One question that many dog owners agonise over (and spend a lot of money trying to answer) is: “How do I keep my dog in my yard?”
From the wily terrier to the athletic hound, our beloved pets seem to have a bottomless supply of energy to expend when trying to escape. It can be a constant source of worry for a dog owner. What if my pet gets into traffic? Gets lost? Starts running after a deer and ends up five miles away?
We’ve got a lot of experience in this field, and think that the electronic dog fence is an effective solution to this problem.
WHAT IS AN ELECTRONIC DOG FENCE? HOW DOES IT WORK?
When you hear the phrase ‘electronic fence’, you may immediately think of the ugly barriers erected around some livestock fields. Thankfully, these eyesores are nowhere near the reality for dog containment. An electronic dog fence is largely invisible – and that’s the case no matter what variant you choose.
All electronic dog fences work by realising when the dog is approaching the boundary. It corrects this by first making a bleeping noise, and then giving your pet a mild electric shock, delivered through a lightweight collar.
Some models work by means of burying a wire underground. Some work via radio transmitter, giving your dog an allowed radius in which to roam. Some even work via GPS systems! All of these methods can be adjusted so that you can accurately keep your dog within the boundaries you choose. The type that is best for you will depend on the size and shape of your yard, your budget and your dog.
If you are unsure which kind of electronic fence is best for you and your dog, please email us and we will help you choose.
Generally, the ‘control center’ for these devices are kept somewhere central but discreet – a garage or a basement. The control unit will run off mains electricity, whilst the collar will use battery power.
Depending on the type of dog, you can adjust the level of electric shock. This is very easily done. We stress that these shocks are very mild – you will not be hurting your pet, merely startling it. Your device will come with recommended levels for different sizes of dog.
If you want to take your dog for a walk away from your land, simply remove the collar and replace it with a normal one.
Electronic fences are suitable for almost all breeds of dog. The only exceptions are extremely small toy breeds – your dog should weigh over 2.5lb so that it can comfortably wear the collar.
It is simple to train your dog to work with an electronic fence. The supplier of your system should help you with the basics of training – but a dog will rarely ‘challenge’ the boundaries more than a couple of times. Be sure to heap praise upon your pet when he respects the line!
You could easily pay $1,500 to have a high privacy fence installed around a typical 1/4-acre back yard. An invisible, electronic dog fence will cost you much less – even if installed by a professional.
• Early training
You can start using your fence from when your dog is only eight weeks old. As you know, training a dog early in its life can prevent all kinds of problems with behaviour – and getting your pet used to this method of containment early on can be a huge advantage.
• Easy training
On the flip side, your dog doesn’t HAVE to be young to be trained in this manner. Nor does it have to be an easily trained breed. An electronic fence is effective in its simplicity – the dog learns very easily and quickly that it shouldn’t stray outside your determined boundaries.
Traditional fencing, at least when it’s tall enough to keep a dog contained, can cause conflict with neighbors and block sunlight from nourishing your yard. Invisible electronic fences don’t have that problem.
On the other hand, if you want to keep your existing fence, an electronic fence is very simple to use alongside it.
• Easy to maintain
An electronic fence has the advantage of not needing painting, cleaning or (except in the most unlikely circumstances) repairing after bad weather.
This is the most important advantage! No matter what kind of ‘ordinary’ fence you put up, your dog will probably try to find a way to scale it. We’ve known elderly, poor-sighted spaniels manage to work the latch on a gate. An electronic fence is guaranteed to keep your dog in the yard. Whilst a particularly clever dog will take a normal fence as a challenge, he will learn quickly that the electronic fence is not to be trifled with.
IS IT SAFE?
Yes, absolutely. As we mentioned at the beginning of this article, the electric shocks that your dog will experience are extremely mild, and pose no threat (nor any major discomfort) to the animal. Most veterinarians – and the ASPCA – agree. The point of the collar is to simply startle your dog, not to hurt it. These are not cruel devices.
As the shocks are administered through your dog’s collar, the fence also poses no danger or discomfort to yourself or your family.
However, as with ALL changes in training, you should be sure to keep your dog under extra close supervision when you first introduce the electronic dog fence.