I was in Aventura last week working with a current Dog Guard Out of Sight Fencing® client and his Akita named Jimmie. We had installed a perimeter invisible dog fence for him about a year and a half ago and everything had been going great until recently. Jimmie would wonder around the yard and never chase the school kids, cars, mailman, etc. The problem occurred when the neighbor brought home a female dog that went into heat. Jimmie went crazy and would run through the invisible perimeter to “visit” the female, neighbor dog. My client said he had tried to increase the boundary width, but that didn’t daunt Jimmie in his quest to “visit” the female neighbor dog. That is when he called me back for assistance.
I first explained to my client that Jimmie had not completely forgotten everything he had learned about the rules of not crossing the boundary and leaving his property. When the neighbor dog was not outside, Jimmie had no problem in staying on the property. The issue was that the adrenalized distraction created by the neighbor dog was so high, Jimmie focused on the reward potential of that versus the risk potential of crossing the perimeter and breaking my client’s rules.
The bottom line was that, when the neighbor dog was out, Jimmie was willing to “take the pain for the gain”. We needed to re-balance Jimmie’s risk/reward scenario regarding breaking the rule of leaving the yard.
I continued to explain to my client that extending the correction zone had absolutely no impact on the learning process with an adrenalized distraction as intense as a neighbor dog in heat. The most effective process in teaching a dog a specific rule is through a quick, clearly focused, and immediate lesson.
I told him that we were going to turn up the correction level at the perimeter so that Jimmie would get a much higher stimulus as he tried to leave the yard. This was not meant to hurt him, but since the current level was obviously not getting his attention, we needed to do something that would allow him to be taught. Getting focus at the perimeter will now allow my client to teach his rule.
We now had to click a leash on Jimmie and “ask him to go to the board”. First, we asked the neighbor to let out his female dog in heat so that we had “the proper question on the board for Jimmie to answer”.
With the female neighbor dog in the neighbor’s yard, we began to walk Jimmie around the yard. At first, he was pensive about what we were doing. It didn’t take long until he was very interested in the female dog.
We allowed him to walk up to the perimeter and get the big stimulus. He backed off for a moment and then tested it again. Every time he got the stimulus, we directed him back into my client’s yard. Pretty soon, he wasn’t going towards the perimeter and towards the female, neighbor dog.
My client thought that was excellent and that we were done. I told him that we needed to give Jimmie a “pop quiz” in a few minutes to better emulate a “real world” situation.
We then switched the six-foot leash with a thirty-foot training lead. (This is really the same thing as a leach, simply longer.) The neighbor dog was still outside. My client held on to the training lead, but allowed Jimmie to wander wherever he wanted.
Jimmie wandered up to the perimeter, just before he knew he would get a stimulus. At that point, I told my client to give Jimmie just enough “slack” to allow him to run into the stimulus zone, but not through to the other side.
Well, guess what! Jimmie couldn’t control himself and started to run towards the neighbor dog. He received one stimulus, then another, then another. I told my client to use the lead to direct him back to our side of the perimeter zone. With one little tug, Jimmie was back to my client’s yard, wanting nothing to do with the female dog.
I told my client that our last little exercise enhanced the risk level of Jimmie thinking he can successfully break a rule. It was the still the same rule, so we maintained consistency and the integrity of the canine learning process.
The last instruction I gave my client was to be outside and practice this same exercise several times a day for the next several days. This will allow him to repetitively enforce his boundary rule.
He then asked me if this was hurting or scaring Jimmie. I told him that it absolutely was not hurting or scaring him. If anything, it was giving him a clear sense of my client’s clear and consistent rules.
We must remember that dogs are excellent learners if we teach in the moment with consistent consequences. Please call us for any dog training or dog fence issues by going to Dog Fence Training Help Aventura South Florida. The best phone number is (954) 424-0170. Discover all about Dog Guard Out of Sight Fencing® and enjoying a well behaved and obedient dog at Best Out of Sight Dog Fence Trainers Aventura South Florida. We are thrilled to have been your South Florida canine professionals for over twelve years in Aventura and all over South Florida. Our systems work perfectly in keeping your dog safe and at home. We have trained nearly 4,000 dogs to be great and loving pets. For more information, please go to Home Dog Training Aventura South Florida.