Boundary training of a dog becomes essential when it has found a new hobby of trespassing into neighbor’s houses, onto the road, and beyond. The owners I met over the years are for or against it.
The ones who are against it say a dog should be left to enjoy its freedom, but sometimes that costs its very life. A car, a wretched neighbor, or an AI robot called Megan may do things you don’t want.
You may not have such an interesting neighborhood but an interesting dog who charges at people when he senses them trespassing into his kingdom.
In all fairness, restricting them to a boundary becomes necessary. Here’s how to train a dog boundaries with a shock collar:
- Invest in the right device
- Introduce it to the dog
- Know what you’re doing
- Mark boundaries
- Teach the dog its limits
- Repeat and rinse for some days
- Go slow
- Take the dog’s health into account
- Try other methods as well
How To Train A Dog Boundaries With A Shock Collar? 9 Steps Guide
When there’s a will, there’s a way. Since you have the will, let me take you through the way.
1. Invest in the right device
Shock collars are a dime a dozen. There’s Dogtra with its elite 1900 lineup, SportDog meant for unruly dogs, Educator with its unique design and teaching abilities, Bousnic with its dual collars, and so on.
These are all manual products that require your input manually right after the dog shows bad behavior. You press a button when he runs away without your notice to teach him who’s the parent here.
Then, there are automatic wireless collars we call dog fences. These work by setting a transmitter in your home that creates a definite boundary, transmitting stimulations to the collars your dog wears whenever it tries to go out of it.
We have SportDog’s Rechargeable In-Ground Fence, PetSafe’s Stay & Play and Dog Fence for Big Area, and finally Wiez GPS Wireless Dog Fence among others.
The last one relies on GPS to trace that boundary. This is another type where you set the coordinates of a boundary, interacting with the satellites hovering above.
No matter which type you buy from these, they all have the same objective: To keep your dog safe inside a circle or a boundary.
But how to know which one is good for you?
- Choose on the basis of how you like the training to go: manual or automatic.
- Manual training requires a lot of practice and you’ll always have to be on the lookout for the dog. Some products are strong enough for stubborn dogs.
- Automatic training is expensive, but it can keep more than one dog safe. Sometimes they are too benign to phase a stubborn dog.
- GPS collars are great only where the GPS works.
Based on these, pick one or head to one of our recommendations for specific breeds on this website.
2. Introduce it to the dog
The next step is to introduce the collar to your pet. Be gentle about it as dogs are a bit wary of new objects around them.
The idea here is to show him that this new thing is not a threat in any way, so it’s okay to let it hang around.
Once you experience his initial acceptance, tie it up gently, but refrain from turning on anything for some time.
I press on introducing collars to the dogs at the earliest because this helps in the process ahead.
When you set up the boundaries and start training your pet, he will already be familiar with the collar. This will shorten your work as an owner.
3. Know what you’re doing
Using shock collars is a great responsibility. Therefore, you should know what you’re doing before plunging in.
- Read the product’s manual at all costs.
- Use it beforehand on your arm or anything else to be sure that it won’t cause any harm.
- Check the life of its battery. It’s important because a dog may find its way out of a boundary when the collar’s battery runs out.
- Make sure there’s enough area where your dog can hang out harmlessly.
- See whether the dog fence collar’s boundaries are intersecting with harmful areas such as a road. In that case, you may reduce them to stay on the safe side.
- Buy products that have a lot of options to choose from. Their boundaries should be flexible, stimulations more than one level, and so on.
- Make sure your kids do not interfere with the remote.
- Using a shock collar for boundary training requires frequent neck checking on your part. Ask yourself if you’re willing to do that.
4. Mark Boundaries
Some products come with their own boundary-marking flags. They are multiple colors, but that does not matter as long as you’re successful in training the dog about their utility.
To do that,
- Take the collar with you and turn it on along with the transmitter.
- Attach the tester that comes with almost all products to see when the collar lights up. Or if your product doesn’t have it, choose the vibration mode and tie the collar on your hand.
- Walk away from the transmitter until the collar starts relaying stimulations. In that case, the tester will blink or show continuous light.
- Place a flag a little away from that point.
- Repeat the same process in a circle or whatever shape the boundary comes with the product.
- Make sure the boundaries are marked tightly and that there’s no one to meddle with the flags. Alternatively, you can erect a small wire fence.
- Test the collar multiple times to check whether it fires up at the right distance. You may have to adjust the boundary in the event.
5. Teach the dog its limits
Now that you’ve marked the boundaries, it’s time you start the formal training.
- Put your dog on a leash by attaching it to an ordinary collar, not the shock collar.
- Take it out on a walk to the boundary with the collar on.
- Start with low stimulation levels in the start.
- Take it near the boundary and let the collar fire up.
- See whether the dog returns on its own. Otherwise, increase the stimulation.
- At first, it won’t have any idea what to do. So, return with it to show what it has to do when the stimulation takes place.
- Repeat for a few times or even a few days.
- Take the leash off and let it roam when you’ve taught it the repercussions of going near the boundary.
6. Repeat and rinse the process for some days
Foolproofing the process is a must for your dog if you want lasting effects.
What I taught you above is my way of boundary-training a dog.
The process will be slightly different for a manual shock collar, where you’ll have to manually stimulate the dog when it’s near the boundary.
It is a painstaking task that when done correctly can bear fruit. However, make sure that you press the button right after the dog tries to trespass when using manual products.
7. Go slow
Dogs are intelligent, but they have variable intelligence throughout the breeds. Some will learn the process in a day, while others will take a whole month!
For example, my experience with huskies comprised 3 to 4 days, while pugs took a week or so!
It’s important that you go at your dog’s pace for its own safety. Putting on a collar and letting it roam around without prior training will prove to be disastrous.
8. Check the dog’s neck periodically
Shock collars, whether manual or automatic, wireless or not, have repercussions for a dog’s neck on prolonged use.
They may cause bruising, burning, or even hair loss when you’re allowing them to wear for more than 4 hours.
We trainers highly recommend that you check the skin beneath their prongs to see any signs of harm.
You see, it’s not the product but our negligence that can cause hurt to a dog.
So, be careful, and let the skin breathe after a session. Also, remove any type of collar from the dog at night.
9. Try other methods
Besides the shock collars, you can use other methods as well for boundary training.
First, you’ll have to cultivate a good relationship with the dog. You can do it by not reprimanding it unnecessarily, feeding treats, praising its best behavior, and keeping its health optimal by playing and taking it out on walks.
After that, work on the basic commands such as “come,” “sit,” “roll over,” and so on.
You can use that relationship and the temperament of your dog to devise a manual boundary training method.
In that one, you’ll call the dog or give it a command when it’s trying to trespass.
But again, the success of the method highly depends on the temperament of the dog.
For example, I won’t recommend using it for escape artists such as huskies because they can’t ignore you at their will.
Similarly, using it for bulldogs may prove to be futile as they can get single-minded as well.
Training a dog to respect boundaries requires patience, not to mention the right equipment.
I recommend you first know what you’re doing before taking a plunge. When you’re confident enough, follow the steps I shared about How To Train A Dog Boundaries With A Shock Collar with you to let the dog play in a secure boundary.