Step One: Introduction to the Boundary

The first step in training your dog to understand your electric fence system is to get him to associate the warning tone with the training flags. They should learn to turn and retreat whenever they hear the warning tone. There should be no correction in the first training step. Instead, only positive reinforcement should be used to encourage the dog to turn and retreat anytime they hear the warning tone. When the dog is taught what is expected without the correction, it can be added in later without confusing or stressing out the dog.

The Setup

Disabling the Stimulation

To begin Step 1, the collar will need to be disabled. This is so that the collar sounds the warning tone but doesn’t administer any correction. Depending on the system that you have, you may need to change the setting on the collar itself, on the transmitter, or place the rubber training caps over the collar probes to block the correction. Refer to your dog fence training manual to see how to set the collar to tone-only mode or how to cover the probes.

Should your dog fence collar not offer a warning tone only setting or contact point covers, the contact points can be wrapped with black electrical tape or masking tape. This will insulate the probes so that your dog will not receive the shock and will only hear the tone.

Fit the Collar

Now that you know your dog will be protected from the stimulation, you can fit the collar to your dog. The collar receiver should be worn high no the dog’s neck, right below the ears. The receiver box should be at the front of the dog’s neck, under his head. It should fit snugly without it being too tight. To make sure the collar fits, you should be able to fit one finger in between the collar probes and your dog’s neck. The probes should make contact with your dog’s neck at all times.

If your dog’s fur is long, you may need to use longer collar prongs. You can also trim the fur on your dog’s neck to let it make good contact. Once it has been fitted properly, let your dog wear it for a few minutes while moving around. Then, check to make sure that it still fits correctly.

While it is crucial that the probes make contact with your dog’s neck, it is also important to not have them too tight. You should also be sure to remove the collar whenever your dog isn’t outside using the fence. Check the collar from time to time to make sure it still fits well, specifically if your dog is still growing.

A too tight collar or one left on the dog’s neck too long without being adjusted from time to time can cause your dog to get a rash or a skin condition called pressure necroses. Should you happen to see red, sore spots on your dog’s neck, be sure to remove the collar immediately. Wash the area well and discontinue use of the collar until it has healed completely. Do not leave the collar on for more than 12 hours a day.

Professional Tip: If you are able to freely spin the collar around the dog’s neck, it is too loose. It will not function properly if it is too loose as it will cause your dog to not feel the correction. Training will be impossible if he cannot feel the correction.


Each training session should begin with playtime. This allows the dog to bring the dog’s focus onto you. It sets a positive tone for the session. If you spend a few minutes playing with your dog before training him, you can help keep him interested and ready to be trained.

Professional Tip: Giving your dog treats during playtime is a great way to get started. Since dogs love people food, try giving him high-protein treats like roast beef, chicken or hot dogs. It will help aid in the training process and also ease his stress levels.

The Training

Begin by attaching a long leash to your dog’s regular collar. Don’t ever attach a leash to the receiver collar as you want to make sure to not put any pressure on the contact points on your dog’s neck.

Allow your dog to lead you around the yard on his leash. When your dog approaches the training flags in the boundary zone, the collar will sound off the audible warning tone. Should your dog not head toward the flags, slowly walk toward them stopping about a yard away. Allow your dog to wander closer on his own.

When you hear the tone, take the leash and quickly lead him back away from the flag line. Give him the “no” command in a confident tone. It is important that you give him a sense of urgency in this first recognition. The idea is for the dog to retreat from the flag line as fast as possible when the warning tone is heard.

After the dog had backed away into the safety zone, be sure and reward him with a treat and praise. As this is all new to your dog, give him a lot of praise and a trait even if you have to help him understand what he should do. This process should be repeated at every training session, using different areas of the yard at least 3 times a day for the first couple of days.

Professional Tip: At the beginning and end of each training session, do a victory lap. To do this, just run around your yard, away from your training flags. Although he may hesitate in the beginning, you should just start walking without stopping. Your dog is sure to follow you. The purpose of this is to make sure that your dog is having fun and knows that the yard is safe.

Photo by Courtney Roberson on Unsplash

Electric Fences for Dogs
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