Labradoodle Rescue & Goldendoodle Rescue
Finch is exactly the same!! Off leash he is the sweetest, most submissive dog in the world. He recalls like a charm, plays with anyone and loves everyone. He is respectful of older dogs and gentle with little dogs, there is a little Chihuahua that he plays with who regularly trips him and ends up on top of him. No problems at all, ever. On leash he turns into Kujo. We've had some issues with the only local training facility local and have plans to go elsewhere, but haven't wanted to drive with the winter weather.
It's really weird, because off leash I can have him sit and wait when another dog or people walk by, but on leash he's a totally different dog.
I did have a puppy trainer tell me that what I needed to do is be more interesting than the other dog. One thing that works is singing (people think I'm crazy, but it works) When we see another dog we cross the street as well, when possible, but if I'm singing a silly, little song to him he looks at me and listens rather than looking at (growling at or barking at) the other dog.
Yes, getting and keeping your dog's attention on you is the key! I try to always see whatever is coming before he does. :)