How Do Electric Dog Fences Work?

Your dog running away and getting lost is the worst nightmare that any pet owner can face. However, there are several ways to keep your dog in the backyard, and one of them is using electric dog fences. Keeping your dog safe when outside is something that all new dog owners should consider when they bring a pet home.

So, how do electric dog fences work? Are they really good for your pet? Keep on reading to learn more about this topic. 

How Do Electric Dog Fences Work?

If you ever see a dog that approaches an imaginary line but doesn’t cross it, then there’s probably an electric fence installed. This is an invisible fence with buried wires and a connected transmitter to produce a radio signal. 

Your dog will be wearing a special collar that responds to this radio signal. When the dog approaches the fence’s boundaries, the collar will emit an audible beep that only your pet can hear. 

If the dog keeps on approaching the fence, the collar will release a static electric shock that isn’t intended to hurt them, but startle them so that they stay where they are. The static shock is a harmless stimulation that doesn’t lead to a severe injury or cause pain, but is meant to alarm the dog and get them to stop.

Using an electric fence will help you keep your pup safe, but it requires some training. It takes time to teach your dog the fence’s boundaries and where to stop. This is why most pet owners use flags to mark these boundaries until the dog gets used to the fence. 

As a pet owner, you need to devote time to training your dog, so it can get used to the fence. Most animals stop when they hear the audible beep, although some don’t. 

Why Should You Use an Electric Dog Fence?

Exercising in the backyard and feeling free is one of the best ways to channel your dog’s energy. But your pup getting loose can be a nuisance to your neighbors, as it might attack their pets or damage their property. 

Your dog might not be happy about being confined, but it’s actually for its safety. A dog that roams freely might get hit by a vehicle or stolen by someone. It’ll also be protected from contagious diseases that it can catch from other pets outside of your yard, or potential injuries from an aggressive interaction with another dog.

An electric dog fence offers the chance to keep your dog where you want it to be and comes with a lot of benefits. 

  • Electric fences offer a fast solution to confine your dog in your backyard. It doesn’t take as much time to install wires as installing fencing posts and welding iron to guarantee the stability of your traditional fence. There are even some options that don’t require wires at all, although it covers a much smaller area. .
  • Dealing with electric fences is more convenient to humans, as they don’t feel their presence, unlike regular fences. Opening the gate of the fence when you have grocery bags can be challenging. 
  • An invisible electric fence can be more affordable than installing a real fence in your backyard. Buying the raw materials, hiring someone to finish the project, and getting permissions and approvals will add to the overall cost of installing a wooden or iron fence. 
  • An electric fence can be a better choice if you have challenging terrain on your property. A traditional fence can be challenging on sloping yards. It might also be difficult to build if the ground is rocky, but this is not the case with an electric fence that literally works on any terrain. 
  • Because an electric fence is invisible, it won’t affect the look of your landscape. It doesn’t block the views or make your family members feel confined. You should, however, flag the outline of the fence until your dog gets used to it, but after a while, the flags can be removed. 
  • While you do need to install the invisible fence properly, there isn’t a day-to-day risk of you leaving the gate open like there is with a traditional fence.
  • Intruders won’t know that there’s an electric fence keeping your dog confined. All they can see is that there’s a dog in your backyard, so they’re unlikely to come inside. 

Are Electric Dog Fences Really Worth it?

Electric fences offer a fantastic solution for pet owners, but they come with considerations that you need to think about. 

  • If the power supply is cut, the electric fence won’t work. Likewise, the collar needs to have battery power to work, and must stay on the dog. If your dog is good at getting their collar off, this might be a problem. .
  • Dealing with electric fences requires some training as they don’t offer an immediate solution to your problem. Most companies offer a training program to help you, as a pet owner, teach your pup the boundaries of the fence with the help of flags that can be later removed. 
  • These fences don’t prevent stray dogs and intruders from entering your yard unless they feel intimidated by the presence of your pet. Additionally, it may not be immediately clear to people walking outside the boundaries of the fence (such as a kid walking down the sidewalk) and they might be afraid of your dog running towards them, not knowing that they’ll stop. 
  • Some dogs feel frustrated when they see other pet dogs roaming freely. They might want to greet another dog or human and won’t be able to leave the yard, which can be stressful and annoying. 
  • Although most animals stop whenever they hear the audible beep, in some cases, your dog might risk receiving this static shock because it feels that there’s an emergency. Some dogs also don’t mind receiving this shock because they don’t like being confined. 
  • If you have a sensitive dog or don’t know how to set the collar properly, the shock can hurt your dog. Hurt dogs can become aggressive and frustrated. 

Wrap Up

An electric fence is an invisible one made of wires buried in the ground. These wires are connected to a transmitter that reacts with the collar that your dog wears. 

When your dog approaches the boundaries of the fence, there will be a warning beep to alert your pet. If your dog keeps on approaching the boundaries, the collar will release a static shock to teach the dog that it should go back. 

Although electric fences are easy to install, they require some training. Your dog might not respond to the signal, or it might get frustrated because it can’t move freely. But with patience and finding other ways to keep them happy, it will be a good trade-off for all parties.

PuppyLists is written by Kat, who has owned, trained, volunteered with, and loved dogs for nearly three decades. When she isn't writing or researching, she's out adventuring with her 15 year old Lab mix.