Please consider that raising a puppy is both time- and work intensive. It is advisable to acquire species appropriate knowledge for proper upbringing in a timely manner.
Most puppies change hands within 9 to 12 weeks of age. The pack, which so far provided safety for the puppy is dissolved. It is replaced by the companionship with the new owner who is now responsible for the future fate of the dog entrusted to him. At this point in time, the puppy is in the so-called socialization phase. It is receptive to any kind of human attention, from which it can build up a trusting relationship. This in turn creates the essential foundation necessary for self-assurance and stable character.
In this period of life the ability and willingness to learn are especially developed. Now is the right time to systematically initiate his education, best in a playful manner and with positive reinforcement but never like a rigid dressage act! A puppy should be permitted to act out his play instinct with other dogs. Puppy playtime is most likely the safest environment to teach puppies to interact with others. Many dog trainers offer such lessons and use of this sensible opportunity should definitely be made.
Male or Female
Both have peculiarities which can be adjusted to without further ado.
As a general rule females are in heat twice a year. They bleed and this can leave more or less obvious traces in the house – as a result one should not be too finicky. Females are usually easier to raise.
Male dogs mark a lot and empty their bladder only „drop by drop“. Often they are not too friendly towards their fellow males. At home too, they enjoy acting „the boss“ once in a while, which can be controlled by a consequent upbringing. A nearby female dog in heat causes a male to suffer more or less. This might lead to food rejection and restlessness for a few days.
Housebreaking your puppy
Typically puppies become housebroken very quickly. Often this has already been accomplished by the time you pick up your new room-mate from the breeder at the age of 9-12 weeks. It is now up to your monitoring and alertness! Observe the following rules: after feeding, after playing and after sleeping – grab the puppy, take him outside and praise him exuberantly, should he have relieved himself! Do not feed to late in the evening, so he can make it through the night. An occasional mishap is mostly due to some communication errors between puppy and owner.
Where should the puppy sleep?
Like all mammals puppies too favor sleeping huddled against one another. In addition you, as owner, are predominantly his social partner. Therefore it is only natural that the puppy is looking for body contact when it is time to sleep and wants to get in bed at night. As sorry as you might feel for the puppy, separated from mother and siblings, do not permit what you will not tolerate later on. Consequent training starts on day one! Not letting dogs sleep in bed is not only advisable from a hygienic point of view, it also makes clear that you, being the pack leader, have certain privileges, which have to be accepted. Put your pet in his designated sleeping place (blanket, basket, or in the initial weeks a box or bigger carton) next to your bed, so that he can see and hear you. Praise him if he settles down and stays there. His bed next to yours has not only the advantage that the puppy usually accepts it quickly, in addition you will notice right away if the puppy wakes up and gets up (which might lead to bladder emptying, commanding greatest haste
If you do not wish your dog`s permanent resting place to be in your bed-room, start pushing it away from your bed further and further over the next weeks (after the dog has settled in) until the desired location has been reached.
Feeding of the puppy
Initially the breeder should set you up with the food the puppy has been fed in his place. The separation from mother and siblings may cause the puppy to reject food in the first 3 to 4 days. He surely will try to get something better at your place. Be consequent. If the puppy is hungry he will eat! Offer him food 3 to 4 times a day and fresh water at all times. Please do not permit food to sit – if he has finished or does not like it, just take it away. Food left sitting arounde, raises poor eaters which is undesirable.
How long do I have to play with my puppy or take him for a walk
Daily activity strengthens the puppy’ muscles and stamina, but do not exaggerate! Do short, regular walks every day. Diversify your walks, by changing your routes and include small training sessions (sit, down etc.). Joints, tendons and ligaments of the puppy need time to grow and stabilize. A violation of this may lead to permanent damage. In addition a puppy requires a lot of rest and sleep.
Practicing with the puppy is important for effective leadability training. This is achieved by repeated leashing of the dog every time you take him for a walk. To avoid negative associations with leashing, you should not leash your dog exclusively at the end of the walk or after playing with other puppies in order to return home or to the car. The objective of leadability training is that your puppy behaves equally happy next to you whether with or without leash. This success can be quickly achieved if your puppy understands that the leash represents a connection between you and him which has a certain length (1 to 1.5m) and which has to be respected. Your dog will quickly understand the length of the leash but how does he learn to respect it? As soon as your puppy has reached the end of the leash, he will notice an uncomfortable resistance at the collar, if you really do nothing else but stand still. Tugging at the leash will cause a natural reflex to counter pull. This will achieve nothing. You achieve the most, if you actually stop silently and wait until your puppy gets close to you again on his own until the leash is relaxed. Very important now, is not to forget praise. Imagine a dog tied to a post. The animal will never pull at the leash relentlessly but instead will sit down (and possibly howl) and wait once he discovers that there is no forward movement. Just like that your puppy will learn that there is no forward movement at all (which he wants so badly) if he pulls at the leash and feels pressure at the collar. But as soon as he walks next to you in a relaxed manner, on a loose leash, he will be rewarded with a treat and moves forward (which is what he wants). Important for this training is absolute consequence, otherwise there will be no learning experience, only the opposite: „ If I pull hard enough we move forward after all“!
Every day advice.
Be considerate! There are people who are scared of dogs. Whenever you notice that other people are scared or insecure when moving towards you, call your dog and put him on the leash. This also applies to a dog walking on the leash next to his owner. In this case you should make your dog come to you. The statement „he does not do anything“ is completely unsuitable, to eliminate fears or to avoid undesired contacts.
Fears and prejudices are reduced much easier, if your dog obeys reliably and displays calm and relaxed leash behavior.
Contact your breeder if your have questions. In addition the breed warden or education officer of the JAPAN Akita registered association will be happy to help you if a problem arises.