Rehoming your Akita
This article was specifically written to help you re-home your Akita successfully & correctly. If you have a heart and still love your Akita but have no other option than to say good-bye forever then please take your time, read this and follow the instructions step by step.
It is important for you to know that 100ís of healthy pure & crossbred Akitas of all ages are destroyed in pounds and animal shelters throughout Australia each year. These shelters usually run by local councils exist purely and simply to take in strays and unwanted "pets". These "pets" are then kept for a short period of time for owners to reclaim them; when their time has elapsed these "pets" are killed to make room for the next batch of unwanted "pets". Less than 10% ever get reclaimed or re-homed.
Regardless how cute, friendly, loving and special you think your Akita is, to shelter personnel itís simply another unwanted "pet" that is destined to be killed and piled up for transportation to the rendering plant (usually the local tip). To help fund these pounds some poor creatures get sold to universities and laboratories for experimental purposes. There they suffer sometimes for weeks on end before dying an excruciating painful death. THIS IS FACT!!
Unlike the USA and the UK there are no Akita Rescue organizations in Australia to take your Akita off your hands when you feel you no longer want it. A small handful of dedicated Akita lovers do what they can but with no financial support their help is indeed limited.
Akitas are not the easiest type of dog to re-home but it can be done successfully if done correctly. Keep in mind that YOU could be held legally responsible and liable if your Akita attacks the new owners their family, friends, pets or livestock. If you are trying to re-home an aggressive Akita BE WARNED!! When an Akita attacks the resulting injuries are always horrendous on the victim. New dog laws have come into force to protect the public from such attacks and litigation claims are steadily on the increase. New owners MUST be informed if your Akita has ever bitten a person or animal.
Before helping you re-home your Akita, perhaps the following will help you rethink your reasons for wanting to give your Akita away in the first place. There is a lot of help available if you are willing to find it and give it a try.
Perhaps you think your Akita is lonely because you work long hours Akitas are normally not very active dogs when at home alone. As with most canines Akitaís usually sleep when left on their own. There are many toys on the market that you can fill with treats, which will amuse your Akita for hours while it tries to retrieve the contents. Take a browse through your local pet shop; youíll be amazed at the variety. Buy large leg bones from your butcher. This will also give it something to chew when it gets bored. When you get home give it some one on one attention and make certain you take it for daily walks. Try teaching it something new as often as possible using treats as rewards; youíll be surprised how quickly they learn and how pleased they are to perform for you, and they are never too old to learn. Akitaís actually enjoy being an only dog so to bring in a playmate would be your worst scenario. Being a dominant breed this decision could end up being a fatal mistake.
If you are moving, well frankly every state and city in this country has dogs. If you are moving north and think the climate may be too hot there are many Akita breeders and owners in those northern states that would disagree with you. Places like Darwin, Cairns and so on all have Akitaís living quite happily in that climate. Provided they have shelter to lie out of the direct sun and plenty of fresh water available they are just as happy living north as they are living south. Akitas adjust and adapt to any climate quite well.
If you are expecting your first child and your Akita has never had any dealings with children before it is never too late to socialise your Akita with children using positive training methods. There are many good dog-training books available today. Also many dog-training obedience schools you could attend which will teach you how to use positive reinforcement training methods. This is vital if you are to teach your older Akita how to accept children. History about this breed suggests that the Akita was once used as babysitters to guard the children while the parents worked the field. This being the case the true Akita temperament should have a natural affinity for children. Training, time, patience and reward will help your Akita adjust and learn to love your new addition in the family. Read Akitas & Children and try those helpful hints before you re-home your Akita. Many owners have been pleasantly surprised!
If you are faced with a behavioural problem, have your Akita examined by a veterinarian for any hidden health problems. Many Autoimmune diseases and Thyroid conditions can vary the temperament of the Akita and turn them aggressive. With correct diagnosis most Akitaís will respond well with treatment. If there is no health problem then seek the help of an animal behaviourist. Even a good dog-trainer that uses positive reinforcement training methods could be helpful. Once again there are many good books on this subject and many dog training obedience schools, which you could attend. Do you really think someone else wants an Akita with a behavioural problem? As behavioural problems are commonly self-taught, you helped create that problem and now only you can solve it.
If your Akita is suffering from a health problem and your reasons for seeking another home are based on the expense involved in caring for the dog, you should know that nobody else would want to adopt a dog that is not in good health. Lying about health issues to prospective new owners would guarantee your Akita end up in the pound or animal shelter. Discuss your situation with your Vet. If the health problems solutions are expensive operations or require long-term on going treatment, some vets will allow time payment and some may even offer discounts and/or use generic brand drugs. Vets are human too and most have your petsí health at heart. Most RSPCA complexes have veterinary clinics attached offering discounted rates.
Allergies? Akitaís do not have hair they have fur that is virtually hypoallergenic. They have a double coat, which sheds twice a year. The remainder of the year they hardly shed a whisker. In most cases washing your hands after touching your Akita will remove any lingering allergens.
If your Akita is an aged senior and doesnít have that get up and go anymore, ask your vet about supplementing with glucosamine and chondroitin to increase mobility. Get that excess weight off those poor old bones and creaking joints and watch your Akita enjoy every moment of its life. Surely, you canít seriously reward so many years of loyalty with abandonment?
If, after reading all this, your decision to find a new home for your adult Akita has not changed, then please read on. The first positive step would be to contact the breeder of your Akita and ask for assistance. If that is not possible or if the breeder will not offer help, this information will assist you in proper placement for your Akita.
It is highly recommended to spay or neuter your Akita before placement.
You will have the best chance of finding a loving new home for your Akita if the dog is reasonably young, adaptable, obedience trained, friendly and most importantly desexed. People seeking an Akita merely to breed with will eventually abandon or destroy the Akita when it is of no further use, but families interested only in a companion dog are happiest adopting a desexed Akita and these sorts of people have the best record of responsible dog ownership.
Before any further action, take your Akita to your veterinarian to have all vaccinations updated and ask for a written health certificate. Have your vet worm your Akita so he could include that in his report and if not already done, have your Akita microchipped. It is against the law to sell or give away a dog or puppy that is not microchipped. This will show you care about your Akita and expect no less from an adopting family.
Once microchipped have all necessary papers ready to sign over to the new family. This includes local Council Registrations where you may have paid for a lifetime registration and Kennel Control registered pedigree papers. Fill in the new details and post them off yourself to the relevant authorities to have the details changed. It only costs a few dollars and it is in your best interest to do this yourself. Should your Akita cause any harm to anyone or anything and your name is still registered as the owner you could be held liable regardless of how long it has been since you had the dog in your possession.
Word of mouth and classified ads in major newspapers are the most effective ways to reach potential adopting families. Describe your Akita truthfully i.e. donít say it loves children if it has never had any dealings with children AND NEVER mention price. Price is usually based on what ever it cost you in vets bills, advertising etc.
This is an example of a good ad;
Akita, Pretty 2 year old desexed female. Obedience trained, Vet health cert, vaccinated/wormed microchipped; much loved family pet; very affectionate; loves children; Regrettable sale to good home only. Phone XXXXXXX
NEVER EVER Advertise your Akita as "Free to good home"
Free items have no value and people who get dogs for free rarely value the dog. These "free to good home" animals usually or eventually end up down the pound. There are of course worse scenarios.
There are many evil and sick people out there that participate and instigate illegal blood sports such as dog fighting and large game hunting. The "free to good home" Akita is a prime target for this. These poor Akitas (and other such breeds) have a distinctively short and miserable life. With injuries received from fighting or the kill they are usually left to bleed to death or shot.
Also there are the so called "experienced" guard dog trainers who will happily take your Akita off your hands telling you they will find a good home for it. They then teach it to attack using the cruellest of methods. These wretched animals are then advertised as fully trained security guard dogs and sold for a fortune to places such as car yards etc many dealing in illegal businesses (such as drugs, smuggling, auto theft, car parts etc.) Lucky to get fed and living on its own faeces in appalling conditions your Akita will live the rest of its miserable existence on a chain with death its only escape from the misery.
YES! ... this all frequently happens - it is documented fact!
Once you have advertised your Akita there is a list of questions you must ask first to ensure your Akita is going to a loving home. As soon as you receive your first call take their name and phone number then tell them you are busy but will ring them back within the hour. Many people will leave fake numbers if they are not genuine only those really looking for an Akita family pet will give you their name and number. Try for home numbers not mobiles. Do not talk about the Akita until you call them back.
When you call them back ask questions immediately - do not allow them to ask the questions and take over, YOU must take the lead. You already have the upper hand as you have their name and home phone number, for example:
"Hi Mr/Ms???? my name is XX and Iím returning your call regarding your enquiry about my Akita. Have you ever owned an Akita or dog of this size or nature before?"
Go on from there but try not to sound like itís an interrogation, just follow on in general conversation.
Remember the Akita is a very dominant breed and certainly not suitable for the first time dog owner who invariably has no experience of large powerful dominant dogs. People that have previously owned or had dealings with Rotties, German Shepherds etc are possibly good candidates.
"Do you have any other pets at the moment, if so what sort of pets do you have?"
NEVER EVER PLACE AN AKITA WITH ANY DOG OF THE SAME SEX. Remember Akitas can be very dog aggressive and are very dominant so NEVER place your Akita with a home that has any other dominant breed of dog living on the premises regardless of sex, desexed or not. This is always a recipe for disaster.
Most Akitas will instinctively hunt small animals including cats, guinea pigs, rabbits and small dogs. Even if your Akita has been living peacefully with any of these animals chances are it will hunt and kill strange new ones in a strange new place.
If your Akita has been living on its own in a one-dog family home try to find a home where it will continue to be the only family dog. People that take older dogs to keep their other pets company are also not good prospects. Usually their dog has been destructive because of boredom so people think by giving it some company they will solve the problem. This never works as two dogs getting into mischief is double trouble and usually the last dog that arrives is more than often the first to leave.
"How long have you owned them or what happened to them, how long did they live?"
People who have had large dogs living to ripe old ages are good prospects. Those that say they have had several dogs in a period of a few short years and then tell you that they ran away or got out and run over or poisoned etc are not good candidates for your Akita. Give these type of people a big miss.
"Who is your vet?"
(This is NOT an unreasonable request) Write down the name and if possible the phone number of their vet. Ring and make sure their last dog had proper veterinary care or ask them to provide a reference from their vet. Surely you would want your Akita go to a home where it will be looked after medically?
"Do you have a good fenced yard and how high are the fences and gate?"
While your Akita may never have tried to escape from your yard, you can bet your life it will try to escape theirs. It is imperative that a minimum 6-foot or 1.8-metre high strong fence surrounds their yard and donít forget to ask about the gate too. Most people only put a short gate in and this is where your Akita will find its way out. Akitas are notorious escape artists!
"Will the Akita be an inside or outside dog or both?"
Akitas are always happier living inside with their family and taking part in family life. Akitas that are just back yard dogs usually become destructive and/or aggressive. People that are happy to have the Akita live indoors with them will help your Akita to adjust to its new home and form a bond with its new owners more quickly.
"Do you have any children and what ages are they?"
The actions and antics of children can be extremely scary to adult dogs that were not socialised with children during their
puppy hood. Always ensure your Akita accepts children before placing it in a house full of rowdy kids. Children are
always at biggest risk of being attacked. For this reason it is imperative that you meet the whole family before placing your Akita.
If you are happy with their response to your phone questions invite them to come and meet your Akita. If they havenít asked by now price can now be mentioned. How much you want for your Akita is your business and no body elseís so this should only be discussed once you have made up your mind that they are pretty good candidates for your Akita.
Remember! You are not selling an item. You are conducting an interview with prospective families wanting to adopt your Akita. It is your right to ask questions in order to help you decide. Treat the whole experience as an interview NOT a sale.
Ensure the whole family comes including any other dog that they may have. Introductions are always best done in neutral territory and always on lead, perhaps in a park down the road. If all goes well in the neutral territory then walk with them back to your house, talking all the way. This will show your Akita that they are friends and help your Akita to be more accepting of these strangers. Once back home do NOT let your Akita off lead particularly if they have brought their dog back to your house with them. Remember they are now in your Akitaís territory and it will defend it from intruders particularly other dogs.
If your Akita doesnít get on with their dog or their family in neutral territory you can be certain it wonít get on with them in their own territory. In this case do not place your Akita with these people regardless of how interested and ideal they seem to be. Just tell them you will ring them and let them know. Add that you have others interested also and would like to interview everyone before making your final decision.
Be vigilant and observe the behaviour of the children of the family. If the children are allowed to run wild and are completely unruly than this is a strong indication that the family is NOT suitable for an Akita. An Akita most certainly needs firm rules and control at all times.
Once back at your house take some details from the family. Ask to view their driversí licence to ensure they are who they say they are and live where they say they live. Try to relax because if you are on edge your Akita will sense this and also be on edge. Ask them for the copy of their vetís reference and then show them the health certificate your Akita was issued from your vet and the updated vaccination certificate.
Strange dogs should never be left to run together for at least the first few weeks so make a point of telling the prospective new owner this. They will need a separate run or pen to isolate one from the other for the initial first few weeks. THIS IS A MUST!! It is very important that the dogs get to know each other gradually and the situation monitored rather than just thrown together with the hope they will get on.
Insist on delivering your Akita (regardless of the distance). This allows you to see for yourself what their property looks like and whether it is securely fenced. If you have any reservations at all at this point do NOT leave your Akita. First impressions are always the best ones to go with so if their place is a jungle with car bodies etc lying around grass 6 foot high and dog faeces everywhere ask yourself one question. If you were your dog would you like to live there? If the answer is NO take your Akita and leave.
Once again, if they have another dog ask them to meet you with their dog in neutral territory before entering their property with your Akita. Ensure that the dogs do still greet and accept each other in a friendly manner. You should bring along any paperwork that needs to be finalised also bring your Akitaís food bowls, leads, collars, toys, bedding and even the kennel. This will make the transition less stressful for your Akita.
If you are completely happy with the situation this far, say your good-byes and leave. Keep in contact by phone for the first few weeks to ensure things are going smoothly.
The re-homing of older dogs done correctly is never easy and will always be a slow process. There are no quick fix solutions and this tried and tested method is your only guarantee of success.
However if all this is too time consuming and sounds too hard then you must do the next best and kindest thing for your Akita.
PLEASE!!!! Donít sentence it to a life of misery only to die in agony on its own or with complete strangers. You made a commitment and became responsible for your Akita the day you brought it home. Your Akita has relied on you for everything and in return has unconditionally given you its love and trust.
Do not abandon it now! Take it to your vet and holding it gently in your arms say your final farewells while your vet sends it on that final journey. There are by far worse fates than euthanasia, and with this scenario in mind it is certainly the better option for your Akita.
Just be there with your Akita till the end ... it is the very least you can do!
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