The Hidden Dangers of Dog Fences

Dog fences are sometimes a necessary item to keep a dog safe. Some types of dog fences, though, can cause more harm than good.

Invisible Dog Fences

Invisible fences are meant to keep a dog within a perimeter, like a yard. The invisible fence has special posts that transmit signals to each other to create a barrier. It comes with a special collar that communicates with the fence's sensors or posts. When a dog wears the collar and passes the invisible fence line, the sensors will emit a high-pitched sound that will warn the dog to not continue in that particular direction. If the warning is ignored, the sensors will send an electric shock to the dog's collar.

The amount of pain a dog feels from the electric shock depends on the individual canine. Some dogs may not feel the current at all. On the other hand, the electric shock may be frighteningly painful. If the dog doesn't feel any pain, the purpose of having an invisible fence is defeated. A dog may become aggressive and stressed if he does feel pain, because it may be considered punishment in the dog's mind.

While the invisible fence will keep a dog in, it will not keep other animals or people out. Without a physical fence, there is a greater risk of an animal attack.

Electric Shock Fencing

Electric shock fences are similar to invisible fences, but have one big difference: they're visible. A dog is able to see the perimeter set around him,r so he will visibly know the boundaries.

Electric shock fences also use a collar that emits a beep, followed by a shock, if the boundaries are crossed.

One of the risks of this type of fence is malfunction. Dogs have been known to accidentally be electrocuted while wearing the special collars. Some collars have also shorted out, causing a dog to be seriously burned.

Alternatives to Dog Fences

An alternative to dog fences that may be safer includes making some changes to the current fencing that may already be in place. Sometimes creating a shorter fence within a taller fence, or an "inner fence", can make it harder for a dog to perceive how high it is, if he tends to jump over fences.

If your dog tends to climb over fences, consider attaching an overhang on the top of it. Like a barrier to keep squirrels out of some bird feeders, the overhang would slant towards the inside of the perimeter.

A dog that uses a fence that shocks him or her may become fearful and aggressive. Carefully consider all options available when thinking about purchasing a dog fence.