How to Train Your Dog to Understand Virtual Fences and Invisible Boundaries


You’ve thought about getting a virtual dog fence. Maybe you even purchased it already. Now it’s time to train your pup to understand their invisible boundaries. We’ve got a few tips on how to train your dog with a virtual fence system like SpotOn.

First, a little bit on dog psychology. If you want to learn how to train your dog on a wireless fence successfully, it helps to understand his perspective a little.

  • When it comes to dogs, behavior works on the premise of reinforcement vs. punishment. When a behavior is reinforced, it makes the behavior stronger and more likely to occur. Punishment makes the behavior weaker or less apt to happen.

  • Either reinforcement or punishment can be positive or negative. In order to ensure that our dogs are happy trainees, if we choose to use negative reinforcement or punishment-based training (which includes verbal disapproval as well as withholding a treat or attention if the desired behavior is not displayed), we must also balance it out with the use of positive reinforcement (which includes treats, verbal praise, attention, etc. when the desired behavior is displayed).
At SpotOn, we’ve come up with a proprietary plan that does just that.

1. Don’t make training your dog to an wireless fence your first training experience.

We’ve all heard the saying “you’ve gotta crawl before you walk.” For dog training, it should be more like “you’ve gotta sit before you stay”. Think about going back to school as an adult. It can be difficult to get into the swing of things if you’ve had some time off.  But it’s not as challenging to learn new concepts if your brain is already primed and in learning mode. So before you start to train your dog to a wireless fence, essentially asking your pup to learn how to work a brand-new system, start with some of the basics. (Need inspiration? We have a bunch of really sweet video tutorials that can help you teach your dog some of the basics- see below!) 

The Polite Pooch obedience training videos

Week 1  |  Week 2  |  Week 3  |  Week 4

Week 1  |  Week 2  |  Week 3  |  Week 4

2. Have a reinforcement ratio of 10:1.

When doing any dog training, especially when you train your dog to his new wireless dog fence, be certain that for every one aversive or negative consequence that your dog gets, he should be reinforced 10 times for something that he did well.

If your dog is corrected multiple times in a session, and there is no positive feedback for the things he’s done well, he’s going to become frustrated or shut down. Even if you need to practice with something that he already knows, like “shake hands” or “sit”, just find some ways to reinforce your dog positively so that he stays in the training game. What is reinforcing to your dog? Try tossing a ball, giving a treat, or having quick snuggle sesh.

The SpotOn system training program helps you train your pup to his wireless dog fence by using the least aversive methodology possible, which includes an extra tone that will prompt a reward.  Make it a point to reinforce your dog every time he hears the first tone and comes back to you. And you’ll keep your dog happily bounding in toward the middle of his containment area in the future.

3. Don’t become complacent

Many people train their dog to a wireless fence and then use it as a babysitter. However, being in the yard is only one part of the picture. Without structured activities, dogs will quickly get bored and may think about roaming. Dogs are social creatures that thrive on doing activities with human buddies. Make sure you carve out time in your day to get your pup out for a good walk to explore the neighborhood, a romp at the dog park, or to a training class. This will fulfill their need for exercise and stimulation, and keep them much happier at times when they are in your yard. Of course, if you are reading this, you’ve likely invested in a SpotOn system. The world is your oyster—get your dog trained to his fence and get out there and explore together.

4. Ask for help

At SpotOn, we pride ourselves on our customer service. We know this system like the back of our hand, and we have professional trainers on staff who would be happy to help you through any trouble that you might have. If you get stuck training your dog to his wireless fence, drop us a line at.  We’ll get you back on the right track.


Want to understand how our GPS fence is different from traditional wireless fences before diving into training? Learn more here

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