Let me start off by telling you something about Theo I don't think I've shared before. It's never quite come up, but Theo is a ridiculously submissive dog. Greeting a dog goes something like this: Theo sees dog and ears-back-nub-wiggling ensues. Theo and new dog meet nose to nose for about half a second before Theo rolls onto his back and spreads his legs wide for maximum goods exposure. After new dog is properly acquainted with Theo's scent, Theo will then, if permitted by the other dog, take a brief sniff of his own before either continuing to be submissive by licking the other dog's muzzle, or finally initiating a wee-bit of head jumping. Sometimes Theo will just stay on his back the entire time, even if the other dog is trying to initiate play. Either way, Theo always has an adorable look on his face that says "I'm totally non-threatening, I just want you to love me." Thankfully, he's not submissive to the point where he's scared oruncomfortable. He doesn't do submissive peeing and he never looks stressed out. As long as the dog isn't super dominant, he enjoys the encounter.
Of course, none of that applies to puppies. Theo was bullied as a puppy, so of course, now that he's big and threatening himself, he feels it's his turn to show the puppies their place.
Now, let me tell you about Fireball. He is a new puppy (~8 months old, I think) who was just adopted by someone in the neighborhood (this person already owns a dog of similar breed named Snowball, who Theo's age). I've come across Fireball while walking Theo three times this last week. Fireball is freaking adorable! He's one of those indistinguishable white, fluff dogs (usually some Poodle, Maltese, Bichon mix). He loves everyone. He loves to be pet, he loves to put your fingers in his mouth (but completely gentle), and he loves to jump all over you. He also likes to jump all over other dogs.
Theo does not like Fireball. Snowball he has no problems with. They've played together several times with no incident. Fireball, however, is a puppy. A peon. Not only does Theo growl at Fireball...he bares his teeth, very ferociously. He even snapped at him! He basically did every kind of dominant behavior you can think of, just short of straight peeing on him (which I wouldn't have put past him, given time). I was not pleased. Besides the fact that it's horribly embarrassing for my dog to be snapping at the sweetest dog on Earth, and besides the fact that it's not a behavior I will put up with for one minute...it means I can't play with Fireball! Who gets the short end of that stick? Moi!
On our second meeting, Fireball was learning not to jump all over Theo, and Theo was learning to let Fireball give him submissive kisses without snapping at him. Everything looked like they might, maybe, in time, get along. Then I reached out to pet Fireball. Oh my, was that a bad idea! Theo went ballistic! You know, in his adorable, ridiculous, Corgi way. Meeting over, we were on our way. No fair! I want to pet the puppy!
The experience made me realize that while Theo has always been well socialized with other dogs (puppy classes, doggy daycare 2-3 times a week, dog park visits, etc.), he's not necessarily well socialized when it comes to sharing Mommy. He has never liked it when I give another dog attention (though usually if there's another owner there to give him attention, he doesn't care as much), but since he's usually submissive, he doesn't raise a stink. He just gives me a pathetic look that says "how could you?" But since Theo takes the dominant role with puppies like Fireball, he has no problem telling them to back off of his Mommy in a very rude manner. I wonder, is that something dogs can get over with time and practice? Or should I count myself lucky that, thanks to his chicken-like ways, I'm able to pet other dogs at all?
As a hilarious aside, have you ever seen a 150lb Malamute act possessive with his owner? Sanook, whom I've mentioned before, does not approve of all the love his owner gives Theo (which is a lot, Theo eats this guy up with a spoon!) when we see each other, so he's taken to positioning his (humongous!) body between them and then leaning into his owner, causing him to either get up or fall over. Hehe. Oh the things you can do when you're 150lbs.