Invisible Boundaries

Written by Laura Friis, Legende Let Lydighed, for

Ever wished your dog would just stay out of the kitchen? Maybe the nursery? Or just not dash the gate when you leave your yard without him?

Invisible boundaries are what you’re looking for. But, before we get started, a word of caution because safety is always first. If you are training invisible boundaries outside, use a long line for safety while working, unless your dog has a stellar recall in the face of distractions.

Ready to start? To do this, you need something to mark your boundary. This can be anything from the line in the pavement, to a row of flags or a strip of tape on the floor. Whatever is most handy for you. The most important thing is that you stay consistent with whatever you choose.

  1. Pick out your boundary and grab your rewards
  2. Walk to the boundary with your dog and put a treat on the ground on the side of the boundary you want your dog to be at
  3. Reward a few times at this spot to build value in the place
  4. Randomly toss rewards behind the dog, to get him to approach the boundary again. As he approaches, place the reward on the ground before he stops. This will cause him to stop.
  5. After 8-10 repetitions of step 4, you can try waiting for him to stop on his own behind the boundary. Reward onto the ground behind the boundary. If he doesn’t stop by himself you need more repetitions of step 4.
  6. When your dog consistently stops by the chosen boundary, you can move away from the boundary to increase difficulty. It’s important never to move further away than your dog can handle. If your dog tries to follow at your first step, you need to start at half a step. Toss the rewards to your dog for staying.
  7. Grab a friend and have him walk around on the forbidden side of your boundary and reward your dog behind the boundary – still onto the ground. You may need to take a step back in training and reward more often when you add distractions
  8. Keep proofing the behavior with random rewards for staying behind the boundary
  9. Increase difficulty by crossing the boundary yourself and reward your dog for not following. If your dog follows, lead him back behind the boundary and try again. If it’s very difficult for your dog, you can drop the treat at the boundary when you cross, to help him remember.
    As your training progresses, you can remove the visual marker of the boundary.
  10. Optional: Add an “OK to cross” cue. Pick a cue and say it as you toss a treat on the forbidden side of the boundary. Repeat until your dog connects the cue and the behavior.
  11. Optional: Add a “Get back in there” cue. Use your “OK to cross” cue from step 10 and toss a treat inside the boundary as you give the new cue. Repeat a few times, then give the cue before you toss the treat and reward for actually being on the right side of the boundary.

Note: Step 10 and 11 should only be added once the dog has a solid understanding of the rules of the boundary.

Akira rockin’ the kitchen boundary!