From my experience dogs , when away from home, will bark and act intimidating when they sense fear, because our fear makes them feel like there is something to be afraid of.
Just recently, at work, there was a loose pit bull with a servicedog vest ( yeah right...). Owner sleeping on a bench. The dog chased off a student. I walked up to talk to the owner. The dog ran at me barking and jumping. Had it been pretty much another breed I would have yelled at it to get the F@$& away from me, which has always worked wjhen they act aggressively, and not at home. Being that it was a pit bull, I failed to convince it that I was calm and reassured. My insides were shaking and I knew the dog knew and there was this vicious cycle. The owner approached so very slowly, which bothered me but I know that it reassured his dog.
Anyway, long story....all ended well thankfully.
I own a dog and have owned many throughout the years. Have been on both ends of the situation, with a barking Aussie puppy of mine jumping around someone that screamed in fear. I knew that if they only chilled out it would end immediately, but fear is fear and nothing good can come of that.
Some dogs are easier and nicer off leash, but on the trail it can upset people so I don't do that.
Wht about off leash bears??? Maybe we should sue the state ....