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Is An Electric Fence Right For Your Dog?

Published by monica on Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Photo credit by oaphoto

If you have a dog, then keeping it safe is probably one of your top priorities. Yet, you also want your dog to be able to “be a dog” and run, play and explore in its territory. If you have a large yard or property, traditional fencing may be unsightly or too expensive, and keeping your dog on a chain all the time is cruel. If you’re facing this dilemma, then electric fencing for dogs might be just what you’re looking for.

Also called pet containment systems, electric dog fencing consists of several parts: there’s a transmitter that plugs into a regular electrical outlet, the underground wires that form the boundary for your dog, and a receiver collar which gives an audible signal when your pet gets too close to the boundary. These systems can also be used to keep your dog out of specific areas on your property, such as pools or gardens.

Electric fencing for dogs works because dogs are highly trainable, with rare exceptions. Over a fairly short period of time, you can train your dog to know where the boundaries are and what happens if it gets too close. When the dog ignores the warning signal and continues closer to the boundary, it will receive a mild electric shock. The shock is about the same strength as one that you feel when you get a shock from a door knob or carpet. Since dogs aren’t all that familiar with electricity, this very mild shock is enough to get their attention and divert them away from the boundary. And, once your dog is trained to know where the boundary is, it will rarely receive the shock at all.

A typical electric dog fencing system will include a transmitter that can enclose about 25 acres. If you need more coverage than that, there are transmitters with higher power that you can add. The systems typically come with around 500’ of wire which will surround about one third of an acre. There can be no breaks in the wire and it must form a continuous loop back to the transmitter, which must be located in a protected area that will not get wet - a garage is a good place for this.

The wires forming the boundary technically don’t have to be buried, but it is generally a good idea to bury them about one to three inches below ground. That way, you can avoid tripping over them or cutting them with a lawnmower. Just make sure to test everything when it’s above ground to avoid digging everything up because there’s a short somewhere.

Electric fencing for dogs isn’t right for every dog or every situation. You must be willing to properly install the containment system and especially willing to train your dog to properly respect the boundaries. The dog must wear the receiver on its collar every single time it’s outside or the fence will be useless. If the dog learns even once that it can cross the boundary, you’ll have to train it all over again.

There are some dogs that simply won’t respond to the signal or the shock. Dogs that are highly aggressive or vicious are often willing to accept the shock to get where they want to go. Electric fencing for dogs can be a very safe and effective way to let your dog have maximum freedom to play and explore while still keeping it safely within the bounds of your property.

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