How do I make my dog be friendly to strangers?

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bluecalx:
I've got a mini dachshund (Magnus) who's a little under two years old now. For the most part, I don't have any complaints about him. He has a tendency to chew on cardboard boxes, but otherwise he doesn't cause many problems. However, he's not very friendly to other people and dogs and it's really annoying because I'm afraid people will think he's aggressive and I'm tired of apologizing to people with, "Oh, he's just nervous. He's a nice dog, I swear."
If I'm walking him and a stranger walks anywhere near us, he'll start barking and running from side to side in front of them, jumping around and tugging at the leash. I think it's mostly him being nervous rather than aggressive, but I could easily see how someone would think he might be dangerous. If the person squats down and holds a hand out, Magnus will bark a little and then walk up and sniff the hand. He doesn't instantly become their best friend, but it's better than the usual crazy barking, I guess. However, once the person stands up again, he resumes his crazed barking.
When another dog approaches, he's also quite nervous. I think that's a result of being overwhelmed by overly-enthusiastic dogs in the past. Lots of idiots in our old neighborhood didn't keep their dogs on leashes, so it wasn't uncommon for a 70lb Staffordshire Terrier to come charging at us. None of them have been aggressive, really, but if you had someone 7 times your size running at you, you'd probably be freaked out too. So now if Magnus meets a dog (even a fairly calm, friendly one), he'll do a couple seconds of sniffing, but if the other dog makes any sudden (or even not-so-sudden) movements, Magnus will start barking and getting defensive. Again, I don't think he'd ever go for the other dog, but I'm afraid another dog might overreact and bite Magnus's head off.
What can we do? Magnus is super friendly to me and my girlfriend (and anyone he's met a number of times) but terrible with strangers. As far as I know, he's never had a bad experience with other humans, so we're not sure why he acts like that. We took him to a dog training class once a week for 6 weeks to get him used to being around other people and dogs but it didn't really seem to help. How can we get him to just chill out and be friendly to other people/dogs?
And, as a bonus question, is there a good way to stop him from barking like a maniac every time people with nearby apartments open their front doors? Whenever there's any noise from the hallway outside our apartment, the fur on his back stands up and he starts growling and barking. I wouldn't really care if he just did that when someone knocked on our door, but I'd rather he not do it just because he can hear someone quietly talking in the hallway or opening their own apartment door.
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flick:
[nq:1]I've got a mini dachshund (Magnus) who's a little under two years old now. For the most part, I don't ... better than the usual crazy barking, I guess. However, once the person stands up again, he resumes his crazed barking.[/nq]
Without seeing his body language, I can't say for sure. But it sounds more like alarm barking or excitement or "I want attention" than "I'm gonna bite you."
[nq:1]When another dog approaches, he's also quite nervous. I think that's a result of being overwhelmed by overly-enthusiastic dogs in ... think he'd ever go for the other dog, but I'm afraid another dog might overreact and bite Magnus's head off.[/nq]
IMO it's a good idea to NEVER assume that 2 dogs are going to be friendly towards each other. And even when dogs aren't going to out-and-out fight, they'll go through a routine of standing stiffly alert, sniffing each other, and then ultimately (usually) one dog will try to play with the other one. They don't greet each other like people do.
However, if Magnus truly doesn't get along with other dogs - well, some dogs don't.
[nq:1]What can we do? Magnus is super friendly to me and my girlfriend (and anyone he's met a number of ... didn't really seem to help. How can we get him to just chill out and be friendly to other people/dogs?[/nq]
It doesn't sound like he's being unfriendly - just noisy.

flick 100785
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Handsome Jack Morrison:
[nq:1]I've got a mini dachshund (Magnus) who's a little under two years old now. For the most part, I don't have any complaints about him.()[/nq]
Then consider yourself lucky. Emotion: smile
[nq:1]If I'm walking him and a stranger walks anywhere near us, he'll start barking and running from side to side ... dog approaches, he's also quite nervous. I think that's a result of being overwhelmed by overly-enthusiastic dogs in the past.[/nq]
Minis are scrappy little dogs. He's doing exactly what his genes are compelling him to do.
He also sounds like he wasn't properly (or early enough) socialized to many other dogs, further compounding your "problem."
[nq:1]Again, I don't think he'd ever go for the other dog, but I'm afraid another dog might overreact and bite Magnus's head off.[/nq]
Don't count on it working out that way. Again, they're scrappy little dogs. He'd be best served if you'd try harder to keep him away from strange dogs.
Isn't being your buddy good enough for you?
[nq:1]What can we do?[/nq]
You can OBEDIENCE TRAIN him!
Through OBEDIENCE TRAINING, you can instill manners in your little dog, and instead of "barking and running from side to side...jumping around and tugging at the leash," he'd be sitting quietly at your side.
That won't ever happen unless you OBEDIENCE TRAIN him, and it won't happen overnight.
Your vet can probably recommend a good obedience trainer or obedience class (where the rates can be surprisingly low, and are sometimes even free) for you.
[nq:1]Magnus is super friendly to me and my girlfriend (and anyone he's met a number of times) but terrible with strangers.()[/nq]
That's because it's EXACTLY the way he was programmed to act.
[nq:1]And, as a bonus question, is there a good way to stop him from barking like a maniac every time people with nearby apartments open their front doors?[/nq]
You can trade him in on a basenji.
Or you can OBEDIENCE TRAIN him to stop barking on command. But you're never going to get a mini dachshund to stop barking altogether, nor should you even try to.
They like to "sound the alarm." That part you should accept because you can't really change it. It's hard-wired. But with some good OBEDIENCE TRAINING, you can get him to bark once or twice and then shut the hell up (on your command, of course).
And the next time you get a dog, you should do your homework a little better, and a little earlier. Find out about the breeds (their tendencies, their temperaments, their idiosyncrasies, etc.) that you're interested in before you plunk down your money instead of afterwards.
You'll have fewer "problems."
Good luck!

Handsome Jack Morrison
*gently remove the detonator to send me e-mail
This thread originates from within 'usenet', and as such the content and users are not guaranteed to have been moderated by our community.
This thread originates from within 'usenet', and as such the content and users are not guaranteed to have been moderated by our community.