Electronic dog fences are intended to be used as a control device for your dog. They are designed to keep your dog within a specified area, either by means of an electric shock, unpleasant noise or offensive smell. Electronic dog fences can be a mixed blessing though. Not only for humans but for your dog also.
The electronic dog fence will consist of a wire that is buried in the ground around the perimeter of where you want to allow your dog freedom. When the dog strays too close to this wire, a signal is sent to the dogs’ collar that will in response, administer the deterrent to your dog. This has the effect of discouraging your dog from straying over the boundary.
Although electronic dog fences can be quite expensive, they have the big advantage that they are invisible to the eye. This means that they can be used in areas where front or back fences are prohibited. So for somebody without a yard or area where their dog can be kept, they can be very advantageous.
Unfortunately, they have their disadvantages too.
The first problem is that most dog owners will use the electronic dog fence as a substitute for proper dog training. It is a quick fix and can be very frightening for a dog that is not used to the collar. Most dogs will not immediately associate the shock, or noise from the collar with the fact that it has strayed outside of its boundaries. For nervous dogs especially, or dogs that have been adopted from rescue homes and may have history of abuse, this type of ‘punishment control’ can be very disturbing for the dog.
Also, if your dog is not correctly trained to understand where its boundaries are, what happens if the system fails? Electronic dog fences can be shorted (by lightening or careless digging). Your dog is then free to go wherever it pleases. Additionally, a very active dog (or an un-neutered dog finding a female) may stray over the border and then have trouble returning home due to the repeated shocks he might be getting.
Above all of these problems, it should be considered whether giving your dog electric shocks as a method of training is an acceptable method of dog training in the first place.
With all that said, your decision whether to get an electric dog fence should be weighed up against the pros and cons of other types of fence. Small fences can be jumped by larger dogs. Chain link fences can be unsightly and are not allowed in some areas. In some cases, an electronic fence may work out to be your best option.
When it comes to dog fences, there is no ‘one size fits all’ solution. Consider all of the facts like breed, personality, size, your living circumstances, health of your dog etc. and you can decide if an electronic dog fence is for you (and your dog. )
Article by Andrew Strachan. Find out more about dog behavior training and types of dogs at http://www.types-of-dogs.com