Free-walk (off-leash) - Meaning no real position work or training
-Stay relatively close to me while we're moving. If I'm staying still, as long as I can see him and nothing looks questionable in the environment, he's cool.
-No eating foreign stuff (namely poop, and you wouldn't believe how many half-eating chicken wings or pork chop bones he finds...makes me wonder about the people in the development...) off the ground. Sniffing is fine. "Fetching" it is not ideal, but I won't correct him for basically an offered retrieve. I'd rather him bring it to me than eat it!
-No going on other people's property. Obviously he doesn't know what that is, but I'll redirect him off of it.
-Look at me before peeing on anything. He knows how to do this so I require it of him every time. If he does this and it's an okay spot, I'll give the "go ahead" (i.e. go potty cue), otherwise, I'll recall him and bring him to a good spot.
-As always, follow any cues given regardless of anything else.
Off-leash heeling or "migrating".
-Maintain the general position. Doesn't have to be exact to-the-inch perfect, but if his butt is lined up with my leg - that's too far in front.
-If he needs/wants to pee on something, he can give me eye contact while we are moving. If it's steady contact and he's maintaining his position with any decent accuracy - I'll give the "go potty" cue and let him sniff around and pick a spot to pee for 90 seconds, or until he's done investigating and comes back by me to continue walking. (btw, the reason I picked 90 seconds is because of this site
and the level 3 "Handling" task is eliminating in under 2 minutes. So I figured 90 seconds would be even better
-As always, all cues/directions need to be followed and he's also has to recognize that I've stopped moving and he's to sit and look at me before we continue. If he's needing help or is just too distracted, he has a "focus" cue I will give him. That means get to my side, sit, and look at me for our next move.
My heel "cue" is me either stopping dead in my tracks (happens when he goes too far out front mostly), or me not moving and just not paying him any attention (so that I don't have to look at him when I need to be looking to see if it's safe to cross the street or if the walk signal is up, etc, my standing still is to be enough, given the context of the situation). I know I probably should have an actual cue, but I also want him to learn to act correctly and independently by reading the context of the environment and what I'm doing (or not doing) at the moment. He's getting better at it.
On-leash is basically the same as the above two scenarios with no pulling or tight leash allowed. That causes an abrupt interruption in whatever we are doing until he's sitting by my side and looking at me. (or sometimes a bit of negative reinforcement in the form of being yanked because of his own choice of direction, i.e. I'm not yanking him, just moving in the same line and it's his deviation that's caused the discomfort, prompting him to get quickly back in line)
Goes without saying that I have my clicker and treats ready to mark and reward successful rule following. No real corrections, just redirection with other cues or Premack style "negotiation" (look at me and you can pee on those leaves)
It probably reads as more dictating than it is if you were to see us out and about. Wally always gets compliments about how good he behaves even when not on leash. One lady was like "how do you do that? If that were my dog, he'd have run away!"