Many dog owners would like to allow their pets to be able to roam free across their yards but face a dilemma of having to erect fences that may be unsightly, block views, or cost too much for one's budget. Others would like their pets to have full range inside their homes, except for particular areas or objects, such as expensive pieces of furniture, pool, or parts of the kitchen.
In these cases, "invisible" dog fences offer an affordable alternative for pet containment without having to erect actual fences.
How an Invisible Dog Fence Works
These are not actual fences, but rather electronic systems that include special collars with receivers fitted for dogs.
Wired Dog Fence
In a wired solution, the wire is buried underground; when the dog approaches the location of the wire, a dog's collar receives the transmission unit's signal and emits a sound at a pitch audible only by some animals. As the sound is unpleasant for the dog, it learns not to approach the wire. The wire thus delimits the territory for the dog to roam. For example, burying the wire along the property line defines the property as the territorial extent for the dog.
Wireless Dog Fence
Another approach includes a wireless transmitter which interacts with the dog's collar. In contrast to defining areas prohibited for the pet, this type of transmitter defines the area in which it can roam. While the pet stays within the area of the transmission, the collar stays deactivated. If the pet strays near the confines of the containment area, the collar loses the signal and immediately emits a tone to warn the pet to return and then if it does not return, the collar delivers a static electrical charge.
The transmitter sends a signal with a diameter that ranges from as little as thirty to as much as one hundred eighty feet. The area may be increased by adding additional transmitters which address partially overlapping signal areas.
Like the wired approach, another wireless approach used indoors warns a pet not to approach a certain area. The transmitter, which usually measures about five square inches, may be placed under or behind a piece of furniture, planter, or mounted on a wall. Like the other wireless approaches, the signal area may be adjusted to fit the area needed.
Common Concerns Associated with an Electric Dog Fence
One of the most common questions potential customers raise about these systems concerns their effect on the animal. Despite the apparent danger delivered by a shock, the electricity level is set at a level that does not harm the animal. Some pet owners may also express apprehension at the high-pitched sounds emitted by the transmitters, but they too do not harm the animal; they are simply unpleasant.
You may allay your fears more concretely by checking to see that the company supplying your system is approved or certified by organizations such as the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals; product-rating sources, such as Consumers Digest; or the Veterinary Association. You may also ask your veterinarian for a referral. In addition, ask the supplier about their guarantees and warranties.
You should ensure that your system can operate both indoors and outdoors. In most cases, the wireless approach would be the most suitable for both indoor and outdoor usage. As the transmission frequency is set so that only the animal's collar can receive it, these devices should not interfere with other electronic devices, such as televisions and radios. Check with your supplier to make sure that their transmitters do not cause such interference.
Requirements for Using Invisible Dog Fences
Some suppliers will send a sales agent to your home to evaluate your particular situation, including your property and the disposition of your pet. The sales agent will then make a recommendation for a system fit to your particular needs and may establish a training course for your dog. This course usually lasts from three to four weeks, with fifteen-minute sessions.
You may be able to train the dog yourself using company-supplied flags which define the boundaries of the pet's permitted territory, in conjunction with the operation of the collar. Under the collar's influence, the pet begins to recognize the flags as its territorial limits. Suppliers' equipment may be suitable for only certain types of pets. For example, some suppliers indicate that their collars do not fit dogs under weights.
For the wireless approach, thick fur may interfere with the collar's signal. Some companies also stipulate that dogs under a certain age, such as six months, will not adapt to the training.