Ok so I have a Male Rhodesian Ridgeback who is 1 year and 3 months old. I started him in puppy classes when he was 11 months old. I have never stopped taking him for training at a school. He knows a lot of commands and is very obedient except for one situation and I honestly am struggling to get past this.
My dog cannot seem to settle when he is around other dogs. He tenses up his body and lunges powerfully towards other dogs or if a tree is nearby he lunges toward the tree. If I take him on a simple walk and we pass trees he has no issues whatsoever. It's only when he sees other dogs that he feels the need to be territorial or so I think. I have tried so many things and am now very frustrated with not succeeding.
I have tried to walk my dog past houses where I know there are other dogs, I keep a variety of treats and just do heel work close to the other dogs gradually getting closer. I give the look command to try and get my dog to focus on me. I try and down my dog and make him stay but nothing is working.
This has been a problem for about 6-8 months now and my efforts are failing. I don't need my dog to play or contact any other dogs. That is not my goal. I just need him to be okay around other dogs and not lunge. Recently I have been wondering if what he has is not really aggression but anxiety. I suspect this because when he sees another dog he completely tenses up and corrections don't even get his focus away from the dog.
I use positive reinforcement methods. I have even gotten him neutered but the behavior still exists.
In a less distracting environment like my house, yard, pavement he literally is a star. He does all the commands exceptionally well and is an absolute pleasure to work with. I mentioned that we go for training every week. the instructors suggestions have not worked with this particular problem, other then that the school is really great. I train my dog everyday(Once in the afternoon, once at night [20 mins each])
Has anyone had this situation, please help me. I am willing to do anything for my dog to realize his potential in obedience competitions. However with this problem I can't proceed.