We realized after taking them a few weeks ago (when we stopped for a brew at the Tap House) that downtown walks may be just the thing we need to work on Edi's reactivity. While he still tends to be dog reactive, one thing we've noticed is he is becoming reactive to people. We know his body language and know that it is not aggressive reactivity, but it really is poor behavior -- and not a way to pass the CGC.
We have to keep a really close eye on him - making sure he has enough space, he's not "red zoning" on a particular person, and he's giving us good focus -- walking downtown is a great way to make encounters with others more mundane. When we walk around our neighborhood, we only see one or two people. I think this allows Ed to think it's his neighborhood and sidewalk.
Forcing him to share with a lot of other people during our downtown walks (again, while listening to what he is telling us and looking for signs of discomfort) takes that ownership and the surprise out of other pedestrians.
Not only is walking downtown a great training opportunity for Ed, we have a lot of fun. We relish every chance we can get to support our city, especially the downtown shops and restaurants. Being present downtown is an easy way to do so with the pooches.
Do you have a special place to walk with your dogs?