Pet Containment – Do Electronic Dog Fences Really Work?

Most dogs like to roam. Yes, some dogs will stay by the house even when offered unlimited freedom. But, most dogs have a natural curiosity that leads them to stray when the opportunity arises.

In a perfect world, it would not matter if your dog took an occasional stroll around the neighborhood. The unfortunate reality is that a dog left to its own devices faces many dangers – from speeding cars to other animals. So, it's important to find a reliable way to keep your dog in his own yard. If you have a sturdy traditional fence that your dog respects, then your job is done. If you live in a fence-restricted neighborhood, if your dog is an escape artist, or if you simply can not afford an expensive traditional fence, an electronic dog fence may be a good option for you.

The first question most people ask about electronic dog wings is, "Do they really work?" The answer is a qualified yes. Electronic dog wings are a very effective way to contain your dog, but only if you consider these three factors: hardware, installation, and training.

HARDWARE

Take a quick look around the Web and you'll quickly see that there are a lot of electronic dog fence options on the market. The most popular do-it-yourself dog fence brands are PetSafe®, Innotek®, and Guardian®. The most popular professionally-installed dog wings are Invisible Fence®, Pet Stop®, and DogWatch®. No matter what brand you choose, you should look for the following features:

  • Multi-level Receiver: Dog wings that provide only a single level of correction just do not get the job done. A single-level receiver will needlessly stress a sensitive dog and may fail to contain a large or confident dog.
  • Lightning Protection: Some dog fence products contain integrated lighting protection, while others require you to purchase a separate lighting protection unit. If your product does not include lightning protection as a standard part of the package, you should purchase it separately. You're putting both your dog fence hardware and your home's electrical system at risk if you do not.
  • Lifetime Warranty: If you purchase a dog fence product that does not include a lifetime warranty, you risk expensive replacement costs down the road. Most major dog fence brands offer at least a limited lifetime warranty.

INSTALLATION

You can install a do-it-yourself dog fence, or you can hire a professional to install your dog fence for you. Either way, the effectiveness of your dog fence depends on these factors:

  • Use Durable Wire: If the wire that creates the perimeter of your dog fence breaks, your entire fence stops working. So, you should make sure your installation includes burial-rated wire that's between 14 and 18 gauge to help prevent wire breaks.
  • Bury Your Wire: Unless you have unusual requirements, it's typically a bad idea to staple wire to an existing fence or to the ground. Instead, wire should be buried 1 – 6 inches underground to protect it from damage.
  • Protect Your Transmitter: Dog fence transmitters generally are not water resistant. Make sure your transmitter is installed indoors or in a waterproof box to protect it from the elements.

TRAINING

While high-quality hardware and installation are important, training is really the most critical component to the effectiveness of your dog fence. In fact, most electronic dog fence failures are a result of inadequate training. You can not just install the fence, stick your dog outside, and expect him to stay within the invisible boundary. Dog wings simply do not work that way.

Every major brand of dog fence includes instructions on training your dog to understand and respect the fence. Most recommend introducing your dog to the fence on leash for at least 4 – 5 days, then relocating to off leash work during days 6 – 10. Ideally, you will supervise your dog for another 4 – 10 days to ensure your dog is completely trained to the electronic dog fence. You'll know your dog understands and respects the dog fence when you see him stay within the boundary even under very high levels of distraction.

From PetSafe® to Invisible Fence® … Learn the facts about electronic dog wings.