Disclaimer: In this article we are discussing the use of invisible perimeter fences that shock dogs through an electronic collar. However, this is not a comment on the specific brand Invisible Fence.
Also, we want to say that we understand why some people see a need for using invisible shock collar fences in some very special circumstances. Some dogs just cannot be contained, and invisible shock collar fences are often looked to as the last resort for a desparate owner.
Finally, for the person that argues that you can use these types of “fences” with the collar only on a vibration mode, please note that most owners will “turn up the heat” in frustration when the more humane mode doesn’t bring the desired result.
These fences are NOT recommended. In fact, invisible shock collar fences will more likely do your dog harm than good, and here’s why.
#1 Invisible Shock Collar Fences Confuse And Frighten Your Dog Instead Of Protecting Them
An underground electric fence administers a shock when the remote shock collar crosses the perimeter. You may understand why this shock is happening, but your dog won’t.
Dogs lack the context to comprehend why they’re being shocked. All they know is that they are in pain for no apparent reason, and this creates fear and confusion in your puppy. Your dog may eventually start to associate the fence line, or the perimeter of your home, with pain and anxiety. This combination almost always leads to unwanted displacement behaviors in dogs.
Invisible shock collar fences can cause unanticipated behavioral and health problems that are difficult to reverse because of their reliance on fear and pain. An owner may forget to take the remote collar off before a trip, and their dog will be accidentally shocked as they leave. This sort of thing actually happens a lot more often than you might think.
If a dog is repeatedly subjected to pain without an apparent cause they will start to fear whatever they’re looking at, or sensing, when the shock occurs. It could be anything from:
- The car itself
- Grocery bags
- Your cologne
Now, your dog may submissively urinate when they smell that cologne or they might be hesitant to get in the car (which will complicate every vet visit!).
#2 An Invisible Shock Collar Fence Is A Barrier For Dogs That Already Escaped
Underground electric fences can actively prevent your dog from returning home safely. Many people have reported that their dogs still manage to escape, but won’t return afterwards. Often a dog will tolerate a shock in order to get a squirrel or meet another dog, but will refuse to endure it again to come home.
We see this problem a lot with dogs that have not been fixed, specifically with unneutered male dogs. The biological need to mate is strong in dogs. A male dog’s drive will easily overcome their hesitation to being shocked. However, once they are out they won’t risk getting shocked again to get back inside. Dogs on the loose are never good news.
The best case scenario for dogs like these is that they wait patiently outside the fence barking all day until you come home. The worst case scenario is the dog runs away. All stray dogs come from somewhere. Recent statistics have shown that only 26% of dogs that are admitted as strays to shelters are safely returned to their owners.
#3 There Are Better, Easier Solutions For Keeping Your Dog Safe
The best way to stop your dog from escaping is to build a relationship with them. This may sound a lot more challenging than it actually is. Your dog won’t want to leave if they love and care for you. This is one of the main jobs that dogs are hard wired to do well. Other ways to prevent your dog from continuing to plot their great escape include:
- Daily walks to tire them out
- Teaching them to come (a recall)
- Rewarding your dog after returning home instead of punishing them
These are bonding and training experiences that help will keep your dog home.
Most dogs escape because they’re bored. Giving them something to do during the day makes them much less likely to try and get out. If your dog is bored then you might want to try:
All of these activities will leave your dog tired and satisfied when you come home and reduce the chance that they’ll escape.
The only reason that dogs stay behind invisible shock collar fences is their fear of pain. It is not out of loyalty or love, but terror. That’s not the relationship you want with your dog. Having a dog that’s prone to escape attempts can be stressful and frightening. If you need help bonding with or training your dog then contact us today. Our team of experienced trainers can help.