Is a Dog Fence For You

Benefits of a Dog Fence

The benefits of a dog fence are:

  • Aesthetic  – for most people the biggest benefit of an electric dog fence is that it is invisible.  You can still have an open yard while keeping your dog securely contained.  This is particularly useful where zoning guidelines prohibit fences in your front yard.
  • Containment – a dog fence that has been properly installed and more importantly, where the dog has been properly trained is better at containing a dog than a traditional fence.  The dog cannot jump over, tunnel under or chew their way through the fence, and nobody can accidentally leave the gate open.
  • Price – an electric dog fence will be much more affordable than even the cheapest physical fence.  You can get a top-of the line dog fence (like the Innotek Ultrasmart) for a total cost of around $300 and a weekend’s work.  A physical fence is going to cost in the $1,000s and take a lot longer.

Disadvantages of a Dog Fence

But, a dog fence is not the right choice for everyone.  For the dog fence to work you will need the following:

  • Training – unlike a physical fence an electronic dog fence will not work without training your dog. Your dog needs to be trained to “turn and retreat” when they hear the warning beep. Without the training a dog does not know how to respond to the correction and may freeze in place or try to run through the fence to avoid the correction. The dog fence training takes about 15 minutes twice a day for two weeks.
  • Minimum Yard Size - for your dog to have a reasonable area to play, the smallest dimension of your yard should be at least fifteen feet.   DIY Dog Fence systems work in yards of up to 100 acres.
  • Power Source – your yard should be near a power outlet.  It is okay if the power outlet is indoors.

Who Should Not Use a Dog Fence

You should not install a Dog Fence if the following apply:

  • Aggressive Dogs - dogs that are aggressive with strangers should not be trusted on only an electronic dog fence.  There is not only the problem of your dog escaping but the problem of visitors entering your property and getting bitten.  Instead consider getting a combination of both a physical fence as well as an electronic fence to make certain your dog is securely contained.  Also note that these stronger will dogs should use a system designed for stubborn dogs.  (e.g. PetSafe Stubborn Dog Fence)
  • Pregnant or Infirm Dogs - you should not start training a dog on the use of a dog fence in the later stages of pregnancy or if the dog is infirm.  Wait till your dog is back to normal before introducing them to the fence.  Puppies should be 6 months old before you start training.  Small dog (under 10 lbs) should only be trained on a system suitable for small dogs (e.g. PetSafe Little Dog Fence)
  • Infirm Owners - some owners just cannot bare the thought of imposing any type of discipline or boundaries on their dogs.  (If your dog thinks the couch belongs to it, this probably applies to you!)  The fence will not work by itself, you will need to commit to training the dog for two weeks, three fifteen minute sessions a day.  Without the training the system is useless.  Be honest with yourself, if you can’t commit to the training, save you money and buy “doggie steps” so that your dog doesn’t get hurt while climbing onto your couch.

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