Now that your Wagz Freedom Smart Dog Collar has arrived, you’re raring to go, and this guide will get you where you need to be. Because no two dogs are alike, there is no specific “one size fits all” way to train a dog. Therefore, you as the pet parent will ultimately find yourself using an individualized approach. The training outlined here, however, is used by many professional trainers and is a great place to start. As these are recommendations, you should also feel comfortable seeking additional training or correction method recommendations from your vet as you adapt to the needs of your specific dog.
Basic Training for All!
All pet containment systems require the pet parent to train their dog to stay within set boundaries. In this sense, you’ll come to know firsthand what it means to “train the trainer.” As a pet parent, you might already understand your dog’s shorthand signs and sense the foundational ways in which she’s communicating with you. Perhaps you already know that dogs are reward seekers. If there’s a positive consequence to her actions, she’ll continue more of that behavior. Negative consequences tend to break trust between you and your pet and leave her feeling confused. With that in mind, training dogs with the Wagz Freedom Smart Dog Collar goes hand-in-hand with having a few pillars in place.
- Decide what your dog’s reward will be. Treats and toys are the most common rewards given during any training exercise. Therefore, when training your dog to use the geofence containment system, be sure to have your rewards ready, and have plenty on hand! It’s helpful to use a common, repetitive phrase when rewarding your dog, such as, “Good girl/boy!”
- Decide on the consequence for negative behaviors. Physical punishment is not recommended, but a tug on the leash while learning boundaries and the famous “NO” or “Leave it” commands, when delivered sternly, can be considered punishment enough in the eyes of an eager-to-please pup.
- Decide when and where to train. Visual training aids for geofence boundaries are both helpful and effective for your dog and for you. One of the most common visual aids for training within the geofence is the use of flags. Placing these regularly along the geofence boundaries will help your dog learn to respect geographic limitations. Once he learns where the boundaries are, you can gradually remove the flags little by little until they’re gone altogether. It will take multiple, repetitive training sessions per day over the course of several weeks until your dog understands the limits and location of the boundaries and the consequences associated with crossing them.
Geofences & Placement
When using your Wagz Freedom Smart Dog Collar to train your pet to use geofence boundaries, it’s recommended that you and your dog have a basic understanding of leash training. You’ll also want to create and store the geofence boundaries within your Wagz App, where you can customize and create multiple geofences. Boundaries can include designated off-limit areas (Keep Out Zones) such as pools, decks, patios, or gardens.
Geofence Placement Tips
- Consider GPS variability when setting up your geofence. We recommend each geofence be at least 40’ x 40’ to give your dog ample room to roam. It’s recommended, when creating a geofence, to add a 15-foot buffer between any house or structure in all directions beyond your perimeter. Optimally, you’ll want to add a 15-foot buffer between your geofence and any roads or hazards in order to ensure the best GPS accuracy possible.
- Geofence boundaries should be set in areas where there is a clear line of sight to the sky.
- Geofences perform best in areas with Wi-Fi coverage rather than cellular-only coverage.
If your dog is new to boundary training, it’s recommended you turn off all corrections from the outset, which can be done within your Wagz App. The first training sessions will require a leash, as the 100% humane, shock-free corrections (audible, ultrasonic, and vibration) are introduced at a later point in the training.
Geofence Boundary Training
It’s time to create your visual boundary. Place flags around the perimeter of your property, and position them three to six feet apart and approximately five feet inside the actual geofence boundary (this will help account for GPS variation). At this point, you'll begin teaching your dog about geofence boundaries through the three-phase sequence, Phase One: Visual Boundary Training; Phase Two: The Addition of Corrections; and Phase Three: Training With Distractions.
Phase One: Visual Boundary Training
Start with some simple playtime with your dog prior to each training session. This will help him develop interest in you as the trainer, which is critically important. Next, make sure your dog is leashed and wearing his favorite collar with the Wagz Freedom Collar device securely attached to it. Double check that all corrections are turned off in the Wagz App if your dog has not learned the visual portion of the training yet (via flags placed along the geofence line). Allow your pooch to explore around the geofenced area (visually supported by flags). If your dog goes within six feet of the boundary, give your version of the deterrent command (aka: “NO”), then lead her back into the safe area. During the training make sure to reward and praise her for good behavior and for obeying commands, and have her walk as much of the geofence area as possible during the training session while still on a leash. Do keep in mind that younger dogs have a shorter attention span and will likely be unable to train for longer durations. For this reason, you’ll want to conduct multiple training sessions per day.
Phase Two: The Addition of Corrections*
After a few training sessions or several days, you should turn on the Wagz Audible Tone Correction within the Wagz App. Continue your boundary training on-leash with one new addition: As the audible tone is emitted from the Wagz Freedom Collar, lead your dog back into the safe zone. Once he learns to turn into the safe zone when hearing the audible tone and without being tugged by the leash, be sure to give ample praise and a reward. The last part of training entails adding in the vibration and/or ultrasonic corrections. It’s recommended to add only one correction at a time to help your dog understand how to adhere to what you’re teaching. Continue with the training in the same way you did with the audible tone, and begin offering treats as soon as he turns back toward the safe zone (after receiving the correction). While you may not be able to hear the vibration or the ultrasonic frequency, the audible tone goes off simultaneously to help you as the trainer know when to reward or lead him back.
Phase Three: Training With Distractions
Once you’ve completed the corrections training, try adding distractions. A longer leash can be helpful here. The training session will begin in the same manner as the previous two phases, and after a few minutes of training, you can introduce a distraction outside the geofenced area. A family member walking just outside of the boundary is a great first test. If your pup runs toward them but stops at the boundary line, praise and reward her. Other distractions could include tossing a toy outside of the geofenced area. If your dog attempts to go through a geofenced area, give the “NO” command and pull/lead your pet back into the safe area. Once she is back within the geofence, give her praise and rewards for returning. If your dog goes through a geofence, you’ll want to spend more time without distractions to reinforce the previous training.
With these three phases established, you can begin increasing the distance between flags. The most common approach is to remove every other flag, then repeat the training sessions for a few days to be sure your pet still understands where the virtual boundary is. Continue to increase the distance between flags until you feel comfortable removing all of them. Because every dog is different, specific distances between flags and the time it takes yours to recognize the geofence boundary will vary.
*Wagz Freedom Collar Geofence Shock-Free Correction Descriptions
- Audible Tone—A brief ringing to notify the pet parent a correction has been issued
- Ultrasonic—Sound waves with a frequency above the upper limit of human hearing (i.e. dog whistle).
- Vibration—A brief, periodic pattern of movement in a back-and-forth motion.
(Corrections will automatically time out after one minute. The reason is that after one minute of corrections, the dog will have forgotten what he was being corrected for, so if your dog hasn’t returned to the allowed area within that time, he is not going to suddenly figure it out. Therefore, we stop the corrections and preserve battery life for the tracking functions of the collar.)