I was consulting a new client in Southwest Ranches last week regarding their need for a Dog Guard Out of Sight Fence for their Golden Retriever, Boomer. The back area of their property borders a small lake that is almost always populated with ducks. The main problem that she had with Boomer was that he was always in the lake going after the ducks. She had tried all sorts of things to keep Boomer out of the lake, but to no avail. What she really wanted to know was whether the underground dog fence would fix for this problem?
Most Golden Retrievers love to chase ducks. They have been bred to retrieve birds that are normally floating in lakes and streams. Now we have Boomer, a lake and ducks. I think that the situation pretty much speaks for itself. Even though we have placed Boomer in a situation where he really wants to go after those ducks, we still have the ability to create teachable moments that will deter and stop this action.
Dogs learn through very simple, absolute rules. Chasing ducks is wrong. In order to accomplish this, we use the canine teaching methodology of sight, sound, and action to enforce that it is inappropriate to run into the lake after the ducks. We must also understand that the level of teaching must coincide with Boomer’s ability to learn the lesson.
- The first thing that we do is to install the Dog Guard Out of Sight fence across the boundary between the lake and my client’s yard. I place the fence about fifteen to twenty feet from water’s edge so that there is an appropriate amount of separation in case the ducks wander onto my client’s property.
- I now place boundary flags across the boundary in order to create a unique, visual object that can be used to teach Boomer.
- Before I continue, I have to understand that Boomer still will go nuts with the ducks. Because of this, I need to create a way to minimize the adrenalized, visual view of the ducks and also slow Boomer’s initial rush towards the lake. In order to accomplish this, I place a temporary, plastic garden fence across the border to the lake. This garden fence is not meant to physically stop Boomer, but to cut down the direct view of the ducks and to slow his adrenalized rush to the lake. Think of it as starting with short division before we get to long division.
- I now bring Boomer out on a leash without any ducks in the lake. I walk him around the yard and let him hear the beep and even feel the physical stimulation of the underground fence. As soon as he hears the beep or feels the stimulation, I direct him on the leash back towards the house. I sit and have him focus on me for a few minutes.
- As soon as Boomer naturally turns away from the perimeter without hearing the beep or feeling the stimulation of the underground fence, I start bringing him out when there are ducks in the lake. The garden fence will deter his complete view of the ducks and will slow his rush towards the lake. This slows him sufficiently for the sound and physical stimulation of the underground fence to be effective, if needed. I repeat walking him around and having him focus on me.
- Once Boomer almost always gives me focus after seeing the ducks, I replace the leash with a thirty foot training lead. I let Boomer roam the yard and direct him back if he starts to give the ducks too much focus or gets too close to the perimeter.
- When Boomer becomes somewhat nonchalant about the ducks and would rather stay within the perimeter, I remove the garden fence, leaving up the perimeter flags. I have now removed any impediment to seeing the ducks and the “speed bump” to race to the lake. I repeat my steps above; first with the leash and next with the thirty foot training lead.
- After several days of Boomer’s appropriate behavior of staying away from the lake and the ducks, I remove the leash/lead and have him in the yard just with me. I throw the ball and keep him distracted with me and goodies/chew toys I might have.
- I continue the “outside play with Boomer” for about two weeks, slowly stepping inside for a moment or two to see what he would do. If he starts to move towards the lake, I would immediately step outside and call him to me. Once I no longer have to do this and Boomer would rather just play with me or “hang near the house”, I have successfully reached my goal.
Just like us, sometimes it takes more than one step to learn your lesson. As long as they are simple and each additional step builds on the prior, the learning process works. We are always here to help you gain your successful results. You can find us at Southwest Ranches Dog Fence Training Help. We have a lot more ideas on training and safety at Best Out of Sight Fence Trainers Southwest Ranches South Florida. Don’t forget about our other training blog at South Florida Dog Training Blog on our dog training web site at Home Dog Training South Florida.