How old is your puppy?
My suggestion is to find a good puppy class and ask lots of questions to the trainer about these things. Take the puppy to class every week, and take the puppy to places where there are not many dogs around in between, every day. For example, sit outside a drug-mart store. Do not let the puppy impede traffic, and only people who come up and say hi or ask to pet your puppy let the puppy approach.
The thing is to get the puppy used to as many types of people, he doesn't have to be handled or petted by all of them. Have some treats and if someone asks nicely, offer them a treat to offer the pup with an open hand.
Don't do this for long. Try not to overwhelm the puppy. Take the pup for short walks and try to see a new thing each day. A fire hydrant. A bicycle. A person walking with a stroller. A wheel chair.
Keep the dog away from other dogs until he is fully vaccinated. He will see enough dogs at puppy classes, and they are far less likely to hurt him. A bad encounter with an older dog would be bad at this point.
When he has all his shots, he should be between 4-6 months old, and he will be better able to take it if a dog gets snippy with him. At that point, you will want to work with him around other dogs and people, and taking to the pet store that is pet friendly is fine.
In fact, after he has a couple of vaccinations, it is a good idea to get him groomed, so that he gets used to having other people handle him. PetsMart has a deal for pups under six months old. $11.99, for a bath, brush, toenails and ears. The dog gets used to having this done with the equipment they use. If you wait until the dog is 6 months old or older, it can be harder on them to do this the first time.
About classes: Don't expect to take him to a set of obedience classes and be done. Plan on taking him to puppy classes, then basic. maybe a repeat of basic, CGC, advanced, etc. Just keep going to classes until your pup is well over a year old. If you go continually once a week, then when other people are clearly struggling during the 8-14 month adolsecent stage, your puppy will probably be doing just fine.
And take him to the vet. Take him and put him on the scale. Say hi to the receptionist, and ask her to give your puppy a treat, and leave. You want him to like to go there, and to not be freaked out just by being there. Go once or twice a week, just to say hi and get treats. Then when your pup is sick or injured or needs to get his nads nicked, he will be familiar with the place and the people.
Welcome and congratulations on your new puppy.
Arwen, CD RN CGC
Whitney, RN CGC
Tori, RN CGC
Jenna, RN CGC & Babs, CD RA CGC HIC
Heidi, RA CGC
SG3 Odessa, SchH1, Kkl1, AD
Ninja, RN CGC & Milla, RN CGC
Joy, Star Puppy, RN CGC
Dolly CGC & Bear CGC
Hepzibah & Hannah