I'm new to the forum so any advice would be gratefully received.
We have a 3 year old male chocolate labrador called Oliver who has started to be quite afraid of large groups of dogs. He is extremely friendly with other dogs in general, quite possibly overly friendly. He does pull on the lead quite badly if he wants to say hello to another dog and he is quite assertive and dominant with some dogs, but never aggressive
So he clearly likes other dogs but put him in a situation where there are more than 3 or more dogs and he is quite literally frozen to the spot, even if those 3 dogs are made up of 3 individual dogs that he is normally friendly with.
This all stems from a pack of Springer spaniels we bump into on most of our walks. The first time I noticed this Oliver was off his lead and I had walked past the spaniels so that were between me and Oliver. I called him to come but he wouldn't budge. I eventually had to go back and get him and put him on his lead before he would walk passed them. Even then he was pulling as hard as he could, almost running on his lead to get passed as quickly as possible. These dogs have never attacked him, never shown any signs of aggression and in general seem very playful and curious to say hello but Oliver is just petrified by them. Some days are worse than others, yesterday we walked passed them with no problems, just a bit more pulling than usual. Today I literally had to drag him passed them because he wouldn't move.
I don't think it's not a breed thing because his best friend is a springer spaniel called Homer and he almost wets himself with excitement when we bump into him. It's just these 4 spaniels, he's petrified of them but I don't know how to show him that these dogs aren't a threat.
Any tips or advice? I've tried standing with him and letting the spaniels come up to oliver but he just puts his tail between his legs and cowers down.