If you’re looking for an all-rounder dog that can keep the house safe while you’re on vacation but can also bond with your children and family, look no further because an Akita may be the right dog for you!
Did you know, Akitas can be extremely great with kids as they’re an empathetic breed, but can also be fantastic protectors of your home. Their loyalty and obedient nature work hand in hand and can be a great fit for your family.
Despite common misconceptions around the breed of Akitas, they can be well-behaved, caring and friendly dogs which are great with kids and other household animals, however, it’s completely up to the owner to mold those traits into their dog immediately.
Akitas And Kids
It is an owner’s responsibility to represent the qualities they want in their dog by treating them how you want to be treated. Thus, if you want your Akita to respect your children and care for them, it’s up to you to show them how.
You can do this by:
- Socializing your pup with other animals
- Encourage bonding time with your pup and children, under heavy supervision
- Allow a physical connection to be formed with your child and your Akita through constant handling and gentle pats/rubs
- Teach your dog to behave properly whilst in the presence of your children and reward them when they are
- Treat your dog gently but firmly, forming a foundation around their behavior and teaching them from right to wrong
- Inform your children about the dangers of dogs and how they like to be treated
It’s much easier to teach an Akita to be good with kids if your Akita is still a pup.
This is because as a puppy (and adolescent years), your Akita is obtaining knowledge, situations, and experiences around them, much similar to children, thus a poor foundational upbringing can cause an Akita to become aggressive which is extremely dangerous for children.
If you’re looking at purchasing an adult Akita but you have young children, it’s best to either:
- Obtain information from your VETS about the previous owners/breeders
- Ask the breeder/VET to explain an overview of the Akitas behavior and temperament
- Opt for purchasing a puppy instead
- Slowly introduce your adult Akita to your children (however, this can be a long process which may be hard to maintain long-term)
Although Akitas can become disobedient and aggressive at times, this is usually only due to poor upbringing or neglect prior to owning your dog. If you have the time to retrain an aggressive dog, it’s best to do so for owners with older children or singles.
Akita Qualities That Work Well with Children
The Akita possess many unique qualities, however, one of the main qualities that work well with children is their natural desire to build empathy.
These dogs are known to be wary and cautious animals, however, it’s a completely different story when it comes to their family. If your dog has grown up around children, in conjunction with a loving family and secure environment, Akitas are wonderful pets.
An Akita’s ability to build empathy with children is a fool-proof way to ensure your child’s safety, and you never need to worry about your dog hurting them or anyone else that may be around your child.
Other Akita qualities that work well with children is their utmost respect for family, protective nature, and patience with young children.
Are Akitas Good with Infants?
If you know a thing or two about the Akita breed, it’s that they’re often looked upon as “guard-dogs”, protectors of their home due to their natural temperament and dominant nature; With that being said…
Akitas can be good with infants, but only if they’ve been raised together since being a pup.
If you decide to introduce your Akita to a newborn or infant as a mature adult, it’s extremely unlikely they’ll be “open, happy and willing” to the experience. In fact, it may be considered dangerous, depending on how your Akita has grown up.
Your best bet is to either:
- Grow your Akita up around an infant or young children, to form a bond and trustworthy connection with them.
- Avoid bringing an adult Akita around a young infant until the child has grown or the Akita has adapted to their presence … or,
- Tame and train your adult Akita to welcome the presence of an infant. whilst never leaving them alone together and providing a safe space for your dog to interact with the baby in a loving nature.
Puppy Versus Adult Akitas and Kids
Puppies and kids have a great potential to form a close connection and bond together, as they both grow up. For this reason, it’s often said families with young children who want to own an Akita should purchase a puppy instead of an adult Akita.
Adult or matured Akitas are less likely to tolerate children, especially if they haven’t grown up around them or socialized much with other dogs/humans. This can cause an Akita to develop their natural “cautious” temperament and may try to bite or “shoo” your child away.
Puppy Akitas have the potential to learn key socializing skills needed for interacting with children and they can learn to adapt to their presence as they grow into an adult. It is highly recommended to purchase a puppy Akita if you have kids instead of an adult Akita that hasn’t been around children before.
Raising Akitas Alongside Kids
When raising an Akita alongside kids, you should ensure to set a fantastic foundation when it comes to your kids and their interaction with their Akita canine throughout the years.
Raising Akitas alongside kids are fairly easy, but laying some ground rules to your kids and Akita is the key to a happy home:
- Teach your child to never hit, pull, or climb on top of your Akita canine.
- Encourage your child to show love to your Akita by cuddling, rubbing and kissing their dog from time to time.
- Encourage gentle handling frequently
- Remind your child that Akitas do not like the presence of other kids or strangers, so ask your children’s friends to be gentle and to give your Akita some space.
- Reward your Akita when they’re well-behaved in the presence of your children
- Allow your child and Akita to bond together through the use of games or walking
- Encourage frequent bonding time between the two, especially during your Akitas puppyhood and adolescent ages.
- Train your Akita to protect and watch over your children, whilst still showing love and patience towards them.
Teaching Kids About Akitas
It’s a good idea to teach your kids about the breed of their Akita dog early on, this way they can grow up forming their own conclusions around the animal and are aware of their natural behaviors.
Informing your kids about the Akitas history, original breeding purpose, temperament, likes and dislikes, favorite foods and personality traits can be great ways to get your kids involved in your Akitas development.
This way, they are aware of certain things that may not be best to do to their dog, they can understand about their history, and can grow up respecting the difference between themselves and their Akita!
Training Your Akita for Kids
When training an Akita to be friendly with kids, remain consistent and persistent. Akitas can be slightly difficult to train, thus it’s important to train an Akita to be at ease around children and not lash out.
When training your Akita for kids, you should:
- Encourage frequent handling so they can adapt easily
- Socialize your Akita with other animals and humans as much as possible
- Lay firm boundaries around behavior and temperament
- Reward your Akita when they behave around children
- Practice on obedience
- Lay children’s toys around and get them to familiarize themselves with them
- Keep training light and positive, reducing force! (Akitas don’t do well with anger)
Potty Training an Akita with Kids
Regardless if you have kids or not, it’s a good idea to begin potty training your Akita as early as 16 weeks old! Potty training an Akita can be a month’s long process, but it’s a great opportunity to get your kids involved in the process and watch their family dog turn into a well-mannered, house trained canine!
Is a Male or Female Akita Better for a Family?
Choosing between a male or female Akita may sound easy, but deciding what gender will be the right fit for your family can be a tough decision.
Let me break it down for you…
The Basics | Male or Female Akita for a Family?
- Both genders share the same traits, temperament, and similar habits, however, a male is deemed “slightly tougher” in nature.
- De-sexing will still need to be considered with both genders
- If you do not want to de-sex your female dog, you’ll need to ensure to isolate your dog when she comes into estrus, which happens twice a year.
All in all, if you’re looking for a more “affectionate, well-behaved, cuddly” Akita, both a male or female dog will be sufficient, as long as you provide a loving and caring environment for your dog to grow up in. Everything else doesn’t matter as both genders share the same qualities.
Maintaining Akita’s Optimal Health as a Family
There are a few things both yourself and your family can do to maintain optimal health for your Akita.
Fostering a healthy diet with lots of nutrients is the key to fueling your Akitas body with good food. Remembering to never over-feed your dog is also key!
Taking your dog for walks, plays, outdoor adventuring, and socialization is another key factor for optimal health. Dogs can become bored and depressed easily, so never keep your Akita indoors for too long.
Maintain a frequent grooming routine, ensuring you brush their coat once a week, clip their nails, clean their ears and brush their teeth.
Potential Health Problems
Certain health problems that may occur within your Akita are hip dysplasia, blindness, myasthenia gravis, immune disorders, and possibly allergic reactions. The best way to avoid these potential health problems is by regularly observing and maintaining their health.
Activities for Kids and Akitas
Spending time doing activities that involve both the kids and an Akita is a great way to encourage bonding time, as well as making sure you Akita has used up enough energy throughout the day!
Activities you can partake in that includes both kids and Akitas are:
- Going to a dog park
- Taking a walk around monumental areas within your city
- Road trips!
- Have a water fight, using sprinklers and water guns
- Play the game “fetch” or “tag”
- Get your kids to try training your dog, using treats and good manners
- Have a little “pup & kid” photoshoot in your backyard
- Play the game “hide n seek”
- Attend a dog-friendly cruise
There are plenty of different activities you can partake in that involve both kids and dogs. As long as you choose anything that involves the outdoors and lots of fun are two things both of them will love!
Temperaments That You Should Be Aware Of
The canine breed, Akitas are naturally wary animals, thus it’s a good idea to become aware of certain temperaments that you may encounter with your Akita, prior to deciding if the dog is right for you and your family (especially if you have children).
Akita temperaments you should be aware of are:
- Aggression towards other dogs (including their own breed and other animals)
- Caution and aggression towards strangers
- Short attention span (unless trained)
- Destructive behavior when bored
- Requires attention or can become intolerable
The Dangers of Improper Upbringing
The improper upbringing of your Akita (or any animal) can create detrimental effects on both your canine and their future. It is extremely important as pet owners, to take full responsibility for the well-being of our animals and provide a loving, caring, firm and balanced environment for them to grow up in.
I’ve listed below 3 specific dangerous effects caused by an improper upbringing in Akitas.
By improperly raising your Akita, you risk your dog becoming extremely aggressive which can cause dangerous complications when you take your dog out in public. An angry dog can easily bite both a human or child whilst in public, as well as other animals they may pass by.
2. Emotional Trauma
Just like yelling at a child won’t make things any better, the same goes for animals, especially dogs. If your dog experiences any type of emotional trauma due to improper upbringing, this can cause extreme delays in development as well as a hard life for them.
3. Animal Suicide
In extreme cases, improper upbringing can lead to “animal suicide” which is another way to explain self-destructive behavior. In conjunction with emotional trauma, animal suicide is a risk that comes with improper upbringing and should be carefully assisted if your dog is experiencing any of the symptoms.
If you’re incapable of spending time, money, energy, and your attention in developing a dog to their best potential under a caring and loving house and clean environment; Reconsider purchasing a different breed or another animal that may be easier for you.
Tips for Raising an Akita
Raising an Akita properly can be an amazing experience, especially because the breed is known for their devoting loyalty and utmost respect for their owners/family.
Raising an Akita Properly | Tips and Tricks
- Implement command training and potty training from 12 – 16 weeks old
- Introduce certain areas of your home slowly, encouraging them to familiarize and behave themselves with certain zones of your home before introducing other areas (such as bedrooms or bathrooms)
- Provide plenty of physical attendance in addition to emotional attention!
- Socialize your Akita with humans and other animals as often as you can! (The more the easier it’ll be for them to get used to the presence of strangers)
- Be firm and lay boundaries with your dog, but never become physically or emotionally abusive
- Provide a wholesome and nutritious diet
- Maintain their grooming routine
- Encourage outdoor play and take your Akita out as often as possible
- Teach them rules around behavior and possibly take them to obedience training
- Try taking your dog to a VET twice a year for a check-up on their physical health
- Be consistent and don’t be afraid to ask for help if your Akita is becoming overwhelming to handle