How to Care for Akitas

Don't mess with an Akita's family.

Don't mess with an Akita's family.

This is no Labrador. An akita is loyal to his family and won't be overly friendly with strangers or other animals. A proud and powerful dog, the akita will protect his family from any and all possible threats. For the most part, this breed is all business.

Start training your Akita as soon as you bring him home. The breed is smart but stubborn, so training an Akita takes time and patience. Offer treats as positive reinforcement and stay firm. Akitas have a dominant personality, so even though you have the cutest puppy in the world, he needs you to be a strong leader.

Crate train your Akita for housebreaking purposes. Put him in the crate when you can't watch him and take him right outside to do his business. The crate will help house train him faster and will provide your dog with a comfortable place to hang out when you have guests over. Akitas are pretty intense dogs, which can make some people nervous.

Provide your dog with waterfowl toys for him to carry around. It is a weird little quirk of the Akita, but they like to “mouth” things. If you don't provide your dog with his own items to mouth, he will find something of yours to carry around.

Take your Akita to parks and other places with friendly people or convince friends to come by and hang out with your dog. Socialization with people is crucial to an Akita. Since the breed is meant for guarding, it can become aggressive toward strangers without proper socialization throughout their lifetime.

Walk your Akita on a lead, always. Akitas are known for aggression toward other animals, so no public dog runs. On the other hand, your private fenced-in yard provides a suitable way to let your Akita run free. You also won't have to worry about wild animals coming in to your yard and getting to your garden.

Invent new games to play with your dog. The Akita is smart and loves to stay challenged. Agility training and tracking games can keep your dog on his toes.

Avoid playing rough or running on hard surfaces with an Akita until he is at least 2 years old. The breed grows rapidly as a puppy and can suffer from bone and joint issues early on. So save the rough stuff for when he is older and his joints are solid.

Feed your Akita a high-quality dog food with meat sources of protein. Adults should get between 3 and 5 cups daily. Puppies need a specialized low-calorie diet to keep them from growing too fast, so consult a veterinarian before bringing your new dog home.

Brush your Akita at least once per week but don't expect to go anywhere without his hair all over you. Even with daily brushing your dog will shed all over everything he even thinks about getting close to. Be prepared to find dog hair everywhere.

Bathe your dog once every three months or so. He will keep himself clean between baths by licking and grooming himself like some sort of giant fluffy cat.

Visit a veterinarian regularly to have your Akita checked for common health issues incuding hip dysplasia, bloat, hypothyroidism, eye issues and sebaceous adenitis, a genetic skin disorder.

Items you will need

  • Treats
  • Crate
  • Waterfowl toys
  • Lead

Warning

  • Certain homeowners insurance companies do not approve of Akita dogs, so check your policy before you bring an Akita home.
 

Photo Credits

  • Bruno Vincent/Getty Images News/Getty Images