How to Train a Dog With an Electronic Fence

This happy chap has been well trained and knows exactly where the electronic fence is.
If a pet doesn't understand that there is an electronic fence boundary and that challenging the boundary will result in corrective stimulations, the fence will not be an effective containment tool. A more willful dog might continually try to cross the boundary line and a timid dog could well become neurotic and fearful of venturing outside.

You need to teach your dog to understand and respect the underground fence's boundary, and although this might take a few weeks, it can be an enjoyable bonding experience for you and your dog.

Secrets to Successful Training with an Electric Fence

  • Keep it fun. Always play for 5-minutes before and after each training session.
  • Short and often is better than long and seldom. Try and have 3 training sessions per day, with the training lasting about 10-minutes. A dog's attention span won't last through a long, drawn out session and if the lessons are too spread out it won't remember what it learned previously.
  • Patience is a virtue. Don't get frustrated if your dog doesn't 'get it' right away. Be patient and encourage it throughout the training process.
  • Treats are a great incentive to train your dog. Make sure you have plenty on hand
  • Be generous. Always have treats on hand and every time your dog acts correctly offer it a treat and give lots of praise. You might want to break the treats into smaller pieces because you're going to be giving lots of rewards throughout the training sessions and you don't want your pet getting fat.
  • Stop at the first sign of stress. If at any time your dog seems distressed (ears down, body low to the ground, lowered tail) stop the training and instead enjoy some playtime. It's essential the dog is comfortable with the boundary and trusts it.
  • Step 1 - Getting to Know the Electronic Fence
    At first you want your pet to become familiar with the dog fence and during the early lessons it needs to get to know the flagged boundary. At this stage set the correction collar to sound only and if the collar doesn't have a sound only option you can cover the contacts to prevent your dog receiving a correction. Walk around the entire boundary but focus on three or four specific flags and lead your dog to them. Wait for your dog to cross the boundary and when it does and hears the tone firmly issue a verbal warning and lead the dog back to the safe zone, offering praise. Repeat this for the whole session.

    Opinions vary as to how long you should continue this basic lesson; from a couple of days to a week. Hopefully you'll notice visual clues that your dog is learning and ready to move on, such as it hesitating at the flags without input from you.

    Step 2 - Getting Used to the Correction

    Teach your dog where the fence is located. The flags help visual recognition
    The next step is to set the collar level to one or two (depending on the size of your dog). Once again lead it to the flags and wait for it to cross the boundary. When the dog receives the correction lead it back. Raise the collars intensity if necessary and repeat this at various flag points until your dog recognizes the flags and that the correction is a result of crossing them.

    Once again the duration of these lessons can be a few days to a week, but you're aiming for the point at which your dog will voluntarily refuse to cross the boundary line.

    Step 3 - Temptation Training
    Now that your dog has learned to respect the pet fence's boundary it's time to train it to resist temptations that might lure it across. Throw toys across the boundary line or have another member of the family call from the far side. As always reward each refusal with treats and praise.

    Stay with these training sessions until your dog steadfastly refuses to cross the boundary even when tempted.

    A favorite toy can be a temptation for any dog
    Step 4 - Removing the Leash
    It's time to remove the leash and let your dog roam free. At first make the sessions short (10-minutes or so) and remain with your dog at all times. You're not trying to train it at this point, just observe its behavior, so feel free to simply play together. As it respects the boundary and doesn't challenge it, gradually extend the sessions and begin to leave it unsupervised. Finally you can begin removing the flags by taking a few away every other day

    Congratulations! Your dog is now free to enjoy the outdoors life and you need not worry about it escaping your property.

    By John Bone
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