How to Train Your Dog to Stay in the Yard

dog standing outside near invisible fencing

The decision to take a dog in your home can stir up some unrest. It’s possible that you got this dog precisely because it brings some life to your home. That doesn’t mean you should allow it to introduce fresh conflicts in your outdoor space. Dogs can be unruly and irreverent toward boundaries. The greater the household, the more ideas there are on making the home dog friendly. Everyone has an idea on what the dog is allowed to do or not. This is especially true in multi-generational homes, but even if there aren’t such discussions at home, the neighbours might want to have an input into your dog’s outdoor behaviour. Having a reliable training method to impose boundaries for the dog is very important for long-lasting peace.

dog in the backyard

Electric Fence

One of the cleanest ways to make sure your dog doesn’t go past your yard (or a designated area within your yard) is to go for an in-ground dog fence. These electric fences come in many varieties, however, the one that has proven to be most effective is the one with wire. Wireless options are available on the market, but they can be a source of unnecessary frustration. Physical barriers are the ultimate fence for dogs, yet you’re not always able to put one up. Particularly if you share the yard with someone else and neither one of you wants additional boards there.

Electric fences are convenient because they can be buried entirely in the ground. With a bit of training, your dog will know the space it’s allowed to occupy. Dog owners tend to install such fences as a back up to physical barriers too. For example, the electric dog fence wire can be run along the traditional fence. Some are not keen on digging their yard just to install an invisible dog fence. So, the question comes naturally: Do invisible fences have to be buried? In essence, you can keep the fence above ground, but a caveat follows this approach.

installing a dog fence wire

An exposed wire is subject to deterioration, so you will need to invest in high quality in ground electric dog fence wire before you can rely on the system in the long term. Getting a 1.5mm gauge radio fence wire will keep the integrity of your established perimeter. Going for the industry standard of 0.75mm gauge wire simply won’t be enough.

The wear from the elements is not the only issue. The second most important problem is ensuring you get a strong and consistent radio signal. Failing to do so will lead to a dog that doesn’t respect the perimeter. Go for dog containment system wire made to handle signal interference. The set needed to do this successfully goes beyond an in ground electric dog fence wire and also includes a transmitter, receiver collar and wire joiner kit. Don’t forget that training is crucial so aids like training flags, leash, non-metallic collar have to be included too. Fence training is fairly straightforward.

Phase #1
Introducing the Boundary

At the beginning, you need to delineate the perimeter with training flags. With visual indicators marking the no-go area, you can start the training by applying pressure on the leash when the dog tries to violate it. Once the dog is aware there is such a thing as a no-go zone, you can use the receiver collar to enact audio cues when the dog gets close to the fence. No static correction is employed in this phase.

man introducing the boundaries to his dog with flags

Phase #2
Enforcing Compliance

You have spent at least several days worth of training to show the boundaries to the dog. It’s time to gradually introduce static correction and leave the flags, leash and the ‘beeping’ training mode on the collar to rest. The amount of shock needed to get the desired behaviour varies based on the breed, age and nature of the dog. Start with the least amount of corrective shock, and if that doesn’t yield results go higher.

Phase #3
Practicing Boundary Control

Within two weeks or so, the dog will become aware of the consequences associated with leaving the assigned perimeter. In this stage, you can stay at a comfortable distance to monitor the effectiveness of both your training and the invisible fence. If the dog gets confident about violating the boundary you will have to go a step back in training. Dogs that have left the fence might not be eager to come back because they know crossing the boundary inflicts pain. This is a typical situation and you would need to solve such issues on a case by case basis. Just accept it as a normal occurrence during the early stages of training.

girl training a dog with flags for invisble fence

Phase #4
Establishing a Gated Corridor

The purpose of using an electric fence is to train your dog, and not to punish it with unwarranted confinement. There are instances, and they occur on a regular basis when you want the dog to leave the area. You need to introduce a ‘gate’ in the fence to make it easy taking the dog outside the perimeter. The free communication corridor can be signalled by a favourite toy or any other training method you use to show the dog it’s time to go out.

During each stage of the training, you ought to use the usual treats and reward systems that were used for other training purposes. The subject of when and how to award a dog for it’s loyal and reliable behaviour rests on experience and can be different for each dog.