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how to teach your dog to stay in your yard

How to Teach Your Dog to Stay in the Yard

Do you have a dog and don’t want to keep him tethered in the backyard? You’re not alone. Many pet parents are against this practice, and some regions are even making it illegal to keep a dog tied outside for long periods-of-time.

However, unless you have a fenced-in yard, keeping Fido confined to his own yard can have its challenges.

In this post, we’ll take a look at how to teach your dog to stay in the yard; it’s called ‘boundary training’ and it’s not all that difficult to do.

First Things First – Basic Commands

If your dog doesn’t already know the basic commands of Sit, Stay, Come, and Leave it, you will need to start here.

These simple commands are the foundation to which boundary training (and all obedience) is built upon. If you are having trouble with this training, enlist the help of a private professional trainer or enroll your pooch in obedience classes.

Boundary Training – Step-by-Step

Once your puppy or dog is trained in those basics, you can begin his boundary training. Remember, to always praise and reward for a job well done.

Step 1 – Plan Your “Yard”

Take a walk around your yard to decide where your dog’s boundaries will be. Use small yard flags to mark this area, making sure to keep it within a couple of feet of your actual property line. You can also include any natural “markers” such as trees, rocks, ditches, etc. Invisible electric dog fence is a good alternative option for securing yard.

Step 2 – Leash and Walk

Using a leash, walk your dog around the perimeter of your yard, making sure he doesn’t cross over the boundary. If he tries to step past the line, gently pull him back giving him the “Stop” command.

Practice this for at least three days depending on your dog’s learning curve.

Step 3 – Outside the Boundary Line

Once you are confident your dog is familiar with his yard boundary lines, step outside of it. Your dog will most likely want to follow you, so be sure to use the “Stop” or “Stay” command to keep him within the markers. Be sure to reward with treats and plenty of praise when he follows this direction.

Step 4 – Consistency is Key

Continue to train in this fashion, never allowing your dog to cross the “invisible line” and giving plenty of positive reinforcement. This step should be done for at least 15 minutes each day.

Step 5 – Test the Limits

After about a week, test your dog’s limits by tossing a toy or treat outside the boundary line. If he goes for it, use the “Leave” command. Never punish your dog if he fails this test, just redirect him back to the boundary and repeat step number three. Try testing his limits after a few more days of training with you outside the boundary.

Step 6 – Raise the Bar

Once your dog has mastered step number five, you can raise the bar. Using a child or another dog outside the yard line, see if your canine companion will cross over. Again, use the ‘Stop or Stay” commands to help redirect his focus back to his training.

Practice this each day until your dog is perfectly able to regard his boundary line. Of course, each canine is different, so depending on your dog’s nature, this lesson could take several attempts to master.

Step 7 – Unleashed Trial

When you are confident, your pooch knows his boundary lines, unleash him. Watch him and follow him closely to ensure you can reattach his leash if needed. The objective of this session is to see if your dog will stop at the boundary lines.

Always give the commands of “Stop or Stay” or re-leash if your dog is not responding.

Practice Makes Perfect

Depending on your dog’s age, breed, personality, and the busyness of your area, these steps may take many days or even weeks to perfect. However, practice makes perfect.

Always praise and reward your dog. Punishment or harsh words will not work in your favor and can create fear and mistrust in your pup, so keep it fun and friendly.

Once your dog has learned his boundaries, you can let him out with confidence and without the restrictions of a tether.

About the Author:

Sandie Lee is a regular contributor to the The Pet God. She enjoys writing informational articles to help pet parents everywhere. She hails from a small town in Ontario Canada, with her three rescue cats, two goldfish and a hubby of 20 years.

All opinions and facts are that of a third-party writer, not an official author. It’s an article written by a guest author. If you’d like to submit an article, go to our Write for Us page.