Showsight Presents The Akita

stimuli (people, places and things) on and off their place of residence. 3) Akitas tend to act aloof towards strangers and will need to learn that all people they do not know are not necessarily threats to them. 4) Akitas are a breed that requires respect from all who encounter them (family, friends and strangers); a challenging concept for many people to process and implement in their actions towards them. 5) Most households may not have the time to complete the level of obedi- ence training and socialization that Akitas require in order to become well-adjusted companions and mem- bers of society. WHAT HEALTH ISSUES ARE THERE WITH YOUR BREED? 1) Bloat—Gastric dilatation volvulus (GDV): a condition associated with stomach bloat. Akita dogs are particularly susceptible to this condition, when the stomach twists (also known as volvulus or torsion) due to a variety of reasons. This condition is severe and requires immediate, emergency veterinary treatment. Akita owners should be alert to the symptoms of GDV and know the location of the nearest 24-hour veterinary medical facility. This condition without treatment (and sometimes with) is fatal. 2) Thyroid problems and Autoimmune disorders 3) Eye problems: Progressive retinal atrophy (PRA): an adult-onset condition which gradual degenera- tion of the retina leading to blind- ness and cataracts. 4) Canine hip dysplasia: a malforma- tion of the hip joints that causes

work. Some Akitas excel as therapy dogs.

3) The breed will groom itself like a cat, is clean and housebreaking is usually not a problem. WHAT IS YOUR OPINION ON CRATE TRAINING? 1) Crate training can be very valu- able. For example, if an owner needs to leave their Akita at the vet or groomer, the dogs are usually housed in crates, runs or pens. Therefore, a dog successfully exposed to a variety of confinement situations will be more relaxed and successful in the aforementioned stressful environments. 2) Additionally, if an owner chooses to compete in conformation and/ or performance events, there are inevitably times when it may be a necessity to crate an Akita. 3) Confinement training is best done when a dog is young and may be dif- ficult with an older dog. Therefore, crate training is typically a plus for this breed all around. IS THERE A MYTH ABOUT YOUR BREED THAT YOU WOULD LIKE TO CLEAR UP? 1) Akitas are listed by some insurance companies and represented in the media as dangerous dogs. They are also a target of breed specific legislation (BSL). 2) A well-socialized and trained Akita is not unsafe, but individuals should always give an Akita space and respect, not forcing themselves on the dog. WHAT ARE THE GROOMING REQUIREMENTS? 1) The breed has a thick double coat that should not be shaved. 2) Usually two times per year the Akita blows out his coat by shedding heavily. Akitas require regular brushing and nail trimming year-round. HOW MUCH EXERCISE WILL MY DOG NEED? 1) An Akita’s exercise level is medium; therefore, they will be happy with a good daily walk or jog. 2) Akitas are not known to be an overly

six-foot fenced area is needed when confined outdoors. 3) Akitas need to be an integral part of their family’s household, not one that is mainly kept as an outside dog. 4) The Akita’s genetically strong hunting instinct requires that they should never be allowed to roam loose or off leash in an unfenced area. IF APPLICABLE, WHEN SHOULD EARS BE CROPPED? DO I HAVE TO CROP? 1) Not applicable 2) Akitas have naturally erect ears and therefore, should never be cropped. I KNOW ALL BREEDS WERE CREATED TO DO A SPECIFIC JOB. IS THERE SOMETHING ELSE THAT YOUR BREED IS GOOD AT THAT MAY SURPRISE PEOPLE? 1) Akitas are generally quiet and not prone to nuisance barking. 2) Despite their quiet nature, they are natural guardians. They do not need and should not have special watch dog training. 3) Akitas are Working dogs (several hundred have been registered as therapy dogs) and can be seen visiting nursing homes/hospitals and doing reading programs with children at schools/libraries. “AKITAS NEED TO BE AN INTEGRAL PART OF THEIR FAMILY’S HOUSEHOLD, NOT ONE THAT IS MAINLY KEPT AS AN OUTSIDE DOG.”

arthritis—reputable breeders test potential parents for this before breeding.

HOW TRAINABLE IS YOUR BREED? HOUSEBREAKING? OBEDIENCE? 1) Akitas respond best to respectful commands and positive training techniques that rely on motivation rather than force. 2) Today, the Akita is popularly seen in the breed (conformation) ring, but many also participate in perfor- mance events such as obedience, rally, agility, tracking and nose

hyperactive breed, but they can both climb and dig, so a secure

258 • S HOW S IGHT M AGAZINE , J UNE 2017

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