How to Teach Dogs Yard Boundaries

by Mary Lougee

    Yard boundary training for dogs is important if you want to control your canine friend’s whereabouts without having a permanent fence. Boundary training also teaches dogs to come when they are called in anticipation of a treat or lots of affection. This type of training keeps your dogs out of harm's way and builds a great affectionate relationship throughout the training period. Proper training allows your pooch to return to you quickly instead of chasing other animals that can hurt her or lead her into the street.

    Step 1

    Show your dog a boundary training flag. These are the flags used for a visual boundary line in conjunction with an invisible dog fence. As soon as she touches the flag, click a training clicker, say “good girl” and give her a treat. Use high-reward treats for this type of training such as small bits of boiled chicken breast.

    Step 2

    Place a boundary flag inside the house standing up next to the cushion of a chair or couch with the flag pointing up. Point out the flag to your dog, when she touches it, click the training clicker and call her to you. Give her a treat and lots of praise immediately. Practice this sequence for about a week inside until she touches the flag and returns to you quickly for her treat.

    Step 3

    Go outside and insert the stick end of training flags into the ground on the boundaries of your lawn. Press the flags about 6 inches into the ground at about 8- to 10-foot intervals.

    Step 4

    Arm yourself with some high-reward treats. Clip a 15-foot leash onto your dog’s collar and walk her into the yard. Start walking her near the flags while allowing the entire leash to be extended with you on the inside of the flags. When she targets a flag, click and call her to give her a treat. Continue around the entire border, rewarding her for coming to you each time. Practice this step of boundary training for about a week and two to three times a day. Your dog will get the hang of it quickly to secure high-value treats.

    Step 5

    Pull the leash to direct your dog back into the yard if she goes outside the boundary flags when practicing and tell her “no.” Do not give her a reward for bypassing the flags and extending beyond the boundary.

    Step 6

    Repeat the training sessions using a 50-foot lead rope on her.

    Step 7

    Go outside with your dog off leash. Practice walking the boundaries again with her. Reward her in the same manner for returning to you after targeting the flags. She will learn that her reward is for returning to you away from the flags. Stand in one area each time you call her, such as a porch or patio, to have her come to that area when called.

    Step 8

    Phase out the treats slowly and just give your furry friend lots of love and affection when she returns to you each time she is called.

    Items You Will Need

    • Boundary training flags
    • Training clicker
    • Dog treats
    • 15-foot leash
    • 50-foot lead rope

    Tips

    • Boundary training flags are available at pet stores and other merchants that carry electronic pet containment systems.
    • If your dog has not targeted before, rub some chicken breast juice on the flag to get her to touch it inside the house. The smell will have her sniffing and targeting within seconds.

    Warning

    • Never leave your dog unattended in a yard that is not fenced and secure. Some critter may decide to run across your yard and entice her to chase her beyond her boundaries.

    About the Author

    Mary Lougee is a writer in Texas who writes on a wide variety of subjects from home improvement to pet care. Her love of animals led to building a farm and caring for rescue animals from equine and swine to dogs and cats. She holds a bachelor's degree in management.

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