First all, the Holy Grail of walking a dog, especially a big one: loose leash walking. I'm happy to say that, combined with the clicker, repetition and improved consistency (I've never said I was perfect; I just play it on the Internet), Elka walks loose leash very well. I still Heel her on my right. We're also working on the left, for which I use the cue "Fuss", which is German for "heel", so we can act all fancy.
We've also worked on reactions to two persistently present things: barking dogs, and machinery, be it from construction or from yard work.
When Elka was a puppy, or at least considerably smaller, my fiance was walking her and somebody mowing a lawn for a service decided it would be great and funny to charge the mower at the sidewalk as they passed. When he told me this, I was livid. It was before we had the EZYWalk harness, so she could have easily slipped her collar, gotten hurt, etc. As a result, for awhile, she would be jumpy about going past a yard where the lawn was being mowed, a leaf blower was being used, or a weed whacker, that kind of thing. She also extended this jumpiness to construction machinery, just in case, because obviously it was Out To Get Her. So I did what any good New School dog trainer would do (can we even call it that? It isn't actually all that new) and set out with the dog, and some lovely treats, for what we in the business call counter conditioning. The idea is to pair the Scary Stressor with something positive, so that the dog associates positive things with said stress object, and eventually stops stressing over it.
Now? She pauses and watches people doing yard work. And construction. If she was a little human girl, we would say that she "flirts" with construction workers. Because seriously. She does.
Barking dogs are a persistent problem everywhere, I daresay. If the dog's people aren't home, or even if they are, the dog may feel territorial about people (with or without dogs) passing through their view. They may just be bored. Regardless, barking has its own reward, and in my time walking Elka, none of the houses we pass have had an abatement in barking. I imagine a barking dog to Elka sounds like what to me would be a person screaming in my face. Not pleasant, and kind of senseless. She looks nervous, throws off calming signals, and bolts a little bit in order to get past more quickly. Or at least she did.
Now, we pass a yard where she knows there's a barking dog, and she pauses and looks at the yard, and looks at me. She walks more slowly and deliberately. In particular, there is a yard with a picket fence and a little Jack Russell who tears out from God knows where and runs the fence and barks until the man of the house yells at her. Lately, there's been a delay in the barking, and then it starts. If the dog is inside, or not home, and never starts barking, Elka seems disappointed. When the dog does bark, though, she looks up at me expectantly, as if to say "Well, look, there's a barking dog, I guess you should put some food in my mouth."
So, who trains who?