How Does An Invisible Dog Fence Work?

So how does an invisible dog fence work?

An invisible dog fence will cause a special collar your dog will be wearing to emit a small jolt or vibration if your dog approaches too closely.

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Many dog fences offer several stimulation settings, allowing you to control the amount feedback your dog gets.

The idea is very simple!

Your dog learns “If I cross that line, I get a shock. I’m going to stay away from that line for now on.”

It usually only takes one or two jolts for a dog to learn not to cross this barrier. Training is definitely required to get the dog accustomed with the fence’s location.

In dog training terms, this would be called an aversive, or positive punishment.

You’re offering an unfavorable outcome as punishment (the shock) to correct an undesirable behavior (crossing or approaching the fence line).

In psychology, a punishment is anything added after an event or behavior that reduces the likelihood that behavior will happen in the future.

This is a little different than the regular definition of punishment you’ve probably learned when you were young.

A punishment doesn’t have to be painful or frightening.

Many underground fences offer a sound setting as well as vibration, in addition to the ‘shock’ stimulation settings.

Stimulation Levels

The very first electric dog collars were very simply designed for hunting dogs. Now, many e-collars, and invisible fence collars, offer multiple levels of ‘shock’ stimulation!

Your dog isn’t actually being electrically shocked but receives a startling jolt.

Some devices offer up to 100 settings to cover a wide range of dogs! This way, you can use a very low setting for small dogs, or a higher setting for larger/reactive dogs.

Many products also offer a painless sound and vibration setting!

The best products will first issue a ‘warning’ vibration or sound as your dog ventures too close to the boundary. He only receives the shock/jolt if he ignores this warning and continues to approach the barrier.

Other products will offer a very low jolt/stimulation at a certain point, increasing in intensity as your dog approaches the fence boundary.

GPS Signal

Wireless GPS fences don’t require a wire to be buried underground. These use global positioning satellites to map a specific boundary you set around your property! This might seem extremely convenient!

GPS signal fences do have their limitations.

Poor weather could interfere with GPS signals, and you might have a fence that doesn’t work.

If you’ve trained your dog to recognize his barriers well, he will know to avoid any uncomfortable shock.

He will automatically assume he is going to get a shock if he crosses that line, whether the fence is functioning.

Ninety percent of the time, it won’t matter if your fence is on or off, as long as your dog thinks it is on.

These are still never a full guarantee, whereas physical barriers would 100% prevent your dog from escaping.

Radio Signal

This usually involves a wire that encompasses your property, normally buried underground (but it can be above ground).

A transmitter is usually stationed in your garage or basement, directly inside the home. A small hole will need to be drilled so the wire can exit the enclosed space.

Your pet’s collar is able to pick up this radio signal. A warning is emitted as your pet approaches the boundary then a shock is given when he approaches to close.

Barrier Training

Underground fences depend upon boundary training. The dog will need to understand where the boundary is, what line he shouldn’t cross, and why he is receiving a punishment (the shock/vibration/sound) if he does cross.

As a pet owner, you’ll need to teach your dog to recognize these barriers! Barrier training is essential for these underground fences to work properly. Thankfully, the training process isn’t very difficult!

Photo by skhunda