Mom and Dad want me to walk with a loose leash without an easy walker or other harness. When I was a young pup, I wore a Gentle Leader leash, but I absolutely hated it! I ran away when I saw it and only came when they offered me treats. I pawed at it and tried to take it off, but I was so energetic they knew they needed it to help to keep a hold of me. By the time I turned one, my parents let me wear an Easy Walker leash as I continued my training. As I approached my second birthday, mom's goal was to walk me with the leash attached to my collar without a harness. So she started practicing in the Petco Store where we go to training. Then she started taking me to the bus stop with the leash clipped to my collar. This is actually going very well! However, when we go for a walk I still get excited about squirrels and bunnies and choke myself so she clips the leash onto the Easy Walker for that two mile hike. She wraps the leash around her waist to keep her hands free and prevent yo-yo arm and she stops if I pull the leash taunt. I have learned to look at her and take a step back, but darn it, I really wish she walked or ran at my faster paced speed.  But I am definitely learning what to do. 
As we walk, she stops at every intersection and expects me to look at her. Once I do, she  either points which way to go or offers me a choice of this way or that.  I always have an opinion and signal with my nose. However, once in a while, she doesn't have much time and says we are going back home after two blocks. I dig my heels in and refuse to budge, but once I realize I'm not going to win I agree to go. Sigh. If only I could be in charge!!!
Mom still puts the Easy Walker on me for hikes or public access work, but to go to the car, bus stop, dog park or training she simply clips the leash to my collar. I am really growing up!
 
 
My main job is to help little sis with her autism anxiety issues. She holds onto a short leash when we go out to the mall or a store. Last week, we all went to a large mall in our town. After walking around and riding the elevator, I practiced parking while the girls had a Jamba Juice. All was well until this incredibly loud noise started. Mom said it was a band playing Christmas music, but the vibrations shook everything and you could hear it everywhere. She showed me the noisemakers - tubas and horns - but I just wanted out of the mall RIGHT NOW. I was so relieved when they took me to the car. Big sis had brought money to buy some earrings, so they went back into the mall. I heard later that little sis wandered away twice in the short time without me being there. I really help her stay focused on staying with the group! Mom decided she needs to find a way to introduce me to band music in a smaller environment so I  don't feel so nervous the next time I hear this. 
 
 
I love to play and play big, but for some reason not every dog wants to play with me. I get very excited when I have recess at training class or am at the off-leash dog park. Unfortunately, I jumped on a couple of people and they do not want their dogs to play with me anymore. This usually happens when I first get to the park and especially if there are loud barking dogs or circling border collies.  Some of these dogs are older and some are protective-reactive if I get too close to their parent or they are protecting their ball. I don't care about balls and mostly want to run. So mom is trying to help me learn how to calm down when I get over-excited with a short time-out and to redirect me away from the dogs that don't want to play.  My favorite dogs are the big ones that like to run. I play well with most of the golden retrievers and labs, a Russian wolf hound, one young boxer and an Old English Sheepdog. Bull dogs don't seem to like the way I look and most of the pointers and hounds don't care to play.
Mom takes me to the off-leash park every day she can. After about a half-hour when it is warm or an hour in cool weather I am content and ready to focus for whatever task is asked.  We often go to a store on the way home and the people complement me on my fine public access manners. Then I go home and have a nice long nap. 
 
 
I want to be a good dog, really I do! I've just been feeling so antsy lately. Mom is trying to understanding how important schedules and routine are to me. I had been making lots of progress with self control, but then the girls had two five-day weekends in a row and the clocks changed to daylight savings time. OK, it took about five days for me to figure out everyone gets up later and adjust to the new breakfast and dinner time.  Mom always takes me on a half-hour walk after we put little sis on the bus, but no one took me walking on mornings when there was no school and when mom went with little sis on field trips. I confess, I was begging for treats and whining a lot and my parents didn't like that at all. They even talked about putting the crate back in the hall, but I do settle on the couch when they shut the office door. So they had a pow-wow and Dad agreed to not to give me a chew every time I asked (dang! He was the reliable softy!)  Mom stopped letting me walk away when she gave me a command like "go to your rug," so I resigned myself to chilling with less whining. Mom also changed the time we go for a run at the dog park this week. We used to go in the morning but now go in the afternoon. And then there are these new kittens - my family tells me to "leave that" if they are playing and I get even a tiny bit excited and want to join in. Come on, people, there is a lot going on around here and that makes it harder for me to listen.