Puppies are practically born to make mischief; letting the little buggers out into the yard presents whole new opportunities for trouble. Underground or invisible fences keep pups corralled safely without visible barriers, if properly arranged. Training can start as young as 8 weeks but may work better if he's a bit older.
How Underground Fences Work
An underground fence is a buried perimeter wire that emits a low-strength radio signal. If the dog gets too close to the perimeter, the radio signal triggers an electronic collar the dog wears. It prevents a trained pooch from venturing where he shouldn't. As the pooch approaches the line, the collar emits a warning tone to steer him away. If he continues forward, the collar delivers a static shock to effectively stop him from leaving his approved area.
The minimum age recommended by one underground fencing manufacturer, Invisible Fence, is 8 weeks. The pup at 8 weeks is past the tiny baby puppy stage and is more capable of more intensive training. However, a pup this age may be too young to properly train for an underground fence. This is the prime “fear stage” in many puppies. Basically, he may be so scared of the shock correction that he refuses to venture outside at all, or may develop symptoms of acting out against it. At age 8 weeks you may begin to train your puppy to the fence, but pull back training if he's skittish.
4 to 6 Months
Around 4 or 6 months of age, your puppy will start to emotionally mature. He'll be past the afraid-of-everything stage and ready for more formal training, including obedience classes. Once he's started learning commands such as sit, down and stay, he should be ready for underground fence training. View underground fence training just like you do with the obedience training; don't rush.
Puppies have their own personalities; each one develops and matures at his own rate. Two pups from the same litter can technically be ready for underground fence training at different times. Some pups and breeds are more nervous than others and may need more time to learn or become comfortable with it. Don't force your puppy to train -- it will just make him more afraid. Introduce him to the concept slowly and move forward with training as he becomes comfortable.
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