How to Train Your Dog to Use A Pet Fence

At PetSafe®, we create in-ground wired and wireless containment systems so your dog can have a safe place to play outdoors. Training your dog to understand his new pet fence is a key step in the installation process and will help ensure your dog fence works properly.

Pet Containment System Training

happy dog

Pet fence training should be fun, fair, firm, and consistent. We suggest at least 14 days of training. Depending on how quickly your pet learns, training could take less time. Your dog might also need longer than 2 weeks. Just don’t try to do too much too quickly.

Train for 10 to 15 minutes at a time. Short, frequent sessions are better than fewer, longer sessions. If your pet shows signs of stress, slow down the training schedule, add additional days of training, or increase the amount of play time with your pet in his new containment area.

  • Pulling on leash toward the house
  • Ears tucked
  • Tail down
  • Body lowered
  • Nervous / frantic movement
  • stiffening of pet’s body

Your pet should be completely comfortable near the Boundary Flags at the end of every training session. Spend at least 5 minutes of “play time” at the completion of each session within 10 feet of the Boundary Flags to help his comfort level.

Always finish each training session on a positive note with lots of praise and play. Even if you think your pet is responding well to the training, complete the entire training. Reinforcement is important!

Before training, put a separate non-metallic collar on your pet’s neck above the Receiver Collar and attach a leash. Make sure you have tiny treats for your dog (hot dogs or lunch meat work well), as well as your pet’s favorite play toy.

Step-by-Step Training Instructions

Day 1 - Boundary Awareness, Tone Only Training Mode

Perform 3 x 10-15 minutes sessions on the first day of training. The goal of this first training session is to let your pet learn the Boundary Flags and warning beep from the Receiver Collar, which defines his new containment area.

Program the Static Correction Level on the Receiver Collar to Level 1, tone only training mode.

  • Begin by walking your pet on a leash in the containment area. Calmly praise and talk to your pet and move toward the Boundary Flags. Keep the mood happy.
  • With full control of your pet on a leash, walk to the flags. As your pet enters the containment area, the Receiver Collar will begin to beep. Allow your pet to stay in the boundary zone for up to 2 seconds, then gently move him out of the containment area.
  • Immediately praise and offer your pet a treat when you move outside his new boundary zone.
  • Repeat this process at the same Boundary Flag, then move on to another flag. Aim to master 3-4 Boundary Flags per session. Find a way to make this fun for your dog!

Your pet should be completely comfortable near the Boundary Flags at the end of each training session. To test his comfort level, spend at least 5 minutes of “play time” within 10 feet of the Boundary Flags at the end of each training session.

Days 2 – 4: Continue Boundary Awareness and Introduce Static Correction

Perform 3 x 10-15 minutes sessions every day during this phase of training. The goal of this phase is to train your pet to stay in the containment zone and to respect his new boundaries. Program the static correction level on the Receiver Collar to Level 2.

  • Repeat the steps in Phase One. If your pet does not respond to the static correction, confirm the Receiver Collar is fitting properly. If the Receiver Collar is fitted properly and your pet does not respond to the static correction, increase the level by 1.  Watch for slight reactions at first such as ears up, head turned, looking at the ground.
  • Stay at the same flag until your pet resists going into the Boundary Zone.

Days 5 – 8:  Distraction Phase

Perform 3 x 10-15 minutes sessions every day during days 5-8. The goal of this phase is to train your pet to stay in the containment area with distractions beyond the safe zone.

Program the static correction level on the Receiver Collar to Level 2 or higher, depending on his reaction from days 2 through 4.

  • Create distractions to tempt your pet to enter the boundary zone while maintaining full control of your pet on a leash. But never coax or call your pet out of the safe zone.  Here are some ideas for distractions:
    • Have a family member cross from inside to outside the containment area
    • Throw a ball or treat outside the safe zone
    • Have a neighbor walk their pet outside the yard
  • If your pet does not move toward the distraction, praise and offer a treat. If your pet does react to the distraction, take him back into the containment area.
  • Treat and praise your pet anytime he comes back into the containment area with or without help.
  • Repeat this process with other distractions.
  • Gradually increase the distraction level as your pet continues to ignore the distractions and returns to the containment area on his own
  • If your pet does not respond to the static correction, confirm the Receiver Collar is fitted properly. If it is and your pet does not respond to the static correction, increase the level by 1.
  • Don't increase the level by more than 1 at a time.
  • Stop and go back to the previous level if your pet shows any signs of fear or distress

Finish each training session on a positive note with lots of praise and play.  Even if you think your pet is responding well to the training, complete the entire training. Reinforcement is important!

Days 9 – 14: Unleashed Supervision

During this phase of training, sessions should last 10-15 minutes, gradually increasing to over an hour. Your pet is ready for this step only when he clearly avoids the entire Boundary Zone, regardless of any distractions or temptations.

During this time, do not leave your pet unattended. The goal of this phase is to give your pet free run of the containment area off leash.

  • With your pet wearing his Receiver Collar at the appropriate static correction level, walk around and play with your pet in the containment area
  • Let your pet play and explore on his own while watching him closely

Days 15 – 30: Pet Monitoring

At this stage your pet is ready to run free! Keep keep an eye on your furry friend when you let him out. You don’t need to be outside with him, just make sure he stays in the containment zone.  

Once you feel secure that he understands his boundaries, begin removing every other Boundary Flag every 4 days until all the flags are gone. Save the flags in case you need to use them again in the future to train another pet or to help retrain your pet at a new home.

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