Boundary Runners

By admin Posted in Bonding, Problems, Updated posts /


In all neighbourhoods we find dogs running up and down along the boundary fence barking fiercely at whoever passes by. These dogs are territorial and have become overprotective. They very clearly and aggressively send out a message to, “stay away from my territory.”

They not only distress passers-by and scare children but quickly gain a reputation as dangerous, aggressive dogs. Unfortunately they may also attract those misguided individuals who will deliberately tease these dogs and send them into a greater frenzy,

I have seen the damage they can do to a lawn or garden by wearing out deep trenches along the fence as they charge up and down all day long. Shouting at them to stop has little effect and they seem to interpret it as encouragement from the owners to keep going.

What can be done?

Two things need to happen. The dog or dogs must be drawn away from their boundary confrontations and owners must establish true leadership and control over their dogs.

Bozo should be kept in the house if possible to get the message that things are going to change. After a few days of quiet and rest the dog is let out again and as soon as he starts to charge and bark along the fence, quietly walk up to as close to him as possible and by
gently touching him get his attention by offering  him a piece of cheese. This will stop the barking. Clap your hands and say, “Come with me” and lead him away into the house where he is told to “Sit” for another piece of cheese and praise.

By repeating this exercise for the next few days we find that after day four or so, as you are still approaching the dog, he turns and starts to move towards you for the treat. Clap your hands and repeat, “Come with me” to the house where you again treat the dog.

Soon it becomes possible to stand at the door step, clap hands and the dog comes running for the treat.  Barking may still continue but not as fierce as before.

The problem arises when the dog does not respect the owner’s request to follow him into the house mainly due to the fact that the bonding between them is poor and the dog does not respect him as a leader.

In our society dogs are treated as eternal puppies. We feed them and care for all their needs for as long as they may live. They are very dependent on us and it never really becomes their responsibility to look after us or the house. Not being trained for it and with weak leadership they often assume these duties on their own. Because they are ill prepared for the job they soon mess up and become a problem to us and society.

Only when the dog gets the message that it is no longer in charge of its owners that it will be able to exercise self-control and not be
controlled by the owner.

The first step in establishing leadership is learning to ignore the dog. When you pick up the leash and the dog bounces up and down, ignore the antics; pick up a book or magazine and start reading until the dog calms itself. On arriving home, do not make eye-contact, speak to or touch the dog/s. Ignore them and walk away and they will begin to follow you as their leader. Shortly fterwards
invite the dog/s to come to you to be greeted by you and to receive a treat or praise from you.

Too many owners spend too much time trying to control their dogs instead of teaching them how to calm themselves and respect their owners as pack leaders. There is no point in giving a dog a command and not insisting that he obeys.

Once the owner has established true leadership and respect, it is easy to stop the dog from boundary running and to come when called.

It is very much a question of consistency and patience.

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