Are Electric Dog Fences Safe ?

Electric dog fences are no longer unfamiliar to a majority of dog owners. This system is notorious for its wireless features and high convenience for dog owners as they can remotely control their dogs, and prevent them from disturbing the neighbors.

However, despite of its benefits for dog owners, a common has been raised by the dog owners’ community is: Are electric dog fences safe?

In order to answer this question, let’s go through together why this question was raised initially.

How electric dog fences work…

An electric dog fence basically is a wired fence installed underground that works as a virtual fence, instead of a physical fence, in order to keep dogs within desired boundaries. The transmitter will be installed underground to line out the boundary, and the receiver is the dog’s collar. As the dog gets closer to the boundary line, the system transmits signals to the receiver, triggering the sound and eventually a mild electric shock to stop the dog from passing the lines.


This is where the concern started: as the receiver, the collar, releases an electric shock to the dog, would it be harmful for him? How strong is this shock? Is there any side effects on the dog’s behaviours? These are totally understandable questions, and the short answer is “No, it is not harmful for your dog”. To explain further, we need to look at a deeper analysis of this system’s operation.


Electric dog fences will not hurt your dog or discomfort your dog.

Keep in mind that the ultimate goal is to give him a big-enough surprise your pet at that moment so as to stop him from moving further out of the boundary lines, not to harm him or hurt him in anyway. Therefore, the electric current from the collar is very mild.


Firstly, you have total control over its power. In other words, you can adjust the power of the electric shock to your preference. Every breed is different in size and weight, so it would be unreasonable to have just one power applied to all breeds. Every system comes with an instructions on how to choose the best force for your dog based on the weights and sizes. You can also test various modes to see which one works best on your dog. If you are worried, you can also try holding the collar in your hand and turn on the shock with the lowest force, then go higher to see how each level feels like. If there is a level that irritates you, but does not hurt you, then it can be an appropriate level.


Additionally, the irritating feeling does not linger for a long time. Instead, it goes away right after. Again, the point is to create an conditional habit loop, not to hurt the dog. Therefore, through time, your dog will associate this irritating feeling with going past the boundary lines, and that he eventually understands that this action is discouraged. As a result, your dog will learn to stay within the boundary whenever he receives the signal.


In short, since you totally have the option to adjust the electric force, and the electric signals are already mild, it is unlikely that this system will hurt your dog.


If you are worried about your dog being afraid of going outside, this is not true.


Although it sounds reasonable that such system will make your dog afraid of going anywhere outside and such fear does appear in dogs, it totally depends on your way of training. Before using this system, you must train your dog to get used to it first, and your training method does matter. If you use an appropriate method, your dog will be happy playing within the boundary.

In order to choose the right way to train your dog, it is recommended that you consult a professional or veterinarian to have a better insight.


Once your dog is used to the system, it is apparent that dog fences are doing more good than harm. Think about the days your dogs wander around the neighborhood without your knowing. It is not only a dangerous situation for both your dog and other strangers. Therefore, proper training is needed for your dog to get used to this system, and after that, it is no longer a concern for you as a dog owner.


In summary

Although the word “electric” does not sound like a safe term for anyone, regardless it is a pet or a human, the electric dog fence system is not harmful for dogs. The electric shock is mild and is only enough to alarm your pet, and unable to hurt him. When considering purchasing such system, keep in mind that you have total control over the system in the way that you can always change and adjust the settings to make it best suitable for your dog. Always consult a professional for using instruction and proper training methods. During training sessions, it is essential that you give rewards to praise and encourage your dogs. This helps your dog associate his action with a positive attitude so that next time you train him, he is more well-behaved and picks up your commands faster.


In short, whenever you introduce a new system, or just anything new, to your dog, it is always important to let him get used to it. If your dog is unfamiliarized with it, any system can be harmful to your dog, let alone the electric dog fence. Thus, we hope that this article somehow gives you a better insight into how dog fences work, and whether they are harmful for your dog. Now it is your call to make a decision if such electric dog fence works for your case.