Invisible Fences: Drawbacks, Problems, and Alternatives

Are you seeking out a fence to keep your dog safe while playing in the yard? You may be swayed to select an invisible fence, given the popularity of hidden pet containment fences. However, invisible fences may not truly be the best choice for you, your family, or your pet. When it comes to safety, practicality, and your peace of mind, there are superior alternatives to electric dog fences.

Here, we’ll review the drawbacks of the invisible pet fences and problems that commonly arise with their installation (you may be surprised to learn the ways in which hidden fences are risky for both pets and homeowners). In addition, we’ll provide safe fence alternatives that can keep your dog, home, and family safe, allowing you to be a worry-free homeowner.

Drawbacks of The Invisible Fence

While invisible fences are undeniably attractive to some dog owners for a variety of reasons, the downsides of pet containment fences cannot be ignored. To maintain the wellbeing of your pet and home, consider these cons before installing an underground pet fence.

Do You Really Want to Shock Your Dog?

First and foremost, while electric fences can be used as a training tool, training your pet with a shocking method is frowned upon by veterinarians, animal rights activists, and humane societies (and for good reason).

Sending an electric shock to your pet when they cross the boundaries of your property may train them to stay within the yard, but it may also cause one of these unwanted negative behavioral changes:

  • Your dog may connect the painful shock with something other than the act of crossing the property line. This can cause your dog to have aggression toward another person, animal, object, or even the act of relieving himself in the front yard.
  • If your dog crosses outside of the invisible fence and then must cross back in, an electric shock will be administered twice: one during the exit, and another during the entrance. In an unfortunate scenario, your dog may become afraid to ever enter the yard for fear of receiving a painful shock. This is one way in which dog wearing shock collars become lost.

Your pet is like a member of your family, and all animals should be treated with respect. Administering an electric shock to your pet as a means of training them to remain in the yard is not only potentially harmful to your pet’s behavioral patterns but is also unnecessary. Traditional, non-electric fences are far more humane and will train your dog in a safe way, without the use of electrocution. Your dog doesn’t need to feel physical pain in order to play securely within your property.

Hidden Containment Fences Don’t Keep Out Intruders

Electric fences are often effective at keeping dogs within a yard, but the dog must be wearing the corresponding shock collar in order for this method to be effective. So, any animal not wearing the electric shock collar, such as a bear or coyote, can easily enter the yard without facing any obstacles. Invisible fences also do not keep out human intruders, who may attempt to hassle, harm, or even kidnap your dog. In fact, more than two million pets are stolen each and every year, and less than 10% are ever brought back home. In short, electric fences may be able to keep your dog in, but it’s unable to keep dangerous people and animals out. Without a physical boundary in place, your yard and home are at risk for intruders.

Invisible Pet Fences Have Limited Battery Power

Underground fences operate off of battery power in order to administer an electric shock. The power that one battery can hold is limited. Once the battery of a silent fence has been depleted, the battery must be recharged in order for an electric shock to be administered.

If the battery of your electric pet fences fully runs out while your dog is in the yard, your dog may be able to easily escape. This is yet another risk presented by electric pet fences that may cause lost and runaway pets.

Hidden Fences Can Become Damaged During in Cold Weather

When the air gets cold in the fall and winter months, electric dog fences may begin to malfunction. In cold climates, the frost that forms will often shift the ground and shift the wire of an electric fence. When this occurs, the wire will break and no longer operate. Typically, invisible pet fences that break in the winter can’t be repaired until the weather warms up in the spring. So, during the remainder of the cold weather months, there will be no boundary keeping your dog within the yard.

Safety is the main concern of most dog owners, and electric fences may seem like a method to increase your pet’s security in the yard. However, given the many risks listed above, it’s clear that invisible fences are more dangerous than one might first assume.

Why Do Pet Owners Install Invisible Fences?

People everywhere install an invisible pet fence around their home, and that’s been the case for many years. Given the drawbacks of electric fences outlined above, why exactly are they so popular?

Dogs are unable to jump over or dig under invisible fences.

Hidden fences are installed underground, and when your pet attempts to cross it while wearing the corresponding collar, an administered shock will stop he or she from leaving your yard. With a physical fence, your pet could, potentially, find a way to dig under or jump over it and escape.

Depending on your desired traditional fence alternative, invisible fences may be more affordable.

Invisible fence brands differ in price, as do traditional fence companies. So, depending on the fence option you select, a hidden fence may be less expensive than a physical fence for your home. Especially for large homes, which would require quite a bit of material to construct a physical fence, electric fences are more cost-efficient.

Electric pet fences can’t be seen and won’t alter the look of your home.

This is perhaps the biggest factor that drives people to install hidden fences. Between the opinions of neighbors, guidelines set by homeowners’ associations, and the appeal of leaving the view of your home unobstructed, invisible fences can seem like the best aesthetic option. In truth, there are countless traditional fence designs that will actually enhance the overall look of your home, provide greater privacy from your neighbors, and adhere to HOA rules.

Physical Alternatives to an Invisible Fence Brand

When it comes to boundaries to keep your dog within the yard, you have many options beyond invisible fences. There are countless varieties of physical fences to choose from, so you can select an option that fits with your home and lifestyle. Contrary to what you may have first assumed, a physical fence could be an asset to the appearance of your home, making it simultaneously more attractive and secure.

Consider these residential fence options as safer alternatives to an invisible pet fence:

Wood

Wood is a traditional fence material that provides a classic look and basic functionality. The price of wooden fences is relatively affordable and many people love the way that wooden fences look. Consider a protective treatment for your wooden fence for easier maintenance over time.

Aluminum

Aluminum fences require little to no maintenance and are highly durable. Fences made from this material can withstand virtually any weather condition and are highly effective at keeping out intruders. Although an aluminum home fence may sound unappealing, there are many ways that fence manufacturers can make them aesthetically pleasing.

Vinyl

Vinyl fences and fences made from composite materials are designed to provide the look of a wooden fence, but without the extensive maintenance, that wooden fences require. Vinyl residential fences are a pricier option, but the price is justified by the material’s durability.

Chain Link

Chain link fences are highly affordable and can be made discreet with a coat of camouflaging paint. Though the look of a chain link fence is not for everyone, it is certainly effective as a boundary between your yard and the outside world.

Conclusion

Hiring an invisible fence company to install an underground fence in your yard is not in the best interest of you or your dog. As has been outlined in this article, electric pet fences are associated with numerous risks, from causing negative behavioral changes in your dog to opening your yard to intruders. What’s more, shocking your dog with electricity as a means of training is widely viewed as inhumane–after all, your dog experiences pain with every electric shock.

Physical fencing is an alternative method for creating a pet boundary around your home. A traditional fence will keep intruders out while keeping your dog safely within the yard. Many fencing options are available, so you can find the ideal one to fit your needs.

Electric dog fences compromise the safety of your dog, your family, and your home. When there are secure, reliable, affordable fencing options available, there’s no reason to take any risks.