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Dog Boundary Training – How To Establish An Off Limits Area

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When we brought home our first baby (human), Emma, ​​we had a lot of questions about how she and the dogs would interact.

Boundary training for dogs was not on our radar because our solution was to use barriers and fences to keep dogs and babies separated, while not being 100% able to monitor dog-baby interactions.

However, Kevin and Rachael worked with Harley and Charlie to set boundaries. Boundary training for dogs was important in their home as they set boundaries for their dogs.

Read on to learn more about dog boundary training and how to set and ban an area for your dog.

Treats, Clicker, Dog

UPDATE: This post was originally published on MyDogLikes on June 20, 2017. We recently updated and republished here on PuppyInTraining.com.

As soon as we brought our (human) baby home, we knew that setting clear rules with the dogs would be very important.

Just as we are going to teach our child that the dogs have certain places (like their beds and food bowls) that are safe spaces where they should not be disturbed, we wanted Harley and Charlie to understand that the new baby has a few places that should not be disturbed become. also off-limits.

Chief among these would be his play mat, where he spends time each day stretching, playing and learning.

Teaching a dog to stay off a blanket

As much as the dogs would love to lie on the floor next to our baby, they simply aren’t aware enough of their bodies to trust that close!

Full Moon is sponsoring this training series and we will be using their new Training Treats to reward the boys for their attention and hard work! We encourage you to read our latest review and find one for yourself!

What is dog boundary training?

Most dogs have one place command – where they go to a certain place and lie down when ordered to do so.

Think of boundary training as the opposite: you teach them areas that are off-limits.

This is usually taught to dogs by showing them the size of their property.

In our case, we wanted to teach Harley and Charlie that our baby’s mat was one of these forbidden places.

They are used to being able to move freely around the house (even the furniture), so this would take some work!

How to teach your dog boundaries

Having some sort of visual barrier helps make boundary training significantly easier.

If you are trying to teach your dog to stay out of a room, or part of a room where there is no barrier, setting up temporary markers is crucial through the initial stages.

The basics of this type of training are very well explained in this video – in which the trainer teaches the dog to stay behind an (ultimately) invisible boundary.

Apply this technique

As we mentioned above, we would set up a play mat as our ‘forbidden zone’.

While it has clearly defined boundaries, it also has four sides, which adds an extra twist to the example above.

However, the principles remain the same and it serves as a good starting point for modeling our training…

Keeping your dog off a mat or blanket

Step 1: Charge your Clicker

If you’re not familiar with this term, it means clicking the clicker and rewarding with treats. If you are new to using a clicker, spend some time charging the clicker.

Do this until your dog consistently responds to the sound of the click and waits/expects a treat to be delivered.

Although our boys have been clicker training for years, we start all our training by doing this a few times.

This reminds the dogs of the purpose of the device, and that it is not something to be afraid or worried about.

We like to start each training session by re-familiarizing Charlie with the clicker

Step 2: Restrain your dog

Put your dog on a leash and let him walk next to you. (If they don’t know that command, a suit of armor or double handle belt would also work.)

You want them walking beside you for this next step.

Step 3: Defining the boundaries

Walk them around the boundaries of the area you want to keep them away from – making sure you stay between the boundary and your dog.

In this case, you provide an additional obstacle between them and the object to emphasize that it is a barrier.

Click and treat as you walk through this area several times.

We like to start each training session by re-familiarizing Charlie with the clicker

Step 4: Approaching the Borders

Then you want to make it clear to them that they are not allowed to cross these boundaries.

Place a few feet between you and your dog and the boundary.

When you are ready, walk your dog to the boundary stop just before the leash, clicking and treating when your dog stops and does not go any further.

Make sure you release the treat on the side you want your dog to stay on. This will help them understand that this is their favorite place to be!

Practice approaching the boundaries and sitting

Now quickly walk away (with your dog) before approaching him and repeat this process of clicking and dropping a treat just before you reach the boundary.

If at any time they step on or over the boundary, simply move them a few yards away and try to approach again.

Continue this process until they understand that the click and the boundary mean stop!

After they’ve mastered this, it’s time to practice without a leash!

Step 5: Crossing the boundaries

Next we’re going to add a level of difficulty, by crossing the border ourselves, but expecting our dogs to stay behind!

Approach the boundary with your dog as before, clicking and dropping a treat when you reach the leash, but this time step over yourself.

Crossing the line while keeping your dog behind the leash

Does your dog stay behind the border? click and reward repeatedly while they stay there!

If they follow you instead, move closer to them to see if they step back and correct themselves.

Be sure to treat regularly throughout the training session to reinforce the desired behavior

If they move or sit behind the line, click and treat. If not, move them away from the border and try this step again.

Step 6: Increasing the distance/time

After your dog has mastered stopping at your boundary, move a little further past it.

You want them to understand that this rule applies no matter how close you are to the border.

Practicing dog boundary training by teaching Charlie to stay OUT of the blanket.

If they step on the line or into the prohibited area, step toward them until they back away. Once they get back behind the border, click and treat before they move back again.

During this step you will also want to work on increasing the time between rewards.

Maintain eye contact so your dog knows you are watching him. Return to the border at regular intervals to click and reward for reinforcement!

Step 7: Adding Sides

If you have a multi-sided border (like our playmat), you’ll want to approach it from different sides and angles to reinforce this command.

We like using Full Moon Training Treats because they are low in calories but have a lot of flavor.

They may conclude that the rule applies no matter which side they approach it from, or you may need to start at the beginning to emphasize this point.

You will also want to move the mat to different areas of your home for further practice and generalization.

Over time, they will understand that this mat is off-limits and can even apply the training to other blankets or mats!

Final thoughts on training

As with most training, some dogs will master the essentials of the skill right away, while others will require regular practice.

Remember to stop if your dog seems to be getting frustrated or angry. You can always start working on it again tomorrow!

We must also keep in mind that no matter how well trained your dog is, he should NEVER be left alone with a baby or small child.

Despite training and temperament, dogs are still animals and can react unexpectedly, especially to something as unpredictable as a child!

Last but not least, one of the keys to a successful workout is a high-quality treat.

We love Full moon training treats because they are the perfect size for regular treats and come in 2 flavors that our dogs love: Organic Chicken and Cage Free Duck!

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