Is Invisible Fence Collar Safe for Dogs? All you need to know
Invisible fences are becoming increasingly popular among pet parents. But is invisible fence collar safe for dogs? We discuss the answer here.
Every loving pooch parent wants to provide their pet with a safe environment at home. A place where their fur friend can run, play, and basically enjoy their freedom without feeling confined. This is where invisible dog fences prove to be of immense help. They allow you to set up a containment area without having to dig up your entire yard for placing fence posts. Invisible fences are becoming increasingly popular among dog owners worried about their pet’s protection. But how reliable are these fences in keeping your canine companion within the desired area? What is their working mechanism? More importantly, is invisible dog fence collar safe for dogs?
It’s worth noting that despite their growing popularity, invisible fences tend to be a hot-button issue for many pet owners. We will discuss the reasons behind that in a while. But in order to understand the safety concerns related to invisible fences, you need to first understand how these systems work.
So, let’s take a look.
Invisible Dog Fence: How Does It Work?
An invisible dog fence is a type of an underground or a wireless containment system for dogs. It typically consists of an underground wire that you install around your home or yard. The wire emits a signal that is picked up by the sensors in the special collar that comes with the package.
When your dog is wearing the collar and get too close to the boundary, the collar generates an alert signal to ‘tell’ them to change their tracks. Depending on the fence you are using, this warning message can be an audio alert or a short buzz (vibration). If you pet continues onward and crosses the line any way, the collar produces a stimulation. That is, a mild electric shock to ‘remind’ your dog to go back.
Invisible fences usually require initial training and a few failed attempts. After receiving static correction a couple of times, dogs generally learn not to go beyond a certain line.
Invisible fences are available in a wide range of options to suit different users and their pets. The completely wire-free versions cover a circular area of specific diameter using a central unit, which is usually placed inside the house. The central unit transmits radio frequencies to ensure connectivity with the collar worn by your pet. Any time your dog wanders past the maximum range of the transmitter, the connection breaks. Consequently, the collar generates a static correction to enforce the idea of staying within the specified boundary.
As you can see, be it wired or wireless, an invisible fence works using electric currents for training purposes. Thus, the question arises:
Is Invisible Fence Collar Safe for Dogs?
While the idea of shocking a dog to keep them from going beyond a certain boundary might sound cruel, invisible fences are far from a tool for punishment.
They are designed with your pet’s safety in mind, meaning the static correction will not harm them. The amount of electric discharge is specially set to not present any health hazards to dogs. It only produces minor discomfort to catch their attention.
Several dog owners have been using invisible fences to prevent their pets from wandering off. And the majority of them attest to the effectiveness and safety of these products.
The key is to buy from a trusted company and check user reviews before purchasing an invisible fence for your pooch. Additionally, you must carefully read the manufacturer’s instructions and make sure you follow them to a T.
While these fences are generally safe to use for dogs, you should consult with a certified trainer or your vet first.
Many trainers and even manufacturers themselves discourage using an invisible fence collar for dogs with high prey drive or any known aggression issues. This is because the stimulation can trigger hostility rather than the desired response.
To ensure your pet’s wellbeing while wearing an invisible fence collar, remember the following things:
Size and Weight
Given their working principle, invisible fences may not be suitable for dogs that are under or overweight. Carefully read the user manual and check your pet’s weight to determine which stimulation setting will be right for them. Moreover, you should check their neck size to ensure the collar fits comfortably.
For safety purposes, it’s best to start with the lowest stimulation level. If your dog does not pick up on the warning signal, turn it up a notch in increments but never switch to the highest setting directly.
Your Dog’s Response
When teaching your pet to stay within the invisible fence, you must monitor their response very closely. Watch out for any signs of distress or unwanted side effects of the static correction. As mentioned earlier, these collars only generate a mild shock to alert the dog. If it seems like your dog is experiencing sharp or intense pain even on the lowest setting, you should discontinue use.
The electric collars that come with invisible fences are different from your average dog collar. It’s a good idea to reposition an invisible fence collar about every two to three hours. This helps prevent skin rash and sores. Similarly, it’s every owner’s responsibility to regularly check your dog for any signs of skin problem or irritation on the contact area. In case of redness or skin sores, take the collar off until and avoid use until the skin heals completely.
Is invisible fence collar safe for dogs?
Given that you buy from a reliable brand and follow the comply with the manufacturer’s instructions, invisible fences are usually safe for dogs. However, it’s a good practice to seek a vet’s advice, especially for using the containment systems for pregnant, sick, or senior dogs.
Many owners prefer using invisible fences as a temporary training tool. So, once your dog learns to stay within the set boundary, you can take the collar off and restart use whenever reinforcement is required.
You may find the following articles helpful:
Discover how to create a joyful, healthy home for your pet.
Subscribe to your weekly rundown of practice, real life ideas and training tips straight to your inbox.