The Importance of Training your Dog to the Fence
Training your dog to respond to your containment fence is EXTREMELY important. We cannot reiterate this enough. Containment fence systems are a highly effective way to keep your dog safe in your yard, providing the training has been completed.
Some people may think that simply putting the collar on their dog and throwing the dog out into the backyard to work it out for themselves is the easiest way to go about it however, you will more than likely end up with a very nervous dog that is completely unsure of where they can and cannot go.
The idea of any dog containment system is to teach the dog their new boundaries and limitations through proper training and reinforcement. This way, your dog understands where they can and can't go.
The Fight or Flight Response
Like humans, dogs have a fight or flight response. If your dog hasn't been walked through the training process, they will eventually approach the boundary and receive a static stimulation for the first time.
When this happens, they will either have a fight or flight response. If your dog has the 'fight' response, your dog will dart through the static stimulation zone until they reach the other side when the static stimulation stops. Once they reach this side, they will not be able to get back into your yard because they will receive a static stimulation when they walk towards the boundary again.
If your dog has the 'flight' response, your dog will back away from the boundary but they will be nervous to walk around the yard because they're not sure when they'll receive the static stimulation.
At the end of the day, the main reason you need to do the training is to keep your dog safe. When your dog has been properly trained to use the system, they will understand where their new boundary is and how to respond to the warning tone and static stimulation zone.
Step 1. Getting Your Dog Used to Wearing the Receiver Collar
For a few days before commencing the official part of your training, maybe while you are installing your dog containment fence, get the dog used to wearing the collar several times a day randomly. Make sure the system and collar are off, the longer you do this, the better.
Why? When your dog gets used to wearing the collar, they will not associate the correction with the collar, instead, they will associate their behaviour of getting to close to the boundary with the correction.
Step 2. Teaching your Dog to Respond to the Warning Tone
Note: The flags should be set up where the warning tone goes off.
This stage is done on a long lead or old rope. Do not use your normal walking lead for this step. This is because your dog associates a walking lead with leaving the property, which you are training them not to do.
Have the collar turned on in the training (tone) mode if you have it. If not, you may have plastic covers to go over the probes or you can cover them with tape. You don't want the dog to get a static correction just yet.
We want the warning tone to activate at the flags. Walk to various points around your property and whenever your dog gets the warning tone, tug your dog back towards the centre of the yard.
Give lots of praise or even a treat if you like. Do short sharp sessions of 2-5 minutes to keep your dog interested. When your dog understands that they need to turn around at the warning tone & flags, move to the next stage.
Step 3. Teaching your Dog to Respond to the Static Stimulation
Note: Set the collar to the lowest static stimulation level.
Still on lead, we do the same as the last stage. This is a critical stage where we are teaching the dog to respond in the same manner. If they get the correction; we still turn and move to the centre of the yard or the ‘safe zone’.
Note: If your dog's collar has adjustable levels, you may need to increase the level to a strength that matches your dog's drive. The response you should see from your dog is an ear flick or twitch.
By being on lead we prevent the dog from running through the correction and going further into the correction field. Your dog will then also learn the correction only comes when approaching the fence and wire.
When your dog understands that he needs to retreat back into the safe zone any time he receives a correction, you can move to the final stage of the training process!
Step 4. Adding Distractions
Time to remove the lead! Your dog can now walk freely around the inside of your yard.
Without calling your dog into the correction area of the dog fence system, give him incentives to enter the zone like running through it yourself or roll a ball into the zone etc.
If your dog stops at the warning/stimulation zone - that's great! Once your dog hits these milestones you are ready to let the hidden dog fence do the work for you!
If they get to the stimulation zone and walk further into the stimulation zone, repeat step 3.
I suggest keeping an eye on your dog for the next few days to ensure he does not decide to test the system any stage.
Run Through Zones
If you have what I call run through zones (no physical fences) I suggest doing plenty of stage 2 and 3 to really hammer home the need to turn around and not run through.
Your dog containment system is now hopefully synced to your dog’s brain and he/she has a healthy respect for it! No more escaping dog! Just remember, do not shortcut your training.
Electric Dog Fences cannot be responsible for keeping your dog safe without some help from you.