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Koda's fears....the saga continues. Poor little man.
  • Post edited by sunyata at 2013-06-06 15:41:01
  • aww poor Koda!! :( Shao New pooped twice in somewhat similar situations when we first got her, where we would go out (she was Ok) and if we ran back to get something then ran out w/out saying anything to her, she would freak out and poop. Perhaps next time try reintroducing Erik to Koda in a more neutral setting and have him give Koda a treat so he associates him with something good, not the stranger that came into your territory? How has Erik described the scenario upon entering your room w/out you there?
    Post edited by CreamyShibaMom at 2009-09-08 00:40:50
  • Well one good negative deserves another -bust out the vacuum and chase the little guy. I bet he will love Erik after that :)

    I agree with Irene neutral area and some treats should do the trick.
  • To make up for Koda's bad day, we went to his favorite dog park to hang out with George the Pug. He's 40 pds. of good luvin' for Koda. When we were there, somebody brought in their little mix whatever dog who proceeded to attack Koda. I grabbed the dog and pulled him up, but the damage was done to Koda's ego. He was so scared, and I was so upset that he had such a bad day. The guy left with his dog, after I told him to. :P But Koda was scared and in the corner. It took 40 minutes to get him out in a calm way on his own. I feel so bad for him. Koda and I are going to be spending some alone time together for a few days.
  • Good idea to take a break. My "Scaredy Dog" book (by Ali Brown) said that after an event, it takes 7-10 days for the brain to drain its panic chemicals. She likens it to a person getting in a minor car accident- you get bumped, its surprising and then you are jumpy after a while when you hear brakes, or stop suddenly or someone cuts it close. If you are unlucky enough to get in another fender bender 3 days later, you will be more affected than if you didnt have another Scary for six months. If the panic chemicals arent drained, it is more likely the dog will react poorly to another dodgy situation and as you know you dont want bad stuff to repeat. Good stuff repeats, bad stuff was just an anomaly- at least we want them to think that. Take a week off and hit the reset button. Kai are sensitive and while I dont remember how old Koda is exactly, there are late fear periods to be worked around. Take a break, and keep routine but do only the high-likelyhood-of-a great outcome things. Keep happy, build trust! And give him a kiss and a scruffy pat from Auntie Chrystal. :)
  • Ki is very much a guardian type and can be (at best) aloof and (at worst) protective and warning barky and on edge when he finds strangers in the house. When new people come over (for at least the first few times) I'll walk Ki out to meet them. He gets to see them first in neutral territory, walk with them for a bit (and take a quick potty break so I don't have to worry about that whilst people are over), and then when we get back to the house I let the guest go in before the dog. Although he will still be wary of them until he decides they are good people (won't accept treats readily or approach for pets until he's comfortable...will just watch them for awhile) he doesn't freak out this way. Over time this has gotten a lot better...he can handle people coming to the door with only the first "hey! someone is at the door!" warning bark...but I made sure to do this every time at first to ease him into accepting people where his pack lives.

    Also...totally snagging the Brindle Book Recommendation (have to use caps...sounds so official) for meself, too!
  • The Brindle Bookcase Reviews say:
    "Scaredy Dog" is an excellent book about fear and learning and using understanding and positive training to overcome or ease the fears to improve your dogs comfort and interaction with the world. Highly recommended!

    However, Ali Brown's second book, "Focus Not Fear" is skippable - it's a weekly diary of her reactive dog class and reads like one- "Week 4, February 18th: Skippy came in the back entrance and stayed 20' away from Hagar, who focused on his handler, Marie. Yay, Hagar! Paris found this to be too much and went out the east side door to party in the car, which was parked at X on the map (fig 4)." I am sure its more interesting if you were one of the participants IN the class, or if you are a trainer setting up your own class, but for an outside reader and at-home reactive dog lover, I found it torturous. "Who's Paris again? fig 4 is on which page?"

    If you are online buying Scaredy Dog and thinking, let's get another dog-FEARS book or two while we're here and save on shipping, pick up anything by Turid Rugaas ('On Talking Terms with Dogs:Calming Signals" or "Barking: Sound of a Language"), Patricia McConnell's "The Cautious Canine", or Scholz & von Reinhardt "Stress in Dogs." If you want training recipes and activities for fearful dogs- "Click to Calm" by Emma Parsons step by steps it out for you, although this is mostly geared for reactive dogs, which is a whole 'nother shelf on the Brindle Bookcase, but just above the Fear shelf.
  • What Brad says is what I wish I had known- that expectations for kai (and kai mixes!) need to be different than common pet dogs. Koda did his best, and it is natural for him to be really thrown off by that incident. It is hard to find the right course because in a lot of books they tell you to not coddle them or else they dont learn to be brave, and that you can't overdo socialization. I would amend that myself to say don't coddle, but DO support, protect and guide; and that targeted socialization is more important than carpet bombing (throw a lot at him, some will be good) socialization. It's more than OK to be a snob about which people and dogs interact with him, how long and under what circumstances- despite the need to "socialize, socialize, socialize" because like Brad says, they dont absorb fails like other, common pet dogs do, they are intense and take things to heart, whether we intend them to or not. Protective of kai puppies is not neurotic, its okay! :)
  • Thanks everyone for your advice. I feel so bad for Koda right now. His confidence is way down right now, and we are going to use the next couple of weeks, just him and I, to build him back up. I also scheduled a couple of private sessions with our trainer to work on some fun stuff and for us to learn some games that I could use to help him build confidence. I think with Koda, who loves to learn new things and get praise, this will be good for him. I also think group training is too much for him. When he is on lead around a group of dogs, he is more defensive and watchful. His attention goes to making sure they are not coming near him rather than on me and what we are doing. I opted out of group lessons after the first few and have been doing private sessions which he enjoys way more.

    Brad, Koda has a high defensive drive. I do agree that the accident frightened him just as much as Erik walking in, but yes it was Erik that triggered it. I just didn't think that Erik would walk right in, but now I know that I need to protect Koda more from other people and their judgement calls. You should have seen him shaking, looking at his poop, and looking at me. It was so sad. I think it would've brought tears to anyone's eyes. It was like he was embarassed, but sad and scared that he may have let me down. I never want to see him like that again.

    I do think this all stems from low confidence, and I am hoping it's from his age and he will grow out of it and we can work together to build up his confidence. In hind sight, I don't think I praise Koda as much as I should. He's really a well behaved little guy. He doesn't do anything "bad" or that he shouldn't do. He learns commands within minutes, and because of it I don't praise him for all the good things that he does all day. I just expect it out of him. I need to work on that. I mean he gets lots of love and attention, but the praise should be more consistent from me.

    Thanks Chrystal, I'm definitely ordering all the books above, well maybe not Ali Brown's second book lol. It's wierd.

    I've been around a lot of dogs in my life, but Koda seems more fragile to me. My dad and I were talking about it last night for a while. He agreed that he has never felt like protecting a puppy as much as he does with Koda and that it is because of his defensive drive. He did a great job at reassuring me, these incidences kind've killed my confidence as well like I wasn't protecting him enough.

    Oh and Brad, "For Koda, a few too many incidents like this one + a higher defensive drive (a Kai Ken) + maturing could mix for a BAD behavioral situation." I COULDN'T AGREE MORE!
  • Thanks Chrystal. I do feel more neurotic with him. lol. More than I've ever felt with an animal, but there's something about Koda. He needs it. He needs me more. Hopefully, I'm not to neurotic. lololol
  • Koda came pre-programmed too for potty training. It was amazing, and a big relief. lololol.

    He is VERY sensitive. I always think that Koda could never live in a home that was loud, or where people yelled at eachother. One time we were on a walk around the neighborhood, and he started smelling some flowers. He loves to smell flowers, but I saw these cyllander pebbles in the flower bed and realized that his nose and almost his mouth were right in snail bait. I got scared, his leave it wasn't perfect at the time, and yelled Koda no! Oh my gosh. That was it, he was terrified for the rest of the night and kept bringing me his toys to make it up to me. I have never raised my voice around him since. He wouldn't make it with an owner who was loud or aggressive. Everything has to be calm in the house, which is fine. My home is pretty zen-like. Me being a Buddhist-Catholic and all. (Yes it's a wierd combo) I have created a home environment for myself that he does well in.

    Koda's prey drive is really just beginning to kick in. He chased a squirrel happily out of the yard this morning. He started guarding the yard for squirrels only about a week ago if that, but in the morning it's the first thing he wants to do. He walks the fence line and dashes after them, or quietly stalks them like a cat. He also digs up the whole peanuts they burry in the planter boxes and piles them up for me. Again, this started about a week and a half ago.

    Also, about a week ago Koda wants to walk outside in the front at night and make sure nothing is out there. He likes guarding the house, and wants to guard me in the dark. Any abnormal noise gets a bark. I think this was because some teenagers were smoking weed next door in front of their parents car in the driveway where I couldn't see them, but Koda could smell them. That nose of his is really good. Koda was barking and barking, which he doesn't do if there's nothing there. I walked him over and sure enough were the two teenage boys hiding. Man did Koda give them a talking to. He let them know that they shouldn't be out there hiding from him and that he would find them anytime.

    I do want to build it up and work with him in fun ways where he can really use his prey drive to gain confidence. That's why we are going to have some private lessons. He knows basic commands, but he does need more games like the Flirt Pole. Great suggestion by the way.

    Given his likes above are there any other games or jobs I could give him that would help? I remember that Kona had the job of guarding the yard before Luytiy came along. Did he do well and like it? Do you think it built up his confidence?

    Ok, last question. Do you think Kona is more confident in a pack rather than by himself? Koda seems to do well with Roxy, the Boxer, with us. She has taken on the job of watching after him though, and I think Koda knows it. He looks back at her to make sure she's watching him when he ventures out. Thankfully, I can pick up Roxy anytime. Do you thing this is a good idea? Or does Koda need to do it alone with me?

    Sorry for all the questions, I just really value everyone's input. It's hard because the only other Nihon Ken around me are Shibas and Koda doesn't have the same temperment or well guts! lol
  • FWIW... Sage is more confident in a group. With me alone he will walk a certain distance before saying "I think we're a bit far from home" but when Reilly is with us he will feel comfortable longer and walk farther. She is not enough to assuage all his fears, but his basic starting point is better with more friends around. He is a safety in numbers guy, and likes us all to be together. Reilly would probably be happy as an only dog or in a group, but Sage likes having a pack for sure, which is part of why I feel indulging my desire for a third dog is supported by him. :) (If he has a home pack, I dont feel the need to turn myself into pretzels arranging safe times to meet up with his external dog friends- while minimizing possibility of encountering strange dogs- which is not always easy.) I mix up walking him alone and with Reilly, so I approve of mixing it up with Roxy and the two of you alone.

    I read that it is traditional for kai to run in packs of three on a hunt, so maybe there is something to that? (Brad? Shigeru?)
  • Thanks again. Hmmm Chrystal maybe this means I too will need another girl someday for Koda. lolol. And yes, Sage needs a new friend at home. Are you thinking of another Kai? ;)

    Brad,
    Koda loves to chew. He has the Busy Buddy, gets stuffed Kongs pretty much daily, and can chew Bully Sticks for hours. It all seems to keep his mind occupied, saves my furniture, and makes him happy and content while at home. He never gets bored with something to chew on by my side.

    Right now, Koda doesn't guard in the yard. He chases and stalks. And yes he is growing to really enjoy it. He guards, mainly me, at night. But I'm really not too keen on the idea. I don't want him to feel like he has to guard me for the exact reasons you mentioned. I don't need him protecting me from anyone who comes over.

    Thanks once again for all your advice. I needed it today. I just feel so bad for my little Koda bear.
  • Poor Koda bear. We know your pain about having a fearful dog. Hang in there and work it out. Katsu has really made great improvements since we've got her, but still needs some help in certain areas. When we were out to coffee with JessicaRabbitt a fire truck roared by and Katsu just stared at it and was fine. Then somone moved a chair and she was done.
    I'm sure you guys will work through it in the end. Even though we can't really offer any better advice we're all pulling for you guys.

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