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?
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.