Showsight Presents The Akita

own, but this is also a demanding breed and should not be casually added to the household on a whim. WILL YOU ENJOY OWNING AN AKITA? If you are looking for a bright, sensi- tive and responsive dog that you will be able to spend time, will be able to train and will be protective, loyal and devot- ed to you and your family for the rest of his life, then perhaps you will enjoy owning an Akita. The Akita can be a guard dog. He feels that one of his jobs is to protect his family. You don’t need to train him to do this; it comes naturally to him. He will be watchful of people on your property, expressing suspicion with a low rumble; Akitas are not barkers. They quickly learn to differentiate between strangers and friends. Akitas are not tolerant of other dogs especially those of the same sex. Under no circum- stances should an Akita be allowed to roam through the neighborhood! The Akita, although a large dog, does not require huge amounts of exer- cise. Like any dog, an Akita will thrive on a moderate amount of exercise and enjoys playing energetically. You will be happier and so will your dog if you choose a breed that fits into your pres- ent lifestyle. Don’t expect to change your way of life once you’ve acquired a dog. Akitas do not shed on a continual basis; however, they do “blow their coats” about twice a year. As the new coat is beginning to grow into place, large tufts of hair will loosen. The coat can be easily removed by using an undercoat rake or wire slicker brush. The dog seems to enjoy this extra atten- tion and if done on a regular basis as the coat is shedding, the new coat will come in more quickly. The Akita is a Working dog. The Working dog group includes some of the most intelligent breeds of dogs. You’ll be amazed at how quickly he learns and at the number of things you can teach him. But his intelligence carries an obligation with it. An Akita won’t be happy if left alone in a pen or house all day. A Working dog enjoys life most when he is given a responsi- bility and a job to do, whether the job is obedience, baby-sitting, backpacking or hunting. The Akita demands your

“AKITAS ARE TYPICALLY VERY GENTLE WITH CHILDREN AND IT IS SAID THAT JAPANESE MOTHERS OFTEN LEFT THEIR CHILDREN WITH ONLY THE AKITAS TO WATCH OVER AND PROTECT THEM.”

THE AKITA AS A HOUSE PET Even though Akitas are large, hardy dogs that can withstand the elements, they have been bred for centuries to be house companions. The two most out- standing characteristics of the Akita as a house pet are that they are very clean dogs and are very easy to housebreak. Akitas have been described as almost cat-like they are so clean and odorless. This may also be one of the reasons why they housebreak so easily. Most Akitas respond so well to housebreaking that they are trained in a matter of weeks. As far as the family children are con- cerned, there are a few worries. Akitas are devoted, patient friends and protec- tors of children. Akitas are typically very gentle with children and it is said that Japanese mothers often left their children with only the Akitas to watch over and protect them. Of course with a new baby entering into a home with an Akita, proper introductions and pre- cautions should be taken until the Akita understands the situation. Of course, young children should never be left unsupervised with large dogs of any breed, as the potential for an accident is not worth the risk. IS THE AKITA THE DOG FOR EVERYONE? Right about now, you are probably thinking, “What’s the catch?” Well, the Akita is not the right dog for everyone. The person who assumes responsibility for an Akita must be able to take control of the dog at an early age. This means

that the person has to be the dominant party in this relationship. Dominance is more a state of mind, but you must also be prepared to physically domi- nate the dog, if necessary. Akitas, as with most dogs, live their lives in a pack environment, whether the pack be ani- mals or people. If you are not willing to be the leader of the pack, the Akita most certainly will. So the Akita owner must have the energy and will to keep a firm, consistent discipline as the dog matures. A little work and persistence in training in the early months with an Akita will reap you huge benefits as a well-behaved member of the fam- ily down the road. ( John Newland, President, ACUMW) IS THE AKITA THE RIGHT DOG FOR YOU? Before you buy an Akita puppy, think: What do I want my dog to be like? How will this dog fit into my life- style? What is my living situation? Con- sider what your needs are and what the dog’s needs will be. Do they conflict? Think of the dogs you’ve enjoyed own- ing in the past. Were they easygoing or intense? Self-willed, or independent; outgoing or reserved; placid or ener- getic? Then ask yourself if you have the time needed to devote to socializing, training and loving your dog. The Akita is an extremely intelligent, large, energetic and strongly territorial dog whose life is oriented toward his owners. If he is the right dog for you, he is one of the most rewarding breeds to

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

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