Electric Dog Fence Training

Overview of Dog Fence Training

The most important part of installing a dog containment fence is training your dog to use the fence. Invest two weeks in training your dog to use the fence and you will have a happily contained dog. Without the training the system is worse than useless. Training is easy, all you need to do is commit to three fifteen minute session each day for two weeks.

Here is a quick overview of the training. The most important principle is to teach the dog that when they hear the tone, they need to retreat (and not run through the fence). You will find more detailed explanation for each step of the training by following the links below.

Training is Easy:

1
STEP

Introducing the Dog Fence

We teach the dog that the boundary flags and the warning beep mean that they need to turn and retreat. Setting this foundation means that when the correction is applied in the next step, the dog knows what is expected from them and knows how to turn the correction off.

We now add the correction to training to teach the dog that there is a consequence for breaking the boundary rules. Adding this deterrent will help cement the boundary rules you taught the dog in Step One. Since you have already taught the dog to turn and retreat when they hear the warning beep, the dog should quickly learn how to turn off the correction by retreating from the boundary.

After the first correction we will calibrate the correction strength so that it is strong enough to capture the dog’s attention but not so strong that it overwhelms the dog. It will be important when the dog is corrected that you exercise leadership and show the dog how to turn off the correction if they get flustered. You want to take care not to feed any fear in the dog by indulging nervous behavior.

Preliminaries

Setting the Correction Level

Reactivate the shock on your collar, either by adjusting the controls or removing any probe covers you added.  Set the correction level. For a small and sensitive dogs, start with the correction on the low setting, for a medium size dog start on the medium setting and for a large or high pain threshold dogs dog start on high.

The correction level required by each dog is different and we will just make an educated guess until we have observed the dog get their first correction and we can better gauge the right correction level. If in doubt about the initial correction level, guess high for hard headed dogs and guess low for timid dogs.

Some people set the correction very low, in an attempt to avoid hurting the dog, but the opposite is true. If you set the correction low the dog will learn that it is not too bad and try exploring past the boundary … they may end up on the street and they could really get hurt. Some people set the correction level very high in an attempt to “scare the dog straight,” but again this is counterproductive. If the correction level is too high the dog can get overwhelmed and not be receptive to learning. Instead we want a correction level just high enough to recapture the dog’s attention and refocus it on the dog fence.

Fitting the Collar

Place the collar on the dog, ensuring that the collar probes contact the dog’s skin.  Remember, if the contacts are not touching the dog’s skin, the dog will not receive the correction. For long hair dogs, this will often require you to move hair out of the way so that the contacts contact skin. If the hair is too thick, thin out the hair in the area of the contact using a pair of scissors. When you fasten the collar it should be tight enough to hold the contacts in place. A good rule of thumb is that you want the collar tight enough that you can insert two fingers between the collar and the dog, but no more. Some of the superior collars like the Innotek IUC-4100 and the IUC-5100 have collar check modes that allow you to determine if the collar is fitted properly. If your collar has this feature it is a good idea to use it. A collar being incorrectly fitted is the most common causes of a dog ignoringthe correction.

Playtime Before & After Training

As before, we want to start each training session, begin with a few minutes of play with the dog. This is a good habit to get into before all dog training. A little bit of play before and after each training session keeps dogs eager to take part in training.

Training

As in Step One, you are going to put the dog on a long leash and take them about a yard from the boundary. As before you never want to lure the dog over the boundary, let them wander over by themselves. It may take a few minutes. When they cross and the beeping starts, wait till they receive their correction. This may take a second or so. You will know the dog got the correction because they will visible flinch or recoil. Then pull the dog back into the safe area saying “no, no, no.” When they retreat praise them.

If the dog gets the correction do not baby them. The dog got a static shock and it is no big deal, it was just like the static shock you sometime get on carpet (if you are in doubt try it on yourself – we have been shocked scores of times and it is no big deal, more surprising than hurtful). You are the dog’s leader, if you panic they will panic and they will not learn. If you act like it is not a big deal it will not be a big deal and they will learn that the shock was simply the consequence of crossing the boundary and that it can easily be avoided by staying back from the boundary.

If the dog doesn’t cross the boundary, reward them. Watch their body language. You will often see the dog heading toward the boundary, but then stop when it shifts it’s vision to the flags. You will often see a dog spontaneously turn their back to the flags. You want to reward this type of behavior with praise, a treat, or a quick game of fetch.

Repeat this activity three times a day for another week. Make sure your dog does not get shocked more than once a session. You do not want them to find this training an unpleasant experience. If they get shocked during the session, simply switch off the shock (or wrap the receiver contacts collar in masking tape) and continue on with the training.

When the dog is consistently demonstrating an awareness of the boundary and refusing to cross, it is time to start the next phase of training. In Step Three, we Test Compliance and see if the dog resists crossing even when excited and confronted with temptations on the other side of the fence.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: My dog completely ignores the correction. Should I turn up the correction strength?

A: If during the training the dog has no reaction at all to the correction, the most common explanation is that the collar is not properly fitted. Even at the lowest settings, most dogs will at least react by turning their head or scratching at the collar as if stung by an insect. If they don’t react, it is probably because the collar probes are not actually touching the skin, and consequently the dog is not getting the correction. Check that any hair is moved out of the way and that the collar is tight enough that you can only insert two fingers between collar and the dog’s skin. You may want to thin out he hair of a long hair dog around the neck where the probes contact the skin to make establishing contact a little easier.

Wait until you see the dog’s reaction with the collar properly fitted before increasing the correction level. A complete non-reaction is very rarely because the correction level is too low.

Q: My dog reacts to the correction, but does not seem particularly bothered by it. Should I turn up the correction strength?

A: If the dog shows only a very mild reaction to the correction, for example not moving with urgency and just pausing to scratch at the collar we need to increase the correction level so that it better captures the dog’s attention.

Q: After the correction my dog became extremely fearful and ran back to the house. He will not go anywhere near the boundary?

A: Some dogs will be extremely sensitive to the correction and will become overly timid of the boundary. For these dogs we want to increase the level of reward for playing inside the boundary and decrease the correction level. So devote more of your training time to positive activities like playing in the safe zone. You can also start feeding the dog in the safe zone to help create more positive associations with that area.

If your dog had an overly fearful reaction check that you are not inadvertently nurturing this fear by babying the dog or acting timid during the training. Sometimes we accidentally nurture the fear in dogs ,rewarding and validating the fear by giving the dog lots of attention after the correction.

Q: My dog learned the boundary rules but stays too far away from the boundary. How do I get them comfortable using the entire yard?

Many dogs will stay 10+ feet back from the flags after getting the correction. This is a normal part of learning the boundary line, at first they will be very cautious. Over time they will become more adventurous and get closer to the boundary. You can help this along by leading them on the leash into the safe zone and playing with them in this area. But, you do not need to do this. The dogs will naturally get closer and closer to the flags as they get familiar with the system over the coming months.

Load more information on Step One
2
STEP

Introducing the Correction

We now add the correction to our training, showing the dog that the consequence for ignoring the beep is a shock. We reinforce the lessons of the first step, that the dog must turn and retreat whenever they hear the warning beep and that this is the only way to stop the correction.

We now add the correction to training to teach the dog that there is a consequence for breaking the boundary rules. Adding this deterrent will help cement the boundary rules you taught the dog in Step One. Since you have already taught the dog to turn and retreat when they hear the warning beep, the dog should quickly learn how to turn off the correction by retreating from the boundary.

After the first correction we will calibrate the correction strength so that it is strong enough to capture the dog’s attention but not so strong that it overwhelms the dog. It will be important when the dog is corrected that you exercise leadership and show the dog how to turn off the correction if they get flustered. You want to take care not to feed any fear in the dog by indulging nervous behavior.

Preliminaries

Setting the Correction Level

Reactivate the shock on your collar, either by adjusting the controls or removing any probe covers you added.  Set the correction level. For a small and sensitive dogs, start with the correction on the low setting, for a medium size dog start on the medium setting and for a large or high pain threshold dogs dog start on high.

The correction level required by each dog is different and we will just make an educated guess until we have observed the dog get their first correction and we can better gauge the right correction level. If in doubt about the initial correction level, guess high for hard headed dogs and guess low for timid dogs.

Some people set the correction very low, in an attempt to avoid hurting the dog, but the opposite is true. If you set the correction low the dog will learn that it is not too bad and try exploring past the boundary … they may end up on the street and they could really get hurt. Some people set the correction level very high in an attempt to “scare the dog straight,” but again this is counterproductive. If the correction level is too high the dog can get overwhelmed and not be receptive to learning. Instead we want a correction level just high enough to recapture the dog’s attention and refocus it on the dog fence.

Fitting the Collar

Place the collar on the dog, ensuring that the collar probes contact the dog’s skin.  Remember, if the contacts are not touching the dog’s skin, the dog will not receive the correction. For long hair dogs, this will often require you to move hair out of the way so that the contacts contact skin. If the hair is too thick, thin out the hair in the area of the contact using a pair of scissors. When you fasten the collar it should be tight enough to hold the contacts in place. A good rule of thumb is that you want the collar tight enough that you can insert two fingers between the collar and the dog, but no more. Some of the superior collars like the Innotek IUC-4100 and the IUC-5100 have collar check modes that allow you to determine if the collar is fitted properly. If your collar has this feature it is a good idea to use it. A collar being incorrectly fitted is the most common causes of a dog ignoringthe correction.

Playtime Before & After Training

As before, we want to start each training session, begin with a few minutes of play with the dog. This is a good habit to get into before all dog training. A little bit of play before and after each training session keeps dogs eager to take part in training.

Training

As in Step One, you are going to put the dog on a long leash and take them about a yard from the boundary. As before you never want to lure the dog over the boundary, let them wander over by themselves. It may take a few minutes. When they cross and the beeping starts, wait till they receive their correction. This may take a second or so. You will know the dog got the correction because they will visible flinch or recoil. Then pull the dog back into the safe area saying “no, no, no.” When they retreat praise them.

If the dog gets the correction do not baby them. The dog got a static shock and it is no big deal, it was just like the static shock you sometime get on carpet (if you are in doubt try it on yourself – we have been shocked scores of times and it is no big deal, more surprising than hurtful). You are the dog’s leader, if you panic they will panic and they will not learn. If you act like it is not a big deal it will not be a big deal and they will learn that the shock was simply the consequence of crossing the boundary and that it can easily be avoided by staying back from the boundary.

If the dog doesn’t cross the boundary, reward them. Watch their body language. You will often see the dog heading toward the boundary, but then stop when it shifts it’s vision to the flags. You will often see a dog spontaneously turn their back to the flags. You want to reward this type of behavior with praise, a treat, or a quick game of fetch.

Repeat this activity three times a day for another week. Make sure your dog does not get shocked more than once a session. You do not want them to find this training an unpleasant experience. If they get shocked during the session, simply switch off the shock (or wrap the receiver contacts collar in masking tape) and continue on with the training.

When the dog is consistently demonstrating an awareness of the boundary and refusing to cross, it is time to start the next phase of training. In Step Three, we Test Compliance and see if the dog resists crossing even when excited and confronted with temptations on the other side of the fence.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: My dog completely ignores the correction. Should I turn up the correction strength?

A: If during the training the dog has no reaction at all to the correction, the most common explanation is that the collar is not properly fitted. Even at the lowest settings, most dogs will at least react by turning their head or scratching at the collar as if stung by an insect. If they don’t react, it is probably because the collar probes are not actually touching the skin, and consequently the dog is not getting the correction. Check that any hair is moved out of the way and that the collar is tight enough that you can only insert two fingers between collar and the dog’s skin. You may want to thin out he hair of a long hair dog around the neck where the probes contact the skin to make establishing contact a little easier.

Wait until you see the dog’s reaction with the collar properly fitted before increasing the correction level. A complete non-reaction is very rarely because the correction level is too low.

Q: My dog reacts to the correction, but does not seem particularly bothered by it. Should I turn up the correction strength?

A: If the dog shows only a very mild reaction to the correction, for example not moving with urgency and just pausing to scratch at the collar we need to increase the correction level so that it better captures the dog’s attention.

Q: After the correction my dog became extremely fearful and ran back to the house. He will not go anywhere near the boundary?

A: Some dogs will be extremely sensitive to the correction and will become overly timid of the boundary. For these dogs we want to increase the level of reward for playing inside the boundary and decrease the correction level. So devote more of your training time to positive activities like playing in the safe zone. You can also start feeding the dog in the safe zone to help create more positive associations with that area.

If your dog had an overly fearful reaction check that you are not inadvertently nurturing this fear by babying the dog or acting timid during the training. Sometimes we accidentally nurture the fear in dogs ,rewarding and validating the fear by giving the dog lots of attention after the correction.

Q: My dog learned the boundary rules but stays too far away from the boundary. How do I get them comfortable using the entire yard?

Many dogs will stay 10+ feet back from the flags after getting the correction. This is a normal part of learning the boundary line, at first they will be very cautious. Over time they will become more adventurous and get closer to the boundary. You can help this along by leading them on the leash into the safe zone and playing with them in this area. But, you do not need to do this. The dogs will naturally get closer and closer to the flags as they get familiar with the system over the coming months.

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3
STEP

Testing Compliance

We test the dog using temptations on the other side of the boundary to make sure that the boundary rules are observed even when the dog is in an excited state. The dog learns that the boundary rules must be observed even if there is a playmate, or food on the other side of the boundary.

In the last few days of training we want to test the dog to see how well they have internalized the boundary rules. We are doing this to make sure the dog is contained even when there are extreme temptations. By doing these extreme tests in a controlled setting, we can make sure the dog will stay contained when we start letting them off-leash. This is our opportunity to fix any weak spots in our training. If is much easier to teach this now than later once the dog has gotten used to breaking through the fence.

Preliminaries

Think through what the biggest temptations that your dog will face once you start leaving him offleash. We want to expose the dog to these temptations in this controlled training so that. For most dogs the biggest temptations are food, family, other dogs, and wildlife. But, if your dog has particular triggers like delivery people or chasing a tennis ball, then we should incorporate them into the training. It is easy to deal with any of these issues upfront, it takes longer to work through these issues after a pattern of breaking the fence has been established.

Training

The compliance training is very similar to the correction training that you performed in Step Two, except now we add temptation on the other side of the fence. Again you will put on the correction collar and put the dog on a long leash. Then you will expose the dog to some temptation on the other side of the fence.

If the dog stops at the boundary, reward them for obeying the boundary rules. Lavish praise, or give the dog a treat for resisting the temptation and obeying the boundary rules. They have done very well.

If the dog crosses the boundary, let them get the correction, say “no, no, no” and use the leash to tug the dog back away from the boundary. Then give the dog brief praise for retreating.

As the dog progresses, you can start to drop the leash so that it drags on the ground when you do the training. With the leash dragging on the ground, the dog perceives they are off-leash, but you can still grab the leash and control the dog if you need to. When the dog is confidently resisting all temptation, time to start introducing Supervised Off Leash Time in Step Four.

Toys

If your dog has games or toys it likes to play, use these to whip the dog into an excited state, then test their boundary compliance. For example, if you have Labrador that loves to play fetch with a tennis ball, you would play with the dog in the safe zone. Get the dog more and more excited playing the game, then throw the ball slightly over the boundary and observe the dogs reactions. A well trained dog will quickly site the flags and not follow the toy over the boundary. You will see the eyes move from the ball over the boundary to the flags. The dog may look tempted, but should not cross. They should wait for a human to retrieve the ball for them before continuing the game.

Family Members

Most dogs are very close to human family members and get a separation anxiety when family members leave creating a strong temptation to follow them past the boundary. We want to test them on this by having a family member walk past the dog and over boundary. It is important that when they walk past the dog over the boundary that they do not pay any attention to the dog or call the dog (we always want a dog to be able to trust human commands and should never do anything to disrupt that trust). ‘

To increase the level of temptation, the family member can play with the dog for a few minutes and get them excited before walking past the dog and across the boundary.

Other Dogs

Most dogs are very motivated by the opportunity to play with other dogs. We want to test this by having a confederate walk another dog past the boundary. Ask a neighbor to help out by walking his dog close to the boundary and see if your dog attempts to cross.

If you dog successfully stops at the boundary you can increase the level of temptation by having the neighbors dog come onto your property and play with your dog until he has gotten into the excited state, then having the neighbor lead their dog past the boundary and seeing if your dog follows.

Other Animals: Wildlife, LiveStock, Cats

Many dogs have a strong prey drive and are instinctively drawn to chasing critters like cats, squirrels, rabbits, birds, poultry, livestock, and deer. Where the temptation is a domestic animal like a chicken it is easy to introduce one as a temptation on the other side of the boundary line. Simply have someone borrow a chicken and parade it on the other side of the boundary. As the dog progresses in the training have the animal run past the boundary, the fast movement is often particularly tempting for high prey drive dogs.

Where the temptation is wild life which are harder to cooperate, do the training at times when this wildlife is most active and most likely to make an appearance. You can also lay down a scent line using a purchased scent from a hunting store. This is a particularly useful tool for nose driven dogs like bloodhounds and beagles.


If your dog gets distracted and crosses over the boundary for any of these tests, then you need to do a bit more training until your dog can pass these tests and any other test you devise before proceeding to Off Leash in Step Four.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: My dog always wants to follow the UPS Truck over the boundary. What do I do?

A: Try to find some way of simulating that temptation during training. For example, do the training when the UPS truck arrives. If you have a friendly UPS delivery person, ask them to arrive and leave a few times in succession so you can practice. You can also have a friend drive up to the house, have them walk up to the door then leave to create a similar experience for the dog.

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4
STEP

Introducing Off Leash

We start letting the dog play off leash. Starting with short stints, we work our way up to allowing the dog to remain in the yard unsupervised for an entire day.

In this final step, we gradually increase the amount of off leash time that the dog is given until they can spend longer periods unsupervised off-leash. We need to keep a closer eye on the dog in these first few days to make sure we are not getting any breakouts. But, you should be able to quickly move to full unsupervised off-leash time.

Training

Start to allow your dog to be in the yard off leash.  Keep the sessions short and supervised at first, but if the dog observes the boundary then extend the sessions, and start to go inside for short periods and leave the dog unsupervised for a few minutes.  Peak through your window and see what happens.

If you get any breakouts, then you will need to do some more training in Step Two. If there is some particular trigger causing the breakouts, add some training using that trigger as described in Step Three.

Once you are getting complete containment, take a bow! Congratulations on a job well done!

After a month off-leash when your dog is confident of the boundaries we can start working on taking walks through the boundary and removing the training flags.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: My dog is getting bored outside and digging up shrubs. How do I make him stop?

A: As the amount of unsupervised outside time increases, you are going to want to give your dog something to do to keep them from getting bored.  We have a few ideas in our page on curbing boredom.

Q: After a year of being contained my dog has started to go through he boundary?

A: Observe the dog as they go through the boundary and watch their reaction as they cross.

If the dog has no visible reaction (other than perhaps a mild apprehensive expression), then the dog is no longer getting the correction. This the most common cause of breakouts. Typically, we get lazy about putting the dogs collar on and it is hanging loosely around their neck and the probes are no longer contacting the dog’s skin. Fit the collar correctly and do a bit of remedial Step Two Correction Training. It is also possible that the collar is no longer working, test the collar using the supplied tester or on your hand to make sure it is still correcting when the dog crosses the boundary.

If the dog is reacting, by flinching or yelping as they cross, but is going through nonetheless we want to increase the consequence of crossing and do some remedial training. Increase the correction level, and increase the boundary width so crossing the boundary is more unpleasant and takes longer. Then do a few remedial training session similar to those described in Step Two.

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Post-Training

Removing the Flags

After your dogs have had time to get used to the system (generally 2-3 months) and remember the location of the boundary, you can start removing the training flags. You will thin out the flags, taking out every second flag one week, again removing every second remaining flag the next week, before removing all flags in the third week.

Click for more details on removing the dog fence flags.

Walks

During the training period, you should avoid your dog crossing the boundary lines at all times. This means you should not leave them unsupervised in the yard. And if you need to take them for a walk, put them in the back of your car and drive them over the boundary or if you have a little dog, carry them over the boundary (with the collar off). But, once your dog has mastered the training (a couple of months), you can teach them to walk through the boundary when they are on a walk.

For information on creating a walking your dog through the fence, see here .

49 Comments

  1. Barbara says:

    My dog is extremely timid now that she has been shocked and sits on the front stairs and shakes when I take her out. How high should the shock be for a small dog and will she ever unlearn this?

    ADMIN – Hi Barbara. The first step of training your dog does not use the correction at all, just the warning tones. The correction is not used until level 2 of training and then, ONLY on level 1 at first, increasing the level if needed only. Please visit the Training Page to see the 4 step training program complete with some training videos: https://www.dogfencediy.com/training/
    As it sounds like your dog has become fearful of the pet containment area, you will want to do the right things to help her associate the electric dog collar with positive things. I would try turning the receiver collar off and let your dog get used to wearing it inside the house. It is also a good idea to persuade your dog to go outside and play in the pet containment area as a family with lots of toys and treats! Sometimes it can help if you do this after a walk when your dog is most relaxed. It really helps if you are confident and strong leader during this time. And remember, just take it slow. Dogs will adjust in their own time. It may take your dog a couple of weeks. The key is to make the pet containment area a fun place for your dog! Once her confidence is up again, begin with step one of training working slowly through the steps at her pace.

  2. Jim says:

    We are using the PetSafe Basic In Ground Fence with a 10 month old long haired Australian Shepherd mix we just adopted from a rescue organization. She did great with step 1 and quickly learned to expect a treat when she returned to the pet area. On the first day of step 2 with the static correction set at the lowest level, she also responded well and returned to her area for a treat. However, when off the leash with the collar still on, she followed my wife through the boundary area with no response at all to the correction.

    I tested the collar on myself and found the static correction to be hardly noticeable, like a tickle or something crawling on me. I increased it one level and tested it again and found it to be noticeable like a typical carpet induced static shock. We already had the longer electrodes in the collar. This time she definitely felt the correction and let out a yelp. Since then she has had no desire to test the boundary either on or off the leash. On or off the leash, she will play with toys and people and relieve herself, but she gives pretty wide berth to the boundary flags. I walked around our 2 acre lot on the outside of the flags and she followed on the inside well within her area and not close enough to hear the warning beeps.

    Should we use the leash to force her close enough to the boundary to at least hear the warning beeps or should we just let her dictate where she wants to go at this point in her training? We have not yet tried to tempt her across the boundary with toys or her favorite neighborhood dog that she likes to play with.

    ADMIN – Hi Jim. We would never recommend forcing the dog to or across the line. This shows the dog that we want them to do something and then, when they comply, we punish them for it with the shock. I’d just let her figure out her own spacing. As she becomes more accustomed to her yard, she may test it out. If she does, then you can work with her near the line.

  3. Don says:

    After installation of our yardmax system, we spent a week with our year old Golden-doodle with the collar set to no correction and she quickly learned with positive reinforcement to retreat when she heard the collar beep.
    Today, I increased the collar to the first level of correction and she again she retreated as soon as she heard the collar beep. One time she lingered slightly outside the wire and obviously received a static correction…she retreated within the boundry, but the collar continued to giving her a static correction. She went wild, yelping and running in circles. I quickly grabbed her and within a couple of seconds was able to remove the collar. After calming her down and playing with her a few minutes, I took her inside the house while I investigated what went wrong. I have since manually tested the boundary by carrying the collar over the boundary and it seems to work fine..with the correction stopping as soon as I returned inside the boundary. What went wrong? I scared to try it again on the dog.

    ADMIN – Hi Don. From what you are describing, it sounds as if your wires may be in the transmitter backwards. Try flipping your wires in the terminals and test your loop again. When the wires are backwards, this causes the extended correction to be on the INSIDE of the loop instead of the outside.
    If this does not help solve the problem, I would contact PetSafe directly. You may have a faulty part. Your system is covered under a 1 year manufacturers warranty through PetSafe.
    Please contact the PetSafe Customer Care Center at 1-800-732-2677.
    The PetSafe representative will troubleshoot your dog fence system and check on the warranty status if needed.

  4. Prentiss says:

    I have properly installed the fence and flagged the area. Unfortunately, the warning and shock happen about 10-15 feet from the wire. the width of my yard is only 50 feet with a fenced pool in the middle…this leaves just a narrow (20-30ft around most of the yard and 2 feet from the fenced pool). If I raise the height of the wire, which is now on the ground, will that give more room to the correction field? Or will I need to add a twisted segment of wire around the pool to neutralize that field?

    I am so grateful to find this Q&A site!

    Best Regards,
    Prentiss

    ADMIN – Hi Prentiss. Not knowing which system you have installed, there could be a couple of things to check for amplification issues or configuration issues. If you have the YardMax system and are running it in YardMax mode, mode “A”, your wires may be in the transmitter backwards. Try flipping your wires in the terminals and test your loop again. When the wires are backwards, this causes the extended correction to be on the INSIDE of the loop instead of the outside. Another issue could be any metal siding or fencing that might be in the area. This may amplify the signal so that the dog is receiving a correction even when they are in the proper location. If this does not help solve the problem, I would contact the manufacturer directly. You may have a faulty part. Your system may be covered under a manufacturers warranty.

  5. Rick says:

    How close does the dog have to get before it gets the warning or shock? If I put the wire in the gutter that is about 6 feet over the top of the patio door will they be able to go in/out with warning ??

    ADMIN – Hi Rick. If you are running the wire through your gutter, it should be well high enough up that the dog can use the doorway without receiving a correction. You will want to test this with the collar and the tester tool before putting the collar on your dog. If you are receiving a correction, try turning the boundary width down a bit.

  6. Robert says:

    Hello
    After four days of beep only training, I started the correction phase of the training. My one year old Labrador is very sensitive to the correction on its lowest level and now will not engage in play in the yard. He immediately wants to go back in the house. How should I proceed? Thank you for this great forum.

    ADMIN – Hi Robert. I’m sorry to hear about your dog. Some dogs may become fearful of the dog collar. The key is to help the dog associate the collar with positive things. I would also try putting the collar on her, taking her outside and playing with her outside in the safe pet area. Reinforce the pet area is a safe place by feeding the dog in the yard. Sometimes it can help if you do it after a walk when she is most relaxed.

  7. Jeff says:

    We have had a beagle for four years with the fence. We didn’t do a good job with the training. We have had various degrees of success with the fence. The majority of our electric fence also has a wooden privacy fence or a metal fence as well. She will go for weeks and stay inside the fence, then she will get out and it becomes very difficult to keep her in. She will deliberately take the correction and then just jump the metal fence. She also will take the correction and go to our back porch far enough away so she won’t get the correction. I’m not really sure what to do next. She has a “stubborn dog” collar and the correction level is set at the highest. When she is corrected she will yelp, but will keep on moving through the fence.

    We have started a couple of different times to re-train her, but she won’t go near the fence. I’m not sure what to do next. Any suggestions?

    ADMIN – Hi Jeff. I’m sorry to hear about your Beagle. What is the weight of your dog? Are you using the PetSafe Stubborn Dog Fence (PIG00-10777) in-ground fence system on your Beagle? The PetSafe Stubborn collar is approximately 50% stronger on it’s highest level than a standard correction collar. The collar is intended to be used with dogs with low-pain sensitivity or that are very large (over 100 lbs). Yes. We recommend retraining the Beagle for two weeks. During the remedial training, make sure the collar is making skin contact. If the contacts are not touching the dog’s skin, the dog will not receive a correction. Also, we recommend running the boundary wire 5-10 feet in front of a metal fence to avoid signal interference.

  8. Sara says:

    We installed the PetSafe in ground fence and everything seems to be installed correctly however, it only corrects if the collar is a few inches from the ground. The wire is only burried about 4-5 inches underground and our dog is a medium size (about 35lbs). So when he has on the collar it doesn’t correct him at all but when we test the wire we can see that it is working, but only when the wire is just over the ground. What can we do to fix this? Thank you!!

    ADMIN – Hi Sara. We recommend installing the boundary wire 1-3 inches in the ground. The boundary wire carries a weak radio signal through the perimeter loop and back to the transmitter. If the boundary wire is buried too deep, the weak radio signal will not be able to communicate (e.g., send beep, send correction) to the receiver collar. Simply, raise the height of the buried boundary wire to 1-3 inches below the ground.

  9. Rebecca says:

    My dog, a border collie terrier mix, is almost done with week one. My husband got a little ahead of himself and let her feel the correction right off the bat so naturally our first day was really rough… she would only go into the yard a few feet away from the door. She’s gotten a lot more comfortable since then but still doesn’t get close to the flags (she’s usually about 5 ft away) unless she’s playing hard enough to forget about them and as soon as she hears the beep she high tails it back to her “safe zone” (her safe zone has moved a few times by us congregating in new areas so she realizes she has quite a bit of safe space to be in) Since the beep seems to be enough to get her to run back into the yard should I still move onto step 2 or give her a little more time to get comfortable with how much area she has to roam?

    ADMIN – Hi Rebecca, I would continue like you are doing. Continue to allow them to wear the collar while spending time exploring the yard to learn that it is okay to do so. After they have enough time doing this, which may take several days to a couple of weeks, then you can begin training. When you start back, go ahead and move into step 2 and 3. You will need to create incentives for your dog to want to try and leave.

  10. Heather says:

    Hi, Our 52 lb, 12 year old pit mix had a great first week of training. She reacts well to cues from us. However, while starting our training using static correction, we’ve hit a snag. She’ll cross the boundary when there is a temptation (mostly a family member standing on the other side), receive the shock, and then freeze. She definitely feels it (she yelps), but she does not retreat back to the safe zone. Any tips on how to remedy this? Thank you-your videos have been extremely helpful!

    ADMIN – Hi Heather, We utilize a long leash through the entire training process. When your dog receives the correction, quickly run in the opposite direction, assertively pulling them with you as you give the command. You will want to continue this until they begin to retreat on their own initiative.

  11. Becky H. says:

    We have an 8 month old mixed breed dog who constantly jumps over our chain link fence. We are planning to install an electric fence to reinforce the boundary. Should the electric wire be placed at the base of the chain link fence or should it be 1-2 feet inside? I’m worried that if the electric fence boundary line is even with the existing fence, the only time she will receive the correction is when she’s already jumping the fence.

    ADMIN – Hi Becky, you can attach the wire halfway up the fence for the best result. Then you can set the collar to activate 3 feet from the wire. If that is not enough, you can increase to 4 feet, 5 feet etc until you find the right distance that prohibits the dog jumping out.

  12. Quyanna says:

    We have been training our 8 month st bernard Shepard mix boy and after two days of introducing him to the fence he had learned not to cross the line. So we decided to let him have free run of the yard. Then, when we were all across the street at the neighbors yard, he ran right through the line without getting shocked. We thought his fur was too thick and the collar wasn’t reaching the skin so we shaved the fur away. It still didn’t work and he kept escaping. I still continued training but during sessions, he wouldn’t even get close to the fence. The collar also seems to twist around his neck a lot so maybe it is still not touching skin. I’m not sure how to keep training because we really like having him have free rein of the yard but when he escapes he doesn’t come back until we manage to capture him to take him back home. I admit that we might not have trained him as we’ll as we should have because we thought he understood how the fence worked. He has escaped a total of 5 times. When we are there, he hasn’t escaped at all, it is only when we are on the other side of the line that he has escaped. How do we start over? On which step?

    ADMIN – Hi Quynanna,

    I would make sure the dog is secure while we retrain him. It seems like he is now routinely going out (when you are not around), and we want to stop that as soon as possible to stop it becoming a habit at which stage it will become much harder to fix.

    Like you said, I think the problem is that we just went through the training too quickly. I would back up and start at stage two, and do the full two weeks training (including the testing and the gradual introduction to off-leash). It seems like he is getting the general idea – there just isn’t a lot of consistency.

  13. Katie says:

    We have three miniature dachshunds and plan to purchase the small dog in ground system. Our back yard is fully surrounded by a garden with a paver stone border. Our front yard does not have an outside border. Our plan is to tuck the wire under the pavers in the back yard and bury it in the front yard. The trio is already trained that the pavers are the border of our yard, anything beyond those pavers is a no-no zone. This has worked fine most of the time, but one of our dogs frequently waits until she sees us turn our attention elsewhere, then quietly sneaks into the no-no zone. Since the pavers work well so long as there is a verbal reinforcement, I have no doubt that our escape artist will quickly pick up on the fence. My question is- how long should we spend on step one in the back yard? Would you still place flags between the pavers when starting training or just continue to use the pavers as a designation of the border? We will have to use flags in the front yard, but I want them to remember the pavers as being the designation of the no-no zone in the back yard.

    ADMIN – Hi Katie,

    Since you have already established the edge of the pavers as a no go zone and already have a clear visual demarcation, you could skip the flags and only spend a couple of days on Stage One for the backyard. You could of course use the flags too, I think they will help establish that something new is happening, and will help anchor the message about the front-yard flags, but they are not necessary in your situation.

  14. Linda says:

    Do you recommend that the dog stays inside during the entire training period except for the actual training sessions. I have a 16mo old lab/shepherd mix and he is very energetic. I cringe at the thought of keeping him inside all the time because he does like to go out and blow off steam. My yard is already fenced but I am thinking of installing a system in order to keep him from jumping against the fence and potentially knocking it down.

    ADMIN – Hi Linda,

    Yes, I would recommend the dog is put inside, or put on a line outside, or there is some other method preventing the dog going the boundary line during the training period. If you allow the dog to go near the boundary between training sessions, it send very mixed signals, and makes it harder for the dog to learn the system.

    I know this is a pain, but after two weeks you will have him fully trained. If you already have a fence in place, and are just trying to stop jumping, you can accelerate the training, because this tends to be a much easier lesson for the dog to learn with the clear visual boundary of the fence in place.

  15. Joseph NZIRORERA says:

    Hello, Thank you very much for this scholarship opportunity! I have recently completed my undergraduate course and now hold a Bachelor’s degree and will be attending Veterinary School starting this fall. I would like to apply for this scholarship and was wondering if you require the applicants to mail in their official school transcripts for award consideration? Thank you for your time.

    ADMIN – Hi Joseph,

    We don’t require you to mail in your transcript. We will only ask for the transcript from the winner.

  16. ron says:

    What hapens if my dog goes through the barrier and keeps going, does the correction still continue or does it shut off?

    ADMIN – Hi Ron, the correction zone is just a radius around the wire. So, if it is set to 5 feet, the signal will transmit 5 feet on either side of the wire. This means that if you dog walks all the way across through the total 10 foot signal, the collar will stop correcting. And it will correct him when he tries to re-enter. The issue is not the boundary zone distance, but with training. A properly trained dog will not run through the barrier.

  17. Steve says:

    I purchased the PetSafe UltraSmart Inground Fence PIG00-13619. I’m on a little over 2 acres and currently my terrier is jumping over the 5+ft fence. I’d like to mount the wire towards the top of the fence so he can still roam the fence line and only get “corrected” when he tries to jump since it takes him three or four attempts before he is able to get a hold of something and pull himself over. How would I train him on this since he wouldn’t get the warning until he starts his jumping? I know I’ll still have to train him at the various gates since I’ll have to put the wire in the ground there and he will be in the zone where the wire descends down and then back up.

    ADMIN – Hi Steve, when you combine a dog fence with a natural fence your success rate if very high. What you’ll want to do is set the flags near the fence and teach him not to cross the flags as the training instructs. With the jumping, the best way he’ll learn is by jumping. The natural fence is a barrier that will slow him down enough for him to receive the correction and cause him to stop jumping.

  18. Maggie says:

    We introduced our dog to the lowest correction level yesterday and she completely freaked out, jumped about 3 feet into the air, yelped really loud etc. This happened about 3-4 times yesterday when she got was shocked at the boundaries. Of course we are going to go back to only the phase 1 tone training for a while till she has a better grasp of that, but I’m wondering if there’s a way to lower the shock level any, below level 1–such as setting the prongs on her fur instead of on her skin? I think the lowest level is just too much for her. Do you have any suggestions?

    ADMIN – Hi Maggie, we can send you a set of resistors that you attach to your collar and it will decrease the correction by 50% or 75% depending which resistor you use. Let us know and we’d happy to send those out.

  19. Mike says:

    will my low voltage lighting wiring affect the signal from the fence?

    ADMIN – Hi Mike, any utility cable has the potential for creating interference. It is best to lay the wire out on the ground first and test before burying the wire.

  20. David says:

    Ok, i have a question. I’m installing your petsafe system on an existing three foot high fence, which is usually effective in keeping my beagles in. I’m installing the petsafe in hopes that the dogs will not go near the fence in winter, when there can be three feet of snow on the ground. My question is this. How is training moderated by the presence of a physical fence?

    ADMIN – Hi David, the training is much more brief. Go ahead and set flags up at the edge of the signal and go through step 1 several times. With the physical fence, your dog will only be able to turn around any so the goal here is to simply introduce the new boundary to your dog to avoid confusion.

  21. Tim says:

    I’ve been training our 9 month old lab mix for three days now and i am having a problem. Day one he did great walking to the flags and turning back to me when he heard the warning beeps. Day 2 the instructions advised to remove the contact point training covers and follow the same instructions as day 1. Well, he got the correction (on the lowest setting) and he tucked his tail and pulled me to the house. It took awhile but I got him back outside but he wouldn’t go anywhere near the flags. I have been able to get him to the correction zone only a couple times since and once he hears the beeps he tucks his tail and wants to go back inside. I am glad that he understands the warning but I am afraid he will not learn the containment area if he is scared to go to the flags.

    ADMIN – Hi Tim, this is quite normal. I would advise putting the yellow caps back onto the probes until he is more relaxed. When moving back to step 2 with correction, make sure to only allow your dog to receive no more than one correction per training session. Over time, he’ll relax and be confidently and safely contained.

  22. Vicki Shumaker says:

    Thank you for all the helpful hints. We will be installing a dog fence tomorrow and I appreciate the information.

    ADMIN – Hi Vicki, thanks for your feedback!

  23. Sara says:

    I have a newfie/pyrenees mix that is very timid. I started with step 1 training, lead her to the flags where she hears the beep, and that’s it, she goes on strike, I have to drag her the rest of the way. She cowers and shakes, runs back to her house or under the porch and won’t come out. Any suggestions?

    ADMIN – Hi Sara, believe it or not, timidity is quite normal. This is a new experience for dogs and some simply will be this conservative early on out of an abundance of caution. I’d recommend that you suspend the training until your newfie mix is more relaxed in the yard. Here’s several things you can do to help: 1) coax her to play in the yard and give her treats, 2) have the whole family play outside to entice her to play with you all, 3) go for a walk first to ease her nerves before playing in the back yard. Over time, she’ll loosen up and you can resume the training. Make sure you do not pull her along the leash or force her near the flags. This will be unproductive and may increase her anxiety toward the fence. Our goal is to show her that the yard is a fun place to play.

  24. Lynn says:

    Is there a chance the day will come that the dog is trained and doesn’t need to wear the collar anymore?

    ADMIN – Hi Lynn, most likely not. Dogs are very smart and most make the association that wearing the collar equals containment and not wearing the collar equals freedom!

  25. Julie says:

    I have been training my sheltie pup for two weeks now (he is 6 months tomorrow and since we had been doing very well with the beeping training I decided he was at the correction stage). My pup is very reluctant to get near the boundary and since you highly recommended him feeling the correction before being set loose. He seems to know the boundary rules, but our horses live across the boundary and he loves them! I had my mom watch over the dog while I got the horses stirred up and running around a bit so the dog would be interested in chasing and possibly going over the boundary. My mom dropped the rope attached to the dog when he ran and he went all the way across the boundary, received the shock and came to me on the “outside” with his tail wagging. I promptly walked him back through the shock zone to the safe zone and played there. I don’t know what to do now because he obviously did not know to stop and turn when he got the correction… Should I just treat it as a non-event/no-big-deal and continue trying to entice him to cross and then have him turn and retreat into the safe zone?

    ADMIN – Hi Julie, In step 2, which you began with your horses, your dog remains on leash with the correction turned on. When you create the enticement, let your sheltie walk into the boundary, receive the correction, and then turn and retreat giving the “No, No, No,” command. Only when your sheltie begins to obey the rules even when excited or enticed do you want begin to let go of the leash.

  26. Pete says:

    We own a cabin we use on weekends and short vacation breaks only. We want to fence approx one acre. Our dogs ( 1-2 yr old, 35# and 50# labradoodle mixes,) stay in sight of us most of the time with one exception. When a neighbor walks down the road, they cross our property line, go onto the road and chase. How do recommend we handle training when we are only at that home for a few days at a time, at most, one week? We do go there often, every other weekend or so in good weather. Thanks for your input and assistance.

    Admin- Hi Pete,

    1) For installation, you can install the boundary wire at the front of your property in a single sided boundary layout(see our diagrams under installations). The boundary wire will block your dogs from crossing onto the road.
    2) For training, set the training flags up at the boundary and introduce the flags and warning tones to your dogs. Ideally you will want to train 2-3 times daily(5-10 minutes) with each dogs. Since you are not at the cabin everyday, you can train your two dogs only the days you are there. Not training daily at the location will only extend the total training time but your Labradoodle will still lean the boundary’s.
    3) A great system for your Labradoodle is the PetSafe PIG0013619. The system gives you a slim line rechargeable collar and comes with 500 feet of wire that can cover 1/3 acres.

  27. Jay says:

    I have the stubborn dog petsafe, My 110# Rottweiler knows the boundary lines and pays attention to the beeping and vibration and retreats well. my problem is when another dog walks by, he runs right through the barrier and crosses the wire getting corrected at level 5,(only one that will phase him) and doesnt stop! He will even cross back through it. He has done this twice! The boundary width is set to 14ft. What am i to do?

    ADMIN – Hi Jay,

    Check his reaction when he goes through. If he does not react when crossing, likely the collar probes aren’t properly contacting the dog’s skin and they aren’t getting the correction at all. That he is willing to come back hints to me he is probably not getting the correction. Also the Level 5 correction on the stubborn is very high, even a Rottweiler should be phased by it. It is also possible that the collar is not correcting properly, you can test this using the tester tool that came with the system.

    If the dog is indeed getting the correction, then we would usually make the boundary wider (but your boundary is already plenty wide), turn up the correction strength (yours is already on max … you could add a second collar), and do some remedial training. When doing the training, focus on Step Three and using the triggers that are the dog’s problem spots, in your case borrow a neighbors dog and have someone walk it past as bait.

    My money is on the problem being the probes not contacting skin. You should get a big reaction, even out of a tough dog like a Rottweiler.

  28. Suzanne Martin says:

    I am considering buying a fence and have a question about the wire…I’d like to bury just a portion of it and keep the rest above ground…actually laying on the ground in our woods. Is that a recommended way of laying wire. We are moving in the spring and I would like to NOT have to bury all the wire now. Many thanks – this forum is very helpful in figuring out which system will best suit our needs as well as many wonderful training tips!

    ADMIN – Hi Suzanne,

    Laying the wire above ground in a wooded area is fine. The main reason we bury wire is to keep it safe from the lawnmower – if the area is not mowed (like a wooded area), then the wire can happily live on the surface. I would weigh down the dog containment fence wire or staple down the wire every few feet so that it does not move. (PS – in wooded areas, the wire usually buries itself as the leaves fall and then decompose)

  29. John says:

    Hey, so I have a 1 year old pit and 3 other small dogs. My pit is the only one I’m trying to train because she’s getting way to big and she scares my neighbors even though she’s friendly and won’t do anything. All my dogs run around freely since we have quite a bit of land but I’m worried that if I train just my pit she’ll go back to her old ways and ignore the markers once she sees my other dogs running around wherever they want since they’ve always ran around as a pack. What should I do?

    ADMIN – Hi John,

    Once trained, the pitbull will understand that she can’t go through the boundary even if the other dogs do. This is not an unusual arrangement, and the dog will get used to it quickly. If it is a particular concern that the other dogs will lure her through the boundary, then we should incorporate the other dogs into the third stage of training, where you introduce temptations.

  30. Catherine says:

    Hi, I have a 1 year old Siberian husky that is extremely smart! When he on the leash and hears the beeping he will retreat like he’s supposed to. But the second he gets off the leash he just bolts through the boundary like its not even there. We have cows a little ways out side of the boundary and he likes to play in their pasture, so from day one there have always been distractions on the other side. And since it’s been getting colder lately and his hair is getting longer and thicker, the shock doesn’t seem to faze him at all! Should I shave some of his fur when the collar goes so it makes contact? Please help!

    ADMIN – Hi Catherine,

    You can continue to trim his fur with scissors to help make good contact. However, you may need to contact the manufacture to special thick fur probes for your Husky.

    For your training issue. I recommend you utilize at lead a 10 to 15 foot lead and let you Husky drag it around as you follow closely. You’ll want to grab the lead and yell “no, no, no” and assertively pull him back into the yard. I recommend you proceed with this training daily until he is compliant.

  31. Linda says:

    Do the prongs on the collar have to be on the dogs throat? Can they be placed on the back of the neck or sides?

    ADMIN – Hi Linda,

    The probes can touch the dog anywhere, such as the side of the neck or the back of the neck. But, you want to be sure that the probes are contacting the skin and are held firmly in place.

  32. Sue says:

    I have a correction collar from about 10 years ago. I have lost the manual. I recently got a new puppy (6-8 month old) and I would like to train her on the fence. How do I regulate the intensity of the shock?

    Admin- Hi Sue,

    I would start the correction level out on the low setting. See how your new puppy reacts to the corrections, then you can adjust the level up based on the dogs needs going forward with training.

  33. Lisa says:

    Just started traing our boxed this Monday with a petsafe fence.
    She got zapped once (On Monday )and is terrifed to go near the fence. She doesn’t even want to walk on her leash near the fence. She drags me back intothe house. I have no idea how to train her due to her fear of the flags.

    Admin- Hi Lisa,

    Dogs overreacting and avoiding going anywhere near the beep and flags is a perfectly normal reaction. You will see over the next couple of weeks that your dog will begin exploring more. They will start roaming further and further away from your house and closer and closer to the flags. However, you do not want to force the dog to go near the boundaries. This could make them associate more negativity with the flags. To help your dog, you will want to play with them in the safe areas. This will help them to associate the safe area with fun. By adding positive reinforcement and giving the dog a bit of time, they will become braver over time.

  34. Jack says:

    My dog is fully trained with our electric fence and sits obediently regardless of the distractions that occur outside the boundary; kids, squirrels, other dogs. The problem is a neighbor’s dog came over to play one day and the two dogs romped around having fun. My dog got distracted and went too close to the boundary and received a correction. Now, when the other dog comes over to play, my dog retreats and cowers, making the connection that he will get zapped if he plays with this dog. How do I break the connection my dog has with his friend?

    ADMIN – Hi Jack,

    When the dog makes a false association (what is sometimes called superstitious behavior), the best way to break the association is providing more positive exposure. It is best to go in gradual steps.

    Start with having another neighbor’s dog play with your dog in the yard. Once your dog is used to that, have the dog with the negative association come play with your dog outside the yard (perhaps in a park). Then, once that is no problem, have the negative association dog play with your dog in the yard.

    It helps if you are very confident when you do this. If you see your dog getting fearful, try and redirect their attention. A tap on the shoulder, or leading their head in another direction.

  35. Jay Milton says:

    My dogs are smart – smarter than me apparently because no matter what I do, they have devised about 25 different ways to climb over, tunnel under and even go through the ranch/horse style fence that surrounds our five acres. I have a feeling that because that fence will provide a physical barrier in addition to the beeping and correction, that they will figure it out very quickly. Do I still need to do the full three stages of training, or can I sort of move ahead more quickly if my dogs seem to pick it up right away.

    ADMIN – Hi Jay

    I would still do all four parts of the training. But, you will be able to progress much faster if you have a physical fence. In most cases you can do it in a week (instead of two weeks). I would do two day on Stage 1. Then progress to Stage 2. After that take your lead from the dogs reactions as to how quickly to progress through the 3rd and 4th stage.

    It makes it much easier for the dogs if you give them a bit of guidance. And, it is much easier to fix any problems now before they become habits.

  36. Rich says:

    My old fat beagle seems totally unaffected by the shock. We switched his collar with our young golden lab, who had been shocked, and he still seems unaffected. Could he be too fat to receive a shock???? We are in stage two of training. Thanks

    ADMIN – Hi Rich,

    The most common reason for the dog not getting the correction is that the probes are not properly contacting the skin. Does your beagle have lots of skin folds around where the collar is? We see this as an issue with some hounds that have lots of skin folds as it makes it difficult for the collar probes to make good contact with the dogs skin.

    What we typically do in this scenario is to get your fingers under the collar probes and work it to where the collar sits as flat as possible to the dogs neck. You may need an assistant to help with buckling the collar.

    You can also try using the long-prongs even if the dog is a short-hair beagle.

  37. melissa says:

    Hi there, we are in training and our dog doesn’t seem to hear the beeps at all. Do we pull him back when we hear them even if he doesn’t know what we’re responding to?

    Admin – Hi Melissa

    Yes, respond to the warning and train your dog to respond. If you hear the beeps, then surely he hears them. Depending on the system you have, there may be a vibration as well as the beep that the dog should respond to. Keep working at it, training is the key.
    I hope this helps you.

  38. Mark says:

    I have a underground containment fitted at the boundary of the yard. The boundary consists of a combination of 4 ft walls wire fencing and an evergreen hedge. My question is with the yard closed do I still have to follow the same training scheme as for an open yard? The problem is in a lot of cases I stand a yard away from the flags and the dog looks at me as if to say do you want me to walk into the boundary? Even though with effort he can clear the boundary at certain places and he can push his way through the hedge. There is a defined boundary and I can only entice him up to it. I have finished stage 1 and have moved on to stage 2. Is it best to continue or can I let him off the lead a bit more?

    ADMIN – Hi Mark,

    As you say, where the boundary line is set along an existing physical boundary, the dog will often not naturally go right up to the physical boundary. You do however want them to hear the beep at least a dozen times and to get the correction at least a two or three times so that they know that they are supposed to “turn and retreat”.

    You want to set the fence up so the correction starts at least a couple of feet away from the base of the fence to help with the training for this reason. You can reduce the boundary width later, but for the initial training you need at least 2-3 feet of boundary zone to work with.

    You can also use some sort of bait to encourage them to get closer to the fence. Food, or laying down a scent near the fence works. Also having a neighbor walking their dog along the fence is another good form of bait.

    PS – I would always be careful never to lead the dog into the boundary (you don’t ever want to lose his respect and trust as leader).

  39. Mark says:

    Hi, I feel this is my problem also. I have the stubborn dog petsafe product and have an area of hard standing where I cannot fix flags. The yellow wire is visible and my dog, an energetic black labrador male. On the lowest setting the dog received a correction on three occasions. He yelped and ran round in circles pulling on his lead in to the correction area. It did cause me concern and now I am a little jumpy when the collar is on level 2. I have reverted back to level 1 to encourage my dog to retreat when he hears the beep. Problem is when it beeps it is so quiet that i sometimes do not hear it and the dog may get the wrong message. My question is. The Petsafe manual says the awareness training (beeps and vibration only) should last one day. I am in to my third day after reverting from the correction phase back to the awareness phase. I feel a little cowardly to put my dog through this discomfort and have asked myself if the lowest corrective level is low enough. I have to say I was driven to buy this model because of its lack of commitment to specialist batteries and the ability to turn up the correction if the dog was unresponsive but do you think that the dogs behavior is what is expected? How should I proceed? P.S. Keep up the great work your site is fantastic and so informative. I have recommended it to all my friends.

    ADMIN – Hi Mark,

    We do the training a little differently to most of the manufacturers. In my experience doing the awareness training (what we call Step One), where the dog hears the beep but does not get the correction, for a week (instead of 1-3 days as per the manufacturers), makes for a lot easier training. It means that by the time you get to the correction part of the training, the dog knows exactly what to do to stop the correction. When you go into correction too soon, the dog has no idea what they are supposed to do and is not in a good state of mind to learn. Both methods work, I think the manufacturers method is a little faster, and our method is a little easier on the dogs and owners. Either way, stick with the training and in two weeks you should be done.

    Where the flags are hard to stand up (e.g. driveways), I will usually just lay them on the ground. The dogs are smart enough to figure it out even without flags – but anything you can do to differentiate the area is helpful. If you are unusually diligent you can either get the better metal masted flags at a hardware store, or stick the flags in an old plastic flowerpot. You can also use some other visual marker like spraypainted dots, a scent trail also works well.

    The lowest level on the PetSafe Stubborn is fine for a lab. If you are really concerned you can try it on yourself – it definately stings but is not a big deal. It is not half as bad as a cattle or horse fence. If you are still concerned, you can further reduce the correction level using a resistor across the prongs. (We are happy to send them out to our customers at no extra charge, just give us a call or shoot us an email). I would not reduce the correction level any further, if you spend a little longer on step one (the awareness training) the dog should only get a handful of correction and it is a little rattling.

    As to the training, when the dog gets corrected, you want to pull the lead and yank them back into the save zone. That will teach them the way to escape the correction is to “turn and retreat.” A little yelping is normal, and being timid toward the boundary is normal (and desirable). Most dogs will over-react and not go within 10 yard of the boundary, but this timidness will diminish over time and with more experience with the system. It is really important that you project confidence in the safe zone, and don’t console the dog when they get corrected – it just communicates to the dog that there is reason to be fearful.

  40. Glenn says:

    I’m getting ready to train a six month old lab with the fence. I have a lake in the back and I have to keep him out of it with the fence while I’m away but I need to take him to the lake in the evenings to train him. Can a “gate” be created in the fence and can the dog be trained to enter through the “gate” when it is opened?

    ADMIN – Hi Glenn,

    You can teach your dog to go through the fence when you give him permission. The key is to create some kind of routine for going through the boundary. (e.g. taking off the collar, putting on the collar, then going through the same spot every time when you give a certain command)

    See our Invisible Gate training section for more details.

  41. Tony says:

    I am at stage three with my dog (six month black lab). He is fine in the front but is skittish in the backyard probably due to the fact I have trained him more in the front than in the back. He seems to be periodically spooked in the back yard and today when we were out back no where near the wire his collar started beeping a few times and then stopped. He was scared but we continued a little further and it happened again. He did not get a correction but I am now worried that he might start getting confused or not want to go in the backyard at all. I went outside with the collar after he went inside and it did not go off at all. Is there something that can periodically set off the collar and if so should we avoid going in the backyard with the collar?

    ADMIN – Hi Tony,

    If there is something accidentally setting off the collar in the backyard – I would stop doing the training in the backyard until you can get that issue resolved – until then stick to training in the front yard. Having an inconsistent correction makes training the dog very difficult.

    To track down the source of the phantom signal – see if you can replicated the issue by holding the collar. The most common thing that can cause an errant signal are metal parallel and close to the dog fence boundary wire picking up the signal and then acting like boundary wire themselves. This can be caused by a sheet metal fence, metal siding, and buried utilities that are parallel and within 6 feet of the the dog fence.

  42. Lynn M says:

    We are considering an invisible fence, so I’ve been reading this information carefully – thanks for being so thorough! My concern is that my dog can become very – VERY – focused when it sees a squirrel or rabbit in the area. She seems to enter a tunnel-vision state that causes her to tear off after the critter. She does not listen when we try to call her back – her focus is so intense she’s likely to get hit by a car when she tears off across the street. While we’d love to get an invisible fence, we are concerned that the distraction of a squirrel or rabbit would be so great that she wouldn’t heed the correction at all. Any suggestions?

    ADMIN – Hi Lynn,

    Even high prey drive dogs can be trained to resist temptations on the other side. Where you are particularly concerned, I would encourage you to test the dog before letting him loose. In this last step, try and simulate the triggers. I know it is hard to find a compliant squirrel or rabbit, but perhaps you can lay down a scent trail, train the dog in the early morning when the squirrels and rabbits are most active, or use some other “bait” on the other side of the boundary such as you neighbor’s cat.

    It is not as hard as you would think. Dogs, have a much stronger desire to avoid the correction than to get the reward of chasing a critter. The important part is to do a bit of training so dogs learn the lesson that the boundary fence rules apply no matter how excited they get and that they only way to escape correction is to turn and retreat.

  43. jane schnetlage says:

    Help! This website is greatly helpful but I still have a few questions. We have had Pet Safe fence for three years or a little longer. It took me a month to train the dogs to the fence but they eventually got it and we were fine for better than 2 years. I have a Sheltie (25 lbs)and a golden retriever/beagle mix (a little over 30 pounds). The Sheltie is hardnosed and loves to run. We started having problems a year ago- he would run through fence- we tried changing batteries, trimming hair on his neck near the collar, even replaced the box. The other dog NEVER went outside boundaries and when I tried collars they both shocked me. I went to a stubborn dog collar for the sheltie and that was okay for a while but he is ignoring that lately. He wants to chase the mail truck. He know where the line is. I watch him and he thinks about it and hen finally busts through – I can hear him yelp- and then just keeps running. He a little 25 lb dog, he’s 12 years old and I’ve got it turned up max and it does not stop him anymore. I also expanded the boundary to about 3/4 for the possible limit- if it gets wider than that I’ve got a problem with him in the house. Do I need another system? Or is he just one of those few dogs that it won’t work for? Or do I maybe do multiple loops across the front yard several feet apart? Lately the other dog has started following him across the loop ad yes h yelps too. I ‘ve got about 40 feet from house to road and I originally ran one wire in the center about 20 ft from house and 20 ft from road as part of my whole yard loop. I could close him out of the whole front yard if need be. But I’ve got to find some way to keep him in the yard. I’m frustrated because I got two near perfect years with him on the fence. I keep thinking there has to be a way to get it back to how it was. He is smart and like a typical sheltie he can work latches and gates many times. I think he just figured out where the boundary is and one short burst of correction is not worth stopping for. Any ideas? Would a different systems work better?

    ADMIN – Hi Jane,

    Once a dog gets used to going through, retraining them takes time.

    The most common cause of a trained dog going through is that owners start to put the collars on too loose and the dogs stop getting the correction. But since you are hearing the dog yelp, they are likely getting the correction.

    You want to make the boundaries as unpleasant to cross as possible. You can do this by making them as possible and increase the correction. Sometimes we would use two collars (but using two Stubborn collars on a Shelter would be too much). You can widen the boundaries either by dialing up the boundary width, or if that isn’t possible, by snaking more boundary wire out in front of the existing boundary.

    Finally, you need to go back to the second and third step of the training. You can’t leave the dog off leash in the yard any more until the retraining is complete, because we don’t want to reinforce the bad habits. If you know there are particular triggers like other dogs, or the postman – then try and incorporate them into your training.

  44. Adam Kahn says:

    I’ve just recently installed your electric fence and our dog is seriously timid anywhere near the fence. She was adopted about 6 months ago and her prior owners had an electronic fence. As soon as she saw those flags, she knew what they were. I did the stage 1 test/training (no shock, just vibration and beep) it went off one time and she just isn’t the same dog. She doesn’t want to go outside and when she does she literally stays as close to the house as possible. Not going anywhere in the yard. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. FYI- we installed the efence, b/c she has escaped from the regular fence many times (after multiple times reinforcing it too). Now she doesn’t run off which is just great, but I want our happy dog back. Tell me this will pass?

    ADMIN – Hi Adam,

    Dogs over reacting and avoiding going anywhere near the beep and flags is a perfectly normal reaction. After training most dogs will not go anywhere near the dog fence boundary flags out of an abundance of caution. After all they have just learned that going near the flags is bad and they do not want to even be near the flags.

    But you will see over the next couple of weeks your dog will start being more adventurous. She will start roaming further and further from your house and closer and closer to the flags. A couple of dos and don’t that will help them along the way.

    DON’T force her to go near the containment flags, that will just make them associate more bad things with the flags.

    DON’T remove the flags straight away, they will help your dog learn exactly where the boundary lies. Leave them until your dog has a bit more confidence in the boundaries, at least a couple of months.

    DO play with your dog in the safe areas. This will get them to associate the safe area with fun. If you need to, put the dog on a leash and confidently lead them into the safe area (but give the flags a wide berth)

    DO sit in the safe areas as a family. Your dog will see the family in the safe area and will want to join the rest of the pack and will take comfort from the fact that the whole pack is sitting there in safety.

    DO feed your dog in the safe area or give them a treat/toy in the safe area of the dog fence. Again this will help them associate the safe area with good things.

    You want to create lots of positive reinforcement around playing in the safe area, and worry less about her getting near the boundaries now. She will become braver over time just switch to lots of positive reinforcement and give the dog a bit of time.

  45. Debra says:

    Thanks for this info. I tried today for the first time and had it set medium for a 55 pound dog. The beeping started and I called her back, but then it shocked her inside the boundry it seemed. Scared her and me. I then set it on the low setting as per the manual and I don’t think she felt it at all. Gave up for the day and will try again tomorrow.

    ADMIN – Hi Debra,

    One little tip, when the dog is scared you need to be super confident. When you act scared it tends to amplify the dog’s feat. Your body language should announce to the dog that they will be safe if they do what you say and retreat away from the flags. When you are fearful it announces to the dog that there is a reason to be scared.

  46. jonny says:

    My dog was shot 2 weeks ago so he has been on a leash while he is recovering. He has learned where his boundary is before I put the fence in. He has gotten shocked twice and now will not go anywhere on the leash. I let him roam free while I watched and if he gets close to the flags I can yell ‘no’ and he stops before he gets shocked but once he is shocked he’s ready to go back inside. My question is can I move to the distraction stage now to test him or let him get used to the idea of roaming the yard without being on a leash first??

    ADMIN – Hi Jonny,

    Sorry to hear about your dog. Is he well enough for the training? Often, it is best to wait a bit until the injury is fully healed.

    I would spend a bit of time playing with the dog off leash. Also give him activities to do outside, like chewing on a bone or playing with a toy. It is perfectly natural for a dog once corrected to over compensate and stay far away from the boundary or want to stay inside. Given a bit of time this will fade away and the dog will be more comfortable in the yard. You have got the dog trained to have the right instinct, to turn and retreat when they get the correction or hear the beep.

    I would go straight into the distraction stage now.

  47. Diana says:

    We purchased the SportDog system a few weeks ago from you all and put over 6,000 ft of wire down to encompass 45+ acres. Our dog was incredibly sensitive immediately to the lowest setting on the collar – just beeping. He appeared to catch on to the flags and the wire itself as it is just laid on top of the ground mostly through wooded areas. From the first day of training to the present when he can see the flags he stops 10-30 feet from the fence and refuses to move toward it. As we have a large space and a lot of fence to train him on we were able to train him in new areas with the leash pulling back when he heard the beeping, but once we had encountered that area he remembers and refuses to go near it again.

    So our problem with the second phase of training is that we can not get him near the fence to experience the shock correction ( I now have the collar on setting 3) Today we skipped a little into the third phase by bringing over a friend with a puppy to offer an enthusiastic distraction, even throwing sticks over the fence thinking the competition would get to him. No he is stoic at a safe distance. Our dog is a hound so I suspect that he can smell the plastic of the flags and perhaps even the wire – if this is possible. Because he is a hound his scent tracking instinct and thrill of the chase is what we are trying to interrupt and I understand why he needs to feel the correction and train his response so he does not run through the fence.

    How will we get him to feel the correction?

    ADMIN – Hi Diana,

    That is a good problem to have! It is not uncommon that after week one, the dog gets the message and does not want to cross the fence despite never having got the correction. It is most common in dogs that have had another type of correction collar. I do like the dog to get the correction at least once in a controlled setting to make sure that have that right instinct of turning and retreating when they get the correction.

    You have the right idea in using various temptations to get them to consider crossing, and of course you want them to cross of their own will (and not lead them across). Usually what works best is to get the dogs super excited so they are no longer paying attention. For some dogs this is a game with a ball, or playing with a neighbor’s dog. For scent motivated dogs, I may lay down a scent trail leading to some smelly raw chicken (i.e. well thawed out and not frozen) or if there is a dead animal carcass, that works great.

    Very worst case, and after a week of trying I can’t get them into the correction field. Then I will get someone else to lead the dog into the correction field (not the dog’s owners). If the dog strongly resists even that, I will let it go … even if they have not got a correction if they still will not go through even when led through that tells me they are rock solid trained.

  48. lindsay says:

    Here is my problem. My dog is very well behaved on leash and won’t go anywhere near the flags, in fact she has only been corrected one time. Off leash is a different story. Today her leash accidentally came off and she bolted and ran through the line, was shocked and kept on going. How do I handle this situation?

    ADMIN – Hi Lindsay,

    Sneaky! Occasionally it happens that a dog will learn to avoid the flags when on leash, but not learn the generalized rule that the flags are bad all the time. What we do, it put the dog on a very long leash or rope, so there is tension on the leash and they can roam completely free. Another trick that works is to let go of the leash so they are completely untethered, but if they go through, grab a hold of the trailing leash and use it to force them to retreat.

  49. Michael thomas says:

    I have a walker hound. I am looking at the sd2100. Hounds are gentle
    but stubborn. Is this a good choice or should I go with the stubborn
    dog system?

    ADMIN – Hi Michael,

    It is not so much a matter of stubbornness as pain tolerance. Some dogs like pit bulls and german shepherd have been bred to not feel pain as intensely. Most dogs have not. So you can have dogs that owners think of as very stubborn, who will become very compliant with even a very mild correction (e.g. Alaskan Malamutes). And you can get dogs that are very obedient but will not pay any attention to the collar because they just don’t feel anything on the low settings (e.g. some German Shepherds)

    I am not too familiar with the walker hound, but from experience with other hounds, I would guess that you would not need to go with something as strong as the stubborn dog. Start with something else like the SD-2100 and if it does become necessary to go to something stronger we can swap it out for you. Alternatively, get the stubborn dog and stick to the low and medium-low settings unless the dog proves unresponsive.

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