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Electric fence for dogs?

1362 Views 23 Replies 14 Participants Last post by  rodeo joe
Okay, this one might rile up the dog lovers on the forum, but let me start by saying that I love our dogs, and wouldn't do anything to hurt them. We have a good fence in the yard, but our dogs, which are Great Pyr / Border Collie mix, are pretty smart at finding ways to get under it. I was walking in the woods behind the fence the other day, and I watched them take seconds to dig their way out. I've put chicken wire on the ground around the bottom, and they still find ways to dig out so they can roam the woods and play in the creek. They are both very strong and smart and can dig pretty fast.

Our rural neighborhood just isn't safe for dogs to roam. Locals will either run them down on purpose in their vehicles, or they can get into it with other dogs and wild animals. I've seen deer stomp dogs we've had before, and many times when the dogs get out, they come back with some sort of wound from another animal.

So, to put a stop to the digging for good and to keep them safe at home, I picked up a medium duty electric fence charger, and put one piece of electric fence wire at six inches high around our fence. I've grabbed it, and the jolt is uncomfortable and knocks the snot out of you, but it doesn't hurt. It sends a pulse every other second, so the animal can get away from the fence. Both dogs have touched it tonight, and now they won't go anywhere near the border of our back yard.

I really don't think that they are going to go near it much now that they know what happens. But, what do you guys think, is such a fence humane? Personally, I've just lost too many of our dogs to the woods and road lately, so I prefer doing whatever it takes to keep them home.

I know that it's kind of pointless to ask for opinions after you've already done something, but I'm curious to know what you guys think.
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Growing up on a farm I've been zapped by electric fences more times then I can shake a stick at. I even got tangled up hopping through one once and was stuck there on the ground for at least a full minute with it buzzing me. While I can't say for certain I don't think it's done me any permament harm. It won't hurt your dogs either.

My thinking though is that it's only a matter of time till your dogs learn to dig under the wire too. Have you considered the underground wires that work with a shock collar.
Sags said:
My thinking though is that it's only a matter of time till your dogs learn to dig under the wire too.
I've seen them go to work at the fence, and their typical strategy is to squat down and push their nose toward it, pull at the chicken wire on the ground, and then go to town at the ground with their paws. They dig just enough to barely slide under the fence. Now, when they go to put their nose toward the fence, they have to hit the wire to do it. They aren't going anywhere near the wire at the moment. But, you're right, they might just figure it out since they're so smart.

If they do start digging just before the wire to get under it, I think that I'll have more time to catch them in the act and reverse their work. I've been able to train them to do quite a bit and they pick things up fast, so I'm hoping that I can train them to dig only in designated areas. These type of dogs are just diggers by nature, so I won't ever be able to get them to stop digging.

Since I'm home a lot more during the summer, I plan to take them out more so they don't get bored of the yard.

Have you considered the underground wires that work with a shock collar?
They're just smart enough that I think they would figure out that they could take a run at the underground wire style w/ the shock collar, and be out with only a quick shock. But, I did consider that.

EDIT: Wait, with the physical fence just beyond the underground wire, making a run wouldn't get them too far. So, that could work too, I guess. I was picturing how most people use the underground wire, to be an invisible fence.
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I am a dog lover.....and I honestly say that I can't blame you one bit.

I'm fortunate to have dogs that don't dig or jump the fence; but I have in the past, and I know how much of a total pain it can be for a number of reasons.

Our area out here is the same; very dangerous cause we have wide open farm/ranch country where the dogs can just be gone with no evidence of return, either due to rancher shooting them, coyotes, etc....we also have a major issue with rabies out here too, actually all through Colorado.

I think you should just go with what you have for a while, most dogs won't care to keep shocking themselves....the other problem however could be if they DID get out, they may not want to come back in, do to getting shocked.

I've heard of many owners saying the electric fence can work against them too, for that reason.

But I've heard many that love it as well.

I've been shocked by electric fences more times then I care to remember; and while they shock you...they don't have lingering effects, and perhaps that's what your dogs have needed....they may not like it...but at least they are kept safe and at home and not in the danger of being attacked.
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Ramblin Fever said:
I think you should just go with what you have for a while, most dogs won't care to keep shocking themselves...
This is how I am hoping it will work. I've heard that for many people who've gone this route, their dogs only end up touching the fence once or twice before they just leave it alone for good. Some folks around here haven't even had their fence plugged up for years, and the dogs still won't go anywhere near it.

...the other problem however could be if they DID get out, they may not want to come back in, do to getting shocked.
Luckily, our yard is only fenced from the front porch back into the backyard. Our front porch has a gate and a railing so they can roam the back yard or hang out on the front porch. Usually when they've gotten out, they are hanging out in the front yard when they're done roaming the woods, and we just open the gate on the front porch to let them back in. Good point, though, I've heard that too about electric fences and the shock collars.
I love dogs too, and don't want to see them mistreated.

But in a lot of cases, letting them get away to roam free is more cruel, because of what can happen to them.

I'd leave the electric fence. Add another strand about a foot off the ground...

AND put in the 'invisible fence', about 4 feet inside the fence.

If they make a run through the invisible fence, they will still get shocked by the electric fence. And I don't think they'll want to go through that one-two punch ever again.
:lol: Man, this place would be locked down for real then. I don't even think that I'd want to leave the back yard.

I just had another thought about it though. Great pyrenees and border collies have been bred by many to guard livestock as working dogs. Looking around on the internet, many who have these breeds say that they do well with an electric fence. This is a really big breed of dog, so this is about the equivalent of an electric fence popping a goat or sheep.

I guess you guys can tell that I kind of feel bad using the electric fence to keep the dogs in the yard. But, really, letting them roam and get hurt would be even more cruel. Pyrs can roam for miles if allowed, and ours do when they get out. When they are out, they end up pretty far away and don't come back until the sun is going down.
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Those Invisible Fences work remarkably well unless you have a completely stupid dog. I used one with my Lady because nothing else seemed to keep her in check (Half lab half Husky). She acted stupid but was actually very smart and always found a way around things. The invisible fence that I used with her had a signal strength knob that would adjust the wire signal in the ground and extend its effective "fence" area and also have two warnings based on how close she got to the no-zone. A beep, and a small warning shock.

She only ever jumped that fence one time after she figured out that she couldn't get past it without getting zapped, and that was because some jackass let his mean Pug roam free and it tried to attack my dog. Heck, after a couple of years she wouldn't pass the fence line even without the collar on.

Don't feel as if you are being abusive for using that fence. The way I see it is similar to the line between a spanking and child abuse. A good slap on the *** is fine, repeated hard slams is another thing all together.
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electric fence is fine, better than a dead dog, place some flags a couple feet before the wire, this way the dogs will associate the flags with the shock, guide them towards the flag a few times they'll get a warning and will never go near the fence again, since the old fence didn't mean much to them, and they can't see the wire, you need the flags as a visual.

I don't see any harm with a jolt to get the point across. I'm with Sags, they'll learn how to defeat it sooner or later.

You said they push underneath. One thing I did to stop my dog from doing that was add tension wire along the bottom. It made the fence taught along the bottom and kept our little smart guy from pushing under. You can do this by weaving the high tension electric fence spool through the bottom of the fence (Or attaching it with hog rings) and stretching it tight with a come- along.
tonnydoodles said:
and they can't see the wire, you need the flags as a visual.
Cool, yeah, I guess some flags would help them see the boundary better and keep them from accidentally getting on the fence.

cronk said:
One thing I did to stop my dog from doing that was add tension wire along the bottom. It made the fence taught along the bottom and kept our little smart guy from pushing under.
Thanks Joe, that's a great idea. Since our backyard fence backs up to the woods on our property, I've been pushing fallen trees up against the back of the fence when I can. When I've done this, it takes them a couple of days to find another weak spot in the fence line, but they usually find it. So, you're right, eventually I'm going to need to be sure the fence is strong and tight all around.

We have nearly an acre of woods behind our fenced in back yard that is still part of our property. I've thought that eventually I need to extend the fenced area so they can explore more and have access to more shade in the summer. There are a couple of deer paths that cut through those woods though, so I would hate to disturb those.

Marley and Macey, our two dogs, are pretty sensitive. Anytime I'm in the yard, they are right there with me. This morning, I can barely get them to budge from the front porch. With a little playful calling, I can get them to the back yard, but they dart straight for the back deck. I got the bravest one to come out on the grass with me for a few seconds, but she keeps a watchful eye on the fence, and then darts back to the back deck. They're clearly scared of something getting them in the backyard now. It might take a little while to get them feeling safe in the yard. After getting them comfortable playing and walking back there, I'm going to get some flags and train them w/ some commands like "bad flags" to get them to see the flags as the boundary.
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Do what you have to do, especially if it is for their safety. I wouldn't hesitate my self to install one. I care for my dogs too much.
Thanks guys for all the feedback and help. Both Marley and Macey are comfortable being out in the backyard now. I've trained them to recognize the white flags as the boundary, and they won't go anywhere near that line. As far as I can tell, each dog has only been popped by the fence one time. Hopefully that's all it will take.
How about electric fence for cats? :lol:

No seriously.. my brother and sister in law got tired of going to pick up their cat on the other side of Rochester ever time he'd go for a stroll so they got an electric fence for him as well.

I think it's for their own good so..
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Ruination said:
How about electric fence for cats? :lol:
:lol: :lol:
I think it's a great idea for cats....prevents them from getting hit by drivers that don't care
Ramblin Fever said:
I think it's a great idea for cats....prevents them from getting hit by drivers that don't care
Or drivers who hit them on purpose.
My folks had one. It did keep the various dogs in to a degree. They eventually figure out if they run over the wire fast enough they won't get zapped. However they didn't apply it to getting back in so they would stand in the road or neighbors yard until we went and got them. It will shock the snot out of you (literally, I had a rocket hanging after I touched it).

You are doing nothing wrong putting up the electric fence. They will learn quick that that area is off limits.

We have talked about doing the same thing here for Smitty's beagal since she is bound and determined to dig out of the yard. She is either going to get hit by a car or picked up by the county at the rate she is going.

You have another concern coming your way quick which is the wild hog problem down there. They are know to make short work of dogs. I think the worst of it is south of you but, I see them quite a bit when I am south of Atlanta in my travels.

You are just protecting your animals from themselves.
The Radio Fence (what someone called the Invisible Fence) is really to train them. Mine know EXACTLY where the shock zone starts, and even with their collars off, they won't cross it. The cool thing is, they get beeps to warn them before they get zapped. Once they're trained, the beep does the job. They don't need the shock at all.

Oh, and they sell a heavy-duty collar for "large, stubborn" breeds. It used to have a photo of a Malamute on the box (we had a Malamute). Then they switched to a Lab (now we have a Lab). This collar has vibration like a cell phone, besides the beep and shock. It has a MUCH larger battery, and 4 levels of shock intensity.

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