Do You Need an Electric Dog Fence?
Underground fencing is actually underground fencing that sends out a radio signal through an antenna to a battery in the dog’s collar. The battery shocks the dog, sort of like static electricity, and the dog backs away from the fence line. It should be pointed out, though, that some dogs have higher pain thresholds and can run through the barrier if properly stimulated, such as a rabbit running by. The problem comes in when the dog runs through the barrier, he receives a shock when trying to come back into the yard and so sometimes he won’t return to the yard due to the barrier.
This type of fencing is gaining popularity for a number of reasons. The primary reason is that there are so many homeowners’ associations now that restrict fences in their neighborhoods. Another reason is that some pet owners feel that a visible fence looks like a prison and they want the illusion of freedom for their dogs. Last, but certainly not least, in-ground fencing is less expensive than visible above-ground fencing.
Believe it or not, these types of fences were invented in the 1970’s but grew more popular starting in the 1990’s and are marketed by multiple vendors using different brand names for the same underground fence technology.
An underground fence system is comprised of wire marking its boundaries, a transmitter, a receiver, a test light, training flags, and a sign. The correcting shock that touches the skin on the dog’s neck comes from prongs in the collar where the received is attached.
There are a couple of phases involved in training and adapting your dog to an electric fence system once it’s installed. During the first week, the dog wears the receiver collar and is retained by a long leash. For that first week, each time the dog nears the fence, a warning tone emits from the receiver on his collar (the prong is taped over so it doesn’t touch the dog) and the dog is retracted away from the fence and praised for backing away. After a few days of conditioning to back away from the boundary when the tone is heard, the tape is removed from the prong and the dog is allowed to experience a correction. Then it’s back into the safe area for play and praise. Only during the second week do you allow the dog to run free in the yard without the leash so that he learns that the collar shock comes from nearing the fence line, not from you or the leash.
The advantages of in-ground fencing are both aesthetic and involve providing a boundary for your pet to keep him safely inside your yard.
We’ve already mentioned one disadvantage to in-ground fencing and that is for those dogs who run past the pain of the shock through the fence border who won’t re-enter the yard. There are other potential disadvantages that we should probably explore as well.
The whole purpose of in-ground fencing is so that people can’t see the fence, but when they see your dog in the front yard running toward them on the sidewalk and don’t see a fence, they assume that your dog is going to attack them. Once the little white flags come down marking the eletric dog fence borders after the first couple of weeks, strangers or visitors won’t realize that Fido is going to stop at some point and they may mace your dog or run away. Without a physical fence, there’s nothing to stop other animals from entering your property, distracting your dog and causing him to run after them.
If you feel like an in-ground fence is a good solution for your dog’s needs, there are companies to install them and there are also do-it-yourself in-ground fence installation kits.