Grit Blogs > Nature and Gardening at the Edge

Dealing with a disgusted dog

Minnie Hatz headshotImagine this. Sitting in a swing at the end of the day with a neighbor while your dog sits some distance away with his back to you. My neighbor, who fancies himself something of a dog whisper says, your dog is disgusted with you when he sits with his back to you. That is news to me. I had thought that my dog was the disgusting one. You know how they are. I remember the time when the mop bucket had to be brought out at the vets. There is the matter of my other neighbor’s dog. How can I disgust my dog, I ask? 

My dog is a rescue dog where an owner surrendered him. I soon learned his one bad habit. He is good with children, a reasonable watchdog, and doesn’t tear up stuff. His bad habit is that he likes to run around. He comes back at the end of the day, unless someone sends him to the pound or unless he meets up with coyotes or other mishaps that I don’t want to think about. I bought an invisible fence, which changed his life a lot. You soon realize that invisible fences will not keep coyotes out of the yard and still can allow for quite a bit to go on. For these reasons, I put him in at night.  

An invisible fence is really a solution if you can’t get a dog to stay where you want him to be. I enclosed a pretty large area by buying extra wire. Although many people bury the wire, making the fence invisible, I mounted it on existing fences in many cases. Of course the wire and the fence are visible but the existing fence was not necessarily effective at keeping the dog inside.  

The invisible fence must make a loop. There are some strategies that you can use if that is not really how your property works. Each end of the wire is connected to a transmitter that is connected to an outlet. The dog (or dogs) wears a collar with a receiver that has a couple of blunt prongs. If the collar fits securely and both prongs are fairly near the skin, the dog will receive correction when he strays near the wire. The instruction manual calls this static correction. My dog yelped during the training phase. If you are familiar with radio frequency (RF) you probably have an idea of what the dog experiences. One nice feature is that the collar first transmits a high pitched beep as a warning. Although you won't notice the beep, the dog apparently does.  When the dog moves outside, the warning zone he receives correction. They learn and once they learn they rarely experience correction. If you want to take the dog out of the area, remove the collar and perhaps replace it with an ordinary collar.  

If my dog is ever outside the loop, I can check for problems. Is electricity going to the transmitter? Is the loop continuous or has the wire gotten broken? I check this at the transmitter. Is the collar working or could the battery be dead, or contacts corroded? Is the collar on securely enough? 

Of course if he is outside the loop, I have to retrieve him (the hard part sometimes). Remove the collar and bring him back in. Having to return to the looped area or having to go in at night may be the reasons that my dog is disgusted but we have a truce of sorts. He gets a lot of freedom, inside the loop with occasional excursions outside the loop on a leash, and plenty of treats. I know where the dog is and that he is mostly happy! 

Jasper in pre invisible fence days 

Jasper the dog on a non disgusted day