a trigger lol.
  • BootzBootz
    Posts: 151
    @omgtain brutalllllll
  • CaliaCalia
    Posts: 3977
    I agree that separation is key, especially when you aren't there to supervise. All but my shiba are crated when no one is home, they are all loose together only when someone is around to supervise them. They are given positive association with their crates, they'll even sleep in unlocked crates throughout the day or when they want some alone time.

    If you don't want to or are unable to use crates, lock them up in different rooms so that they are kept safely away from each other. It's tough when two dogs in a household don't get along, but with proper management you can keep them both without a routine vet bill.
  • Just an update to my original post .... I picked up Daisy ( maltese x ) from the vet . she has puncture wounds around her neck , lots of bruising , bloodshot eyes from being shaken & is extremely nervous . Anyway she was laying next to me on the lounge , my JA had so far completely ignored her & was asleep . She woke up ( JA ) walked past & out of nowhere grabbed the sleeping Daisy for no obvious reason that I can fathom apart from to finish off the job she had started 2 days ago .....

    They are now of course strictly separated . Megumi the JA is 7 months old does anyone know when they come on heat & if desexing will help to lessen this behaviour ? I feel I cant trust her anymore as this just came out of nowhere . Up to now she has been a well behaved placid dog , or am I being naive ???

    Please any advice welcome !!
    Post edited by akatara at 2017-01-07 08:27:15
  • lindsaytlindsayt
    Posts: 3449
    Yikes they should have been separated the instant you brought the little one home from the Vet...has your Akita had any training classes? Hiring an in home private trainer to evaluate your situation and work with you privately would be a good step to take before the little one is killed. The Akita sounds like she has turned into an opportunistic bully and should not be trusted with any freedom at this point.
    Hokusei Kashinoki Hokkaido and Shiba Inu
  • I will give you the hard advice that my best dog trainer gave me when my dog Sage began to have dog-dog aggression: "Don't wait to see what is going to happen. You KNOW what is going to happen."

    I remember that feeling of disbelief (Did he really do that? Am I seeing this right?), and hope that it isn't what you see. It's followed by - for me anyway- a lot of 'magical thinking' that there's some one thing you are missing that would stop it all, or that it's only temporary- like Oh Geez, if I had KNOWN my dog had a thorn in his paw! Well No WONDER he's being a crab! But it's not true. There is no thorn. It's just how some dogs are under certain conditions. I had to- and you will, too- grow up as a dog keeper, if you want to keep both dogs you love.

    It doesn't matter if your JA is coming into heat- the behavior is a pattern now. She is looking to get the maltese. Seeking. This was fun or necessary to her. No more. She may extend this to other small fluffy dogs in public and you will need to take preventive care.

    And if the Forum members seem harsh- go google up the threads about Twix the akita on here from several years ago and you will see that this story has played here before. It's a sad story- the owner wanted so bad for his dogs to get along and to show he was such a good dog man that he could achieve this, but really? Good dog keeping begins with accepting reality, keeping dogs safe and then training and improving your connection & relationship with each dog.

    You are not a bad owner if you have to separate your dogs.
    Your dogs are not 'BAD DOGS' if they cannot get along loose in the house.

    repeat that to yourself, tape it to your refrigerator.

    A wise dog keeper sees what is happening, and takes steps to prevent it. We all think in the early going that it won't happen to us and that other person on the internet is not as Good At Dogs as we are or they don't know THIS dog. but this is what keeping Nihon Ken breeds means.

    To be fair, the OP appears to be a new NK owner who is used to just a well established opp sex pair of small companion breed dogs. People who are new to having more than two dogs aren't aware or yet comfortable with idea of the separation and dog chess that people with multiple dogs take for granted as just part of having lots of dogs.

    Separation/rotation is okay and LOTS of people with multi dogs do it to keep everyone safe and happy. Especially NK. We don't always TALK about it, though, or model it- so I think 'new people' don't realize how common it is, or that it is MORE than okay. If we ran a poll you would see that most of us use crates and management at least some of the time, and I bet most of us who keep multiple dogs have some that don't mix. Don't think that all of us are here with seven Nk sharing bully sticks on the couch while we're at work- its not true. How many of us have trained our dogs to accept muzzles? We never talk about it.

    It's not easy to go through the feelings you have as you accept you have to do it, and they think "One of my pets was nearly killed! This is is HORRIBLE! Oh God! Do I have to give up my dog?!!" and it's not easy to crate and separate when you have less reliable people (such as children and their friends) in and out of your house, to feel secure that doors you need to keep closed won't be opened. Probably it's also not easy depending on if you a) have a house, not an apartment and b) depends on the size and layout of your house.

    We lose sight of what most dog owners expect and how most people keep dogs. We need to help them transition to "Now You Have A Lot of Dogs..." Also we don't know if this akita's breeder set up the OP with realistic expectations. When I spoke with an akita breeder about a puppy years ago, she was clear but not alarmist about the realities of same sex aggression- I thought she handled it fantastically. I thought it over and decided I didn't want to separate dogs and I punted the idea and did not apply for a pup, because I had a lifestyle of living with dogs that I was very comfortable with (THEN came Sage :) and I HAD to deal with reactivity and aggression whether I wanted to or not. Then I got a 3rd dog, and then another male and now I am completely adjusted to gate, crate and rotate and to be perfectly honest, OP, it IS okay- both of my males are much happier not to have to deal with each other. Nobody is missing out on anything that they want.

    Lisa recently had to separate two of her dogs and her smaller dog is extremely happy with the space and less stress and not having to deal with the Akita. Separation is an important tool!

    You can do this! You can keep both- but you have to start right now. :)
  • AjaxAjax
    Posts: 123
    Hiring an in home private trainer

    I agree that it's time to bring in the professionals. Try to find someone familiar with same sex aggression. Since I doubt you'll find anyone familiar with JA, a trainer familiar with German Shepard's may be your next best bet. Same sex aggression is not uncommon in their breed as well. Hopefully they could help you with not only training, but also management.

    if desexing will help to lessen this behaviour ?

    Already present aggression is unlikely to improve with either spaying or neutering. I normally don't support spaying females dogs, practically large breeds, before their first heat cycle (My childhood dog, a lab, was spayed before here first heat cycle and she ended up incontinent and blew out both her CCLs.), but in this case it's worth considering. Increased aggression during heat is a common compliant.
  • CrispyCrispy
    Posts: 1907
    I think some really great suggestions have been brought up so far.

    When I got Nami, my Kishu Ken, she was an adult I knew was dog and cat aggressive-- or at least had a history that indicated it. Earlier in our relationship, I thought that I could just make her comfortable with other dogs if I did my best and took enough time with her. I had made my Malamute friendly with familiar dogs after being aggressive-- so why couldn't I do it with my Kishu?

    I was wrong - and I didn't know I was wrong, at first, because she did so well with the dogs over that summer that I almost forgot that she could be aggressive.

    One day, she went for my Shikoku, latched on, and things turned really bad when he tried to fight back/defend himself.

    She's been separated from the main household ever since. She can go for walks with the other dogs and be in the yard with the dogs if supervised, but... I keep her separate. And there's no harm in that. I think @WrylyBrindle is right when she says it's something we don't talk about a lot - but it's something that is more common than you'd think in multi-dog households.

    Echoing others, I would definitely hire a professional. A real behaviorist, if you can and one is available in your area, as dog trainers can vary more in their backgrounds and philosophies, but behaviorists generally have degrees and have a little less variation on their philosophies - especially when dealing with aggression in the household.
    Akiyama no Roushya || 秋山の狼室 || www.kishu-ken.org
  • I have four dogs: Two American Akita, a Shiba Inu, and Kai Ken. I've been managing my dogs through separation for many, many years. It may not be ideal, but it works, and at some point in my journey, I realized that while it is a pain, it is how many people manage multiple dog households.

    I have an elderly Shiba (13 this month) who has never gotten along with other dogs well. He has his own room in the house, a sunroom which we heat in the winter. He comes in to sleep in the house at night, and when the other dogs are not in the house. He has been attacked by every dog in our household, now, sadly. I also had a very problematic Shiba (mill dog) who was very aggressive and she also had to be managed. Lately, my three year old American Akita has been attacking the Kai Ken. So now they are separated. Will she improve? I don't know, honestly. She is altered already, but she's also coming into maturity--she is now who she is going to be for life, and I'm not sure we'll be able to change her aggression. So I separate. (I will, of course, be getting help and have someone I've worked with in the past come in and evaluate the situation and see what we can do). But it might be this: separation.

    There are times to think of rehoming a dog. Honestly, as much as it would have broken my heart, I should have rehomed my now elderly Shiba. He would have had a happier life as an only dog. But I won't now--his home is with us. I am not against rehoming dogs if it improves their lives, and it something one should consider among the possibilities for how to handle dogs that really do not get along. But it's usually a last resort.

    So I'd say separation for now. Get someone to help evaluate the situation and teach you coping skills and also do what behavioral changes can be done in your situation.

    And I understand all the feelings. I was so angry at my female Akita for going after the Kai, who is the most mellow of dogs, and tried every appeasing gesture he knew to get her to calm. It's upsetting, and honestly, rehoming often jumps into my mind too (my first reaction was anger and tears: I can't have another dog that needs to be separated, I thought! I can't do this anymore! And then a week into the new routine, I thought, damn, this is pretty easy, why did I freak out so much? And my Kai is acting like the King of the house, as he now goes out his own door and is the only dog who gets to sleep on the bed. he's thrilled by the new routine!)

    But hang in there. What to do now is make sure your smaller dog is safe, and build up a routine to keep them separate. Find a behavioralist or trainer used to dealing with canine aggression in a positive way. And after you've gone through that, you'll be in a position to better evaluate what is the best thing to do here.

    (And btw, I have much more problems with the female dogs attacking other male dogs than I have with male/male aggression--though we've dealt with a bit of that too. But the neutered males have always been easier for me to deal with).
    Lisa, Toby (Shiba), Oskar and Zora (American Akita), and Leo (Kai Ken)
  • Thank you to everyone for all your advice & comments .

    Anyway she is part of our family now & I am not giving up . She is now being muzzle trained & separated. Unfortunately there are no qualified dog behaviour specialists in my town . As far as I am aware there is only one JA - mine !!

    Thanks again
    Post edited by akatara at 2017-01-30 05:10:59
  • snackdogsnackdog
    Posts: 3
    Our pup is 5 months old and is great with other dogs. However, she displays aloofness towards strangers which is typical of her breed. We live and walk her in an urban area. She is cute and everyone on the sidewalk wants to coo and pet her. She is growing less tolerant of surprise petting and barked at a couple people yesterday. Would hate for her to nip anyone's hand. Any suggestions for helping her relax when strangers want to say hi? She is fine with dogs saying hi (in their usual way).
  • SixSix
    Posts: 96
    @Snackdog - you need to control the petting at all times. There definitely shouldn't be any 'surprise petting' if someone touches your dog without your consent and without your dog having had the opportunity to check out the person before they dive in with the hand then you should definitely ask them to move away. It's very bad manners on the person's part. Even worse is if the stranger goes straight for the back end, it's a natural reaction for the dog to whip around to see what is touching them and to react as if it's a threat. Always ask people to approach from the front, allow your dog to sniff them, and ask them not to stare directly into your dogs eyes or loom over them whilst they're going in for the pet. If at any time your dog shows indications of stress then ask them to move away, never force your dog to approach a stranger they are unsure of.

    Having said that...people are stupid. I've had random strangers come up to my Inuit boy and throw their arms around his neck, or RUN straight at him, full pelt (drunk) and yell at him. Now, this is my 'bomb-proof' dog, he can take a lot of s**t but that particular occasion spooked him and I ended up having to tell the person involved to back off if they weren't going to approach calmly. You mustn't be afraid to hold out your hand, block access to your dog with your body and to say "STOP" very firmly. Most people will thank you for it.

    Owned by 3 Northern Inuits, 1 GSDx and 1 Hokkaido.

Howdy, Stranger!

It looks like you're new here. If you want to get involved, click one of these buttons!

In this Discussion