Invisible Fences for Dogs: Are They Effective?

When most people get a new puppy the excitement is overwhelming. But with all that joy comes a bit of insecurity – what to feed it, is it good around children, how to command it, will it run away… The last question is most troubling and can cause the most stress, especially if you have a yard that is bordered with an easily jumpable fence! 

Although keeping a dog on a leash is the easiest way to do it, many people have strong objections against it as it is deemed as abuse to restrict their movement in such a way. Some dogs will develop a very aggressive behavior if tied, so another method needs to be developed. And so the modern invisible fence came to be.

How Do Invisible Fences Work

Put simply – invisible fences are a perimeter laid out in wire (which can go underground for the sake of invisibility and protection), a central radio transmitter, and a collar that has a connection to the said radio transmitter. The radio transmitter is adjusted in such a way that it can send a signal to the collar whenever it comes close to the perimeter and thereby warn your dog not to cross it.

The invisible fence is completely unknown to the dog if put underground and should at first be introduced by a series of flags to mark the boundary, for it to come to terms with a new territory. Most collars have a set of options for what kind of signal the dog is supposed to receive – a signal warning, such as a beeping noise, a vibration, or a static correction, that is a very small electrical shock to the back of the neck. 

Where to Get Them

Although the whole system can be done as a DIY project, it would be a handful for most people as it requires advanced electrical tools and knowledge. The safer and much faster way is to buy one from a renowned producer.

They can be found in most better-equipped pet stores anywhere, as they are becoming the norm for larger estates, but are also gaining popularity for those living in places with uneven terrain that is unsuitable for a traditional fence. A number of different models can be found on, some of which cover up to 100 acres of land. You should note, of course, that for whatever size of dog territory you are wiring up you will need to adjust your radio transmitter. 

Invisible dog fences should not be bought from shady or otherwise unproven makers, as they can harm your beloved four-legged companions.

Proper Usage and Maintenance

Invisible dog fences have several advantages compared to traditional wooden or wire fences, one of the major ones being that they are relatively easy to maintain. If they are dug in sufficiently deep (at least a foot) they are saved from the elements, lawnmowers, and most shallow holes any animal will dig out. If, however, there is a cut or any other kind of damage to the wire, the whole system will shut down and needs to be inspected where the failure is.

In case of a break of the circuit the radio transmitter, which should be placed somewhere conveniently, like in a garage, will show a visual sign. When the break is found it should be simply connected again, covered in insulation, and put back into the ground with a patch of grass to cover it up. Of course, if your dog is already used to the perimeter it might not even try to cross the line, unaware that it could, but it is best to keep the system running.

Using the invisible fence is pretty straightforward, once the perimeter is set the only thing that remains is to select what kind of signal, and how strong, should your dog receive. A lot more work should be put into training your dog not to cross the line, but that is why you are getting the fence in the first place.

Some people may be against fencing up any kind of animal, but there are many reasons why we would do so with our dogs. It keeps them safer as they are less likely to be hit by a car, get stolen, or attacked by wild animals. It also keeps us safer because it keeps unwelcome visitors at bay when they see a dog nearby, but also because they will protect their limited territory with more vigor. And finally – even if you have a physical fence of any kind it can be jumped over or dug underneath, but invisible electric fences are an obstacle a dog cannot outsmart.