kick. I'm not even going to pretend to be nice to a dog that comes at my dogs aggressively. They're being aggressive and so will I. I don't care how big or small the dog is. I protect MY dogs. Not my problem if someone else cant control their dog and keep them leashed. I don't have to be nice to an animal threatening me and mine. I will occasionally carry a collapsible ski pole or baton. The ski pole is a heckuva lot nicer than the baton is...the ski pole gets the message across that I'm not playing and the dog needs to back off.
your dog is awesome for trying to avoid instead of engage. There's no reason for you to be nice to a dog coming at you or your dog aggressively. That's my 2 cents.