Step One: Awareness
The first stage of training is to build awareness of the new boundaries and rules that accompany them. We will be teaching the dog what to do when they get to the boundary and hear the warning beep. They will learn to turn and retreat in this stage. There is no correction used during this stage, the dog needs to learn what is expected before it is useful to apply a correction.
Preparing for Training
Put the correction collar on the dog. The collar should be set to the “beep only” setting. If there is no beep only setting you are going to wrap masking tape around the probes so that the dog cannot get the correction.
Place the dog on a long leash (at least 6 feet, preferably 10 feet) inside the safe area. Play with the dog for five minutes. We want to make sure training is fun and that the safe area is associated with enjoyment.
Now let the dog lead you around until it gets to the flagged area. When the dog reaches the boundary flags and triggers the warning beep yell “No! No! No!” and quickly lead the dog back into the safe area. Praise the dog lavishly.
Keep repeating this exercise for about ten minutes. Each time do it in a different section of the boundary. Remember to use a very strong tone and adopt the posture of a leader. Most dogs get told “No” all the time, the dog has to know that this time you are serious and that they must obey.
Finally end the session with another five minutes of play in the safe zone. At the end of the session take off the correction collar and take the dog back inside. You want to repeat these sessions three times a day for about a week. Toward the end of the week the dog should start turning and retreating by themselves. They should also start to avoid the boundary flags.
Between sessions, keep the dog in the house. You don’t want them crossing the boundary unsupervised and undoing the associations you are working so hard to establish. If you are taking your dog outside, put them on a leash so they cannot accidently cross the boundary. If you are taking them past the boundary for a walk, put them in the car and drive them over the boundary or alternatively for small dogs, carry them over the boundary. This is only a temporary measure. After your dog has completed the training, we will show you how to walk the dog over the boundary on a leash, but let’s not confuse the dog by doing it now.
Once you have successfully completed a week of Awareness training, it is time to move on to Step Two: Correction training.
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