Electronic fences (also known as “invisible fencing”) have become popular in some areas. One advantage is cosmetic– you can’t see the fence, so it is allowable in housing areas that prohibit regular fences. Electronic fencing is relatively low-cost compared to regular fencing. And some dogs do well with this type of fencing and learn to stay within their property boundaries.
Training is required with this type of fencing in order to condition the dog. You must read and follow the directions that come with the fencing. The dog must always wear the special collar, and you must keep the batteries fresh, in order for it to work.
With some brands, a professional from the company comes to your house to install the fence and most importantly, train your dog. Proper training is the key to successful use of the electronic fence.
In theory, the dogs that have been conditioned to the system are reluctant to stray outside its boundaries because they want to avoid the shock that comes with crossing the “fence”. Be sure to caution friends and neighbors never to call your dog from the other side of the hidden wire.
However, there are several major disadvantages to this type of fencing:
1. An electronic fence does not prevent other animals or people from coming on your property and attacking, teasing, or stealing your dog.
2. Your dog can become so excited that it dashes through the fence, despite the shock, and then may be frightened to come back into your yard because of the additional shock it would receive.
3. There have been cases of dogs being called or enticed by a friendly passer-by to come and say hello, then *ZAP*, resulting in the dog becoming either fearful or aggressive towards friendly strangers.
4. Dogs can generalize pain or fear to the location it occurs in, so the zap from the fence can be generalized to the yard, resulting in a dog that is very stressed, which can lead to other behavior problems such as digging, barking, chewing etc.
5. If the collar malfunctions, your dog could receive accidental shocks.
Think about these factors before you consider an electronic fence. A “real” fence is much safer for your dog.