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 Anyone got an Akita?
Red_Label  [Member]
11/21/2008 5:12:22 PM
The wife and I are going to look at an Akita pup tomorrow. She's full blood, mostly white, with brown and black markings. I've seen an adult dog with these colors and they were very striking.

I've been on a quest for many months to find a dog. I used to own a Shiba Inu/Finnish Spitz (yeah I know... it was a mutt and we're not sure exactly which one's blood it had in it). And my kids have a little Pomeranian that I adore and spend time caring for when I'm at their house (used to be my dog until the ex and I split and I left it there so she could be the family guard dog).

I've always had a thing for spitz-type dogs. And it seems that the Akita is the largest (excepting the true, original splitz type dogs like huskies and such). From what I've read, I think that an Akita will make a fine dog for our home, but I just wanted to get some input from you guys on what your experiences have been with the breed (if any). Thanks.
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vet2007  [Team Member]
11/21/2008 10:38:33 PM
My experiences as a vet have been that 99% are unpredictable and like to bite. Probably a bit different at home.
Red_Label  [Member]
11/22/2008 1:45:09 AM
Originally Posted By vet2007:
My experiences as a vet have been that 99% are unpredictable and like to bite. Probably a bit different at home.


Yeah, what I'm learning as I research the breed is that they are very loyal to their family, but no one else. And that they need to be properly trained (consistency, firmness, lovingly) to socialize with people and pets outside their home. They'll never be close or loving with outsiders, but can tolerate them without showing agression if trained well. This one is a just-weened pup, so at least we'll be starting young. I have cats and kids, so it was important to me to get started with a new dog as a pup this time. I've rescued many grown cats and a few dogs over the years, but this time I just knew that we'd have to start from a pup to do it right. And the wife and I DO intend to do it right. We've learned that this breed is NOT a dog for lazy pet owners. I've never been lazy or irresponsible with pets. I love animals. But it looks like I'm going to have to bring my A game to get this done right. And I intend to.

Anyways... thanks for responding. It's good to know that we've got a vet here. The work you do is MUCH appreciated.

Muschelig  [Team Member]
11/22/2008 10:03:00 AM
This is a beautiful breed, but not one I would personally own without quite a bit of long term research into the bloodline and family temperament of the dog I was considering. My experience with the breed:

1) Neighbor's BYB Akita attacked my dog in my yard and then attacked me, breaking my hand and wrist.

2) Close friend worked as a handlers assistant and was picking up empty food bowls out of the dog runs when a top ranked, AKC Group winning champion Akita attacked her and tore her arm open to the bone in a ten inch swath. This dog was raised from a pup with a family, well socialized, and supposedly from good bloodlines. He eventually attacked another person on the show grounds and was necessarily euthanized.

3) Another dog friend bred show Akitas in Australia and her foundation bitch bit a woman in the face. The bite was unprovoked and unwarranted. The bitch had never shown any indication of aggression before. She was also euthanized and my friend quit the breed.

4) Fiance's family owned a mostly white Akita who was good natured and friendly but prone to snapping when awakened or surprised. Testing showed the dog to suffer from bilateral hearing loss in association with his mostly white coloration. He was placed when the family had children out of fear for their safety.

JustinR  [Member]
11/22/2008 11:30:23 AM
We have a year old Akita named Roscoe. He is a very strange dog and does NOT like to be inside for a long period of time. He has not shown any aggression yet, but he is very wary of strangers and does not take well to people (adults). He is very territorial of the yard. He is actually better with our other cats and dogs than people. Our cats love to rub against him and he is very gentle with our 4 month old Boston Terrier. We were a little worried at first, but he acts very mothering toward the other dog and definitely views her as his property.

He was a rescue, so we don't know his pedigree, but I will say that he is quite intelligent, and extremely stubborn. He has not taken well to training, but he is slowly coming around.

He is a great outside/guard dog and does well with kids and smaller animals, but when we are out of town, there are only 2 people that we can ask to feed him.

If we could do it again, we would socialize him with adults MUCH more than what we did. From our past dogs, we did about the same, but Akitas are just not good with people (outside the family)
Red_Label  [Member]
11/23/2008 4:26:01 AM
Thanks for the input guys. We'll be on our toes for sure with Tika (I named her that because it's Akita backwards without the "A" and similar to Tikka rifles).

We picked her up early today and have spent the entire day working with her. My five kids took to her immediately and she to them. We spent time with her parents and they were great. From what I'd learned about the breed, I'd expected them to be aloof with us at best. But these dogs from the moment we drove up were like big Labs in their disposition. The male (Jake) when he would stand and put his front paws on my shoulders was as tall as me. His head was HUGE. He just wanted to be a big, friendly dog and play. And the two adult females there were friendly as well. Very curious, but friendly and never a threat to my FIVE kids, the youngest of which (6 years old) has always had some fear of dogs. But he was loving them up. So it seems that this dog comes from very outgoing, friendly stock. They're all pretty much free-range farm dogs. The owner only puts them in their large, outdoor kennels at night.

My wife and I have been studying about this breed pretty hard and we put the recommended training into action today. She's sleeping in her kennel right now and will be kennel trained. She will not be allowed on furniture at all. This is a breed that must know its place at the BOTTOM of the chain of command in the house. We are showing her LOTS of love and affection, but there are rules in place and they will be consistently followed from here on out. It seems that's the key with these types of headstrong breeds. They have to know who's boss at all times –– but it must be done with love and reason too. We've fallen for this dog in a BIG way! So we have the passion and want to do this right. We'll be socializing her with lots of people and other animals. We have two cats, as well as my kids and their mother have a pomeranian. So she's be socialized with them a lot. We also intend to exercize her a lot with walks, hikes, and mountain bike rides (if that works –– not sure though as she probably shouldn't be off a leash).

Anyways... thanks for the input and I do intend to keep your points in-mind as I raise this breed. When she's outside of the kennel, she'll be watched at all times. Thanks again...
JustinR  [Member]
11/23/2008 1:20:21 PM
Showing your dominance is key. I'll admit that my wife is much better at it than I am with him but when we have people or friend's dogs over, sometimes I still have to make him submit to me, before he calms down.

It ain't easy as he is 100+ lbs. You'll want to get him used to a leash ASAP as well. Mine will still try to take off in a full bore run every once in a while.
aa777888-2  [Member]
11/24/2008 12:52:04 AM
Red––it sounds like you are doing your homework. Akitas of the right temperament are awesome dogs. The following makes the assumption that you have not obtained one that is a stone killer, and there are plenty of those.

They are not kennel dogs. They need to be around family. They are homebodies, really. They are extremely respectful dogs and reserved and can easily be given the run of the house. Ours "graduated" from the crate at 6 months and never looked back. Her passion in life is to keep the house and yard safe and she wants to be where we are, inside or out. She would never think of taking food off the table or counter surf and we did not teach her this. It is enough we are alpha. It is typical of the breed.

Work very hard on the "drop it" command and on handling food. They can be very food possessive and most bites happen that way. We can take food out of our Akita's mouth but I would not say that is typical.

Praise them when they bark because when they bark it is for a reason. Your acknowledgment that he has done her job will go a long way and will actually curb the barking.

Do the whole 9 yards with puppy kindergarten and socialization but do not expect it to stick. At about 12 months the dog aggressiveness comes out big time. If you are lucky your Akita may tolerate other dogs. If you are unlucky your Akita may never be with another dog again. She will be 3 before this stabilizes for better or for worse.

Cats seem to fare well if puppy grows up with them. Actively discourage all prey drive on real prey and redirect it to training.

You will be training a lot. I strongly recommend the Koehler Method of training for Akitas. They are not necessarily food motivated nor do you want them to be. E-collar may be your best bet––we can put ours into orbit with the prong and she comes back for more. Never raise your voice or a hand to this dog. Just MAKE it do what you want.

Akitas are TOUGH. Example: 20 porcupine quills removed including one under her tongue and not a single peep or whimper.

You will love your dog and it sounds like you will do great with her. Just remember that with this dog you are getting a weapon system and if she does not turn out to be people and/or dog friendly you will need to maintain appropriate, positive control at all times.

Obligatory dog pic's follow (where are yours!!!???). This is our 2.5 year old Long-coat Akita girl on a pumpkin picking expedition this fall:



And me and her going out for our nightly "last outs" patrol (fun as hell, by the way––we scare all kinds of wildlife!):


Red_Label  [Member]
11/24/2008 1:04:57 PM
Cool dog man! Never seen a long-haired version before.

Thanks for all the input guys. Will be rereading this thread and putting the tips/ideas into place.

To correct something I stated earlier, we are crate training her. We have a kennel outside, but we intend for her to be a "house dog" and will raise her that way from the get-go. She won't be outside by her self for very long at all. We want her to think she's one of us –– but certainly the low man on the totem pole (even beneath our two cats). So we're working toward that end.

I've never raised a puppy befpre. All my previous dogs have been rescues. So dealing with that is going to be our biggest issue for a while. I can see that raising a pup is like raising a toddler –– but with TEETH! So we've got our work cut-out for us.

Pics to follow later this afternoon when I'm at work and can upload them.
Red_Label  [Member]
11/24/2008 5:35:28 PM
Here's is a pic of the new arrival.

I think that cuteness is directly proportionate to how much they keep you on your toes.

aa777888-2  [Member]
11/25/2008 12:20:30 PM
Cool dog man! Never seen a long-haired version before.

Yeah, sometimes the pop out like that and then the breeders don't want them because they don't meet the standard.
To correct something I stated earlier, we are crate training her. We have a kennel outside, but we intend for her to be a "house dog" and will raise her that way from the get-go. She won't be outside by her self for very long at all. We want her to think she's one of us –– but certainly the low man on the totem pole (even beneath our two cats). So we're working toward that end.

Your house sounds just like ours including the two cats. No need to overdo the entire pack order thing. They are your toys, your food and your space. No need to "remind" her of any of that, just do it. Toys go away when YOU are done. She's in the way? Just push past her. You go through doors and use stairs first. You eat first. She must wait.

We have learned not to be super strict. Some people are positively militant. In our mind there is no reason the dog can't come up on furniture if invited or go through a door first if TOLD to do so (we even have a command for that, "Go ahead"). Indeed, if you tell them to jump up on the furniture they BETTER do it!

We only used the crate until she was housebroken and we could trust her not to tear the place up. At about 4 months we started with just nights. One night we simply left the crate open. Boy, was she confused! She decided she would sleep upstairs with us. In about a week or two it went so well that one day we decided to do it again in the daytime. She used the crate for sleeping for about another month but finally decided it was better to be in whatever room we were in. We got rid of the crate and never looked back.
I've never raised a puppy befpre. All my previous dogs have been rescues. So dealing with that is going to be our biggest issue for a while. I can see that raising a pup is like raising a toddler –– but with TEETH! So we've got our work cut-out for us.

Well, you picked a hell of a breed to cut your TEETH on!
Pics to follow later this afternoon when I'm at work and can upload them.[

Holy crap, that's one fine looking dog! Where did you get her? She's going to be a stunner!
Red_Label  [Member]
11/25/2008 2:18:22 PM
With that long coat and black/white color, your dog reminds me of a very stocky border collie. Very pretty!

Thanks for the training/discipline advice. I'll keep that in-mind. I have a big heart and am a TOTAL animal-lover. Not PETA (ie, STUPID) level, but not too far under that mark. So I've had to put on my "game face" in terms of setting boundaries, training, discipline, etc. Luckily, the Alpha-male in me is also strong –– so when I decided to step-up and provide LEADERSHIP to this pup (the day after we got her) it was because I was going to be damned if I was going to let a pup/dog dominate me! LOL. I love animals and want mine to be as happy/comfortable as possible, but I am the head of the house. So it's good that I have that in me, because I can see that this breed is definitely one that wants there to be a definite leader and pack order. But it's good to read your comments, as I do NOT like being mean or un-neccessarily strict to any animals. We're keeping her off the furniture for now, but your input on that is good to know. Later on, maybe we'll train her to only get on the furniture when she's invited to do so (as well as other situational privileges). I found-out today that her birthday was exactly two months ago. So we're keeping the training to a minimum at this point and just working on bonding. The training right now is mostly crate/potty, and NOT chewing on everything she sees. And I'm definitely looking forward to the point that we can release her from her crate, as I HATE locking her up in there mulitple times every day. The wife is home right now on lunch hour letting her out for a break BTW.

It's funny, because I've mostly-raised FIVE kids (some are still coming-up), and in some ways this one puppy is harder than them all. But the good thing is that long after she's raised and is a productive member of our family, I'll still be dealing with the kids doing stupid crap. So their training will go on for a LOT longer.

She is a beaut! I remember seeing an adult Akita last spring that looked just like her and my breath was a bit taken away it was so beautiful. But up until lately we hadn't considered the breed seriously, because we thought it was just too large for us. We've been looking at Shibas for about a year now. Which is basically a very small Akita. But the nearest breeder of Shibas is a 6-hour drive away and she's always got a long waiting list. So that just hadn't worked-out. Spitz-type dogs are the breeds that talk to me. I'd love to have one of EVERY "model". My kids have a Pom that I adore. I'd also like a Malamute, Husky, Finnish Spitz, Samoyed, Eskie, Shiba, Lapphunds, Schipperke, etc, etc, etc. LOVE 'em all! If I live long enough I may have one of every breed... LOL.

Last week, I was down in the dumps because a couple of shelter rescues that we'd looked at had fallen through (Labradoodle, Shiba, and Keeshond). One was that we lost a drawing, and the last two were because the owners had stepped forward and claimed them. So after a year of seriously looking, the right dog still hadn't found us. We were starting to feel like a barren couple who cannot conceive... LOL. It was getting painful. And then the wife stumbled on an add for this puppy in the local paper. Just the one puppy. They live on a farm 60 mi. south of us and wanted $500 for her. So I called the guy on Friday and Saturday we were down looking at her. I knew that once we saw her, there would be no walking away.

When we pulled-up to their farm, the three adults that they have all came running up to us. We were a bit afraid to jump-out of the Suburban with the kids, because we're read that Akitas can be agressive toward strangers, etc. But when we hopped-out they all just wanted to love us up like a big, friendly Lab would do. It was pretty cool.

Anyways... none of the adults look like Tika. One was mostly red, the mother was mostly greyish-brown, and the father was sort of cinnaman (like the Shiba's get). He had to have been 130# at least. HUGE! This is the ONLY pup that the mother had. The owners took her to the vet to make sure that everything was okay with her, because the litters are usually 4-9 pups. Nothing wrong. As we drove away with Tika, I felt like a kidnapper because the mother trotted-out and was looking around. The owners have assured me today though that the mother is doing fine. I've never stolen a baby from its mother and ran before! LOL.

Thanks for listening to my yacking man. I think that being an Akita owner is going to be pretty damn cool...



Wolfpack  [Team Member]
11/25/2008 2:47:00 PM
I have owned a number of Akita's over the last 20 years. They are stubborn as hell and will always be testing you, they will push you just far enough to where they think they will get smacked then stop. They are extremely loyal and smart if raised correctly they will be friendly with people who you are friendly with.

Every single one of my Akita's have done nursing home visits so that should tell you they are friendly and don't just snap at anyone, they are all raised indoors and with plenty of love.







Edit, they only downside to an Akita is the hair shedding they have, it sucks but the upsides make it VERY worthwhile.
Red_Label  [Member]
11/25/2008 3:39:28 PM
Beautiful dogs Wolfpack!


Yeah... I've just started to realize that I'm going to be covered in dog hair from now on. Oh well... I'm not much into caring about that sort of thing anyways. A dog's love will far outweigh that downside.


Speaking of a dog's love. If the story below doesn't bring a tear to your eye, then there's something dead inside. There's no doubt in my mind, that despite what many self-proclaimed "christian biblical scholars" proclaim, there WILL come a day when those that lovingly cared for their pets will be reunited with them. Because it really would NOT be HEAVEN any other way.


http://www.akitarescue.com/Kuma.htm

The following true story occurred in 1987. It typifies the Akita's loyalty and explains why Akitas have secured a special place in my heart. Their devotion is unquestionable when the bonding is strong; their intelligence is remarkable, and each of you with an Akita living in your home know they have a marvelous sense of humor and fun. They are sensitive and intuitive to their families, seeming to read one's mind. In other words, this is a singularly unique animal that we, as guardians of the breed, must protect and value for all of their captivating characteristics.
Kuma was a large, 4-year-old, brindle male when he first came into ARSA. Unlike most other Akitas, Kuma came to us because of the death of his owner, a man of 36 who died unexpectedly of a heart attack. While Kuma's owner was alive, the man and dog were devoted companions sharing a deep love for each other. The man's free time was spent with Kuma on walks, hikes- all the things a dog enjoys, activities that cement the human/dog bond.

Perhaps if Kuma had been placed in a home immediately or had been allowed to remain in his own home with the man's wife, the dog may have eventually adapted to the loss of his beloved owner. But the man's wife had never wanted a dog and admittedly was jealous of the time her husband spent with Kuma. As an act of revenge or perhaps, simple indifference, she brought Kuma to ARSA as soon as her husband was buried.

From the first day with rescue Kuma was deeply depressed. The confusion and sudden changes in his life must have been unimaginably frightening for him. Adding to his distress, Kuma was now in a kennel surrounded by strangers and other Akitas.

Everyone tried to penetrate through his apathy, but slowly during the next few months Kuma deteriorated. He lost weight but barely touched his food. His coat became dry, brittle, unhealthy looking as his broken heart affected his health. He was unresponsive to affection or attention though he seemed to favor one ARSA volunteer––Stephanie. Stephanie and the other volunteers worked hard to bring Kuma out of his depression, to interest him in a new human relationship, but he continued in a state of unhappiness––he was pining for his owner. Kuma's tail had ceased to wag, his ears never went back in greeting, and he did not solicit attention but accepted it with resignation when he was petted or brushed. We all felt a sense of failure; it was the first time we were actually unable to penetrate the barrier of indifference Akitas can use as a cloak for their feelings.

One day, Kuma went into his kennel house and refused to come out. Any attempt to force him out resulted in growls. Stephanie was called and arrived to take Kuma to the vet to see if there was some miracle medicine to help him through his depression, or perhaps he was suffering from an illness.

Kuma went with Stephanie maintaining a subdued silence during the drive. As she walked him outside the veterinarian's office, he showed no enthusiasm for the walk or his surroundings. He followed Stephanie when she brought him into an examining room. The dog remained quiet while Stephanie discussed his case with the vet. They agreed it would be best to run a complete blood panel to see if his declining condition was physical. The focus of the conversation was to try in some way to stimulate his appetite to keep him alive––Stephanie offered to take him home with her if that would help.

When the vet and two assistants attempted to place Kuma on the examining table, he became extremely hostile. In spite of a muzzle and four people trying to subdue this dog, Kuma fought with incredible strength. Finally, the vet called a halt to forcing Kuma onto the examining table. He was placed back on the floor where his heavy breathing was the only sound in the room.

Stephanie and the vet discussed Kuma's behavior and situation at great length. Looking at Kuma, the vet told Stephanie he felt the dog did not want to live without his loved owner. It was time to be unselfish and truly humane by letting Kuma go.

While Stephanie tried to think it thorough to make the right decision, Kuma quieted down. His eyes on Stephanie, he waited. It was difficult not to feel a sense of failure. It was even more painful to decide to kill a young, otherwise nice Akita simply because he was unhappy. Once again, the vet pointed out that Kuma had already made the decision to die. Stephanie finally agreed to put him to sleep.

As soon as Stephanie voiced her agreement to euthanize Kuma, the dog's tail began wagging! He knew! He absolutely knew! Without any fuss at all, he allowed himself to be lifted onto the table. As Stephanie gently removed his collar, Kuma leaned forward and kissed her face, his tail wagging enthusiastically for the first time. As he was injected, he stared at a spot beyond the vet, his tail wagging furiously, ears flat back in typical Akita adoration. Stephanie could never prove it, no one can, but the big Akita behaved as if his owner had finally arrived to take him home.

They're together now for eternity and we know that at last Kuma is happy. He was one of those Akitas who did not want to live without his special person and rather than prolong his suffering, we led him go. If ever you have a moment of doubt that the dog you loved and lost will be there, wherever "there" is, Kuma proved it's true––there will be a reunion.

That's why, whenever an abandoned Akita dies in a shelter, or when an ARSA dog dies while waiting for a home, I pray for the dog's soul to enter the light. I claim the Akita as one of my own so the dog will have someone to wait for. I believe the Akita waits with Mandy, Kody, Tootsie, Patty, Rocky, Kato, Toshi, and the countless other Akitas abandoned to streets and shelters. Most of you feel as I do, you have never met an Akita you could not love.

(c) 1987 Barbara Bouyet



aa777888-2  [Member]
11/25/2008 11:35:30 PM
Originally Posted By Wolfpack:
I have owned a number of Akita's over the last 20 years. They are stubborn as hell and will always be testing you, they will push you just far enough to where they think they will get smacked then stop. They are extremely loyal and smart if raised correctly they will be friendly with people who you are friendly with.

Every single one of my Akita's have done nursing home visits so that should tell you they are friendly and don't just snap at anyone, they are all raised indoors and with plenty of love.

Edit, they only downside to an Akita is the hair shedding they have, it sucks but the upsides make it VERY worthwhile.

Wolfpack––did you get any therapy dog certification for your dogs? We got ours certified through TDI (and she has her CGC also). People friendly Akitas, that is friendly with strangers, which few are, seem well suited to the therapy dog biz because they are so unflappable and steady. We can't do visits when there will be other therapy dogs present, though. Too big a chance of there being a fight. Even though they are not all stupid lovy like labs or goldens people seem very attracted to them. They also don't shed anywhere. Which brings me to my second point: what shedding?

Compared to a lab or a german shedder or malinois they practically don't shed at all. Heck, they've got magic fur, even my long-coat. They stay clean with just a little rain or run in the sprinkler and a good brushing twice a week. We get ours groomed every other month. If she was a regular coat we'd bathe her ourselves but that long coat really benefits from pro grooming. We pick up the occasional clump of hair off the floor, that's pretty much it.
Wolfpack  [Team Member]
11/25/2008 11:41:39 PM
Originally Posted By aa777888-2:
Originally Posted By Wolfpack:
I have owned a number of Akita's over the last 20 years. They are stubborn as hell and will always be testing you, they will push you just far enough to where they think they will get smacked then stop. They are extremely loyal and smart if raised correctly they will be friendly with people who you are friendly with.

Every single one of my Akita's have done nursing home visits so that should tell you they are friendly and don't just snap at anyone, they are all raised indoors and with plenty of love.

Edit, they only downside to an Akita is the hair shedding they have, it sucks but the upsides make it VERY worthwhile.

Wolfpack––did you get any therapy dog certification for your dogs? We got ours certified through TDI (and she has her CGC also). People friendly Akitas, that is friendly with strangers, which few are, seem well suited to the therapy dog biz because they are so unflappable and steady. We can't do visits when there will be other therapy dogs present, though. Too big a chance of there being a fight. Even though they are not all stupid lovy like labs or goldens people seem very attracted to them. They also don't shed anywhere. Which brings me to my second point: what shedding?

Compared to a lab or a german shedder or malinois they practically don't shed at all. Heck, they've got magic fur, even my long-coat. They stay clean with just a little rain or run in the sprinkler and a good brushing twice a week. We get ours groomed every other month. If she was a regular coat we'd bathe her ourselves but that long coat really benefits from pro grooming. We pick up the occasional clump of hair off the floor, that's pretty much it.


No therapy dog certs, I have a friend who works in a nursing home and have contacts at a number of other nursing homes as I was in the Great Dane Club of Las Vegas and we used to be allowed to go in certain homes without certification.

How can you say they don't shed? They completely blow out their undercoat 2 times a year and it is messy.
aa777888-2  [Member]
11/26/2008 10:49:05 AM
Originally Posted By Wolfpack:
How can you say they don't shed? They completely blow out their undercoat 2 times a year and it is messy.


It has never been a problem for us. It is a combination of three things. The first is that I brush the crap out of her at least weekly and sometimes twice a week (like during coat blowing seasons). It's a fairly serious three-brush evolution: pin brush, then undercoat rake, then slicker brush. The second is that she sees a professional groomer every two months. The third is that I suspect the long coat holds in the undercoat better until I manually remove it by brushing, although we've never had shedding issues with short coats either.

We reference everything to labs and GSDs which when they jump on you cause you to become the same color as the dog. With Akitas they jump on you and you just get a few hairs on you.
Red_Label  [Member]
11/26/2008 11:51:53 AM
So far my pup isn't shedding a lot, but what hair comes off is white so it shows on my mostly black coat. It's been enough to notice (our two cats have black fir), but not bad yet. So far the pup still just has her soft-as-rabbit-fir undercoat though. She's SO soft!

Have been starting to brush her a bit. The kids have a pomeranian that I brush regularly and it makes her coat very soft. I hope to keep the akita's coat somewhat soft by brushing a lot as well.

Wolfpack, what's that color on that pic of your two akitas? It's like of a dark brown/black. Is that considered "brindle"? I'm looking at the 2009 Akita calendar that I put up in my office and the one on the first page has that exact coloring.
aa777888-2  [Member]
11/26/2008 1:00:31 PM
Red––you are clearly not taking enough photos of your dog! Get on the stick!

Yeah, get her used to the brush NOW. That way it's not a wrestling match later

Here's a video of the training class we are taking our dog to right now. This class is for dog aggressive dogs. If all of the dogs in the class look stressed that's because they are! They are working HARD to keep it together, i.e. not kill each other. Only their training stops them. The class varies a bit from week to week but that week there were 4 Dobies, 3 GSDs, 1 Akita and a couple of highly trained snack sized dogs just to add that something extra. I was working her off-lead in that class.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mo6h8MBOReY

Here's how our furball looked at 8 weeks old––you almost couldn't tell she's an Akita:



Red_Label  [Member]
11/26/2008 4:10:30 PM
Originally Posted By aa777888-2:
Red––you are clearly not taking enough photos of your dog! Get on the stick!

Yeah, get her used to the brush NOW. That way it's not a wrestling match later

Here's a video of the training class we are taking our dog to right now. This class is for dog aggressive dogs. If all of the dogs in the class look stressed that's because they are! They are working HARD to keep it together, i.e. not kill each other. Only their training stops them. The class varies a bit from week to week but that week there were 4 Dobies, 3 GSDs, 1 Akita and a couple of highly trained snack sized dogs just to add that something extra. I was working her off-lead in that class.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mo6h8MBOReY

Here's how our furball looked at 8 weeks old––you almost couldn't tell she's an Akita:

http://home.comcast.net/~rocketscienceracing/pup4.JPG




CUTE pic man! What a fuzzball!

Yeah... I need to take more pics. I just took my pup for a walk at lunch hour and was thinking that I wish I'd brought the camera. She found a bone in the dry canal and was digging a never-ending trench and dragging it along trying to bury it. After about 20 min of watching her do that, I grabbed the bone and tossed it on the bank and we proceeded to run up and down the ditch. We've been using this ditch for fun time with her, cause it's big enough that we can take off the leash and just run without worrying about her getting away from us.

Will post more pics when I get them. Maybe after tomorrow.

Wolfpack  [Team Member]
11/26/2008 4:13:28 PM
Originally Posted By Red_Label:


Wolfpack, what's that color on that pic of your two akitas? It's like of a dark brown/black. Is that considered "brindle"? I'm looking at the 2009 Akita calendar that I put up in my office and the one on the first page has that exact coloring.


The pic of the Akita is a brindle, they are too common for Akita's. The other tww in the top pic are brothers, the one on the left is red with white and a black mask. The one on the right is grey/black with white and a black mask. Here is a pic of our late brindle Akita that may show it better. It is similar to what camouflage is.

Marty369  [Member]
11/26/2008 4:17:35 PM
Originally Posted By vet2007:
My experiences as a vet have been that 99% are unpredictable and like to bite. Probably a bit different at home.


This

Worked for a vet, and a friend had 2. They loved to lay low then nip the shit out of you. My buddy said they never did that to them though. He had 2 and they were VERY strongly bonded.
Strudle54  [Team Member]
11/26/2008 4:27:51 PM
Originally Posted By Wolfpack:
I have owned a number of Akita's over the last 20 years. They are stubborn as hell and will always be testing you, they will push you just far enough to where they think they will get smacked then stop. They are extremely loyal and smart if raised correctly they will be friendly with people who you are friendly with.

Every single one of my Akita's have done nursing home visits so that should tell you they are friendly and don't just snap at anyone, they are all raised indoors and with plenty of love.

http://img266.imageshack.us/img266/184/img08381712cm.jpg

http://img107.imageshack.us/img107/2940/troy27iz.jpg

http://img529.imageshack.us/img529/3843/bigdogkr9.jpg

Edit, they only downside to an Akita is the hair shedding they have, it sucks but the upsides make it VERY worthwhile.




+1 Dead on!

I too have had Akitas - Currently have a Female ~95 Lbs.

Awesome dogs, everything Wolfpack said and more. Remember the Akita WILL TEST you. It will happen...and it will happen more then once.

If you want it to have a relationship with other dog(s) you must socialize it ASAP!

When they get a few years old, they “talk” to you…really cool sounds they make….funny as hell sometime. Kind of a deep rumble that goes up and down in pitch...

One word to describe an Akita - Dignified.

fxntime  [Team Member]
11/26/2008 4:35:30 PM
Originally Posted By vet2007:
My experiences as a vet have been that 99% are unpredictable and like to bite. Probably a bit different at home.


Uh, this, Akita's are one of the breeds I am VERY careful around, I think of them as a larger Chow and Chows are somewhat tempermental and unpredictable.

You need to be a "command" type person and make sure it understands that you are ALWAYS the boss.

They are not "bad" dogs, they just need to be owned by people who are in charge and sadly, way to many are owned by people who shouldn't own more then a poodle. This is where the issues lie I believe. They are quite smart but will always test the limits as said above.

Wolfpack  [Team Member]
11/26/2008 4:42:43 PM
Originally Posted By fxntime:
Originally Posted By vet2007:
My experiences as a vet have been that 99% are unpredictable and like to bite. Probably a bit different at home.


Uh, this, Akita's are one of the breeds I am VERY careful around, I think of them as a larger Chow and Chows are somewhat tempermental and unpredictable.

You need to be a "command" type person and make sure it understands that you are ALWAYS the boss.

They are not "bad" dogs, they just need to be owned by people who are in charge and sadly, way to many are owned by people who shouldn't own more then a poodle. This is where the issues lie I believe. They are quite smart but will always test the limits as said above.



True, I have owned a number of them and every single one of them has done multiple visits to the nursing homes and have not once growled, bared teeth or showed any aggression at all, they go right up to the old people and seem to know why they are there and do their job like a professional.
Red_Label  [Member]
11/26/2008 5:41:41 PM
Originally Posted By fxntime:
Originally Posted By vet2007:
My experiences as a vet have been that 99% are unpredictable and like to bite. Probably a bit different at home.


Uh, this, Akita's are one of the breeds I am VERY careful around, I think of them as a larger Chow and Chows are somewhat tempermental and unpredictable.

You need to be a "command" type person and make sure it understands that you are ALWAYS the boss.

They are not "bad" dogs, they just need to be owned by people who are in charge and sadly, way to many are owned by people who shouldn't own more then a poodle. This is where the issues lie I believe. They are quite smart but will always test the limits as said above.




Yeah, I could tell right away that this dog was going to want/need a leader IN CHARGE, and that if I wasn't willing to be that leader... SHE would! But I'm a total alpha male in that I'll be damned if I'm going to be dominated in my own home! So she'lll be playing second fiddle to me, my wife, my kids, and my cats. She'll be loved as much as any (and already has become that), but she'll be low man on the totem pole for life. I've had her for four days and have already seen some mellowing on her part because we've made her bounderies clear and consistent.

Red_Label  [Member]
11/26/2008 5:45:38 PM
Originally Posted By Strudle54:
+1 Dead on!

I too have had Akitas - Currently have a Female ~95 Lbs.

Awesome dogs, everything Wolfpack said and more. Remember the Akita WILL TEST you. It will happen...and it will happen more then once.

If you want it to have a relationship with other dog(s) you must socialize it ASAP!

When they get a few years old, they “talk” to you…really cool sounds they make….funny as hell sometime. Kind of a deep rumble that goes up and down in pitch...

One word to describe an Akita - Dignified.




She's just an 8 week old and I'd swear I've already seen her try to test me! It was a bit of a shock at first, so I had to put on the pants and fully realize what I was dealing with. It's been a few days since then and both she and I are playing our roles comfortably. I'm not naive enough to think that I've seen it all in four days with an 8-week old pup. But I firmly believe that we're on the right track and I intend to keep it that way.

NO doubt about it, people not willing to work and assume the leadership role should NOT own this breed (and many other breeds for that matter).

I agree with the "dignified" comment. From the way they stand erect, to the way that tail defies gravity and curls up and over their back. 100% dignity and commanding of respect.

Wolfpack  [Team Member]
11/26/2008 5:51:32 PM
The day I picked up my red one at 8 weeks of age he growled at the breeder when she went to grab a bone out of his mouth she jumped on him right away and put her face to the side or his and growled back loudly, he let go of the bone without a fight. It was funny and interesting to watch but necessary.
Red_Label  [Member]
11/26/2008 6:55:30 PM
Originally Posted By Wolfpack:
The day I picked up my red one at 8 weeks of age he growled at the breeder when she went to grab a bone out of his mouth she jumped on him right away and put her face to the side or his and growled back loudly, he let go of the bone without a fight. It was funny and interesting to watch but necessary.



LOL... I used to use that same technique with my finnish spitz/shiba. He had the strong alpha male in him and I got him after he was several months old. I was young and stupid, so I used to use the rolled-up newspaper in the beginning. After I pulled my head from my butt and realized that it's not about smacking their ass, but about being smarter then they are... I instinctively (didn't have the internet to learn from back then) just started getting down in his face and growling with a deep, low growl. Got a better result than the newspaper and I didn't have to feel guilty for being a dog-beating ass (didn't hit him that hard and the newspaper was flimsy, but still makes me feel stupid that I ever did it).

aa777888-2  [Member]
11/27/2008 2:54:09 PM
The techniques we use to aggressively dominate our dog (rarely necessary now) are as follows:

1) Press her to the ground with our chest on the back of her shoulders and hold her there until we get the "big sigh" out of her. No talking, shouting or anything else. It can sometimes take a very long minute or two. We'll wrap an arm around her neck as well to keep her from trying to squirm out of it. This is a relatively safe maneuver as you are less likely to get a load of teeth this way. Done right you can actually relax and enjoy "cuddling" your dog (not that she thinks of it that way!)

2) Pick her up by her collar or lead with both hands and hold her shoulders up against our chest. You can look her in the eye (sideways––keep the teeth pointed in a safe direction) and without 4 paw drive she can't go anywhere. Usually we'll whisper sweet nothings like "What do you think you are doing?" while staring at her. This maneuver is reserved for out and out aggression, usually against other dogs.

These maneuvers are reserved for outright aggression and are not regular things. Both maneuvers are done with a minimum of violence and little to no noise. We find growling, scruff shaking and the like either makes them fearful or puts them in drive at a time we want them coming out of drive. So called "alpha rolls" are unnecessary and potentially dangerous.

One other note of warning––Akita's only seem unpredictable because they do not always give the usual warning signs of an aggressive dog. Akita's LOVE to fight, having been bred for centuries to fight. When an Akita sees another dog it wants to brawl with it will be absolutely happy: tail up, smiling, upright posture, no growling, nothing. Three sniffs then BAM, dogfight! Watch out for more subtle signs: air scenting, head lowering and licking. Those are sure signs the other dog is being sized up for a tumble.

We've been successful in heading off the food possessiveness issue but not the dog aggression and we tried hard. Genetics always trump environment.

Akitas are phenomenally rewarding dogs but as they said in the movie True Lies, "You've got your fur coated razor blades..."
Red_Label  [Member]
11/28/2008 10:04:52 AM
Good info man. Will keep in in mind.

We took her to some relatives for Thanksgiving yesterday. There were two very small, hyper dogs there (Yorkie/Shihtzu mixes) and they all played the afternoon away. The shorkies were both males and very agressive at times, but Tika just pawed at them and they chased each other around the yard. It was back and forth most of the day. So I knew they were all just playing because even though there was a fair amount of jaw snapping going-on, no one every really got bit and they were mostly just wrestling. It was good to see her interact with other dogs and do well. She started-out being a bit intimidated by their voracity, but in the end she moved them backwards most of the time by intimidating them.
OFFSHORE  [Member]
11/28/2008 10:56:36 AM
No Akita for me.......................just the scars on my wrist from the last one I encountered.
Red_Label  [Member]
11/28/2008 12:15:55 PM
Originally Posted By OFFSHORE:
No Akita for me.......................just the scars on my wrist from the last one I encountered.



I'm sure that was very traumatic for you and don't blame you for not being a big fan of the breed. Just remember that most breeds are capable of causing such grief if the owners are not in-tune with the dangers and need to keep their dog in control. I'm not afraid of taking-on this akita because I WILL be her master and I WILL keep her under control. I haven't let her out of my sight so far, unless she was locked in her crate or the wife has had her. We tag team her.

Hokie  [Team Member]
11/28/2008 12:20:29 PM
I have an Akita / Black Lab mutt. Best damn dog on Planet Earth. I'd clone that animal if I had the funds for it. Great around kids, doesn't bark unless provoked, listens well, friendly, protective, and suprisingly intelligent.

I love this dog. She's my shadow everywhere I go and my most cherished friend.

TL697  [Team Member]
11/28/2008 12:45:04 PM
We have a 1 yr old female Akita-Sammoyed mix that is as gentle and well-behaved of any dog I have ever seen. We have a 2 yr old Pomeranian and they are inseperable...

Here they are:




Hokie  [Team Member]
11/28/2008 1:02:34 PM
Originally Posted By TL697:
We have a 1 yr old female Akita-Sammoyed mix that is as gentle and well-behaved of any dog I have ever seen. We have a 2 yr old Pomeranian and they are inseperable...

Here they are:

<a href="http://imageshack.us" target="_blank">http://img511.imageshack.us/img511/5065/img3634mo6.jpg</a>
<a href="http://g.imageshack.us/img511/img3634mo6.jpg/1/" target="_blank">http://img511.imageshack.us/img511/img3634mo6.jpg/1/w640.png</a>





Akita mixed with anything seems to be a winning alchemy. Gorgeous dog there.
TL697  [Team Member]
11/28/2008 4:26:43 PM
Originally Posted By Hokie:
Originally Posted By TL697:
We have a 1 yr old female Akita-Sammoyed mix that is as gentle and well-behaved of any dog I have ever seen. We have a 2 yr old Pomeranian and they are inseperable...

Here they are:

<a href="http://imageshack.us" target="_blank">http://img511.imageshack.us/img511/5065/img3634mo6.jpg</a>
<a href="http://g.imageshack.us/img511/img3634mo6.jpg/1/" target="_blank">http://img511.imageshack.us/img511/img3634mo6.jpg/1/w640.png</a>





Akita mixed with anything seems to be a winning alchemy. Gorgeous dog there.


Thank you...

Yeah, maybe the akita mixes are the ticket... She honestly does not have a mean bone in her body. I can reach in her mouth while she is eating, She has never even growled or shown her teeth even when other dogs have been aggressive... She is probably the sweetest dog I have ever seen... And, like someone posted above, she does make the "talking" noises... She sounds like chewbaca...

Here's another pic:








JustinR  [Member]
11/29/2008 9:13:52 PM
Here is a picture of our Shepard/Akita mix and Boston Terrier:



I've tried to get a better picture, but he is always moving when he is awake. He is a one of the most intelligent dogs I've owned (smartest was a Boykin Spaniel).

The only other thing I can remark on is that he has absolutely no interest in treats or people food. Which is good most of the time, but means we have nothing to persuade him with.

I love him to death and we're actually considering another akita mix or akita when we get a larger yard.
NavajoGunOwner  [Member]
11/29/2008 9:40:55 PM
Ours is a mix of Akita and " some dark brown dog that could jumpo a six foot fence real quickly" Thats what the breeder said......

Saying hello to the kids...



First time in the snow, not too sure about it.....




Then she started to enjoy it.




At one year old.

She doesn't have the wide Akita jaw but she is very protective of us and is very smart and trainable. And remebers what she is taught!

She is very smart and knows I'm the Alpha of our pack. She hasn't bit at anyone in our house.




Our next dog will be a pure breed or a shepherd mix.


Great breed!!!



Hokie  [Team Member]
11/29/2008 11:10:24 PM
Akita + whatever = good dog
SCOOBYDOO  [Member]
12/2/2008 8:07:18 AM
Here are my two. These are the best dogs I have ever owned. Intelligent, comical at times, & yes stubborn. They always follow my wife & my 2 year old son WHERE EVER they go in the house at all times..

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raizer  [Member]
12/2/2008 9:06:20 AM
Ok we had a monster akita for about 5 years. We put him through the ringer. He was introduced to our house with just myself and my wife at the time. We had to dominate the hell out of him
We could never tell what other animals he would "get along with" so we could never let him off the leash-ever-around other dogs. It was too bad because he was a great dog-btw we resuced him at 1.5 years old-and we would have liked to get him exercised by playing with other dogs. But because he wasnt socialized properly, the only other dogs he would tolerate were other akitas that could dominate him and there were very few of those dogs on this planet.
So we then have our first child when this guy was about 4 yrs old. He took to our daughter well and we could trust him with her. Then we moved to a bigger house and the dog lost it. No longer did he have his own concrete basement to sleep in-he had a finished one and he didnt like it. My wife and I both worked at the time-me a narcotics officer working lots of hours and my wife a big exec at an internet firm. Our dog was fine in our first house alone 6 hours a day...but our new house he hated. First week he chewed through the basement door-yes the whole door- in one day.
2 yrs later we had our second child and he did not take to our son. Not at all. We could never trust him with our boy and one day he snapped at him-and the kid was like 1.5 years old-didnt do anyting wrong to the dog. We had no choice but to take him back to akita rescue-and he was placed with an old woman at about 6 years old.
A big bruiser at 110 lbs of muscle with a giant head, he loved my wife and myselft but tolerated/liked our one daughter and didnt like 2nd child...these dogs do not take to kids...now you have a pup so you should be fine with your family-but you must becareful never to leave your dog with other kids from the neighborhood-too much of a risk there. Some akitas look at kids almost as prey. The kids run around and the akitas can key in on them.
Even akitas that are socialized/corrected from day one can be unpredictable around other people's kids.
And you can never ever let up on being the pack leader with these dogs. Every day your akita will challenge you, looking for weakness, looking to be the pack leader-just as any dominate dog.
I wouldnt show so much affection to these dogs. I would go with the dog whisperer's advice-exercise, discipline, then affection. That guy knows he stuff about dominating dogs and what you as a human need to do in order to keep your animal in line....remember animal first, then dog then breed then name
Our famly is in a MUCH easier dog now-a dream compared to the akita hehe-cane corso all the way.
But I wouldnt trade my akita experiences for anything. Just one quikie: My wife is walking the dog on a short lease-and out pops a squirrel...bam that dog, while still on the leash grabs the furry rodent and shreds the thing in about 2 seconds and its dead b4 my wife even knows whats up. And squirrels can be real bad news for dogs-the akita breed is so powerful and quick-almost cat like imho.

heres a pic and Im still working in the real world so the needed blot


Red_Label  [Member]
12/2/2008 10:25:27 AM
Thanks for the write-up raizer.

My pup is 9.5 weeks old and I can already see that testing on a daily basis. The wife and I are working through this with the kids as well. I'm training the kids how to interact with Tika at the same time I'm training her on how to interact with them. She feeds off their energy and when they run she wants to chase. Which is okay if it's just play. But I can see that the line between fun play and rough play is a very vague and thin one with this dog. When I get on the floor and rough-house with her sometimes I can almost see that primal instinct in her eyes. When I have her on her back, she'll roll them back in her head almost like a great white shark when it's chewing on its prey. It gives me a great respect for her and especially for how big she's going to get. So we absolutely HAVE to keep being consistent with our training and discipline/order. I love this pup and look forward to watching her grow into adulthood. But I consider this responsibility to be somewhat like my CCW responsibility. And unlike my carry piece, this one can "go-off" on its own.

So yes, we've discovered that we need to be FIRM with her and ALWAYS set clear and concise boundries for her at all times. We love her up A LOT. But thanks for reminding me that with this breed, part of how you show your love is by being firm and never letting her forget her place. Because for us, getting rid of her won't be an option.
raizer  [Member]
12/2/2008 11:47:19 AM
yah you starting off right...

One thing when that dog starts to get older, I would not roll on the floor with it ...I would never get on an "equal" or "lower" level with the dog...always stay higher than the dog and never let it crawl on you-if you start doing this, itll give the dog oppotunites to think he is dominating you by standing over you or crawling on you-not a biggie by any means but you are noticing it yourself.
Red_Label  [Member]
12/2/2008 1:06:01 PM
Originally Posted By raizer:
yah you starting off right...

One thing when that dog starts to get older, I would not roll on the floor with it ...I would never get on an "equal" or "lower" level with the dog...always stay higher than the dog and never let it crawl on you-if you start doing this, itll give the dog oppotunites to think he is dominating you by standing over you or crawling on you-not a biggie by any means but you are noticing it yourself.



I totally agree man! When I get on the floor with her, I am on all-fours or kneeling, but she is always below me and a lot of that time I have her on her back, so she knows who's in charge. About a half an hour ago my wife and I (we work down the hall from each other) just had this same conversation in fact. We decided that we were going to lay a few rules down for the kids tonight –– 1) they're not allowed to run away from her (at least not the smaller, younger children. I can tell that she thinks she's more dominant than the smaller ones –– we're going to fix that RFN. And 2) they're NEVER allowed to be on the floor with her above them. That means no wrestling with her while on their backs.

This past week or so has been a bit sobering as we realize this this dog is not some toy to take out of the box, play with it, and then put it back in. All of our other pets have been rescues, so they were already trained (for better or worse). We never had to deal with these sorts of training issues. And the dogs have been small dogs –– not one that has the potential to be more "dangerous" like this one. Granted, small dogs can bite just like large ones. But I'm not aware of too many stories of someone's pom, chi, or dachsund mauling someone too badly. So we're determined to give this dog an orderly, disciplined, stable, and loving home –– whatever it takes.

aa777888-2  [Member]
12/2/2008 8:37:49 PM
Glad to hear things are going well, Red.

Yes, your all to soon to be large, furry weapon system is semi-autonomous. That autonomy needs to be very carefully managed.

We made it a point to socialize our Akita with cats, dogs and strangers, including kids. We were successful with everything except dogs. This has made her somewhat unsuited for protection but she is an excellent watch dog.

Under no circumstances do we allow her to chase any critters. Mostly we were worried about our two cats but in the end this was a wise move. A squirrel can run right in front of us when she is on heel and all is serene.

We are lucky in that we live on 5 acres and with some surrounding conservation land effectively 15 acres or so. None of the neighbor dogs dare come onto the property and our dog pretty much keeps to it so again all is serene.

Your mileage may vary and just remember no how hard you try you could wind up with a near-stone-killer like raizer.

Oh, and remember, e-collar FTW with Akitas.

Have you started obedience training yet?

Red_Label  [Member]
12/3/2008 12:54:44 PM
Originally Posted By aa777888-2:
Glad to hear things are going well, Red.

Yes, your all to soon to be large, furry weapon system is semi-autonomous. That autonomy needs to be very carefully managed.

We made it a point to socialize our Akita with cats, dogs and strangers, including kids. We were successful with everything except dogs. This has made her somewhat unsuited for protection but she is an excellent watch dog.

Under no circumstances do we allow her to chase any critters. Mostly we were worried about our two cats but in the end this was a wise move. A squirrel can run right in front of us when she is on heel and all is serene.

We are lucky in that we live on 5 acres and with some surrounding conservation land effectively 15 acres or so. None of the neighbor dogs dare come onto the property and our dog pretty much keeps to it so again all is serene.

Your mileage may vary and just remember no how hard you try you could wind up with a near-stone-killer like raizer.

Oh, and remember, e-collar FTW with Akitas.

Have you started obedience training yet?




So far, she likes to sort of chase the cats a little and play with them. I can tell that she and they are just playing, because one of the cats will walk right up to her and then run to the nearest chair, jump on it, and then swat her paws at the dog while the dog barks. I think that this cat has established its dominance already. The other cat is a male and he's very shy and just runs from her. Should I be stopping the chasing? How would you recomment we handle that?

We haven't started training class yet. It's looking like it's going to be January before we get to that. But we work with her every day on commands. Just this morning I worked in the "SIT" command (with some treats and praise for rewards) within 5 or 6 times of me having to push her rear end down, she was doing it on her own to get the treat. So I'll keep working on that and get it to the point that she does it without the treat. And I'm going to be working on the "STAY" command as well. I dunno... I don't want to make it complicated for her at this age –– should I just make the SIT command to be synonymous with STAY? In other words, SIT will automatically mean "and stay" when I say it?

I'm going to do my best to train this dog and socialize as best I can. Because it's just not going to be an option for me to have a "dangerous" dog that goes off (because I have five kids). And it's not an option for us to give her up. So I'm just going to have to MAKE her be a good dog! (I know... there's no way to know how she's going to turn-out at this age... keeping my fingers crossed...)

aa777888-2  [Member]
12/3/2008 10:07:35 PM
My recommendation on training is to get the Koehler Method book, try to hook up with a Koehler Method trainer (or close facsimile) and train to the AKC obedience trial standards.

The AKC stuff pretty much works like this:

1. Teach "sit". "Sit" also means stay. No need to give both commands. When working on the stay part use a release command like "OK" and then reward (have her take a few steps towards you to get it). 1 minute sit/stay is the standard.

2. Teach proximity. An easy way to do this is with a prong collar and a 15' lead. Then just randomly walk around a large area (high school, field, whatever). Don't say or do anything but walk. Pay no attention to the dog. It will figure out that it is much better to stay near you than to wander off.

2. Then you teach heeling. Say "heel". Walk in large circuits, i.e. no sharp turns. When you stop you say "sit". This should turn into an "auto sit" eventually.

3. Teach turns while heeling: left, right, 180 and "german left" (don't ask me to explain the latter!). Basically just say "heel" for fair warning and change direction. She'll get it eventually. This teaches focus on you.

4. Somewhere in the above teach "down". Implies stay same as "sit". 3 minute down/stay is the standard.

5. Then work on recalls––"come".

Other stuff: sit and down out of motion, stand, jump, the "send away" command, hand signals (which you can do simultaneously), etc., etc. There is a lot of timing and body/leash mechanics associated with efficient and effective training that is best taught to you by a real trainer.

You may want to train in a foreign language (German is typical) so that your dog does not pay attention to regular spoken English. It is not typical to use your dog's name, as in "Fido, come" either. She should be listening for you.

aa
Muschelig  [Team Member]
12/3/2008 10:35:19 PM
SIT and STAY should be kept as two separate commands because she will need to stay in a wide variety of scenarios that don't always involve sitting. She may be in a DOWN/STAY or a STAND/STAY as well.

I actually use two different commands: WAIT meaning this is a short term pause with me in sight and a STAY meaning the dog isn't to move regardless of what happens. I use WAIT when I need the dog to pause before I throw the frisbee or ball or before I send them on an outrun on stock. STAY is when I need them to remain in place while I move about and possibly leave their line of vision.

Another way to teach a SIT is to take your treat and bring it up over the top of their nose, leading their head up and back until they are forced to drop their rear to see the food. Then reward once their bottom hits the ground. This works much faster than the butt pushing technique of old.
aa777888-2  [Member]
12/4/2008 12:11:06 AM
Got to disagree on that one. Sit and down mean do those things until told otherwise. They are effectively stays. I have taught my dog a standing stay "stand", i.e. stand there unmoving until told otherwise. That's the toughest one because it's a high drive position. Stand out of motion is also a tough one to teach. My dog still kind of rolls to a "California stop" on that one

There's no point in using a lot of extra words when one will do. Another good example is heel. That means move to my left side. It doesn't matter if I'm moving or standing still, she needs to get to my left side facing in the same direction as me. No need to say "come, heel, sit". Just one word, "heel" accomplishes the same thing. "Come" means come sit in front of me facing me (some folks use the word "front").



Red_Label  [Member]
12/4/2008 10:20:37 AM
Some good info here guys. Will be working on these commands.


Pulled the SIT command out first thing this morning after she'd eaten and she got it right way. Also worked on it last night and it took her a few times to get it. Because when she sees me with a treat, she just wants to stand-up or jump to get it.

At any rate, she got it right away this morning. Of course, when she sees that treat (that I try to keep somewhat hidden) she just sits right a way, sometimes even before I give the command. So I walk somewhere else, to get her to stand on all-fours and then I say SIT and give her a treat after she's done it. I've also now done it a few times with only petting and praise as her reward. Don't want to do too much of that yet until I'm sure she's fully trained on what SIT means.

Took her for a walk last night and that was a bit of a chore. She's been very good on the leash thus far –– not straining at it hardly at all, and a gentle tug has been enought to get her to move-on after she stopped to check something out. But last night she was straining at the leash constantly and it took more than a tug to get her moving. So I guess it's time to work in the whole leash training deal where you reward them with a treat when they let the leash go slack?

BTW... So far I'd swear this whole puppy training deal is harder than anything I've dealt with in raising my five kids! But on the bright side, once I get her trained she'll no doubt be obedient... which is not something I can't alway say about my kids...
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