As an Electric Dog Fence a Safe?

An electric dog fence may be a safe and effective way of keeping your dog inside your yard; proponents say that they don't harm dogs and are an easy way of controlling dog behavior. Opponents believe that they are inhumane, even dangerous. Here's a closer look at the arguments for and against invisible fencing.

Electric Dog Fences: What They Are and How They Work

With most invisible fencing devices, a wire is buried several inches deep around the perimeter of your yard. These perimeters are usually 500 to 1,000 feet long, at minimum, and can be set up around any areas you'd like to keep your dog away from, such as vegetable gardens. A transmitter in your garage or basement sends a signal to a receiver collar around your dog's neck, which beeps a signal as he approaches the perimeter.

As your dog gets too close, he receives a mild shock that may cause some pain, but, according to invisible fence manufacturers and proponents, won't harm your dog. Invisible fences should be combined with voice training, to reinforce in your dog's mind the idea that he should stay away from the barrier. Your dog should be four and six months of age and be able to obey simple commands; these boundaries work largely because you've trained your dog not to cross them.

The Pro-Fence Argument

Proponents of invisible dog fencing point out that the discomfort inflicted by the collar is mild and temporary; there's no permanent injury to your dog. It can be set to different levels depending on the dog; a larger dog may need to receive a somewhat larger shock. Here are some of the other pros of the electric dog fence:

  • Some neighborhoods place restrictions on the constructing physical barriers, making traditional fences unfeasible.
  • Many physical fences are actually inadequate. Most dogs can dig under or jump over them.
  • Careless people and children can leave the gate open, allowing the dog to escape. Some dogs can figure out how to open gates by themselves.
  • Electric fence perimeters can be set up around anything you don't want your dog to get into; you can even keep him out of certain parts of your home.
  • The electric fence and collar are storm proof. There is no risk of electrocution if your dog is left out in the rain.

The Anti-Fence Argument

Some opponents of the electric dog fence feel that it's cruel and inhumane, because it causes pain, even if it doesn't result in any permanent damage. Others believe that it just doesn't work.

Here are some cons of invisible dog fencing:

  • Your dog will still need to be trained not to cross the barrier. The shock isn't strong enough to keep him from crossing it, and once he does cross it, he may avoid coming back to avoid the shocks.
  • The electric dog fence doesn't stop other animals from getting into the yard, and possible attacking your dog.
  • Neither does the invisible fence stop people from entering your yard. Your dog could be abused or stolen.
  • You'll need to keep batteries on hand to keep the system operating.