Background: We adopted our lad Benny in December, he's 4 years old and had his last race in July following a toe dislocation/amputation. There was a house before us but they sent him back due to stealing food, which was clearly because they'd not been feeding him properly as he came to us really underweight. There he lived with a Jack Russel and they didn't report any problems. He's had all the standard settling in problems but was making quick progress, we were told he was good on lead and uninterested in other dogs which turned out to be false as he wanted to greet every other dog we saw (nothing aggressive, play bows and the odd bark) and wasn't great on the lead. He was getting way better though, last month we decided he could have a go out without his muzzle and had no problems. Only dogs he'd been reactive to were small fluffy dogs which we just made sure he was away from, any other dog small or large was fine, sometimes he wouldn't give them more than a look. He's our first greyhound.
So onto the point, it's all gone downhill fast. Over the past two weeks he's started barking and occasionally lunging at other dogs, especially off lead dogs. This came to a head yesterday when he grabbed a small fluffy dog and picked it up. I was walking down the woods where ive been taking him because there's rarely other dogs, around a corner came the small dog off lead. Owner a bit behind, Benny saw it and stopped, same way he's been doing before having a go at other dogs before so I held his harness in short as possible, stood between him and them. They went on past and Benny just lunged and grabbed it, It was all so quick but me and the other owner got his dog out of Bennys mouth and thankfully it was shaken but fine. Benny is obviously back on muzzle from now onwards. I was cautious before of him and other dogs knowing their instincts and training but extra cautious now.
As well as this over the past two weeks he's been freezing more often and for longer on walks then refusing to go certain directions that he was fine with before. Sometimes we'll be stuck for 15-20mins. He's also seemingly become terrified of our street, he won't walk down it apart from to leave although even that isnt always without freezing up, sometimes he whines, he'll refuse to cross the road. Myself or my partner have to come down to help convince him to walk up the street (depending on who took him for a walk) or we have to throw bits of kibble up the street to lure him. Thats been a last resort we go to after 10+ mins of being stuck 100m or less from our door. His heart rates right up and his tails between his legs. He's gone from happy as anything on walks long or short to cautiously plodding along with the odd happy burst then back to tail down and nervous at every sound.
Only thing we can point to is two weeks ago was when an off lead german sheppard ran over to him when he was on a walk in the park with my partner. The dog was barking in his face and apparantly it was pretty terrifying. Benny didn't bark back or anything, he just froze and whimpered and the other owner was naturally nowhere to be seen. Its since then he's been reacting badly to other dogs and become nervous out of the flat, although trying not to dwell on that as the issue because I feel there's gotta be something else.
Really not sure what to do and how we can help him to feel more comfortable on walks and be less reactive to other dogs. We can't really walk him somewhere without dogs because they're just everywhere, with all the freezing and other dogs a 30min walk quickly turns into 2hrs.