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Are invisible dog fences safe?

From a physical perspective, dog fences are safe for most pets; but, if your dog already has a significant health problem, he or she may be an exception. If you have any concerns at all about whether an invisible dog fence will physically harm your dog, you should consult your vet before installing one. Every vet is familiar with how invisible dog fences work, and should be able to offer you guidance that is specific to your own dog's health.

For many people, though, when they ask, "Are invisible dog fences safe?," what they really mean is are they psychologically damaging. As someone who has used static correction-based dog fences for years to successfully contain pets, I can answer you honestly: It depends.

Here are the basic criteria I would use to evaluate whether an invisible dog fence is psychologically appropriate for your dog:

How old is your dog? If your dog is younger than 6 months old, you should consider waiting before training him to understand an invisible dog fence. Before that age, he is still very much a puppy; to reinforce and strengthen his bond with you, you should accompany him whenever he goes outside and use a leash and positive reinforcement to help him stay nearby. If you have extenuating circumstances that prevent you from making that commitment, please consult your vet before deciding to introduce a dog fence.

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What brand/model of dog fence collar will you buy? If you want your dog to have the best possible experience on a dog fence, make sure to purchase a brand/model of receiver (the thing your dog will wear around his neck) that includes at least five different correction levels. That way, you can start your training using very low correction levels, and then gradually raise the correction until it is effective for your dog's unique temperament. Single-level receivers do not offer this option, running the risk of frightening sensitive dogs and not deterring tough or stubborn dogs.

Are you willing to spend time training your dog to understand his new invisible dog fence? If you aren't, then don't install one. Seriously. Invisible dog fences are nothing more than training tools; if you just install a fence, stick the receiver on your dog, and put him in the backyard to figure it out on his own, he WILL become confused and you will run a significant risk of needlessly frightening him. That's unfair (and kinda mean, if you ask me).

A final word: Invisible dog fences have been available to consumers for over 30 years, and are endorsed both by veterinarians and animal welfare groups like the ASPCA (American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals) and the IACP (International Association of Canine Professionals). When used correctly on healthy dogs of an appropriate age, they are a safe and humane way to keep your pet safely in your yard and out of danger.

Did this article answer your question? If not, Google the keyword phrase "dog fence safe" to learn more:

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Invisible Fence®, PetSafe®, Guardian®, Innotek®, SportDOG®, RadioFence®, ComfortFit™, UltraLight™, Deluxe In-Ground Fence™, and Contain N Train® are trademarks of Radio Systems Corporation. PetStop®, Wire-Free®, and Perimeter are trademarks of Perimeter Technologies. DogWatch® is a registered trademark of DogWatch Inc. is not affiliated with Radio Systems Corp, Perimeter Technologies, or DogWatch Inc. and diclaims any interest in any trademarks not its own.

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