When discussing if Akitas are good with children, one of the most important elements to note is that this breed is a guard dog.
He is a wonderful family companion, but above all else, generations of strong instinct is there that make him a protector.
Anything or anyone seen as a possible threat will invoke a reaction, this can vary from growling to biting.
Now, with this said, Akitas and children can have a truly wonderful bond. This will depend on several factors:
• How he is raised
• At what age introduction is done
• The behavior and actions of the kids
• The individual temperament of the Akita
In the Same House
This breed can and often does very well with children who live in the same household. He makes a clear distinction between those he considers to be part of the family and those he does not. Therefore, it is not fair to the breed when someone makes a generalizing comment that harmony cannot exist. It is dependent on the situation.
A New Baby
It is a very common question to wonder if an Akita will accept an infant into the home and how the dog will react. So much depends on what was established beforehand. If the dog was allowed to run the household and is spoiled, he can become jealous with rivalry appearing quickly. If he was socialized and not spoiled, he can welcome the new addition and become a great protector.
One of the worst mistakes that owners can do is to isolate the baby and the Akita. The dog wants to check out new guests (as instinct tells him to do) and if stopped from doing so, may feel threatened or insecure with the “possible threat” which can result in aggressiveness.
An owner can begin to prepare their Akita before the baby even comes home. Since one cannot control every moment of a growing child’s behavior, it is important that you control the dog. Now more than ever, the dog must learn his place within the pack and respect you as the leader. If there is any doubt about rank, it should be resolved before an infant is brought home.
He can be taught to sleep in a new area in advance….And be desensitized to the new noises of crying, in particular, by playing a recording of a baby’s cries and noises. A family member can take the receiving blanket home from the hospital and allow the dog to become accustomed to the new scent. These little elements can make a huge difference in an Akita’s reaction.
The Family Pet
This breed can be an exceptional playmate for your children, a friend by your side and a helper around the house, all rolled into one.
When puppies are raised with children, this works best as opposed to an older dog that is suddenly expected to tolerate the actions, noise and level of enthusiasm that youngsters have.
They do not like to be teased and often have little tolerance for this. Children should be taught to handle puppies nicely and to never pull on tails or do any other action that would bother the pup. As general rule, the Akita or any other large dog, should not be left alone with those who are under the age of 12 years old.
The most misunderstood element of this whole topic is the dog’s behavior is generalized to all kids. However, tolerance is only a problem with those who are outside of the family…youngsters who are unknown and the Akita do not mix well. An owner must keep their dog on leash at all times if an encounter is a possibility. Reaction can vary from a barely audible growl (most common) to a serious lunge in attempt to bite.
And it should not be overlooked that every Akita is an individual….some will barely show that they care that a child is around….Others will let you know immediately that they are not happy. Most fall in the middle ground….with a noticeable agitation that can be calmed down with introductions and supervised socialization.
If your child is playing with another, you can have your Akita nearby while you stand or sit with him. Do ask the children to play quietly, you can let them know that your dog just needs to get used to things. Then, overtime, at least with many dogs, he will become more comfortable in the company of youngsters. After that, play can become more active. The key to this is to allow the Akita to learn how to control himself…And that is done in a slow yet steady way of socialization and desensitization to what would otherwise be seen as an irritant.
Some owners believe that if their dog is great with their own children, he or she will be just fine around others, but this is often not true. The Akita sees his family very differently than he sees outsiders. He entire demeanor can change in an instant. This breed can be very tolerant of his “brothers and sisters”, but an unknown toddler who is heedlessly bopping the dog on the head with a toy will most likely not be tolerated for a second. Again, any issues can be avoided with close, acute supervision and warning for youngsters to treat the dog well. Keep your Akita on leash and remove yourself from the area if the children are being boisterous or too rowdy.
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