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The Shocking Truth About Invisible Fences

Written by PETA | November 19, 2012

We all know by now that chaining or tying up dogs outside is cruel and dangerous, right? But if you’re thinking that an “invisible fence” is a safe way to give your dog some time outdoors, think again.

Painful, Dangerous, and Bewildering

Like us, dogs are made of flesh and blood and nerve endings, three things that don’t mix well with electricity. Invisible fences deliver a painful shock when dogs cross a buried electrical wire. There are collars that do the same thing. Some are controlled by the owner, who keeps a remote-control shocking device handy to be used whenever the owner feels that the dog has misbehaved, while others shock automatically, triggered by barking. Beyond the physical pain and the anticipatory fear that the shocks induce, these devices can injure a dog both physically—from burns to cardiac fibrillation—and psychologically, causing severe anxiety and displaced aggression.

Not understanding why or how they’re being hurt, dogs subjected to shock collars and invisible fences may direct their fear or aggression toward what they believe is the source of the shock—which may be passing bicyclists, the mail carrier, or your neighbors’ children.

Punished for Coming Home

Has your dog ever recklessly bolted after a squirrel or in a panic at a loud noise? Dogs often run right through invisible fences in the heat of the moment, but to cross back over that line means that they’ll get a painful jolt—a prospect that leaves some too scared to return. And even if invisible fences succeed in keeping animals contained within certain boundaries, the nonexistent barrier certainly won’t protect them from cruel humans and roaming dogs or other animals who can easily come onto your property.

No dog should live in fear of getting shocked for barking or crossing an invisible line. Real fences and positive training methods in which dogs are rewarded for good behavior are humane and effective. If you want to give your dog a stimulating experience, throw a dog party instead!

Commenting is closed.
  • Sharon says:

    All you people that think electronic collars are great, wear one yourself
    for a month or two and see how you like it

  • Tina says:

    For all of you people who really believe that the electric collar method is cruel don’t have much experience with dogs. Years ago I had a husky who was like houdini. That dog was fenced,with an ordinary chainlink. tied on a together with a steal cable and chain and he could escape from it all. I now have a border collie and a jack russel who have been trained with the electric fence. Best invention ever! My dogs have only ever been shcked the once and it was a mild shock no worse than putting your tongue on a 9-volt battery, we tested it before using it on dogs. Now they remain in the yard with just a warning beep but they now know the boundaries and don’t even get that. As far as darting, dogs on an electric fence never forget where their boundaries are and will never dart across that line for anything, the beep comes quite a ways before the line. The fence gives my dogs freedom to run in a huge space including the woods behind my home and I never have the fear of them getting hit by a car. For those who said they dart across and can’t get back, do your research. As i said they don’t dart across that line and the fence makes it impossible too. They are shocked mildly as they cross but as they continue to go farther the shocks get harder forcing them back inside to get relief. I knw many with an electric fence and don’t know of any problems with it. You compare this t spanking a child, well I spanked 1 of my children once and it was when he ran out on the road and nearly got hit. I spanked his bum hard and yes it did scare him, from ever darting onto the road again! Probaly saved his life! Well worth the drop of fear I installed! I feel the same about my dogs. I love them dearly and love being able to gve the that comfort and freedom withut putting their life at risk.If you really want your children or pets to go through life withut any kind of discomfort or pain then you had better build them a bubble wrapped house and keep them away from others. Oh don’t have electricity or heat, plastic melts if ever a fire!

    • Jen says:

      Tina I like your style. I think as long as the animals best interests are met there are many possible scenarios when raising a pet. Thanks for feedback. And also PETA for posting their concerns for animals as well. It should help me make informed decision for myself and our families pet needs.

  • Vinyl Fences says:

    Today’s fence industry has advanced far beyond a simple wooden privacy fence or a plain chain link fence to secure your yard. When vinyl fences exploded into the industry, it brought a whole new level of beauty, value and privacy to your property.

  • Benett Freeman says:

    The fact that electrocuting animals is not a good idea is hardly ‘shocking’ – pun usage aside – just as the violence hominids perpetrate on each other is not a good thing either. But people have been so dumbed-down that it is necessary for their to exist an article saying electrocuting dogs is a bad idea, and – try as we might – us voluntaryists have not made a great deal of progress (yet) towards getting the rest of you to see that government-perpetrated theft and violence is an absolutely despicable crime and should be roundly condemned as such. What’s interesting is that the excuse-making follows the same pattern. A: If I don’t electrocute my dog, he MIGHT run in front of a car = speculative consequentialism, totally ignoring the actual act itself. Same old tired use of ends justifying the means. B: If we don’t tyrannise you and take half of everything you earn, more poor people might suffer than currently do, and we won’t be able to protect you or make conditions sufficient for you to defend yourself. Violence has no excuse, whether you’re a dog torturer or an apologist for heteronomous and governmental abuse.

  • Apothus says:

    We have a lovely big dog that we picked up from a shelter. We love him to pieces but he was a chronic fence jumper and frequently scaled a 7 foot high sheet metal fence only to cut himself requiring stitches when he eventually got over the top. Finally, not wanting him to spend all day cooped up in the house we installed a traditional electric fence inside our garden perimeter. We used 40mm thick electrified tape so he could clearly see what caused the shock and ran it down the side of the house he would jump over. I tested it on myself and it really does hurt but the pain is brief with no side effects. Our poor boy shocked himself on it twice and has not jumped the fence again, we have left the tape in place but the power disconnected and he is much happier for it. He has not shown any aggression to us or the fence itself, nor any real fear towards it, he just doesnt push against it.

  • Jon says:

    @ Christine It’s always funny how much less kind people are to other people. You certainly are avid about preventing cruelty to animals. Maybe we should just try to be less cruel in general. Why is it ok to bully Rachel because she sees things differently? Christine, the harm you’re causing to Rachel with your hateful remarks may be even more painful than the shocking of an electric collar.

  • twitter fail says:

    I’ve heard from someone who uses a shock collar that it just tingles, and doesn’t hurt the animal. I’ve also heard this same person yell at her dog “you’d better come here or I’ll shock you!” Shock collars are inhumane and cruel, whether it’s a training device or invisible fence. If you want a dog, invest the time in training it gently and lovingly, and build a real fence to keep him safe.

  • Ben says:

    Actually Christine, I have felt the shock of a dog collar, which while slightly jolting, it nothing unbearable. Add the fact that dogs have an incredibly high tolerance for pain, I highly doubt any dog being trained to stay in a yard with an electric fence is being traumatized. How do you think dogs were first domesticated in any case? With unconditional love and affection?

  • Cloofy says:

    … You could build an actual fence, then the dog is safe and doesn’t have to be hurt. You might have been smacked but I imagine I’d be a bit creeped out if someone was electrocuting their child every time they wandered off in the supermarket or yelled…

  • Chris says:

    I totally disagree. Our pets are our responsibilities. If you do not have a fenced-in yard, taking your dog out on a leash is a must. A dog can be startled or bolt for many reasons, and a leash will certainly take care of any harm they may encounter because of it. An invisible fence shocks an animal, as as the article states, can lead to physical issues as well as psychological ones. As far as the statement on spanking, the generalization that all parents spank is off base. Although many parents have and still do use this method of “discipline” it is nothing more than adults getting their frustrations out on their children becaus they haven’t developed a better way of dealing with the situation. I was spanked as a child and can attest that it only lead to fear (not respect) of the parent doing the spanking and not a true understanding of why they are being physically hurt by someone who is suppose to love them. Which brings us back to our pets; they trust us to keep them from harm. Electric fences are nothing more than a convenience for adults and a very confusing and painful situation to have a family pet put in.

  • Christine says:

    Rachel, go put this collar on yourself and go see how much “fun” it is since you support this cruelty. What you feel is what the animal feels. Glad you enjoy pain, animals don’t. We need less cruel people like you in this world!

  • Rachel says:

    I have no problem with invisible fences because they do no harm to the animal. Yes, it does shock them but it’s for their safety, probably better they run into that than the front of a car. It’s not like your parents didn’t spank you when you were little and after it happened once you didn’t do it. Then you learned not to get hurt you don’t do whatever you did.