Help with overly submissive dog!

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My dog is 8 months old and he is a Cavoodle. He’s very sweet and absolutely loves other people. He will run up to any stranger and lick them, jump up into their arms for a cuddle etc.

He is good with other dogs, but he’s only really interacted with a few (due to covid times. I got him in February). My aunts dogs are all older and are calm and patient with him. He will sniff them but won’t play with them.

This weekend my friend brought her dog to meet mine. Her dog is a 2 year old Chihuahua / Lab mix that she rescued when he was about 3 months old.

Her dog is crazy. He’s sweet and he’s nice but is used to playing with much bigger dogs.

He ran at my dog and my dog immediately went submissive, crawled away, tail under etc but her dog wouldn’t leave him alone. He barked at him and nipped at him (trying to get him to play but my dog is obviously scared). My dog ended up falling into the pool twice trying to get away from my friend’s dog.

It got to the point I just let my dog sit on my lap and he was calmer and happier to be away from the other dog.

My friend kept insisting it was fine and I needed to “let the dogs figure it out”, but I felt by this point my dog made is very clear he didn’t want to play and was afraid but her dog kept persisting.

I know my dog needs to toughen up a bit and stick up for himself, but I don’t want him to start biting and being aggressive towards other dogs if he’s uncomfortable.

Should I have just let them work it out? Even though my dog literally ran away multiple times, cowered in the ground, cried, submitted and fell in the pool?

What can I do moving forward to help my dog be more confident with other dogs? I want him to play like a normal dog but he’s just more comfortable with people than dogs.

Thanks!! Any help would be appreciated.

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