I feel lucky that this dog, Shyla, has chosen to trust me. When I first met her, I wasn't certain that she would.
When Shyla becomes aware that loose dogs are approaching us, she freezes in place, standing directly in the middle of the trail. She shrinks by lowering her body so that she looks smaller. And, she becomes unresponsive to verbal instructions or even treats.
I've finally found a strategy that prevents her from being surrounded by the dogs and bullied. Before they get to us, I gently lead her off the trail by the collar. If there's a high spot, like a boulder, I guide her to stand on it. Then, I serve as a blocker, keeping the dogs or curious people away from her. None of the dogs who we normally see on our trails are aggressive. However, Shyla's fearful demeanor seems to make them overly focused on her.
I'm so glad that we've figured out a way to cope with it, assuming that we see the other dogs soon enough. Shyla has started to look to me as others approach, waiting for me to lead her to safety.