Perimeter Training Your Dog

I recently got this question from a subscriber about my thoughts on the best way to keep her dog from wandering off of her property…

Hi Chet,

My wife and I love your training tools.  We have a one-year-old Golden retriever and an 8-year-old Collie.  We also have an unfenced yard that our association requires.

Both dogs know where the property boundaries are however the Golden doesn’t always stay within them.  We tried putting up a 2 foot temporary fence to re enforce the property line however he soon realized that he could just jump over.  When people and/or dogs walk by I cannot call him back to the yard.  If there’s a rabbit…he’s gone.

We are now using a 15 foot tether that we will hook him up to when ever he leaves the yard hoping that he will realize when he leaves the yard he loses his privileges.  Not sure if this is working as it could take a minute or two between the time he leaves the yard, I retrieve him, and hook him up to the tether.

Do you have a training plan to keep dogs within their yard no matter what?  Just for what it’s worth, the Collie will sometimes want to leave the yard for the same reasons, however all we need to do is call her and she stops.  She lived most of her life in a yard with a tether.  The last two years she has had run of the new yard and there really wasn’t much training.  She just knew what to do.  Years ago I rescued a two-year-old Irish Setter.  As soon as I brought him home, he knew where the property lines were.  So I guess I’ve been lucky.  Our Golden is smart.  We just need to know what the right process is.

Thanks for your time.

>My Comments:

Great question Chuck.  A lot of people have this question, and it reminded me that we’ve created a quick video series on this topic a while back for my Video Vault members.  If you are not familiar, with our Video Vault program, it is a low cost membership site that I created where we take your questions and answer them in video format.  It’s my way of providing a service where you can have ANY question on dog training answered that doesn’t fit into the topics of my other programs.

Its the place where you can get any dog related question answered from how to stop your dog from eating poop, to how to perimeter train your dog so he stays in your yard.

If you’d like to learn more about this low cost way to get your questions answered, you can get the details on our Video Vault program here:

Dog Training Video Vault

But to answer your question Chuck, I thought it would be cool to just take one of the videos from our members area and show it to you.

This video shows you the first steps to perimeter training a dog.  We like electric fencing options for perimeter training, but we also like to train our dogs in the most humane way possible with electric fences.

In this first video in our mini series of perimeter training a dog we show you the first steps to working with a dog and teaching him to respecting a perimeter.

>NOTE: Instead of focusing on creating videos that will win editing awards, and paying editors hundreds of dollars to shoot and edit our videos, we focus on cutting right to the chase and giving you training videos that take just a few minutes to answer your question… so you get your answers and we keep the costs low for every member of our Video Vault program.

With that said, here is the first step to perimeter training:

To see the rest of the videos in this series and learn more about our program that answers your unique questions about dog training check out this program:

The Dog Training Video Vault

Start Calming Down Your Over Excited Dogs Today!

Your First Lesson’s FREE:

Sign up below and we’ll email you your first “Training For Calm” lesson to your inbox in the next 5 minutes.


  1. Kelsie says:

    I have one of those fences, but my 2 dogs already know… soon i am getting a puppy… how do i train him too?


    Minette Reply:

    Use the technique in the video, when the collar beeps (not on the dog) show the dog the flag and run backward for a treat.

    He will associate the noise with running back into your yard and getting a treat and then just associate the noise with the behavior and he will rarely if ever need to feel the stimulation of the collar.

    My boy is a year now and knows his boundaries because I taught him in this positive manner!


  2. Angela Christopherson says:

    Great, I’m impressed. My pup thinks bunnies are chase toys, my landlord’s daughter & grand kids have 8 or 9 that they keep (or don’t) loose and they are all over the place. My pup is a year old now & takes up to 3+ hours to get to come home, and has found the entrance to our dead end street n was gone. A kind person caught her called me at work,(elder care), and I gave info to get her home & on her tether so she greeted me when I got off work.(thank GOD for dog license tags). I almost wanted her to get run over I was so mad, n soaking rain wet, I just left for work I was late.So now I don’t trust her at all, she will not come when called as trained w/dog whistle. She just jets n is gone, If I gotta go to work I go, she’s sitting by the front door when I get home.(she never gets the bunnies,just likes to chase them).mini schnauzer,sitzu/pit-bull mix, about 22lbs n low to the ground n hard to grab when she whisks past. my land lord says there’s coyotes around,(woods past my place), and they could eat her. He also shoots the coyotes n has said he hopes he doesn’t mistake her for one.(she looks very terrier unless she has a haircut, then it’s a mini terrier face on a little mini brindle pit-bull body. she’s a cuddle cutie in bed but naughty out side, except on 40ft tether we play fetch n have a good time. AGC


  3. jack ford says:

    My dog looks almost identical to the one in the “Perimeter Training” video, probably Malinois but since he was a rescue we’re not sure.. By using your clicker training technique he has quickly learned a dozen or so commands but still has one problem that we are at a loss on how to correct. When he hears/sees the UPS truck he goes Red Zone. I mean totally out of control, biting the fence, ripping limbs off bushes, total ignoring us type of crazy. I can’t figure out why this has happened or how to fix it. I hate doing it, but the only way to slow him down a little is with a shock collar.(Don’t worry I tried it out on my leg first.) It is set low enough to get his attention and it will bring him down a notch or so, but I hate to have to resort to that. He is a very high energy dog and I try to tire him out with daily bike rides on which he totally outruns the bike and pulls it for about the first mile or so.
    Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.


    Minette Reply:

    Shocking him is liable to make this problem much worse as he will associate the truck with pain and a shock.

    He needs positive reinforcement desensitization training.

    It will take time and work but will be much better than the shock collar.


  4. Judy says:

    My sister used a electric fence the collar malfunctioned and scorced her dog badly also know someone else this happened to, is this common to happen?


    Minette Reply:

    I know some collars can be put on way too tight and after a period of time the prongs wear the fur and then the skin…I would watch that.

    As far as continuing to shock the dog…I don’t know that I have heard of that..I would think the dog would scream and the owner would take note. But ask what brand it was and see if they have had a problem with that.


    Dori Reply:

    my sister had a beagle that they tried the electric fence with, he would run to the perimiter after a bunny or squirrel and freeze right in the “zap zone” as soon as the shock started he’d sit down and howl till she came and dragged him back to the middle of the yard, burned the fur off his neck more than once. I don’t think they did the intro to the fence properly (or he needed more time on 1st step-cuter than hell, but dumber than a box of rocks!)


  5. Ulla says:

    We have an 8 month Airedale Terrier, live in the country with a forest behind us. We worried about our dog running off and chasing the cars and ATVs and a fence was not an option. So we did our research and have opted for a hidden fence. We were still a little unsure about it but did all the training as instructed.

    After a month and a half we are more than happy with out decsion. Our dog was outside and his friend, a female Airdale, walked by and he remained in the yard, barked yes but did not go after her. We discovered after that we had forgotten to put the collar back on after his walk – BUT he still remained in the yard. He has been tested many more times with the same results.

    Will he be tempted to break the boundary – probably- but we certainly have more confidence that he will be reluctant to do so. He won’t even chase our cat over the boundary.

    Only way to go – a hidden fence.


  6. Sin Maybie says:

    the dog in the video was there for the treats


    Minette Reply:

    Absolutely! He was learning that when he heard the noise he could run the other way and get a treat…that conditioning will help him adjust to the collar in a more humane way.


  7. kerry says:

    I know this has nothing to do with the current topic but,…. Help! My dog keeps eating my shoes. I mean 5 pairs in the last 3 weeks, $50 sandals and brand name tennis shoes. This isn’t when I leave her alone. It’s anytime I leave my shoes within her reach & out of my sight for even 5 minutes. Today I left the bedroom door open while I was in the shower & by the time I got out another pair was destroyed. It makes me crazy. How do I make her not WANT to do this?


    Minette Reply:

    Put your shoes up so she can’t get them and keep your dog with you so she can’t steal. Once she is following you around you can put one pair out to entrap her and then tell her no and give her something else to chew!


  8. Frank Johns says:

    Our dog (name withheld to protect his privacy) is fine as long as he is in the back yard. If he gets out, he difficult to corral. So far he has hot ventured into the street, and he runs in circles (Border collie part of him) and is quick (Jack Russell side). Also he does not respond to “come.”



  9. Mary Beth says:

    Our greyhound, Adah, is a perfect example of “There was a little girl . . . “. Do you have training solutions for spiteful chewing and jumping on guest as they enter the house? We are at our wits end. I hope there is something better than leg weights or a muzzlel.


  10. Pam says:

    My dog is 12 years old (still has the energy of a puppy) and I cant keep him in the yard. I have a fence, but he can easily jump it. My question is, will the perimeter training work even though I have a fence. He can jump out, but its not as easy to jump in. If he can’t return to the yard quickly, will the electric fence still work, and how?


    Minette Reply:

    Many people use electric fences inside their fence to make it so that the dog can’t jump out. You just have to set the boundary a few feet from the fence so that the dog doesn’t have a chance to get at the fence close enough to jump over it!


  11. Tina says:

    This contradicting, in your original videos you say your against training with shock collars, yet your recommending an electric fence?


    Minette Reply:

    Some people don’t have a choice and shock collar training is much different than electric fence.

    Electric fence is constant, the dog can learn to avoid the area.

    But shock collars are run by humans and so the stimulus is ever changing and hard for the dog to understand and control.

    I don’t like electric fence either, but it is more humane that getting run over by a car and the way I teach dogs, they don’t even need the shock, they learn the fun way.


  12. Michele says:

    I know this is an old thread but hoping for a response. I recently had an invisible fence installed and began training exactly how they recommended. It went well for a day and a half until the dog received a shock on the lowest level. Now I can’t get him to put the collar on. He runs away and if you get close to him with it he starts growling. Any suggestions to get us past this and not traumatized him further?


    Minette Reply:

    I would contact Invisible Fence for advice, they provide a guarantee and training. I can’t advise you to risk being bitten and it is a little late to teach in the positive way described here. Although it would still work, if you could get the collar on and use lots of positives… it isn’t worth being bitten.


  13. laura b says:

    I recently adopted a chihuaha mix. he is approx. 6 years old and good manners. my problem is my neighbor. her large dog 75 pounds has very bad manners. jumps a lot on me and everyone else. she wants our dogs to be friends in her property. I am afraid her dog will accidently harm my little one. how do I day no to her without insulting her?


  14. Lex Bakarich says:

    When I clicked on the video vault it took me to a video about food stealing, not perimeter training. We are near a woods and really worry about our dog getting in there and getting lost or getting bitten by a fox or other animal.


    Minette Reply:

    Perimeter training won’t keep other dogs or animals out of your yard.


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