I'm very fortunate to work with many fellow dog lovers and owners. My work environment allows staff to bring their dogs to work, and I make a personal effort to visit each one that comes in. A few of us 'small dog owners' decided to organize a doggy play date for the first time. Daisy is extremely timid and nervous around other dogs, regardless of size... that is to say she's afraid of small dogs and terrified of big dogs. Our neighbour was walking his Shepherd past Daisy and I one day and she let out a scream as if he had her in his jaws. I can only assume that her fear is because we had her so isolated from dogs until she had all her shots, and then her puppy class was full of bigger puppies that chased/trampled her - no exaggeration.
Needless to say she is now quite afraid. She does well with my in-law's dog Skippy (a Jack Russell), but she's met him a few times now and she loves to follow him around the farm... which means I'm following them both while she's on leash (trust me, I have fun with this)! However, she had never been around dogs her size or even smaller - Chihuahuas. Yesterday she was with 3 Chihuahuas. For the first time ever she wasn't the smallest dog in the group. I was curious to see how she would react or if it would make a difference.
Daisy's the type of girl who really has to do things at her own pace. If you force her to do something, she's only more frightened and mistrusting, which I completely understand. So I let others know this and while I present her with these situations and guide her best I can, I will by no means force her to interact if she's uncomfortable.
Overall, she did pretty good! She was nervous, didn't want them in her face, and she hid behind me however much she could, but I could tell that she wasn't terrified. One of the chi's - a male - gave her lots of calming signals, and that also made a huge difference with her being able to stay close to him. I think that with time, she would warm up to him a lot more.
Daisy takes a visit or two to warm up to people, but after that she completely loves you and can barely contain her excitement when she sees you. With other dogs it's a whole other story. I'm always interested to hear from others who also deal with dogs afraid of other dogs, and how they deal with that. Comments are always welcome!