Electric Dog Fence Training

 

Overview

The first part of the training we expose the dog to the boundary and teach them to retreat from the flags and the tone the collar generates. Use positive reinforcement to encourage the dog. These 3 days lays the foundation to break the dogs natural reaction to run forward when alarmed, a tunnel vision of sorts. By the end of the 3rd day the dog will know what is expected of them when we move to the next level of training.

Introduction to the fence – 3 days

The first part of the training we expose the dog to the boundary and teach them to retreat from the flags and the tone the collar generates. Use positive reinforcement to encourage the dog. These 3 days lays the foundation to break the dogs natural reaction to run forward when alarmed, a tunnel vision of sorts. By the end of the 3rd day the dog will know what is expected of them when we move to the next level of training.

Before you start

The dog must be kept on a leash for the entire training period (12 days) without exceptions. If the dog is allowed to run across the flags during the training period, they will be harder to contain within your boundaries. It is also important to note that training time and 'doing business' time should not be mixed. A 15 foot training lead or a retractable leash is preferred for the training.

Disable the correction on the dog fence collar so that collar beeps when near the boundary, but does not correct the dog. For some systems you do this by adjusting the correction settings on the collar, in others you will cover the collar probes with small rubber insulating caps. You can also wrap the collar probes in masking tape or electrical tape to stop them correcting the dog.

Fitting the collar on the dog, ensuring that the collar probes contact the dog’s skin.  Remember, if the contacts are not touching the dog’s skin, the dog will not receive the correction. For long hair dogs, this will often require you to move hair out of the way so that the contacts contact skin. If the hair is too thick, thin out the hair in the area of the contact using a pair of scissors. When you fasten the collar it should be tight enough to hold the contacts in place. Most people fit collars by sliding their fingers between the collar and the dogs neck. This is not the case for electric dog fence collars. The collar should fit snugly at the top of your dog’s neck where the neck is most narrow and has the least fur. Adjust the collar so it's just snug enough to slide one finger between a post and your dog's neck. Periodic adjustment of the collar's fit may be necessary as a dog’s coat, weight, and age change. You may think a properly fitted dog fence collar is too tight and too high. Although this is a collar, it is not like any other, and to work best it must fit high and snug. A collar being incorrectly fitted is the most common causes of a dog ignoring the correction.

 

Pressure Necrosis is the medical term for 'bed sores'. It is caused by anything touching the skin for extended periods of time. Since the collar must touch the dogs skin in order to contain them, the collar should be put on the dog in the morning and taken off in the evening. On 12 hours, off 12 hours is the general rule. This will avoid this condition.

Note: some dogs may have skin conditions that require you to remove the collar more often. If your dog develops slight sore where the probes touch, remove the collar more frequently and apply neosporin to the area.

Train one dog at a time. Each training session should be free of distractions. The better focus your dog has on learning the retreat portion of the training the easier the rest of the process.

The electric dog fence collar should never leave your property. Besides shocking your dog when you leave, it is possible that someone else has an electric dog fence that could shock your dog.

Training Exercise

Start the exercise by having one person stand on the outside of the flags and another person inside the flags with the dog on the leash. Let the dog lead you around. If the dog does not head toward the boundary, slowly walk toward the boundary, stopping about one yard before you reach the boundary flags. Let the dog wander toward and past flags and until their collar starts beeping.

When the collar starts beeping, pull on the leash and quickly pull the dog back into it’s safe area and have the person on the outside of the flags shake the flags vigorously (they should make noise). When the dog gets back to you, reward them with praise or a treat. Remember to stay behind the dog so that you can pull him back into the safe area. When you do pull him back it should be exaggerated with a sense of urgency.

Repeat this process, using different sections of the fence each time for ten minutes. Do this twice a day for a three days. You will notice that your dog may start to automatically turn away from the flags. This is what you want to happen. Some dogs may not demonstrate much progress, but nonetheless they are still internalizing the boundary rules as you will soon see.

 

Introduction to static correction – 5 days

 

Setting the Correction Level

Reactivate the shock on your collar, either by adjusting the controls or removing any probe covers you added. Set the correction level at the lowest level regardless of the size or breed of the dog. The rule is with correction levels you can always go up but never down in strength. The correction level required by each dog is different but you will adjustments after you have observed the dog get their first correction. You can better gauge the right correction level based on their reaction. If the dog does not have any reaction, adjust the collar up one level until you notice any sort of reaction from the dog. At that point it is enough to train the dog.

 

Training exercise

As previously, you are going to put the dog on a long leash and take them about a yard from the boundary. As before you never want to lure the dog over the boundary, let them wander over by themselves. It may take a few minutes. When they cross and the beeping starts, wait till they receive their correction. This may take a second or so. You will know the dog got the correction because they will visible flinch or recoil. Then pull the dog back into the safe area. The person on the outside of the flags shakes the flags. Praise the dog when he gets to you.

If the dog gets the correction do not baby them. The dog received a static shock, it was just like the static shock you sometime get on carpet, more surprising than painful. You are the pack leader, if you panic they will panic and they will not learn. If you act like it is not a big deal it will not be a big deal and they will learn that the shock was simply the consequence of crossing the boundary and that it can easily be avoided by staying back from the boundary.

If the dog doesn’t cross the boundary, reward them. Watch their body language. You will often see the dog heading toward the boundary, but then stop when it shifts it’s vision to the flags. You will often see a dog spontaneously turn their back to the flags. You want to reward this type of behavior with praise, a treat, or a quick game of fetch. Repeat this exercise twice a day for five days. Make sure your dog does not get shocked more than twice per session. You do not want them to find this training an unpleasant experience. If they get shocked twice during the session, end the session. When the dog is consistently demonstrating an awareness of the boundary and refusing to cross, it is time to start the next phase of training.

 

Temptation Training – 2 to 3 days

Now that your dog is staying away from flags and retreating from the collar beep in a distraction free environment, it is time to 'tempt' the dog. This exercise will allow you to get the dogs adrenaline up and make him aware that the boundary is still there even when he really, really wants something. You can use any stimulus that triggers your dog. Each dog is different, so it may be food, delivery persons, other dogs, or toys you use to accomplish this step. This will ensure that any issues that arise that may cause your dog to run through the boundaries is dealt with in a controlled environment, instead of after the fact.

Once you have decided the best distraction for you dog, it is time to begin.

 

Training Exercise

The goal of temptation training is to get your dogs adrenalin up with the distraction chosen. The process is much the same as in the previous step. Place the shock collar on the dog and put a long leash on the dog. Expose the dog to the temptation on the other side of the fence line. If the dog decides not to pursue the temptation praise him. If the dog crosses the boundary, let him get shocked then pull him back from the boundary. Praise him when he gets back to you.

If the dog is staying back from the line, you can let the leash go and let him drag it on the ground. This simulates him being 'off-leash' but be ready to grab it if you need to control the dog. Once the dog is staying away from boundaries, consistently, it is time for the next step.

 

Off-Leash Controlled Monitoring – 2 days

 

The last step is to allow the dog supervised off leash time. You need to see that your dog is not going to break the boundaries when you are not looking. If everything goes well, your dog will be enjoying his yard unsupervised.

 

Training Exercise

 

Take you dog out without the leash for short periods of time, 15 minutes at first and gradually increase the time. After the first couple of times, go back in the house for the last 5 or 10 minutes and observe your dog from a window. In the event, that you have a run-through the boundary, go back to 'Introduction to static correction' . If the dog runs through the fence due to a temptation, go back to 'Temptation Training'. In either case, adjust the shock up one level and repeat the step.

When you get through this step you have completed the containment training process. Congratulations!! After a week of the dog being off-leash you can start removing the flags.

 

Removing Flags

 

One week after you have successfully completed the containment training, you can start to remove the flags. Remove every other flag, every other day. All the flags should be gone within 3 weeks. Never remove all the flags at once. This can cause the dog to be confused and think that the fence in not there any longer. In other words, your dog may think, “Game Over”!

 

Getting the dog off you property

The general rule of thumb is that the collar should never leave the property. This means if you take the dog with you in your car, leave the collar in the house. The fence works on radio signals that will penetrate you car and shock the dog as you drive over.

If you walk your dog off the property, there is a another training procedure that you have to have to teach your dog. When you are ready to go for a walk, go to the door you are going to exit your house from and call the dog. Take the fence collar off the dog at the same time you put the leash on the dog. (This helps for the dog not to associate the collar with containment as we spoke of in the beginning of the containment training.) Next, leave the house and walk the path to where you want to cross the boundary line, for instance the driveway. When you get close the dog will stop, remember you just trained him to stay in his yard! Stop with him and motion forward with you hand at the same time say, “It's ok.” Your dog will probably not listen to you the first couple of times. Continue to say 'it's ok” and push you dog across the line. Once he is across, go for a walk. When you come back you will have to do the same thing to get him back in the yard. After a few times of this exercise your dog will learn that when he is on the leash and you tell him that “it's ok” he can cross the without penalty.