By the time the puppies are seven to eight weeks old, they should be fully weaned. Their mother should still be in attendance so that she can play with them and enjoy them, but they should have learnt that there is no milk to be had from her, and they should not pester her. The puppies’ education should be well underway and they should have learnt some words and some sounds, like the rustle of the biscuit packet and the clatter of the feeding bowls. They will be emerging as individuals, with their own distinctive characteristics.
Every breeder has their own way of managing the sale of puppies, but we feel that all future homes should have been vetted for suitability. The puppies should be sent on their way with a diet sheet, a complete run- down on future care, your telephone number, a pedigree and a Kennel Club registration certificate (or a promise of one if there has been a delay). You can decide whether you provide written receipts and agreements. You may also wish to sell or “place” a puppy with the proviso that it should not be used for breeding. There are a number of ways this can be done: some people give written contracts, some withhold registration certificates, some use the Kennel Club facility of endorsing the registration, although this can be lifted by the Kennel Club at their own discretion. Some breeders do not register the puppy. Some provide a veterinary certificate before the puppies leave. Some future owners will insist on a veterinary inspection, in any case.
All you can do is to take every safeguard to ensure that the Akita puppies you have bred go to the best possible homes. The greatest reward is when you meet up with one of your pups at a future date and see the dog looking fit and well, and in many instances, it will still recognise you. Although you spend a relatively short time with the puppies, it is an all-important time in their lives and will have a significant bearing on their future welfare.