Train Your Dog to Use an Electric Fence

What You'll Need
Installed electric fence
Leash (15 foot retractable)
Collar (flat for well-mannered dogs and slip for more unruly dogs)
Flags to set up around to perimeter to act as a warning

Once an electric fence is installed, your dog will need to be trained so that it understands to stay inside the boundaries. Follow these progressive dog training steps, moving on after each one has been mastered, until your dog learns to stay inside the boundaries while unsupervised.

Dog Training Tips:

  • Train in short segments, about 15 minutes, 2 or 3 times a day.
  • Reward good behavior with praise and/or treats
  • Make training time fun while using consistent verbal praise and correction.

Step 1 - Introduce the Boundary

Make sure you read the manual that comes with the electric fence and collar. The electric collar should emit a warning noise when the dog gets close to the boundary and before it will administer a shock. Find out at what distance the noise starts and place several warning flags around the boundary.

Place your electric collar and a leash on your dog and walk to the boundary. Once you get to where the warning begins, turn around immediately and head to the center of the yard. When your dog follows you, praise it. Repeat this at different points around the boundary. Continue for several sessions until the dog will turn around on his own when he hears the warning noise.

Step 2 - Offer Temptations

You will need to enlist the help of others for much of this step. Start by getting a friend or family member to walk with you towards the boundary. Inform them to keep walking straight through boundary without turning around or calling out. Allow the leashed and collared dog to decided if he will follow across the boundary or stop as he was previously trained to do. If he follows he will receive a shock. If not, give him praise. Repeat this process using a bicycle, a neighbor, balls, or anything else your dog may be tempted to follow out of the yard.

Step 3 - Train Off Leash

Now it's time to take your dog off leash. At first, supervise your collared dog, making sure the fence is turned on. The more fun time you spend with your dog within the boundaries, the less it will want to leave. During this stage, spend as much time with your dog outside as possible. Continue to give it lots of praise for good behavior.

Step 4 - Give Freedom Gradually

Start allowing your dog short, unsupervised segments in the yard, gradually allowing it to spend more time alone. In the beginning, keep an eye from inside. If your dog still tries to escape at times, put the leash back on and continue training by offering the temptations that are most distracting. After a couple weeks of good behavior while unsupervised, begin taking a flag down everyday until none are left.