Invisible fences are a great option for people who don’t have room for a regular fence, can’t put up a physical fence, or are not interested in having a physical fence.
An invisible electric fence is much easier to install, and overall is a great way to keep your dog safe while leaving it unsupervised.
However, you have to know how to train your dog to stay inside the invisible fence.
We’ll help you understand how to train your dog with an invisible fence so that your dog can remain safely inside without being traumatized by the invisible barrier.
How to Train Your Dog With an Invisible Fence
Install the invisible fence according to the manufacturer’s directions. Place the included boundary flags at regular intervals along the invisible boundary.
Leash the dog and guide it slowly toward the flags, stopping inside the flags and praising the dog.
Place the training collar on the dog, and set it to minimum correction.
Let the dog pull forward until it receives minimal correction, then pull it back inside and praise it for staying inside.
Once the dog understands that the praiseworthy area is inside the flags, allow it to roam inside the flags without a leash.
Never let your dog inside an invisible fence without supervision until you’re positive it will stay.
Setting Up Your Fence and Boundaries
Every electric dog fence might be a little different when it comes to the installation process, so be sure to read the directions and install it properly to ensure it works.
Some people use an invisible fence as a supplement to a traditional fence to stop a dog from digging out or jumping over. In this case, boundary flags may not be needed.
Once the fence is installed then you must begin setting up the boundary or training flags. This is a visual representation for your dog to know its boundary line.
You should set all of the flags a few feet apart throughout the boundary line so that the dog has a visual marker for how far they can go.
These flags will replace the corrective stimulus in the first steps of the training process.
Read our related article, How Long Do You Need to Leave Invisible Fence Flags Up For? You want your dog to be comfortable and know its boundaries. Learn more!
Fitting the Receiver Collar
The next step is making sure that the collar is fitted properly. A corrective receiver collar must be used for an invisible fence to work.
The receiver collar is where your dog will feel the static shock, though many collars are available with the tone-only correction.
The collar must fit around your dog’s neck so that the prongs make skin contact, but only lightly.
If it’s too tight it can wound the dog’s neck, but too loose and the static shock won’t penetrate the fur.
Read our related article, Do Other Collars Work With Invisible Fence? Find out if you can use any correction collar with your invisible fence system.
How to Train Your Dog With an Invisible Fence Step by Step
Step 1: Introduce Your Dog to the Invisible Fence
To start, you must introduce your dog to the invisible fence. To do this dog owners must start by defining a safe zone and boundary line for the dog by using the new fence.
The goal of this step is to train your dog to know where the new boundaries are.
To start, leash your dog with a short non-retractible leash. Walk your dog around the boundary line in order to show them where they are allowed to go.
This can be done with the fence turned off in order for your dog to get used to the boundaries. Praise your dog lavishly for staying inside the flags.
Step 2: Introduce Non-Static Correction
Next, walk your dog on a short leash to the boundary line and allow the collar warning beep to go off.
This training method allows your dog to visualize the training flags set up, and also understand the new boundaries set in place without using the corrective stimulus just yet.
Walking your dog to the invisible fence, and then sounding the warning beep will get them to associate the beep with their boundary limit.
When the beep sounds, retreat with your dog to a safe distance.
This training process might take a few sessions before your dog understands the electric fence, and should be practiced until the dog retreats away from the boundary line.
This allows the dog to associate the beeping with its boundary zone.
If your dog reacts to the beeping and turns away from the boundary then this is a good sign, and you can begin training your dog to establish the boundary zone without the beep.
Not every dog will completely understand this boundary, so be sure not to move on to step two until the training for step one is successful.
Step 3: Introduce Static Correction
The next step in the training process is training your dog to understand and expect the correction.
Ensure that the receiver collar is fitted correctly so the contact points are touching the dog, and keep your dog on the leash so you can pull it away from the flags.
Establishing a safe zone for your dog is essential to proper training, especially when working with static correction.
Your dog should already know to turn around and retreat when approaching the invisible fence, because of the beep and training flags training completed in step one.
When working with static correction, and an invisible fence, you should also use positive reinforcement to keep the dog completely confident.
Allow your dog to approach the flags at will, and allow the dog to experience the static correction if it goes beyond the flags.
If this happens, quickly pull the dog back inside the flags and give praise and cuddles.
Keeping the training sessions short, and giving positive reinforcement when the dog does good, is essential for the dog to understand the purpose behind the new invisible fence.
Do not move on to step 3 until your dog fully understands the flags and consequences for leaving the boundary area.
Use several weeks of training, if necessary, but don’t force the dog to experience a correction.
The overuse of static correction can result in canine aggression or paranoia, depending on the dog’s temperament.
Train patiently and slowly to help your dog understand without fearing you, the fence, or the collar.
Let your dog off-leash when you are sure that it will retreat back inside the flags if it ventures too close to the boundary.
Step 4: Introduce Distractions
By step three your dog should have a pretty good understanding of how the invisible fence works, and what its boundary line is.
This is when you can bring in distractions. These distractions can be everything from their favorite toy to other dogs.
This step in the process ensures that your dog can still maintain the boundaries while being tested with distractions.
Sometimes these distractions can make a big difference in the way your dog behaves, so keep doing frequent sessions of training until you’re satisfied with the way your dog behaves.
This step should also be done with the dog off-leash so you can see if the training has appropriately affected their behavior.
Step 5: Removing Boundary Flags
Step four is the end of your training journey, and this is the step when you can begin removing boundary flags while letting your dog roam off-leash.
At this point in the training, your dog should be familiar enough with the invisible fence and safe zone for you to confidently let them off the leash and run freely.
During this stage, you should still be aware that your dogs may push their boundaries, but this allows the dog to get more familiar with the invisible fence.
Begin by removing only a few flags, but leaving most of them as boundary reminders for the dog.
Slowly, over the next couple of weeks remove flags here and there until only a couple of flags remain.
If the dog seems to regress and forget the boundary, reintroduce flags at those points until the dog is fully trained and remembering the limits.
Important Invisible Fence Training Tips to Remember
There are a few important tips to keep in mind when training your dog on the invisible fence.
The invisible fence keeps your dog safely inside, but it doesn’t keep out any other animals or people.
If your dog is attacked by an animal that wanders inside the invisible fence it will not be protected.
Your dog may, for various reasons, learn to run fast through the invisible fence and get away.
Some dogs with high pain tolerance figure this out, you may have to go with a different fencing option.
Purchase an invisible fence that allows shock-free reentry so your dog feels free and safe to come home after running outside the fence.
If your dog receives a shock for coming home, it may prefer to stay away.
Start with the lowest shock level for your dog. You can always increase it, but with a lot of praise and training, most dogs don’t need more than a gentle reminder to stay inside.
Some dogs will need nothing more than a warning beep or vibration.
Remember to use positive reinforcement, in addition to the collar training.
Positive reinforcement means more to your dog, and you’ll get faster results through praise and treats.
Your dog should never think of the invisible fence as punishment, and therefore you should never negatively act toward your dog if they continue going outside of the boundaries.
Most dogs will get this training relatively quickly, but that doesn’t mean that every dog will understand the training that way.
It’s important to be patient with your dog, and just be consistent with your training if your dog doesn’t seem to understand.
Read More: Do Invisible Fences Work for Your Dog? Not all dogs are suitable for invisible fences. We explore the breeds that are best and worst for invisible fencing!
Invisible Fence Training Completed
Invisible fence training can be completed in a different amount of time for each dog.
Some dogs might get the way things work right away while others might take a little bit more training time.
Overall, invisible fence training for your dog shouldn’t be as difficult as it might seem at first. Your dog is smart, and will eventually understand the boundaries set up.
You can always change up the way you’re training by adding in more flags, increasing the correction, or simply starting over if you find that your dog isn’t reacting to the training.
Every dog is different so do your best to be patient, loving, and positive during all aspects of training.
For some dogs, this training may take weeks to complete well and safely.
After all, this is a huge change for them, and if they’ve never been introduced to a physical fence, invisible fence, or electric fence, then they may take a bit longer to adjust to it.
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