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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi there!

Basically, I need some help and tips! I'm 23, and I've never owned a dog before. My family and I fell in love with a beautiful Japanese Akita in the care of the RSPCA needing a home, and we've decided to adopt him. Problem is, the dog is going to be primarily cared for by me, and I'm scared as I've never owned a dog!

Questions I have -

1) What is the best sort of brush to buy for grooming his coat?

2) How much exercise will a 7 year old Akita need daily?

3) Despite the RSPCA saying he has a lovely temperament, will he still be likely to be funny with other dogs at his age?

4) Is he very likely to catch fleas? If so, what is the best way to get rid of them from such a fluffy dog?

5) Biggest problem of all - we own a cat, an 11 year old un-neutered tom, who DESPISES dogs. What is the best and most efficient way to introduce them without the cat being too scared/angry?

If anybody has any tips, that would be absolutely fantastic. I'm so excited but also really nervous because I want to give him a good life!

Thank you!!
 

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Why do you want to adopt this dog? That's a lot of dog for a first time dog owner. I'm an experienced dog owner and a mature akita would be too much for me.

I'm just curious as to why you would want a challenging dog breed when you're a nervous first time dog owner and you have a dog that hates cats?
 

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an akita is too much dog imo. it would be wise for you to get a different kind of dog especially for your first dog.
 

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I apologize if I came off as rude, but I just want you and this dog to succeed. I don't think this is a good idea, and I don't know why a rescue would adopt an akita out to a first time dog owner. :(
 

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Akita's can have a pretty high prey drive. If your kitty is too angry at the Akita and starts something that might be the end of the kitty. Mind you not ALL Akita's have a high prey drive. It is just something to keep in mind.

I would buy lots of baby gates so that the kitty has safe places to go that the dog cannot get to. Also kitty trees so the cat can be where the people are but has a high place to retreat to.

A 7yr old dog probably will not require that much exercise. I'd say two 20-30 minute walks a day and a few training sessions should cover it.

For fleas - you can buy monthly flea/tick drops (you just put them between the dogs shoulder blades) I found that front line plus works best for me.

For brushes I'd likely use a good stiff bristled slicker brush but really you may want to pick up a couple different kinds just to see what works best for you.

As far as other dogs go age has nothing to do with it. It is all about the individual dog. I'd be leery about introducing him to other males - especially in an off leash area. Just be careful until you know how he is likely to react.

Akita's are lovely dogs but they are a lot of dog. If you feel comfortable taking on the challenge - good for you!

I'd love to see some pictures of him when you get some!
 

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Welcome to the Dog Forum! I'd like to ask you a few questions. First, what does the shelter know about this dog, his history, and his behavior?

What attracts you to this particular dog?

Can you arrange for a trial period before you commit to adopting him?

To be honest, I also wonder if this dog is a good fit for you, and if he isn't, it would be better to wait for a better fit.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
We've been to see him and we took him for a walk. The women at the dog shelter all loved him and said he was very different from other Akitas, even I could tell he was unusually calm when we met him. He also didn't really react to the other dogs when we took him out, just sort of looked at them. From the research I've done I know Akitas can be pretty proud, are natural hunters and need a firm leader so I'm aware they're not the easiest dogs to cope with, but he's also old, and acts it. Timmy also has some basic training in place already, so we'd just need to extend his training from what he already knows I'm guessing. The reason why we want to adopt him is because it's very hard for the shelter to re-home older dogs, they've all said so, and my family and I are particularly fond of Akitas, he's absolutely gorgeous. We felt something when we saw him and want to give him a good life.
 

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I actually think an older dog of a breed you're interested in is a good way to get your feet wet, so to speak.

I would recommend finding a quality positive trainer to take some classes with. It will benefit both you and the dog, and it's fun! You don't have to continue past a few classes if you don't want to, but it can be good to pick up a few skills and have a source if you should need one in the future.

Good luck with your new pooch!!
 

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I'm really surprised at how many people jumped to say she shouldn't own an Akita just because it's a "hard" dog. This is a 7 year old Akita, which is balancing more on the "old" side of the dog world. It's clearly an older dog and not a puppy, and I think an older dog is a good way to experience a breed. Not everyone is going to get a golden retriever for their first dog, I think it's perfectly fine granted research is done.

My biggest concern is with the cat.

As a couple other members noted, Akitas have high prey drive. Has your shelter tested this ones prey drive? It may be fine but I wouldn't trust an Akita alone with my cat. Just make sure they're separated when they can't be supervised. A good way to let the cat get used to the Akita being around is keeping the Akita leashed with you for the first couple days so he cant be intrusive on the cats space and the cat can get used to the dogs presence. However I would highly recommend making sure the dog is prey tested.

I'm also concerned about the cat being comfortable in its own home. Since hes old and already doesn't like dogs, I would be worried about causing him anxiety and stressing him out by bringing another animal into the home. Your best option would again make sure he leaves small animals alone and if he doesn't pass the prey test then simply don't get him. To me it's not worth risking the cats comfortability and safety in its own home.
 

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When I read Elsie's first post, what caught my eye was: "Help! I'm scared as I've never owned a dog." And that gave me some pause on whether such a large dog might be good fit. (By clicking on my username, one can read all about my own failed attempt to adopt a Great Pyrenees mix as a novice owner.) But, I agree with PoppyKenna and cos who have pointed out that bringing home a well-tempered senior dog might be a very good introduction to the breed. My wonderful Miles, shown in my avatar, is a terrific, sweet, happy-go-lucky senior dog that was dumped at a shelter and wouldn't have made it out without me. I would definitely consider adopting another senior.

Elsie - I'd like to recommend some reading as you prepare to bring home Timmy. This article gives some perspective on how long it often takes for a shelter dog to settle into a new home:

Three Ways to Confuse a New Dog

Its author, Patricia McConnell, has a very practical book, which I might suggest that you download before Timmy comes home:

Love Has No Age Limit-Welcoming an Adopted Dog into Your Home: Patricia B. McConnell Ph.D., Karen B. London Ph.D.: 9781891767142: Amazon.com: Books


I'm curious about your thoughts about training your dog. What have you studied or researched so far?
 

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Just a few comments concerning what you can take away from what you're told by the people at a shelter. A dog's personality and behavior in a shelter may not be representative of the dog's true personality. Many dogs are quite reserved in the shelter environment. Many are over aroused in the shelter environment. Take what you're told about the dog's behavior with a grain of salt.



An Akita would not be my recommendation for a first time dog owner and especially with a cat in the home that despises dogs. My opinion is that an 11 year old cat who hates dogs shouldn't be subjected to the possible stress that the addition of a dog can bring.

If you move forward with this adoption, please be prepared to consult with a professional if problems develop. If you can't afford this option, consider that you may have to return this dog to the shelter. This can be very stressful for the dog and painful for you.

Good luck.
 

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Assuming that the shelter has cats, can they give you an idea of how much interest this dog displays towards them?
 

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Just a few comments concerning what you can take away from what you're told by the people at a shelter. A dog's personality and behavior in a shelter may not be representative of the dog's true personality. Many dogs are quite reserved in the shelter environment. Many are over aroused in the shelter environment. Take what you're told about the dog's behavior with a grain of salt.



An Akita would not be my recommendation for a first time dog owner and especially with a cat in the home that despises dogs. My opinion is that an 11 year old cat who hates dogs shouldn't be subjected to the possible stress that the addition of a dog can bring.

If you move forward with this adoption, please be prepared to consult with a professional if problems develop. If you can't afford this option, consider that you may have to return this dog to the shelter. This can be very stressful for the dog and painful for you.

Good luck.

I whole heartedly agree. A 7 year old Akita isn't exactly winding down and near the end. It would be a suitable dog for someone who has owned a dog before but maybe not a dog like an Akita.

A scared, young, first time dog owner with an elderly cat that despises dogs? Another question, do you know why this dog is in rescue? I am thrilled that you want to rescue! I think you should consider other dogs that are better for first time owners.
 
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