Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Invisible Fences Suck!

I apologize for focusing this blog post on my dislike of invisible fences, but I feel it is necessary after recent events.  If any readers use invisible fences, please understand that this is my opinion.
Luna cuddling with her penguin toy.
Invisible fences suck!  They use punishment techniques to train the dog, do not guarantee the dog is securely contained, and provide a false sense of security to the owner.  If a dog is determined to get out of the yard, they're going to do.  Some dogs might get spooked enough to escape or may see something on the other side of the line that is worth getting a small shock.
Luna after she received her stitches.
The following are just a few experiences I've encountered in regards to the effectiveness of invisible fences.

Loose Lab
When I was a kid, I remember coming across a young Labrador Retriever loose on the street.  He was very friendly so I caught him easily and was relieved to see he still had his collar and tags on.  When I tried to return him to his house, the dog would not cross the yard because he still wore the shock collar and would have received a shock if he got too close.  I ended up sending a friend to the door to get the owner.  Apparently, something had inspired the dog to cross the line and he learned to keep away from the yard or else he would get shocked.
Lab wearing his invisible fence collar.
One of my neighbors growing up had a German Shepherd that lived to escape their yard and attack neighboring dogs, kids, and sometimes adults.  The family tried everything to contain the dog including adding the invisible fence to the already six foot high solid wood fence.  No improvement.  The dog was determined to get out and she did so without regard to the shock she received.
Collar that the dog wears which delivers the shock.
Another neighbor I had growing up decided an invisible fence was the best option to get her hyper Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier to stay on the property.  Unfortunately, Kirby experienced a shock so severe when he ran through the fence that he was terrified to walk across the yard.  The family ended up removing the fence and carrying him across the yard for months before he got over his fear.
Flags show where the boundaries are and indicate that the dog is in training.
I've been working with a family friend's dog for the last few months who has a history of bolting out any open door and taking off.  Despite my insistence that an invisible fence would not help at keeping the dog from running off, they decided to invest in the fence to act as a "last line of defense".  It didn't work.  One day, Sadie escaped through the front door and took off down the street at full speed without even recognizing the quick shock.  Luckily, she was caught before anything bad happened, but she did make it well into town, into a restaurant, and into several back yards before she finally stopped to greet another dog.

I'm not a fan of invisible fences and do not recommend their use to anyone.  These fences do not guarantee to protect and contain even the friendliest dogs that respect their boundaries.  The environment is unpredictable, so why depend on something so unreliable to keep your dog safe?  If you are interested in reading more about why invisible fences don't work check out this article.


What Remains Now said...

I'm glad we have a regular fence. It was in place before we even considered a dog. I hope Luna continues to do well.

Sue said...

Don't think they are as common over here. I'd certainly not have one.

Auntie M said...

I totally agree with you. However I did try the invisible fence in addition to my post and rail to try to keep my girl in. She didn't start escaping until I had her a year. And I really didn't want to give her up. But it didn't stop her from sailing over my fence and she ended up rehomed (before she got herself killed).

I hope Luna continues to improve.

gyeong said...

I can't imagine a scenario where an invisible fence would work for me. It wouldn't keep my guys in, and sure does nothing to keep other dogs or animals out. We still get people who apply to adopt a greyhound through our group, then get huffy that we turn them down b/c they only have an invisible fence.