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Dog fences

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Dog containment systems are usually called “invisible fences” or “electronic fences” and can be highly effective in keeping your dog from roaming outside his/her allowed boundaries. The systems are made of two parts: the actual electronic containment boundary and a collar for your dog that emits a sound, buzz or static shock when fido crosses the line. Lets take a look at different types of systems.

Buried Wire Invisible Fences
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The basic invisible fence requires that a wire be buried at the boundary of the dog’s area – just like a fence. But you don’t have the problems associated with a regular fence: unsightliness, possible visual barrier, maintenance, and especially cost. Additionally, regular fences aren’t always effective in containing your pets. Plenty of dogs are experts at jumping, digging, and squeezing – thereby escaping regular “physical” fences. The really neat thing about an electronic fence is that your dog is trained to stay within his boundaries. He doesn’t want to go through the fence so he doesn’t try! The key word here is “trained.” You can’t just install an invisible fence, throw the collar on your dog, and expect it to automatically work. It takes time, training, and a real investment in your relationship to make it work. But when it works, it really works. And you can trust your dog and he/she is much more happy and secure by knowing the boundaries.

The basic workings of the invisible fence consist of a buried wire defining the perimeter which is attached to the electronic unit. The wire emits a signal that activates the collar when it comes near. Ideally, the collar will first emit a tone or vibration. As it gets closer, a static shock will result. Most systems allow you to adjust the level of shock to accommodate the personality of your dog and the needs of your situation.

Drawbacks

While a properly trained dog will stay within the boundaries of an electronic fence, there can be some problems. For example, there is nothing to keep other dogs or animals out of your pet’s area. You lose the protection aspect of a regular fence. Also, should your dog manage to get outside the boundary, she is going to be reluctant to come back inside because returning will cause a shock! This can especially be a problem for those hard-headed dogs that learn to “run through” the fence! Other problems could include failure due to a broken wire, power outage, dead batteries in the collar, etc. All of these underscore the importance of training, training, training!

Wireless Pet Containment Systems
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Wireless systems are quite similar to traditional invisible fences but have some distinct advantages… and disadvantages. These systems create a circular perimeter from a centrally located electronic unit. Unfortunately, most yards aren’t circles. While the size of the circle can be adjusted, you can’t customize the shape of the containment area like you can by burying a wire.

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+++NEWS! A new custom shape wireless fence system is now available from Havahart!+++ But there are advantages too. Like their wired cousins, wireless systems cause the collar to first tone, then shock as your dog gets closer to the boundary (not sure if the custom-shape system does this – will check and report). But unlike the wired systems, your dog must return into the safe zone to make the collar stop shocking. Should your dog remain outside too long, a fail-safe will cause the collar to stop working. But your dog can return without fear of another shock!

Is an electronic fencing system is right for you?

For easy setup and reduced cost we chose a wireless system. It works great and we trust Cooper to stay within his area. (And we live on a busy road!) But always expect the unexpected. The day Cooper chased a rabbit outside his boundary (yes, he left the area) I couldn’t believe it. I don’t think he did either – it only took seconds for him to respond to the shock and hightail it back. Is this cruel? In my opinion, absolutely not. He has the safety and security of knowing where he can go. And even if he slips up, a slight shock is a lot better than a severe injury from a speeding car.

The key to any type of training tool is, well, training. you absolutely must take the time to follow directions and train your dog in the proper way. Training makes for a happier, more well adjusted pet. And this naturally results in a better relationship for you both!

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