I rescued a female Akita named Tika about 3 and a half months ago. She's been such a treat. Challenging at times but so far, I think I've done a good job with her training. She's excellent with my little Shih Tzu mix and my 2 cats, as well as my 1 year old. Zero problems in those departments.
However, in the last couple weeks, she's been showing signs of aggressive behaviour towards strangers. Generally when someone new comes to the door, she may let out a bark but seems very uninterested that someone is there. This is still true but when my sister came over recently, she was sitting on the floor and Tika came up to her. My sister pet her and Tika growled at her, although it wasn't instant. It was after maybe 10 seconds of petting. I remember reading you shouldn't sit on the floor to get an Akita so I figured that was why she growled.
A week ago, she growled at my son's babysitter. All the babysitter did was walk by me so I sent Tika in the other direction and she was fine. She appears normal if the stranger just ignores her. But like I said, this is all recent behaviour. She's never growled at anyone before these 2 incidents, and she had met my son's babysitter a handful times before this and never had an issue.
Another incident was when I was walking her on-leash around my neighbourhood. A man got out of his car because he wanted to see her. Normally, Tika allows people to stop and pet her, no problems. This guy was not threatening to me but she froze up and I could tell from her body language that she did not want him to pet her so I asked him not to. She seemed very hostile and protective and I had to hold her in a sit.
And lastly, my brother was in town 2 days ago and met her for the first time. He came in and she realizes that we are welcoming of him so she has no desire to get up from her sleeping spot to meet him. She just lays on the floor (I guess she's a lazy Akita!). He bent down to pet her and instead of a growl, she let out a bark. I'm guessing she did not want him touching her. When I used to take her to a dog park the first couple weeks I had her, she couldn't get enough of people petting her.
Considering this is all very recent behaviour, I'm not sure if it's something she's developed because she's become protective of her new family or territorial and if it's something that will stay or go back to the way it was. Just looking for advice if this is typical and also how to deal with those sorts of situations with Akitas and strangers. With this behaviour, would it be best to avoid letting strangers pet her in the future? Is there anything I can do to show her that certain strangers are ok? Any tips would be appreciated! ^_^