Not cruel if you train the dog to it. It is not just install and let dog learn he gets zapped if he tries to leave! You have to do boundry training.
OTOH, it will not stop a determined dog! It is designed to keep a dog from wandering, not to stop a highly motivated dog from charging through. And once they go through they may find the reward worth the pain! (Friends dog did) Other problem is that they cant get back in without being zapped again (unless you turn the collar off).
My experiences are from a few years ago so they may have better systems, but still dont think they work for all dogs. So read the literature and consider your situation carefully.
Oh, HELL NO. Letting your dog run willy nilly, allowing it to be hit by a car or run after a neighbors chickens or pack up with other dogs is cruel. Containing it, using whatever means are necessary, is certainly NOT cruel.
I live in suburbia and have a wooden fence AND an invisible fence. Koa was jumping on--launching herself AT--the wooden fence, and scaring the shit out of people walking by. She was damaging my fence. She was working herself up. And it was only a matter of time before she went over and was OUT.
I installed in invisible fence that keeps her OFF of my real fence. There is training involved...the dog needs to learn to move AWAY when the collar gives a warning beep, and there are a few "yip!!!" moments when the dog tests the fence following training. But after perhaps 3 days the yips stopped and the dog just stays away from the fence.
It's better for all of us. Koa no longer works herself up over people or dogs walking by the fence. I am no longer yelling at her for jumping on the fence. The fence isn't taking any more damage. And the dog isn't going to be hit by a car after she goes over the fence.
I've been using the Invisible Fence for over 12 years now and 4 dogs later and still love it.
When we first bought our home, It just wasn't condusive to put up a traditional fence so went with the Invisible fence brand and have been very pleased with it and the training program that they offer,
The biggest mistake people make is not taking the time to properly train your dog on the fence and how it works. It means putting in a bit of time to work with the dog, but it is worth it in the long run.
I've been lucky, all my dogs have been weenies and have no desire to try and challenge the fence. However there are some very strongwilled breeds out there that an invisible fence will not work on. The moment of pain is worth it to them to get out and do what they want to do.
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We have an electric fence (installed it ourselves) for our German Shepherd as do the neighbor's two Newfies and a Basset. Everyone does great with their fences! Yes, there is a training period of leash walking the border before using the collar. Next step we did was the put the collar on but follow her with a long leash, when she got close and got a warning we directed her away from the fence. Then she was on her own. Yep, she tested it a few times, but figured out that going past the buzzing sound got you zapped. Doesn't go past the buzzing sound, even to chase rabbits/squirrels. Now, if she really needed to get someone away from her house, I think she would cross the fence... but that's GSD for ya. She's also been trained on the difference between hanging out in her electric collar and going for a walk.
I'd only use one in conjunction with a real fence. As someone else pointed out, a determined dog will simply run through the momentary shock. (One of my coworkers has a clever dog which will lie on the property line listening to the collar beep until the battery dies. Then she runs off.) Plus the invisible fence won't keep other dogs out.
Heck no........I bought one on Craigslist brand new for $35 for my Border Collie. He got shocked one time and he never went near it again. He only wore the collar for 6 months and now we don't even have the fence out anymore.
They are good tools to keep your pet safe. However, if you live on a busy road I would not rely on them to keep them safe.
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It is not abusive to use invisible fences, but it is a definite second best to a proper fence.
If you can only have invisible fence, it is better than nothing, but always remember other animals and people can come in to bother your dogs, unlike with good, solid fences, that keep your dogs from wandering and others from coming in to harm your dog.
As others have said, they dont work for some dogs. We used to have one but when my dog got older, she couldnt hear the warning beep anymore, so her first 'warning' was the shock and then she was already through.
Ive heard it doesnt work with sight or scent hounds. When they see prey, they tend to have a one track mind and forget the fence is there.
I dont think they are cruel if the dog is trained. I know alot of people who use them with a real fence because the dog was trying to dig out or jump over.
I love our invisible fence, but it doesn't work for some dogs. Our dogs are weenies and get incredibly upset (complete with tail between legs, crying, and running to us) if they even get beeped at. Our lab got zapped twice early on and our second dog hasn't ever (to my knowledge) been shocked. We spent the time to train them so they understand *why* they are getting shocked and *what* to do when the fence beeps. Our then 1yr old hound/border collie mix learned to run backwards when the fence beeped and never even got shocked! Once we taught him he should be scared of the beep, that was all he needed.
Both dogs can go out without their collars. The BC/hound usually wears his just as a precaution due to his tendency to leave the area when he gets scared, but the old lady lab rarely does. Once a year or so she starts pushing the boundaries, so we put he collar on, she gets beeped at and is good for another year.
However, we are *constantly* returning our neighbors lab to his yard. They never trained him to the fence and leave him outside for long periods of time and never walk him. For him, a brief shock is worth the freedom. I would never under any circumstances trust a strong willed, highly prey driven, or a dog with any aggression (dog, human, or other) with just an invisibe fence.
Splitting my time between Brightwood, VA and Oyster Bay, NY
They are not cruel. I echo everyone's comments above and add this. I placed a sweet, good natured Jack Russell puppy about 6 months old with a family that had pugs. The pugs never had a problem with the electric fence. The Jack, lots of problems. The family did train him but the problem was the way they had rigged the fence. Instead of making it a series of straight lines they made bending lines that followed the extravagant flower gardens which made it hard for him to learn boundaries. They also ran it across the driveway EXACTLY where visitors were forced to stop their car (due to the position of other cars in the driveway/parking area). This meant every time Talon would go to challenge a visitor, he'd get zapped. It didn't take long for him to associate stranger=ZAP and as soon as the stepped away from the vehicle he would bite them.
After several incidents they called me to come and get him. I drove up stopped my car and Talon tried to bite ME. Once I was well away from the vehicle and I was able to talk to him, he was a friendly dog again. But I still had to euthanize him. :sad:
I know others who've had Jack Russells with electric fences who swear by them. I know another Scotty who associated the zap with the trainer hired to get him familiar with the fence. At the second zap he went after the trainer. MONTHS later when he saw the trainer in a completely different setting he went after him again, and people who shared a similar body shape were always met with suspicion until the dog died.
I will never use an electric fence, but I think it really depends on the breed and temperment of the dog you're trying to contain. Dogs with high prey drive will be harder to contain, and once out will not take the hit to get back in.
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Not all invisible fence systems are created equal. I have the Innotek UltraSmart Contain n Train system that my boyfriend and I installed ourselves (using an edger). This is what was recommeded to me by the no-kill animal rescue that I got my lab mix from.
You can set the distance that the signal will be sent to. I think the max is 10 ft on each side of where the wire is. The dog will get a warning beep then a shock that continues all the way to the wire and on the other side of the wire. I would never use a system that just gives one shock and the dog could just go through it and be free. My dog is stubborn, smart, and has an extremely strong prey drive (was at the rescue b/c he is a cat killer). He has never gone through it even when he sees bunnies, deer, and squirrels outside of the yard. I took 2 weeks to train him on it before I let him off of the leash. Then I would walk with him in the yard just to keep an eye on him. If you take your time to train the dog properly on it, it is a reliable containment method.
The system also has a training remote with it so he doesn't have to wear 2 collars (1 for the fence and 1 for my corrections).
, a determined dog will simply run through the momentary shock.
the better-designed fences don't just give a "momentary" shock- the one I had, Innotek, had a "no run through" ten-foot zone- I strapped the collar on ME and tried to run through it, and couldn't force myself to do it, the beeping got louder and faster and the shocks came faster and stronger until I turned and ran back. My dogs NEVER went through the zone- I'd see them in full chase of a deer, then they would just stop dead right before the boundary.
I think two of the dogs never even experienced a single shock- they took to the training of the boundary so well, and two others we trained to it only had a handful of shocks at first and then happily went for years without a shock. After training properly you could even forget to put the collars on and the dogs still wouldn't leave.
I've heard of more dogs getting out of "real" fences than getting out of invisible fences. Fences are "unpopular" in my neighborhood and everyone has an invisible fence. And we don't have roaming dogs.
You DO have to do the full training, though.
If your dog is "escaping" what you currently have, have you thought about why? is the dog getting the exercise/ mental stimulation it needs or is it not and therefore motivated to go seek it out?
Agree w/ other posters that they are not cruel if properly trained. Had one in ohio - around two acres - now in Florida around 1 acre. Here, just put up the flags for a while and the dogs KNEW what they were about. My three using this fence have been mixes, though one was 1/2 coonhound. Our neighbor had a full bred coonhound and he never went near his line!
I've heard that it is primarily SIGHT hounds that are a problem; one other neighbor had an Afghan and he went thru often. But part of that may have been a training issue...not sure.
Also, I do not leave my dogs out for long periods of time unattended, nor do I leave them out if I go to run an errand.
I've had other dogs come into the yard; I dont worry much about that; mine are not aggressive to other dogs and we've never had a problem.
They are not good solutions on smaller properties; I've found that my dogs make their own (different) boundaries which are sometimes much smaller than necessary. If the lot is small, that leaves them no room to move!