Linus had a productive day. We worked off-leash outdoors in the fenced garden today (we only got a -little- muddy) and while we definitely still have some work to do, his problems seemed to stem mostly from confusion. This pup is certainly used to outside time being play time. We first worked on-leash in the garden and he did great. I only had to correct him once or twice when we were first getting started. After we ran through all our commands I removed the leash. He Heeled next to me and sat down when I stopped and he definitely liked the praise he got for it. When I did an Implied Stay from the Sit and then asked him to Down from the Front he looked at me for a second and then play bowed and bolted across the garden. He definitely wanted me to chase him as he ran around me and barked. I followed him calmly all the way to the other end of the garden as he happily bounded around, clearly not aware that he had made a mistake. When he realized I wasn't playing and stopped running I was able to reattach the leash and I corrected him all the way back to where he was supposed to have laid down. He was certainly confused. We worked on leash for a few minutes and then I removed the leash again. Once again, he did great for a while but when I asked him to Come, he bolted. This time he stopped running sooner and when he realized I wasn't playing tag he seemed to be genuinely worried that he had made a mistake again. I corrected him across the garden again; back to where he made his mistake. At this point he was pretty stressed and unsure of what to do. We worked on-leash again to put him somewhere familiar (and to give me an excuse to praise him and make him feel happy again) and then tried off-leash once more. He did Heel/Autosit, Down at the Side, Implied Stay, and Come off-leash. There were a few times when I could tell he came very close to making a mistake again but he restrained himself. After he did a good Recall command I decided to end the workout and let him process for a while.
Tomorrow I am going to work him in the garden again and I also may use a long line to help with the bolting issue. If he bolts on a long line he will correct himself when he reaches the end of it and it will keep him from rewarding himself (by making me follow him) for running away.
All in all, I call this day a success. He is almost ready to go home!