Hoping that he would instantly mature, I have been working Monte pretty hard the last few weeks, ever since he turned one year old. Well that did not happen. His anxiety has seemingly increased which makes him even more susceptible to distractions. Corrections and stress simply exacerbate the situations.
Taking a step back to assess the situation, I have decided that we both need to take some time off and relax. His obedience is very good and a week off shouldn't hurt. For the next week or so, we will continue his socialization and exercise. On our run this evening, he was very focused on moving forward and barely noticed the birds, squirrels, and dogs that we passed.
My hope is that a couple of stress free weeks of running past his distractions will help condition him to ignore them in the future. Monte is smart dog, and quickly picks up on the energy of others. So it is equally important that I take this opportunity to refocus and bond with my canine trainee.