Dog Training - Boundary Training For Dogs

How would you like to be able to trust your dog to stay in the areas you designate, indoors or out? You can train your dog to respect the boundaries you set with this simple method.

Imagine how convenient it would be to trust your dog to stay within the boundaries you set! In the house, your ideal pet would go only in the rooms or areas you’ve designated. No more copious pet hair in the bedroom or muddy prints on your best rug. Outdoors, your well-behaved pooch would stay in the yard or a special part of the yard. The dog would keep away from the road and leave your garden alone. Sound too good to be true? It’s not only possible to train your dog to respect boundaries; it’s actually a fairly easy process!

As with any complex behavior, boundary training relies on the lessons learned early in puppyhood. Basic obedience training is a must. Your dog needs to have a foundation of respect for you, the owner. It must understand the simple commands “no,” “come,” “sit,” and “stay.” Ideally, the dog should also be trained to heel and walk on a leash. These basic skills can become the necessary tools that will allow you to train the dog about boundaries, indoors or out.

Most families have areas of the house that they’d like to declare “off limits” to pets. These may include bedrooms, food preparation areas, or carpeted rooms. Ideally, you will make these decisions before the dog ever sets foot in the house. It’s much easier for everyone if you decide where the dog is allowed and which parts of the house will be declared as dog-free zones. If you can make these decisions before your pet comes home to live, your dog is less likely to become puzzled and confused. It is also less likely to challenge your authority and test the limits vigorously.

To train your dog, you need to start by barricading or closing off the areas that are off limits. You can use furniture, large pieces of plywood, or baby gates, as well as existing doors or other strategies. It’s important that your dog never have access to these areas when you are occupied elsewhere. The idea is to praise your pet for staying in bounds and eliminate any choice for misbehavior from the start. Of course, with time and training, you will be able to remove the physical barriers as you come to trust that your pet will not break training when your back is turned.

When you are ready, choose a time for a lesson when you feel calm and patient. You’ll want to be completely focused on the task at hand. Remove the barrier but keep the dog under control. Use a leash if need be. Keep the dog in its designated area while you praise and pet it. Make being in the right place a positive experience.

Gradually allow your dog more freedom. Lengthen the leash or stand a bit farther away. When the dog wanders across the boundary, respond firmly with the correction methods you used for other training. For example, you could pull back on the leash, reprimand the dog, or physically restrain it. Be consistent! Each and every time the dog crosses the boundary, you will need to apply correction immediately. With time and patience, you should be able to give the dog verbal correction from across the room and eventually you will be able to trust it to stay on the right side of the boundary. Consistency is your most powerful tool, so be sure to catch the dog each time the boundary is inadvertently crossed. If your dog is allowed to stray even once, you may set up a situation where the dog tries to see what it can get away with. You must convince the animal that you always know when the boundary is crossed and that you will always respond with corrective measures.

Training a dog to outdoor boundaries requires a bit more patience and effort. As with indoor boundaries, it’s important to choose the area where you want the dog to stay in advance. It will make training much easier if your dog has never been allowed beyond the boundaries in the first place rather than having to unlearn what was previously acceptable. You’ll also need to make sure that you can see the boundary clearly. It will not help the dog if you use a different boundary each time you train! Finally, make sure your dog is on a leash without fail whenever it is taken outside of the boundary area. The leash will become a signal that special permission has been given to cross the boundary.

Put the dog on the leash and keep it in the “heel” position. Walk all the way around the area where the dog is allowed, keeping it just inside of the boundary. Make several circuits during each training session. When your dog is cooperating, loosen the leash a bit. If the dog strays over the boundary, apply your correction sequence. As with training to indoor boundaries, the idea is to convince the dog that stepping over that line leads to correction.

Gradually allow more and more freedom while keeping the dog on the leash. When the animal has been respecting the boundaries on your walks around the edge of the area, give it free rein and allow it to lead you on the leash. Continue correction when the boundary is crossed. Use a longer lead and continue training in this manner. When your dog remains within the boundary consistently and without error, try leaving it off of the lead for short periods while you are paying close attention. Needless to say, the dog must be well-trained to come or sit on command so that if the boundary is crossed, you can still maintain control and can return the dog easily to the correct area.

Many young dogs will train to boundaries fairly easily and quickly, but will break training when provoked or excited. You will need to guard against this by watching carefully whenever your dog is outdoors so that you can instantly return the animal to the correct area and apply correction. Common causes for crossing boundary lines include chasing cars, visitors, bicycles, joggers, or other animals. Be sure that you are watching carefully so that you can prevent your pet from frightening or bothering others, or from getting hurt in traffic.

As the dog matures, consistent boundary training will pay great dividends. You will be able to place increasing amounts of trust in the dog’s obedience and will eventually get to the point that you can rely that the boundaries will not be crossed even when you are not right there to supervise. The dog will enjoy the freedom of roaming in the areas that you designate, and you will have the peace of mind to know that your dog is safe and where it belongs.

31 comments:

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Anthony said...

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Mavis Vermillion said...

Maybe for outdoors, if there are areas that you want to avoid by your dog, you can use invisible fence. It only needs Invisible Fence Battery to keep its life. However, you must understand the user manual of this kind of device.

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Joseph Morris said...

I always felt that setting a time that is consistent with each day works better for training a dog.
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Mrs Luna said...

OK but what about this situation. You have a dog who is now a little older (say 3 or 4 years old) and you move house. Your previous home had boundary fences and your new one doesn't. The dog now needs to get retrained for the new situation. I get that the basic method should be the same but is there anything in particular to think about when the bog needs to learn new boundaries. We have had no problem in the home because the dog still has the same furniture etc so still lots of familiar smells. Plus walls and doors to help. But the new garden is proving difficult. It's a lot bigger than previously and we now live on a street where no one has fences and everyone owns dogs (plus a couple of cats) which just makes for a huge area of curiosity and excitement for our pooch (he never had dog or cat neighbours in our previous home). It's feeling like he's never been trained before.

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