What if when you were walking hand in hand with your significant other; that other kept abruptly changing direction without giving you a heads up? You just got yanked around as they walk this way and that; never giving a second thought about what you were doing at the moment they went the other way. That would be annoying wouldn't it? Although the simple fact that we would be attached by our hands would make it not nearly as annoying as being on the end of a leash and being yanked around. This has always bothered me; the idea of never giving our dogs a heads up. I decided at the beginning of my life as a trainer that it was something that I would teach each client along the way.
The words that I commonly use for direction changes or simply to give my dog their heads up are:
Turn - used for when my dogs are in heel position or walking directly at my side. They learn to hold back so as not to be stepped on when I turn into them.
This way - used to let them know I am changing direction; they can be on or off leash for this. The typical response is that they look up to see where I am going. Over the years I have realized that this word holds much power and implemented properly it is a very useful tool.
Let's go - means to stop lolly gagging or sniffing and come along with me; typically the same direction that we are all ready go in.
This side - used exclusively for trees, poles, fences etc where my dog is on the otherside or starting around the otherside. I have tried to teach this to all of my dogs and Luke displayed a very nice response just yesterday for me. We were leaving the park on leash as he decided to leave on the other side of the chain link fence. As soon as his head was on the wrong side I said to him "this side." He quickly gave me attention, realization and fell into place.
This is simple common courtesy when out on a leasurely walk. Once you learn to give your dog these cues as to your location changes it becomes part of everyday routine.