1) Nope! If you want her to just chase after the ball, just throw it! I would mix it up a little- short sit, short down, long sit, long down. I've worked up to downing my dog on one end of the field, jogging to the other end, and releasing him to fetch a thrown ball. This really works the mind!
Quote:But if sometimes you have her sit/stay and let her RELEASE HERSELF and then reward her with the ball............that's where you are inconsistant. Only when you give a command and she doesn't do it properly but you REWARD her anyways is there an issue. If you are just playing and no commands, it's just play.
BINGO. If you put her in a position, do NOT allow her to break from that position unless you give the release word. This will teach her that so long as she sits/downs, she can go do whatever she wants whenever she wants. Not so! "Down" means "Get down and stay down until *I* tell you otherwise."
I used to use "OK" as a release, now I use "break." My trainer said she noticed a difference once she switched to this, I don't know if I notice one but it is easy, quick, and sharp, and we don't say that nearly as often as "ok."
2) I think this is good. I don't trust anyone and I do NOT like to leave my dog unattended outside. We don't have a yard, but if we did, I would be outside if he's outside, rain or shine. I've known of too many people who had their dogs snatched when they were alone. Sounds like she's a very smart, prudent dog!