Pets who are great escape artists may need owners to invest in containment. However, regular fence around your backyard is not always affordable. An electric dog fence is the most popular cost-effective option that will help prevent your pup from becoming a nuisance around the neighborhood or getting into trouble.
While traditional fences provide the same purpose of containing and protecting your pet, electric dog fences, on top of costing far less, have the advantage of aesthetics and convenience since there are no physical obstructions and no gates to open or close. This type of fencing is also faster to set up and breakdown later, as opposed to building a solid fence made of wood, concrete or other materials.
There are many pros and cons to this type of fencing, and for a more detail explanation, I recommend you listed to our podcast episode with a fence expert here. Note that if you choose an invisible dog fence, you still need time and patience to install it first and then train your dog to understand how it works. For a visual explanation of how electric fences for dogs are installed and how they work, take a look at Samantha's review here.
Invisible Fences Require Some Training
Seeing as how an electric fence is invisible, dogs are unable to detect it right away. They do have great vision and hearing but your dog unfortunately can’t see something that technically isn’t there. In order to help them with this new arrangement, you must be able to take the time out of your day to teach them about boundaries.
When picking among different dog fences, any of these companies will make this task a little easier by providing flags that you can easily set up around the perimeter of your yard. Some will include the manual and instructions in the form of a booklet and/or video to make the process go a little more smoothly. Simply walk your dog by leash around the confines of the flags to give them an idea of how far they’re allowed to roam.
The Barrier is Extremely Limited
If you’ve reached the point where you need an electric dog fence, it’s probably because you’re fed up with your pup escaping your yard and your worried about their safety. Wireless dog fences might be an excellent tool for keeping your dog within the confines of your yard, but there’s nothing to stop intruders or predators from getting in.
This can be problematic in the sense that your canine has no way to escape from danger should they be put in a position where they have to fend for themselves. Regardless of whether or not you have an in-ground fence set up, consider getting an additional solid barrier to protect your pet. It’s not uncommon for stray dogs, bobcats, bears, and other wild animals to wander in; this is especially true if you live out in the country or near mountains.
Know Who Your Neighbors Are
Another thing to take into consideration is other people or young children who may taunt and tease your dog, which happens extremely often even with a regular fence. It’s unfortunate that we can’t always trust the people who live around us, but when it comes to your dog’s safety, make an effort to get to know the people next door.
Even if you’ve lived in the area for years and get along perfectly with everyone around you, there’s no telling who might come along with bad intentions. You don't want anyone to tease the dog or do anything that will prompt him to run, escape and hurt himself.
Give Your Dog Extra Security and Never Leave Them Alone
Once both you and your pupper have gotten used to the “new norm” of the electric pet fence, it’s easy to get comfortable. Although these dog fences are incredibly useful and tend to work pretty well once your dog adjusts, you should still proceed with caution.
If possible, add a security camera to your home before installing the fence; preferably one that allows you to check in on your phone so that you can see how your dog is doing.
Feel free to go inside and cook dinner, or get some work done in your study, but do not leave your home while your dog is still outside with only a wireless fence to protect them. Aside from the issues listed above, there is always the possibility of your pet breaching the fence if they aren’t affected by the shock of their collar because of a distraction or situation in which they need to escape to protect themselves.
If the dog does get out, they will not be able to get back inside without pain or discomfort, and this can be incredibly distressing for the animal. A security camera isn’t a must, but it’s much better to be able to pick up your phone and see the moment an emergency occurs rather than coming outside to sad, unexpected situation.
You Won’t Have to Worry About Human Error
Now that we’ve covered some of the more serious parts of buying an electric fence for dogs of your household, you might take some comfort in knowing that they are pretty secure as far as you and I go. Some dogs may climb over or dig under a fence, but a lot of times owners will forget to close the gate or fail to properly secure the latch.
Unless you forget to activate it, you won’t ever have to worry about your Fido getting out and being hit by a car because you failed to shut the door.
Repairs Aren’t Necessary
Unlike a regular fence, rain, snow, sleet, and the shifting ground won’t damage an underground fence. With metal and wood, you can expect to see rust, chipping, and you’ll need to replace planks every so often. An electric dog fence continues to work so long as you have it properly installed and follow the instructions.
It May Actually Deter Intruders
While it’s possible that people will taunt your pooch, it’s also possible that they’ll be too frightened to step foot in your yard. Our dogs love to be the protector in our families, and if a potential burglar knows that there is a canine residing in and around your home, they’ll probably think two or three times before they ever try breaking into your house.
The General Outlook
Overall, an electronic pet fence could be a very useful addition for your dog, giving them more space to roam around and helping to reduce behaviors such as barrier aggression (dogs who are only aggressive when placed behind a fence.) Majority of them are low cost, and they’re easy to set up, but you'll notice that the best electric dog fence such as Extreme brand will cost far more than any others.
Remember that these devices do serve as punitive measure and similarly to shock collars, should really only be used in extreme circumstances when it’s necessary. Otherwise, a normally friendly dog may become withdrawn or fearful because every time they walk to the edge to say hello to others, they end up getting zapped.
With all of that being covered, we've tested a large number of different options. Here's our guide on purchasing your very first pet containment system for your backyard and the top recommended brands to consider.
15 Recommended Electric Dog Fences
1. Extreme Dog Fence – Second Generation
Designed for a 25-acre property, this fence system consists of a digital transmitter, three antennas, a waterproof dog collar, submersible, and waterproof in-ground wiring, heavy duty boundary wires, splice kits and staples, and three training flags. It has everything you need to set up the perimeter with the utmost protection, safety, and security for your beloved pet.
Our full video review:
As you can see in our video review, the fence is relatively easy to set up but does take time. This is also the highest quality product you can currently buy, and subsequently the most expensive. On the bright side, not only is this a very high quality time, but the eXtreme Dog Fence system is also backed by a 10-year warranty. That's 10 times as long as most competing electronic dog containment systems! All parts and the fence itself are assembled here in the USA, which is a very rare claim in the pet electronics industry.
2. PetSafe Basic In-Ground Fence
Provide a spacious playing ground for your pets that is safe and well-protected with this invisible fence system. This device can cover up to 5 acres and may be expanded if you get additional wires and flags to set up the whole perimeter. The set comes with a waterproof training collar that's ideal for dogs above 8 lbs in weight but you can also buy additional collars if you have more than one pet.
Our full video review:
The second top rated electronic in-ground fence on the market, PetSafe's item isn't anywhere as good as the Extreme brand, but it's easily your second best bet. Also, if you're on a budget this option is much more affordable than some other containment systems that can cost anywhere from $300 to $1,000+ depending on the size of the area that you need to cover. You can purchase the PetSafe Fence for $170 and additional collars can be purchased for about $70.
3. Extreme Dog Fence Max Grade Ultimate Performance
If the above version of Extreme fence wasn't expensive (and big) enough, this one will be. Offering the widest and most durable field signal, this invisible dog fence system provides maximum grade ultimate performance. When installed correctly, the fence can last up to 25 years. This is essentially the same brand but bigger and made for stronger performance. Once again, it offers a 10-year warranty from Extreme Dog company. The manufacturer also offers 24-hour assistance for users who might need guidance in installing this system.
4. PetSafe PIF00-12917 Stay & Play Fence
As there's an alternative to Extreme fence brand that's more expensive, there's also an alternative to PetSafe's above mentioned brand – and in the same fashion, it's also more expensive. There are no more wires to bury with this wireless fence system. Just set down the powerful adapter and transmitter in the yard and mark the area with training flags to teach your dog to respect the boundaries. Turn on the transmitter and the receiver collar after you've done with the set up and let your dog play and learn. This range covers less than an acre.
Our full video review:
With everything our reviewer said in the above video, there still is one drawback to this containment kit: the price tag. You can buy the Stay & Play system (with one receiver collar) for about $350. Each additional collar will cost another $140. But for that price, you can almost afford the highest quality Extreme brand, which is simply a better fence.
5. AngelaKerry Wireless Fence System with GPS
This wireless fence system has an anti-interference feature, which helps limit mistaken warnings. This has a GPS that can detect when your dog is out of bounds. It covers a maximum 2,600 feet range but you can adjust the settings to fit your needs. This is perfect for outdoor or backyard use but also for the campsite, farm, park or beach.
6. CO-Z Electronic Collar
Install the transmitter of this invisible fence around your house if you'd like to teach the dog not to enter certain areas. This device covers a radius of one to 6 feet and the receiver collar will fit small dog to medium-sized dogs. The collar is super lightweight and will not limit your dog's activities.
7. PetSafe Pawz Away Pet Barriers
PetSafe, a trusted name brand, offers the perfect indoor dog fence that can cover an area of up to 6 feet. This battery-operated device can effectively deter your dog from going into rooms, furniture or the trash can. Properly situate the transmitter barrier near the area you want the dog to stay away from for the best results.
8. FunAce Underground Wired Pet Containment System
This electric fence for dogs requires burying 24-gauge copper wires specifically for outdoor use. The wires transmit to a rechargeable receiver collar that will send three different warnings to the dog if he tries to go beyond the boundary. The settings are customizable so you can create a conducive play area for your dog and prevent him from digging the garden bed.
8. Earlyhights Underground Containment System
This fence kit features an advanced invisible pet system that can cover up to 10 acres of your property. The two training collars that come with this kit, on the other hand, are ideal for all sizes of dogs. The containment system gives your dog the freedom and space but also the boundary and protection. This kit comes with a training guide and 20 training flags.
10. Barko Invisible Fence for Dogs
Barko's fence system works for pet owners with little or no experience in the installation. The set-up is easy to follow in the user's manual. This set also contains a training guide. The collar is fitted with an enhanced sensors for the utmost reliability. This fence system covers an outstanding 24,000 feet radius.
11. DOGTEK Electric Dog Fence Kit
Designed with a state-of-the-art transmitter, this fence kit can be set between two zones around a 500 feet perimeter. Allow your dog to play freely in the yard and still be protected and secured without an ugly containment fence. You can adjust the correction and warning distance of this set up to your liking.
12. PetSafe Rechargeable In-Ground Fence for Dogs
Train an unlimited number of dogs to learn about boundaries with his invisible dog fence kit. Just buy additional basic PetSafe receiver collars to sync on the transmitter. The system is featured with a surge protector in case of lightning or power surges.
13. Free Spirit Fence
The Free Spirit containment kit works on a one-acre property but you can expand its functionality with an additional collar or wire purchases. The transmitter can accommodate an unlimited number of dogs to train. You can set the collar's vibration and shock level to five corrections.
14. OKPET Electronic Dog Fence
This fenceless perimeter protection may be adjusted within a 10 to 900 feet radius. The set comes with receiver collar for two dogs. The collar will automatically vibrate or send a static shock if the dog is near the perimeters or boundaries. This is a stable device that won't cause over shocking. It's recommended for use in dogs over 10 lbs.
15. JustPet Wireless Fence
No need to bury wires in your property for this fence. It's the more intelligent system that makes use of a dog collar as the receiver. The signals of this device can extend to 900 feet. It will work for both indoor and outdoor use if you're teaching your dog to learn some boundaries.
Using an Electric Pet Fence Safely
The electric charge that comes from these dog fences or its receiver collars might be comparable to a cold splash of water on the face. It doesn't hurt the dog but it will startle him and stop his movements. However, it's always possible to misuse the device, or use it improperly and hurt the dog. For this reason, always make sure to test the device and study the manual before attempting to use it with your pooch.
Also to remember to train the dog to learn the boundaries for a few hours a day at most, and never leave the collar for too long or when you're leaving home. The collar from this kit must not be used like a regular collar.
Always check the battery and fit of the fence collar and the reliability of the transmitter every time you start the training. Do not use the invisible fence collar for more than 8 hours and never keep it on the dog’s neck overnight.