I will try to post as much info as I can so hopefully I can get some advice.
First off I want to start by saying I do not want this to turn into a for or against dominance theory argument. I don't beleive in dominance theory towards people, however there is no denying that dogs can be dominant or submissive towards other dogs.
Penny is approaching six months old now. We got her when she was 7 1/2 weeks (or so we thought). When we got her KC registration papers through with her date of birth on it turned out the breeder had told a little white lie and she was actually a little over six weeks when we brought her home. This is what I beleive may be the root of her socialising problems - she was taken away from mum and litter mates too early, therefore missing out on several important life lessons e.g bite inhibition and early socialisation. However, what's done is done and we can't change that now so we have to deal with what we have.
From the first week we had her I had her socialising with my mums (fully vaccinated) yorkie pup who is several months older. At first it was ok, but the yorkie is extremely submissive and Penny soon started to dominate her - standing over her and growling, at only 9 weeks old. The yorkie does attempt to tell her off but Penny doesn't seem to listen. And now Penny is six months old you can only imagine the size difference. Needless to say the yorkie is now becoming afraid of Penny and will not go near her when we go to visit.
Penny also tries to dominate other dogs we meet in the park... At first it was dogs who were smaller than her or that she sensed could be pushed around. She now tries it on with dogs the same size as her, which will obviously start becoming a problem as she grows!
To begin with I put it down to her just being a puppy and having to learn boundaries, but now she's nearly six months Im not so sure.
The wake up came last night when we were stood with a group of dog walkers with two adult labs and a whippet. Penny was mooching around saying hello to the labs (with no problems, I assume because they were larger than her) and then she went to say hello to the whippet, who was only around an inch or so smaller than her. I didnt see what exactly happened as they were behind the other dogs but I can only assume she tried to mount the whippet (she goes up alongside dogs and either puts her front legs over their shoulders or put her back leg over them so she can physically stand over them, or on them if theyre small enough!). The next thing I know she's running away screaming with the whippet growling, chasing and lunging after her. He was also on a flexi lead that got caught around the other dogs so the owner dropped the handle, stupidly I grabbed the cord of the lead to stop the dog attacking Penny and got a nice rope burn across all four fingers and my thumb... But that's a whole other kettle of fish.
Now obviously I'm worried this is going to become a serious problem. At the moment Penny will run off if a dog doesn't take too kindly to her but I'm sure one day she is going to stand up for herself and get into serious trouble.
I've tried looking for advice on the Internet but it all seems to come back with advice for when it has turned into aggression, Penny isn't at the stage yet and I need to know how to manage this or stop it completely before it gets to the point she is aggressive.
At present I don't linger too long when she meets other dogs so she doesn't have the chance to try it on but I want her to be able to socialise well. I also want to be able to visit my mum and not worry about Penny intimidating her dog. I have considered visiting a behaviourist and do have one in mind should I need to, but I was hopin to be able to try a few things at home before forking out the expense.
Labs frequently have a very different notion of personal space compared to other breeds which gets them into trouble at times.
What behaviors do you see as being "dominant", specifically?
Sharon, Blaise and Diesel.
It's the mounting of other dogs - she will either put her head or front legs over another dog, or will totally stand over another dogs, sometimes accompanied by growling. With my mums dog and a young spaniel we saw a couple of times she literally stands on them and flattens them to the floor growling and she doesn't stop when the dog submits. It sometimes takes a severe telling off from the other dog (which sends her running away yelping) to stop her, but we rarely meet a dog that will do that.
Don't let her do that. When you see her go over another dog, remove her (verbally or physically), get her focused on you (give a command she knows and praise her when she does it) and release her to play again. Repeat if necessary and if she doesn't get the hint after a few "corrections", that play times over.