In a recent thread I started... regarding giving my dog a tennis ball before she exited the house and the positive changes in her behavior.....I experimented with the same approach in other settings. On one of our walking routes to an area where we train...there are numerous dogs either fenced in or tethered...and my dog has always been this uber-vigilant creature..stays in heel position...but is investigating and taking notice of all humans, dogs and anything else that moves or makes noises.....I don't require her to execute a focused heel as long as she stays in the slot...loose leash and all. I guess I viewed this behavior as a trait of the breed...vigilant.
So....I decide to have the dog carry the tennis ball on our walk before we get to one of our exercise/training areas....and she's a completely different dog...she walks past many of the distractions without looking left or right...just carrying that ball...content as can be.
My experience lines up with what Nigel was somewhat saying.....even though we don't play tug along the way.....
We're getting ready to run into town now. I am gonna have my wife video Apollo with us in the store to show everyone what I am seeing. Then I'm gonna go out and bring in Rosko along with Apollo. I want to see if having Rosko who is confident and older will have any impact on how Apollo carries himself. (pack mentality) .
To me he looks like he just lacks confidence. He looks up to you and back at your wife often for reassurance. I would be taking him out often and go back to rewards for ignoring people and staying at your side. Keep him engaged with you as he walks through so he's not worrying about the people around him.
He's not being a jumpy fearful dog, but he is looking for direction. His confidence can use a boost. With some games and good exposures/experiences he'll probably be fine. Talk to the folks at the training club and see what they suggest.