Todd and I go to the dog park at least 1-2 times a week and have for the past 4 months.
He loves it!
It gives him a chance to socialize and burn off some energy and gives me a chance to work on some off leash training with him.
Our dog park is split into two sections completely enclosed by a 6 ft fence. Each section has a double gate (which I love)and so you can let the dogs sniff through the gated area before letting them loose.
We go during off peak hours usually and so I use the big dog side most of the time.
The big dog side is about an acre and the small dog is about 1/3 acre.
Our first trip was intimidating because Todd was scared of the other dog that was there and when the dog (a Pug mix) tried to sniff him Todd attacked him out of fear.
Luckily the other dog's owners were laid back about it and told me to let the dogs work it out...they did and within a few minutes they were running/wrestling and having a wonderful time.
If I would have followed my gut reaction I would have left the dog park and Todd wouldn't have the joy of meeting people and dogs...I'm so grateful to the other dogs owners for suggesting that i let them work it out.
Todd gets along really well with all sizes of dogs now as long as they don't play too rough (rolling him,ect.)
We've only had a couple of negative experiences and those were due to owners not controlling their dogs.
When there are large numbers of big dogs they seem to pick on Todd more often and so if there are more than 2-3 we usually move over to the small dog side unless they are dogs/owners that I know and trust.
When Todd gets nervous he'll hide between my feet or anyone's feet that are available.
He only acts that way now when the larger dogs are getting too rambunctious and so that's when I know that it's time to visit with the small dogs.
When he was younger he would hide between my feet and beg to be picked up sometimes but I would walk away from him and soon he was running with the pack.
I didn't pick him up or pet him when he acted insecure because I didn't want to encourage the nervous behavior and it worked really well for us.
I've met several small dog owners that thought that their dogs were afraid of other dogs.
I usually try to get them to at least try letting the dogs say hi to each other and they always do great after the initial sniff.
I think that socializing with other dogs is a learned process.
Todd has gone from a timid/shy/nervous puppy to a friendly/tail wagging/outgoing dog who looks forward to his trips to the park to play with his friends.