We adopted a puppy (50% Anatolian Shepherd, 50% unknown) a couple of months ago and have just started taking her out to socialize her with other people since she got her final shots. She absolutely loves meeting new people, and does so with a combination of sniffing, minor licking, and running in circles around them. However, my partner and I have differing views on how these interactions should occur and I'd like to know the commonly accepted way to avoid making any unnecessary social faux pas.
My partner feels that when strangers approach the dog we should allow them to pet her, but that we should keep tight control. If she attempts to go onto her hind legs and put her front paws on someone we should pull the leash tightly so that she is essentially standing on her back two legs with the front of her body supported by us in mid air. She sees it as our responsibility to closely oversee the situation and prevent unapproved interactions. In short, I guess she views others sort of as 'outsiders' who may want to just glimpse the outer bounds of human/dog interactions.
I, on the other hand, feel that when others interact with our puppy (and seem comfortable) they are taking on a sort of stewardship for her control at that point. I'm still holding the leash and ready to immediately respond in case anything gets out of hand, of course, but do not want to interfere. Restricting her in those situations feels to me like picking up one of our kids and holding their hands and feet together so that a stranger can poke them on the nose; that's no fun for anyone, as the interaction will be more genuine and meaningful if the two of them are allowed to interact in their own preferred paradigm. If the other people want to let the pup sniff their chest, or they want to dance with her or rub her belly, I don't want to restrict that enriched interaction.
Each of us is, I think, assuming others want to interact with our dog the way we've always wanted to interact with other peoples' dogs. I tend to have strangers' dogs on their backs getting belly rubs, smothered in good old-fashioned baby talking, within minutes of meeting. But I'm wandering now if I'm not the norm.
We both agree that we should not allow our pup to interact with others unless those people initiate the interaction themselves. And we try to make sure she has a harness on instead of just her collar when we're in busy places, so as to distribute any pull across her entire frame instead of just her neck.
What is expected of us, as dog owners, by the average person. This question is specific to American culture.