I was in Margate yesterday setting up a Dog Guard Out of Sight Fencing® system installation for a new client and his beautiful Chow named Duke. We were setting out the perimeter marking flags so that he could confirm the location where he didn’t want Duke to cross. Part of our process is to also understand what Duke will experience once he reaches the perimeter and the decision alternatives available to him at that moment. There was one part of the area where my client wanted Duke to get from the back yard to a side area where he could potty and get in the shade. As he passed between the two points, he wanted Duke to stay as close to the house as possible because he didn’t want Duke to potty on that part of the grass. I had set the flags a little farther out than my client had expected and he wondered why.
I explained to my client that the underground dog fence is a virtual, invisible learning tool with only one lesson. That lesson is “don’t be here, be there”. Since dogs learn through an operant conditional, linear learning process, this tool fits perfectly with their natural mental capacity.
Around most of the yard there was a large area between the underground perimeter and the house. This gave Duke a large area of “I want to be there” when he approached the “here” of the perimeter. It built a consistent rule to follow based on a clear perspective. All he had to do was to step back towards the house and things were fine. He could also reinforce the rule by moving around other parts that were in the same proximity to the house and he received the same lesson of that area being a good area in which to remain. As he moved towards the boundary, he would experience the consistent lesson of “let’s go back”.
Now, let’s discuss the area where there is a very small area between the house and the perimeter wire. One would think that the successful lesson could be easily achieved here just as it was attained though the rest of the area. The problem is that the “success derivative” is greatly diminished with the lack of space between the house and perimeter.
As Duke enters this area and meanders too close to the perimeter, he will receive a correction to move away. If the area in which to move is very small, his adrenalized state could enhance his flight mode and have him enter the correction area again. This repetitive correction without a clear and consistent direction for success often has the dog “shut down” and not want to learn at all. Duke will decide he never wants to be in this area or even retreat to the house completely.
I told my client that is the reason I placed the underground dog boundary farther out than he originally suggested. This allowed for a larger area for Duke to learn “this is the place to be” as he moves from the back yard to the designated area on the side yard. As Duke becomes comfortable in wandering between the two areas and clearly understands the “path”, we can start to “up the ante”. After a week of Duke successfully transferring the path between the back yard and designated side area, we move in the perimeter wire a foot or two. This simply makes the “lane” a little narrower than before. Since Duke already has understood that he can safely get from the backyard to the designated side yard, all we are doing is adding an enhanced lesson of “and now, a little closer to the house”.
I explained to my client that as soon as Duke didn’t test the perimeter for a few days that indicated that he was comfortable with his “new lane” and the lesson had been taught. He could then move the wire a little closer to the house to teach a new, incremental lesson. I emphasized that Duke still need a nice, virtual pathway to transverse because, after all, he still is a dog and not a high wire performer.
In the same way that we first learned short hand division before we tackled the more complicated stuff, our dogs need to learn in the same way. We always encourage you to ask us anything about dog training or underground dog fence training. Please go to Dog Fence Training Help Margate South Florida or telephone us at (954) 472-4724. You can read additional dog training and underground fence information at Best Out of Sight Dog Fence Trainers Margate South Florida. Robin and I have made over 3,500 dogs great family companions in the Margate and all over South Florida through great dog training and invisible perimeter dog fence training. If you don’t have a problem with your dog running away but have a generally misbehaved dog, please get more information about our behavioral canine training at Home Dog Training Margate South Florida.