Before buying, dog owners rightfully want to know if dog fence systems are humane and safe, or if they’re cruel.
In this guide, we look at what dog fences do, and how they work, to try to at least give some feedback on what you might expect from one.
Let’s jump into it!
(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 Dog Fences Humane & Safe, Or Are They Cruel?
As mentioned in the disclaimer above, the only person qualified to give you an expert or professional opinion on this question is a qualified vet.
But, from a general information standpoint, a good dog fence should be safe and humane for dogs, and in no way cruel or painful.
A good dog fence:
- That uses static stimulation should simply stimulate the muscle (to the point of reflex) to get the dog’s attention, but should not cause pain (it might be slightly annoying for the dog to act as a small deterrent – but shouldn’t cause pain or harm). It certainly shouldn’t cause a ‘sharp pain’ to the muscle or body.
- Should have several different levels of static stimulation, allowing you to set the system to the lowest level of static intensity, and increase the level one at a time to a level that is both safe and effective for your dog. This might be a level that gets the dog’s attention (such as changing body language when a stimulation, vibration or tone is administered) without any visible sign of pain or harm (such as yelping, or showing signs of stress).
- Should not just have a static stimulation training mode, but should have a vibration only, and/or a sound/tone/beeping training mode as well. Vibration and tone training modes should be completely pain or discomfort free
- Should have safety features like a shut off feature if your dog won’t leave the correction zone
- Should come with training flags to visually show your dog where the boundary/perimeter is
- Should give you the minimum weight or minimum age a dog must meet before they can use the collar e.g. minimum of 10lbs
- Should come with an owner’s manual, operation guide and usage/training information to show and teach you how to use the dog fence safely and effectively
- Should be made by a company who has customer service on hand to help you if you have any safety or operational questions with their system
As you can see, if you are using a dog fence with very low static, or vibration and tone training options, there’s virtually no chance the collar can do any harm to the dog wearing it.
You can even discontinue use of a dog fence once your dog has learned to stay within the desired boundary. You can always bring it back out again if you need to re-train.
If you notice any negative physical or mental implications for your dog/s from using a dog fence, it would be wise to consider discontinuing use immediately.
Where To Find The Best Dog Fences?
This is completely subjective, but when buying pet products, quality and safety tends to come from the companies who are either one or all of the following:
- most established
- most popular
- have responsive customer service
- have generally good feedback on the dog fences they make
- have a reputation as a company who cares about the safety of the pets, the quality of their products and the satisfaction on the customer
If you want to check out what we think are some the best dog fences on the market, you can do so in these guides:
- Best In Ground & Above Ground Dog Fence System Reviews And Buyer’s Guide
- Best Wireless Dog Fence System Reviews And Buyer’s Guide
When Might A Dog Fence Become Unsafe Or Cruel?
Some factors that might contribute to a dog fence being unsafe are:
- When the owner does not get a qualified vet’s opinion on using a dog fence – particularly for dogs that are young, have existing health conditions or at risk of developing them
- When the dog is not properly trained how to interact with the system
- When the dog is left unattended when first using it
- When the owner doesn’t read the operating manual or training or safe use information
- When the system is not installed correctly, or is programmed incorrectly (if it has custom programming)
- When the collar is set to a high level of static that is unnecessary for the dog wearing it
- When the stimulation delivers ‘sharp’ stimulation instead of a ‘wide’ stimulation
- When the system is made cheaply and it functions either dangerously or inconsistently
- When the company making the system hasn’t considered the safety of the pets using it as a main priority (and there are no safety features for example)
- When the dog using the system is too small or too young, or has some type of other factor like health issues that makes stimulation unsafe
You Can Always Train Your Dog First Before Using An Electronic Training Device
You can always consult a professional dog trainer first to train your dog to stay within a certain area, if you don’t want to use an electric dog fence.
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