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Hello, my dog is a terrier mix that we adopted from a shelter about four years ago. He will be around five years old this summer. When we first got him he was very shy and didn't make a sound for a good two weeks. At that point in time he was fine with other dogs and people. Eventually he would play with two golden retriever siblings that lived nearby and also got along with some friends dogs. The issue started when he began barking at people and even running up to them if he got out of the house. Now it's gotten better. He doesn't bark at people anymore as long as they don't try to touch him or come inside the house. I think he gets nervous when strangers try to touch him. Sometimes we take him with us to an open mall to walk around or go to a pet friendly restaurant there. He's fine with people walking past and the waiters and other customers at the restaurant as long as it isn't a large crowd or very noisy. He typically gets nervous even when a waiter bends down to give him a bowl of water but as long as they don't try touching him he is fine. When people get close to him like that he usually tries to hide under the chair or behind my legs. I can see his tail drop and he keeps his eyes on the stranger that gets close to him. If they keep trying to touch him he will start barking until they move away. Otherwise he is alright with people being around. When someone he doesn't know comes into the house he will bark at them, especially if they try to touch him before he is ready. However when he calms down he will slowly approach and let them touch him. Usually after that he will relax and even lick them and cuddle with them. Furthermore, he also barks in the backyard if neighbors are having a party or guests over in their backyard. Sometimes he barks at the one of the neighbor's children but I think he might be bothering Max from across the fence. Max almost never barks at the other kids that play in another backyard and sometimes when I'm out there with him I can hear the kid yelling at Max and his mom telling him to "stop bothering the dog." Max doesn't really bother with him outside but he does pay some attention to him. I'm not sure how this affects his behaviour to other people and unfortunately I don't really have proof of this but if anything gets caught on the security camera I will let the neighbors know and ask them to stop.

The bigger issue is with dogs, especially bigger dogs. I'm not entirely sure how this began since he was perfectly fine with other dogs for a while and even played with the golden retriever sisters (which are quite a bit bigger than little 17 pound Max), but now he even barks at them sometimes. It's been a while since I let him play with them and the goldens are typically more interested in playing fetch now. He is usually fine with little dogs that pass by, no matter where we are. He will look at them and may whine a little but he usually we can just keep going without any other issues. However, the moment he sees a larger dog it gets much worse. There are a few rare times where he will remain mostly silent but still show interest in the other dog, but this is usually only when there is a fair amount of distance. Other times he will pull towards the other dog and bark. Even after the dog moves out of sight or we walk further away he will still act on edge and alert. Yesterday we took him to the open mall again. Aside from barking a little at a man who tried to pet him everything was fine. We were sitting at a restaurant waiting for our food when suddenly a bigger dog (looked like a shepherd mix to me) came from behind. I didn't hear or see it coming so Max realized it before I did and ran towards the metal barrier that was separating the restaurant seating from the sidewalk and just barked loudly as the dog walked past. The other dog didn't do anything; in fact it hardly paid attention to him as it walked by. After the dog was gone he was fine and stayed completely silent as he waited for us to finish at the restaurant. I'm not sure why he does this now since before he was alright and when we took him to a dog park he didn't seem to mind the bigger dogs too much, though he did just follow me or stay with my mom most of the time. He does have a friend who is a little poodle that belongs to my moms friend. He was also fine with a little old miniature pinscher that belonged to a friend. Sometimes when they travelled she would stay with us and I would walk her with Max. He was fine with walking with her and is perfectly alright with the poodle no matter where we are. We recently brought both of them to walk by a beach and everything was fine until a pair of larger dogs came by. I have tried walking him with treats and this worked with getting him to stay quiet as people walked by but when there is a larger dog it is very difficult to get his attention even with food. Whether it's chicken, pumpkin seeds, or store bought treats it's difficult to get him to direct his focus onto me instead of the dog. I'm not really sure what to do about that now and I don't want it to get to a point where he bites. There are some not very well trained dogs that run off leash in the neighborhood and unfortunately they have a habit of running up to other dogs, including mine. They live around a corner by the mailbox so I can't always see if they are there and avoid them. My mom has even threatened to report them and yet it still happens since I saw them while walking Max just a few days ago (fortunately I saw them before we got any closer).

As for his daily schedule, he goes out in the backyard in the morning then comes in for breakfast. He eats a mix of dog food (blue buffalo) and what we eat (typically some meat and a little rice or vegetables) since he will not eat dog food alone unless he is absolutely starving. Then I take him for a quick walk before my mom goes to work. She's gone most of the day unfortunately so when I walk him again in the afternoon we can't go too far from home. Usually that walk is after we eat lunch. He goes into the backyard a few times a day and sometimes I sit out there with him as he runs around and chases lizards. Then when my mom gets home I eat dinner with her and he gets a little tidbit or treat for a snack then we go for another quick walk. After that he might go out in the backyard before we go to bed. He sleeps with me in my room. Sometimes on my moms day off we take him on a longer walk to the clubhouse and back or take him to walk at the open mall. Occasionally we bring him for a day trip at Naples, a city about 2 hours north from where we live with a nice downtown with plenty of outdoor places we can sit at with him.

I really want him to calm down, especially around other dogs. He's pretty well behaved otherwise. He doesn't wreck the furniture or chew our shoes. He's also house trained so unless it's a real emergency for him he will not go inside the house. He knows basic tricks like sit and stay and follows them well even if I don't have treats for him. He responds to his name and to a snap of the fingers or clicking of the tongue. Most of the time when he barks at others I calmly tell him "quiet" repeatedly, and if he is scared I say "its okay" and pet him. I'm just not sure how I can get him to calm down and stop barking at other dogs as well as get over his nervousness.
 

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Update

Today we went to drop him off at a friends house since we are leaving for a while. Everything was alright for most of the time that we hung out with them outside. These two dogs about the same size as him were walking around and he barked a little at them but the real issue was with another slightly larger dog. It looked a bit like a smaller, plump, brown and white spaniel or setter and she and her owners were just walking around. He met this dog before a few years back when she was still a puppy - they even played together along with Smokey the poodle (who is now the only dog Max actually gets along with alright). He was vocalizing like crazy. First it was barking, then a loud yowling sort of noise when Smokey went to say hi to the other dog, then he got quiet for a bit and just watched as they walked a little further away, but when they started heading back home it was barking once again. The other dog was mostly fine but towards the end she was barking a little as well.

I kept his leash short so that he was next to me and we were telling him "quiet." "Quiet" is usually what I say when we see another dog while we are walking and I kind of repeat it a few times at a sort of whisper until we pass the other dog or it leaves. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't. Sometimes "ah-ah" works but usually I use that as a general "stop" for when he is doing something he shouldn't (like trying to chase a squirrel or trying to pick up a piece of garbage he found). Also the bigger and closer the other dog is and the longer it's in sight, the less likely for him to stay quiet.

Please help, I don't really know how to get him to stop.
 
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