All inner city dog owners secretly envy those in the suburbs or the country – having a yard, an open grass space where your dog can run, jump, play and have fun is a great benefit that not all pet owners get to enjoy. But having a yard is not always as easy as one may think. You'll need to train your pup to stay in that yard, otherwise he'll be exposed to various dangers. A wireless dog fence can make boundary training easier for you and your pet.
Talking to pet owners and browsing dog forums, it's clear how there's a common problem among those living in houses with yards. “He's always running away! How do I make sure my dog actually stays inside the yard while I’m away?!” This is especially true for those with escape artist breeds who will do whatever they can leave your backyard and seek their freedom.
Proper containment is crucial for the pet's safety, and there are a few options like physical fences, dog stakes and a few others. A wireless dog fence may be one of the most popular options we have today and it offers a number of benefits, but it's also not without disadvantages. So here's what you should know before buying one:
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Wireless Dog Fence
12 things you must know before buying it
Keeping Dogs Contained
Table of Contents
- Keeping Dogs Contained
- What is a Wireless Dog Fence?
- Limitations and Problems
- Benefits of a Wireless Dog Fence
Most dog breeds may be generally less athletic than most cats, but a lot of pet owners – including people that have owned their dog for years – are often surprised to discover the true limit of their pet’s athletic prowess. A lot of dog breeds can jump and climb fences, walls and trees that seem impossible to us.
If your first thought is that these are just the extremes and that not all dogs can do that, then you'd be right. However, you need to consider whether or not you're willing to take that chance with that your pup.
Are you sure that the environment surrounding your house is safe for your dog? Are you certain that your dog won’t get lost? These are questions that will make most pet owners uneasy, and using a wireless dog fence can ease these worries and give you peace of mind.
The simple fact of the matter is that basic physical wooden/stone/wired fences are often a must-have for a dog-owner’s yard, but they are also often not enough. Unless you want to turn your house and yard into a fortress that can only be accessed through the door or a helicopter pad, you should always keep an eye on your dog.
A lot of pet owners set up web cams in their yard while they are away to find out what their dog is doing while they are away. And, while most of them are often surprised by what they see, the major problem is that once the deed is done and your dog is out, there’s often not much you can do.
So, what can you do to stop your furry escape artist from getting into trouble? Well, aside from the pretty much must-have GPS activity monitor you can attach to its collar in case it escapes, the next logical step is to consider a wireless fence.
What is a Wireless Dog Fence?
Well, it surely isn’t just the opposite of a wired fence, that’s a given. In fact, a wireless fence isn’t really a fence, it just acts as one. A wireless fence is a radio device that you simply plug into an outlet in your house. From there it emits a simple radio signal in a radius around itself and around the house.
The range of that radius depends on the device, as well as on how you set it up. Generally, it can vary from 10 feet to 150 feet. At maximum, a wireless fence can cover multiple acres!
This radio signal can be detected by a device that’s put into your dog’s collar or rather, in your dog’s new collar that you get when you purchase a wireless dog fence system. And, whenever your dog gets close to the circular perimeter formed by the radio emissions, the collar gives out a sound warning that aims to stop Fido in his tracks.
Should your dog ignore the sound (which isn’t unlikely, especially if he isn't trained) after several more feet, the collar emits a mild electric stimulation that’s usually referred to as a “static correction.” It's nothing painful or hurtful, just enough of a stimulation in order to surprise your dog and stop him in his tracks.
A wireless dog fence is quite similar in its purpose to a standard, training shock collar.
By themselves, the beeping and static correction aren't going to be able to protect your dog. If a wireless fence is to work for your dog, he needs to be trained to work with it. This is known as boundary training, and most wireless dog fence systems come with detailed instructions on how to train your pet to understand his physical boundaries.
What this training includes is pretty similar to a standard shock collar training. You’ll walk with the dog and train him that the sound and the static warnings are to be acknowledged and obeyed. Following the sound’s and the shock’s commands is something that’s rewarded, and ignoring them is bad.
If dog training isn’t your forte, then it may not be a bad idea to talk to a specialist, but if you are fairly competent with training your dog, you shouldn’t have much trouble. A well-trained dog will obey the warnings of its collars without hesitation, no matter the temptations that await him or her beyond the invisible barrier of the wireless fence’s radio transmitter.
Ideally, a wireless fence works best together with a real fence, be it a wooden, stone or wired one. This is only ideal, however, if the yard is really big – since the wireless fence needs to be set up with a radius inside the physical fence, and since it has to ranges of its own – the range of the sound warning and the range of the shock warning – if the yard is not big enough, you risk making your dog’s living space way too small.
MORE INFORMATION: Pros & Cons of Wireless Dog Containment Systems
Limitations and Problems
Wireless dog fence systems are not perfect. While they are ideal for some homes, they won't work for every pet owner. Here are some of the limitations and problems that may determine whether or not a wireless dog fence is the right way to contain your Fido:
1. Only offers a circular perimeter
A wireless fence can only be set up in a circle. Since from a strictly technological standpoint you can’t set up radio waves to be emitted in a square-shape formation, the yard space that is going to be covered by a wireless fence is always going to be circular.
If that doesn’t work with the shape of your property, your yard or your physical fence, than a wireless fence is simply not for you. Instead, you may want to look into an underground dog fence.
2. Not ideal for uneven terrain
Wireless fences work best only on fairly even terrains. If your property or yard has too many slopes and bumps, the radio emission may not be ideal. And, when that’s the case, you might as well use a wooden fence with actual holes in it. Since near-perfectly flat yards and properties are not always available, a wireless dog fence may not be the best choice here either.
If you are uncertain as to whether the terrain of your yard is suitable for a wireless fence, it is best to consult with the manufacturer. Ask them for a detailed and fair opinion on your yard and provide them with all the information they can use to give you the best possible advice. Sure, it’s in every manufacturer’s interest to simply make a sale, but they also don’t want unsatisfied clients.
3. Large items may interfere
Big obstacles such as trees, garages, or other large objects also interfere with the radio transition. This usually doesn’t mean that your yard should be completely devoid of any items, but you should carefully make sure that the radio emission successfully reaches your property’s perimeter without any hiccups.
4. Is your yard big enough?
As we mentioned above, wireless fences for dogs work wonders with physical ones. However, they only work when the yard is big enough. Otherwise, the wireless fence will limit the dog’s playground/living space too much and make it unusable.
5. They don't work in every climate
As all radio waves, the radio emissions of the wireless fence are influenced by the atmospheric conditions. Just like your Wi-Fi or radio signals aren’t always at 100%, so will be the case with your wireless fence. Make sure that the climate where you live is suitable for a wireless fence, as well as that even when the radio signal becomes weaker and the perimeter becomes smaller, your dog will still be okay.
6. They allow others animals to enter your yard
Wireless fences work only for your dog, or in other words – only for whoever wears the collar of the wireless fence. This, in other words, means that while your dog won’t be leaving your property, other animals, including stray dogs or wildlife, will be perfectly free to enter it.
This is especially dangerous when you are living in an area that has a lot of wildlife – coyotes, for example, are known to attack small domesticated dogs quite often. Make sure that not only the terrain and the weather, but the fauna around your home is also suitable for a wireless fence.
7. You must do the work
Last but not least, wireless dog fences require you to train your dog. An untrained dog will only be mildly inconvenienced by a wireless fence and will after that proceed to chase down squirrels, birds and cars care-free throughout your neighborhood.
If you are not confident in your abilities to properly train your dog to obey the wireless fence, then you should get a professional to help you. You could also simply look for another way to contain your dog.
VIDEO GUIDE: How To Train A Dog To Stay In the Yard
Benefits of a Wireless Dog Fence
Now, those seem like quite a lot of negatives, don’t they? Don’t take it the wrong way, however. Yes, wireless dog fences are not suitable for every home and for every dog. Yet, when they work, they work beautifully.
The key to the whole situation is to carefully analyze all the pros and cons of your situation, property and pet. You'll then be able to determine whether or not to get a wireless fence or to choose another method for fencing your yard.
And, to further ease this analysis, here are some of the undisputed positives of wireless fences:
1. They're easy to setup and use
No other method of fencing your property is as easy to set up as a wireless fence. As long as the terrain is suitable, all you need to do is plug in the radio emitter in your house, set up its range, and that’s it.
Yes, you need to train your dog to respond to the collar. But, training your pet is something that most responsible dog owners do anyway, so it shouldn’t be much of a bother.
2. Installation is free
The whole installation is not only quick, but is also exceptionally cheap – or free, excluding the price of the device itself. We're all on a budget, right? A wireless dog fence is going to be much more affordable than any type of physical fence.
You don’t need to dig holes for a wooden fence or an underground one, you don’t need to raise it up to 12 or 15 feet, you don’t need to maintain it – it’s just there, like an invisible, magical field that protects your dog from its own instincts.
3. A wireless dog fence is invisible
This is definitely not a small benefit – with a lot of dog, especially skillful expert artists like terriers or pit bulls, even a 12-foot wired fence can be inefficient. To stop such an athlete with a physical fence sometimes means turning your yard into an impenetrable fortress and as a result – cutting your entire view to the outside world. Not with a wireless fence – it will do its job perfectly, while you stare blissfully to whatever lies beyond your yard.
4. A wireless dog fence is portable
Something a lot of people often forget to consider is that the wireless fence is also portable! Think about it for a second – next summer your partner decides that you should go camping. Naturally, you take the dog with you.
How do you make sure that he doesn’t get into trouble while you are camping, however? With a wireless fence it’s exceptionally easy – you just take the entire fence with you! Imagine, bringing a 3 acre wooden fence to a camping trip – now that’d be an adventure. With a wireless fence it’s not even a concern.
5. They can be paired with a physical fence
If your yard or property is big enough, the combination of a physical fence and a wireless fence is a surefire guarantee that your dog will always be safe inside your yard whatever happens.