Not everyone can install a traditional fence due to housing or financial restrictions. Some properties span several acres, making fencing impossible.
Underground fences seem like a magical solution to all of your dog’s problems. Sure, your dog will get shocked if they cross your property boundary, but what’s a brief shock when it comes to keeping your dog from getting hit by a car?
As it turns out, these pet containment systems aren’t as effective as the manufacturers would have you believe, and the side effects can be life-threatening.
Underground Fences Don’t Protect Your Dog from Danger
Other dogs, foxes, coyotes and other loose animals can cross the barrier and injure or even kill your dog.
Anyone could easily walk into your property and hurt or steal your dog. You may also be held liable if your dog bites someone, even if they’re trespassing in your yard.
Like any electronic device, shock collars can fail. They run out of battery, can misfire, shocking your dog even when they haven’t tried to escape.
Are Underground Fences Painful… Or Not?
Sellers of invisible fences claim that the induced shock is not painful to the dog. Marketing materials describe the shock as a “tap,” or “stimulation.”
Shock collar systems do vary in intensity and most are adjustable. The question is, how does a light “tap” convince a running dog to stop in their tracks? Dogs can – and often do – run right through the boundary.
A more powerful, painful shock isn’t just inhumane; it can have lasting effects on your dog’s well-being.
The Effects of Shock Collar Training on Temperament
The truth is, nobody knows what effect a shock collar will have on a dog until they try it. Some dogs go their whole lives without incident with electronic containment systems. Underground fence marketers will have you believe that this is always the case.
Dogs can develop generalized anxiety as a result of just one shock. Many become afraid to go outdoors, and have accidents indoors as a result.
A painful shock can also lead to redirected aggression. When a dog feels pain, and they’re unable to defend themselves against the source, they tend to fixate on the nearest person or animal. If your dog is shocked while they’re running across the boundary to greet a child, they can learn to associate the child with pain.
Dogs with no previous history of aggression have been involved in serious attacks as a direct result of pet containment systems. Deliverymen, postal workers, visitors, strangers and children are all at risk, even if they’re beyond the boundary line.
How to Keep Your Dog in Your Yard
No training is 100% reliable. You can work on boundary training to teach your dog not to cross your property, but this takes months, and does not always dissuade your dog from running off.
Traditional fencing is expensive, but it’s the most effective way to keep your dog safe. The visual barrier also makes other dogs, wild animals and passersby less tempting to your dog.
A 30 to 50 foot long line, or a few leashes hooked together, will give your dog plenty of freedom while you work on their training.
You can also tether your dog for short periods of time. A tether should only be used with a harness, and only while you are home.
If you cannot fence your entire property, you can create a dog run where your dog can exercise freely. A few yards of fencing, possibly with some concrete to prevent digging, are all you need.
Don’t Leave Your Dog Unattended Outdoors
It’s tough when your dog has accidents, destroys your belongings or otherwise gets into mischief when you are not home. But leaving your dog outside is not the solution.
Dogs who are left alone outside are at risk for even more severe behavioral issues. No matter how they are contained, they can develop barrier frustration, barking and lunging at anyone or anything that walks by.
Hiring a dog walker gives your dog the relief and exercise they need during your workday. At-home pet sitting services are the best way to make sure your dog gets attention and care when you’re on vacation.
Ready Pet Go provides professional, bonded and insured pet care services in Silver Spring and Takoma Park, Maryland and Washington, DC. Contact us to learn more.