Many people think an invisible underground wireless electric fence is the best way to keep their dog in their yard. However, they are simply not as effective as you might think. Statistics suggest that invisible wireless electric fences are only about 70% effective.

Dr. Ivana Crnec, DVM, highlights that while invisible fences can work for small or low-energy dogs, they are often less effective for high-energy or prey-driven dogs [SafeWise] [Pet Lover Guy]. Moreover, these fences do not provide a physical barrier, leaving your dog vulnerable to other animals entering your yard, which can be particularly concerning in areas with wildlife such as coyotes [PetMD].

What is an Invisible Dog Fence?

An invisible dog fence, also known as a wireless dog fence, is a system designed to keep a dog within a predefined boundary without the need for a physical barrier. It works by using a wireless signal or radio frequency to create a virtual perimeter.

invisible dog fences

How Does an Invisible Dog Fence Typically Work?

  1. Transmitter Unit: The system includes a central transmitter unit, which emits a radio signal. This transmitter is usually placed inside the home.
  2. Boundary Area: The signal forms a circular boundary around the transmitter. The size of this boundary can often be adjusted to suit the size of your property.
  3. Collar Receiver: The dog wears a special collar that receives the signal from the transmitter. As the dog approaches the boundary, the collar will detect the signal.
  4. Warning and Correction: If the dog gets too close to the boundary, the collar emits a warning sound. If the dog continues to move closer or tries to cross the boundary, the collar delivers a mild electric shock or other type of correction, such as vibration.
  5. Training: Training is essential for the dog to understand the boundaries and the warnings given by the collar.

Advantages of a wireless dog fence include its flexibility, ease of installation, and the fact that it does not obstruct views or require physical maintenance like a traditional fence. However, it requires consistent training to be effective, and some argue that the use of electric shock can be inhumane or stressful for the dog. Additionally, it does not prevent other animals or people from entering your property like a traditional fence.

Do Invisible Dog Fences Work?

Here’s why using an invisible underground electric fence for dogs is not a good idea:

  • While an electric fence may look invisible, its damaging effects are very visible and generally increase harmful behavior over time. Dogs can become fearful or even aggressive because they are being hurt. This might make it harder for you to take your dog outside of your home at all, and can even cause dogs to bark or bite strangers because they simply don’t know who or what is harming them [PetMD].
  • Dogs can feel like they are being punished (by the shock) when they run and greet someone who is past the boundary line. That new association can lead them to believe that everything should be feared and nothing is safe. This new fear can easily turn into aggression.

  • Invisible wireless electric fences do not stop other animals from coming onto your property. If you live in an area where coyotes are common, you can endanger your dog, because essentially your dog becomes a sitting duck. Invisible fences allow other animals to freely enter your property while your dog is restricted [Rover].
  • Many invisible wireless electric fences do not include a transmitter that includes lightning protection, which means in inclement weather your electric fence might not work.
  • Some of the DIY invisible wireless electric fence kits do not use wire that is rated for outdoor use and will simply short out after a few months.
  • Invisible underground electric fences require a long training process. If you just install an invisible dog fence, slap the shock collar (receiver) on your dog, and then stick him in the yard to figure it out on his own – at best you’ll confuse your dog and at worst you’ll frighten him. If you want to create an area where your dog can run free without having to spend the $1,000 training fee that most invisible fence companies charge, get a non-electric dog fence kit. Because it’s a real physical barrier, no training is required.
  • At low levels, the shock is too weak to stop your dog from leaving your yard to investigate nearby wildlife or another dog, and at high levels, the dog may become scared or aggressive [PetMD].
  • If your dog is younger than 6 months old most veterinarians will tell you to wait before you can install an invisible wireless electric fence, which means your pup cannot run free and play. With a non-electric dog fence kit, you do not have any age restrictions.

You might think at Pet Playgrounds, we’re biased, but you don’t have to take our word for it. According to Victoria Stilwell of Animal Planet’s It’s Me or the Dog: “Dogs contained behind electric fences tend to become more reactive and in some cases more aggressive toward strangers and even family members because of anxiety and frustration. Recent studies show that dogs without previous aggression problems are more prone to attack family members when the systems are activated. Only a proper fence will keep people or other animals out of the yard and offer more protection. It is a much safer and more humane and effective containment option than an electric fence will ever be.”

So there you have it. Invisible fences are not the best way to contain your dog. Interested in why so many dog parents have chosen our unique dog fence? Find out why in the video below.

What do you think about wireless, invisible dog fences? Use the comment section below where many have described their experiences. Join in on the conversation. Ask about our dog fence or build your dog fence kit here.