Image by @sarah_michelle_lawrence
One of the main advantages we hear of the SpotOn System is its portability so you can let your dog run freely no matter where you are going. However, we have also heard that people are shy the first time they try to use the system somewhere new because they assume their dog only gets it for their primary location – usually the backyard. Since 53% of you plan to travel with your dogs this holiday season (according to a recent SpotOn survey), we have put together these tips to ensure that you can seamlessly transition your dog from your backyard to your holiday destination.
You dog is trained to the tones, not your yard or the flags.
Many people worry that their dog is using those flags they put out there to know where the boundaries are and if they go to a new location without the flags, their dog won’t know what to do. Similarly, people think that their dog has figured out their backyard boundaries, but won’t be able to figure it out at a new location. This just isn’t true.
If you want to test it, take your dog outside, connect via Bluetooth to the collar. Now take your dog towards a normally safe area and issue the tones. What does your dog do? Turns back, right? It’s the tones that have trained your dog to turn around. This will work no matter where you go.
If your dog did not turn around, then it’s time to go back and review the initial training video and start training to the tones. Target training combined with tones is great for that. For a refresher, view this video.
REVISIT MAP CREATION
It might have been some time since you set up a new containment area, so review the steps before you arrive and are distracted by holiday preparations. Remember these key points for successful map creation:
- SpotOn works best for properties with ½ acre or more, otherwise your dog will constantly be receiving warning tones and won’t have much space to play
- Maps should be 80’ wide at their narrowest points
- Be sure that you create a buffer of at least 15’ from hazards like a road, railroad track, or other danger. GPS shift is a common occurrence and usually is only 3-10’ so a 15’ buffer should be just fine.
- If your holiday destination is heavily forested, try Forest Mode, which you can activate in the System menu. Just note that the collar must be removed or the map deactivated when the dog enters a roofed structure like a home, barn or garage, as the GPS will be too sensitive and bounce off the walls.
- Don’t forget the Pause feature which enables you to more easily create large maps. Instead of walking the entire perimeter, you can start by creating a map and then hit Pause. You can then walk, drive or ATV to another point and Resume. The system will snap a line creating a boundary. Learn more with this tutorial.
- Remember you can also share maps between collars, so if your relatives at your destination also have a SpotOn System, they can just share their map with you! They don’t have a system? What a great gift idea!
Keys to Success – Once You Arrive
- Set up your map keeping in mind the tips above. It’s optional but you can set out flags if that will help you remember the boundary. Your dog does not need them. They will be more reliant on the tones.
- Begin with your dog on a leash and walk the boundaries, stepping into the alert tone and encouraging your dog to turn back. Give him a ‘Yes’ and a treat.
- Once you feel like your dog knows there are boundaries you can let him off leash or put him on a long 10’ leash and let him wander around on his own. Observe as he nears the boundaries whether he turns around.
- Proof the boundary by tempting your dog with a high value distraction such as having a person he likes walk outside of his boundaries. Note if your pup hears the tones and turns around. Praise or treat.