Invisible electric dog fences are more popular than ever. The advantages of using them are many, including fitting into the restrictions placed on homeowners by home owner associations. However, there are so many products on the market right now, the consumer must know which questions to ask in order to make an informed and appropriate decision.
- What type of dog do you need to contain? It seems like a basic question, but some collar/fence combinations are more appropriate for toy breeds vs. giant breeds. The correction strength can often be adjusted to the individual dog wearing the collar. Some collars are not small enough for a 4 lb chihuahua. Make sure the collar/fence combination you select is compatible with your dog.
The type of haircoat should also be considered. A husky has a much thicker haircoat than a labrador retriever. Although these dogs are virtually the same size, they have very different requirements. Make sure the prongs are long enough to penetrate the thicker haircoat. Do not stress if you find they are not long enough. Most manufactures recommend clipping a small area on the underside of the neck if you find this to be a problem. Check the instructions first before attempting.
- How much do you want to spend? Again, sounds like a no brainer, but the options are huge. You can easily spend anywhere from $99 to $500+ depending on the fence you purchase. One large factor you have in deciding the price you pay is whether you are willing to install it yourself.
- What size yard do you intend to contain? Some fences will only wrap around a small yard; extra wire cannot be purchased and is not recommended by the manufacturer. Other models will allow the consumer to add quite a bit of extra wire, but at a price. Most of the fences will surround an average-size residential lot with no problems. Some of the fences can be augmented to contain areas as large as 25 acres.
- What degree of correction does your dog need? All receivers have some type of adjustment. This adjustment allows you to adapt the system to your dog. It also allows multiple dogs with different needs to use the system, simply by having a collar for each dog. Once training is complete, the correction level can be changed, including reducing the system to audible if available.
- Do you need an audible tone? As above, most collars treat this as an additional level of correction. There are some manufacturers that do not have an audible tone. It is advisable to have this tone, the reason being that many dogs will only "obey" their boundaries with the collar on. They do know the difference between the fence collar and their other collar. Without the fence collar, some dogs take off, knowing they will not be corrected.
- Does your fence have a "low battery" light on the collar? Some collars have the low battery light, others do not. It really is as simple as that. If the collar runs out of battery, there is no correction, and your dog could go wandering across the fence border without ever knowing it.
- Do you need a "break in line" warning for the fence? This feature can be a life-saver. If you are digging in the garden and did not realize that you were digging over the wire, you could easily cut this wire. Once the circuit is interrupted, the collar on your pet will never recognize when it approached the boundary of your yard.
- Should the transmitter be inside or outside? Again, this sounds simple, but if you did not know there was an option, you might never know to ask.
- Does your fence need to be portable? There are now fences available that work on a slightly different principle than the traditional invisible electric dog fences. These systems are basically a transmitter in the ground that prevents the correction in the collar. If the dog wanders outside the limits of the transmitter, the collar gives a correction. The wonderful thing about this system is that once your dog understands his limits, the entire system can be taken anywhere you can receive power. The beach, a picnic...the possibilities are endless.
- Do you want to install it yourself? Some of the products available must be installed by a professional. Other systems are more do-it-yourselfer friendly. Both of the systems are good. If you decide to install it yourself, are you prepared to dig a 3-6 inch trench to bury the wire over 25 acres. Again, the wireless electric fence (see portable above) can offer another option for the do-it-yourselfer.
As you can see, there are numerous questions that need to be answered prior to deciding which electric dog fence you want. Most of the invisible electric fences are designed very similarly. Remember the answers to these questions and you will be ready to purchase the system that is right for you and your dog.