I just finished dropping off some collar batteries for one of our Dog Guard Out of Sight Fence clients in Weston. Everything is going great and Cooper, his three year old German Shepherd now has no problem staying in the front yard. The dog fence and dog fence training had worked perfectly. My client did have one additional question and request for help. Even though Cooper doesn’t run out of the front yard, he still likes to run and bark at people when they ride bikes up and down the street or walk past the house on the sidewalk. Being a Shepherd, he sometimes scares people.
I could easily see my client’s dilemma. I have two shepherds and even though they are just playful and loud; they can be scary to strangers. What I wanted to share with my Dog Fence client was dog training tools on how to de-adrenalize the effect of people passing by the front of the house. I offered the following suggestions:
- KEEP THE FOCUS ON YOU. I asked my client to spend some time with Cooper in the front yard. Cooper should be on a 6 foot leash and they should be away from the front perimeter. Sitting on the porch would be the perfect place. As my client sees someone approaching from down the street, tug the leash to get Cooper’s attention. Engage him in obedience commands (sit, come, stay…) so that he is actively giving focus to my client. If Cooper breaks his focus and sees the person passing and Cooper starts to bark or run, I wanted my client to briskly walk Cooper in the opposite direction from the person until he had regained his focus. He needed to repeat this for about a week until Cooper was not overly interested in the people in the street.
- ALTERNATIVE DISTRACTIONS. Bring one of Cooper’s favorite bed cushions out and place it on the front porch. This will then encourage him to stay farther away from the very front of the property. Make sure that he has play toys and food toys to keep his attention. All dogs make simple decisions regarding their actions. If we can make the decision of staying in their favorite bed chewing their favorite toy more desirable than running and barking at the person on the sidewalk, we have accomplished our goal.
- USE THE DOG FENCE AS PART OF THE LEARNING PROCESS. Now we are going to ramp it up a bit. Put a leash on Cooper and walk him just outside the correction range of the underground fence. Walk so that he is between you and the dog fence. Hold the leash so that if he decides to react to a person on the street or the sidewalk, he will enter the correction zone. Walk him up and down, parallel to the street as people are passing. Allow him to “make the wrong decision” and enter the zone. He will get the audible stimulus that he has already associated with an incorrect action. This will break the natural increase in adrenaline in seeing the people in front of the house.
- LET HIM WANDER UNDER YOUR CONTROL. Get a twenty foot training lead and attach that to Cooper. Give him enough of the lead so that he is no longer by your side. Let him wander the front yard as people pass. If he does not react, that is great. If he starts to jump or bark, crouch and call him to you. Repeat the same correction process we discussed above regarding KEEP THE FOCUS ON YOU .
- MANAGE YOUR NEIGHBORS. Place a “Beware of Dog” sign on each on the borders of your property. It doesn’t have to be as ominous as that; you could have the sign say something like “A Big Dog Lives Here”., etc. The purpose of the signs is to make people aware that they may be greeted by a dog as they pass. Once they know that a dog is around, they normally calm down and don’t do things that might encourage Cooper to go nuts. If they are afraid of dogs, it might get them to cross the street.
Even though your dog might be very friendly and just wants to play, they can still scare a surprised neighbor. If you need more help with a rambunctious dog that makes the neighbors jump, we are here to help. Please call us at Weston Dog Fence Training Help. More good training and safety tips can always be found at Best Out of Sight Fence Trainers Weston South Florida. And don’t stop there! We have more stuff at South Florida Dog Training Blog on our dog training web site at Home Dog Training South Florida.