Everyone says that you need to get a fence to keep your dog in the yard. Unfortunately, a physical fence isn’t the best option for a lot of people. Maybe you live in an area that prohibits tall fences or simply don’t have enough room in your front yard. Others don’t want to deface their yards with an unattractive fence. Some guardians tie their dogs to a leash, but you want to give your dog room to run around and play. How can you give your dog free range without letting them run out into the road?
A wireless fence might be the solution that you’re looking for. Also known as an “invisible fence” and “electric fence,” a wireless fence keeps your dog within the boundaries of your yard without a physical fence. Whenever your dog gets too close to the boundaries, their collar gives them a mild shock. Over time, your dog learns to stay within the confines of the yard, keeping them safe from the dangers in your neighborhood.
Some people assume that installing an invisible fence is as simple as slapping a collar on their dog and letting the electric shocks do the work – and installation really can be that simple if you choose a GPS dog fence. However, if you want your dog to be safely and effectively contained by the fence, you’ll need to incorporate a training regimen into your routine. Otherwise, your dog might not understand why their collar gives them a mild shock. This might encourage them to keep pushing the boundaries–or worse, make them afraid to enter the yard at all.
Luckily, you can use a simple process in training your dog to stay within the confines of your yard. These programs work with just about any electric fence on the market. Before you start, here’s a guide to introducing an invisible fence into your dog’s active lifestyle.
How Do You Train Your Dog to Use a Wireless Fence?
Not every dog responds to the same training methods, so you can experiment with a few methods to see which one works for you. Here are a few ways you could train your dog to use a wireless fence.
This is one of the easiest ways to train your dog to use a wireless fence. After you install the fence and mark the boundaries with flags, take your dog outside to play. When they approach the invisible fence, tell them to come back and reward them if they return. Otherwise, let your dog experience mild shock when they try to cross the fence. Over time, your dog will learn where the fence is located and avoid that area.
Your dog’s collar should give them an audible warning before they cross the fence. When you install the fence, take your dog out for a walk near the fence boundaries. Call your dog every time they get too close and the warning goes off. If your dog listens to you, reward them with a treat or attention. Otherwise, let them get the mild shock. As your dog learns to stay away from the fence, create distractions on the other side. Continue the training until your dog learns to ignore the distractions and step away when they hear the signal.
Signal and Response
Adjust the collar so that it gives your dog an audio warning without the mild shock. Take your dog for a walk near the perimeter, then move them away from the fence every time the signal goes off. Reward your dog each time. As they learn to stay away from the perimeter, turn the collar to the static correction or the corrective shock setting. Eventually, your dog will learn not to cross the boundary without needing you to correct them. Give your dog a treat every time they step away from the wireless fence.
Are Wireless Fences as Effective as Regular Fences?
At first glance, it might seem hard to believe that an invisible fence could be just as effective as a “real” fence. What’s stopping your dog from bolting over the fence and taking off? You can’t physically stop your dog from barking, but you could train them not to bark in front of strangers. Invisible fences operate on the same principle. When you effectively train your dog, they won’t even think about crossing the invisible fence.
Additionally, invisible fences have physical barriers just like “real” fences. When your dog crosses the perimeter, they get a mild shock. Most collars have settings so you can adjust the intensity of the stimuli. This shock doesn’t hurt your dog, but it teaches them not to cross the invisible fence. As a result, your dog will learn to avoid the perimeter even when you’re not watching them. This keeps your dog safe from the potential hazards outside your yard.
What if Your Dog Still Crosses the Fence?
In extreme situations, your dog might decide that they’re willing to tolerate the shock and keep crossing the fence anyway. This doesn’t mean that you have to give up and keep your dog indoors. Instead, you could hire a professional trainer to teach your dog to stay inside the yard. You’re not a bad trainer–some dogs just need more structure and correction than others. A professional trainer could teach your dog to be safe and give you advice during the process.
Do You Really Need a Wireless Fence?
If you have to train your dog to avoid the perimeter, you might wonder if you could skip the fence altogether and just train your dog to stay inside the yard. However, you never know when your dog might bolt out of the yard to catch a squirrel or greet someone jogging in the road. Even the most well-trained dogs need physical stimuli sometimes, especially if they get distracted.
An electric fence gives you the perfect opportunity to train your dog, but it also comes with a physical backup to reinforce the training. Without it, there’s nothing physically preventing your dog from taking off. If your dog wanders off, it could get kidnapped, hit by a car, or attacked by a wild animal. Many owners have never seen their dogs again because they let them run around outside without a barrier.
How Do Wireless Fences Work?
When you buy a wireless fence, you’ll install a wire underground that surrounds the perimeter of your yard. Each fence comes with a “shock collar” for your dog. Every time your dog approaches the perimeter, the fence transmits a signal to the color. The collar might sound like a warning if your dog hasn’t crossed the fence yet. If your dog steps over the fence, the collar might give them a light shock. For this reason, you’ll need to make sure that your dog wears the shock collar when they go outside–a regular collar won’t work.
Do Invisible Fences Harm Your Dog?
Understandably, many pet owners worry about the effect that the corrective shocks might have on their dogs. Fortunately, electric fences are completely harmless. They send mild shocks that get your dog’s attention without injuring them or causing long-term damage. The shocks are too low to start fires, cause burns or electrocute your dog. Even if your dog crosses the perimeter a hundred times, they won’t electrocute themselves. Plus, your dog will stay away from the perimeter once you’ve trained them to stay inside the yard.
Your dog might experience behavioral issues if you throw them outside with the electric fence without training them first. For this reason, it’s important to train them so they understand that they shouldn’t cause the perimeter. You can’t exactly tell your dog about the perimeter, but they’ll understand that there’s some kind of barrier. Otherwise, your dog might think that the whole yard is wired and become afraid to play outside.
Who Could Use an Invisible Fence?
Virtually any guardian could use an invisible fence. However, here’s a few people who might need an electric fence in particular:
- People who live in areas with strict rules that don’t allow dog-proof fences
- People who live on several acres of land who don’t have the time or money to build a large fence around their property
- People who don’t want to deface their yard with an unsightly fence
- People who have small yards that don’t have room for a large fence
- People who worry that their dog will try to escape without physical stimuli
- People who live near highways, streets, and other high-traffic areas
Do You Need to Set the Dog’s Collar to the Highest Setting?
Some people assume that they need to set their dog’s collar to the most intense shock before they begin. However, many dogs respond to the lowest setting. In fact, some dogs respond to the audible alarm–no shock required. Once you train your dog to avoid the perimeter, you might be able to set their collar to the alarm setting and forget about the shock altogether. As you train your dog, you’ll figure out which stimulus gets their attention.
Why Are Some Perimeters Surrounded by Flags?
You might want to use flags to mark the perimeter when you first install the fence. This serves as a visual reminder for you and your dog. When your dog sees the flags, they’ll start to learn that there’s some kind of barrier in this region. Plus, the flags make it easier for you to remember exactly where you buried the wire. Eventually, you can remove the flags if you want your yard to look spotless.
Quick Tips for Using an Electric Fence
Here are a few things to keep in mind when you start using your wireless fence:
- The fence doesn’t work without the shock collar, so don’t send your dog outside with a regular collar.
- An electric fence doesn’t prevent other animals or people from entering your yard.
- You don’t have to turn up the collar to the highest setting to get it to work.
- Plant flags as a visual reminder for you and your dog.
- Remember that you have to train your dog–you can’t just set up the fence and let them figure it out on their own.
- Different breeds might need different stimulus levels.
Overall, a wireless fence is a handy tool that helps your dog stay safe while they enjoy the great outdoors. They’re invisible–literally–so you won’t have to clutter your yard with a large fence. They don’t keep other animals and people from entering your yard, but they prevent your dog from getting out. Invest in a wireless fence today if you’re worried that your dog doesn’t spend enough time outdoors.
Frequently Asked Questions
How long does it take to train a dog to use an invisible fence?
Ultimately, it depends on how fast it takes your dog to pick up on new skills. Some dogs only need a week or two while others might need a month to learn the perimeter. Be patient, and give your dog plenty of reinforcement.
Do wireless dog fences really work?
Wireless fences are even more effective than regular fences. When your dog crosses the perimeter, they receive a mild shock. It’s not enough to harm them, but it reminds them not to cross the perimeter again. Conversely, if you have a regular fence in your yard, your dog sees no reason not to dig underneath the fence or try to jump over it. You could train them not to do that, but they might try to escape when you’re not looking.
How do I keep my dog from running through the invisible fence?
With a combination of training and corrective stimuli, your dog will learn not to run through the invisible fence. Your dog will associate crossing the fence with mild shocks and a negative reaction from their guardian. You can’t physically prevent them from crossing the fence, but they’ll learn not to do it on their own.