starting off leash work
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Thread: starting off leash work

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2006

    Defaultstarting off leash work

    I'd like to start Gabby on off-leash work soon, but I'm not sure quite how to go about it. We've done some off leash stuff in my condo- she's really good about it, but it's a small space with minimal distractions.

    I was thinking about using fishing line or something akin to that as sort of a bridge. Is that an okay idea or do you all have recommendations besides that?


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  3. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2006

    DefaultRe: starting off leash work

    String might be a little esier on your hands than fishing line. I use lots of treats too, certainly at first. Very little of my training is done on leash, just in new places and class.

  4. #3
    patm's Avatar
    patm is offline Senior Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    SE Ohio

    DefaultRe: starting off leash work

    This was a problem for me too (figuring out how to do it). One thing we have done in class is to throw the leash over your shoulder so you don't have it in your hands, but the dog kinda thinks you do, and it is also readily available if you need it. I also decided to go back to how I started "heel" in the first place. We would start with a sit, Heel 3 steps then halt and sit. Then increase the number of steps. I am lucky with Emilu that she is off-leash a lot in different places, so I didn't have to worry about her running off or anything, just staying in the heel position. I also lured her with treats, or made sure that she knew I was carrying a treat in my hand in heel position. That will keep her attention quick! I also do alot of her other commands off leash (we train on the back patio a lot.) So she was used to being off leash. We have been working on heeling off-leash for a while now, and her biggest problem is lagging a little bit. I am going to entered Rally Advanced this spring and it is all off leash - it will be a big step for us, but if I can talk to her, or pat my leg a little , I think she'll do Ok. We are also practicing our heeling patterns for Novice Obedience. I probably am not doing things in the best way, but it's what I'm doing right now.

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  6. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2006

    DefaultRe: starting off leash work

    There is a wonderful book (and video) for teaching off leash heeling called "Choose to Heel" by Dawn Jecs

    Summary of the method

    We used a lot of her techniques to teach Essy to heel.

    Pat's idea of throwing the leash over your shoulder is a good one.

    You can also use a light line (a thin nylon rope). You can make this yourself.

    There is also something called a Shark Line which is shark line on a wooden handle. The dog can't see the line so it doesn't know that it's still on leash. I use this.

    Another option is a tab lead (a 2-3" pc of leather or nylon that hangs from the collar). You can start out heeling while holding it then drop it. You can also use it whenever a correction is needed.


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