As soon as possible you should develop permission rituals with your pup.

Permission rituals are a set of rules that you consistently follow when on a walk. For example:

  • Is your dog allowed to leave the sidewalk and walk on the grass?
  • Is she allowed to venture into flower beds?
  • Can she stop and smell a fire hydrant?

There's no right answer here. The important thing is you have a set of rules and you stick to them.

Maybe your rule is that your dog needs to check in with you and get permission before going off into the grass. In practice, that would mean your dog looks up at you and waits for you to give a cue like "go see" to grant permission.

Maybe all you really care about is your dog coming back to your side when you ask her to. In that case, you'll focus a lot on "Profit Position on Cue" and not worry too much about how much time your pup spends directly by your side.

It's a good idea to write down what you think your rules are and revisit them periodically to see if you're actually following them and if they're working for you.