[Tips] How To Choose A Portable Invisible Dog Fence?

With all the products out there, are you left wondering how to choose a portable invisible dog fence?

A portable dog fence will offer the same functions as many invisible or underground dog fences. The only real difference here is that you can take your fence with you!

Written by Chris – dog behaviorist with 10 years of experience.

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Two Types Of Invisible Dog Fences

GPS Dog Fence

Your wireless GPS fence will use global positioning satellites to map a given boundary for your dog. This usually integrates with your mobile phone. The GPS will send a signal to your dog’s collar receiver if he approaches too close to the boundary you set.

While GPS is a wonderful innovation, it isn’t perfect. Your signal is prone to interruptions and alterations in signal strength.

Radio Frequency Dog Fence

These dog fences are like GPS fences, but usually require a wire. Most pet owners will bury the wire (eliminating the idea of portable), but you technically don’t have to.

As long as elements aren’t able to damage the wiring, this could be set up above ground.

What Should You Look for in a Portable Invisible Dog Fence?

What exactly should you look for in a portable, invisible dog fence? What makes one fence better than the others?

Be sure to look at things like:

  • Customer reviews
  • Replacement guarantee/warranty
  • Functionality
  • Lifespan
  • Brand

3 Different Corrections – Sound, Vibration, Jolt

The best portable dog fences (assuming they are electric) will first emit a sound or vibration warning before the electric jolt stimulation. This is a sort of pain free warning, giving your dog a chance to back away.

Several Levels of Stimulation

Some products offer up to 100 levels of stimulation!

This allows you to offer the lightest correction for a small breed, and a heavier correction for large or giant breeds. This is also helpful for extremely reactive, or prey driven dogs.

Of course, you don’t need 100 levels! 10 modes of correction would probably be fine.

Be sure to purchase the best product, considering your dog’s size, breed and unique situation. 

Do Invisible Fences Really Work For Dogs?

In most cases, they work well! If you train your dog’s boundaries well (he needs to understand the shock came because he crossed a boundary he shouldn’t have), invisible fences will work for maybe 90% of dogs.

  • There are a small percentage of breeds that are simply too prey motivated and might completely ignore the fence correction to get at that bunny or squirrel.
  • There are also a small percentage of breeds/dogs that are too reactive and will ignore the discomfort to cross a boundary.
  • You’ll still need to train your dog. He needs to understand what this correction he is getting means, exactly where it came from (where the boundary line is), and why he is getting it (he crossed a line he shouldn’t have).

Outside animals will still be able to get into your property, even though your dog cannot leave. This presents a potential hazard for your own pet.

I personally used an invisible fence for my own two dogs, and it was amazing! Once they understood where that boundary was and what would happen if they got too close, I never even had to turn on my fence again! They would simply avoid the invisible fence line. This worked for about two years, until we eventually moved.

Is an Invisible Dog Fence Inhumane?

Invisible dog fences are very humane! Yes, your dog can experience some discomfort from the electric stimulation depending on the level you choose, but this only needs to happen until your dog learns to recognize the barrier.

How quickly your dog learns to recognize the barrier and avoid any fence corrections will depend upon your training and how closely you follow the directions included with your product.

Let’s say you still think invisible fences are inhumane. Some people think any kind of aversive/ discomfort is inhumane.

Consider the alternative:

There is no fence line or barrier to stop your dog. Your dog crosses beyond your property line, becomes hopelessly lost or runs out in the middle of a busy road, is hit by a car, and dies.

Psychologically, a punishment can be anything that occurs after a behavior that decreases the likelihood of a behavior happening. It doesn’t have to be painful or uncomfortable! This is different than the idea of punishment most people have.

Dog fences don’t need to harm or cause pain to administer a punishment for crossing a line.

In fact, it usually only takes once or twice, assuming your dog has been trained well.

Photo by Jelena83