The purpose of the fence is this: it keeps the dog within the boundaries that you want her to stay within. This is for her safety … and for your peace of mind … and for the general peace of your household. (Freaking out over lost dog, driving around looking for it, hoping it didn’t get run over, or worse … bite someone, listening to fretting children, does not make for happy family moments). You train. The dog learns.
You start the training process by walking the dog on a leash, without the collar, over to the invisible fence. The fence is marked with little white flags. You let her see the flags. You tug on her collar gently when she crosses the flags so she becomes aware that something is there. This is called “flag awareness”. . . 2 days.
Next, you use the collar, and do the same thing, leading her toward the no-no zone, letting her cross. She gets zapped … (or, as more sensitively stated in the manual: she receives a “static correction”). You lead her back into the safe area and tell her “good dog!” This is repeated for several days. Next you go into the “distraction phase” which I think would be more aptly named, “the temptation phase”. (Throw a ball past the flags, have a neighbor walk a dog near the flags…) Finally, you move on to “unleashed supervision” and then “pet monitoring”. It is a beautiful thing!
Our dog figured it out after about the fourth time she got zapped, or “corrected”. She doesn’t like it! Currently, she stands on the driveway and watches the kids go off to school, or watches them playing in the yard across the street . . . and you just know she is thinking, “Man, I want to go chase them, but it is not going to be good, it is not worth it.” (I’m convinced dogs think.) She stays in our yard. Good dog. Happy people.
We have an invisible fence in our lives as Christians. It is called the Holy Spirit. We are not collared, but we know that when we go outside of His will, we will receive “correction” from the One who is monitoring us from within . . . and it will not feel good. Yet, just like that strong willed dog that I read about in the training manual, sometimes we are so determined to go after something that we think we want or need … we go for it … despite the consequences. In these cases, with a dog, we are told to purchase a “stronger collar”. What does the Lord do with us when we won’t respond to His gentle corrections and stay within safe boundaries?
(Hebrews 12:11) No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.