Invisible fences are a great way to protect one’s pet (both canine and feline) that cost a fraction of a privacy fence on the ground. Electric dog fences are considered “dog containment systems;” the intention of the product is to prevent your pet from leaving a pre-determined area of your property.
Why would I want to confine my dog?
There are actually many reasons pet parents would consider confining a dog. Those living in a neighborhood with property adjacent to one’s neighbors certainly want to prevent any disagreements should your pup decide to ramble over to the neighbors’ property. Unfortunately, not everyone loves dogs, and keeping Fido confined can prevent animosity between yourself and your neighbors.
Allowing one’s dog to free-roam can open the door to lots of problems. A free-roaming dog could be hit by a vehicle or stolen by unsavory individuals. Your dog is less likely to have problems with aggressive dogs in the neighborhood when he is confined to your property. Plus, keeping Fido confined can help to prevent exposure to contagious diseases.
Why should I consider an invisible fence?
The answer is truly contingent upon pet parents’ personal preferences; however, the invisible fence is actually quite safe and much less expensive and labor-intensive than a traditional fence.
One must keep in mind that some HOA codes require pet parents to utilize certain materials if one chooses to install a physical fence. Plus, unless pet parents construct the physical fence themselves, one will have to hire someone to install a said fence. This only adds to the cost of a physical fence.
In most instances, one can change the perimeters of an invisible fence. Once a physical fence is installed, that option is no longer available.
Even if pet parents decide to go with the in-ground fence, trenching and planting the wires is much less time-consuming than constructing a traditional fence.
Pet parents never need to worry that they have left a physical gate open allowing Fido to escape a traditional fence when they choose an invisible fence.
Things to Consider about the Invisible Fence
Previously we mentioned training your dog to adapt to the smart collar or in-ground fence. Many set-ups allow for a flag training system. You’ll get flags to put around the boundaries of your yard. These flags give your dog a “visual” of their boundary.
You’ll need to walk around the perimeter of the invisible fence with the flags posted. You’ll spend time getting closer and closer to the said boundary while Fido is wearing the collar. Most collars are set up for tonal, then electronic correction.
Unfortunately, you’ll have to allow Fido to get close enough so that the tonal warning will sound. You will also need to let him experience the electronic correction of the collar. Fido needs to remember when he sees these flags that he will get corrected if he gets too close.
Some invisible fence systems offer training support to aid you in getting Fido ready to successfully stay inside the containment system.
Another issue with an invisible fence is this: other dogs can come on your property and possibly injure your dog. The best advice for this is to never allow your dog to stay outdoors for hours at a time when you’re not close by.
The smart collar should never be worn indefinitely. Let that influence how much you keep your dog outdoors in the perimeter.
Dogs may be able to escape the invisible fence. Some dogs will frankly ignore the electronic correction of the collar and follow other dogs or chase that pesky squirrel. Unfortunately, you may not realize this until you’ve already purchased an invisible fence and tried it out.
To add insult to injury, some collars may not only shock Fido when he leaves the barrier (to chase after something), but the collar may also shock your dog once the adrenaline is no longer pumping and Fido decides to head back home. Imagine being shocked for simply doing what he should? This can have a negative effect on training your dog.
Finally, your dog CAN experience “barrier frustration.” She may become agitated from having to stay inside the fence while she observes other dogs in the neighborhood roaming freely. Then, one must consider that dogs have been known to break the barrier to chase a squirrel or another small animal. However, if your dog doesn’t have a strong prey drive, then this may be a non-issue for you.
There are many benefits to utilizing an invisible fence—regardless of wireless or an in-ground system—that outweigh the benefits of a physical fence.
1. An invisible fence is easier to maintain than a standard physical fence.
A standard wooden or chain link fence is not only expensive to initially install, but future repairs can be costly as well.
2. An invisible fence is a safer alternative to a physical, standard fence.
Dogs can’t be injured when contained by a physical fence, right? Wrong! Dogs often dig under a physical fence in an effort to escape. They may also try to otherwise tear through a physical fence. In some instances, these escape attempts can be dangerous to dogs.
3. An invisible fence allows for dogs to maintain an outdoor view while being safely contained.
Not only will you be able to maintain the landscape of your property (which is a benefit to you as the property owner), but Fido can see outside the property too with an invisible fence.
How do invisible dog fences work?
Invisible fences can work in one of two ways. Pet parents will either purchase a wired, electric fence that must be buried in the yard, or the pet owner will purchase a collar that allows for one to program coordinates in to create a virtual barrier.
Regardless, the dog will wear a collar that communicates with the boundaries of your property’s perimeters. Again, this is set up so that the collar receives a signal.
When your dog approaches the perimeter, the collar typically offers a warning sound. This is called a tonal correction, and, for many dogs, the tonal correction is enough.
However, most collars allow for electronic correction as well. Yes, most collars used with either invisible fence containment systems utilize a shock collar. Now, most of these collars offer “levels” of electronic correction, meaning owners can set the shock level at one which they believe is effective yet merely uncomfortable to your dog (rather than painful).
Again, if pet parents will take the time to set up flags around the perimeter of the property and train your dog as to where these boundaries are, the incidences in which the shock collar will need to be utilized can be minimized.
Types of Invisible Dog Fence: Wireless vs. In-Ground
The Wireless Dog Fence
A wireless dog fence is rather easy to purchase and set up for use with your dog. You’ll simply purchase the collar—some of which are activity collars that will utilize an app on your phone—program the perimeters of your property, and offer some training so that your dog understands what will happen should he breach the boundaries.
Training your dog on what to expect when wearing a collar such as this is much more humane than simply tossing him out in the yard. We’ll discuss training momentarily.
The collar uses satellite GPS signals or cell tower signals (some collars use a mixture of both) to communicate with the tracking device on the collar.
Benefits of Wireless Dog Fences
- Learning how to install a wireless dog fence is easy. There are no wires to worry about and no digging .
- The units are typically portable. You can even use the dog’s current collar set-up if you so choose.
- Set-up is also easy. Some of these collars are “smart” collars, and they are paired with an app you can use on your smartphone. In general, the device is ready to be placed around Fido’s collar and run properly within two hours.
- Most smart collars allow for either multiple perimeters to be input into the device, or you are allowed to change the perimeters as needed. This makes a great choice for taking Fido camping or hiking.
Cons of the Wireless Dog Fence
- Boundaries may vary from time to time
- GPS signal can be affected by the weather
- Cell service can be spotty
A Wired Underground Dog Fence
When utilizing an underground fence, you’ll dig and place the provided wire around the perimeter in your yard. Today’s best in-ground dog fences are connected to transmitters which communicate what the perimeters of the property are.
Benefits of the Wired Underground Fence
- The perimeter can be customized to fit your property’s boundaries.
- Great for small yards
- The underground perimeters won’t change as the wire is fixed
Cons of the Wired Underground Dog Fence
- Installation may require a professional
- One must dig up a path around the perimeter of the yard
- Portability is not possible
- If the wire breaks or otherwise malfunctions, repairs may be in order; repairs can be frustrating
Choosing the right invisible fence for your dog can be tricky
An invisible wired in-ground fence has its benefits as well as disadvantages. Pet parents will definitely have to trench around the property in order to bury the line. However, the boundary won’t be changed plus one doesn’t have to worry about the fence and collar “losing the signal.”
The best dog GPS tracker collars (or one that uses a cell signal in order to determine your dog’s location) are easy to set up, but weather or tall buildings can affect the accuracy of pinpointing your dog’s location. However, the smart collar is portable. You can input multiple parameters in the collar. Some even utilize an app in order for the system to work properly.
Should one choose a GPS/smart collar, choose one that is also an activity tracker. Most of the best GPS dog fences offer real-time location information. They can even tell you if the dog is moving or stationary—in addition to the direction in which your dog is traveling. Some training collars that handlers use with working dogs are also good for making sure your dog stays inside a certain boundary.
Again, never leave your dog at home behind a wireless fences without some type of supervision. There are too many dangers to your dog when home alone in the yard. The invisible fence is best utilized for a few hours at a time with you at home or even outside with Fido.
1. How much does an invisible fence cost?
The cost can be anywhere between $50 and $500, depending upon the system and its capabilities.
2. How does an invisible fence work?
Your dog will wear a collar with a tracking device. The device communicates with a transmitter that has been pre-programmed with the parameters of your property. If your pup gets too close to the boundary, the device will usually first emit a warning sound. If the dog continues closer to the boundary, the collar will emit electronic correction.
3. What is the best invisible fence for dogs?
That is the choice of the pet parent and the dog’s needs. Some in-ground fences suit the pet and owners better, while others prefer the wireless collar device.
4. Are invisible fences humane?
They are if the pet parent offers training so that the dog knows and understands what to expect.