How Safe Is a Wireless Dog Fence?

To give a correct answer to someone who questions the safety of a wireless dog fence, you need to understand their question. If they want to know if there is anything in the system that could harm their dog, the answer is, "No." If they want to know if the system itself will keep their dog safely confined to their yard, the answer to that is, "It all depends."

What Is a Wireless Dog Fence?

Wireless dog fences are inexpensive and easy to install. They consist of a small control box that you plug into a wall outlet. The unit then sends out radio waves in a circular pattern that covers up to half an acre. If a dog approaches the perimeter of this area, the radio waves are picked up by a small receiver on the dog's collar and the collar then administers a correction, either in the form of an audible beep or in a vibration/buzz that is sent through a post on the collar that rests on the dog's skin. The owner can adjust this vibration to any one of five levels to suit the temperament of their dog. None of this can physically harm a dog. However, there are drawbacks to the wireless dog fence that should be considered.

Drawbacks to a Wireless Dog Fence

The dog's area must be on level ground since it cannot transmit up or down a hill. The control box has to be in the center of the dog's area and has to be protected from the elements. The control box has trouble transmitting through metal, brick and wooden walls. Trees can also block the radio waves, so that must be taken into consideration during installation. Sometimes there are problems even when the control box has a direct line of sight through a window. The system is only capable of setting up a circular boundary, a problem for many homes built on square or rectangular lots. Wireless fences are not suitable for dogs that weigh less than 15 pounds, because the collar will not fit them properly.

The control unit of the wireless dog fence will often move the boundary wall anywhere from three to five feet. They are also unreliable in correcting a dog, sometimes giving a correction too late and sometimes continuing to correct even after the dog has returned to his allotted area.

If a dog is particularly stubborn, they will not be deterred from chasing after something outside the boundary area. There is also the problem of dangerous animals coming into a fenced dog's territory, since the wireless fence will not affect them and it leaves the dog at the encroaching animal's mercy.

Short-Term Use

A wireless dog fence is better suited for use on a short-term basis, such as during vacation or while camping, although the dog should not be left unattended.

Alternatives to a Wireless Dog Fence

One alternative to a wireless dog fence is an in-ground electric wired system that is more dependable than the wireless system. The best solution would be to install traditional fencing, something that more and more homeowner associations are barring for aesthetic reasons.