Please help - my dog is a bully!
We have recently rehomed a 16 month old labrador cross, who is turning out to be quite a handful.. He was previously kept tied up in a garden, with very little interaction with people or other dogs, and almost never exercised. We have had him for 7 weeks and he now has a regular routine of 3 hours of walks every day. He has calmed down a great deal, but we still have problems with his poor doggy social skills!
We have been taking him to dog classes, and have recently achieved a bronze level obedience award, meaning he will sit, down, stay for up to 2 minutes, recall from across the room, walk to heel around other dogs etc. We practice his obedience whilst on walks, and without other dogs around he does really well.
The problem is that when he interacts with other dogs he is very boisterous, and I'm sure in dog terms - quite rude. This means that with larger, confident dogs he is often growled at and has been bitten once. With smaller dogs he is very pushy, the more submissive they become, the more persistently he jumps and bites at them. This has resulted in smaller, younger dogs becoming frightened and other owners becoming concerned.
I keep him on the lead in areas I know we are likely to meet other dogs, but I'm not sure if I am making his behaviour worse by keeping away from dog social situations. He gets incredibly excited when we see other dogs when he is on the lead, I make him sit and stay with me - but it is always a battle! I'd like to try introducing him to other dogs whilst on the lead, but I'm not confident I could hold him with his behaviour as it is at present.
He is walked once a week with other dogs by a dog walker, who lets them off the lead together. The dog walker tells me he is fine with the other dogs, but his behaviour is often worse when he has come back from these sessions. (This is an arrangement for a day I can't get home from work to walk the dog myself, so I've never seen how he behaves with the 'pack')
Any advice you can offer would be very gratefully received - I long to enjoy our walks together and not dread being the terrible dog owner with the rude badly behaved dog!