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The Pros and the Cons of an Invisible Fence Collar

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Black Lab in a Yard

An invisible dog fence, also called an electric fence, is a wired fence placed underground. This creates an electrically charged boundary that keeps your pet within the confines of your yard without a physical fence. It is connected digitally to an invisible fence collar that the dog wears around its neck. So how exactly does an invisible fence work and what are its pros and cons?

How Does an Invisible Fence Work?

Invisible fences operate on a system that transmits energy between the boundary line you establish, a home base monitoring/transmitter device, and the receiver that is attached to your dog’s collar. The actual fence is a set of electrically charged wires that are placed about 3-4 inches underground around the outer edges of your property. A transmitter is set up in your garage or on a wall in a room in your home. As your dog approaches the boundary line, the tone or vibration will deter her much the same way that an ultrasonic bark collar will deter the dog from barking.

More About the Electric Charge

The electric charge is similar to a quick splash of water on the face – just enough to surprise your pet and stop his movement, but not enough to hurt or cause any sort of damage. The amount of electric force that the receiver (collar) takes in and gives to your dog can vary depending on how you set the system up. The equipment will come with instructions on how much force is recommended for dogs at various weights. You can also experiment with the settings to find out exactly how much is required to keep your dog happy and confident while still maintaining safe boundaries within your set limits.

Many dog lovers worry that the electric shock is painful or emotionally devastating to a dog. However, if you hold the receiver (collar) in your hand and hold it over the boundary line you will find that it is neither painful nor shocking, but merely irritating. In other words, it is an effective and safe deterrent.


Let’s look at the wired dog fence options currently available on the market. Just as there are many different kinds of traditional physical fences, there are also different types of wired dog fences. While the basic concept is the same, the qualities and features are not. Not all fences come equipped with these features.

Amount of Shock

You should consider how many levels of correction the product offers. This feature refers to the amount of energy in the deterrent “shock” that was mentioned earlier. If you have a stubborn, strong-willed, or physically strong dog, or if you have multiple dogs of varying sizes, you will want to have more correction levels available in order to custom-design the corrections for your dog.

Battery-Backup Function

Some wired dog fences have a battery-backup function, but this is not standard with all systems. A battery-backup capability is a very good safety feature, covering the possibility that you forget to check the battery, or are late in changing it. It simply is not worth the risk to opt out of this feature.

Amount of Interference

Another factor to consider is the amount of interference that could impact the deterrent to your pet. Some wired dog fences have low interference while others can be comparatively high. With all the potential interferences available in our environment these days, it is very important to find out what the capacity is for any wired dog fence you are seriously considering purchasing.

Creativity in Shaping Boundaries

Finally, you want to make sure you choose a wired dog fence that allows you to shape your boundaries any way you need to in order to maintain the integrity of your landscaping while still providing both safety and freedom for your dog. In other words, be aware that some wired dog fences have to be laid in a fairly square, round, or oval shape, while others can block off garden areas within the primary boundaries.


  • No physical fence upkeep
  • Doesn’t change your landscaping
  • Provides safety for your dog while also giving them freedom
  • Some neighborhoods and cities have fencing laws or even prohibit fences altogether so this can be done in exchange
  • Protects your dog from traffic, strangers, and any other dangers outside the boundary
  • You don’t need to be an electrician to install it
  • Cheaper than other a regular fence
  • Helps train your dog


  • Must check batteries regularly
  • Installation may take some time
  • No protection from other animals getting inside the boundary

Price Compared to Other Fences

Read our Wireless Dog Fence Reviews

It is difficult to compare costs in an information article like this because each person and each property is unique, so prices vary depending on the many variables involved. Therefore, for the sake of basic comparison, let’s just look at a 1/4 to 1/2 acre lot.

Chain Link Fence – A chain link fence that stands 4 feet high will run between $1,500 and $3,000 to install yourself; to do it professionally, it will cost between $4,000 and $7,500.

Invisible Fence – PetSafe Wireless Pet Containment System (View on Amazon) – A wireless invisible fence that covers an area up to 1/2 acre for $219.99.

Wooden Fence – A ranch style wood fence is between $1,500 and $4,500 as a do it yourself project compared with $5,000 and $15,000 for professional installation.

Wired Dog Fence – Do it yourself options will start around $100 and take around 15 hours of your time vs. nearly $790 for a professionally installed wired fence.

Wired Dog Fence – Elite Little Dog In-Ground Fence (View on Amazon) – A wired invisible fence option for smaller dogs. This covers an area of around 1/3 of an acre.

Wired Dog Fence – SportDOG 100-Acre In-Ground Pet Fence System (View on Amazon) – A wired invisible fence option that covers an area up to 100 acres.

What’s Best for You and Your Dog?

Wired dog fences are convenient, attractive, safe, and affordable. Still, you will have to decide what is best for your personal lifestyle and the particular characteristics of your yard and your dog. The biggest decision will be whether you want to try and install it yourself or hire a professional. If you think you want to tackle this project yourself, find confidence in the fact that most companies that sell DIY wired dog fences also provide support and thorough instructions. Whatever you decide, look to the end product and imagine you are happily enjoying quality outdoor time with your best friend.

Overall the invisible fence collar is a safe way to train your dog as to his boundaries on your property; however, it is not recommended that a dog should be left outside without supervision, as the invisible fence does not keep other animals out of your property. Keep in mind, it is recommended that you consult your vet prior to implementing the fence and using the ultrasonic invisible fence collar.

Has your invisible dog fence worked well in your yard? Share your stories.

The information contained in this article and website is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional safety advice; it is provided for educational purposes only.

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Growing up, Kimberly used to get the sniffles when she was around dogs. Thankfully, she grew out of her allergy and is now able to play and snuggle with dogs as much as she wants! She adopted Sally, a 3 year old hound mix, in 2017 and is loving life as a pet parent.

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15 Comments on "The Pros and the Cons of an Invisible Fence Collar"

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Electric Shocks = Abuse
Electric Shocks = Abuse

It’s animal abuse.


I have an 11 month old coton. On 3 dsys of installed invisible fence. She will not do business outside. Had started doing in house. Will not ask to go out. Helps

Electric Shocks = Abuse
Electric Shocks = Abuse

That’s what happens when you use abuse to attempt to train or discipline an animal.

This is a known outcome of using electric shock as training/discipline with dogs. It causes anxiety and other behavioural issues.
Stop abusing your pet, and the problem can be resolved.

Max Dog
Max Dog

If its like a splash of water on the face then would you put it on your child so they could also roam free? ….That’s what I thought. The fact is most people are OK with causing pain on animals because they can’t express their opinion, because they are animals…and animals don’t talk. They just make noises. Let’s just be clear its a shock collar.


I was undecided about this, until our dog got out one day and immediately got hit by a car and died in my arms. I never want to loose another dog like that. Some shock collars come with a vibrate option. when set to vibrate they are quite annoying but not in the least painful.

Elizabeth Howell
Elizabeth Howell
Its not for a child to roam free! Are you nuts! It’s to keep a beloved pet from scampering out the door when your next Amazon delivery arrives and your pup goes running towards the street as you lift your package inside the door. I suppose you wouldn’t spank your toddler from running out into the street during that 2 second look down at your phone. You’re quite blinded, my dear;, simply not good in politically correct company to raise your child, or pet, in a safe way! Enjoy the sympathies of others when your little ones are smacked in… Read more »

Dead dog hit by car vs. Dog irritated by small electric shock….
….I guess the third alternative would be crating the poor beast its whole life.

You are right. Dogs don’t talk. Hence, you can’t reason with them why it’s not good for them to be on the road.

Perhaps we should not medicate our children because the needle hurts too much.

Your view is misguided, friend.

Big dogg
Big dogg

Go prech somewhere else you peta lover


Why don’t you burn some books and beat the shit out of some defenseless person/animal so you can prove to the world that your “Bigg Dogg” is 3 inches long. and couldn’t please a house cat.

I wish more people were aware that the wirless fences are not inhumane. The “shock” is like water in the face and people keep saying how cruel it is to use formy shih tzu. It keeps him safe and he is able to romp and play. We bought in 2014 and most of the info people bring up is from 2008 or before to site how cruel it is. They also say the nodes can cause electric burn which is incorrect those are like bed sores from a collar too tight and never taken off. The misinformation is so frustrating!!!

yea misinformation from a nutral ivision of the governmment that they got 10’s of thousands of people to harm there animals and coordinate the results so they’d be the same… sounds very reasonable and possible. Use your brains and try reading something.


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