Robin and I were over in Naples earlier this week working with one of our Dog Guard Out of Sight Fence clients. He had just rescued a second dog and wanted us to help him with keeping the new dog in the yard. The great thing about our fence system and collars is that we can easily add a new collar for a new dog with a new temperament. His first dog was just about finished with the active training and our client had a very good question. He had followed all our instructions and had pretty much assured himself that his first dog was successfully contained. He was now ready to leave him alone outside to stay in the yard. His question was if there was any way he could be sure that everything was done without being present.
All learning is based on successfully completing multiple, small steps to reach a particular goal. I assured our client that he and his first dog had reasonably mastered all the steps to guarantee that he would stay in the yard. With this said, I pointed out that we could still add some additional “small steps” before he reached the “let the dog in the yard by himself to roam at will”.
What I wanted to create was a scenario where he could leave his dog alone in the back yard and provide a clear decision path where he wouldn’t just go through the system’s decision barrier to go after some really big distraction. I wanted to continue to provide the learning with a clear path to success without my client’s required interaction. Here is what we came up with:
- We put a strong stake in the middle of the yard and attached a rope to that stake. The rope was long enough to extend slightly into the Dog Guard’s perimeter decision barrier while still staying on the inside of the perimeter. The position of the stake also allowed the dog a great deal of freedom to move around the yard without getting tangled on any tree, pole, shrub, or other obstruction. It also allowed the dog to return to the back door.
- We placed a few of the Dog Guard perimeter flags back around the perimeter to remind his dog of the actual delineation point.
- We attached the client’s dog to the rope with his Dog Guard collar and actively played with him. We did not encourage his entering the decision barrier. We passively walked past the perimeter to see if he would follow.
- After about 10 minutes, we went inside the house and left the dog alone.
- We then asked some friends to actively pass the yard in an excited, adrenalized manner. If possible, we asked them to have their dogs with them.
- If the dog got too close to the perimeter, he would receive the proper warning to retreat. Since he could only slightly enter the decision barrier, his only direction of egress was away from the perimeter and back in the middle of the yard close to the house.
- I told my client to continue this exercise until his dog no longer actively approached the perimeter.
- Once that was complete, I told him to put a regular 6 foot leash on his dog and observe him for another day or two. Once that was done and he no longer approached the perimeter, he should be pretty confident that the modified behavior is successfully changed.
The important point that I made with my client was that this was just an extra check to make sure everything was fine. His dog might already be ready to go. This last exercise was simply a “double check” to ease any concern he may have.
If you have any questions about training your dog to remain in the back yard or the Dog Guard underground pet containment system, please contact The Best Out of Sight Fence Trainers in Naples and South Florida. Also, please check out our South Florida Dog Training Blog on our Home Dog Training of South Florida Web Location.