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Invisible Fence For Your Dog: Pros and Cons

puppy running in yard

Many dog owners and trainers have very strong opinions, one way or another, about invisible fences and both arguments, are valid.  Our attempt isn’t to persuade or dissuade you from getting one, but rather give you the information you need to make your own decision.  We will give you the pros and cons of invisible fences so that you can weigh it for yourself. Let's get into this dog training device and how it can benefit your life.

What Is An Invisible Fence?

An invisible fence for your dog is an underground wire that you install around the perimeter of your yard or garden. The wire emits a signal that triggers your dog’s collar. As your dog approaches the underground wire, the collar emits a beep warning him not to come any closer.  If he encroaches the perimeter, the collar shocks your dog. The idea is that after a few unpleasant electric shocks, he will learn to recognize the boundaries and stay well inside.  There are some more advanced types of invisible fences that work off Wi-Fi or remote control.

happy couple with dog

What Are the Pros?

A physical fence can cost thousands of dollars, especially if you hire someone to install it. Many dog owners think they’re a great idea because it gives more freedom and dogs don’t have to be chained up, but certain by laws can prohibit physical fences in residential areas. Additionally, if you build the fence too small your dog may jump over it.  If you don't sink it in the ground far enough, he may dig under it, so these are valid reasons for considering an invisible fence. An invisible fence system provides benefits for dog owners, such as:

  • Less expensive than physical fences (starting around $200)
  • Low maintenance (replace batteries and collars when needed)
  • Conveniently move the system where you need to use it (covers 1/2 acre)
  • Easy to install and requires minimal physical setup

What Are the Cons?

Unfortunately, there are just as many cons with invisible fences as there are pros. Although your dog may be contained within the perimeter of the invisible fence, it doesn't stop other animals from crossing over and encroaching your property. This could lead to a fight with another animal or, even worse, a predator.

Whenever a shock method is used, it's difficult to judge the shock tolerance for an individual dog. Smaller dogs will be hit hard with just a minimal shock, while larger breeds may be undeterred by the highest setting.  If you have a dog that is easily startled, the first shock could send him running back into the house in a frenzy making him afraid even to come outside. Dogs have a way of associating different areas and situations with experiences, and a shock could lead to an unpleasant one that he won't forget.

Further, dogs that are exposed to shock can develop aggressive behavior over time. There’s always chance he will cross the invisible fence bolting after a squirrel or bird, and the initial shock may deter him from coming back into the yard.

Installation & Cost

Invisible fences and collars for dogs can be installed by the homeowners following a few easy steps here. These systems are meant to be convenient for the customer and can be set up within an hour or two, depending on the model you purchase. There is generally minimal effort involved, which is the main reason why dog owners choose this over putting up metal or wood fencing. 

The cost for an invisible fence and collar system usually starts around $200, and you can purchase them on Amazon or at most pet supply stores nearby. It's always good to read customer reviews before buying. The range of the collars and features of the system will affect the price. 

Research Before Buying

Invisible fences work great for many dogs, and most owners use them with no problems. However, it's up to you to decide based on your dog's personality and demeanor.  You know your dog best, so you have to ask yourself, will my Fido be okay with this invisible fence? If you're still on the fence about it (pun intended), speak with someone who uses one and sees it in action to be sure it's the right decision for your dog and not you.


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