Sweet Kody turns into Cujo

Posted by: Shilohsmom

Sweet Kody turns into Cujo - 02/16/18 03:01 PM

I have a problem here and its needs to be resolved asap. My dear Sweet Kody with that angelic face is VERY reactive towards other dogs when he's on a leash. I think part of the problem is I wasn't able to do much training outside while I was on that awful chemo combo. But that's over and I've been walking him daily for the past two weeks.

The problem is when he sees another dog he turns into Cujo, lunging and barking and just being out of control. Actually Cujo was kind of lame when compared to Kody.

I've been taking him down to the beach where we sit and I try to calm him down as other dogs pass. I have him sit between my legs and I hold on to his harness and his collar. I command Leave it and Settle until he settles down. At first he wouldn't even take a treat from me he was so upset, but now I he's at least settled enough to take the treat. I'm just not sure this is progress as he still goes crazy trying to lunge and barking like crazy.

I try to get him to make eye contact with me but that really doesn't work. The last two days I've tried not sitting but walking on the other side of the street with other dogs but he still goes wicked.

I've looked up ways to deal with this on line but they say to find out where he's comfortable being around other dogs and keep that distance slowly getting closer. This is near impossible as I just don't know when a dog will be where.

I'm thinking about going back to the sitting for another week but does anyone have any other suggestions? I've never had a dog so reactive. I even took him to doggie daycare so he would be comfortable around other dogs but that didn't help, at least not when he's on a leash. I should say he also goes wicked when he sees a dog being walked by our property.

I'm going to keep at this for the next week and then if I don't see any progress I'm going to call in a trainer. Actually, I've already left a message for one. I would love to take him with Eli so he could see there's nothing to get upset about, but I can't do that to Eli-he wouldn't make it.

I'm wondering too if this might be made worse by the fact that Kody is not yet neutered. I use to neuter at six months but now I've read that that's not a good idea and that we need to wait until he's at least a year. Eeks eek
Posted by: Shilohsmom

Re: Sweet Kody turns into Cujo - 02/16/18 06:30 PM

The trainer ended up calling me back and we have an appointment tomorrow smile I'll let everyone know how it goes. And if you have any tips please share. Also do you folks think neutering will help?
Posted by: Wisc.Tiger_Val

Re: Sweet Kody turns into Cujo - 02/16/18 06:44 PM

How old is Kody. GSD's go through a second fear stage, any where from 6 months to 2 years of age.
Posted by: Shilohsmom

Re: Sweet Kody turns into Cujo - 02/16/18 08:10 PM

He's 7 months, 2 weeks old. Is there something I should be aware of with this second fear stage?? Please advise. We have an appointment with a trainer tomorrow but I certainly don't want to push the little guy. I know when they have those fear stages we have to do everything possible to make sure their environment is safe and that they know they are safe.
Posted by: Shilohsmom

Re: Sweet Kody turns into Cujo - 02/16/18 08:26 PM

I just did some quick reading on that second fear stage (thanks Val). I'm thinking that's not the problem. I haven't seen a fear response from him (I don't think what I'm seeing is a fear response, but I could be wrong), he's a pretty daring little guy.
Posted by: middleofnowhere

Re: Sweet Kody turns into Cujo - 02/16/18 10:54 PM


I'd back off and do the classic desensitising routine. That is work beneath his threshold and gradually narrow that threshold. What I'm relating to is my experience with Barker the Elder the 2nd and cars. We lived in town then and as a puppy she wanted to eat them up! I changed our walks to late evening when there was little traffic and I could move her away and have her sit for a reward while the car passed. Several rewards. It wasn't long until the fire truck could pass with sirens blazing and she would pay it no mind.

Right now, it seems to me like Cody is getting flooded and that's not doing good.
Posted by: MaxaLisa

Re: Sweet Kody turns into Cujo - 02/17/18 08:37 AM

It takes a lot of self control for a reactive dog to sit and watch other dogs. Usually you have to start with something that gives them exposure and then get them away from that particular environment before they can react, which is kinda what middle is saying. Move him away from the trigger and slowly build up tolerance.
Posted by: Mary Jane

Re: Sweet Kody turns into Cujo - 02/17/18 10:38 AM


You know tons more than I do about dogs-but what we did with our trainer for Mars is to go to a small fenced dog park. The parking lot was long, so we approached the dog park, slowly getting closer over several days. For Mars it was important to keep moving while being treated. It helped that Mars was outside, while the other dogs were fenced in. To be clear, we did not enter the dog park. Also, Mars was a young adult-not a young puppy.

I'm sure your trainer has some great ideas for your great barky Kody.

Posted by: Shilohsmom

Re: Sweet Kody turns into Cujo - 02/17/18 10:40 AM

Thanks Lisa and Middle, I think your both right, it's also the same as I saw when I googled how to deal with this. The good news is we are meeting with a trainer today (I have a feeling they will all agree with what you've said) but I'll let you know how it goes. I have a feeling we need to adjust where we walk and that's fine with me,
Posted by: middleofnowhere

Re: Sweet Kody turns into Cujo - 02/17/18 04:14 PM

Rosa, likely both where and when for a while as you begin to narrow the threshold. Another thing to consider if treats aren't doing the trick - ok a couple of things - a favorite toy that comes out to make him happily distracted and rewarded or ahem small (very small - big treats are counter productive) bits of steak.

May you find something that works for you and the young Cujo.
Posted by: Shilohsmom

Re: Sweet Kody turns into Cujo - 02/17/18 06:17 PM

Thanks Middle, I've actually thought of bring a squeaky ball but so far he's doing good with treats.

We met with a trainer this morning. It was very helpful for both of us. We had got there a little early and there were several classes going on. They all meet and work out in a huge parking area. Since I was early I parked my car on the far end quite a ways from the other dogs. I wanted to see if I could identify Kody's safe area (how far away he needed to be from other dogs before he got upset). For the most part he needed the distance of most of the parking lot eek We worked his safe zone for awhile but at one point someone walked their dog some 100 feet from us and Cujo started in.

We got back into the car and I drove down and parked where I was had been instructed to do so. At that point, we were close to the other dogs and Cujo went wicked.

But I met with the trainer and eventually brought Kody out. He thinks I need to be firmer with my response and stop saying he's a good boy the moment he corrects himself. I always thought it was important to reward right away when they do something right, but since this is all one action (an action we're not happy with-lunging,etc) I'm sort of rewarding him for the bad behavior. This training place is all into positive training but my timing has been off when it comes to this.

He gave me several tips and was very helpful. Next week Kody and I will be watching the Attitudes class (a class for pups with issues) and we will evaluate him more based on his response. He wants to watch Kody to see which class would be best for him. He isn't sure its the Attitudes class or the regular obedience class.

I feel good about this. I owe it to Kody to make sure this gets corrected. He's a great pup and I love him to pieces. Thank you all for your support.
Posted by: middleofnowhere

Re: Sweet Kody turns into Cujo - 02/18/18 11:40 AM


" but so far he's doing good with treats " and continuing to act like Cujo??? Maybe you are not distracting quickly enough with the treat? It needs to be done before the Cujo response starts. Overall, I think your trainer sounds like a good fit for you and Kody. Keep us updated on this pup's journey.
Posted by: Shilohsmom

Re: Sweet Kody turns into Cujo - 02/18/18 08:07 PM

Your right, the treats are doing nothing to distract him. Once he see's another dog he just goes wacko. He won't listen to me, won't take a treat, refuses eye contact. I'm so glad I decided to go with a trainer. I need to know how to fix this and I just don't have the experience. Thankfully, I've never had this problem before. Kody is a wonderful pup, but this is something we must work to fix. It's not going to happen overnight but I have faith in this little pup! I want to be able to take him everywhere with me and I just can't do that now. I also want him to be comfortable no matter where I take him.
Posted by: DarkEyes

Re: Sweet Kody turns into Cujo - 02/19/18 06:22 AM

I agree, it looks like trainer is best fit, and you can learn a lot from watching a trainer work with dogs!
Posted by: Shilohsmom

Re: Sweet Kody turns into Cujo - 03/18/18 06:53 PM

Time for a quick update. I continue to work daily with Kody on his leash issues and I'm thrilled to say we are almost there. I worked with a trainer for awhile but a couple of weeks ago decided to go with my own method. We will be seeing the trainer this Saturday but I'm thinking that will be just to show off how well he's done and maybe get a referral to one of the classes. He had suggested a prong collar which I bought. He also was big on me showing I'm in control by a bit too much force for me. I tried his methods several times and felt they were close to abusive so I stopped. For any new dog owners that might be reading this its important when you find a trainer that you find one that your comfortable with. Don't ever let anyone do something to your dog that you don't agree with, I don't care what you've paid the trainer for.

I realize some dogs need a firmer hand but Kody's just a pup. That's when I decided every time we see another dog I'd make it like it was the greatest thing in the world. I was sooooo overboard on my excitement and in no time, Kody was excited too!!!! groovy Guess what? It worked!!!! Today I took him to Half Moon Bay (another coastal town), I got some coffee and we sat outside while I enjoyed that. All the time dogs were passing by and he did great!

I've been taking him out daily (even in the rain) and it's really paid off.