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Old 06-07-2010, 10:52 PM
wagthedog wagthedog is offline
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Default help with boundry training

Hello everyone,
I am new to this forum and excited to participate! I am a certified dog trainer using primarily positive reinforcement...love my work! I am looking for advice on teaching a dog to respect the boundries of his/her property when fences are not an option. I will be doing some private training out at the lake this summer and do not have experience in this area, but suspect there will be clients who would like advice on this issue. The cottages run alongside each other along the lake, usually only separated by trees. Many cottagers have dogs they would like to reliably train to stay within the boundries of their lots...any advice or suggestions for addressing this?
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Old 06-08-2010, 06:29 AM
RawFedDogs RawFedDogs is offline
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You are not going to train a dog with 100% reliability to stay in his yard. There are too many exciting things outside the yard including people, other dogs, and wild animals. A chain link fence is the best proven way to keep a dog confined.
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Old 06-08-2010, 08:37 AM
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Welcome to the forum! I hope you like it here.

I'm a professional trainer...not certified, but I do know behavior. And I have to say that I agree with RawFedDogs. You can train a dog to stay in his boundaries, but not reliably. No living thing is going to be 100% reliable. To keep a dog really safe, a good fence is the best bet. I would never even attempt to let a client think that "training" a dog to stay in his property reliably is going to out-do environmental motivators and natural doggie instincts.
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Old 06-08-2010, 10:57 AM
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I'll point Smkie to this thread, she's done amazing things with her dogs and boundary training.
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Old 06-08-2010, 04:12 PM
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I have trained three to stay in the yard. Mary was a breeze, Victor caught on quickly, but Pepper was very difficult because she came a door dodger and runaway. First we started with our recall. I practiced this several times a day, often using all three dogs at one time to help Pepper get the idea. WE played hide and seek while i had the best treats ever, bacon, or cooked hamburger for whoever found me first. While we worked on this Pepper and I walked the boundary day after day..this side,,,good dog this side is NO. No No. I literally point to exactly where I don't want them to go and say it...then i point to this side, say yes, and praise or treat. Every dog i have ever had understood this. You must be hyper vigilant. If you are the kind of person that is easily distracted, don't even attempt it.


Then I spent about a summer for the most part outside in my yard as often as I possibly could. Needless to say my garden was well weeded that year. Where I could correct every time Pepper stepped over the invisible line then If she did, she would be on a leash for a few days while the other two were allowed their freedom. THen she would get another chance. SHe was so stubborn she would sit in the far corner of the property for an hour at a time, and then she would take one step over. I never took my eyes off of her, if she stepped over, it was back in, and back on the leash. I also backed all of this up with daily sometimes twice daily obedience while we walked the block. Good behavior got extra yard time. I do have to say that Mary and Victor my other two dogs helped Pepper understand. Even tho none of them would step over the boundary if dogs would walk down the street, a cat would appear or a squirrel, I still do not ever let them go outside without me, and when I am out there I have my eyes on them. I would never suggest to anyone that they let their dog out unattended. I believe it is a combo that makes it work. First the obedience lets them know that they can control themselves, and the recall is an absolute must. you can't even start without that. The rest is a ton of repetition. My old boss had 3 rules for training a dog. Always make sure they are having 50 percent of the fun, never give a command you do not enforce, and always leave them wanting more.
Doing games like hide and seek really help the recall. I believe there is a good stickie by Doc in the training on how to work your recall. Yesterday I accidentally left Pepper outside, I thought she had followed me in. It was about a 15 minutes before I realized what I had done. I am ill and on a great deal of medication and it has made me fairly spacey. So I was so proud of Pepper when I opened the door and she was laying on the mat right in front of teh door, it was even hot and she hadn't even moved to the shade in the grass. THe way I have trained them helps them understand we are a team and training never stops. WE work on something new to keep their minds going, we refresh every day on our walks when I say stop and sit when cars come. THey are a pleasure to walk, a pleasure to be able to work in teh yard and not have to tether them. If all of your dogs are not ready, I would work them one at a time. Get one solid and then use one to help you do the next. I have many photographs of our work in my gallery here on Chazhound. It is not an overnight thing, it took a good year before Pepper was what I would consider in doggy college, and another year after that before she would be what I consider finished.

If a person isn't willing to do all of that I would not suggest they try it. Victor my pointer was a skittish, hyper-sensitive active pointer pup. Training him to become a Pets for Life therapy dog was the best thing I ever did for him. Even so, if we do not work on this daily he becomes a little sloppy.
The good thing about all of it is how confident the dog becomes.
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Old 06-08-2010, 04:45 PM
wagthedog wagthedog is offline
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Thanks so much for that advice! I totally understand that you cannot have a completely reliable response to any sort of boundry training, but sounds like you have worked hard to accomplish some great things with your dogs. It would be the rare client indeed that would be willing to put that much time, effort and supervision into this training...I agree that if they are not 100% committed to such a regimen there is no point in recommending it. I too have used hide and seek with my own lab for recall work, it's her favorite game and I like the physical and mental stimulation it provides.

I really appreciate that you all took the time to reply!
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Old 06-08-2010, 05:18 PM
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Quote:
Even tho none of them would step over the boundary if dogs would walk down the street, a cat would appear or a squirrel, I still do not ever let them go outside without me, and when I am out there I have my eyes on them. I would never suggest to anyone that they let their dog out unattended
This was what I was getting at. My dogs are all very good at staying in their property. I've always taught my dogs that they can't leave the property without a leash and me (lol) attached. I made a distinction between the leash being on and their being allowed to go out. Back and forth, over and over. (with the property line that's on the road. The back line, I don't care. There's no road) Lyric was very good about resisting his prey drive but I'm not so sure about the Chi's. But the house and yard where they stay is a long ways from the pasture and road for them. They're not as apt to wander like the bigger dogs.

What I think we're saying is that the word reliable (at least 100%) doesn't go very well with dogs or any living being. Actually, even machines when I come to think of it...like computers. LOL. And it would take so much work to train them that it might not be practical. I mean...there are so many other things to train a dog. I can't say enough about fences. Next house, I'm having a fence because I won't live in such a wilderness area with so much land. Of course, with these little rug rats, I'm always outside with them.
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Old 06-08-2010, 11:30 PM
wagthedog wagthedog is offline
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I agree, a lot of work for training this with no guarantee of reliability. Unfortunately they do not allow for fencing out at the lake. With my lab, I have worked with her to stay on our lot using recalls and CONSTANT supervision...fortunately she does not display much prey drive (really only cares about her ball!) However, some of my neighbors out there just don't seem to get it, they let their dogs out of the cottage unsupervised and I have seen more than one trotting down the (very busy) road behind our lot, alone...guess it's going to be more about education than anything.
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Old 06-09-2010, 12:03 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wagthedog View Post
guess it's going to be more about education than anything.
It usually is.

I do believe that if you always recall them when they get to a certain spot in the yard, they'll eventually learn to turn back when they get to that same spot. But if one time they don't and you're not out there to call them and reinforce the behavior, or if they do it too often without sufficient reinforcement, all the work is compromised.
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