Introducing a new Akita member to the household  
- by Jodi Marcus, Akita Rescue Mid-Atlantic Coast, inc.


Introducing a new adult may or may not work. It helps if both adults had been socialized with dogs before, and if they are of opposite sex. I leave the crate situation going for at least 4 weeks, more likely six. Trying to put the new dog in an outdoor run with the resident dog out in the yard, in my experience, usually just creates more antagonism. This can work if you are willing to stand outside the entire time they are out, to correct any signs of aggression on either dog's part. 

The next step is to take both dogs out for a walk off the property. The person with the resident dog goes out first, taking the dog out to the street or sidewalk. The other person follows with the new dog. The two dogs are walked next to each other, but not close. They should be at least 6 feet apart when at the end of the lead. I prefer a 4 foot lead for this part of the introduction. These walks can go on for several weeks, until the time neither dog reacts to the other's presence. Once that happens you can let them move closer, always alert for the body language signaling any trouble. This process can take several weeks until they can be walked close to each other with no signs of aggression. Exhibiting playful behavior is a good sign. 

The next step is to bring both dogs on the property at the end of the walk, and stay in the yard with them both on lead. The calmest dog can be let off lead, while being closely watched. Then switch, putting the lead back onto the calmest dog and let the other loose, being vigilant all the time. After several weeks of this, you can try them both off lead, once you have cleared the area of anything that could possibly cause a fight…sticks, balls, plastic cartons, toys, whatever. Stay near, watching them very carefully and separate at even the slightest hint of a problem. 

If all goes well, after walking them (it burns off energy and calms them down) let them play in the front yard together. I never leave them unattended until I am VERY SURE they are getting along well and the chance of a fight is as minimal as possible. ( However sure of that you can be !) The dogs can be moved into the house together following the same methods: both on lead, one off/one on, both off closely observed, each step lasting several weeks. I would never leave same sex alone unattended in the house, and wait for those of the opposite sex for at least 6-12 months. Start by leaving them for short periods of time and returning. The point of return is a dangerous moment. Both dogs are cranked up and happy to see you and this could cause a fight, so be prepared.


Katy and Samson belong to Annette and Chip Wilson. Katy was adopted from ARMAC. Samson was the resident dog. At the time of adoption, Katy was 2.5 years old and Samson was about 10 months.


© Jodi Marcus November 1999
This document is the sole property of Jodi Marcus and Akita Rescue, Mid-Atlantic Coast, Inc.  |  Permission is given to reproduce and distribute with proper accreditation to the author.