An invisible fence aka electric fence is an electrically charged boundary, placed underground which will keep your dog in your yard. Right? Well. Sometimes. An invisible fence may seem like a cost-effective, easy solution to keeping your pup on your property but the risks and damage it can cause to your dogs physical and emotional health far outweigh the perceived convenience. As you may have guessed – we at Twin Cities Pet Rescue do not condone the use of invisible fences. Here are four reasons why:
Negative associations with other dogs and people – Your dog may not understand why or how they are being shocked. If another dog approaches your property and your dog can see them they’ll likely want to say hello to the new dog. If they are shocked when approaching this other dog they can learn to associate new dogs approaching their property with being shocked. This can cause aggressive behavior towards other dogs. This can also be the case with new people.
Just because it’s there doesn’t mean they can’t leave – Even a well trained dog has their moments. That bunny running unexpectedly right on the edge of the fence line may be the trigger that sends them running right through the invisible fence. If Fido does take off after bunny foo foo, they probably won’t return to their yard because they’ll receive a second shock. This leaves your dog at risk for wandering far away, getting picked up by animal control, hit by a car, or stumble upon an unfriendly person or dog.
Safety comes first – You cannot protect your pet if they are outside unsupervised. Often times invisible fence owners will let their dog out and leave them outside, unsupervised, for long periods of time. We expect all our adopters and fosters to watch their dogs when they go outside. Invisible fence owners come to trust their fence too much, leaving their dogs in the yard unattended for long periods of time. The unfortunate truth is unattended dogs go missing from their yards often; either by wandering off, being taken by people, or attacked by other dogs or predators. You cannot assume your dog will be safe in your yard. They are your responsibility and family member.
The collar can become one with your dog – A friend of mine recounted an experience recently regarding his family dog and an invisible fence. His parents always left the pronged invisible fence collar on their dog because it made letting the dog outside quick and easy. Over time the collar actually became embedded in the dog’s skin. The vet told them this was a fairly common occurrence with dogs that wore pronged collars.
The perceived convenience and low cost do not outweigh the risks involved in using an invisible fence. Negative associations with new dogs and people, the potential of your dog bolting out of the yard and not returning, leaving your dog unattended and liable to being stolen or attacked by another dog or predator, and potential health risks are all reasons to say no to an invisible fence.