Keeping your dog safe while in your unfenced yard is imperative to owning a dog on a large property or having a dog in a home without fencing. Your neighbors may not want your dog on their property and many homes in rural areas have a lot of yard space but no fences to mark these boundaries. There are dangers in having a dog in an unfenced yard as well. Numerous dogs are hit by cars every day because they are allowed to roam freely near roads or driveways. Keep your dog safe and protected by keeping him on your property.
Respecting your neighbors’ property as well as their pets or livestock is simple with training your dog to stay in your yard, even if it does not have a fence. Teaching your dog his boundaries will keep him home, or at least in your yard and out of harm’s way, as well as out of trouble.
Training your dog to stay in an unfenced yard is basic boundary training. You will be showing your dog his boundaries, where he can go, how far away he can be from your or your home, and where he is not allowed to go. Boundary training takes time and repetition. To teach your dog his boundaries, you will need time and patience. Be sure to practice this training every day. You will start by showing him the far boundaries of your unfenced yard and then work up to challenging him not to cross that invisible line as he gets used to your expectations. This might be a difficult task at first, but remember to repeat this training each day, several times a day, in short sessions to get your dog to understand and remember the rules around the border.
Be sure to use some high-value tasty treats for rewards and to entice your dog when necessary. You will need a leash for early training. Be sure to have the proper collar and/or harness as well, depending on your dog’s size. At least one method uses marker flags. These can be found at your neighborhood hardware store. Temporary flags can mark the border line so your dog can see the visual line and begin to make a connection to your expectations with the border. Have patience and dedicate time for this training. It may take several weeks to be able to leave your dog unattended in your unfenced yard.
We live in the country with many open acres of farm and pastureland, some of which we own. We have accumulated 7 rescue dogs of various sizes, ages, breeds.
I am sad to admit that though we should have fenced in a portion of our property, we have not because we did not have close neighbors. Now we have one. Unless we can fence in a large portion of acreage, do you think it is possible to train my dogs, after may years, of running free? Of course you know nothing of my dogs temperments but my real question is:
is it possible with success to retrain a dog to respect boundaries after years of none???
We have investigated the underground fencing but I am just not convinced they are the answer. I realize this would take much time as I would need to work with each dog.
Thank you very much.
Hello Adele, I suspect some of the dogs can learn and others may continue to struggle. You touched on it: I don't know your dogs temperaments...Very determined dogs, intact males with stronger urges to roam, and highly prey driven dogs are far more likely to struggle than dogs that naturally tend to stay closer to their person - like a herding breed or retriever opposed to a scent hound or husky. If your dogs are not intact males, very determined/driven dogs, or highly prey driven, then you have a good chance of success with work and a lot of consistency. You will likely need to use a remote electric collar (e-collar) to proof the boundary training after the dogs have learned though. This device is different than an electric fence. A remote training collar only goes stimulates the dog when you push the button and you control the stimulation level. It should be used in combination with tons of practice and teaching the dogs one by one where the boundary line is beforehand, like you mentioned. You can then practice calling the dog away from the line from further and further away while he is wearing the e-collar and correcting with the e-collar if he disobeys. The correction should not be a high-dangerous correction. You want to use the lowest level that each dog responds to, called a working level, and each dog's working level will be unique to him. Using an e-collar this way is simply a way to improve your own consistency - to teach the dog that you will enforce your rule even from a distance or from hiding somewhere nearby. The dog is then corrected for disobedience and understands the correction because you already spent time teaching him the boundary before you used the collar while he was on a leash beforehand. This gives him control of the situation and a choice to obey or disobey, rather than a random correction. I suggest setting up markers around your boundary line, like the ones used for training a dog not to go past an underground fence, and then leave them up since your property is large. For the e-collar training, you may want to hire a professional to teach you how to use the collar correctly, how to find a dog's working level, and train the boundaries with it. You can then teach the other dogs by yourself if you wish. Be careful who you hire and which collar that you buy. Garmin, SportDog, Dogtra, E-collar Technologies are good brands. Avoid lesser known, cheap collars - they can be dangerous. A good collar has a minimum of ten levels. Ideally, a good collar should have sixty or more. E-collar technologies mini educator has 100 levels - letting you use the perfect level for each dog without going too high. Another option is to put up a visual fence, that is less secure or shorter, and put an underground electric fence two feet in front of the visual fence, on your side of the fence. This scenario will ultimately depend on the electric fence to stop the dogs instead of just the small fence, but it will increase the likelihood of the electric fence working and the dog's respecting it because there is a physical barrier - however weak, that the dogs cannot just bolt through. The real fence will serve as a reminder that there is an electric fence - making the electric fence more effective and more fair to the dogs. Of course the final option is to just put up a fence tall enough to contain all the dogs. You will have to decide which of the options I mentioned sound best knowing your dogs and your property and financial goals. I wish you the best! Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden
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Baylee chases other dogs making her leave her yard. She won’t listen
Hello Beverly, I suggest you work on her "Come" and "Leave It" commands before having her off leash. Practice her "Come" command and "Leave It" command in a public location such as outside a dog park or regular park, where there are lots of other dogs area but enough space to avoid up close interactions. Use a long leash for this and work on enforcing her "Come" by reeling her in with the long leash when she ignores you. Practice this until she can be running toward another dog to say hi and when you tell her to come she will turn around mid-run and run back toward you. In order for her to listen in your yard, she needs to have had opportunities to practice coming and listening around high level distractions at other times when you are able to enforce the command. Generally working toward off leash obedience with her by using a long thirty foot leash, and eventually a lightweight fifty foot leash, will help to ensure obedience when it is most important. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden
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