It’s summer, and your dog wants to go outdoors! If you live in a typical Richmond Hill or Toronto home, however, you probably don’t have a fenced-in yard. Here are some electric fencing options you can explore that will keep your fur-kids safe without spending a fortune erecting a privacy fence. Dr. Issam Kadri of Richmond Hill Animal Hospital discusses the pros and cons of electric fencing for dogs.
Electric fences were invented in 1971 by a traveling salesman who was concerned about stray dogs on the roads. He worked with an electrical engineer to use boundary wires with a receiver collar to create the invisible fence. The idea took off, and now you can choose from a wide range of fences for any size yard.
How it Works
The fence creates a perimeter for the yard that interacts with the signal given off by the collar that comes with the fence. When the dog crosses the boundary, the collar produces a sound to alert the dog. If he ignores the sound, it delivers a small shock wave similar to that produced by a barking collar. You can get different types of electric fences but they all come with collars that work along the same lines.
In-ground electric fences have a wire buried a few inches below ground along the perimeter of the yard. These are easy to install during the summer when the ground can be dug, and as long as you replace your grass sods afterwards you’ll never know it’s there.
Pros and Cons: The fences are fairly low-cost but take several hours to install, and you might need some heavy labour assistance.
Wireless fences create a circular perimeter of radio waves around a central base station. These fences are quicker to install and don’t involve the burying of wire around the perimeter. They are typically less reliable than in-ground systems, however, mostly because of interference from objects such as metal roofs, trees and walls.
Pros and Cons: Signal fluctuations are also a problem and can cause the fence to respond slowly, which can result in the dog being alerted too late or to continue being corrected after returning.
The main advantage of these fences are portability, and once your dog is trained in its use you can take it with you on vacation or when you move to another home.
The fences come in complete kits ready for installation. Several models come with rechargeable or standard battery backup, and one has a remote training option. Another model has inter-compatible collars, and yet another is compatible with an automatic dog door.
Pros and Cons: While most systems claim to be veterinarian-approved, independent reviews show that some of the systems are more reliable than others.
Extra Large Yards
Both in-ground and wireless fences claim to be able to accommodate areas from half an acre up to 25 acres. Reviews show that “boundary wobble” affects the wireless systems more than the in-ground systems. This is the effect of signal fluctuation which causes the boundary to change from minute to minute, with variances of up to five feet.
Pros and Cons: While the area capacity is useful if you live on a big property, it has the potential to confuse the dog, because it has to wait for the correction each time it approaches the boundary instead of learning where it is and avoiding it.
You need to make your decision on which system to buy based on the number and size of your dogs as well as your yard. Correction levels vary, with some models having independent levels for different dogs while others have a fixed level of correction.
Pros and Cons: If you have dogs of different sizes such as a Retriever and a Chihuahua, you will need a system that allows you to change the correction setting for each dog.
Need pet behavioural advice? Dr. Issam Kadri specializes in behavioural counselling for pet owners. Contact us today for a consultation.