I wonder if you can help, please?
I walk my mum's 2 small terrier cross dogs daily. They are both young rescue dogs, (about 2.5 and 2 years) and are very good natured, generally nice dogs, apart from the typical terrier tendency to chase, but that's not too much of a problem. They are fabulous with my little girls, and very loving little dogs.
Dexter arrived at Mum's a few months before Jack. Until Jack came, Dexter and I had great walks anywhere. He made me so proud when he was off the lead. But we felt a bit bad about Dexter being put back home alone when I wasn't walking him and Mum at work, so Jack was adopted to be a wee friend for him.
It's a bit complicated, I shall try to outline you on where we are just now. We had a dog behaviourist come out to assess the dogs' home lives, as although they are happy dogs, mum was demented at their constant barking. Jack always initiates it, and Dexter follows. The woman assessed that Jack was very much the dominant dog, so mum has adjusted her own behaviour to help with that. Food change has made them calmer, she only invites them up on to furniture, etc etc. They are rewarded for barking when the doorbell rings, but also rewarded ("good quiet") for when they quieten down and stop. I would say they are not half as annoying now.
When they Are out walking we have tried to all the pulling down. Again, when we just had Dexter he didn't pull on the lead, but Jack's arrival has meant they both strain when first out. Jack is definitely the leader. We stop them doing this by turning around, etc, and I'd say the straining on the lead has become better.
However, big problem for me, but not for my mum. Dexter barks at some people.
He barks at big dogs on a lead, but I can pretty much cope with that by shortening the leash and 'hiding' him behind my legs to make him feel secure.
He generally likes everyone, but always seems to bark at people who are afraid of dogs! Wen we are walking in the countryside, he & Jack will be off lead, all will be lovely, we'll pass several people, then for wherever reason he'll circle someone, barking, and making them angry / terrified / very unimpressed. Can I get him back? Nope. It's so embarrassing, and very stressful. I can only imagine that he can sense that person's fear, so he is in turn frightened, hence the barking? Whatever it is, my ability to get him back is rubbish.
We often practice the 'come' command, with clicker / treats, etc. he and Jack ( particularly Jack) are good at it. But when he gets into the mode of barking, I haven't a hope. I don't want to shout...I can imagine that must just sound like I am backing up the barking. But its difficult not to! I have tried a high pitch whistle, sternly saying "Dexter, come"... But nothing works. So when I eventually get him back, usually after person screaming at me, I put him on the lead, and leave him on it. (Telling him firmly I'm not happy with him if I've gone to get him, but if he comes back eventually after me calling, I don't shout as he might think he's in trouble for coming back?) It's also difficult, as I don't know how much my mum trains him in the same way. We talk a lot about it to try to ensure we are singing from the same hymn sheet, but she just says she never has the issues I do!
Apparently he doesn't do this with my mum or the other dog walker.
Does he see me and my kids as a pack he must protect? I can imagine that if I see dogs coming towards us on a lead my behaviour might subtly change therefore making him anxious? But the other day he circled and terrorised a young lad and his granny. I had no reason to think he would, so therefore was chilled on their approach. Until he began barking. The poor lad was hysterical at the end, his Gran upset, and me mortified and apologetic.
Thanks, XXXXX XXXXX for the novel!