Robin and I were at a Dog Guard Out of Sight Fence client last week in Coral Springs planning their new underground dog fence. Her question regarding Sawyer, her two year-old Beagle, was that she wanted him to be free to roam outside, but still have multiple boundaries. She didn’t want him to go nuts in the front when the kids loved running and chasing him in the back. How could we create the proper zones using our system and training techniques?
This is a great question and one that we always cover when discussing the location and use of the underground dog fence. As dog trainers, we always emphasize that the main intent of the perimeter system is to let the dog know that they can’t go past a particular location. Whatever the situation, there is a line that they can never cross.
Since dogs learn through a very simple, two dimensional process; the stimuli provided by the fence only when the dog approaches too closely easily teaches the “don’t go here” rule. We have now protected him by keeping him safely on our property, but we have not clearly created zones on the property that can elicit specific behavior.
To accomplish this, we need to compartmentalize specific areas and then introduce specific behaviors and forms of socialization within each area.
Let’s discuss a simple scenario where our house is in the middle of our property. We have a big back yard and a big front yard. There is also plenty of room on both sides of our house for our dog to travel between the front and back yards. Our family dynamics are as such that we would like our dog to freely play with our kids and just be a crazy dog in the back yard. We would like to have him out with us in the front yard in the evenings while we socialize with our neighbors. We definitely don’t want him crazy then. We have two areas with the requirements for two different types of behavior. Let’s get started.
First, we need to define the perimeter of the two areas. We accomplish this by having our underground fence encircle the perimeter of the property with two exceptions. On both sides of the house, we have the underground fence turn towards the house so that it creates an additional “don’t go here zone” keeping the dog from freely traveling between the front and back yards.
Next, we train the appropriate behaviors for each area (zone). First, let’s focus on the back yard. The only way he can get to the back yard is through our back, sliding glass door. We actively play with our dog in the back yard. That is where the kids can run and chase our dog as much as they want. That is where we play fetch. We allow him to stay in that area by himself. That is his “playground”.
Now, we focus on the front yard. The only way he can get to the front yard is through the front door or the garage door. Even though we have properly perimeter trained him to stay on the property, we only have him out there when we are with him. We keep a free leash on him at all times. (A “free leash” is a leash that we have placed on our dog, but are not always holding.) As people start to come down the street and he starts to get a little “crazy”, we calmly step on the leash, pick it up, and guide him back to us. We continue this process until he is calm and we can easily gain his focus when people, cars, bikes, etc. pass in front of our house.
Once he is obedient and well behaved when people pass by, we will invite people to come up and chat. If he starts misbehaving, we can step on the leash and guide him back to us.
The most important aspect of this training is to understand that we have created two areas that allow two different behaviors. As his teachers and leaders, it is our responsibility to remember this and to understand that the back is for crazy play and the front is for rest and relaxation. These are clear, absolute rules that our dog can understand.
Understanding how much play is best for your dog is important for his safety and general socialization. We are here to help if you need more ideas on deciding how to manage your dog’s outside play time. You can contact us at Coral Springs Dog Fence Training Help. More good training and safety tips can always be found at Best Out of Sight Fence Trainers Coral Springs South Florida. You can also go to South Florida Dog Training Blog on our dog training web site at Home Dog Training South Florida.