Training to stay within the yard! - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 13 (permalink) Old 04-30-2017, 06:05 PM Thread Starter
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Training to stay within the yard!

Hello everybody!
So I have a 5 month old german shepherd named Eli. He's off-leash about 95% of the time, is only on leash when we're in parking lots, walking on the road, etc. We don't have an electric or traditional fence in our yard. Since we've brought him home, when we take him out to go to the bathroom he's been off-leash. A few weeks ago he began running into the neighbors yard and wouldn't return unless i went out of his sight then he'd run back to find me. We brought him out on a leash for about a week when he would go to the bathroom and he stopped running into the neighbors lawn. However, twice this week he's run back into their yard and actually out of my site onto their back porch. Thankfully they haven't been home either time, but they've never had a dog and I'm afraid to upset/anger them and I also want Eli to know the boundaries of the yard.

Does anybody have any suggestions on how to train a dog to know the boundaries of a yard? I've considered bringing him out on a leash, going to the boundary of the yard, having him step back and rewarding him, having him step forward onto their yard and saying "no, out".

Does anybody have any recommendations or experience with this? Thank you!
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post #2 of 13 (permalink) Old 04-30-2017, 10:59 PM
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I have several suggestions. First and foremost keep your puppt leashed. At 5 months old he does not possess the maturity to be off leash in a city. If he is not coming to you he is not trained. Dogs without a 100% recall should never be off leash.
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post #3 of 13 (permalink) Old 05-01-2017, 09:38 AM Thread Starter
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He does not live in the city he lives on a 6 acre land, our neighbors yard and ours is split with trees he's just been going into there. Considering he was listening to my commands previously I wasn't sure if there was a "better" command or if more recall training is required.
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post #4 of 13 (permalink) Old 05-01-2017, 09:54 AM
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Training boundaries without a barrier would take an enormous amount of time and effort on your part. Your plan would have so many risks. The risk of him running to explore is high... that is what puppies and young dogs do. YOU risk letting him him get into trouble, or worse. Get a fence or an invisible fence.
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post #5 of 13 (permalink) Old 05-01-2017, 12:58 PM
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We also have an unfenced rural property.Samson knows exactly where the boundaries are(he's marked it off himself,lol!) and his recall is excellent.But he will shoot off to investigate something in the fields or the road from time to time if I don't have eyes on him and stop him the instant he alerts.So if I'm doing anything outside besides hanging out with the dogs he's in the kennel for safety.


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post #6 of 13 (permalink) Old 05-01-2017, 01:27 PM
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You will probably never get it done like that. I have my 3 malinois trained to not leave the borders of the yard and I actually live on a corner with two fairly busy streets. It was done with corrections though. I have clear boundaries picked out in my mind.

They are allowed to touch the top of the gutter but not step off into the lower part of the gutter itself. They know the border to the neighbors yard because of a little low fence and then bushes and a speed limit sign near the road going beyond that is a correction. I did it without e collars or leashes but what was in place first is a marker system for punishment. The marker word "no" is always followed by a correction and they know that whatever they were doing in the moment they heard the "no" needs to be avoided. The other thing that was in place is my dogs do not attempt to escape that correction. How I did that is my own little magic trick you will have to pay if you wanna know that secret, but the same thing can be accomplished with e collar as that would be inescapable. My dogs actually come me to get corrected and get it over with so that is another advantage.

The problem is this.

You always have to be watching to maintain that. There will be no point where you can fully trust the dogs not to test the boundary at some point or another. I never allow them outside like that unobserved. I am always watching. If you want a hands off system you need a physical fence.
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post #7 of 13 (permalink) Old 05-01-2017, 04:34 PM
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I've had multiple shepherds over the years and only one was a natural with boundaries. He figured them out on his own as a pup and after that never crossed them, not even when deer were in the field across the road. Every night before coming in he would walk the edge of my acres, sort of a patrol of them, and then was done for the night. It was the first thing he did in the morning and then intermittently throughout the day. But unless your dog does it naturally, then a lot of training is needed and supervision is necessary.
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post #8 of 13 (permalink) Old 05-01-2017, 06:05 PM
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An invisible boundary is tough. Obedience needs to be on point. Like Baillif said. for real. I dont use the word "no" because I say it so much so I picked a different one, but same concept....

You might start by making a physical boundary. Maybe some stakes and some string line to give a sense of an actual boundary. Also, talk to your neighbors let them know what you are doing and how you are doing it. Let them know there may be some "mistakes" and feel them out. Good Luck!

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post #9 of 13 (permalink) Old 05-01-2017, 06:55 PM
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Dogs learn the context. I have 3 dogs and the no marker gets used amongst all 3 they know who it is for. They also learn to ignore it in conversational context. It is a non issue for me.

The other thing is this. You need to have your consequences in place every time for something like that or it will fail. It is like maintaining a down stay. It will never be fool proof. It will always fail under some circumstance and if you are not there to address or have a contingency in place to do it the behavior will degrade.

I address it by always being out there and watching. I rarely have correct for it but it does every so often happen.

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post #10 of 13 (permalink) Old 05-01-2017, 07:19 PM
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First choice, hands down, is a real fence. 48" field wire at Tractor Supply is cheap and always held my dogs in Florida. You can fence acreage with it and not run yourself into debt for the rest of your life.

Second choice, invisible fence. Because let's be real...the average pet owner is not looking all the time and isn't going to give a consistent warning and consistent correction with a remote collar, so they need the system that will do it for them. I hate invisible fences, for the record. To try and do this with an e collar, and then occasionally not be ready, not be looking, or not be there, is going to make the dog gamble about testing the boundary which means he is less safe and getting shocked more.

Hence, third choice, train by hand with remote collar.

I did do it with my dogs in our first house in Florida. We had a small backyard fenced, no fence in front and going and coming from car to house became a problem when a puppy moved in across the street that my dog wanted to run and play with. Both dogs blew us off to run see each other. The puppy got an invisible fence, I got an e collar. I did not boundary train with it, though, I only proofed the recall. Problem solved.

It's worth mentioning the end of that story was that the puppy across the street was not properly trained on her invisible fence and ran through it to get to my house because she wanted to move in with us. Apparently my dogs told her what it was like at my house. She then would not go home, because she would not cross that boundary just to go back and get yelled at, I had to take her shock collar off and physically drag her back onto her own property every time she ran over to my house. Part of why I hate invisible fences.
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