Choosing The Right Correction Level
Correction Level Setting
Electric dog fence systems vary in the correction levels they offer. The higher end systems tend to offer more correction level options whereas the more basic systems offer fewer. Some systems offer individualized correction level settings for each collar being used on the system, so each dog can have his or her own correction level setting. Other systems use a single correction level and apply it to all collars on the system.
The fewer the correction levels, to greater the difference in strength between the levels. The more correction levels available, the more precise they are. In general, we recommend the systems with a greater selection of correction levels. To get the most out of your electric fence system it is important to find the right correction level for each dog on the system. Too low a setting can result in problems with the fence training and/or subsequent breakouts. Too high a setting can create fear, stress, and anxiety in your dog. The good news is the perfect balance is easy to find if you follow some simple guidelines for setting the correction level on your electric dog fence receiver collar.
The Right Correction Level Setting
Every dog is different so determining the right correction level setting is an individual process each and every time. While dog size and temperament can be good starting points for choosing an electric dog fence system, correction level selection should not be based on breed, size, or temperament. Every dog perceives the static stimulation differently so some more sensitive dogs may never need to move beyond a level one stimulation. Other dogs will need stronger correction. Some dogs may work well with a certain correction level until distractions are introduced. Once distractions come into play, you may see the need for a level up. On the other end of the spectrum, some very sensitive dogs may become over-stimulated even on the lowest correction level setting. For these dogs a different, non-static collar may be warranted.
You will know you have found the right correction level setting when the static correction gets your dog's attention and redirects his focus without causing pain, anxiety, or over-stimulation. You want the correction level to be just adversive enough to convince your dog that wandering into the correction zone is not worth it. The goal is not to scare or overpower your dog into avoiding the area. You want your dog to choose to stay in the safe zone - "eh, I don't really like that feeling so I'm gonna go ahead and stay in here".
If the correction level is too strong the dog will become agitated, upset, and/or over-stimulated. This leads to a mental block where learning stops due to the stress and anxiety. It's important, therefore, to always begin with the lowest setting and work your way up if necessary. This ensures we avoid accidentally over-correcting and creating a negative association with the training or the electric fence system.
Determining The Correction Level Setting That's Right For Your Dog
Step 1 of Training uses no correction at all, only the warning tone, to introduce your pet to the electric dog fence boundaries. In Step 2 we will add the correction. Begin on the lowest setting available and watch your dog closely for her reaction. Appropriate reactions to the sensation of the static correction include: looking up or at the ground suddenly, perking up the ears, scratching the collar, or shaking (as if in response to water or a bug).
Increasing The Correction Level
If your dog wanders into the boundary zone more than once showing no sign of noticing the correction you need to move up one level. Never skip levels or move up more than one level at a time. In general we recommend only moving up one level at each training session. If you feel your dog is not responding to the level you are working with simply continue your training with the "no" command and guiding your dog back into the safe zone and then level up at the next session. This is another safeguard against accidentally increasing the correction strength too quickly.
Decreasing The Correction Level
It's always better to level up than level down, so avoid over-correction at all costs. Unlike under-correction, a correction that is too strong hinders the training process and can actually cause considerable fear and anxiety in a very sensitive dog. Over-correction can lead to fence fear that can make training more lengthy and more difficult. Always begin with the lowest setting and increase levels one at a time and one per training session until you find the right level for your dog. If your dog vocalizes, jumps, or shows other signs of over-stimulation or fear, the correction level setting is too high for your dog. If this happens go back to Step 1 and work in tone-only mode and then continue through Step 2 leveling up slowly.