Akita Rescue Society of America

 

Placing Your Akita

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Placing Your Akita in a New Home

If you need to find a home for your adult Akita, FIRST CONTACT YOUR BREEDER FOR ASSISTANCE. If that is not possible, or if your breeder will not offer help, this information will assist you in proper placement of your Akita.

It's important for you to know that Akitas are now killed in animal shelters throughout the country in growing numbers.  Municipal shelters exist to enforce rabies laws and to take in stray dogs.  Most states mandate a short waiting period for owners to reclaim pets; when that time has elapsed dogs are killed to make room for the next batch of unwanted "pets." Regardless of your Akita's beauty, how friendly, loving or special you think it is, to shelter personnel, it's simply another unwanted dog that will be killed and piled up for transportation to the rendering plant.  That is a fact.  

Purebred rescues, especially the scattered few working with Akitas, are just as filled
to the brim as shelters.  If you don't want your Akita to die with strangers then re-think your reasons for wanting to give away your dog.  If you think the Akita is lonely because you work, you could give it some special one-on-one attention when you are home and make certain you take it for daily walks.  Akitas actually enjoy being an only dog and like most canines, they sleep when you're not home.

If you are moving, well frankly, every state and city in this country has dogs--you could arrange to take your Akita with you to your new home.  Allergies?  Akitas do not have hair, they have fur and are virtually hypoallergenic.  In most cases, washing your hands after touching your dog will remove any lingering allergens.  

If you're faced with a behavior problem, you should have your Akita examined by your vet for hidden health problems then seek the help of an animal behaviorist and a good dog trainer.  Surely you realize that no one else would want your problems.  If you can't find a solution to a problem you helped create what makes you think anyone else can turn the behavior around?  If your Akita has bitten someone, you should know  you can be held legally responsible for any future bites IF you fail to inform a potential owner that your dog has a record of biting.  

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 no one else would want to adopt a dog that is not in good health.  Many shelters are forced to kill young, healthy Akitas for lack of homes--you probably won't be successful in finding anyone interested in taking on a major health problem.

If you are giving up your
Akita because it's now a senior--over 8 years old--SHAME ON YOU! Ask your vet about supplementing with glucosamine and chondroitin to increase mobility, get excess weight off those creaking joints and watch your Akita enjoy every moment of its life.  You can't seriously reward so many years of loyalty with abandonment!

You will have the best chance of finding a new home for your Akita if the dog is young and adaptable, obedience trained and friendly.  If you can't or won't make an effort to work through existing problems and keep your Akita, then follow the instructions below and good luck.

Word-of-mouth and classified ads in newspapers are the most effective ways to reach potential adopting families. Assuming you have someone interested, here are the next steps:

Bring the dog to your veterinarian to update all shots and get a clean bill of health. Ask your vet for a written health certificate. This shows you care about your Akita and expect no less from an adopting home.

Place a classified ad in a local paper with a circulation over 100,000. Describe the dog in human terms, i.e. "Akita, female, beautiful, affectionate to good home only. Do not advertise a price.

Take the names and numbers of all callers and try to get them back within one hour. Do not talk about the animal at all until you call them back. Many people will leave a fake number never expecting you to make any attempt at responsible placement.

When you return the call, ask questions immediately – do not let them ask the questions. You must take the lead. For example: "I am returning your call about the Akita. Do you have an animal now?" Go on from there.

CLICK HERE for the Telephone Interview Score Card. It will help you gain an understanding about the person interested in adopting your dog. Work these questions into a conversation. If people think they are being tested, they may not be as honest as they would during a casual conversation.

If you are happy with the phone card score, invite them to come over to meet the Akita. Akitas are not as well known to the general public as the Cocker Spaniel or German Shepherd, breeds that have faced exploitation for a longer time. Therefore, take time to explain the breed's size, obstinacy and aggressive traits to the potential family. Keep in mind, it is your legal responsibility to mention any incident of biting if it has occurred.

*We strongly recommend you spay or neuter your Akita before placement. People seeking a dog merely to breed will eventually abandon the dog, but families interested only in a spayed/neutered companion, have the best record of responsible dog ownership.

The following are vitally important actions to take BEFORE you allow your Akita to leave your home:

First the DON’T’S:

  • Do not talk to anyone claiming to be from a humane organization offering to take your dog and find it a home. The old saying "it takes all types" fits here. There are groups of people who may tell you they’ll take your dog for a price and find it a home. Once they have your money and your dog, they will discard the dog at a shelter, sell it for medical research or, in some cases, kill the dog themselves. There is no easy solution, you have to make an effort to place your dog.
  • Do not simply turn your dog over to an individual claiming to be a rescue without some proof they are a reputable rescue. The reputable rescue groups are all overloaded and would not be soliciting people to take on their dogs.
  • Do not give your Akita to anyone for free. Usually, people who get something for nothing do not value the free object even if it is a dog.
  • Do not adopt to one partner in a marriage. Adopt to both or to no one. The dog should be part of the entire family.
  • Single people or roommates under the age of 25 tend not to be long-term pet owners especially if they are still in college. A good rule is to question younger people more not less.
  • If there is a small house dog in residence consider these people may want your large Akita for backyard guard duty. It will never be as much of a pet as is the little dog. Make every effort to see if this is the case.
  • Get a veterinary reference from the potential adopting family. An Akita should not be placed in a home with people who have never owned a working breed, therefore, they will have used a veterinarian somewhere in the country at some time. Call that vet and inquire about the type of care the previous animals received. Hit by car? Fights or broken legs? Fleas and skin problems? If former pets were not properly cared for and received little or no medical attention, you can be certain it is not a good home for any animal.
  • Do a house check to be certain they live where they claim, and check for fencing. Are stacks of wood leaning against the fence like a ladder for any dog to use as an escape route? Are holes visible in the fence? Under the fence? If they plan to be away from home during the day, is there sufficient shade and rain protection?
  • If your Akita is accepting of children and if children are part of the new family, observe the behavior of the kids. Any child that is allowed to run wild is an indication the family is not suitable for an Akita that needs firm rules and control.

If there are other animals and your dog has not shown animal aggression, warn the family to pick up ALL triggers to possessive aggression: food, toys, rawhide, etc., feed in separate areas, leave two large water bowls, and introduce the dogs on leash in a neutral territory like a park. Advise them not to leave the Akitas alone until they are certain the dogs are compatible.

Once you place your Akita, do follow-up checks to assist the dog and family during a period of adjustment. The first check about 7 days after adoption should be an in-person review.

For the next 6 months or more, continue checks by telephone and gradually diminish to once every few months. Include a few unplanned visits in your follow-up to be certain your Akita is not simply tied out without proper care.

Your Akita is dependent on you, and though they act as if they are in charge of their world, in reality, the Akita is incapable of calling you when things go wrong. To avoid the tragedy of improper placement, please take the time and make the effort to place the dog in a proper home. We have given you important guidance here but you must apply it when interviewing potential owners.

© 1994 Barbara Bouyet