The Pros and Cons of an Invisible Dog Fence

Even though walking your dog is important, if you have a yard, most dogs also enjoy spending time off-leash in the yard running freely and having fun. If you let your dog spend time unsupervised in your yard, having a fenced yard is an important safety requirement; even the best-behaved dog can become distracted by another dog, squirrel, or other enticing object and run off. If your yard does not already have a fence, an invisible dog fence may be a good choice.

While there are lots of different types, an invisible dog fence basically consists of a wire that is buried just under the ground. The system comes with a transmitting device, and a special receiver collar for the dog to wear. A signal travels from the transmitter to the buried wire; when your dog gets close to the boundary, the dog receives a warning tone. If the dog continues to move toward the boundary, the dog receives a harmless static correction meant to startle the dog so he or she does not continue on. Most kits come with visible boundary flags to use as a visual aid to help your dog recognize the boundary limits in the beginning. Some newer invisible dog fence systems on the market are wire-free or work using Wifi technology.

Benefits of invisible dog fences:

  • Economical: The cost for an invisible dog fence is usually much less than a traditional fence.
  • Not visually intrusive:  An invisible dog fence allows you to keep your dog safely contained in your yard without disrupting the view. Because of this, many homeowners can install an invisible fence without going through a time-consuming review and approval process with their Homeowners Association.
  • Reduced risk of escape: Dogs may escape by digging under or jumping over a traditional fence, or through openings if the fence is not well-maintained.
  • Other uses: You can also use an invisible fence to keep your dog away from certain areas such as your pool, air conditioner unit, garden or other “off limits” areas.

Drawbacks of invisible dog fences:

  • Only effective for your own dogs: The invisible dog fence will keep your dogs safely contained, but will not prevent other dogs, cats or other animals from entering your yard.
  • Training: While a traditional fence if effective immediately, you must initially spend some time training your dog before your dog understands the concept of the invisible fence.
  • Chance of malfunction: If your dog loses the collar, the collar is not properly fitted, or there is an interruption in the power supply, the invisible fence will not be effective.
  • Not foolproof: Some very motivated dogs will go through the invisible dog fence, regardless of the static correction.

An invisible fence system may be a great option for many, as long as you are aware of the potential downsides. Even when using an invisible fence, it is always safest to supervise your pet when he or she is outside.

About author

Abby Rosenberg

Abby Rosenberg is a PetMeds employee and long-time cat lover. She was a volunteer for several years at a local no-kill cats only rescue shelter. This has prepared her for her most challenging role to date: secretary, photographer, social coordinator and treat dispenser for Daisy, and Daisy’s sidekick Harley. Daisy is a dilute calico Devon Rex cat, and Harley is a “cow-cat” who was adopted from the shelter where Abby volunteered. You can also find Abby on Google+

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