Friday, June 25, 2010
By Suzanne Alicie
Invisible fencing is a method of containing your pet that, while it may seem quick and easy, actually requires quite a bit of training in order to make your pet understand. Essentially the fencing is laid underground and your pet will wear a transmitter collar. As your pet nears the fencing area the collar will beep; this is your pet’s signal to turn back. If your pet continues he will approach the fencing and receive (typically) a shock. Another method some company’s use is to spray citronella in the dog’s face. Either of these methods are a repellent to the dog, and he will want to avoid them. However, it is up to you as a responsible pet owner to work with your pet and teach him what the beeping and the fencing response means. Otherwise you may have a very confused dog who continually tries to bolt over or cross the fencing area.
Before attempting to train your dog with an invisible fencing system, it is essential that he knows the basic commands. It’s also important to keep in mind that the fence training is not something which can be fully accomplished in a few short weeks. Dogs continue to learn what is expected of them as they grow and encounter new situations.
To begin training your dog to understand invisible fencing, you must first mark the boundaries. Use flags or cones to outline the path of the invisible fencing. Place your dog on the leash with the fencing de-activated and walk him around the perimeter. Allow him to smell and become accustomed to these additions to his yard.
After the first few trips around the yard, activate the fencing and allow him to only go to where the warning beep sounds. Continue this daily for about a week. Next, place your dog on the leash or a run and affix it so that he can’t go past the beep trigger area. Allow him to wander and roam within this area only. Continue this practice for a few days.
Lengthen the leash so that your dog can reach just past the perimeter of the fencing. As he wanders the yard, and you see him approaching the warning beep area call him back. Be sure to praise him and reward him for his effort. If he continues after you call him he will either be shocked or sprayed. At that time, walk him around the perimeter allowing him to recognize the warning beeps and if necessary get sprayed or shocked as he examines the perimeter. This will help reinforce the boundaries and teach your dog the consequences if he attempts to leave the boundaries.
Each day, remove a few of the perimeter markings and continue to let your dog explore while leashed until he knows the boundaries. It takes approximately 6 weeks for a dog to learn the boundaries and be allowed to play in the yard while off the leash.
As a responsible pet owner, it is important that you never leave your unleashed dog unattended in an invisibly fenced yard. Some dogs are smarter than you think, and will realize that if they get over the perimeter the shock will stop. A black lab owned by a neighbor of mine had it figured out that if he could just get past the fencing he was in the clear. It was dangerous for the dog, but also amusing to watch him race across the yard, jump the boundary with a little yelp and then run down the street. Despite the owner’s expense, and the training, that dog was simply destined to spend his outdoor time on the leash. Another neighbor has a dog that no matter what will not cross the warning beep. As soon as he hears it he high tails it back toward the house.
Invisible fencing is not right for every dog. Each dog is different, and each person must make the right choice for his pet. Evaluating the pros and cons of invisible fencing is an important part of making this decision.
Read more articles by Suzanne Alicie