Your Akita experience?
  • So I’ve been sifting through the forum for a while and reading everything I could find about Akita and I still feel like there are so many questions running through my head and I don’t always find an answer or I want to know more. So, I thought I’d post my own Q & A with questions I had and hopefully some of you Akita owners(current or past, American or Japanese) could answer. I know some of this stuff has come up on the forum in the past but, I’m hoping more people will answer so I can kind of see many people’s experiences with their dogs. I also want to know how the answers change from American to Japanese Akita, or if they stay the same. I’m sure that most of the answers will also depend on the individual dog. So please answer whatever questions you want and let me know if your dog is an AA or a JA. I’m just trying to learn as much about the Akita as possible so I can make an informed decision if it’s really the breed that’s appropriate for my lifestyle.

    Hopefully this will help other people too since these are probably questions most people will eventually want the answer to. Most of the questions are aimed at "you" and "your Akita", I want your personal experience as much as possible as well as general breed info. Please specify if your Akita is an AA or a JA.

    Question time!

    1. What is the difference in temperament and behavior for the American vs. Japanese Akita, is there one?

    2. Who does your Akita bond most with? Is it the entire family, a couple individuals or just one person?

    3. Does your Akita love to meet new people or are they somewhat wary of strangers?  Do you notice any difference between meeting strangers on the street or strangers in your home?

    4. What kind of activity level does your Akita have? Does it prefer to sleep all day or are they excited to go for exercise? How about their endurance, how long can they exercise?

    5. Is it true Akita can’t be trusted off leash? – I saw this in a lot of places, I’m assuming it has to do with their high prey drive, liability issues, other dangers and maybe they’re not known for recall? What’s been your experience? (Also, obviously I don’t mean off leash just anywhere. I mean somewhere remote where you won’t be around a lot of people or more then 1 or 2 other dogs.)

    6. Dog sports? I'm really interesting in doing some sort of dog sport in the future. I've seen some people do agility with their Akita(someone on this forum and then of course youtube) and it looks like fun. Does anyone else do a dog sport with their Akita?

    7. How trainable was/is your Akita? I know they're not as easy to train as a German Shepherd and they're a little easier to train than some of the Ninon ken but....that doesn't really help me a terrible amount since I've owned neither. I mean I kind of get the idea but...why don't you explain how long it took you to learn basic commands and what were your training challenges? How good was your dogs attention span?

    8. How good is your dogs recall and how hard did you work with them on it?

    9. Can you describe your dogs "independence." I'm assuming this means they don't have to be by your side constantly but, does that mean they just chill on their own all the time? Watch you do stuff Able to entertain themselves when you're busy and can't play?(I don't mean all day, I just mean like you're cleaning the house and the dog wants to play.)

    10. Other? Is there anything important about the breed, or special about your dog you want to share? Any insight on what about your lifestyle has made your Akita ownership successful?

    If you can answer any of those it'd be really helpful :D

    Wow I didn't mean for this to turn into a novel....oops.
    Post edited by PurpleFalcon at 2011-09-23 21:43:55
  • 1. What is the difference in temperament and behavior for the American vs. Japanese Akita, is there one?
    Can't really say. I have not been closely involved with AA.

    2. Who does your Akita bond most with? Is it the entire family, a couple individuals or just one person?
    We are our Akita's (Hilo) second family. He obviously bonded closely with his first family. And he is very closely bonded with my husband and me. I recently skyped with his old family and he totally recognized their voices, and woo wooed for them.

    3. Does your Akita love to meet new people or are they somewhat wary of strangers?  Do you notice any difference between meeting strangers on the street or strangers in your home?
    He loves some people more than others. I don't see much difference between his response outside our home versus inside. I do notice that he is more fond of people who speak softly, and have more calm gentle personalities. He is not fond of loud talkers.

    4. What kind of activity level does your Akita have? Does it prefer to sleep all day or are they excited to go for exercise? How about their endurance, how long can they exercise?
    He is super mellow. He only likes to go on long walks if I bring my other dogs. He is not one to engage in play very often. He is more active in the winter. But really, he is a professional couch warmer.

    5. Is it true Akita can’t be trusted off leash? – I saw this in a lot of places, I’m assuming it has to do with their high prey drive, liability issues, other dangers and maybe they’re not known for recall? What’s been your experience? (Also, obviously I don’t mean off leash just anywhere. I mean somewhere remote where you won’t be around a lot of people or more then 1 or 2 other dogs.)
    I have never deliberately let him off leash outside our yard. Once day the clasp failed on his leash, and he just went home. But I think Hilo was just worried that the couch was lonely.
    6. Dog sports? I'm really interesting in doing some sort of dog sport in the future. I've seen some people do agility with their Akita(someone on this forum and then of course youtube) and it looks like fun. Does anyone else do a dog sport with their Akita?
    I do some agility with my pit bull. My akita considers jumping onto the couch to be agility.

    7. How trainable was/is your Akita? I know they're not as easy to train as a German Shepherd and they're a little easier to train than some of the Ninon ken but....that doesn't really help me a terrible amount since I've owned neither. I mean I kind of get the idea but...why don't you explain how long it took you to learn basic commands and what were your training challenges? How good was your dogs attention span?
    Hilo listens. And understands many commands. He is obedient. Unless he doesn't want to be. If there is something he doesn't want to do, all the coercion in the world would accomplish nothing with him.

    8. How good is your dogs recall and how hard did you work with them on it?
    eh. I pretty much never need to call him to me, and if I do, the word "treat" pretty much gets the job done.

    9. Other? Is there anything important about the breed, or special about your dog you want to share? Any insight on what about your lifestyle has made your Akita ownership successful?
    Socialize socialize socialize!!! Hilo's previous family went to great lengths to expose him to many many things. They did everything right, and he is still a nervous nelly. You really cannot over-socialize them. And force/dominance based training methods are a really bad idea with them. Big, strong, sensitive dogs need to trust their owners and see them as protectors. They thrive with positive training, and it creates an incredible bond. I am convinced that is why HIlo adjusted to us quickly. We never forced him to do anything. We worked to teach him that when he peacefully coexists with everyone in the house wonderful things happen for him. He has not only strong bonds with my husband and myself, but also with our two other dogs, as well as our cats.
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  • Yay reply number one! Thank-you so much! Your reply was really helpful and I couldn't help but smile at the "professional couch warmer" haha.

    Anyone else want to share? :D
  • 1. What is the difference in temperament and behavior for the American vs. Japanese Akita, is there one?

    Could not say cause I only have experience with the Japanese Akita.

    2. Who does your Akita bond most with? Is it the entire family, a couple individuals or just one person?

    Kagome has shown no preferences, she is happy with both my husband and I.

    3. Does your Akita love to meet new people or are they somewhat wary of strangers?  Do you notice any difference between meeting strangers on the street or strangers in your home?

    Kagome likes men, women and children. She gets very excited when people come into the house. Always looking for love from anybody.

    4. What kind of activity level does your Akita have? Does it prefer to sleep all day or are they excited to go for exercise? How about their endurance, how long can they exercise?

    Kagome's activity level is moderate. She plays fairly well with our shikoku. For exercise, she would rather play with another dog, then go for a walk. I think she gets easily bored with that. Weather is a major factor. Because of her coat she will wear out easily in the hot sun.

    5. Is it true Akita can’t be trusted off leash? – I saw this in a lot of places, I’m assuming it has to do with their high prey drive, liability issues, other dangers and maybe they’re not known for recall? What’s been your experience? (Also, obviously I don’t mean off leash just anywhere. I mean somewhere remote where you won’t be around a lot of people or more then 1 or 2 other dogs.)

    Kagome's recall is pretty good. She is allowed off leash when our driveway gate is open, because she doesn't have the need to wander off. I have been able to call her off of cats running out of our yard. A few times she didn't listen cause she was hamming up to neighbors outside the gate. Once, as an experiment, we hitched her and our shikoku together and left the gate open. Inu made a beeline for the gate and she followed and didn't listen to us. She definitely listens better alone than with Inu. Routine practice is always great for recall.

    6. Dog sports? I'm really interesting in doing some sort of dog sport in the future. I've seen some people do agility with their Akita(someone on this forum and then of course youtube) and it looks like fun. Does anyone else do a dog sport with their Akita?

    I haven't tried yet. She is kinda slow in the head and may not really care for dog sports. She tends to trip over her own feet, so I think she lacks the coordination necessary.

    7. How trainable was/is your Akita? I know they're not as easy to train as a German Shepherd and they're a little easier to train than some of the Ninon ken but....that doesn't really help me a terrible amount since I've owned neither. I mean I kind of get the idea but...why don't you explain how long it took you to learn basic commands and what were your training challenges? How good was your dogs attention span?

    Kagome was fairly easy to train with food, but not as snappy as our shikoku. She lacks quickness and sharpness, it takes a few seconds for the command to register in her head. She gets into a routine really quickly.

    8. How good is your dogs recall and how hard did you work with them on it?

    See above.

    9. Can you describe your dogs "independence." I'm assuming this means they don't have to be by your side constantly but, does that mean they just chill on their own all the time? Watch you do stuff Able to entertain themselves when you're busy and can't play?(I don't mean all day, I just mean like you're cleaning the house and the dog wants to play.)

    I would say Kagome is fairly independent, but she appreciates love and attention.

    10. Other? Is there anything important about the breed, or special about your dog you want to share? Any insight on what about your lifestyle has made your Akita ownership successful?

    Kagome is a very sweet girl and a huge cuddle bug. She is fairly chill and laid back, but can be easily riled up into a furry wiggly worm full of excitement. A lot of love goes along way with her. She also tends to shed a lot of hair. She doesn't really bother the cats. A bit of a klutz and heavy handed, scratched me a few times accidentally. Like Jess said, socializing and positive training is important. Temperaments vary within a breed, so finding a good breeder and picking the right puppy is important too. Also, the breed has a history of healthy problems so be prepared for that.
    Post edited by the_november_rain at 2011-09-25 02:16:37
  • Ok, AA person checking in here!

    1. What is the difference in temperament and behavior for the American vs. Japanese Akita, is there one? I don't know, as I have only had AA's, but it sounds to me like AAs might be a bit sharper in temperment....sometimes! I think they're generally bigger--at least my boy is big, at 110 pounds.

    2. Who does your Akita bond most with? Is it the entire family, a couple individuals or just one person? He has bonded with both my husband and me.

    3. Does your Akita love to meet new people or are they somewhat wary of strangers?  Do you notice any difference between meeting strangers on the street or strangers in your home? He's a bit wary, but I think that's more a reflection of socialization than anything else. I tried to get him to meet a lot of people, but I suspect it was not enough. He barks at strangers, either in the house of outside the house. (its super annoying in the house, too).

    4. What kind of activity level does your Akita have? Does it prefer to sleep all day or are they excited to go for exercise? How about their endurance, how long can they exercise? They're not the most energetic dogs, which I actually like. Oskar likes to play ball in the yard for about 10 minutes tops. Or he enjoys a good walk (about 1/2 hour) but then he's tired. Years ago I had an Akita and ski-jored with her. She would pull me super fast for about 15 minutes, then she'd be done. I don't think most akitas naturally have a lot of endurance.

    5. Is it true Akita can’t be trusted off leash? – I saw this in a lot of places, I’m assuming it has to do with their high prey drive, liability issues, other dangers and maybe they’re not known for recall? What’s been your experience? (Also, obviously I don’t mean off leash just anywhere. I mean somewhere remote where you won’t be around a lot of people or more then 1 or 2 other dogs.) I don't know....Oskar's gone on some off leash hikes and been ok, but I wouldn't trust him if there were serious distractions. Way, way better than the Shibas, though!

    6. Dog sports? I'm really interesting in doing some sort of dog sport in the future. I've seen some people do agility with their Akita(someone on this forum and then of course youtube) and it looks like fun. Does anyone else do a dog sport with their Akita? I'd like to find a sport for Oskar, but he's huge and kind of clumsy. (I've had my feet stepped on more times than I like to count, and when Oskar lands on you, you really feel it). Agility would be out, and I just don't know what else to try. I thought his best fit might be schutzhund, but then he's incredibly soft-mouthed, and we've had to teach him to even play tug, so he doesn't have a natural desire to bite, you know? I don't know what he'd be good at or enjoy. He doesn't have a whole lot of drive to work, either (which frankly is fine with me).

    7. How trainable was/is your Akita? I know they're not as easy to train as a German Shepherd and they're a little easier to train than some of the Ninon ken but....that doesn't really help me a terrible amount since I've owned neither. I mean I kind of get the idea but...why don't you explain how long it took you to learn basic commands and what were your training challenges? How good was your dogs attention span?

    I'll be comparing him to my other dogs, as I had a GSD, and currently have the Akita and two Shibas. He was not nearly as responsive as the GSD, but frankly, I found his level of responsiveness to be more suitable to me. I found the GSD drive to work and to please me to be...tiresome. Also, the GSD was willing to do a lot of repetition (because hey, it's a job!) and Oskar will do it til he gets it, then he's ready to do something else. He was not nearly as quick to pick up things as the Shibas were, who are crafty, somewhat manipulative dogs who learn things very quickly and then refuse to do it (ha!). Oskar seemed downright slow in comparison to the Shibas, but he would reliably perform the commands, unlike the Shibas. The Akita is much slower to mature than the Shibas, and because of that, has taken awhile to learn impulse control (we're still not there, entirely, and he's a bit over a year old). Clicker training worked wonders with him, and he really took to it. Aversive or coercive training would have been useless, because if I try to force him to do anything, he plants his feet and drops his head and refuses to move. The only way to get him to do something is through either lure and reward or click and treat. He works joyfully for food, but he loves squeaky toys even more, and it's so easy to motivate him with a toy (he hated riding in the car, for example, as a pup, and we didn't have a good break through on this getting him in the car until I got a special toy only for rides).

    I find Akitas pretty easy to train, actually. But perhaps that's simply because I'm comparing them mostly to Shibas. *lol*

    8. How good is your dogs recall and how hard did you work with them on it? He's decent. He usually comes, slowly, to his name. I say "to me" as his recall command and he is more likely to come to that. He will almost always come for a sqeaky toy (which is why I say "to me" which I say in a high voice). He also got loose on a walk in the neighborhood once (pulled the leash out of my hands) and when I called him he came right away. He's honestly about as good as my GSD was, but I wouldn't trust him if there were serious distractions.

    9. Can you describe your dogs "independence." I'm assuming this means they don't have to be by your side constantly but, does that mean they just chill on their own all the time? Watch you do stuff Able to entertain themselves when you're busy and can't play?(I don't mean all day, I just mean like you're cleaning the house and the dog wants to play.)

    He's got a nice balance of independence and an affectionate nature. He is not as aloof as the Shibas. He does prefer to be in the room with me, preferably somewhere he can see me, but he isn't a velcro dog like the GSD (that drove me crazy). he will play with the girl Shiba or even by himself. He does come over to be petted though, and does the Akita lean at times. He likes to drop his big old head in my lap too. And he's "jealous" in that if I'm petting Bel, the Shiba, he has to stick his head in between us so he can get the attention. But he only asks for attention a few times a day....it's not that kind of relentless neediness some breeds seem to have.

    10. Other? Is there anything important about the breed, or special about your dog you want to share? Any insight on what about your lifestyle has made your Akita ownership successful?

    They do have a lot of health issues, and while I have been pleased to see a lot of really good temperaments in AAs lately, they can have temperament issues too. I do not find them nearly as dog aggressive as a Shiba, but they are Akitas, and don't like other dogs getting in their faces. (Oskar seems to be interested in other dogs, and will not start shit with them, and even if they growl at him, he tends to just look at them at first, like he's scoping out the situation. If it continues, though, he will quickly go all Akita on them, but as I've said, he's soft-mouthed, and while he has bit other dogs, its always a warning bite. But I saw some quite reactive AAs at dog shows. And I've seen AAs that were pretty unfriendly to people, and I don't think they should be that way. I believe they should be calm and tolerant of people, if not overly friendly (though honestly? Most of them I've met have been pretty affectionate with people, even strangers) I'd make sure you really knew the lines the dog was coming from, make sure you saw all the health records as far back as possible, and meet the parents too, so you get an idea of temperament.

    I like the way Akitas are somewhat like Shibas, but a bit easier to handle and live with. And I like the fact that Oskar shows good judgement in being a watch dog: he's not a barker, but he does watch the property. If someone comes up that doesn't belong there, he watches, and if he feels it's a threat, he'll get in between the percieved threat and me. Overall, he's a big, silly boy who loves to be petted and loves to play, but he can be serious too.

    Lisa, Toby (Shiba), Oskar and Zora (American Akita), and Leo (Kai Ken)
  • Thanks guys for the replies, I really appreciate the info. It doesn't sound like there is a huge difference between the AA or the JA which is neat. I'm still not sure which one's body structure I prefer more...the AA look like teddy bears to me and the JA are just beautiful...tough call.

    Thanks for the health warnings and the warnings about aggression. I don't ever want to be the owner of an aggressive dog. No way. I know socialization is a huge deal and I will probably be taking my future puppy everywhere for a while...That's another good reason to be sure to make sure I get my future puppy from good lines and a good breeder.

    Hmm...after reading these responses I'm not 100% sure I want an Akita anymore. I've been thinking about getting an Akita for a few years but, I've only had the general idealized claims about the breed(as well as my own fantasies... :P) to go off and now that I'm reading the answers to my question I'm not sure they're as athletic as I'd like them to be...I want a dog I can go jogging with a couple times a week and do dog sports, possibly hike in the cooler months and the Akita seem more interested in being at home taking a nap...which is awesome. When I'm not at an athletic point in my life maybe having an Akita would be an option but...part of the reason I want a dog is so I have a companion to do all these things with...I do like that they're not clingy since that annoys the heck out of me. Same room, fine. Right next to me all the time?...no thanks. I like almost everything else about them, just their endurance is the problem...well, nothing is set in stone. Let's hear a few more replies :D
    Post edited by PurpleFalcon at 2011-09-25 03:19:28
  • aykayk
    Posts: 1977
    I have a friend that has owned multiple AA and now owns a JA. She doesn't jog with them, but she has taken both breeds sledding/carting (good wheel dogs), backpacking, and scootering.
  • I am a fairly active person, and of my three dogs, the one who is the easiest to work with, most willing to please, most excited to do activities (like agility, and running), is without a doubt my pit bull.
    My Akita only wants to exercise if he is with my pit bull (she is a great cheerleader, I guess). And my Shikoku could care less about sports of any kind (other than wanting to be chased).
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  • tjbart17tjbart17
    Posts: 4055
    I larger breed is difficult to jog/hike with. The thick coat on the Akita would get in the way of this if the stamina doesn't. I belong to a hiking group, and a man joined once with his AA. It was a relatively flat trail, but the AA just couldn't manage the 6 miles. I think he went about one before he was advised to turn back. It was I believe May, and the weather was probably in the 70's.

    If you are determined to see if a NK is a good fit, then I would suggest a Kai. I'm biased because I love mine. Shikoku owners can chime in about them. I would assume they would be good jogging/hiking companions as well. They might be a little less independent than the Kai. Or I may be totally wrong.

    The Shikoku may be a bit mor biddable when it comes to training for sports. My male Kai likes agility class, but he wants to do what he wants to do. My parent's female is all over it, but she is SUPER agile and athletic. She can get over 8 foot fences no problem. She loves climbing and jumping, and now has a cat tree (made especially for her dog size), that she climbs and perches up on.
    Post edited by tjbart17 at 2011-09-26 14:02:58
  • That is so funny @tjbart17 if someone asked me to guess, I would have said a kai would be more biddable. But then again, my shikoku is a punk.
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  • ttddinhttddinh
    Posts: 1990
    @tjbart17--you've gotta take a picture of that "dog tree." The idea of a dog perched in a tree is too hilarious!
  • tjbart17tjbart17
    Posts: 4055
    @JessicaRabbit I read it somewhere in a thread comparing Kais to Shikoku. I think it was a pretty long debate and the Shikoku won. ha ha. I think it was their sharpness that made them more on point with training.
  • Thanks guys. I'm thinking maybe no Akita for now...which is sad. I'm such an Akita fan-girl. I was thinking before I posted this that maybe their double-coat might make them a less than ideal choice for AZ, considering I want to be outside a lot...but I didn't want to give up hope. Thanks for answering all my questions :D I hope that other people can benefit from this. I know I learned a lot. And when I'm less active and looking for a dog I'll probably consider an Akita :D

    And thanks for the Kai and Shikoku suggestion. I didn't have my heart set on a NK persay, I think they're all amazing and cool so I'll probably still be lurking around the forums reading up on them for fun but, since I only had my heart set on an Akita I'm not sure if they'd be a good fit. I'll have to go look into them. Now I'm back to square one...what kind of dog would best suit me huh?
  • You sound like a perfect person for a pit bull. They love their people. They love working. They are desperate to please. And they have stamina to spare. We love our Akita, and Shikoku very much. But they will quite possibly be our last NK. We are pit bull people. Many people here will say how they are not fans of velcro dogs. I am typing this with my pit bull in my lap with her head in my sweatshirt. I love love love my velcro dog.
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  • Ah, I didn't realize you were in AZ. Then probably, given your desire for an active lifestyle, an Akita is not a good choice. I live in NM, but I live in the mountains, above 7000 feet. So it's not nearly as hot as it can be in parts of AZ (unless you live in Flagstaff, which has a similar climate to where I am). But my Akita has been mostly a large dog rug all summer, meaning he just lays in one place on the floor. He's super lazy when it's hot. He doesn't even want to go outside. He perks up at night, and he enjoys sleeping on the deck at night in the summer, but it's just too hot for him during the day to do much more than sleep.

    He loves the snow, though!

    I think it's great, though, that you did the research, checked it out, and realized that this might not be the right dog for you right now. Some people just refuse to realize a dog they've fallen in love with may not work with them, and they end up getting one anyway, and it's a bad match. and you asked some really good questions!

    Some dogs we may just have to love from afar, you know? Like I LOVE Basenjis, but I have a feeling they'd be a bit too much for me to handle!
    Lisa, Toby (Shiba), Oskar and Zora (American Akita), and Leo (Kai Ken)
    Post edited by shibamistress at 2011-09-30 00:32:06
  • tjbart17tjbart17
    Posts: 4055
    I love Basenji's too!! I totally want one one day.
  • LosechLosech
    Posts: 2081
    As a former Zonie, I kinda agree with the Akita not really working thing. However, I knew plenty of people who were very active who had Huskies, Malamutes and other thickly double-coated breeds. They were just super careful about the heat, providing TONS of water and made sure to really brush their dogs to keep the undercoat at a minimum during the summer.

    A Pit Bull sounds great though, with that short coat they do better than an Akita in the heat. I'd have one if my former apartment complex allowed them.
    image
  • ninielniniel
    Posts: 9
    Hey everyone, since I'm interested in getting an Akita one day and still have some questions, I think this is the right thread to post them.
    I totally fell in love with Japanese Akitas, but I still have a few years to consider if this is the right breed for me, so I want to know as much as possible.

    1. I've been around dogs all my life, but I never actually trained one (that was my dad's job). So this would be my first dog. And I heard people on the internet saying that Akita is not a dog for beginners. What do you think about that? Is it really that much about the breed or is it more about the time you spend training and socializing your puppy? I was thinking about getting a bitch, since I heard that they are less dominant.

    2. Are Akitas ok with living outside in a kennel? It's not the weather I'm concerned about, since I heard they don't mind the cold. I just wonder how they feel about not being with their family all the time. The thing is that my boyfriend is allergic to dogs, so having a dog inside the house wouldn't be a good idea.

    3. How much did you pay for your Akita puppy? I'd be lying if I'd say that I don't care about the price. I heard that a puppy from a breeder I was looking at costs around 1500€. Here is the site: http://www.samuraiyashiki.com/eglavna.php
    And what do you think about their dogs?

    I'd be really happy to hear some answers from Akita owners! :)

    Nina


  • Honestly i would reconsider getting a dog if it can't live WITH you.

    I am allergic to dogs. VERY allergic, and two of my dogs are in my lap in bed with me as I type this. I just medicate accordingly.

    To have a happy well socialized dog hundreds of hours of socializing and companionship need to occur. Unless you plan on living outside there is little chance the dog will get what it needs.
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    Post edited by JessicaRabbit at 2011-10-04 07:40:21
  • I would also reconsider getting a dog if it can't live with you. I've yet to meet an entirely outside pet that I would actually call a pet instead of an animal that happens to live on the property. Not that it cant be done, I'm sure, but out of sight, out of mind, you know?
  • okironokiron
    Posts: 3427
    First off I'd like to point out that I have nothing against outside dogs depending on the situation and the breed.

    That being said if the dog will be outside because of allergies because of a boyfriend, I'm wondering how the heck it will work. What part of the dog is he allergic to? How severe is the allergy? Is he not willing to take meds for it? Does he agree with getting the dog? Was having the dog outside a condition he gave you in order to get the dog?
    -Rina
  • I think an Akita Inu would be pretty unhappy living outdoors and not in the house with you. Do you really want to spend that kind of money and then just put it outside? What if someone stole your dog?

    I did not find an Akita Inu to be especially difficult to train.

    "I was thinking about getting a bitch, since I heard that they are less dominant." --This is false.

    Please do not use any dominate training methods, it will do more harm than good.
    Post edited by the_november_rain at 2011-10-04 15:01:45
  • I'd echo what everyone else here said. Akitas want to be with their people, more so than, say, Shibas. My Akita wants to be in the room with me. He doesn't need to be right next to me, but if I leave the room, he goes with me. He does like to sleep outside, but that's only because he's hot (as soon as the temp dropped, as in this week, he was happy to sleep inside again). Also, at least in the US, most good breeders won't sell you a dog if they know you're going to kennel them, so there's that.

    I don't think Akitas are hard to train, but that's in comparison to other NKs. In comparison to other breeds, sure, they're harder to train than GSDs or labs, or the more biddable breeds.

    There are threads here about dominance. That idea has been debunked.

    I find bitches a little more difficult to train/live with then dogs, but that could just be the individual dogs I've had.
    Lisa, Toby (Shiba), Oskar and Zora (American Akita), and Leo (Kai Ken)
  • ninielniniel
    Posts: 9
    Well that's why I asked, right, to get some answers. :)
    I got the feeling while reading other threads that Akitas need to be inside with their family, so at least I got one thing right. I guess that's something I'll have to solve with my boyfriend, then. He was never taking any meds, cause where he comes from, they have their dog outside and it's not that bad when he pets him outside. I sure will talk to him about taking some, if we get a dog.
    You gave me a lot to think about. Especially with this: ''I've yet to meet an entirely outside pet that I would actually call a pet instead of an animal that happens to live on the property.'' I couldn't agree more. I have my cats inside so I know how much we bonded in years, and it just wouldn't be the same if I'd see them only once in a while. I guess with dogs this bond is even more important, since they are pack animals.
    I've been on this forum just for few weeks now, so I admit, I still have a lot to read about. :)
  • Your boyfriend will not be able to resist an Akita Inu puppy.
  • MegaenMegaen
    Posts: 36
    I would probably talk your boyfriend into getting allergy meds, I have allergies to dogs and cats as well and there are two times a year I really have to load up on allergy meds other days just one dose does it. I don't own an akita, sadly, but I think keeping them strictly outdoors would be a bad idea, they would do best with there family. In my neighborhood we have people who have just outdoor dogs and they always look sad...
    Post edited by Megaen at 2011-10-05 12:32:33
  • I should add something: my godmother wanted to get an Akita desperately. She fell in love with the breed, and it seemed like it would work for them, except her husband has allergies. I suggested that an Akita would be a really BAD dog for someone with allergies, and really encouraged them to go meet an Akita and hang out with the dog, which they did. Her husband LOVED the dog (a young female) and played with her, and everything seemed fine. An hour after they left, he had such a bad allergic reaction that he had to go to the emergency room.

    No Akita for them; they ended up getting a standard poodle instead. So I would say that someone who has an allergy to dogs, should probably spend some time with the breed under consideration to see how bad the alllergies are. If it's mild, meds can take care of that. But best to make sure it's not going to be a major deal BEFORE getting the dog.
    Lisa, Toby (Shiba), Oskar and Zora (American Akita), and Leo (Kai Ken)
  • tjbart17tjbart17
    Posts: 4055
    During coat blowing season, I would think that would be hell for someone who is allergic to dogs. I'm hearing that people have managed their allergies, and that gives some hope. But their fur is like soft tumbleweed. I couldn't even imaging the dog outside not effecting him. The hair tends to go everywhere like tufts of cloud floating into your home and all over your clothes.
  • Hair is actually often not what the person is allergic to. Dandruff or saliva is the usual cause of the allergies.
  • My dad is very allergic to dogs. My JA does not set him off as much, except during coat blowing season. One benadryl does the trick for him.
    www.akita-inu.com
    www.Japanese-Akitas.com
    pedigrees.akita-inu.com
  • MegaenMegaen
    Posts: 36
    thanks shibamistress, honestly I do forget that some people really have horrible allergies to animals and they do need medical care so thanks for mentioning that :)

    I know to many people who use the excuse allergies to get rid of there pet just because of a few sniffles (really can't stand those people) so yes it does depend on the allergy degree of it....

    **forgot to hit the post comment**
  • tjbart17tjbart17
    Posts: 4055
    @NotoriousScrat My dogs get dandruff when they blow coat. They also like to clean themselves often. My assumption is that when the fur blows, the saliva and dander blows with it.
  • It was sad for my godparents, because they really wanted an Akita, but if that was the reaction he had when he was already taking allergy meds, well, obviously, it was not going to work. I'm glad they were able to find a dog that would work even if it wasn't what they initially wanted (but their poodle is super funny and sweet, and they feel at least they were able to find a big dog that would work.)
    Lisa, Toby (Shiba), Oskar and Zora (American Akita), and Leo (Kai Ken)
  • ninielniniel
    Posts: 9
    If I had a chance, I'd love to meet an Akita, not only to see how my boyfriend would react, but simply because I never saw one. But as far as I know, no one in Slovenia has a Japanese one (even AAs are very, very rare).
    Oh and by the way, as soon as I showed some JA pictures to my boyfried, he fell in love with them as well. ;)
    But I know that no matter which breed we end up with, we'll love our dog. :)
  • Sorry I didn't reply sooner but, I wanted to say thanks again for all the input and answering my questions. Also thanks Niniel for asking more questions. Glad this thread has been useful to other Akita fans :D

    Also thanks for the pitbull suggestions. I actually like pitbulls a lot, they're really awesome. I'm really in love with the idea of a larger dog but, a good fit for my lifestyle is more important so, I'll definetly do more research on them with my list of other possible breeds.
    Post edited by PurpleFalcon at 2011-10-18 16:56:18
  • 1 cant say as i have two aa 2. they have bonded with all the family although kuma a little more i think maybe because of him being abused in first home. 3 my girl never loves her comfort too much but kuma i do have to call in he gets too warm in house two coats and all i have fans on makes no difference. 3 love meeting people outside on walks kuma a bit wary of people that call. 4 an hour in the morning another hour in evening with play in garden. 5 zarah i let off lead when younger but after about 12 - 18 months prey drive kicked in and so never let kuma off leash 6 its just team work constantly keeping everything clear and speaking with your akita all the time it works for me as for agility yes it could be done but my two it would only be while they could be bothered. or the look that tells you if its that good you do it then well watch. 8 recall not if squirrels cats leaves or anything else is around to amuse them 9 yes independance if that means trying to get onto settee bed or somewhere where they can just watch you all day 10
  • niniel, eurodogshow was in slovenia last year, in Celje. Lovely region, we really loved it! Check out fci.be and you can find next year's dog shows, I am sure some akitas will attend.
    Irina and the kids: Tenshi, Hinu, Tsuki, Kito, Dori, Mizuki (JA) and feline beast Loulou.
    http://akita-ken.ro/
  • we're having another dog show in Celje this winter (CACIB Celje 2011 - Winter Winner), and I'll sure be there, hoping to see some akitas. :)
  • Consider a Saluki, independent hunting dog but love their owners and can literally walk forever. Not to mention they look beautiful, are clean and quiet in the home and are equip to deal with hot weather.

    I am biased though, I have the most lovely Saluki ever.

    :D
  • T_DogT_Dog
    Posts: 330
    I have Three male Akita, Two JA and one AA. And one JA thats in heaven.

    1. What is the difference in temperament and behavior for the American vs. Japanese Akita, is there one?

    I don't see a difference in Temperament. But personality is all different. Each has their own unique little things.

    2. Who does your Akita bond most with? Is it the entire family, a couple individuals or just one person?

    They bond most to Me. Cuz I give them the most attention. I know this cuz thye run to me first when we all come in the door. But they love the whole family.

    3. Does your Akita love to meet new people or are they somewhat wary of strangers?  Do you notice any difference between meeting strangers on the street or strangers in your home?

    They are suspicious of strangers and don't generally like someone who is scared of them. No difference. If they don't like someone that person will not approach. Nor enter my home until the dogs are put up.

    4. What kind of activity level does your Akita have? Does it prefer to sleep all day or are they excited to go for exercise?

    How about their endurance, how long can they exercise?

    They lay around all day. But get very excited when the leash comes out. The will trot for about two miles. Then you will be taking a break. I found out by bike Joring with them. They did pull a little. My AA did most the work but he is older.

    5. Is it true Akita can’t be trusted off leash? – I saw this in a lot of places, I’m assuming it has to do with their high prey drive, liability issues, other dangers and maybe they’re not known for recall? What’s been your experience? (Also, obviously I don’t mean off leash just anywhere. I mean somewhere remote where you won’t be around a lot of people or more then 1 or 2 other dogs.)

    No off leash and no dog parks. All of them are prone to fight if they meet another Alpha or dominant dog. All of my Akita were quick to get real and fight. No off leash and no dog parks. Get a lab if you want those things.

    6. Dog sports? I'm really interesting in doing some sort of dog sport in the future. I've seen some people do agility with their Akita(someone on this forum and then of course youtube) and it looks like fun. Does anyone else do a dog sport with their Akita?

    I do Bike Joring. They won't fetch but they will play interference and keep away. They also like a flirt pole. After about 9-11 months old. I would be expecting to be around other dogs off leash to much. Keep that in mind while choosing a sport.

    7. How trainable was/is your Akita? I know they're not as easy to train as a German Shepherd and they're a little easier to train than some of the Ninon ken but....that doesn't really help me a terrible amount since I've owned neither. I mean I kind of get the idea but...why don't you explain how long it took you to learn basic commands and what were your training challenges? How good was your dogs attention span?

    It's like training a house cat. Seriously.

    8. How good is your dogs recall and how hard did you work with them on it?

    It's good in the back yard... Sometimes... And if there are no distractions.

    9. Can you describe your dogs "independence." I'm assuming this means they don't have to be by your side constantly but, does that mean they just chill on their own all the time? Watch you do stuff Able to entertain themselves when you're busy and can't play?(I don't mean all day, I just mean like you're cleaning the house and the dog wants to play.)

    They won't care about a lot of attention but they do like to say hi if you leave and come back 15mins later. They do like hugs and kisses. They follow me around. They help me by getting in my way. They want to be where I am at watching me. If I am watching TV they want to be in the living room.

    10. Other? Is there anything important about the breed, or special about your dog you want to share? Any insight on what about your lifestyle has made your Akita ownership successful?

    Multiple Akita's are a big handful. Akita require a tremendous amount of training and time training to get your basic commands you could easily get from a lab. There are success stories and Akita with good canine certificate and all that. But it requires a lot of skill and time to get those results. It really is like training a cat. If obedience is important to you than this is not the dog for you. The only difference in my opinion is their size and how they look.
  • T_DogT_Dog
    Posts: 330
    I think maybe this guy lost interest in the breed... Another dog just got rescued. ;)
  • Okay, so my JA is only a year and a half old, and I've been told he's a weird Akita, so take everything I say with a grain of salt.


    1. What is the difference in temperament and behavior for the American vs. Japanese Akita, is there one?

    I've only owned one akita who is my current JA, Nanaki. I have not seen another JA in the state I live in and every AA I've met here seems to be dog aggressive. Not sure if that's due to not enough socialization or breeding, or what. AA are bigger than the JA. I have read that male JA get to be a max of 75lbs, and Male AA can be up to 120 lbs. My male JA is 56 lbs. I don't think he'll get any bigger.

    2. Who does your Akita bond most with? Is it the entire family, a couple individuals or just one person?

    He definitely bonds with me more than my husband because he will greet me when I come home and he really only listens to me. But that's mostly because I'm the one who trains him/does everything with him. My husband doesn't do anything except take the dogs out at night.

    3. Does your Akita love to meet new people or are they somewhat wary of strangers?  Do you notice any difference between meeting strangers on the street or strangers in your home?

    My JA loves EVERYONE. And I mean EVERYONE. He will jump all over people and lick them in the face which we've been working on because it's really rude and sometimes when he gets really excited he nips at their clothes, yet most people encourage this behavior and it's very frustrating. I try to tell people to not pet him unless he is sitting and calm but people don't understand when they see a cute dog like an akita. They have to touch him. I honestly didn't expect I would have that problem with an akita, but yep.

    4. What kind of activity level does your Akita have? Does it prefer to sleep all day or are they excited to go for exercise? How about their endurance, how long can they exercise?

    Nanaki can play for HOURS. Like...it's kind of insane. We used to go to the dog park for about an hour and he'd still have energy to run around the yard. But again, only a year and a half old.

    5. Is it true Akita can’t be trusted off leash? – I saw this in a lot of places, I’m assuming it has to do with their high prey drive, liability issues, other dangers and maybe they’re not known for recall? What’s been your experience? (Also, obviously I don’t mean off leash just anywhere. I mean somewhere remote where you won’t be around a lot of people or more then 1 or 2 other dogs.)

    We do offleash walks sometimes with big groups of other people and dogs. I would worry if I was by myself that he wouldn't come back, but I know he'll follow the other dogs in a big group. I used to do offleash walks once a week with my friend and her two labs, but then her lab puppy started to become aggressive and she's working on that now. She doesn't want to do offleash walks anymore until she has that under control. The labs had amazing recall so I would never worry about Nanaki wandering because he would always follow them. We started this when he was a puppy, so his recall is pretty good. I just worry about a deer running across the path or something and him chasing it. I'm not sure he'd come back. He does have an emergency recall but I have never tested it in a situation like that so I'm not sure how he'd react.

    6. Dog sports? I'm really interesting in doing some sort of dog sport in the future. I've seen some people do agility with their Akita(someone on this forum and then of course youtube) and it looks like fun. Does anyone else do a dog sport with their Akita?

    We are working on agility with Nanaki. He is very distracted and has little focus right now. Not sure if it's because of his age or what. He has been doing better recently but he is afraid of the teeter, and is very skittish with loud noises, so it's been a bit of a struggle. Last class someone knocked down a metal chair while he was running and then I couldn't get him to jump for about 5 minutes. >.< He finally got over it and we finished our run. I think we'll get there eventually. With patience and lots of training, I think you can do it. As with most Nihon Ken, you have to convince them what they are doing is fun and enjoyable, otherwise they won't do it. You also may have to explain to the trainer that you shouldn't practice the stuff ad nauseum in class. That's something my trainer had to figure out with Nanaki. He hated the beginning stuff but now that we're actually running courses he seems to enjoy it more. They are very smart and if they get bored or frustrated, they will start to backtrack and be naughty. I can tell when Nanaki is getting annoyed or if we've practiced something too much because he will stop doing it completely, or if he gets REALLY annoyed, he nips at me. It's like he's saying, "What the heck, I got this already, why are we still doing it?!"

    7. How trainable was/is your Akita? I know they're not as easy to train as a German Shepherd and they're a little easier to train than some of the Ninon ken but....that doesn't really help me a terrible amount since I've owned neither. I mean I kind of get the idea but...why don't you explain how long it took you to learn basic commands and what were your training challenges? How good was your dogs attention span?

    Nanaki is brighter than my shiba and can pick up on things really quickly. He has better weave polls than my shiba and I've been training with my shiba in agility for nearly 4 years now. Nanaki has been really easy to train. He has immediate sits and downs and even does commands at a distance. My shiba looks at me like i'm an idiot when I ask her to sit.

    8. How good is your dogs recall and how hard did you work with them on it?

    We work on recall in the back yard every day. His recall is decent. It's not as good as my shiba's, but he's also young and very distracted most of the time.

    9. Can you describe your dogs "independence." I'm assuming this means they don't have to be by your side constantly but, does that mean they just chill on their own all the time? Watch you do stuff Able to entertain themselves when you're busy and can't play?(I don't mean all day, I just mean like you're cleaning the house and the dog wants to play.)

    Nanaki is a little needy. He will lay down next to me most of the time and just sleep, but he needs to be in the same room as me all the time. And when he wants to be pet, he puts his head in my lap. I don't know if it's a boy thing or what, but my shiba hates being in the room with me lol.

    10. Other? Is there anything important about the breed, or special about your dog you want to share? Any insight on what about your lifestyle has made your Akita ownership successful?

    I would just say socialize the bejesus out of your akita if you get one. People tell me all the time they've never met one as nice as Nanaki. He loves other dogs and people and rarely gets into a scuffle at the dog park. If he does, the other dog always starts it and hes' always the first to "give up" the scuffle. He may also be the exception to the rule too, there's always dogs that don't quite fit the breed. Just depends on what you're willing to work with and expect that you'll have to put in a lot of work. You may be pleasantly surprised in the end.
  • Dog sports -- My dogs LOVE Nose Work, Barn Hunt, and Lure Coursing. As activities that rely more on the dog's hunt drive and prey drive (not the same thing!) than following commands like Agility, Obedience, and Rally, I've found my Akitas to be much more suited to them. Not to mention its better bonding and more fun for me as well. I have no interest in ordering my dog around and having a perfect little machine to do what I tell it to do; if I did, I'd program a robot or something.
    「怪獣荘秋田犬」Kaiju Kennels Japanese Akita and Hokkaido, Claire Matthews
    http://www.facebook.com/PoetikDragon
    http://www.facebook.com/KaijuKennels
    http://www.kaijukennels.com
  • Don't have long experience with the breed. My JA is 3 years old at the moment.

    1. What is the difference in temperament and behavior for the American vs. Japanese Akita, is there one?
    Leaving this blank, don't know the american akita well enough.

    2. Who does your Akita bond most with? Is it the entire family, a couple individuals or just one person?
    He likes the rest of the family, but he's most bond to me. Mainly because I do all the walks, feeding, etc.

    3. Does your Akita love to meet new people or are they somewhat wary of strangers?  Do you notice any difference between meeting strangers on the street or strangers in your home?
    Love is a strong word. He greets strangers, but is not overly interested in them. He will let them pet him as he loves cuddles, but is not acting super excited. Strangers in our home.. if they knock and are let in he will be wagging his tail, but if they come in without knocking he'll give us a warning bark to let us know something's up.

    4. What kind of activity level does your Akita have? Does it prefer to sleep all day or are they excited to go for exercise? How about their endurance, how long can they exercise?
    I think he's a bit more than average on the activity level for akitas. He loves to pull (bike, jogging, ski). I'm not super fit, but he gladly joins me for the occasional 5km jog. Inside he will sleep all day, but outdoors he's impossible to tire.. so good off-switch on this one.

    5. Is it true Akita can’t be trusted off leash? – I saw this in a lot of places, I’m assuming it has to do with their high prey drive, liability issues, other dangers and maybe they’re not known for recall? What’s been your experience? (Also, obviously I don’t mean off leash just anywhere. I mean somewhere remote where you won’t be around a lot of people or more then 1 or 2 other dogs.)
    If he finds a deer/moose trail he's gone.

    6. Dog sports? I'm really interesting in doing some sort of dog sport in the future. I've seen some people do agility with their Akita(someone on this forum and then of course youtube) and it looks like fun. Does anyone else do a dog sport with their Akita?
    Also interested ;) One of our goal for 2016 is to take a class in obedience, and maybe start a competition if we get anywhere.

    7. How trainable was/is your Akita? I know they're not as easy to train as a German Shepherd and they're a little easier to train than some of the Ninon ken but....that doesn't really help me a terrible amount since I've owned neither. I mean I kind of get the idea but...why don't you explain how long it took you to learn basic commands and what were your training challenges? How good was your dogs attention span?
    In my experience they get bored quickly, so training is best done at short intervals, eg. ten minutes training, then a break and then a few more ten minute sessions. He's very quick to catch on to things.

    8. How good is your dogs recall and how hard did you work with them on it?
    This is still a work in progress. I think we're up to about 90% at the moment with little distractions (as mentioned in question 5: if he finds a trail he's gone).

    9. Can you describe your dogs "independence." I'm assuming this means they don't have to be by your side constantly but, does that mean they just chill on their own all the time? Watch you do stuff Able to entertain themselves when you're busy and can't play?(I don't mean all day, I just mean like you're cleaning the house and the dog wants to play.)
    If I study all day he'll come over a couple of times for a few "pats on the back" before going back to sleep. Other than that he won't interact with me unless I initiate it. He likes me being in the room with him and will most often change room if I do so, but only after a while. He never follows me to the bathroom or anything, kinda just wait and sees where I decide on sitting down.

    I aspire to be the person my dog thinks I am.
  • lindsaytlindsayt
    Posts: 3421
    I don't have an Akita, so that isn't why I'm commenting, re the comment about Agility, Rally and Obedience "I have no interest in ordering my dog around and having a perfect little machine to do what I tell it to do; if I did, I'd program a robot or something."

    ...but I do have Shibas and Hokkaido and an Ovcharka and have had Kai Ken...I do all of these activities with my dogs, and I think it unfortunate that this is a perception of the sports. It is not an accurate depiction of doing sports with NK imo and would be a shame if people were discouraged from trying something fun for them and their dogs at all because of misinformation.

    Certainly with my CO, Shiba, Hokkaido and former Kai, having little programmed robots is far from the reality of doing performance events with NK breeds. It's more about the handler than the dog, and the team rather than making a dog a robot. I do see AA here doing these events and I am always so impressed at the teamwork the teams have. You can tell they spend a lot of time doing training games and fun bonding activities so the dogs want to play and enjoy it.

    That's all :) We love agility and all the sports, especially Flyball. If I had an Akita, I would take it to Agility classes and try Rally and CGC, it's good for the dogs to "go to school" and get new experiences in a fun way. It is what you make it!
    info@hokkaidoken.org
    www.hokkaidoken.com
    www.hokkaidousa.wordpress.com
  • CrispyCrispy
    Posts: 1741
    I thought the comment was strange, too, @Lindsayt. That isn't the perception I have of those sports. I view it more of a team-building and bonding experience. I've often thought about doing obedience/rally or agility with Fionna and Nami. I just haven't found a place to do it in Portland that I like yet.
    Akiyama no Roushya || 秋山の狼室 || www.kishu-ken.org
  • omgtainomgtain
    Posts: 240
    If you're doing the sport for the sport, it is bad.

    If you're doing the sport because you and your dog enjoy it and it can add enrichment to your lives, it is fucking amazing.

    That said, every dog is motivated by something different. If your dog doesnt enjoy working with you and taking commands, then i agree that Barn Hunt, lure coursing, and nose work, where you're not really invovled, is a better venue. However i feel all dogs should value and be excited to work with their owners. Even if you dont compete.. i just love the gleam in Tavi's eyes as she flattens herself like a pancake, tail wagging furiously while she awaits my next cue.. Just to execute it flawlessly. My dogs being so excited and eager motivates me so much more.
    image

    Tain, Nare the GSD/Husky, and Tavi the Kaigirl!
  • Doing agility classes are fun... competing obedience and rally, I don't see the joy in it. You give an arbitrary direction, the dog does it, and is graded on how well and how quickly it does it. Is it challenging for an NK? You bet. Is it more rewarding because its challenging? I suppose it could be to some people. But the objective is still the same... see if your dog will do what you've programmed it to do.
    「怪獣荘秋田犬」Kaiju Kennels Japanese Akita and Hokkaido, Claire Matthews
    http://www.facebook.com/PoetikDragon
    http://www.facebook.com/KaijuKennels
    http://www.kaijukennels.com
  • lindsaytlindsayt
    Posts: 3421
    "programmed" is a really loaded word. It implies that the dog is a passive participant and doesn't enjoy the activity. That may be true for some teams, and they are probably not very happy people or pets, but that hasn't been my experience at all with Agility or Rally or Obedience on the competition level. It's been about team work and fun and lots of homework on my part. The really exiting thing for me is getting the chance to work with a dog who WANTS to work, or learning something new about what motivates my dog.
    info@hokkaidoken.org
    www.hokkaidoken.com
    www.hokkaidousa.wordpress.com
  • Liked the post because I think its a good sentiment. I'm really glad for you and your dogs that you find it fun. I mean that.

    But when you say "homework" that's really EXACTLY how I view it. Its not fun for me to ask my dog to do the same thing over and over to practice (even mixing it up with multiple commands), and I don't think its fun for my dog either. But that's ME and my dogs - not everyone else, and definitely not meant to discourage those who like it. I think if I enjoyed stuff like that more, I would be more drawn to breeds that are more obeisant and want jobs and direction all the time. As it is, I find dogs like that kind of needy and annoying. XD
    「怪獣荘秋田犬」Kaiju Kennels Japanese Akita and Hokkaido, Claire Matthews
    http://www.facebook.com/PoetikDragon
    http://www.facebook.com/KaijuKennels
    http://www.kaijukennels.com
  • lindsaytlindsayt
    Posts: 3421
    @crispy

    I know I've competed with an Agility trainer from Portland who Sandra (Koji and Maluko) recommended in the past. I believe she also teaches other training at her facility besides agility. If I can recall her name, I'll pass it on in case you were interested.

    @poeticdragon

    I'm one of those who like to do dog related "homework" as it's a chance for me to indulge my obsession and have 1 on 1 special time with my dogs, that is an outlet from a very stressful career where everything is very controlled and rigid. So, my training time with the dogs tends to be the opposite of control/rigid and it forces me to laugh at myself (which is important) and get those feel good endorphins flowing :) and it's also a total adrenaline rush to participate in lure coursing and the more hands off activities where they dog gets to act on instincts, that's a thrill. That and Barn Hunt and NW are some of the activities I will recommend people to try first as they are highly entertaining.
    info@hokkaidoken.org
    www.hokkaidoken.com
    www.hokkaidousa.wordpress.com
  • I agree with both of you, @poeticdragon, I also think that that the typical dogs who like to do repetitive dog sports are annoying. (border collies, labs, goldens, etc.) That's why I like doing dog sports with my shiba and Akita. For me, it's more rewarding because I know they're only doing it because they enjoy it. If they didn't enjoy it, they'd give me the duclaw all day and refuse to do anything because that's how they are. haha. But I have to say that I do think my dogs enjoy the activities we do. We don't do any repetitive practice. Once my dogs have it down, we stop practicing it, otherwise they definitely get really bored. I also have a similar view to lindsayt in that I view dog sports as a way to have fun with my dog. Our training is "fun time" more than homework and I think the dogs do enjoy it. My shiba will literally pull me to class/the ring when it's her turn to go. She loves it. And Nanaki, my akita, is starting to like it now that we're doing more of the running stuff and less of the practice. There were times during beginning training that I thought, "maybe this isn't for him," he's not liking this. But I gave it a couple more classes and now, he perks up when I ask him if he wants to work. He has always enjoyed going to class though. All I have to say is, "Nanaki, it's class day." And he whines and runs to the door. It's pretty fun. But if my dogs didn't like it, I definitely wouldn't keep doing it. We would have to find something else to do. I think you just have to fight the right thing to do with your dogs that makes you both happy.
  • TheYetiTheYeti
    Posts: 166
    Apparently Vladimir Putin is a NK fan! Easily the least cooperative member of his inner circle, haha.

    photo 5FCB4A1E-5012-47BA-9208-BC008DD68F4F_zpsmvolsyjm.jpg
    To err is human, to arrr is to pirate.
  • zoomiazoomia
    Posts: 16
    First real post here! I know this is an old thread, but it was helpful to me when I first got my AA girl Hilda about 2 years ago, and so I am happy to contribute my personal experience in the hope that it is helpful to someone else ... even though the OP opted for another breed. :)

    1. What is the difference in temperament and behavior for the American vs. Japanese Akita, is there one?

    I only have an AA, so can't speak to difference.

    2. Who does your Akita bond most with? Is it the entire family, a couple individuals or just one person?
    Hilda LOVES people and she LOVES her daddy and various other people. But she is definitely my dog first and foremost because I am the one who does everything.

    3. Does your Akita love to meet new people or are they somewhat wary of strangers?  Do you notice any difference between meeting strangers on the street or strangers in your home?
    Again, Hilda loves people. She is extremely social; I joke that she never got the memo about being aloof. People who are invited in--no problem, also very friendly. But she is territorial, a good watch dog. We have this weird private drive that people are always walking down, and if someone is where they shouldn't be, she will alert us.

    4. What kind of activity level does your Akita have? Does it prefer to sleep all day or are they excited to go for exercise? How about their endurance, how long can they exercise?
    Both! She is very mellow through the day, and excited to go out when we do. She is definitely not an endurance dog, and I think this is pretty typical. However, a typical walk for us is anywhere between 3 and 6 miles, and she may need a breather in the middle of the longer one. All bets are off when it's hot, defined as anything about 70. Then I am lucky to get a mile out of her.

    5. Is it true Akita can’t be trusted off leash? – I saw this in a lot of places, I’m assuming it has to do with their high prey drive, liability issues, other dangers and maybe they’re not known for recall? What’s been your experience? (Also, obviously I don’t mean off leash just anywhere. I mean somewhere remote where you won’t be around a lot of people or more then 1 or 2 other dogs.)

    I think it's pretty safe to say that most akitas can't be trusted off leash without a huge amount of work, and that training is, in general, more challenging than with, say a GSD or a lab or something. We do more formal obedience training; her on-leash obedience is really good (after much work). We are currently working on off-leash; this is my goal. (Whether I can completely get there is another story, but it's a good goal to work towards.) We can walk in public places on a heel off-leash at this point, do distance sit/downstays, and recalls.

    6. Dog sports? I'm really interesting in doing some sort of dog sport in the future. I've seen some people do agility with their Akita(someone on this forum and then of course youtube) and it looks like fun. Does anyone else do a dog sport with their Akita?
    Not yet, but once we get the off-leash dialed in a bit more, we're going to start some scentwork.

    7. How trainable was/is your Akita? I know they're not as easy to train as a German Shepherd and they're a little easier to train than some of the Ninon ken but....that doesn't really help me a terrible amount since I've owned neither. I mean I kind of get the idea but...why don't you explain how long it took you to learn basic commands and what were your training challenges? How good was your dogs attention span?
    Again, my experience has to be caveated with the fact that I do more formal obedience training, which IME most people--with any dog breed--don't really do. (I'm talking about those of us regular joes who don't show or do competition anything, and I am not making any sort of judgment here, it all comes down to personal preference and what people want.) It has taken me far longer to get where we are than with previous dogs. I find that Hilda picks up commands very easily, but it's just a question of whether she wants to do them or not! I would say that her attention span is undivided when we're "working"; she concentrates very hard. But she's also done faster. Call it getting tired, call it getting bored. This is true of pretty much anything though--whether it's chasing a ball, playing tug, playing with another dog.

    8. How good is your dogs recall and how hard did you work with them on it?

    Work in progress. A lot of work. Recall is excellent when she's in "work" mode. Currently working on alternating between switching between "free" mode and "work" mode -- i.e., dog is on heel, spies cat, wants to go after cat but doesn't vs. dog is on free, spies cat, knows she's on a free and craftily works the situation ....

    9. Can you describe your dogs "independence." I'm assuming this means they don't have to be by your side constantly but, does that mean they just chill on their own all the time? Watch you do stuff Able to entertain themselves when you're busy and can't play?(I don't mean all day, I just mean like you're cleaning the house and the dog wants to play.)

    She's pretty independent. Likes to know where I am (I work from home, but ignore her a good chunk of the day), but can totally entertain herself. Pretty chill actually. That said, she is very snuggly and friendly, and loves affection and love, and will often come up for a good scratch and nose kisses. And when she brings me a toy to play tug with, that's the sign that it's time to get some exercise!

    10. Other? Is there anything important about the breed, or special about your dog you want to share? Any insight on what about your lifestyle has made your Akita ownership successful?
    All our akitas are special!

    Seriously, though ... I don't think most akitas are a good choice for anyone who has a hard time setting boundaries. As it is, my girl will work situations. You can see her independent akita brain assessing whatever is going on, and trying to figure out the loopholes. Also--and this is true of all dogs, but doubly true of my experience with akitas--fostering mutual respect. When people talk about akitas being standoffish, this is what I think about. It's not standoffish in the traditional sense, just that they don't unquestioningly follow your lead no matter what. There's a kind of proving yourself as worthy to follow.
    Post edited by zoomia at 2015-12-02 14:11:19

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