I totally understand where you are coming from, LOL. I have a malinois that is slow to mature. This is our first time raising a sports dog from puppyhood so we didnít know what to expect.
Somewhere between 15 to 17 months of age, she made a big leap in her OB and focus. Her prey drive was low as a puppy (it turned on at 16-17 months, late bloomer), her food drive is good but not great, so I was always worried about doing too much at a young age and squashing her drives. I tried my best to keep OB fun fun fun for her.
Between 12-15 months of age, she started to explore her surroundings, her focus was somewhat more sporadic outdoors. I just kept her sessions short and rewarded really well whenever she did a good job.
Between 15-17 months, we didnít do as much training outdoors because of Texas/summer heat. We walked in late evenings and I did short attention heeling (10-20 steps), really simple sit, down, stand, and rewarded heavily for focus/attention.
When we re-started training outdoors (parks) at 17 months, her engagement was a lot better, I think she matured, it seemed like she put all the broken pieces of her OB puzzle together, if that makes sense.
Correction-wise, she is handler-sensitive, so I try to use as little compulsion as possible. She started wearing an e-collar off and on at 6 months, but I didnít use it. I nicked her a couple of times for counter-surfing when she was 16 months, and I didnít use it on OB stuff until she was 19 months old (I rarely need it).
We did a lot of restrained recalls when she was a puppy, so her recall has always been good.
I didnít teach her duration longer than a few seconds until she was 15-16 months old, I wanted her to mature more, but thatís just me.
As for other dogs, we have two GSDs and a Westie as well, other than occasional play time, she is separated from them (her puppy energy is too much for the two seniors, our 3-year-old GSD doesnít want to play with her). I donít let her play with other dogs, and I re-direct her whenever she sees other dogs on walks/in parks.
At 21 months, she still has a lot of maturing to do. She acts more like she is a year old. She is ďbehindĒ on her OB when compared to dogs in her age group (we are training for Mondioring), but I am happy with her. She is confident, well-adjusted, goofy, people-friendly, and dog-friendly. In hindsight, I am glad I didnít rush her.
Here is a little video of us from last week (we just switched from food to toy reward recently)Ö.