Crates and bed. First, decide where you want your dog to sleep. Not all dogs prefer to sleep in their crate. Some dogs prefer to sleep on the cold floor, some prefer a flat crate mat, some prefer doughnut shaped beds to snuggle, and some will sleep on your furniture! However, keep in mind that crate training is never a bad idea. At some point in your pet’s life, she may end up needing to be boarded or transported, and being used to the crate will lessen the stress for all involved. Whatever you decide is right for your family, please ensure that everyone in the household is on the same page to avoid confusion and giving the dog mixed signals. Consistency is key.
- Many members have the Midwest Double Door Folding Dog Crate with a divider panel. The Large crate (Model LS-1642DD) with dimensions of 42″L x 28″W x 31″H for dogs 71 – 90 lbs. is the minimum size we would recommend for an adult male Japanese Akita, but several JACA members use the XL crate (Model LS-1648DD) with dimensions of 48″L x 30″W x 33″H for dogs 91-110 lbs. even though most JA are nowhere near 90 lbs. even full grown. You can also get washable crate covers to provide your pup with additional privacy.
- Be aware that young pups may confuse bedding with wee wee pads and routinely soil them until house broken. Invest carefully.
- If you don’t want your dog to sleep on your couch, place metal baking sheets on the couch before bedtime.
Water and food bowls. You also need to decide where you want to feed your dog and whether it is convenient to store his food nearby. The kitchen is a common option (as opposed to a garage which endures seasonal temperature fluctuations that can spoil food).
- Stainless steel, ceramic, and glass bowls are recommended. Plastic bowls can scratch and harbor bacteria so they are best to be avoided for sanitary reasons. If applicable,
- Place mat or water absorbent mat to protect your flooring beneath and around bowls. Many JAs are messy drinkers and will leave a puddle of water around their watering station. You’ll be laundering these a lot so go for washable ones like Dog Gone Smart Dirty Dog doormats.
- Raised feeding platform. There is controversy regarding raised feeding platforms and their association with preventing torsion bloat. Consult your breeder, vet, and use your best judgment.
Collar/Harness for everyday walking. Please reference this excellent article by the late Dr. Sophia Yin on types of collars and harnesses that are safe for your dog. Which Types of Collars and Harnesses are Safe for Your Dog? Here are some additional considerations:
- Puppies grow fast so it may be more economical to purchase adjustable collars vs. harnesses, of increasing size. If you use a harness, make sure the harness is fitted correctly. See Properly fitting a harness.
- For puppies, flat collars are preferable since they are less likely to get caught on furniture and cause choking. In addition, most puppy trainers advocate teaching the pup to walk loose leash using a flat collar before introducing specialized harnesses to prevent pulling
- Puppies are way too fragile and sensitive for Martingale, prong/choke, or flea collars. Please avoid!
- For adult JAs, round or rolled leather collars are recommended to prevent flattening or breaking of guard hair.
- Many owners have great experience with Auburn Collars.
Specialized Harnesses. Besides harnesses for everyday walking, there are ones designed for specific purposes. For a puppy, please consult with your vet, trainer or pet store professional if you are unsure if the harness may interfere with the puppy’s development. Below are a few that our members have found useful:
- Easy Walk Harness. These are easier to to fit than Gentle Leader Headcollars to prevent pulling.
- Search & Rescue style harness. These are great for attaching badges such as “In Training” or “Please Ask to Pet” for socialization and training exercises.
- Dog harness/service dog vest that converts to saddle bags, so your dog can carry his own supplies on walks and hikes!
ID Tag. Most municipalities require dogs to wear their pet license at all times.
- The choice to use a collar vs. harness for everyday activities is an individual one, but please ensure you have an ID tag on your newest family member in case they get loose!
Leash. Please check with your city and county to see if there are leash laws in effect. Many cities have a 6’ length limit and require dogs to be on leash outside designated public areas.
- If you are using the umbilical cord house breaking method, the Buddy System or European-style leashes are convenient to tether your pup nearby.
- If you need long leads for recall training, our members have great experience with Lupine Training Leads. The company has high quality merchandise and also stands behind their products with a great warranty.
AVOID RETRACTABLE LEASHES! They do not provide adequate control for a powerful JA so are not optimal for training, but more importantly they can be dangerous. If the retractable leash gets overly taut from a dog pulling – rogue squirrel chases do happen – it could snap and cause injury to the dog and handler. Alternatively, a handler can let go of the retractable leash by accident and the plastic holder may snap back and hit the dog on the head. If that wasn’t scary enough, the product has a precaution for severed and fractured fingers. There was even a case of blindness when a metal part of the lead broke off and struck a young woman in the eye.
Dog waste bags (poop bags) or clean up shovel. Clean up dog excrement ASAP and do not dispose in the compost bin as it will spread disease.
Bait bag. It’s not just a fashion accessory that carries treats for training, it’s also convenient for carrying poop bags, a clicker and small flashlight while out and about.
- Go for the ones with magnetic or Velcro closure instead of cinch top.
- Baby wipes. They are cheaper than dog-specific wipes and handy to clean up your dog’s paws, ears, privates and general wipe down after an excursion.
- After an excursion, check your dog’s paws ears, privates and do general wipe down as needed. Check for foreign objects or pests that may be clinging to their coat.
- If you use baby wipes to clean their ears daily, you might not need to get ear cleaners.
- If tree sap or gum gets on their fur or paws, mineral oil (Baby Oil) or olive oil can loosen the sap/gum for easier removal.
- Brush or comb for daily care.
- Stick to standard combs/brushes and avoid ones that have blades designed to cut the fur. They may be highly rated in online reviews, but they can potentially damage the guard hair and your Japanese Akita with her glorious fur coat deserves to have her guard hair intact!
- A dematter should not be needed if you comb your pup regularly
- For puppies, avoid professional grooming and self-service pet washes until vaccination schedule is complete. Puppies play (a lot) and will get dirty. They can get bathed 1x a week but reduce to as needed to avoid drying out their coat/skin.
- Adult dogs can be bathed once every 2-6 weeks, depending on owner discretion. If you wipe down your dogs after every excursion with baby wipes, you can prolong the duration between baths and brush outs.
- If self-bathing, doggy shampoo/conditioner and a dog-specific dryer is recommended to prevent hot spots and skin infections.
- Several members are happy with Metrovac’s Air Force Commander Professional Pet Grooming Dryer – Portable, 2 Speed Motor.
- The shampoo may need to be diluted if the dog has sensitive skin.
- Even if you’re using tearless shampoo, please avoid the eye area.
- Insert large cotton balls (not synthetic cosmetic puffs) in your dog’s ears to prevent trapping water and causing an ear infection but do not insert too deeply.
- In between baths, a waterless shampoo/grooming foam maybe useful.
- Nail clipper
If applicable, you may want to look into the following items:
- A clicker if you’re interested in using one in your positive reinforcement training program.
- Grooming table. It really helps save your back in the long run.
- Hair clipper or scissors, if applicable.
- Some girl puppies require a sanitary trim near their privates until they are higher up the ground.
- Some boy puppies may need to have their belly fur shaved when they enter puberty and start to secrete smegma, but have not learned to clean themselves.
- An LED collar for night walk safety, especially if you have a dark coated dog. A few members have tried out GlowDoggie and found it to be durable.
- Portable flash light for night walk safety.
- If you have hard surface flooring, consider area rugs or carpet tiles so the dog has traction and doesn’t do the slip & slide which can cause injury to joints in growing pups or senior dogs.
- Hold off on the heirloom rugs since the puppies might think you’re no.1 rug is for no.1…
- Puppy bones and joints are still developing, so be kind to them and limit strenuous activity, especially on hard surfaces like concrete. Dirt trails and grass are good for the ‘soles.’ See Exercise Your JA Puppy for additional reference.
- Chewing/biting deterrents to teach a dog what he should not bite or chew electrical cords, furniture, door stoppers, etc. (and himself).
- Bitter Apple spray is highly recommended.
- Hot sauce or vinegar may work but may also cause gastric upset if the dog decides he likes the flavor. Keep in mind some hot sauces may contain onion which can be toxic to dogs.
- Home dental care
- Dog toothpaste and toothbrush
- Ingestible supplement like ProDen PlaqueOff
- Edible dental chews may add unnecessary calories in the form of carbohydrates (to be used with discretion)
- Belly bands to prevent adolescent male puppies or intact adult males from marking indoors.
- K9 Belly Bands for Boy Dogs donates 30% of net proceeds to one of fifteen designated rescues.
- Some dogs eat their own feces; the condition is known as coprophagia. We do not know of a good deterrent for corprophagia but recommend you read https://www.aspca.org/pet-care/virtual-pet-behaviorist/dog-behavior/coprophagia-eating-feces
- Paw wax for cold/salted roads.
- Dog boots for hikes on rough terrain. Our members have had good experience with these brands:
- Raised Bowls and Bloat: Ratcheting up the controversy on the risk of GDV in dogs
- Umbilical Cord Housebreaking Method
- Classical Conditioning
- Home Dental Care Videos
- Heat pet safety tips
- Cold weather safety
- Pet Heat Stroke Prevention
- Crate and bedding
- Water and food bowls
- ID Tag
- Dog waste bags or clean up shovel
- Bait bag
- Baby wipes
- Brush or comb for daily care
- Nail clipper
- Doggy shampoo/conditioner
- Dog-specific dryer
- Grooming table
- Hair clipper or scissors
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