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Q: Our Pavlov is a male Rottweiler who is 1 1/2. He has been trained to stay in the yard using an "invisible fence" as a safety line. Pavlov lives inside and is let out to exercise regularly. We live in the country on 3 acres, and our gravel road can become busy at times. We frequently spend time outside with him and he responded very well to the training but after turning 1 he has been running through the fence line and doesn't come when he is called. He is so curious about everything outside our property line now. Is this just a part of being a maturing male? Our female, who is 2, has never left our yard. We love letting him run and play and explore on our property, but we are afraid of what could happen to him.
A: To answer your last question first, unless Pavlov is intact (has not been neutered), his sex probably has nothing to do with his behavior. Breed and individual personality are likelier factors. When he hit adolescence, Pavlov may just have become more curious, or more inclined to chase critters, than your female dog. If Pavlov is intact, though, and if there are intact female dogs anywhere in the vicinity (including strays you may not know about, and female coyotes), he may be going through the fence to reach them. In that case, neutering may help, but even castrated males will often pursue females in heat.
It's clear from your letter that you want the best for your dogs — three acres in the country sounds close to paradise. Unfortunately, relying on shock to keep Pavlov at home is the problem, not the solution. Pavlov's not the first dog to power through the pain of the shock in order to go after something thrilling, then balk at coming back through the fence to get home. Shelters frequently pick up dogs who've strayed from home while wearing their (functioning) shock collars. It's important to remember, too, that the fence does nothing to protect your dog from intruders.