Firstly please be kind in the replies I am feeling so delicate and I know what I am about to say may be upsetting for some people.
Today I had my first thought of "maybe we made a mistake"
For background - we have had our lad for nearly a year now and have consistently worked on training, setting boundaries and creating the right routine for us and our lad. We took him to puppy classes which helped a huge amount with his training and socialising and we continue to train for at least 30 minutes a day. Now at 14 months our lad is a star at home, rarely causes issues and responds extremely well to a number of commands.
Now onto our lad outside - he pulls a lot which we know is normal, loves to scavenge and loves any opportunity to be on his long line. He gets around 2 hours of walks a day alongside his training and playing at home. This is 30 minutes in the morning before we go to work, 30 minutes midday with a dog walker then an hour in the evening with either myself or my partner. At the weekends we can take him out for upwards of 4 hours a day depending on where we got etc.
Over the past couple of months, whilst out he has become increasingly reactive to other dogs and this can be dogs 500 metres away or a dog across the road - he seems to see them and go mad not matter what the distance. He will yank, go up onto his back legs and the only way I can describe it is shout! We have reached a stage where we have to avoid him meeting other dogs because he jumps on them or the owner because he is so over excited to see them - I know this is probably the worst thing we could do but I have no idea what else we can do - he is so strong I am worried that I won't be able to control him one day and he will hurt another dog or their owner (he is never ever ever aggressive and is so soft at home with us and guests). so my first question is what to do training wise to help with that? Secondly any tips for pulling? We have a halti gentle leader which worked for about 2 weeks but he has gone back to yanking and I am worried he will seriously hurt himself and we also have a belt which I use when we are out in fields but since its dark earlier we have had to walk on pavements and in our village the paths are so narrow we can't use the belt as we would have zero control. We have also tried treats to get him to walk next to/on a looser lead but he ignores even his favourite treats of chicken or cheese because he is so excited.
I took him out this evening for what I was hoping would be an hour but after 15 minutes I just burst into tears and took him home as quickly as possible. I feel like I am at my wits end and walking him is no longer a nice experience, I actually dread it. Feeling like we have made a mistake getting him has upset me even more - I love him to pieces but I can't help feeling like we have let him down by not being better with his walking training.
thank you for taking the time to read this!