Invisible vs Traditional Fencing, Which is Right for Your Dog?

May 15, 2020     |      Sophie's Circle

A family painting a wooden fence for their Labrador Retriever.When you decide to bring your adopted dog home, you may be wondering what type of fence would be best for your dog's safety and exercise needs. In this article, we will talk about the pros and cons of traditional and invisible fencing for your dog's personality. From climbers to diggers, discover the fencing that checks all the boxes for your furry best friend.

Is an Electric Fence Harmful to the Dog?
The first question you are probably going to ask when exploring the idea of an electric or invisible fence is will it hurt my dog? Thankfully, the answer is no. Even on the highest setting, your dog will feel the pulse coming from the battery of the receiver on the collar as opposed to the electric signal from the fence. If in doubt, it is always a good idea to test it out. The sensation should be more an irritant than a true shock.

Is Your Dog Overly Excited or Protective?
Since the electric fence is not harmful, the next question to ask is how social, curious, or territorial is your dog? If your dog is prone to approach everyone on your walks or run off chasing after a scent or a car, then he may need a visible barrier to block some of his view of the street and lower his excitement level. The same is true for calming any aggressive tendencies with a tall clearly defined boundary that limits his sight of what is happening outside of the yard and is strong enough to prevent his attempts to break through the barrier. Therefore, for dogs that love to chase, meet new people and animals, or protect their turf, traditional fencing is the way to go.

Is Your Dog a Digger or Climber? 
Escape artists come in the form of diggers and climbers too. It can be a frustrating struggle to discover ditches along the fence line or learn your dog can jump over the fence. Moreover, there is little more frightening to a pet owner than knowing your dog has left the safety of your yard and could be hit by a car or get lost while exploring his world. The good news with an electric fence is they cannot see where to dig or how high to leap. So, you may decide the invisible fence is more ideal for dogs with these talents. Other suggestions include combining both the electric fence and a traditional fence for double the deterrent or, for diggers, adding a mesh or specially designed fence extension underground along the fence line. Also, try taking the focus away from the fence by properly exercising your dog daily, remaining outside with your dog to supervise and interact with him, and giving your digger a large sandbox with lots of play toys partially hidden to dig up and bury.

What are Other Benefits of an Electric Fence?
The significantly lower cost is one reason electric fences remain a popular choice for pet owners. However, the fear of a dog leaving the yard through an open gate is another driving force behind purchasing an electric fence. Since the gate is often located in line with the side of the house, it can be difficult to see that it was left open by mistake when letting the dog outside. Also, wooden fences deteriorate over time and boards will need replacing as they age to avoid gaping holes or related safety hazards. Hence, traditional fences are only useful while the gate is secured and the fence is well-maintained whereas an electric fence is less maintenance and easily extends or adjusts as needed allowing the entire yard to be included in the perimeter or focusing on one area as long as it is larger than 20' x 20'.

Are There Added Benefits of a Traditional Fence?
A top concern regarding a dog being outside when using an electric fence actually has more to do with other animals freely coming into your yard than your dog getting out of the fence. Since a receiver is required for the electric fence, there is nothing stopping preditors and aggressive dogs passing by from entering your yard. As a result, there is an increased risk your dog may be attacked if left unattended in an invisible fence where the traditional fence offers more security against such attacks. Additionally, a traditional fence does not need batteries to operate where an electric fence receiver may run out of battery power and be ineffective until the batteries have been replaced.

In conclusion, the decision to purchase a particular type of fence may have more to do with your dog's personality, his length of time spent outside unattended, and the required upkeep than initial cost or visual preference. If you are ready to get a fence and have not yet adopted your furry best friend, we suggest finding out which is right for the dog of your choosing by visiting our adoption page. With so many excellent candidates for your loving home, we would not be surprised if you find you will have more than one dog to factor into your fencing decision.