Keeping your four-legged friend safe on your property is of paramount importance. Lots of communities have laws against allowing dogs roaming around unrestrained, plus allowing your pooch to wander could lead to them getting lost and/or injured - especially if they’re in a new area or still learning the ropes.
But while traditional fences have been used in the past to keep dogs safe and contained, new technology has led to wireless or invisible fences. Whereas conventional fences can be eyesores, regulated by local laws, or expensive, ‘invisible fences’ are a cheap alternative, ensuring dogs don’t escape the property through delivering a shock via a battery-powered collar.
There has been much talk recently of ‘invisible or wireless fences’ and whether they should be used, so here we will try to explain everything you need to know about this method of training. It goes without saying that we are not promoting this method but trying to educate on it, and ultimately it is down to the pet parent who knows what’s best for their pooch.
First, try training your dog with a traditional leash
It is always best to avoid unnecessary shocks to your dog, so before you invest in an invisible fence, try to train your dog with just a traditional leash.
Get your pooch to wear a leash, and teach them to stop and turn around when they get to the fence or the edge of the property. If you can successfully guide your dog to resist the temptation of walking beyond the boundary of your yard, you may not need an invisible fence.
As always, use patience with your dog and give them treats when they follow directions.
How to train your dog on invisible fences
However, some dog owners will want to invest in invisible fences or an electric fence for dogs for peace of mind, even if their dog is obedient. If this is the case, you should plan for at least two weeks of training. Of course, it depends on how quickly your pet learns, but you should never try to do too much too quickly.
Before buying your invisible fence system, you need to choose one that has a particular feature built-in. This feature is the alert signal that activates whenever the collar is nearing the invisible fence. You should also place flags to designate the boundaries so that there is also a visual cue for your dog to follow.
The signal alarm is essential to give your dog a warning. This will be of great help during training and will help avoid unnecessary corrective stimulus to your pet. Remember that this is a crucial element of an electric fence for dogs, so only pick one that has this feature included.
Day 1 of training your dog on invisible fences
Specialists on invisible fences say that you should perform three 10-15 minute sessions with your dog on the first day of training. The goal is to build trust and learn that Boundary Flags and a warning beep from the collar define the new acceptable area for them to play in.
Start your training by walking your dog on a leash in the acceptable area. Be sure to praise your pup, and move them toward the boundary. When the beeps start to occur, they will be curious, but slowly they will begin to understand that this means they can’t go beyond these flags.
When you walk toward them, you are showing them what will happen if they go there. When the beeps begin, let them stay there for two seconds before bringing them back inward. Again you should use praise when they enter the area they are allowed to be in. Repeat this process for the first few days.
After a few days, increase the static correction on the collar. This reinforces the idea that they are not allowed to go to certain areas. You should watch for their reactions. These include their ears being up, their head turned, and looking at the ground. At this point, your dog should begin to go back into the boundaries on their own.
How long should training sessions last?
Sessions should only last about 10 to 15 minutes at a time. It is better to have short and frequent sessions than longer, more tiring ones. If the dog shows signs of stress, slow down the training, and do it more slowly but frequently. Add additional days of practice rather than longer sessions. You can also increase the amount of playtime you have with them to keep them motivated.
How to mitigate stress for your dog
Signs of stress include:
- Pulling the leash toward your house
- Ears that are tucked close to the head
- Holding their tail down low
- Lowering and curving their body
- Showing nervous and frantic movements,
- Stiffening their body
You can help your dog become more comfortable and mitigate stress by extending playtime at the end of each training session. When you play with your dog, you should do it near the boundary lines. It is important to reinforce that everything is okay and for them to learn that they can have fun within the boundaries. It is crucial to end training on a positive note. Reinforcement is essential for dogs.
After a week, bring in external distractions in your training
Continue performing your three 10-15 minute sessions every day. After about a week, you should begin to use external distractions but never coax them or call them outside the boundaries. You should program the static correction to an even higher level. At this point, they will really begin to understand that they are not supposed to go beyond the flags.
Creating distractions to tempt your pet but remaining in full control is an excellent way to test them. Throw a ball outside the area, but don’t tell them to get it, you will see how the dog responds. If they do not move toward the distraction, praise them. Give them treats. But if the dog goes outside the boundary, bring them back if they don’t return on their own. Always praise them for returning on their own.
Unleashed supervision and monitoring
After a week or so, start to allow your dog to roam the area without a leash, supervising them and reinforcing the boundaries that you have established. Gradually increase the time of your training sessions. At some point, you should be able to train them on the edges for over an hour. Begin to give them more and more independence, but always be near to correct their bad behavior and reinforce good behavior. After two weeks, the dog should be able to run free, safe, and trained.
Using a wireless dog fence can be a great way to train your dog, but it isn’t the goal to keep using it forever. It is a tool that you should utilize, but it’s not some cruel mechanism of control. Use it correctly, and you will be able to train a happy, healthy, well-behaved dog who will know not to escape the boundaries of your property.
If you’d like a similar solution for your cat, click the link for information on training and the best invisible fences for cats.