Understanding the Pros and Cons of Invisible/Electric Dog Fences

By Maria Rogerson

June 11, 2024Pets

Dogs love being outside. Whether you take them for daily walks or let them run in the yard, they require daily activity and exercise. However, sometimes the circumstances are such that leaving them roaming freely around neighbouring areas is not considered very safe. For this reason, dog owners often use fences to build a barrier between their yard and the outside area. 

But what do we do when having a physical fence is not allowed and you want to keep your dog and neighbours safe? Have you ever thought about using invisible barriers? Consider buying a dog hidden fence to let your pooch roam freely in a designated area, without the constraints of physical barriers. 

Electric/Invisible Dog Fences: How Do They Work?

DogWatch 1200FMD Dog Fence - Premium Model
source: barkcontrol.com.au

Dogs are naturally curious creatures and they love to explore their surroundings. Having a standard fence does not guarantee the safety of our dog and neighbours 100%. Many dogs tend to jump over the barrier or dig a hole beneath so they can escape. 

For this reason, many dog owners opt for invisible alternatives. Invisible means no physical constraints. When we say a dog hidden fence we mean that the fence operates on the principle of creating a boundary around the property using an underground wire or a wireless signal emitted by a transmitter. 

Invisible fences are in fact electric fences, for which activation the dog needs to wear a collar that is designed to receive signals from the wire or the wireless transmitter. 

Dog electric fences are activated the moment the dog starts to get too close to the boundary. The collar then emits a warning vibration which helps to deter the dog from escaping the invisible fence. If the dog tries to cross over the hidden barrier, then the collar emits a mild static correction which prevents the dog from crossing the barrier. The dog learns to associate the warning signals with the invisible boundary, ensuring your pooch stays within the designated area. 

Invisible Dog Fences: Pros and Cons

PetSafe Stay + Play Standard Wireless Containment Fence - PIF17-13478
source: barkcontrol.com.au


Boundary Training and Behaviour Management 

The electric fence for dogs teaches your pooch to respect the invisible boundary and stay inside the yard. Of course, you need to be training your dog daily in order to adapt to the new changes and stimuli. It’s important that you introduce your dog gradually to the electric fence, so it doesn’t feel overwhelmed and stressed out. 

By teaching your furry friend to respect the set boundary, you’re promoting its safety and reducing the risks of escaping and involving in potentially dangerous scenarios.   

Safe Alternative for Areas Where Physical Fences are Not Allowed

If you’re not allowed to use physical fences in the area where you live, using an invisible fence for dogs is a safe alternative to keep your pooch within the boundaries of your yard. By doing so, you allow your pet to run and play freely around the yard, without worrying about escaping. 

Adaptable to Various Terrains

Another plus of dog electric fences is that you can install them on various surfaces and terrains. Because these fences do not require physical installation unless it’s an underground wired fence, you can use them whether you live on a farm, a hill or your house is situated on a rocky terrain. 


Physical fences can be pretty expensive. The dog electric fences are an affordable alternative because they are easy to set up and maintain. Thus, they are budget-friendly choices for pet owners.  


Potential Escape

One of the most common questions that paw parents have is “Can dogs run past an invisible fence?”. While invisible fences are great for deterring dogs from crossing boundaries, they do not guarantee 100% prevention. Some dogs are still able to pass by the invisible fence, especially if they are super scared or distracted. Also, some dogs are not that sensitive to electric vibrations and they don’t mind crossing the electric fence. 

Limited Protection From Outside Threats

An electric fence for dogs does not mean guaranteed protection from outside prey. Wild animals can still enter the yard without being scared by the electric stimuli. This is more common in areas where there is a lot of wildlife. 

Risk of Over-Correction

Although electric dog fences are relatively safe and harmless to dogs, some systems may deliver a stronger correction than necessary. This can potentially cause great discomfort or fear in hyper-sensitive dogs that are easily stressed out. That’s why it’s important to assess your dog’s temper and character and choose an electric fence with adequate intensity. 

Types of Dog Electric Fences 

DogWatch MB-1 - Wireless Indoor or Outdoor Rechargeable Pet Barrier | Transmitter + Collar
source: dogwatch.com


Wired invisible fences are installed underground. The wire is buried around the perimeter of the designated area and it communicates through a receiver collar that is worn by the dog. When your dog approaches the fence, the collar delivers a warning tone or a static correction to prevent the dog from crossing over. 


As the name suggests, wireless invisible fences do not require wires to work. Instead, they use a central transmitter that emits a circular radio signal, which creates the boundary around the property. However, these fences come with a few limitations and they may not work properly if you have any large fixtures in the yard made from solid metal. 

Pet Barriers 

Pet barriers are great for keeping your pooch away from your furniture, benches or away from your other pets in the house. They are typically available as wireless and wired models and they work by emitting a tone signal through the collar that the dog wears. If your dog doesn’t stop, the collar emits a mild static electric stimulation.