Are Electric Dog Fences Effective, & Do They Actually Work?



Electric dog fences aren’t exactly cheap.

So, you’d want to know if they are effective and if they work before you buy one.

In this guide, we look at various factors we may determine whether an electric dog fence may work for you or not.


(NOTE: this is a general information guide only, and is not professional advice, or a substitute for professional advice. A qualified vet or animal expert is the only person qualified to give you expert advice in regards to your pet/s)


Are Electric Dog Fences Effective, & Do They Actually Work?

The best way to answer this question, is – mostly yes (especially when you buy from a good brand), but it depends!

The four biggest factors that might determine if a dog fence is going to work for you are:

  • The type of system you use – in ground/above ground, or wireless
  • The brand/manufacturer you buy from
  • The area you install the dog fence on
  • Your dog/s that are using the system
  • How well you are able to train your dog/s

Overall though, it’s best to go through the features that a particular dog fence system offers one by one, and make sure all the features suit your situation and your dog/s.

Let’s take a look at each of those factors in a little more detail:


1. Type Of Electric Dog Fence – In Ground/Above Ground, Or Wireless

We’ve already put together a comparison guide of In Ground vs Above Ground vs Wireless Dog Fences, and Which Might Be Better.

The most important things to know from that guide when considering effectiveness are that:

  • In ground and above ground fences tend to be more reliable, consistent, accurate and effective.
  • This is because an in ground transmitter runs through a physical wire (that you run above ground or bury in the ground which requires you to dig mini trenches and back fill them) which interacts with the collar receiver on the dog/s
  • A wireless dog fence on the other hand emits a non physical signal/frequency
  • There is more that can interfere with the signal of a wireless dog fence such as metal, and thick and solid objects like houses and trees or big bushes

Overall, it would be fair to say:

  • In ground and above ground fences are mostly effective for containing a dog or multiple dogs to a certain area
  • Wireless fences are sometimes effective and sometimes not for containing a dog or multiple dogs to a certain area

If you want to check out the best dog fences of each type, you can do so here:


2. The Brand/Manufacturer You Buy From

eXtreme and SportDOG are two of the better brands to buy from.

Some of the better rated models from these brands are:

PetSafe may also have some suitable specialty models – such as for stubborn dogs, or for wireless dog fence systems.


3. The Area You Install The Dog Fence On

With the area that you install the dog fence on, you might consider:

  • How big it is – a standard in ground system covers more area than a standard wireless system
  • What is on the property – metal, solid objects like houses and walls, trees and thick scrub for example can significantly interfere with the signal of a wireless dog fence system
  • That you can physically install the system on the land – make sure you have a power source for the transmitter, that there aren’t any rocks or hazards in the ground for in ground systems etc.


4. Your Dog/s

With your dog or dogs that you want to use the system, you might consider:

  • That they meet the minimum weight requirement to use the system
  • That they have a suitable neck size to wear the collar receiver
  • That they have a suitable training mode and correction cue available to them e.g. vibration, tone/sound or low static for sensitive dogs, or high static for stubborn dogs
  • If you have an escape artist, or a really intelligent dog, you might get a system with run through prevention, boundary linger, adjustable boundary and correction zones, or other specific features to help the system work more effectively

You’ll obviously want to get any dog fence system approved by a vet or animal professional if you have a puppy or a dog that you think might react negatively to a dog fence system.


5. How Well You Can Train Your Dog To Use The Electric Dog Fence

Your ability to train your dog to use the fence will play a large part in having the electric dog fence system work properly.


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You should always consult your own veterinarian, animal expert, or health care professional and follow their advice before making decisions on all matters.


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