Acquired: Breeder (professional)
Training: I haven't learned care / training techniques
Posted February 7, 2014
Tinook was my first experience with a so- called "vicious breed" dog; although I'd grown up with a German Shepherd, I had never been the primary owner of one of the breeds that had been given a label as being dangerous. My husband brought her home--- she was a surprise, a gift from a friend after he had helped an injured friend who bred Akitas fix her roof.
I spoke to friends who worked as professional trainers, as I had concerns--- Akitas had something of a reputation, so I wanted a lot more information, right away. I'm glad I did, too--- I loved, loved, LOVED working with Tinook, but she definitely required a firm hand, and lots of guidance!
Akitas are amazing dogs, without a question, but without the proper guidance they seem to turn into one- owner dogs- fiercely loyal to "their person", which can be a little problematic. I did a lot of work making sure she was properly socialized-- meeting other dogs, spending time with people. In the beginning she would get a little protective of me around other people, especially if they touched me--- she would try to stand between me and other people, particularly during greetings. We strongly discouraged this behavior by teaching her how she should greet guests, and rewarding better alternatives. It's really, really important not to allow your dog to become a "one- person Akita", but other than that, no issues.
Grooming is a bit intense- it's a fluffy coat, so be prepared, but Tinook loved being brushed, so we just worked it into what I did in the evenings. I'd watch the news after dinner and brush her over a sheet, and she'd be happy as a clam.
Tinook adored my daughter, and was intruiged by our cats, who didn't mind her at all. She never really bonded with them, but there wasn't any issues, either. This might have been helped along by our adopting her as a puppy.
One of my favorite things about training with Tinook: she learned "speak" and "quiet" in what seemed like record time. I know that a dog- lover shouldn't be averse to barking, but I really, really don't like excess vocalization, and that was never a problem with Tinook. Even before she learned to quiet, she was a relatively silent dog, and I really appreciated that.
We never had any health issues with Tinook, but unfortunately, we also didn't have much time with her, either. Tinook was struck by a speeding car at the age of two and died almost instantly. She was a sweet, affectionate dog who would have made a lovely life partner, and we missed out on many fantastic years with her, but we're grateful for the time we had together.