how do electric dog fences work

How Do Electric Dog Fences Work?

An electric dog fence is the best way to keep your dog on your property without building a physical fence. Many homeowners prefer having an open yard without worrying about dogs wandering free.

How Does it Work?

An electric dog fence has two parts. The first is a cable or a wire buried under the ground, marking the perimeter, and the second is a pet collar with a built-in receiver. The fence uses a digital radio frequency to operate the system. The control panel is responsible for broadcasting the signal, which travels along the cable or underground wire. The signal field is then created on the sides of the cable, creating a perimeter or boundary.

The underground wire will transmit a signal when the dog comes close to the perimeter. You will hear a beep, and a mild electric shock is applied to the collar. While it sounds dangerous, this will not harm your pooch at all.

Homeowners interested in purchasing an electric dog fence do not only get the paraphernalia required to operate it. Some of the better providers of these fences also offer dog training during the installation process. Your pet will be introduced to the process to condition it to respect the property’s boundaries. This way, your dog is already aware of where it should not go after the electric fence is up and running. You should not fear that your dog is getting zapped every 5 minutes.

It is also possible to have more than one dog in the system. Of course, the price will depend on the number of pets to be trained, as well as the size of the yard. Other factors include the equipment needed and how many training sessions are required. Even homeowners who have other kinds of pets can benefit from the system.

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Why Get An Electric Dog Fence?

Beautiful Labrador dog wearing a shock collar outdoors.

Of course, the main reason and advantage of getting a fence are to keep your pets from roaming and getting lost. Even if a dog is not an expensive purebred, your pooch is part of the family and losing it will mean heartbreak.

Another value of this fence is that you can keep an open-style yard instead of being forced to build high fences that cover your view and your house. Moreover, you do not need to worry about zoning requirements or other bureaucratic paperwork by not installing a physical fence. You also will not need to think about fence maintenance or repairs.

However, your electric dog fence may prevent your pets from wandering out, but it does not stop intruders from breaking in. This is something that a physical fence can do.

Moreover, the electric shock does not physically keep your dog within your property. If your pet sees something it wants to chase, then the shock might not stop it at all. Some dogs might also develop a negative association because of the shock, making them de-motivated to return home once they break free.

Of course, these worst-case scenarios may not happen when the dog is adequately trained. Electric dog fences are normally successful in keeping pets in the yard, which is why it is a worthwhile purchase for families with pets. Our guide on the best electric dog fences will help you select the best product for your canine.


  1. Electronic Dog Containment Systems, The MSPCA–Angell

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