My puppy seems to be too excited to meet dogs and overwhelms other puppies. Need advice on how to socialize him better.

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Hi all – would love to get another opinion or any advice on this. My fiancé and I have a 17 week old Lakeland Terrier, about 10 pounds now. Supposedly, he was socialized very well early on (raised on a Vet's office, stayed with siblings and mom until ~12 weeks of age). He's very good with people – extremely friendly, great bite inhibition, and is just very "confident"/never afraid in general (the trainer at Petco says he's very "dominant" and another, more terrier-experienced trainer we've consulted would say he's extremely "confident"). The problem is when he meets other puppies, he comes on extremely strong and they capture his entire attention, so we are having trouble bringing his focus back to us. We bring him to the Petco puppy socialization once or twice a week, and he basically starts barking/growling/fighting to go play with other puppies and never quite "winds down". He's a very high energy but small dog, so he kind of overwhelms other low-energy small dogs (think pugs, Maltese), and larger puppies aren't a great match for him to easily play with. He often tries to jump on other puppies/pins them, which we've been trying to discourage (he has been pinned himself and is ok with it), and also had a bit of a bite and hold problem, but with correction seems to be happening much less often.

Basically, we have two venues of socialization right now – the Petco class and a private trainer/small dog group. In the Petco class, the guy running it never lets him off leash (all the other puppies are off leash). I'm worried this is getting to be a bit counterproductive because it's making him react even more strongly fighting the leash and jumping on puppies that come into his radius. There are getting to be *a lot* of puppies at this social so I kind of understand the guy running it not being able to also watch our dog. I have offered to monitor my puppy myself, but he often wants to keep him on leash or limited in some way. I don't have much puppy experience, so would really appreciate any thoughts on how the socialization is being handled. The other venue is the small dog group/private trainer. Early on, he learned some "social" walking with the other, older small dogs. However, he is so driven to try to play with the other dogs that he once pulled past me and pulled one of the other dog's ears. Since then the trainer has been extremely cautious with him because ears can tear, and he hasn't been able to interact freely with other dogs in this group since then. I understand that no one wants to sort of sacrifice their dog for my dog's socialization, I just don't know if there's a place where he can just play/learn. He's a little young for a dog park and I worry his coming on so strong will just results in him having a bad experience with dogs there.

Any advice? Are the Petco/trainer's reactions correct? I kind of feel like there's a bit of overreaction, but I'm really not sure and I really don't want to give other puppies a negative experience either. For what it's worth, we are in the Bay Area, so if anyone knows of any great socialization venues I would love to hear them.

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