Thursday, June 23, 2011

Invisible Fence

Moving into this house, we knew that the 3-foot fence would not keep Ransom contained [see: Homeward Bound and Great Escape]. One of the necessities would be an invisible/electric fence.

We researched the different options, professionally installed vs. self installed, brands, wired vs. not... You wouldn't believe the options! We found a very helpful website - - and we finally settled on the Sport Dog brand, wired fence, installed by us. We chose it because it has the strongest wire of the non-professional brands. The only "bad" reviews on this brand was that the stimulation box on the collar is kind of large and that it begins at a higher stimulation level than other brands. Since we have a large, stubborn dog...this was not a big deal. We searched the town for one in stock, but ended up buying for a great price on Amazon [of course].

On Sunday, Hubs and I - more Hubs than I - installed the fence. For anyone thinking about doing this - it  isn't that difficult. It requires planning, time, and a little hard work. And then the dreaded training began.

The advice in the book is : BE PATIENT WITH YOUR DOG. This is so true. That first day, I thought it would never click with him. After getting shocked twice, he just wanted to go inside. So, we backed off to the tone/vibration only and he finally came back into the yard on his own. [Hubs and I both felt the stimulation shock and it really is just that - a shock. Not painful at all.]

Then, I started seeing that it was clicking with him. When he heard the beep/felt the vibrate, he immediately turned around and came back into the yard. VICTORY! However, I knew that after he realized that there wasn't a shock anymore, the white flags would no longer be a deterrent. He may act like one sometimes, but he's no dummy.

So, yesterday the stimulation came back on. We hung out together for a while outside. He situates himself in the very center of the yard, with his wood. Far from the flags. So I keep on working on pulling weeds. After a while, he gets bored and starts sniffing around and I see him heading straight towards the flags.

I call for him. Multiple times. But he is in that zone and can't hear a thing. Sure enough he passes the flags and doesn't listen to the beeps. Right when he reaches the buried wire I see what I'm expecting - YELP and a run straight back into the yard. I then take him back to the flags and wiggle one so to remind him that he is supposed to pay attention to these. We walk the perimeter of the flags - reviewing.

And then he runs straight to the back door.

I am really happy with how it is working. He gets the picture and stays far from the boundary line. I think we will have to increase the stimulation again - when we get to the "distraction phase" of training [read: going outside when bunnies and squirrels are out]. But, I really think that with the right training, this will really work for him.

And so far, he has not jumped the fence.


joan said...

He looks happy out there for now! Hoping he gets the point sooner rather than later. : )

terri said...

We have an invisible fence for our two labs as well. It's the BEST investment we've ever made! You're correct...the training is the pits, but once they get the "picture"...they're good to roam. Glad Ransom is doing so well with his "fence training."