An invisible fence is a set of wires buried underground along the line of a yard where you’d like to create a boundary for your pet. These wires interface with a transmitter placed somewhere on your property, and a receiver which comes in the form of a collar for your dog. When a dog approaches the wire boundary, the transmitter will send a signal to the collar, and the collar will signal the dog that it cannot go further.
This process comes in stages and varies moderately between products. However, the basic concept is the same between brands. When a dog comes within a certain distance of the fence, the collar will start to beep. If the dog progresses further, the beeps intensify in frequency. As the dog is about to cross the fence, the output of the collar will turn into a vibration or electric correction. You will have the ability to change the intensity of the physical “go no further” signal the collar produces depending on the size and character of your dog. The beep and vibration or correction serve as deterrents for your dog and teach him or her to remain within a certain perimeter of your home.
Pros of Using Invisible Fence
1. Aesthetically pleasing:
There are a lot of pros you’ll find for an invisible fence for your dog. An invisible fence keeps your yard open and aesthetically pleasing. If your neighborhood association does not allow physical fences on properties within their domain, an invisible fence is a great option. The lack of a visual barrier will allow you and your dog to look out past your property line to the wider world. It will also work with most landscaping layouts.
Invisible fences are generally less expensive to install than a traditional physical fence. While there are multiple factors to consider when comparing costs of an invisible vs physical fence, by-and-large the invisible fence is the cheaper option. If you’re looking to save as much money as possible, you will have the option of installing your fence without the help of the fencing company. However, the ease of having an experienced representative install your fence and help with the training of your dog can be well worth the money.
With proper training, invisible fences can be highly effective means of keeping your dog in your yard, out of streets, and away from potential hazards. It is up to the dog-owner’s discretion whether or not they will leave the dog out in the yard without supervision.
The technology of invisible fences has improved dramatically in the last 10 years or so. There are certain invisible fence brands that dissuade your pet from crossing the boundary line, but then, if they cross over anyway, the collar will not shock them when and if they decide to come back home.
1. “Is this abuse?” and other concerns:
You can find a number of articles on the internet claiming that an invisible fence is akin to animal abuse. While there are understandable arguments to be made for this claim, the technology can be used in a way that protects without harming your pet. Yes, in the course of training and long-term usage, your dog will inevitably get used to the mild corrections. However, the intensity of the correction can be determined by the pet owner themselves. There are certain functions that allow for a vibration rather than a electrical correction to be administered as well. This negative reinforcement, while unpleasant, could keep your dog out of much more harmful situations such as getting hit by a car.
2. Doesn’t keep other threats out of your yard:
While an invisible fence can keep your dog from running out of the yard and into potentially dangerous situations, it will not keep outside threats from entering the yard. There is no way to guarantee complete safety of your pet. Should another, aggressive dog approach your yard, they would be able to cross over the invisible barrier. This is something to consider when deciding whether or not to leave your dog outside unsupervised.
3. Might not be right for your particular dog:
The effectiveness of an invisible fence depends more on dog personality and training than anything else. If your dog is not well trained, is prone to anxiety, or is particularly willful, an invisible fence might not be as effective for them. There are claims circulating that invisible fences can create aggression or anxiety in a dog if they are punished for something they don’t understand, such as crossing an invisible line. However, this is why training with a professional or doing extensive research on how you need to train your pet is an important step in making your decision.
A cute but terrifying prospect come also from the stories of pet owners with particularly smart dogs. Dogs such as border collies have outsmarted invisible fences. By sitting close to the boundary, letting the collar beep incessantly, but not crossing to the point of a correction, dogs have been able to drain their collar battery and cross the line without retribution. This intelligence is relatively rare. There are battery backup features with certain brands that you should consider regardless.
What do you need to do if you decide to Implement an Invisible Dog Fence - training/installation
A fence is as safe as the training a dog receives makes them. The main question of, “Will this keep my dog safe?” is one no one can answer with 100% certainty. A physical fence can pose dangers, just like the invisible fence comes with its own inherent downfalls. I had one dog who has busted through an invisible fence line despite being trained and corrected and became very frightened when she was unable to cross back over to the safe side of the fence. I also had a dog that burrowed under a physical fence during a storm and never came back after running away.
The best way to keep your dog safe with either a physical or invisible fence is through training. If you go with an invisible fence, however, training becomes even more important. Consult with a professional and do your research on best training practices.