Keeping your pooch within the yard could mean putting up a white picket fence or digging a trench for an underground system. Both are expensive and time-consuming. Put your money back in your pocket, and teach your dog to stay in his yard using a clicker and treats.
Start the training in your house. Show your dog a flag and when he touches it with his nose, click the clicker and give him a treat.
Place the flag a few feet away. Have the dog touch the flag. When he does, click the clicker and have him return to you to get the treat.
Continue to move the flag farther away. Have the dog go to the flag, and then click. When he returns to you, give him the treat. He will learn that returning to you and moving away from the flag will earn him a treat.
Practice the activity for a week or until he is conditioned to move away from the flag. Then it's time to move the activity outside.
Place the flags around the yard boundary approximately 8 to 10 feet apart. Make sure the flags surround the whole yard area.
Place your dog on a loose leash that is at least 15 feet long. Have your clicker and dog treats in your hand and begin to walk the dog near the flags. Stay back about two feet and let him go to a flag. When he touches it, click your clicker and wait for him to come back to you. Once he does, give him a treat. Continue walking around the boundary. Each time he touches a flag, click the clicker and, when he returns, give him a treat.
Practice this activity twice a day for at least eight weeks. During this time, add additional line to the leash until you have 40 to 50 feet. When your pup is conditioned to return to you from a distance of 40 to 50 feet, he is ready to practice off leash.
Practice without a lead. Continue the same activities with the clicker and the treats. Have your dog follow you around the yard. As he touches a flag, click the clicker and when he comes to you, give him a treat.
Play with him in the yard area, so he associates the area with pleasant experiences. Once he is conditioned to staying within the boundaries, you can do other activities such as washing the car while your pup plays.
- Use small pieces of cooked meat for a treat. This will keep him coming back to you as you condition him to stay away from the flag.
- Keep the flags up for approximately six months, so your pup has a visual cue.
- Never punish him if he goes beyond the line.
Pauline Gill is a retired teacher with more than 25 years of experience teaching English to high school students. She holds a bachelor's degree in language arts and a Master of Education degree. Gill is also an award-winning fiction author.