Also, agree with Carmen very much and how she suggests handling it/how she explains it. That is the safest, most effective method.
When it comes to protecting my dog, I am a little blind. I'll admit that. I have always been happy to put myself in danger to protect Hunter, or even break up dog fights throughout my life. Don't be as ballsy as I am... I just do what comes naturally to me. Being bitten doesn't bother me... I have been bitten so many times. Instability, aggression, etc doesn't scare me - been exposed my whole life. I've worked with so many dogs, seen so much poor temperament. I will probably get myself badly hurt someday. I know that. I had a big bruise on my leg on my wedding day that showed in my pictures, all because my fear gets turned off during a dog fight. I just react. Not safe. I realize that every time someone calls me out on it, but I can't change it. I don't want to see dogs hurt, so I put myself in danger. It's unsafe, but it's how I roll.
Anthony, be safe. Take everyone's advice here on how to deal with it.
Hunter has been SAFELY exposed to many, many dogs. A combination of genetics and my effort and socialization result in him not reacting to reactive dogs. I literally worked him in obedience every time a dog reacted to him, calm praise for focus on me, etc. Calm praise for being calm in the face of instability. Hunter is calm and clear headed in the face of a threat, he knows he doesn't have to react because I am the unstable one with low threshold and I will protect him at all costs. He has never had bad experiences. That little dog was the first time he got bitten by another dog, ever, and I am proud of his reaction.
I got lucky, Hunter is an easy dog. No reactivity, solid nerves, etc.
I have great respect for those who TRY and WORK HARD to work with dogs that aren't so easy. That is what matters, Anthony. You are TRYING and your dog isn't easy. So, big respect to you. Big respect to you for coming on here, sharing your experiences as ugly as they could be, and taking advice. Even if things aren't perfect (NO DOG IS PERFECT, PERFECTION DOESN'T EXIST)... you are giving it your best.
Sorry for ranting.. uhg. I try not too but can't stop sharing my thoughts. LOL.
Carmen -- you are very right about the leash issue for legal matters... I won't drop leash if it ever comes to that. Thanks for bringing that up!
and I would never drop the leash of my own dog -- then you loose control , and should it come down to charges and court for damages then you can prove that your dog was properly (legally) leashed and under your control - the fault lies with the loose dog.