Sheika the Akita is our beautiful American Akita and second in command of the house below The Exalted Royal Highness Mr. Cat. She is the second Akita that has owned Josh, the first one being Keisha who commanded him for 13 wonderful years after he received her from his Mom for his 10th birthday present. Josh’s Mom actually was planning to get him a medium sized dog but once he fell in love with little Keisha at first sight his Mom could not resist…although had she known the dog would grow to over 100 lbs. she might have thought twice. Josh had a similar connection with Sheika who he actually found on the internet from a breeder in Missouri. So at 8 weeks old Sheika flew across the country and even missed her connecting flight in Dallas (doesn’t everyone?) on her way to her new home in beautiful South Florida.
Sheika and Keisha share many of the same qualities that all Akitas possess: loyalty, strength, intelligence, a loving personality (to their friends), an incredibly stubborn nature and an intense hatred for anyone or anything that threatens their home or family. For an incredible story on the loyalty that Akitas possess read about Hachiko, the famous Japanese Akita that waited for his owner every day at a train station even after the owner passed away. They also tend to be aggressive towards other dogs who they seem to feel are beneath their royal status. Keisha always was and Sheika always has been aggressive towards other dogs despite repeated attempts to socialize them. Even Caesar Milan’s tips, that have helped in so many ways with her other behaviors, have not helped with her socializaion. The only dogs they respect are the very few that are actually bigger than them. So when we go to the dog park we have to keep her on the leash unless the park is empty. The reality is that most of the time it is not Sheika who is creating the problems but other dogs who run up to her and start sniffing her without showing her proper respect. Nevertheless, it is something we will continue to work on.
Despite their many similarities there is one big difference between Sheika and her predecessor: Sheika is not friendly towards strangers. Whereas Keisha was friendly to anyone and everyone that was invited into the house, Sheika is the opposite and is only sweet and loving to people that she has met several times…you really have to earn her trust. Josh’s theory is that because Sheika has a big yard to protect and is able to go out to the yard whenever she wants she has become much more protective than Keisha who was an inside dog that would only go outside for walks because of the small townhouse Josh and his Mom lived in. It is a great quality for protecting our home but we are constantly trying to get her to tone it down several thousand notches so that new visitors are not fearing for their lives.
But other than her stubborn need to scare away any unknowns she is generally well behaved…Jany laughs…well ever since we started watching the Dog Whisperer Cesar Milan. We cannot explain how much his techniques have helped us with her. We began training Sheika when she was a puppy but soon realized that she was even more proud and stubborn than Keisha had been and we were having difficulty controlling her. Like most dog owners we had learned to tell her “NO!” when we saw her doing something wrong, but this would often result in her getting even more excited and running around like a crazy person. We learned from Cesar about the need to put her in a calm submissive state and that instead of saying “NO!” I should use his “Tsch” noise. At first we thought it was just a gimmick but to our surprise it worked like a charm. She also likes to grab anything that is laying around and run away with it. This used to really bother us because it was usually something valuable or something that would harm her if she ate it or both. But using Cesar’s calm approach gets her to stop running and we are able to get anything away from her easily. Jany is actually much better at this than me but I am learning. So we would strongly recommend checking out CesarsWay.com (which is the new version of Cesar Milan’s program) if you are having any behavior issues with your dog.
Sheika also has some other quirks that set her apart and make her such a special girl. She really loves to play, besides protecting us it is her primary focus in life. She will play any time day or night and we have provided her with numerous toys and bones to keep her high energy personality occupied. In addition to the classic tug of war she loves to do tricks; currently her repertoire consists of sit, stay, stand, lay, walk, catch, shake hands and roll over. But her favorite game by far is fetch, she loves to run at full speed and catch up to her toys that we throw or roll. She really likes things that roll like wheels, such as rubber donuts, but she also likes things that fly and is obsessed with destroying frisbees.
So that is an introduction to Sheika the Akita, she is something special and quite a handful but our family would not be complete without her. We have a category of posts for her and there will be a series of posts documenting our experience with her ACL surgery that will shed some light on a complicated topic. We also post pics of her regularly on our Instagram and Vine so be sure to check them out!