Training Your Dog To Stay In The Yard

People and dogs are alike in the sense that they both are somewhat territorial.  Your dog probably has a good idea of the concept of your “property” or your area of the street or neighborhood.  He knows where home is, especially if he spends much time outside.  If another dog walks into your front yard, your dog will likely have something to say about it.  However, that doesn’t mean that your dog will understand the concept of staying in the yard.  It is never easy training your dog to stay in the yard.  Anyone who tells you otherwise doesn’t know much about dogs.

Most dogs have a natural urge to roam, whether they are spayed/neutered or intact.  Dogs are highly social animals, as well as being very curious.  They like to explore.  That means that if your dog is outside it’s very likely that he will soon be out of your yard.  He may hang “around” your yard, meaning that he comes and goes.  He may go up and down the street.  He may wonder the neighborhood.  He may not go too far away.  But, left to his own devices, it’s unlikely that your dog will stay put in your yard.

You may attempt to train your dog to stay in your yard.  You can do this by making sure that your dog knows basic obedience commands such as sit-stay and that he comes when called.  Practice teaching him (in the house) that he is to respect the boundaries that you set.  For instance, you can teach your dog not to bolt out the door.  Teach him to halt and sit politely waiting for you to open the door and give him the go-ahead to go outside.  However, it must be said that it’s unlikely that your dog will make any kind of connection between sitting and waiting for you to open the door for him and not crossing an imaginary line in your backyard.

You can leash your dog and walk around the boundaries of your yard, giving him short corrective jerks when he goes where he shouldn’t.  Give praise when he stays within the boundaries.  If you do this enough, and watch your dog like a hawk when he is alone in the yard, it is possible that you can prevent him from leaving the yard, but you will need to watch him constantly.

It is really not advisable to depend on your dog not leaving the yard without a fence, even if it’s an invisible fence.  Virtually any dog will leave the yard unless you are standing over them watching them constantly.  Even if you think your dog is trained not to leave the yard, it’s usually only a matter of time before something catches your dog’s interest and he leaves to investigate.  Even an elderly dog will leave the yard at times.  You can’t trust your dog not to leave the yard.

The only exception occurs when your dog has been trained to stay in your yard using an invisible fence.  If you have an invisible fence then your dog has been taught to respect the boundaries of the yard and he will not usually attempt to cross them, even if the fence is turned off or gone.  The same is true if you have been using an electric wire and have it turned off.  In these cases the dog respects the former corrections connected to the fences even though they are no longer in operation.

If, however, you simply try to teach your dog to stay in your yard and he has never had these previous experiences, your dog will probably leave the yard at some point.  Please make sure that your dog is wearing a collar with your name, address and phone number.  A microchip is also advisable Make sure that your dog is wearing his rabies tag and licenses.

Better yet, look into getting a fence.

Mark Mansfield
 

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