The Japanese Bear Dog, or Akita, has a size that can be intimidating. Despite this, its loyalty and affectionate personality make it a popular choice among people looking to adopt or rescue a large dog. The male Akita can weigh up to 130 pounds and the female can weigh up to 100. They are strong dogs with a double coat and are prized for their loyalty and bravery.
The Akita breed can also be intolerant of other animals and strangers, but they love and protect their owners with great pride. This loyalty makes them wonderful pets, but due to their size and temperament towards other animals and people, they need to be socialized early. This should be a consideration before rescuing an Akita. There are other things to take into account as well, such as where to look for a rescue and how to get ready to welcome an Akita into your home.
If you have fallen in love with this breed and are looking for one as a pet, keep reading to learn everything you need to know about rescuing an Akita.
Where to Rescue an Akita?
When you’ve decided that you’re ready to rescue an Akita, there are several places for you to go. These include
- City, county and state animal shelters
- Akita rescue groups – you can find a state-by-state list online
- Private shelters
- Other non-specific animal rescue groups
As you can see, there are plenty of places where you can find the perfect Akita dog or puppy. If you aren’t having any luck at the shelters or your area doesn’t have a rescue organization, your local veterinarian or classified ads could be a helpful option.
Sometimes dogs do have litters before they are spayed. Often the owners go to their vet or post ads in the local papers for help finding the puppies good homes.
There are several reasons why you should rescue an Akita instead of buying one from a breeder. The most important reason is that when you do a rescue, you are saving a dog’s life. By rescuing an Akita you are giving a deserving animal a “forever” home.
Here are a few other reasons why it makes sense to rescue and not buy.
- Rescue dogs are usually already house-trained and used to being around people.
- The cost is significantly lower if you rescue. The animal is already spayed/neutered, has received its first shots, and is often microchipped. If the dog is already trained, you might also be able to save on that cost too.
- If you frequently post on social media, there is no better way to get likes than sharing pictures with your new rescue dog.
- Puppy mills have a well-deserved bad reputation. Profits matter more to these places than the dog’s health. Rescuing an Akita can help put these farms out of business.
These reasons alone should make you want to rescue your Akita, instead of going through a breeder.
Things to Know About Rescues
There are a few things you should know about rescue animals. Some of these may apply to your Akita and others may not. Knowing as much as you can about rescues can help prepare you for when it’s time to bring your dog home.
It will take time for you to learn your dog’s personality. Each dog has its unique traits and characteristics. Be patient and remember that your dog is getting to know you too.
Don’t be alarmed if your new dog doesn’t show a lot of affection at first. Rescue dogs are often shy.
Even though the shelter or rescue society might have told you the dog was trained, except to have a few issues. Your home is a new environment for the dog, it will take some time for your pet to get used to the surroundings and learn your expectations.
If you already have pets at home, it is a good idea to keep them separate from your new dog. Your rescue probably won’t want to make friends all at once. Introduce them slowly in a controlled environment. This keeps everyone safe and gives the animals time to get used to each other’s presence.
The main thing to expect from your rescue is nervousness, fear, and probably anxiety. Be patient and give your Akita time to settle into his/her new home. Once they have adjusted to you and their surroundings they will reward you with affection and loyalty.
How to Qualify to Rescue An Akita?
Qualifications for rescuing can Akita vary between the organization and where you live. Some public shelters only require a valid photo ID along with payment for the adoption fee.
Some rescue groups are a little more stringent. An employee may even come to inspect your property. If this is the case, the employee is mainly checking that you have room for such a large breed. There may even be a questionnaire to fill out to help determine if an Akita is the right type of dog for you.
These are the only qualifications you might run into. It’s up to you to decide if you have the time and space to keep an Akita happy.
Difference Between Rescue and Shelter
It’s easy to confuse the two or think that a shelter and rescue organization are the same things. They both take in stray, unwanted or abused animals, but there are some differences.
The first difference is how they are funded. Shelters are usually funded by local, county, state and federal governments, while rescues depend on private donations. Volunteers usually staff rescues, while shelters have paid employees.
Another difference is rescues can focus on one breed or type of animal. Shelters often have everything from birds, cats, and dogs to farm animals. If you go through an Akita rescue you are almost guaranteed to find a new companion, while shelters might not even have the breed you are looking for.
Common Issues with Rescue Dogs
There are a few common issues with rescue dogs that usually go away after time. Some may require additional training, but most just need you to be patient and let the dog adjust to the new environment.
Anxiety is the most common issue that affects rescue dogs and it can take several forms. Here are a few reasons why your Akita may feel anxious in your home.
Dogs often feel fear when they first get to their new home. It will take a while before your dog decides if this is a safe or scary place. Remember, your dog was probably kept in a kennel and now there is plenty of space to roam. It can be overwhelming, even to an adult Akita.
Anxiety over food can cause your dog to show signs of aggression to you and other people and animals in the home. This is usually due to having to fight for food in the shelter or on the street. Feed your new dog away from other animals and keep a distance. In time, your pet will feel safe enough to eat with others nearby.
Separation anxiety is common after your rescue dog has gotten used to you, your family, and new surroundings. Trust has started to build and now your dog doesn’t want to be left alone. Given the size of an Akita, this can be a problem. Leg-lifting – to mark territory – along with other destructive behavior can have you coming home to a house in shambles.
Helping your dog get over anxiety requires patience, possible training, and a set routine. Just remember to give it time, you rescue just needs to get comfortable and feel completely safe.
The Adoption Process
It isn’t difficult to adopt an Akita. You might be surprised at how easy the process is. There are a few things you’ll need to bring to finalize the adoption.
- Valid government-issued picture ID – The ID should list your current address.
- Funds to pay for the adoption fees. You can find out the cost by contacting the shelter or rescue.
You will also have to fill out some paperwork. Rescues often require you to return the Akita to them if for any reason the new owners need to surrender their dog. Not all shelters require this but are doing so to prevent abandonment. Some rescue groups will even inspect your home before finalizing the adoption to ensure that it is a good fit for a large dog.
Questions to Ask When Adopting an Akita
You probably already have a list of questions to ask about the breed, shelter or rescue. If you are adopting through a rescue some of the questions you should ask,
- How familiar are you with the breed, and how long have you been rescuing Akitas?
- Are the dogs screened for temperament? Some Akitas have more aggressive personalities than others.
- Does the shelter have references from other licensed animal groups This can give you an idea of the rescue’s professionalism and reputation in care and finding safe homes.
These questions can also apply to adopting from a shelter, though you might also want to inquire about,
- How long has the dog been there?
- Has the staff noticed any aggression towards other animals?
- Is the dog up-to-date on shots/vaccinations?
Each agency will probably have you sign an adoption contract. If they do not, this can be a red flag. Almost all reputable adoption agencies require valid identification and stress that the animal you are adopting should reside at your supplied residence.
Most of the adoption contracts include a clause where you can return the dog within four to six weeks if there is a problem in your home. If this isn’t in the contract, it can be another red flag that potential owners might want to inquire about.
If you go through a rescue or shelter chances are everything will be clearly explained, including noticeable personality traits. The staff wants the dog to be as happy as the potential owners.
Prepare for Bringing your Adopted Dog Home
You’ve found your perfect dog and completed the adoption process, but is your home ready? There are a few things you can do to get your home ready for your new pet.
Make sure that you have everything ready. This includes water and food bowls, a dog bed, and toys (soft and hard). You may also want to consider a kennel if Possibly a kennel if you are going to crate the dog at night or when you are not home.
Your yard should be fenced in. If not, make sure the dog cannot escape from your house if left unsupervised. If you already have pets, keep them away from your adopted dog for the first few days.
Make sure other family members know to give the adopted dog space to settle in and get adjusted. You also want to emphasize patience. This is the most important thing you can do to help your newly adopted dog feel safe and comfortable in their new home.
Are You a Good Fit to Adopt?
Knowing if you are a good fit to give an Akita a home is a question that only you can answer. Ask yourself the following before you start the pet adoption process and it may save you some trouble in the future:
- Do you have a fenced-in yard?
- Is there enough space in your home for a large dog?
- Are you prepared for frequent brushings – Akitas shed several times a year.
- Can you afford the food for a large dog, along with yearly vet check-ups?
- Are you prepared to walk your dog at least once a day?
If you answered “yes” to these questions, you are probably prepared to have a large and extremely furry dog join your family.
Is it Okay to Adopt a Senior Dog?
There is no reason why it wouldn’t be alright to adopt a senior dog. They often make some of the best companions. You don’t have to worry about “puppy energy”. Older dogs are also usually well-trained. If not, you might have your work cut out for you, but that is a part of the challenge in rescuing dogs.
Sometimes older dogs settle into their new homes a little faster than younger ones. They can also have more patience with other pets and younger children. Though you should ever leave a pet or a child alone with a rescue dog.
While there are plenty of advantages to giving a senior dog a forever home, there are also a few downsides. Some unwanted personality traits may be too ingrained for training to be effective. Since this is a senior rescue, life-expectancy is shortened than with a younger dog.
Introducing an Akita and Other Pets and to a New Home
Before you bring an Akita or another pet to a new home, there are a few things you should have in place to help make the transition as stress-free and smooth as possible.
Have an area set up in the home for the new pet. This includes bedding, along with food and water. You don’t want to isolate your new dog, only give him some space. Try and place the dog’s items in an area where you can be seen without getting too close.
If there are other pets in the home it is best to keep them separated. There is already a lot of change, and your dog is probably nervous. Slowly introduce your pets in a controlled setting over a few days.
If you have a large home, it might be a good idea to let your Akita get used to areas slowly. Baby gates are a great way to help your new pet feel secure and keep them relatively confined. As you notice your pet getting more comfortable, slowly expand the area they can explore.
The main thing is to remember to have patience. No matter the size of the dog, they can all feel nervous and vulnerable.
Every dog is different. Some only take a few days to adjust to their new home, while others can take weeks. The age and history of the dog will also play a role in how quickly he settles in.
On average, it takes rescue dogs around a month to become adjusted. Just remember to give your Akita space and time they need. With patience, you will have an affectionate and loyal friend.