Training dogs to remain within boundaries is not as difficult as it may seem. It certainly does not require the use of shock collars, electrical fences or any other dangerous and harmful training products that are promoted for this purpose. All it takes is 10 to 15 minutes of dedicated training every day to teach your pup the boundaries in and around your home.
Teaching your dog to remain within defined boundaries is necessary to ensure their safety. It will stop your pup running out into the road, making a “great escape” and all sorts of other trouble. Puppies are naturally curious and adventurous small bundles of joy that do not have much sense when it comes to perceiving danger.
Before you begin teaching boundaries, it is essential that you first teach your dog or puppy basic commands such as “Come”, “No”, “Stay”, “Leave it” and “Heel”.
Teaching your dog or puppy to recognize boundaries
The first step is to teach your pup exactly what a boundary is. When this is accomplished, you’ll be able to setup multiple boundaries in your home. Till then, choose only one area, for example a section of the front yard, to set up a boundary and start training your dog there. You’ll need to create the boundary line by placing flags or string 2 to 3 ft. away from the actual boundary (sidewalk, road, fence, etc.).
Training your dog to respect the boundary
Establishing a boundary for your dog is a 4-step process:
1. Introduce your pup to the boundary line
Put your dog on a leash and walk around the boundary area. Try to make sure that your dog does not step over it. Each time the line is crossed, say “No” or “Stop” so that your dog knows this is not okay. You can also walk up to the boundary and give the Stop command right before your puppy reaches the line. You’ll need to repeat this process for about 10 minutes daily for 3 or more days.
2. Use the Stay and Leave it commands
During the 2nd week of training, give your dog the Stay command and then get on the other side of the boundary line. This training helps your puppy better understand that they are to stay within the boundary, unless you specifically allow them to step out. If your dog stays, give a food reward or praise and repeat. If not, keep at it until your dog obeys. In puppy training persistence and patience is key.
Next, throw your dog’s favorite toy or a treat over the line and give the Leave It command. Your pup will be very tempted to go after the object and may be a bit confused at first. Persist it until your pup understands what it’s all about. With practice and positive reinforcement he or she will learn to respect the boundary.
To avoid any confusion, it’s important that you come up with a word like “Go” that let’s your dog know if and when it’s okay to step over the boundary line.
3. Train your pup on a long line and then a loose leash
After a few weeks of training your dog to stay within the boundary, it’s time to practice with a long line. Repeat the same exercises as before to see how your puppy performs on his or her own. Continue using treats and praise to keep your dog motivated. Once you feel confident about your dog staying within the boundary line, you can try the exercise with your pup on a loose leash.
4. Test your dog
The last step is to test your dog or puppy. You can do this by coming up with tempting situations to see how your dog reacts. Here are a few suggestions.
- Ask a friend or family member to be distracting while standing on the other side of the line.
- Have someone walk their dog past your home.
- Play ball or another game your puppy loves in front of your home.
When your pup passes his boundary training test it may be time to throw a puppy party!