Electronic Dog Fence - The Pros and Cons
An electronic dog fence is not necessarily a panacea for the problem of the wandering dog or a substitute for teaching your dog to come on command and other training, but if used correctly it can be the right tool for reinforcing and reminding a dog where the boundaries are.
What is an electronic dog containment fence and how does it work? It is a management device or system used to contain and control a dog who is easily lured from his own yard by passing dogs, people, cars, etc. These systems consist of an underground wire buried a few inches deep and running around the periphery of the property. The dog wears a collar that receives a signal from the wire if approached too closely and delivers a mild shock, vibration, sound, or disagreeable spray which ideally conditions the dog to avoid getting too near the boundary.
So what are the negatives of using an electronic collar/fence dog containment system?
First of all electronic dog fences can be quite costly.
When used as an alternative for hands-on dog training, positive results may be limited.
If the dog does not immediately understand the cause and effect relationship of receiving a negative stimulus as he approaches the boundary, the use of additional negative reinforcement such as a firm NO or a quick jerk on a long lead may be necessary until it is clear that he understands.
Aggressive, highly excitable, or slow-to-learn dogs may be so intent on chasing after a squirrel or another dog that they bolt right through the shock zone, and, once on the other side and possibly trying to return home are reluctant to cross back over the boundary. There is also the possibility of another dog entering and attacking your dog.
There is the remote chance that an electronic underground dog fence could be struck by lightening and shorted out so it's important to test the system after a passing storm. There is also the possibility that haphazard digging could cut the wire and disrupt the system.
Some believe that an electric shock is inhumane form of negative reinforcement, but this has to be weighed against the possibility of real harm or possibly death if a dog is hit by a car or gets into some other form of trouble.
Some of the positive reasons to use an electronic dog fence include the fact that there are city zoning laws and development association rules in some areas which prohibit the construction of typical fences. An underground electronic dog containment fence may be the only alternative that will allow your dog the freedom to romp in the yard, clearly very important to his health and mental well being. This is especially true if there are no local dog parks or other areas where he can be exercised.
Installation of an electronic dog fence can encompass a much larger area at considerably less cost then a regular above ground fence. In fact some systems are designed to contain up to 25 acres. A regular fence would have to be quite substantial and high enough to contain the larger breeds, and there is always the possibility of a dog digging underneath it to escape.
If used in conjunction with regular dog obedience training and common sense, and considering your dog's personality, demeanor, and your local circumstances, an electronic dog fence may be the right choice for you.
For more information on this subject go to Electronic Dog Fence.