If you want to allow your dog to run off-leash on your property, it is important to begin perimeter training at an early age. Training a dog to know boundaries is time-consuming, but also ensures your dog will remain within a safe distance of home at all times and will not run into traffic or onto another property.
The first step to training a dog to remain within a perimeter is to identify that perimeter. You can mark out an area with small boundary flags, available at most hardware stores. At first, the flags should be close together, to form a physical impediment to the dog. You should also get a large supply of your dog's favorite treats, since perimeter training is extremely labor-intensive and requires constant positive reinforcement.
Next, take the dog out on its leash and keep it on the inside of the perimeter you marked. Keep a handful of your dog's favorite treats in your hand, and have the dog remain close to you, giving you its attention. Reward it for staying within the boundary, but if it crosses the line, tug the leash and say "No" firmly. Make sure to give the dog treats and praise for staying within the fence.
Removing Some Markers
Once the dog learns to associate staying within the perimeter with receiving treats and praise, remove some of the boundary markers and repeat the process, making sure to practice several times a day. This type of training takes a long time to complete, but if you try to rush it, the training will not be successful. Keep repeating the process and giving the dog a longer leash until you are confident it knows its boundaries. This will likely take several months.
Electronic Fence Systems
Many pet owners purchase an electronic fence system to keep their dog on their property. This method requires a dog to be fitted with an electronic collar, which delivers a shock if a dog tries to pass a pre-set boundary. These systems are not fool-proof, however; the batteries can fail, or the power supply to the buried "fence" can fail. For some dogs, the minor shock is not a large enough deterrent to prevent escape.
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