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Invisible fence for farm dogs?

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  • Invisible fence for farm dogs?

    How well do they really work?

    I have 2 Aussies that like to run (and chase birds, stray dogs, etc) onto the road. We are on 4 acres and are thinking of putting one of these up:


    PetSafe In-Ground Radio Fence Deluxe Pet Containment System
    Model PRF-304W (Deluxe) - For Pets Over 8 lbs. - Covers 25 Acres
    SKU: 564583
    PetSafe In-Ground Radio Fence Deluxe Pet Containment System
    The Deluxe Radio Fence incorporates all the benefits of the Standard Radio Fence plus:

    Deluxe transmitter with AC adapter which covers up to 25 acres
    Five adjustable levels to fit the sensitivity of your dog.
    Low battery indicator.
    Anti-Linger: doesn’t allow the dog to hang out right on the border and run the battery down.
    Run Through Protection: automatically ramps to a higher level if the dog is running toward the border at a high rate of speed.

    I undertand training is a big part of it, but the bottom line is, will this type of fence effectively stop a running (chasing) dog from going on the road?

    Experiences? Good? Bad? Not worth it? Yes works great?
    "When life gives you scurvy, make lemonade."

  • #2
    I didn't buy the exact model that you posted but I bought a brand new one still in the package on Craigslist for $35 It works fantastic for my Border Collie. All it took was one shock and he never went near the fence line again. Although he is a super sensitive dog to trauma. He did eventually figure out if he didn't have the collar on that he wouldn't get shocked so we just leave it on him when he is outside.
    RIP Sucha Smooth Whiskey
    May 17,2004 - March 29, 2010
    RIP San Lena Peppy
    May 3, 1991 - March 11, 2010


    • #3
      I personally would never trust an electronic fence to stop dogs from chasing small animals. The shock is only momentary for a dog running at full speed and many dogs bull right through them. And then, after they're done chasing, they are stuck outside of the fence and may not be as motivated to get back inside.

      I am not a fan of electronic fences, because (1) I don't use shock collars, (2) they don't stop really motivated dogs, and (3) they don't keep other animals from coming into the yard, and while that is undesirable enough as it is I think it is really unfair to allow strange dogs into and out of a yard without giving the resident dogs some avenue of escape. I know a lot of people use electronic fences and are happy with them, but for my three Border Collies (one of whom is a very enthusiastic cat and squirrel chaser) I would never trust anything less than a hard fence, even though they all have rock-solid recalls. I want them to be secure in their yard when they are out there.

      Is it possible to put up a real fence and create a secure dog yard? That would be my personal preference. I often walk past dogs behind electronic fences in my neighborhood and I hate to see them back there simultaneously defending their territory and cringing away from the boundaries of the yard. I also wonder what they would do if the power was out after having spent so much time being frustrated and anxious about getting shocked. Aussies are guardy anyway and I would worry that they may become TOO defensive, if you get my drift.
      MelanieC * Canis soloensis


      • #4
        I swapped my late Malamute from an in-ground wire shock fence to a radio shock fence.
        What a difference! I'll never use the in ground wire again.
        Mals are tall, super thick coats and stubborn as mules. Kodiak was more than happy to take a single zap to go walkabout. (and that's all he ever did, walk around, not chasing anything or following a scent)
        After I swapped to the radio fence...well instead of one shock when they leave the containment area they get a warning zap...a few seconds and then followed by zaps every other second until they return. No possibility of the dog "taking on for the team" and then going off. They return every single time and immediately. At a run!

        My Mal has since passed away and my current dog does not leave the specified yard area. Not even chasing deer...he'll bolt after one all out and when he hits his "no zone" he skids to a stop. We live far from the road and when he goes out, I go out. So I hadn't used my radio fence for a few years.

        My niece moved down the road from me and not too long ago got her first dog. A Walker Hound. A "chase anything that moves and follow every scent" hound. He's just turned 6 months old, I gave her my radio fence and collar and she bought new flags to train him with. That was a month ago, it took one day to teach him and he's now able to go outside and doesn't go anywhere near his boundaries! Even if they go for a walk, he sits inside the yard and waits.

        So it's a pretty good fence for those "hard to contain" type dogs IMO. I have/had a...erm...I think it was called a Guardian? I bought it 7 years ago at a Petco for $200. Worth every penny. It's a smaller one, works for up to 1/2 acre I think. But it's nice that it can be moved and used anywhere there's somewhere to plug it in. I've brought it on picnics so my dog could come and stay in the area.

        No wires to bury, nothing but a unit you plug in inside the house and the receiving collar. The unit sends out a signal to the collar so it does NOT zap (opposite of the wire in the ground type) and if the dog leaves the area it keeps zapping until they return, so no chance of a dog rocketing past the shock zone when excited and getting away. They rocket past the zone...stop dead, yip and circle a second and then rocket even faster back to the house!
        You jump in the saddle,
        Hold onto the bridle!
        Jump in the line!


        • #5
          well, thanks Misty- see my thread on rotties...they could've cared less about the "in ground"( actually, the MFG said it could be inground or strung on our fencing, which is what we did) system I paid $300 for from Petsafe, if they were after a rabbit... Plus, the wire supplied by Petsafe basically started falling apart after about a year and we had so many breaks in the circuit we gave up.

          I may give the radio transmitter one a try.
          How do you train them for that type? We spent weeks training them to the inground boundary according the MFG's directions, but one rabbit...and no training would have helped.
          Last edited by CatOnLap; Jul. 30, 2010, 01:42 AM.
          "The Threat of Internet Ignorance: ... we are witnessing the rise of an age of equestrian disinformation, one where a trusting public can graze on nonsense packaged to look like fact."-LRG-AF


          • #6
            Hate 'em.

            They don't keep other animals out, they won't stop a drivey dog (there is *always* going to be something out there that will get a dog to go through the fence--and once they do it they tend to keep getting out), too many dogs figure out how to beat them, and in the case of the radio type that Misty Blue described, it's a great way to send a more sensitive, reactive (think herding breeds) dog fleeing for the hills in blind panic to the point of exhaustion.

            I've also seen a number of dogs that build unfortunate associations between the zaps and other things: dog is excited and wants to go see the family friend coming up the driveway-->gets zapped-->fears not only family friend, but also anyone coming up driveway-->becomes defensively aggressive. One of my dogs panics when called *towards* the house on damp, misty days because of an IF mishap in her first home (went out of the yard after a bicycle on a damp day, got zapped on her way back).

            We get too many dogs into rescue (I work mostly with Border Collies) that have developed IF problems. I would *never* trust my dogs' safety to one, and recommend against them for clients' dogs unless it's a last resort sort of thing like a zoning or homeowners' group issue, and even then recommend that they have one of the professional fence companies come and install and train.

            Some wire mesh fence and t-posts can make a fine and inexpensive hard fence.


            • #7
              I have the Sport Dog one, that you don't have to bury. You just use lawn staples to put it on the perimeter (you can also just staple it to fence poles), which is a lot easier than burying it. My dog doesn't cross it to save her life - one shock was enough. I also like that the Sport Dog one has five levels of shock, so you can adjust it to what you need.

              We have all manner of wildlife, all of which she wants to chase, but doesn't.


              • #8
                I don't trust them. I agree that a dog on a mission will just blast through them. Most even state they are not "for all dogs". Honestly- I trained my shepherds with an electric sport collar. It only took a few times of my giving the stop command and zapping them that they would halt in their tracks. ( they were very obedient to begin). My female needs the collar on for proofing by the male has not had it for years and still will drop like a rock if I yell the command word. They both avoid the areas where they are not supposed to go. Good luck.
                Come to the dark side, we have cookies


                • #9
                  Some wire mesh fence and t-posts can make a fine and inexpensive hard fence.
                  well, maybe if you've got a clear yard, easy soil and no brush. But for 3 acres, with lots of rocks thrusting out of the ground, and plenty of dense brush that would need to be cleared for the fenceline, not only is it ugly as sin, its darn difficult.
                  "The Threat of Internet Ignorance: ... we are witnessing the rise of an age of equestrian disinformation, one where a trusting public can graze on nonsense packaged to look like fact."-LRG-AF


                  • #10
                    I would not use or trust an invisible fence. But I am also one who does not believe in using shock-anything in training-like city dog said, I think it creates misdirected fear/aggression and that is not how I want my dogs to feel. However, my boss was intent on putting up an invisible fence line for her dogs so I convinced her to place it in a perimeter that was outlined by horse fencing and a driveway gate, this way the dogs were going to slow down as they approached the horse fencing and was less likely to run through the line. One dog was a rather sensitive pointer cross who was petrified of the fence line-however, she started snapping at strangers who came in after getting zapped as she approached them. The other could care less would would regularly walk through to greet the people, get zapped a few times, and walk back in with you, getting zapped again. Not my kind of thing.


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by MelanieC View Post
                      I personally would never trust an electronic fence to stop dogs from chasing small animals. The shock is only momentary for a dog running at full speed and many dogs bull right through them. And then, after they're done chasing, they are stuck outside of the fence and may not be as motivated to get back inside.
                      Bingo...my male Corgi has figured out that it's only a split second of shock and he's free. However, his motivation is the neighbor's cat food. My Corgi girl respects it...she stays put.

                      I was hoping to be able to use this fence so the dogs could stay out while I was gone. Forget it.


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Equino View Post
                        I wouldn't trust them either. But I am also one who does not believe in using shock-anything in training. However, my boss was intent on putting up an invisible fence line for her dogs so I convinced her to place it in a perimeter that was outlined by horse fencing, this way the dogs were going to slow down as they approached the horse fencing and was less likely to run through the line. Worked for them.
                        I wish. This is how our fence wire was installed and the dogs could care less.
                        "The Threat of Internet Ignorance: ... we are witnessing the rise of an age of equestrian disinformation, one where a trusting public can graze on nonsense packaged to look like fact."-LRG-AF


                        • #13
                          I just went back and edited my post-I wasn't going to add my last part but thought better of it after thinking how one of the dogs started snapping at people, she was truly afraid, and I always blamed her fear on misdirected aggression after getting zapped by the fence as she approached strangers. I think she wanted to greet people, or maybe just protect her territory, but then associated the zapping with the strangers and not the boundaries. However, the second one, a Bernese, was the same way as your dogs-could care less. He had no desire to wander, he just liked to meet visitors as they entered the property.


                          • #14
                            Well I;d never recommend a radio fence for folks who have issues with other dogs wandering onto the property. But for wildlife wandering on? I consider that a benefit of living in the woods. Plus I've never had snack sized dogs.
                            Heck my Malamute used to play with the local coyote pair. They had a blast carrying sticks together, 3 to a stick.

                            CatOnLap...training for the radio fence wasn't hard at all. Use flags for a visible boundary and start oout using a leash on the dog. Approach flags...when the warning buzz is heard immediately use voice "Eh eh!" stern and then voice "Come back, come back" higher pitched, happy and excited as you pull them back to the safe zone or where you want them at a trot. Then stop, pats and praise.

                            Rinse a repeat a few times. I personally don't do the "zap them on purpose" because I don't want the dog to think I am the one zapping them. I want them to think it'll happen whether I'm there or not.

                            The repeated happy voice, removing them back swiftly to the safe zone and pats and praise convinces most dogs it's not something to freak out about and lets them know exactly where to go.

                            After a day or two of that, have them outside either off leash with you (or on a longe line if they're really stubborn about taking off all the time) and just watch them as they wander. If they wander too close to the flags, use the happy high pitched "Come back come back" command and claps your hands or jump up and down, anything to get them excited about coming back and away from the flags.

                            If they don't listen and get a zap, they'll yip. Start immediately towards the dog to bring them back physically while using the upbeat "come back" command. (or pull them back too using the longe) If they bolt the wrong way, they won't keep running. The zaps will slowly increase in frequency and duration the further they go away. Dogs usually end up circling or spinning backwards instead of running. Even real sprinters like sight hounds normally spin around or try backing away from the zaps instead of staying at a run.
                            Either way, simple to grab and return them while using an upbeat return command. Never use the growly "bad dog" voice for when they get zapped, that doesn't work so well.

                            I've seen them work wonderful on sight hounds, scent hounds and even stubborn as mule northern sled dogs. They seem to work better on the "won't work for every dog" buried wire types.

                            For anyone using any type of shock fence...make sure to buy a large package of the collar batteries and check those for changing at least once every 3 months. A dead battery does nothing and once the dog learns it can leave safely again (if they continue to test the fence) they retraining has to start all over.

                            Plus it only takes on escape to equal smooshed by car.
                            You jump in the saddle,
                            Hold onto the bridle!
                            Jump in the line!


                            • #15
                              I bought an invisible system from Innotek and it works great for my rottie mix. She was leaving the farm constantly, chasing deer. She stays home now.
                              It only took one time. Of course, we went around with her first and showed her what to do when she hears the warning beeps. She has never run through it.
                              We bought the heavier guage wire from Dog Watch and installed it. Didnt use any of the lighter-weight guage wire that came with the system. The wire Innotek sent was crap.
                              We love the invisible fence. It allows our dog to run over several acres.
                              I believe the same company makes both PetSafe and Innotek brands. We got our's from Cabelas.


                              • #16
                                I have the Invisible Fence brand invisible fence and two 10-month-old pups. Our property is 5 acres and the IF is inside the border so they don't get the run of the entire 5 acres. They respect the boundaries and stay in their area. We did make sure to train them to it right away and so far so good.
                                "A horse's face always conveys clearly whether it is loved by its owner or simply used." - Anja Beran


                                • #17
                                  I am thinking my dogs got dropped on their heads before we got them. We did the training as described by Mistyblue, and as demonstrated on the DVD that came with the fence system. They werea bout 4 months old whenwe started. We trained them every day, twice a day, for about 20 minutes, for several weeks, since it didn't seem to be taking. The problem did seem to be several fold- for one, yes the system came with collar batteries that died within the first two weeks, were replaced, and those ones lasted about a month, were replaced and again they lasted about a month. The collar batteries are not cheap- they were like $13 a pop. They are supposed to last several months. Second, the shock only occurs as the dog approached the wire and once they were over the boundary, it stopped. Third, our dogs have a lot of loose skin folds around their neck, so without choking them, its hard to guarantee the shock points make contact, fourth, after about a year, the supplied wire started to rot and short out- which is a PITA to trace the fault and repair it. We just gave up on that one.

                                  At least the radio fence would avoid the second and fourth problems.

                                  The fifth problem is apparently irresistible bunnies.
                                  "The Threat of Internet Ignorance: ... we are witnessing the rise of an age of equestrian disinformation, one where a trusting public can graze on nonsense packaged to look like fact."-LRG-AF


                                  • #18
                                    So glad I saw this post! We moved into a property that has 3 acres Invisible Fenced. We have 3 Goldens. Two are older - 11 & 12 and the 12 has a tough time walking far. The youngest is 4 but she is quiet and somewhat timid, and can be spooky as h*** about "stuff". We always joke she would make THE spookiest horse. Our acreage is WIDE open and flat. Few trees and backs to several acres of open field, with woods behind that. All 3 of our acres are invisible fenced.

                                    Installer/trainer came out yesterday to equip them with the collars and train "us". I started the initial training, one dog at a time.

                                    The warning beep is SO quiet. Trainer says dogs can hear it but for me it is barely audible unless I bend over near the dogs collar to hear it. Regardless, he said to approach the flags (which are on the boundary) and when I am 2 feet away, to retreat to safe zone.

                                    So far I both like it and dislike it. I like it because fencing the entire property would cost over 5k. I also love the idea of just opening the doors and letting them out...not worrying about my kids leaving doors ajar, etc.

                                    I dislike the fact that I cannot walk my dogs for a month unless I DRIVE them down the driveway over the line They are used to a short walk daily at 6:00 am. It's always been "our time". So for now I will walk them in our yard in the safe zone and make it fun.

                                    Also dislike the that the training will be LONG for 3 dogs, separately over 3 acres! I was pooped after the first session yesterday and have to do it twice a day for several weeks.

                                    I am encouraged that after only a day, "spooky Golden" is getting it already. Husky/Golden mix who is older just got tired of the retreating over and over again by me, and I think is avoiding the fenceline because she is getting tired (she is 11 and slowing down too). The oldest simply cannot do the full training for long periods of time. Hers has to be short and spotty. Ex: one retreat/approach in the front, one in the back, and one on each side. No way can I keep zig-zagging her over 3 acres. She physically can't do it.

                                    I think it will work for my girls, but the training is way more than I bargained for due to the size of our yard and the fact that we have 3. I wish a smaller area were boundaried.

                                    Finally for those with the Inv. Fence brand, is it "normal" for the beep to be so quiet??


                                    • #19
                                      We seriously considered invisible fence, but with two very prety driven Irish terriers, I just concluded I didn't think I could ever fully trust the fence. Ultimately, we fenced an 1/3 acre grassy area near the barn for the dog's field, and I feel confident that it will contain them. I wish I could just open the back door and let them run, but even though they are very trainable (one is an agility dog), their prey drive is just SO strong.
                                      Here Be Dragons: My blog about venturing beyond the lower levels as a dressage amateur.


                                      • #20
                                        I had one and the dogs (heavy, double coated dogs) blew through it. So then I put up a barrier fence and buried a new cable just inside it. The oldest dog eventually learned to kill the batteries, her daughter became afraid of the leash when I was training her. Another daughter refused to go off the back step for 2 weeks and when she finally did, was incredibly afraid of the yard in general.

                                        I also got in a foster that had blown through an underground to grab a dog on the other side.

                                        I use a barrier fence now.