Yard boundary training - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 4 (permalink) Old 09-16-2012, 11:25 AM Thread Starter
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Yard boundary training

I don't have a fenced yard. I live at the very end of a dead end road so traffic is not a concern, but I do need to teach boundaries. I can't have Spirit going into the road or across the road or into the neighbors' yards. A physical fence is not an option, unfortunately, but oh how I yearn for one.

So I have an invisible fence. I started working with Spirit on this last weekend. I'm not entirely comfortable with this method, but it's what we have to work with. I have the entire permiter marked off with white flags, many white flags, about 2 feet apart. Very clear definition.

I walked Spirit around the perimeter last weekend, he did get shocked a few times. I have it on the lowest setting. We did this for a couple of days, he learned very quickly to stay away from the white flags, I was very impressed. Then I dropped the training for awhile, just to let things settle for him. This morning something very interesting happened...

He was at the back of the yard where we have the chicken coop and the barn. The fence goes around the back of these structures but I don't want him back there so I put a few white flags in front to mark the boundary (this is not a shock zone). This morning he was near the barn and he reached out to sniff the white flag...he was very hesitant, would not actually touch it, one paw off the ground. After a second, he turned quickly and walked away from it. It would be easy to not notice the flag there, but he did notice it.

He's so smart. And so sensitive. Works in his favor obviously. He's almost 6 months old. I hate that we have to use this, but I'm happy he's catching on so quickly.

Another interesting moment... Yesterday one of our neighbors was in their yard when we were out playing ball. I did not have him leashed and the collar was not on. He started barking and ran to the edge of the yard but did NOT go past the white flags. He stopped. Now I don't particularly like him barking at the neighbors, we're working on that one, but I was happy to see him stop at the boundary on his own.

I don't give him much room for error, I watch him closely and am always near him, always engaging him. I'm so happy he's ball obsessed, it helps a lot I don't want him to cross the boundary, so I don't let him practice that behavior.

I'm not an expert in this type of training, I'm just doing what feels intuitively right. He has to learn to stay in the yard. This is going to take many months of practice and reinforcement. I'm also happy my 12-year old golden retriever is such a great role model. She never leaves the yard, I trust her implicitly. I always like to have her out with us.

Not sure why I'm posting this LOL ... I don't really have any questions. I think I'm just pondering this type of training over my morning coffee. It's hard having a puppy without a real fence but it's doable ... just takes a lot of training and commitment.

Have a great day everyone, we're going out to practice some more
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post #2 of 4 (permalink) Old 09-16-2012, 11:49 AM
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I think you've been doing great with your training!
YAY, Spirit!
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post #3 of 4 (permalink) Old 09-16-2012, 11:51 AM Thread Starter
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I have a walnut tree that's dropping a million walnuts LOL So we were just outside and I was tossing walnuts outside the boundary. Spirit is over-the-top ball obsessed ... he watched but he didn't go after them.

Good Spirit
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post #4 of 4 (permalink) Old 09-22-2012, 09:28 AM Thread Starter
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The neighbors have a pitbull/boxer mix named BunnyFooFoo (BFF). She's a high-wired dog for sure, 8 months, runs circles around Spirit but Spirit LOVES to chase her.

The other evening, she came into our yard and the neighbor kids came to get her. They asked if Spirit could play, BFF had some energy they wanted to spend. I immediately thought of our boundary training and thought this is going to be a conflict. But the temptation won out and I let Spirit out to play. He immediately gave chase, full speed after BFF, towards the boundary into her yard. I was all but certain Spirit would break the boundary chasing after her.

But he didn't! He stopped, practically on a dime, at the white flags. STOPPED! I was stunned! I will continue to reinforce these boundaries with him but I am so encouraged.

We do have one trouble spot and that's my driveway that goes out into the front road. I can't put any flags in that space, obviously, because I have to drive through it. He's got a little too much practice slipping through that space with no consequence. I think I'm going to have to put up some flags there and just remove them when I have to come and go.

He's so smart, and a very fast learner
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