Our expert says:
Dog Behaviour Expert
Hi Dee, nice to hear from you. The barking at other dogs is, I believe coming from fear, they just dont know how to react, probably due to not getting basic socialization skills when young and also from being rescue dogs. This situation requires pretty in-depth assistance as you will have to raise yourself (and family) in the combined human/canine hierarchy first in order that the dogs feel more secure, then start with stopping the barking and then socialization, so it needs to be done in steps, in order to guarantee success. The easiest way to do this is to get in a professional to help you and if you let me know which area you stay in (just send me an e-mail), then I will put you onto somebody. What you can start doing in-between is to implement House Rules:-
1. Ignore dogs when entering the home, when they have given up, call then, ask for a sit and reward with a treat and praise.
2. Put them on a 'work to earn' regime, from now on no 'freebees'! As you and i have to work to earn our living, so too do dogs in a pack situation. With our 10 fingers we control all aspects of our dogs lives, so start to use these resources to raise yourself in the hierarchy. e.g. sit for food, sit for attention, wait before going through a door, sit to get lead on etc.
3. Ensure that your dogs are getting enough physical and mental stimulation by way of regular walks (go where there are no other dogs at this stage i.e. shopping centre car parks etc) and supply plenty of chew toys.
Looking forward to hearing from you, thanks Scotty
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