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Dog Training Tips - The Pros and Cons of Using Electronic Fences

Dog Training Tips - The Pros and Cons of Using Electronic Fences There are benefits and disadvantages to electronic fences (or `e-fences'), and these need to be considered carefully when evaluating your need for one. E-fences utilize wire (normally underground) and transmitters that will deliver a noise, shock or unpleasant spray via a special collar, in order to deter a dog approaching the set boundary. A signal is sent to the collar when the dog nears the buried wire and the deterrent is triggered.

As some Home Owners Association rules and city ordinances do not allow for regular fences, an e-fence, though expensive, may be an option. For those with no back and front yard fences, an e-fence offers a solution if you want a dog, but are unable to establish a regular fence.

There are negatives that need to be considered though.

Dogs require thorough training in order for the e-fence to be successful, and it should not be used as a substitute for behavioral training. Dogs need to be taught to associate the deterrent with boundary limits. If this is not done, the e-fence will be rendered useless.

As they are an electrical device, they are not fool proof. They can be shorted by an electrical surge or lightning strikes, though not common and digging around the perimeter can also cause problems. When an e-fence is first installed, flags are used to mark the boundary, but are usually removed once the dog is trained. If they are left in place, they can be knocked or dragged away by lawnmowers and children, amongst other things. Once pulled out, there is a possibility of a puncture by their sharp tips.

If a dog ignores the deterrent and moves past the fence, it is less likely to return inside the boundary voluntarily, and may realize that technically there is no `real' boundary.

Many people also believe that as a deterrent, electric shocks are cruel, and are a counteractive way of eliciting the wanted behavior from your pet.

Your decision regarding an e-fence needs to be evaluated according to your situation. If kept entirely indoors except for when leashed, a dogs' need to run is denied, resulting in an unhappy and maladjusted pet. If you can make use of a dog park, this problem can be addressed, but many areas do not have close access, so the problem remains.

A standard height fence might seem to be the solution, but large dogs are often able to leap over these, and this can cause punctures and scrapes from chain link and wooden fence tops. Though the wound may be minor, a dogs' tendency to bite or scratch at them can make the injury worse, meaning a trip to the vet is required. Depending on the circumstances, an e-fence may be the safer option.

Every circumstance and situation is different, based on living conditions, type and character of dog and training techniques, so there is no overall effective method that can be implemented by every dog owner. Instead, the requirements of each situation need to be considered and enough information gathered so that you can make an informed choice.

If you decide an e-fence is the best solution for your situation, you need to be ready to disable the fence if it turns out that instead of benefiting your dog, it is doing more damage.

Moses Wright is a pet lover and loves to help new pet owners deal with their dog problems at home. You can find more dog problems and solutions for free here:

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