10 tips to Dog boundary training
Do you not find it annoying when your dog is all over the place at the table, messing your sofa and irritating your visitors in your living room? Well, you can solve this by setting boundaries for your dog.
When I acquired Tommy for the first time the first thing on my to-do list was house training for my puppy. Domestic etiquette was my priority. Before I began the training his imagination ran wild he would want to eliminate in the closet and carpet.
He is a whippet’s breed so, that’s where he got his strong hunting instincts I had to dedicate myself to teaching him from the word go. He needed plenty of exercises. I would do sprints with him and some daily marches.
I could help my dog understand some basic yet vital training terms like “Wait”, “No”, ”Stay”, “Leave it”, ”Okay” or “Come”. Unlike puppies and young dogs which learn faster, adult dogs take a pretty long time to train. The good thing is that most dogs are more than willing to learn territories.
Dog training is simple. I will share with you just how I went about it with my dog, Tommy. Let’s get started.
- Determine boundary line.
The first thing I did when I got Tommy was to buy marker flags from a hardware store that was closer to my place. But before that, I would use landmarks such as trees and even sidewalks. What makes this so special? Dogs have this mysterious ability to remember visual marks.
I noticed that now my dog would stay within its boundary without giving me any difficulty of having to follow it around like some mad dog owner.
- Spearhead in walking her around the boundary line
Even before my dog could get acquainted with the boundaries, I had to help him to define the boundaries. I let him understand that I am the leader. How did I do that? I designed a rule that my dog had to always go through the door first. I managed this by doing it a couple of times over and over again.
This was a really nice way of teaching Tommy to follow me on the walk. It did help in shaping my dog’s behavior in small steps. Not letting him cross the boundary even an inch. Suppose he crossed the line a simple “No” would follow.
- Train your dog to wait.
On the third day, I continued with the boundary walk but introduced the "wait" command. I learned it was an easy thing to teach Tommy to wait. Strictly speaking when a dog bolts out of the door they seriously need to learn how to “wait”.
You can use the “wait” command in diverse situations. For instance, when letting the dog out into the yard or just walking him outside on a leash. In addition to that, use “wait” when letting the dog out of his crate.
I learned there was no need setting special time for training sessions. I never made my dog lunge out of his crate as soon as I began training him on “wait”.
Often I praised my dog when I opened the door and he hesitated upon giving him the command “wait”.
- Train your dog to stay.
On the seventh day, I began crossing the boundary myself but let my dog walk up to the line and stop by himself. I trained Tommy to stay in the exact position I had commanded him until I give a release signal.
Stay command has three constituents; duration, distraction, and distance. Duration refers to how long the dog “stays” in the exact position until he returns to you. It could last a few seconds.
You will realize that your dog could stay in the exact position without distraction even with a lot of excitement around them.
- Try being consistent.
Once I had defined my dog's territorial boundaries like where he can reach then I become consistent in upholding these boundaries. I could now let my dog sit on the sofa but only after my invitation. So what was it all about? Yes, it was all about teaching the dog to wait. You remind him that you have to extend the invitation into the territory without invasion.
I ensured everyone else enforced the same rules, or else Tommy would get confused and backtrack and even think that the one not exercising the boundary rules was submissive to him.
- Is your dog adapting?
After weeks of reinforcing boundaries, my dog would be able to respect set boundaries. I began to drop the leash and leave it to drag. From here then I repeated step 4. I tossed lots of treats when my dog stayed inside his boundary. Why? It made the message clearer to Tommy that he’ll only get the treats if he stayed within the boundary.
- Step up the training.
I went further to step up the temptations as Tommy showed he is more than ready to respect boundaries by adding more tempting distractions. For instance, I tried asking my neighbor for assistance to bring their dog on a leash and walk by. I could also cross over to the neighbor's yard for a few minutes then let the dog wait behind the set boundary. I made the advanced steps to be gradual.
- Don’t break rules
Remember you must be consistent with the training and don’t let the dog break the rules. If you let him cross the boundary today and the following day you deny him the chance that only brings confusion. If the dog makes a mistake help her re-learn but NEVER punish harshly.
How many times have you scolded your misbehaving dog?
I realized that proper timing is necessary when you want to firmly establish in the dog's mind that he is in the wrong. Always giving a signal when your dog is beginning to exhibit bad behavior such as a warning cue "easy". For example, when my dog wants to jump on the sofa and I give him a "Stop" warning the moment he starts to jump on it. He connects the correction to the action and firmly registers in his mind that he is doing wrong.
- Practice STOP command
Is the dog capable of stopping at the boundary on her own? Practice is the key to making your dog stop on the line on her own. You can use the word “STOP” to stay on the boundary. At the same time use the word “come” to let the dog come to you away from the set boundary. Give the dog lots of treats and praises when they obey.
- Creatively train the dog.
Be creative in reinforcing boundaries. Apply different types of temptations when you stand at different places. A good example is tossing a ball beyond the boundary. Look out if the dog goes after it. If he refrains and does not go after it then you should praise him like never before.
Ensure step 1-5 are accomplished even if it takes long to achieve.
A dog can be happy to do what is expected of him. Your aim should be to teach the dog not restrict. Soon you will realize that it won’t leave for any place without your permission. And whenever it achieves this, always gift him with freedom and not locking them in cages and other shocking devices.
After a few months of boundary training and soon I was enjoying a peace of mind. I would not worry about my dog dashing to the neighbor’s yard. Even if you don't become successful in training your dog, just don't despair, you could seek professional help.
Sooner than I knew it, I not only had a dog but also a friend who was more obedient than a servant. Just like Tommy, I know any dog out there could be taught in the same way.