When you’re trying to teach your dog to behave in your unfenced yard, it can be a challenge to keep your pet from chasing rabbits, eating undesirable items, or leaping across the property line to greet your neighbors.
That’s where training your dog to obey you and to stay in the yard with a containment system that lets your dog run while safely containing them to your property.
Tips for Training Your Dog
- Teach your dog to respect you. Dog trainer Michelle Welton promotes the idea of “respect training,” which promotes positive rewards (like praise) when a dog does something you like, and negative—but not harsh or cruel—consequences (like stern words) when they do a behavior you don’t like, as opposed to “positive only” training, which offers no negative consequences for bad behavior (like ignoring a command.)
Respect training demonstrates to the dog that you are the leader of the pack, and they are your subordinate. Dogs are wired to live in a group and follow an “alpha” boss, Welton explains. Dogs like it when you’re the boss, because this makes them feel secure: everything is under control, and they don’t have to take on the responsibility of managing their environment.
- Say “No.” As a general rule of thumb, don’t be afraid to sternly say, “No. Stop that.” when a dog does something you don’t like, Welton says. This functions as an unpleasant consequence, and teaches the dog what “no” means. As Welton notes, it’s good to teach your dogs words that help you communicate with him/her.
Saying “no” is not mean: in fact, consistently saying no communicates clearly with your dog that a behavior is unwanted. Saying “no” immediately after the action helps your dog understand which behavior you don’t like, rather than getting confused.
Saying "no" to animals, as with children, is important for not only saving your sanity, but protecting them from harming themselves or others, Welton notes. Immediate obedience is necessary when, for example, your dog wants to chase a moving car, bark at a dog walking by, or eat a thumbtack.
- Reward good behavior fast. It’s important to be Johnny on the spot (no more than a few seconds) with a treat or other reward when your dog does the behavior you want. This helps the dog connect that specific behavior with the reward, rather than getting confused about what they are being rewarded for (Hilarie Erb).
- Use compelling rewards. You know your dog best. What types of treats and rewards motivate them the most? When training them to do something important, skip over the okay treats to the ones your dog would do anything for (Erb).
- Be consistent. Consistency in training is essential. If you wish a dog not to do something, or stay out of an area, never allow them to do it.
After all, if someone told you something wasn’t allowed, but let you do it later, wouldn’t that be confusing? For example, if you don’t want your dog to go in the garden but you allow them to do it while you’re working, that could undermine your training efforts.
- Be patient. Some dogs are a quicker study than others (RSPCA).
- Stay Positive. Dogs pick up on your emotions, so try to remain calm and positive (Erb).
- Keep your dog stimulated. According to the Humane Society, boredom and loneliness are often the cause of “bad” behavior (including running away). Avoid leaving your dog alone and under-stimulated for long periods of time.
Provide them with company, toys, playmates, work (particularly for breeds like border collies that need jobs to feel happy), regular play and walks, obedience training, tricks to learn, and doggie day care when you’re away to keep them happy and less likely to engage in bad behavior.
- Teach your dog to recall. One of the most useful commands inside and outside your property is to teach your dog to be recalled. This allows you to reclaim a dog roaming across a large space or restrain them in a tight situation.
Gibeault explains that you can do this by teaching your dog to 1) respond to their name, 2) come to you when you call their name, and 3) allow you to grab their collar. Get full instructions here.
- Take age into consideration. If your dog is a puppy, remember that they are a baby dog, so they are not fully developed mentally and physically (Erb).
- Take your dog to obedience training. Welton recommends resisting the urge to drop your dog off at a boarding obedience school unless they have a “serious aggression problem.” Instead, go to obedience classes with your dog so that commands come from you. This way, your dog learns to respect (and bond with) you, not the teacher.
Keeping Your Dog Safe in the Yard
A very important part of trust and respect based training is keeping your dog safe at all times. Dogs are impulse driven and therefore can be tempted to leave the yard and be exposed to all sorts of dangers. Electronic pet containment is a proven, safe, and effective way to keep your dog safely in the yard.
Dog Guard® of Wisconsin serves dogs and owners in eleven Wisconsin counties. We can help you! Providing a harmless correction that acts as a negative consequence when your dog nears the boundary, The Dog Guard® system will keep your dog safe in the yard! The Dog Guard® system uses a harmless static pulsation, similar to a static shock from a doorknob.
In order to contain dogs of all breeds, personalities and determination levels, the system has a dual correction zone. This allows the flexibility of a gentle correction with a stronger correction for those dogs who need it. If you’re not sure whether an electric pet fence is right for your dog, check out this post.
Dog Guard® of Wisconsin’s Unlimited Training Assistance
Dog Guard® of Wisconsin offers unlimited training assistance. Our job is not finished until your dog is safely contained in the yard! Every dog (and owner) is different so training support should be different for every dog (and owner).
Unlike Invisible Fence®, Pet Stop®, or Dog Watch®, Dog Guard® of Wisconsin offers unlimited, personalized training assistance to our customers at no extra cost.
Learn more about the Dog Guard® system's veterinarian-approved combination of training and technology.