Strong Willed Dog

A reader asks, for advice containing a strong willed dog:

We have a 9 year old Boxer mix that we rescued from the SPCA 9 years ago. We have been told that this dog is part Boxer and part Sheltie………but others think part Boxer part Pit Bull. This dog is 100% energy, as she loves to run up and down the hill in our back yard (85 ft wide by 250 feet deep lot in a subdivision)……fetching frisbees and balls. This dog is solid muscle and likes to play hard. This dog is a 100% people dog…..she ALWAYS has to be around people and is perfect with children and other people…………a very loveable companion. However, this dog does have one downfall………..she does not get along with other dogs and is territorial to other animals. When this dog was a puppy, we sent her off for doggie boot camp for training to correct her obedience issues……..and she came back a different animal, as we now could control the dog with the basic commands. She is however a very smart dog, and realized what she could get away with before she got a correction. That is when we purchased an Innotek ADV-1000P training collar. This collar allowed us to correct the dog before the dog would correct herself (ie. get back on her PLACE). This collar had variable intensity setting……….and it seemed like the maximum 15 setting was the one that you really noticed got her attention, as she would let out a little yelp with the correction. We stopped using the collar about 7 years ago, as we really had no issues with obedience that we could not handle without the collar (she knows when she is in trouble…..and she will sit and shake like a leaf). However, we were still concerned about aggressive behavior towards other dogs, and we dealt with this by only allowing her to socialize with dogs that she knows and has been around often. We have always been able to keep our dog contained within our ~1/2 acre lot to avoid contact with other animals……..mainly because we never let this dog outside unattended and because this dog WANTS to be around people and will not go outside unless there is a person with her. We also do not take the dog out to the front of the house, as we just do not want the possibility of a passer-bye walking their dog become a distraction to my dog.

We currently DO NOT have an inground fence to contain our dog……..but as our children get older and more kids are in and out of our home leaving doors open, we feel it is the right time to purchase an inground fencing system to ensure we keep our dog contained within our property. My biggest concern with any inground system is that the boundary zone in our backyard will be reduced by the inground fence, and the dog will not have the space it is used to for chasing frisbees and balls………….so I would want to adjust the setting down to maximize the area for the dog. However, in the front yard…………I want Fort Knox……… I do not want my dog close to the sidewalk where other dogs may be AND I do not want it to be easy for my dog to run through the boundary in the front yard. We do not routinely allow our pet in the front yard…………so familiarization with where the boundary is would concern me (I guess we would be forced to train the dog in the front yard….even though we don’t want her in the front yard). Any help in selecting a system for this dog and any installation tips to address our boundary concerns would be appreciated. I have already done some research, and it looks like either the Innotek IUC-4100 (PetSafe Ultrasmart) or the PetSafe Stubborn Dog systems may be good for this dog. I really like the Innotek system, as it is proven reliability and has a rechargeable battery, along with a durable slender collar design. The Stubborn Dog has a much higher intensity level…which my dog may need, but not sure if it would be overkill. I am not sure about the Stubborn Dog reliability….but I don’t like the fact that the battery is not rechargeable and the collar aesthetics. One other thing that could be a factor………….we have a bit of a problem with this smart dog…..she likes to lay on the couch when we are not at home (never when we are home, just when we leave). We would like a system that would allow us to place wireless pods within the house to take care of the couch issue.

Sorry for being long winded……….just trying to get some history, behaviors, needs, etc out there to help with any recommendations you may have. Any help would be greatly appreciated.


Hi Ty,

With your experience with her needing the highest setting on a remote trainer to get a response, I would play it safe and get the PetSafe Stubborn. You may well find you don’t need those higher levels, but it is good to have them there in case you do need them. The PetSafe uses a generic 9 volt battery, so you can effectively make the Stubborn rechargeable, if you get a couple of rechargeable 9V batteries and a charger.

The PetSafe fence has indoor wireless pods, that you can use indoors, but they do need to be plugged in, so hopefully there is an outlet nearby.

To get a bigger boundary in the back, you could have three passes of the wire instead of the regular one pass – separating each run of the wire by 6 feet. The other option, is that if you have a fence in the back yard, you could run the wire along the top of the backyard fence which would effectively reduce the boundary width in the back yard.

In this situation, I would take extra care to work with the dog in the training period, Step Three, with confederate pedestrians – preferably with a dog on leash. We know that is a trigger for the dog and want to be absolutely sure that they are contained, no matter what.

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