Electric Fences for Dogs

An electric “fence” is actually a wire buried in the ground and a transmitter attached to your dog’s collar. When your dog moves too close to the buried fence, he gets zapped. It’s meant to feel similar to the kind of shock you get with static electricity. Some brands use a warning tone instead of a shock.

The electric fence rarely works alone. You’re supposed to combine it with behavioral training to teach your dog to stay in his yard. In fact, the best products, including the popular Invisible Fence, include training as part of the price.

While an electric fence makes some sense if you don’t want to tie him up or build a fence, it’s not a perfect solution.


  • Electric fences don’t always work. Some dogs are either too pumped up with adrenalin or thick-skinned to be dissuaded by an electronic shock. Others want to roam so much they learn to take the jolt, and bolt.
  • It’s no fun for a dog to be shocked. Even though the shock isn’t supposed to hurt your dog, it’s still big enough to get his attention. Some behaviorists don’t like them because of this, and say using them can be harsh and lead to behavioral complications.
  • Rely on behavioral training more than the fence. Buy the more expensive brands so you’ll get some training as part of the package and your dog learns to stay in his yard, and only rarely risks getting shocked.

Products that complement your electronic fence

Similar systems can be used indoors to prevent your dog from getting onto expensive furniture or going into certain rooms. In other words, it isn’t an outdoor-only product.