The Invisible Holes of Invisible Fence

Invisible fencing has become very popular, in recent years, as an alternative to hard boundaries.  It’s an alternative for people who have pets who might not be able to put up an actual fence because of renting, housing laws, etc.  It’s also become popular as a use during camping trips as a form of confinement.  Put the collar on, plug it in, and instant fence!
Sounds too good to be true, doesn’t it?  Well, it probably is.

Even the best trained dogs can slip up every now and then.  The flags, if there are flags, are just a visual and can sometimes be ignored.  Think about it, sometimes what’s on the other side of the ‘fence’ is far more interesting than what’s on the right side of the fence.  Out of the excitement the dog may bolt right through the fence line getting a shock and then they’re gone.  The reward of getting to that interesting thing has outweighed the punishment and the dog is now more likely to challenge the fence later.

Now the dog is out, and you call the dog home, or it decides to wonder back into it’s own yard it’s getting punished for reentering the yard it was supposed to stay in.  It’s getting shocked for getting too close to the boundary.  Kind of defeats the purpose of the fence doesn’t it?

photo credit: Sheepdog Trials in California via photopin (license)

Another thing to worry about is batteries.  While they may last a long time who has forgotten their daily battery check? I know I would.  All it would take is one challenge to the fence line and no battery and the dog is gone.  I’ve had the same visitors twice from across town due to bad batteries.

Now, let’s say your dog is staying in it’s own confinement of the invisible fence, it’s only containing the dog, other critters, people etc may come and go as they please.  This means any passing stray can enter your yard and potentially injure your dog, or worse.  A physical fence can protect your pooch.

Sadly the invisible fence was a culprit in a dog losing it’s home that I know.  It was supposed to allow this large breed dog outside access that he needed when an actual fence wasn’t an option.  His barrier punishment reached the end of a sort of drop off that went down to the road below.  Normally, that barrier line was respected however on this given day a runner passed by and the dog began to run towards the runner.  When he made it to the edge of the barrier, he slipped and fell down the short drop off to the road and received the correction close enough in proximity to the runner that he associated the electric shock punishment as being given by the runner and thus fought back with a bite to defend himself.

This was a dog that had never known a stranger, always greeted everyone, and when he’d bark at passerby’s he just wanted to say ‘hi’.

Sadly, this runner was a cop, because of who he bit — mind you it was an effort to protect himself from who he thought was harming him — he was given the option to rehome outside the county (through a rescue) or be destroyed.

This was a very sad outcome for a dog who didn’t deserve it.  He didn’t do anything wrong, he was only trying to defend himself from the pain.

Please rethink an invisible fence, sometimes a chain used for a short amount of time to potty and supplementing with long walks can make a big difference.  At least closely supervise when in an invisible fence to prevent an avoidable accident.

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