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Invisible fences vs real fences – do they really work? 🐾 Puppy Tips


It can be difficult when you can't provide a safe, fenced yard for your dog.

I know what that's like. I now live in an apartment and have to take my dog ​​for four walks a day for potty breaks and exercise.

We lived with my parents for two years, and during that time my dogs had free range in the backyard. When we go on the weekends, my dog ​​loves to run around off leash in the grass. In the meantime, I take a break from the walker to spend time with my family.

I know a lot of people aren't that lucky. Many pet parents simply don't have access to a yard, and while dog parks are great places for your dog to relax, they put your dog at risk for fights and illness.

Invisible fences appear to be a viable option – and sometimes, they may be necessary. However, it's important to understand the risks of using them so you can decide whether they can provide the best life for your dog.

What is an invisible fence?

Invisible Fence® is the brand name for pet containment systems, although there are other companies that make similar products.

Generally, these products are used in conjunction with the collar your dog wears. The collar has two inward-facing metal prongs that sit against your dog's skin, and these prongs create an electrostatic shock when activated.

A boundary can be created by installing a wire around the pet parent's property that carries the radio signal from the transmitter. Newer wireless systems use GPS tracking.

Either way, the system detects when the dog approaches or crosses the boundary. They can be programmed to sound a warning sound and then deliver a corrective static shock when the dog crosses the threshold.

Static electric shock is similar to the stimulation of TENS device. If you've ever used a TENS device to soothe sore or tense muscles, you know that when set to “low,” it can feel slightly tingling and may cause muscles to twitch or jump. Set it too high and it can be painful.

Manufacturers insist that your dog only experiences one or two shocks during initial training and then respects boundaries when it hears the warning sound.

Do invisible fences really work?

According to a 2017 study, 44% of dogs are enclosed by electric fences able to escape.

When working as intended, invisible fences or electric fences can prevent your dog from running away, getting lost, or getting hit by a car. A little shock may seem like a small price to pay in exchange for your dog's safety.

But these pet containment systems give pet parents a false sense of security.

A system can suddenly stop functioning for a number of reasons.

Receiver collars rely on batteries that must be replaced or recharged.

If the collar is not installed correctly, the prongs may not reach the skin to deliver an electric shock.

Outages, cloudy weather, and power surges are a few reasons why this technology can fail without warning.

It’s not uncommon for dogs to get lost Caught wearing a transmitter collar.

Even if the technology works as intended, dogs can experience strong enough prey drives or fear drives, especially during thunderstorms and fireworks – Skipping the border despite being hit.

Are invisible fences painful for dogs?

The level of stimulation of most products can be adjusted, with sensations ranging from a mild sting to a strong but brief shock. it shouldn't Dogs can feel very frightening or painful when they receive an electric shock.

But it's important to understand that, unlike humans using TENS devices, dogs experiencing corrective static shocks are unable to predict, understand, or rationalize what is happening to them.

A veterinarian reported 28% of dogs People who wear shock collars can suffer stress, anxiety and symptoms similar to post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Dogs cannot rationally assume that they will experience an unpleasant sensation if they step out of line and face danger.

Conversely, when they approach boundary lines, they may develop directed aggression toward humans and other dogs they see.

Others become frightened and flee their homes – rather than return from the border – or become afraid to go out common.

These experiences come from anecdotes and first-hand accounts. Yes, there are many people who use these products without any problems, and many people's dogs experience serious adverse effects.

Can invisible fences cause harm?

In order for the invisible fence to be effective, the probe must be pressed against your dog's skin at all times. This can lead to painful pressure sores, which can become severe if the collar is too tight or rarely moves.

veterinary Report burns, injuries, heart attacks Triggered by shock collar. As with TENS devices, they are not recommended for people with a history of heart disease or epilepsy.

However, the most dangerous aspect appears to be the false sense of security provided by invisible fences. They will not keep wild animals out, nor will they stop strangers from entering your property and injuring, harassing, or stealing your dog.

Why true boundaries are better

If you have the means, consider purchasing a real, physical fence.

If your property is too large to be fenced in, you can set up a dog run area.

A real fence can help prevent wild animals and strangers from entering your property and harming your dog.

For escape artists, use an anti-dig barrier. Anti-climb and anti-jump fence tops can also help.

A well-maintained fence can add curb appeal and property value to your home. Win, win, win.

Does your dog still need a fence?

Personally, I notice that my dog ​​gets more exercise and mental stimulation during our walks. When they hang out in my parents' backyard, they tend to loll around.

Even dogs with their own yards can benefit from leash walks.

If you don't have a yard, consider looking beyond the fence and consider taking walks more often. You can even use a long leash to allow your dog to run around safely in an open, unfenced space.

Another fun option – see if SniffSpot has an owner near you who would let you rent their yard or private dog park for a fee. Some even have swimming pools and agility equipment!

Is there any reason to use an invisible fence?

If you're aware of the risks and willing to train and supervise your dog, you may still think an invisible fence is right for you. You may find a way to limit or even eliminate the need for shock stimulation.

While I feel strongly about the choices I make for my dogs, and I'm always happy to help pet parents make informed decisions, there is no room for judgment among dog parents.

At the end of the day, if your dog is happy, healthy, and safe, and you are confident that you can use the equipment correctly and minimize risks, then you should do what you feel is right for your puppy.

Lindsay PevneyLindsay Pevney
Lindsay Pevny is dedicated to helping pet parents make the best choices for their pets by providing actionable, science-based training and care tips and insightful pet product reviews.

she also uses Her favorite copywriting business Make sure you find the best pet products and services on the web with engaging copy and interesting, informative blog posts. She also offers Product Description Writing Services For e-commerce companies.

As a dog mom to Matilda and a cow, she spends most of her days taking long walks and practicing new tricks, and most nights trying to make the most of the small section of her bed she has.

You'll also find her baking bread, making homemade pizza, laughing, painting, and shopping.



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