Are Invisible Dog Fences Safe?

  • 03/01/2019
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A point of contention in the dog owner community revolves around invisible fences as a means to keep your furry friend safe from wandering too far from home. Outdoor dog fences are a method of containment and training for pups big and small. Invisible fences send a shock via collar to a dog when it crosses an invisible line in the yard. The idea is to condition the pet to stay within the boundaries even without physical fences.

Some people feel invisible fences are an inhumane containment method while others feel they are very effective. There are a lot of myths surrounding dog fences for outdoor use, and for many people, the question is: Are invisible dog fences safe? To answer this, there are some other questions to consider.

How much pain/discomfort does the shock from the collar cause?

The shock will certainly be startling – after all, that’s the point of the invisible fence. The level can be adjusted based on breed, size, and personality. The sensation is not meant to be painful though. The feeling is supposed to be similar to experiencing static shock when touching a doorknob. The idea is to startle the pet enough to get them to stop and assess the situation.

Some pet owners feel more comfortable using the invisible fence after shocking themselves and feeling that the pain is not intense. Over time, the pet figures out the boundaries and won’t continue to shock themselves in the future. In some instances, the pet learns boundaries so well the fence doesn’t have to be turned on all the time to keep boundaries in place.

Will it make my dog afraid to go outside?

Some owners fear the use of invisible fences will instil a fear of the outdoors. This is where training and rewards are essential.

Correcting behaviour and rewarding good behaviour will help the dog differentiate between being wary of boundaries and enjoying the outdoors. This will help your dog enjoy the freedom of the backyard without pushing their limits. Plan on regular training and rewards for good behaviour, and it will ensure they are comfortable with their territorial limits.

Are the fences effective?

This question needs to be asked because if the fences aren’t effective why put your pet (and yourself) through all the trouble?

Training for invisible fences is like teaching a dog to sit – it takes time and must be reinforced. Rather than just letting the pet be shocked continuously until they learn, this training requires guidance, rewards, and warnings for the pet to learn the boundaries. Pets typically pick up the habits quickly with help, making it worth the investment.

Invisible fences are not a good investment without dedicating time to training and helping your pet understand the limits of the fence. This can involve any number of methods – from flags planted around the yard to mark boundaries to walking the perimeter. To get the most out of the fence, be ready to train!

Is it expensive?

Beyond safety issues, owners need to know if invisible fences are affordable. Electronics tend to be pricey – that’s just a fact. However, there is a range of fencing types and prices, so it should be easy to find what works for you.

For some owners, invisible fences are affordable in comparison to the alternative – building a physical fence. Some situations require specific fencing types that just aren’t realistic for everyone or requires getting the unruly neighbour to agree on a shared fencing line. Answering the question on price is an individual assessment based on a variety of factors.

All in all, with proper training and understanding, invisible fences are safe. If you are still on the fence, do some research on outdoor dog fences and decide for yourself!

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