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Mobile invisible fence for dog that likes to wander too much during hikes?

1334 Views 12 Replies 9 Participants Last post by  3GSD4IPO
My brother and I hike quite a bit and he has a large mastiff family type mutt who is sweet as he can be but has a tendency to wander. On our most recent hike he wandered off and disappeared and pretty much scared us to death (was hunting season) and we literally were running around in the woods on a night with zero moon and found him around 22:00.

Of course we can use a leash, and god knows we have been trying for years to get him to heel/stay close by but neither us nor the two trainers we have tried have been able to make any headway. We just think that a leash or having us yell "Heel" every few feet is less fun for us and less fun for him (we think) so we were wondering if there is something like an invisible fence device that can give him the freedom to run off 20ft or so but remind him to stay relatively close if he strays/lags too far.

Thanks in advance!
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How about a long line? I'd suggest Biothane since it's lightweight, doesn't tangle easily & is easy to clean. You can get one in 20 - 30' length, which will give him a bit more freedom to wander without being able to disappear completely.

Obviously you can continue to work towards a better off-leash recall, but this will work immediately & can be used during training, or permanently.
I use an e collar which I have trained the dog to respond to in an enclosed area. I make coming to me the best thing ever.
Both dogs hike with me and both wear an e collar. At this stage it is only there if a (d***ed) deer pops up in front of them.. I can get both dogs back instantly.

That is your "portable under ground fence." You MUST train the dog for this. DO NOT just slap the collar on with no previous training. Training is in an ENCLOSED area and the dog is conditioned to come the instant he or she feels the nick from the collar. When the dog comes to you it is IMPERATIVE the dog is rewarded HEAVILY (both voice and the best food you have.. steak if necessary). I watch my dogs when I hike and they respond to whistles to come back to me. I never let them get out of sight. Ever. This is bushwhacking, NOT on trails.

I will also add that on most hikes the e collar is on and NOT used. I use whistles to keep the dogs within sight.
Yes, and (just like the limitations of an 'invisible fence') the punishment must be more aversive - to the dog - than the reward, in order for this to be an effective method of "training".
In other words, even if the dog is trained to return to you upon the application of the 'nick' (a PC way of saying 'electrical shock applied to the dog's neck') if they are bound & determined to chase off after that dratted deer/whatever, well... they're going to be well outside the range of your little hand-held 'nicking' device before they've even felt the zap. Unless you have it set to 'phasers on stun' (or at a level that the dog's head explodes), there are those dogs who will simply give chase, regardless of your little 'nick'.
So, my advice to the OP is this - unless you're comfortable setting the shock collar to a level that will take your dog DOWN, should he decide to bolt off, use a physical attachment (long line or leash) while working on recall training. Once you have a solid & bomb/deer proof recall you won't need either.
And, trust me, standing there pushing a button to 'nick' (SHOCK) your dog while he obliviously races away from you after something WAY more rewarding, is a pretty lousy feeling. But being able to call/whistle for your dog & have him come running back to you - that's worth its weight in gold. This can only be achieved without the use of aversive equipment.
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I know how to train a recall, thank you, and I know how to do it without the use of a shock collar, even for the enforcement of the command afterwards. If the dog doesn't come back when you call & you must resort to using the collar, the fact is that if the sensation of the 'stim' isn't aversive enough, it won't change the dog's behavior. The sensation, or the fear of an even more aversive sensation, is what stops the dog. If you're OK with using fear/pain to make sure your dog will listen to you, that's up to you. I've trained that way in the far distant past & have now learned a different (imo - better) way.
And, I'll let you in on a little secret. That picture of your dogs on a hike looks like pictures of my dogs on my property. I live in the middle of the woods & completely understand the limitations of dragging a leash or long line. That's why I spend time creating a wildlife proof recall with my dogs, because if I had to use a shock collar to get their attention when critters were around, they'd have to wear them constantly.
Again, I'm not telling you what to use, or not use, with your own dogs. I'm simply pointing out to the OP that resorting to an electronic device is no guarantee of compliance. How often does our local shelter pick up strays wearing underground fence collars? Frequently. These dogs might be fully 'trained' on the shock collar fencing, but... one day they blow through it & at that point it's pretty much going to be ineffective at containment. For some dogs there is no 'stim' (shock) bad enough to give up the chase. (And I was being sarcastic when I said it would have to 'take the dog down'. Sorry you missed that in the translation)
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