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I'd personally start with a muzzle, they can have a calming effect on dogs if done properly. This pup wears a muzzle in certain situations - when it's to someone elses' benefit - like the vet if they aren't comfortable with the breed. We use a simple leather setup that wraps around the dogs muzzle, it's profiled and fits well. It still allows him to move but he can't do a full out bark. The muzzle isn't used for punishment, it's a training tool.

Your dogs are unsure, there's a whole new world out there that they haven't experienced. Baby steps, take one dog, put the muzzle on, take him outside and sit quietly - and relax. Let the dog take in the smells - they should be used to the ambient noises. Dog walks by, yours probably will react, relax, don't react to the dog.

If you do have friends that have a dog - maybe take one dog at a time to their home, use the muzzle so your dog can't attack.
 

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I don't know the answers. We are maybe fortunate enough to have a two-year old who is a big, gentle and easy going fellow. We walk lots and meet other dogs and owners, some on leads - the dogs, not the owners although.....

Anyway, we let them meet and greet Max. Sure, they may bark at him to start with but after a little while when they are not getting a similar response they give up. And walk with him. Or gallop. But all good natured.

As I said, I don't know the answers. But I don't think preventing your dogs from socialising is one of them. Letting them interact with others might be a better option.
 

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I agree that it would be helpful for you to outline your specific goals for us so we can be of more help. It would also be helpful to detail exactly what you have done to try to help them/change their behavior/make it stop, and perhaps include a little bit about what kind of research you've done into dog behavior, what books/videos/articles have you read that really resonated with you, how do you perceive dogs to think and learn, why do you think dogs misbehave, etc.

Given you haven't provided a whole lot of info on what you've tried, how you train, and what kind of info you're relying on to train, I'm going to wait to give more pointed suggestions to the situation at hand.

I will also preface this by saying that this is a force-free forum filled with people who train using primarily reward based training methods and very limited amounts of correction or pressure (or "force") in training, usually limited to verbal corrections. This forum is also very anti-dominance theory/"pack leader"/"dominance-submissive" ideas of dog behavior (for good reasons, which I will elaborate on in a second). I am not saying this because I would recommend the use of force in this situation- I do not think it is a good idea to recommend the use of force with any dog unless you have given an in person evaluation of the dog, because their is always risk of "fallout" (unintended consequences) when using force/pressure in training, and not all dogs are suited to the use of force/pressure in training. Common "fallout" from the use of force/pressure/correction in dogs that are not suited to that kind of training can be: escalation of threats/aggression, redirected aggression (the dog snarls at another dog, you correct, the dog responds by biting you even though the aggression was initially directed at the other dog), and a dog shutting down (when an animal feels there is no way to make aversives stop, they will sometimes just stop doing anything, which can look like they are "better", but really they are so overwhelmed they're almost frozen).

Where are you located? I'm asking because your country/area would impact the kind of advice I would give based on likely resources in the country and the general attitude towards dog training.

Again, give us a little more info on your overall goals for the dogs, what you've done, how you think dogs behave and why, and the past experiences/life/training/exposure of these two dogs and we can help a little more with the specifics.

I am also wondering if, perhaps, you are a fan of "The Dog Whisperer" Cesar Milan? A lot of the things you mention in your first post are things he is a big fan of. It also sounds like you perhaps see dogs through the perspective of the "Dominance Theory" of dog training, which thinks along the lines of dogs misbehaving because they are trying to further their social status. I used to be a very strong supporter of Milan and his training style, and one of my focuses as a now (soon-to-be) professional trainer and eventually behaviorist is how dominance/submissive relationships actually function in dogs. I am no longer a follower of that methodology and now vehemently oppose it. As I said before, you will find little to no support for that kind of thinking on this forum, and there is a good reason for this. I'm going to make a second post with the specifics of this to avoid an over-long post here, as it will include some links for information, as well.
 

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Dominance theory is a more old-school method of dog training that emerged at a time when it was thought that to train a dog, you needed to use a lot of force. Very little reward is used in old-school dog training. Dominance theory is also born from the assumption that since dogs are descended from wolves, they must think the same way as today's wolves, and was spurred forwards by the findings of several studies of captive wolf packs done in the 1940's. At the time, it was very cutting edge, because of the information available. We now have different information available and it is now a dated view.

There are a few things wrong with this kind of thinking. For one, dogs are not different looking wolves. They have been selectively bred for a very, very long time by humans, and even before that they seem likely to have originated from a very small subset of grey wolves just before or around the beginning of the advent of agriculture that had less fear of humans and liked to hang around human camps to scavenge garbage. So, they are descended from grey wolves a long time ago that acted differently than many of others of their species at the time, and the grey wolves they were descended from were not the grey wolves of today- at least 14 and possibly as much as 20 million years of evolution separate today's wolves from the ancestor of the dog, and today's wolves could act very differently than those that the dog was descended from, since they live in a very different world, with very different challenges (mainly because of the global take over by our species). In addition, the studies dominance theory bases its understanding of dog behavior on were done on artificial, captive wolf packs and not on natural, healthy, wild packs.

So, what did the studies that dominance theory bases its understanding of dogs on find in these packs? The findings were that wolves would very often break out into vicious fights intended to raise their social rank or over various resources, and that these packs were organized in linear hierarchies of high ranking, slightly less high ranking, even less high ranking, etc. They constantly fought for rank, as well, as the hierarchy predicted the access to resources- food, water, shelter- that the wolf in the pack had. They also isolated several behaviors that wolves would do that showed they were "dominant" (wanted to further their rank) or submissive (trying to show they were not a threat and diffuse a situation). These included things like pinning each other on their back to show they were "in charge", or stiff posture with a high head that showed they were challenging the other.

Since these studies in the 40's, it has been found my many, many other studies that this is not at all typical behavior of a healthy, wild wolf pack. In a wild wolf pack, it is organized similar to a family unit- the mated pair are the mother and father, and younger members are most often their older offspring that are helping to raise the younger pups. Unrelated members of the pack are most often loners that have been "recruited" to fill the place of an established member (sometimes one of the original mated pair that has died, sometimes an older offspring that has died or left the pack) when the pack is hunting large game and needs experience and size to take them down. What are forced displays or attempts to avoid a fight in the captive packs (rolling a dog, a dog showing its belly in a tense situation, licking the other wolf's mouth to diffuse a situation, etc) are spontaneous bonding behaviors done by the younger wolves to the older wolves and the parents in the pack, and are rarely if ever forced displays. The offspring stay with the pack until they have gained experience in hunting and current ecological factors benefit them enough that they can survive on their own until they find a mate, and then they leave. If there is not enough food to sustain a pack, or the pack can hunt smaller game for a time (like the summer) the pack may break up for a little bit and come together when it is more beneficial. There is not really much if any fighting about resources or pack rank, and it all functions similar to a human family unit- which perhaps is what made wolves able to adapt to living with people in the distant past. There was one wolf pack that scientists observed a 13 year period with no fights or shows of force on the part of any member!

On studies done on dogs, and not wolves, there is not much evidence that they are social-status seeking animals, and there is limited evidence that their are linear hierarchies of one or two leaders and then a slightly lower ranking one, and one below that, etc. Most competition occurs over access to reproduction, and even then there is not much, since dogs are polyamorous maters (don't keep to bonded pairs, mate randomly whenever they can) as opposed to wolves, which do form pairs and repress the reproduction of other members of the pack (which again is voluntary, since wolves can leave the pack to reproduce whenever they want). In captive packs, they can't leave and are often random assemblages of unrelated wolves, and this is what creates so much in-fighting. If this is interesting to you, I highly recommend the book "Dog Sense".

Dogs usually misbehave either because they are having an internal emotional reaction that makes them act out (fear, anxiety, over-excitement, etc) or because the reaction has been reinforced in some way in the past (they snarl at another dog, the dog goes away or they are removed from the situation, so they continue to do it). Fear and anxiety are the most common reasons for aggression, but there are other reasons a dog might act out. If you give some more information on the temperament, socialization/experiences these dogs have had, we can help more on thinking why they are doing thing. In good dog training, why a dog is misbehaving has a big impact on how you change that behavior.

Here are a few links that could be helpful in learning about "reactivity" (over reaction to a stimulus, like an over reaction to seeing a dog) and aggression in dogs:
Reactivity and Aggression in dogs – Managing and Treating - Smart Animal Training Systems... (on this site, note that they focus on fear and anxiety being the cause, which like I said isn't always true, but I do like generally how they explain it; ignore the "how I fix it" section for now, though- give us more information and we can help you with a good way to fix this that is tailored to your case and dogs and not so cut-and-paste)
Aggression and Reactivity Training | Karen Pryor Clicker Training -> this is a GREAT site for information
Dog-Dog Reactivity – Treatment Summary -> a good primer, and another GREAT site to look around for info
 

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Sounds as if these two are ruling the roost.

Doesn't matter what the other family members do with them but you can become the leader amd insist they do as you say. Of you become pack leader then they will stop barking when out if you tell them.
 

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Is our op gone again?
More info would be good.
Are these dogs truly in need of a major change--from indoor only to walks in a neighbourhood full of challenging dogs? (I've never owned a mini dog, so I honestly don't know).
What does "spoiled" mean? If other family members like to have dogs in bed, or think begging is cute, that is a difference in opinion on acceptable dog behaviour. If the dogs are behaving in ways that upset everyone, but no one does anything to change it, that is spoiling (and probably stressing the dogs too @Moonstream posts are very informative, and a worthy read for all.
I'd be looking at enrichment training--tricks, indoor clicker/marker style obedience, scent-work games--make their lives more fun.
Getting them outdoors and having fun--baby steps.
Trick training can start right now.
 

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Aww, thanks @Artdog

It does seem like maybe this OP has dipped out of the forum, but my guess is they'll pop back up eventually. Their posts were made within one day, I think, so maybe they just got busy with other things.

To the OP- whenever you come back in on the thread, there will be people around to help!
 

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Sorry for the late, I've been pretty busy these days

My goals are either being able to take my dogs with me outside without them turning into beasts or, if I can't do that, make them excercise inside.


I know this will sound foolish and probably offensive, but my dogs are not like most dogs, specially the old one. I know many people that have dogs and know how to treat them, but they just can't do that with mine. I don't hit my dogs, I'm not aggressive with them at all, I just try to be firm and to reward them when they do things nice, but nothing of this works when they are outside.

When they are outside they don't (sorry for the word) give a **** about anything that is not other dogs. I hear and read many people telling me things like where I should stand and when I should reward my dogs and all, but nothing of that works, I can't just "block" their way, they lose all possible respect for everything and don't care about rewards or anything, they just bark their lungs out, i swear to god it looks like they are dying when they are like that. My mother sometimes tried to be aggressive with them when this happened (I don't agree with that but just so you have an idea) and they didnt give a **** still, they still kept barking like nothing was hitting them, like the leash didn't exist.

Sorry but I can't do these things, when I said I tried them for many years I'm not lying and I'm not havng a fatalistic negative point of view. I really wish I could change this but I don't know how. My family gave up years ago but I still have hope (this is why I'm posting here).


I live in Buenos Aires - Argentina


 

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@Ando thanks for posting that map.
In many ways, it does help put things in perspective.
I believe you aze correct, their reactive behaviour will attract the negative attention of other dogs. I would start training them indoors, where they can learn without too much distraction.
They have been indoors a very long time, they may be happy there. Tricks, fetch, search games will give them mental & physical exercise, may calm them down too.
Hope that helps.
 

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Sorry for the late, I've been pretty busy these days

My goals are either being able to take my dogs with me outside without them turning into beasts or, if I can't do that, make them excercise inside.


I know this will sound foolish and probably offensive, but my dogs are not like most dogs, specially the old one. I know many people that have dogs and know how to treat them, but they just can't do that with mine. I don't hit my dogs, I'm not aggressive with them at all, I just try to be firm and to reward them when they do things nice, but nothing of this works when they are outside.

When they are outside they don't (sorry for the word) give a **** about anything that is not other dogs. I hear and read many people telling me things like where I should stand and when I should reward my dogs and all, but nothing of that works, I can't just "block" their way, they lose all possible respect for everything and don't care about rewards or anything, they just bark their lungs out, i swear to god it looks like they are dying when they are like that. My mother sometimes tried to be aggressive with them when this happened (I don't agree with that but just so you have an idea) and they didnt give a **** still, they still kept barking like nothing was hitting them, like the leash didn't exist.

Sorry but I can't do these things, when I said I tried them for many years I'm not lying and I'm not havng a fatalistic negative point of view. I really wish I could change this but I don't know how. My family gave up years ago but I still have hope (this is why I'm posting here).


I live in Buenos Aires - Argentina


It's actually extremely common for reactive dogs to act like you describe. My own used to do so. They are so focused on trying to scare the other dog or person away that they barely see, hear, or feel, anything else. If they do register some type of correction then the person runs the risk that they will think it was the other dog, and not the bad behavior, that caused the correction and so they will be even more fearful of the other dog, and more obsessed with scaring the dog away before it causes the correction.

To work with them to overcome the behavior you need to convince them that people and dogs cause good things to happen, like extra yummy treats. You need to stay far enough back from whatever it is they are reacting to (trigger), and feed them treats, one after another, starting as soon as they see the trigger and stop the treats a couple of seconds after the trigger goes out of sight. If they start reacting then get them out of there. Turn them around and walk them away. Also you need to work with them separately.

Check out the link in my first reply on page two, it has tons of instruction on how to work with them.
 
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