Yard monitoring systems are an effective way to allow your dog to enjoy the yard without keeping him on the leash all the time, and without the expense of permanent fencing. These systems work by emitting a warning sound when your dog gets close to the boundary, then an electric shock if he tries to cross the line. Most dogs quickly learn the boundaries of their yard, and rarely trigger the warning sound, much less the electronic shock.
Types of Containment Systems
There are two basic types of yard monitoring systems. The most common is one where a barrier wire is buried around the entire perimeter of the yard. You can also exclude certain areas within the boundaries, so, for example, your dog could have the run of the entire yard, with the exception of areas you have landscaped. The second type of yard monitoring system works by sending a signal out from the base, typically inside the house or garage, and giving the dog a warning, first audible, then electronic, if he roams too far from the unit.
Yard containment systems generally do an excellent job of keeping a dog contained, as long as the owner puts time into the initial training. Some dogs, however, learn that they can run through the barrier, and aside from the electronic jolt when they pass over the wire, there are no consequences. Other dogs may typically stay inside the boundary, but run through it in certain circumstances, like if they see deer or another dog. Finally, while the containment system may keep your dog in, it will do nothing to keep other dogs out. If your neighborhood has a problem with unleashed dogs running loose, electronic containment may not be a workable solution.
Installing the System
Installation of the yard monitoring systems that work by plugging into a base in the home are straightforward as long as your yard is relatively level. If it has a rise or drop in elevation, you may need to install more than one base, which work as overlapping circles, to prevent your dog from going under the signal and escaping. Yard monitoring systems that work on the barrier system involve burying the barrier line a few inches underground around the perimeter of your yard. A flat bladed spade makes this a relatively easy job. You can rent line burying equipment at most home improvement centers if you have a large yard. Regardless of the type of containment system you install, use plenty of boundary flags so your dog will have a visible barrier to help him learn his boundaries.
Training Your Dog
Dedicate at least a weekend to working with your dog around the yard containment system. Take him out on a long leash frequently, giving him a quick correction when he gets near the boundary flags. Let him get close enough to hear the warning tone before you correct him, so he learns to back off when he hears that sound. Once he appears to understand the boundaries, you can let him off leash, but stay outside and supervise. Never leave him unattended in the yard until you are confident that he understands the boundaries.