The invisible fences for canines are advertised as an affordable way to provide dogs with safe outdoor access; however, is this true? Let’s look at the risks of invisible fences and other alternatives that will give pets the liberty and the stimulation they require.
What Is an Invisible Fence?
I’m using the phrase “invisible fence” to refer to any system containing a border formed by a buried wire, an electronic transmitter, and a collar for the receiver, which create audible signals and electric shocks. A variety of models and brands are available. However, they all operate on the same premise: dogs can be taught to stay clear of crossing boundaries if they hear an alarm sound and then an electric shock if they do not turn back. The strength of the shock can be adjusted up or down depending on the dog’s response.
What Can Go Wrong With an Invisible Fence?
As an animal veterinarian, I’ve noticed five problems common to invisible fences.
Dogs are willing to endure the discomfort if they feel the “reward” is excellent enough.
Even with the most powerful settings, the shock collar will not always stop enthusiastic dogs from running over the boundaries. If your dog is a fan of chasing rabbits or is eager to play with another dog walking through your backyard, only a few minutes of discomfort is a minor cost.
The system can malfunction–sometimes with the dog’s help.
The collar operates on batteries. They, naturally, will eventually run out; however, even if you monitor your system’s workings, dogs can beat it. I know of a Border Collie who would sit in”the “beep zone” until her collar’s batteries had run out and then slouch through the backyard.
The prongs of the collar may cause injuries to the skin.
An invisible fence collar delivers shocks with two prongs, which must be placed near the skin. Most manufacturers recommend that the collars be removed frequently to avoid skin injuries. However, canines have been recognized to suffer from severe cuts and infected areas. Longhair breeds are exceptionally high risk.
Invisible fences don’t stop people from entering.
Animals, cats, dogs, and humans (especially children) will likely wander into your yard and cause injuries to all involved. Invisible fences also prevent pets from being taken or hurt by those with bad intentions.
Should I consider getting an invisible fence?
In the interest of safety, pet owners might consider traditional fences or electronic ones. There are pros and cons of popular invisible fences.
Convenience. Electric fences can be put up faster than traditional enclosures. Laying and trenching wire requires less time than the process of laying fence posts nailing boards, nailing boards, welding iron and rolling wire.
Affordable cost. While there are cheaper alternatives to traditional fences, local codes usually define the permitted materials for construction. Certain fencing materials are costly (wood iron), and labour is an additional cost. Invisible electric fences are usually cheaper, even when professionally installed.
Adaptability. While traditional fences work in flat or gently sloping lawns, the invisible fence can be used in almost every terrain. Invisible fences can be found in places with hills, wooded zones and even water. Electronic fences also cover vast areas of ground with any pattern to create huge exercise areas for dogs.
Aesthetics. Invisible fences are they are invisible. They don’t visually block scenic landscapes or green spaces and can enhance the sense of being outside. The residents can roam around the yard relaxed without having to open doors and shut them. The discomfort of flags that are outlined is only temporary. The flags can be taken away when the dog understands how to navigate the fence with electricity.
Reliability. Dogs that tend towards climbing over get under, or chew on fences could be better controlled by fencing made of electric.
Decreased Human Error. Pet owners are often oblivious to shutting a gate, so electric fences decrease the likelihood of escape for families with a lot of foot traffic.
Training is required. To be successful, the dog needs to be taught which fence line is. This will require a period of training in the dog and owner stroll around the fence, observing the flags. Fence companies typically provide training instructions and spend time with dog owners and their pets.
Insufficient protection. However, invisible fences shield dogs by stopping them from going out of the yard; however, they cannot stop dangers from infiltrating the yard. Wild animals and dogs can still enter the yard and engage in a tense exchanges with pets.
Barrier frustration. Some dogs are upset when they observe the nearby dogs play around and realize they can’t be part of the fun. This can be particularly frustrating when nearby canines “tease” or play just beyond their reach. The friendly dogs and social workers are frustrated when they witness an animal or human approaching but cannot greet them.
A degree of discomfort. Most electric fences come with an audible alert before the electric impulse, and dogs get used to hearing that “beep” to avoid the shock. If a dog disobeys the audible alert and ignores the warning, an electric shock will be released, which can startle the dog but isn’t painful if the fence is set correctly.
Reliability. When the power supply has been cut off through a cut wire, or a dead battery inside the collar remains possible.
Alternatives to Using an Invisible Fence for Dogs
A fence is typically the most secure option to allow dogs to explore the outside freely. There are numerous options to choose from, between large, intimidating and costly full-yard fences and smaller ones that are private and less costly. If fencing installation isn’t feasible, teach your dog to distinguish between going out on a leash to take short potty breaks and taking a long walk around the neighbourhood to enjoy. The dog parks provide excellent enrichment opportunities off leash for socially receptive dogs. If your dog is at home by himself, take out the chew toys for dogs and dog toys and set up your pet on a comfortable couch or bed on the floor in front of the window.
The dog is almost unaffected by the sound and the buzz. Your dog is unique. This is why it is essential to train your dog correctly for fencing to work and to feel secure and joyful.
The final element in an invisible fence would be the border. There are two main types of fences: wireless and wired.
Wireless systems are constructed using wire loops, which are typically but not always located just below the ground. Wireless systems utilize the central transmitter, usually located in the home or garage, to create a circular area so your dog can run around.
A wired boundary can be used to create customized shapes and even designs within shapes, which means you can create areas that resemble flowers or pools free of boundaries. While limited in form, Wireless systems can be easy to transport and ideal for RV owners and renters.
Making a Fencing Choice
As with all decisions concerning pets, installing fencing takes time and research. However, with the safety and well-being of your pet in the balance, your time and effort will pay off in the final. Well-constructed fences don’t only “make good neighbours,” they can make dogs happy, too.