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Discussion Starter #1
I have a feeling this may turn out to be long -- my apologies in advance!

Because our backyard is strangely shaped, we had an invisible fence installed when we got our dog. (through a company called Dog Watch, if anyone is familiar) Basically, they have a training process that takes place over about a week where you gradually get the dog used to the boundaries and slowly increase the shock level when he crosses them. So, the first day, you take the dog to the perimeter and then cross it slightly, and the collar just beeps, and you say, "Watch Out!" and pull the dog away. This is repeated several times over the course of the day. The next day, you set the collar to the "level 1" shock, which is (supposedly) very mild, and do the "Watch Out" thing again several times, and then gradually increase the shock level and add some temptations over the next several days until the dog no longer wants to cross the fence.

Well, we started on Thursday with just the collar beeping. By the end of the day, the dog was turning away on his own when he heard the beeping, so we thought all was going well.
Yesterday, we increased to the first level. Again, they said this was supposed to be very mild and a lot of dogs weren't really bothered by it. And yes, I'm sure I had it set correctly. I checked and double-checked. So we took the dog to the fence, and let him feel the shock as we had been told. We did it twice. The first time he kind of just shook his head and looked around. The second time, he yelped and made a beeline for the house.
Now he is afraid to go outside. The fence people did warn us that "a little" fear would probably occur around the second or third day of training. This is not "a little" fear. It is a battle to get this dog to go outside. He is not quite house trained, so a potty schedule is important! So far I have been able to get him to potty but he is obviously afraid while we are out there and he wants to come in right after. The fence people have suggested that we just spend time outside with him playing in his "safe area" -- the areas away from the fence, but he wants NO part of it. He pulls on the leash to go back in the whole time. If I sit with him he will stay with me but he is still obviously very anxious. I even tried giving him treats today. He enjoyed eating the treats but still wanted to go back in. I stopped taking him to the fence, but he just does NOT want to go out. And of course now it is the weekend so no one at Dog Watch is answering their phone.
Has anyone else had this experience or does anyone have any advice to offer? I'm at my wits' end here!
Thanks!
Stacey
 

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I think you'll hear from folks on both sides....those who have dogs that will never leave the deck or patio and those who re-adjusted to it after making the yard a positive experience again by playing, feeding out there, etc.
The bigger problem that you'll have to overcome now is getting the pup back into being curious and engaging with new places, new experiences...the heart and soul of socialization.
 

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Well you're between a rock and a hard place now, is this a dog who is not housebroke or a puppy as you did not mention age. Invisible fence companies are like Los vegas gambling houses, the odds are with the house. They sell a lot of these units and the odds are that it does help a lot of dogs (enough dogs so the companies make a lot of money) these dogs are tough enough to handle it but there are also a lot of dogs that get spooked and have problems. Young pups should never be introduced to an electric fence. Really not much you can do now just hope he grows out of it, I'm assuming you do not put e-collar on him when you take him out as a buckle collar and leash walking are all you can work with.

What they don't tell you is that it's not like buying a Blu-Ray DVD player. If it doesn't work it's under warranty and you send or take it back and it's replaced. The company doesn't even have to refund the money because the unit works but the dog does not.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
He's about 6 months. We adopted him from a rescue about 10 days ago. He is a normal happy puppy in every was aside from this fence thing.

He's doing a little better. I spent a lot of time walking/dragging him around the yard this afternoon just giving him treats and belly rubs. He's still nervous but it's not as bad. While he's not willing to go near the fence is, he's actually walking in the yard -- not hugging the perimeter of the house, and not trying to go back in.

I hope this is a step in the right direction. We'll see how it goes tomorrow.

Thanks for the responses so far. I'd appreciate any other feedback anyone has to offer.
 

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Thank you Tooney for age answer.

Ok new owner of 6 month old pup who actually is just 10 days old in new home. Please no more surprises for pup if you would like to keep him sane, it looks like you might get lucky with this mistake. Instead of just walking your new family member and letting him adjust properly to new surroundings you threw a haymaker at his psyche. The good news is you can learn from mistake. None of us are dropped out of the womb dog experts, though some may think they are.
I might pop him into car and drive him off property some where and take him for a nice "on lead only" relaxed walk. This doesn't cure problem, just gives him something different to think about. Good luck.
 

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A 6 month old pup may not even be old enough for this type of training. It depends on the dog, but you can't know him well enough after 10 days. The pup is possibly still shell shocked from all the changes in his life.

What I would do is let the pup acclimate to his new environment, for a month or more, before beginning any stress inducing training. The "month" can be shortened for an extremely bold pup. The point is that you have to build a strong bond and real trust. That's at an absolute minimum. Ideally, I'd want to get the pup through basic obedience before lighting him up with an electric collar.
 

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I just hope you realize that even IF your pup, once he hopefully gets used to the "fence," never decides to take the shock because he spots an irresistable temptation, that he will still be vulnerable to predators (both animal and human). Never leave him unattended in your yard no matter how secure you think the fence may be. If you want him to have any outside time on his own (yes, even with you right there inside the house) please take the time to build him an escape proof dog run.
 

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A few different issues:
1. Pups are in the fear stage of development at 6 mos, so bad experiences are exaggerated. For now, I recommend that you reduce the shock level to a minimal level that just beeps. That should be enough for now, and you can increase the level at about 10 months.

2. I like the suggestion of simply taking the pup for a walk to potty.

3. At a separate time, you might turn off the fence, and walk the pup from the front to the back (or from outside of the area to inside). Slowly re-acquaint the pup with the yard ... with the fence off... It may take a few weeks of patience and bribes... But do NOT coddle the pup when he freaks out... try to ignore it and leave the area.

4. Recognize that an invisible fence is not foolproof. Other animals can come in the yard, and squirrels may entice him to leave the yard, and not be able to return.

5. I use an invisible fence to stop my dog from digging under my wooden fence.

- Hank Simon
 

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Discussion Starter #10
We have been taking him off property to the park for walks, and just spending time in the yard giving treats and praise. He is making progress. We have bells on the back door to train him to "ask" when he needs to go out. Last night was the first time he actually rang the bells, and when I took him out he went potty and walked around a little without any prompting from me. This morning he saw the neighbors' cat and went all the way to the fence and heard his collar beep (we have the shock turned off). He turned away immediately and I gave him lots of praise. He was nervous but he didn't freak out and try to run back in. Sounds like he is starting to feel better. Keep the advice coming!
 
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