You have received a lot of great advice, and I'm sure have a ton you want to work on, so I won't try to add anything since I think the best points I could make have been made.
Instead, just know that you aren't alone in your feelings with Kwame. Dexter is also 13 months this February, and the experience has been a roller coaster of sorts. His threshold for attention is extremely low and very distracted by the 8 or 9 other dogs in our class. We have aspirations to train him for therapy work, so I definitely know the feeling of discouragement by the behavior.
We started CU (and are also on the Yahoo Group) a month ago. The Puppy Book then came out this month and has given us even more information and strategies to work on. I would definitely say that Leslie's material is a great starting place for Kwame. It may feel so far off right now, but a few tweaks and I think you'll see great progress. It certainly also has to do with the age of our dogs right now.
If the refusal to eat happens only with a new bag, it is likely your dog is sensing something about the food, not just bored with it. You are lucky the dog is this sensitive. Assuming there is some problem with the food, obviously better to have it refused than to end up with a sick dog. I would always suspect food first as a cause of any illness that occurs right after beginning feeding from a new bag. Productions mistakes happen. Possible with any food that involves a "pre mix", which pretty much describes all the dry foods. (that is one of the reasons I like NRG dehydrated. No pre mix) Obviously there could also be a problem with other ingredients, but I have seen mistakes in mixes for livestock often enough to be suspicious of the additives.
I had never heard of NRG. It sounds amazing. How is the price comparison of using NRG vs. TOTW ($50 for 30lbs)? Do you use the Maxim?
I agree. Thanks for the advice! He does well when we walk by people, but does very poorly when either A) someone approaches interested in petting him, or B) speaks to me (e.g. "What kind of dog is that"). I find it odd that he becomes instantly over threshold once the stranger's attention is turned towards him or I. Even more odd to me is that this has developed only over a month, and prior to that he had been excellent with strangers.
Why do you carry a clicker around with you? That sounds awkward. Once a command is on cue, you shouldn't need it. (unless you are carrying it to potentially mark some other behaviour you are hoping he will offer??) If he responds to your cue "watch" , then you reward, but not every time. Intermittent rewarding yields better results once the dog understands the command. This is pretty basic clicker training stuff.
I carry the clicker to mark any behavior that isn't anxiety in the company of strangers, since there is no cue right now that will alleviate him. Leslie in CU mentions actually more frequent clicking as more beneficial for an overstimulated dog such a Dexter.
Dex and I have been working really hard at improving his behavior around strangers. We live in a city, so it is pretty hard to avoid the constant flow of people around town. Just to recap from previous posts, I have had him since 4 months and we have heavily socialized him since. He was fantastic with strangers as a puppy, but now at 13 months he is beyond terrible with them. I no longer allow people to pet him when asked and his hair stands on end at approachers.
Oddly, he waits to see the stranger's motive before making a response. If the person just walks by, we can walk on and he settles down. If that person pays him any attention or speaks to me, he lunges and lets out a small growl! I have no clue why this behavior has turned for the worst. We carry a clicker and treats everywhere we go, and my strategy as of late has been to click and treat every time we walk by someone, as long as he looks up at me on the command "watch". I do this so that he can take his concentration off of the walking-byers and know that a reward comes when strangers are around.
Lastly, we have gotten both the CU book and the new CU Puppy Book, which are excellent. I am hopeful that some of those strategies might be of use, but I definitely fear for the stage we are currently at.