A Quick History of the Pet Fence

Back in the day, the only way to keep your dog on your property was to build a physical barrier such as a fence or a wall. A curious and explorative pet wasn't such a problem in rural areas, but in a city or suburbs straying from its owner's yard was often the last journey a dog ever made.

The Brain Behind the Fence

The patent for Richard Peck's original pet containment system
Dog lover and travelling salesman, Richard Peck, spent much of his time on the road and was appalled to see so many dogs that had been hit by cars. "I loved dogs and knew there had to be a way to stop this" said Peck and with that the seed was sown that would lead to the electronic dog fence.

The idea was brilliant yet simple - a boundary wire transmitting to a receiver collar - and could be installed around any property where the construction of high fences or walls would prove to be unsightly, prohibitively expensive, or both.

Peck's design was patented in 1973 but it wasn't until another salesman, John Purtell bought the rights in 1976 that the dog fence really began to gain popularity. As people began to recognize the containment benefits and safety aspects the electric fence offered, Peck's fence, now rebranded as Invisible Fence® by Purtell, offered an alternative method to traditional fencing for dog owners to ensure the wellbeing of their beloved pets.

The Unpainful Truth About Pet Fences

This happy pooch shows off his pet fence collar
The assumption is that the dog receives an electric shock from the underground fence, causing pain and suffering. Of course this isn't true, just think about it for a moment; would legislature ever allow such a device to be marketed and sold? Absolutely not, yet some people still believe this to be the case.

In reality the electric fence is a remarkable feat of technology that emits warning sounds and progressive stimulations to harmlessly contain pets and keep them safe.

In his authoritative book Handbook of Applied Dog Behavior and Training, Volume Three[1], Stephen Lindsay wrote "If minimizing the intensity, duration, and frequency of aversive stimulation during training is recognized as a significant factor in the definition of humane dog training, then the radio controlled e-collar must be ranked as one of the most humane dog-training tools currently available."

Happy Pets, Happy Owners

Playful pets are free to run around the yard with no danger of escaping
The late '80s saw the expiration of Peck's patent, paving the way for other companies to develop and market dog fences. This in turn drove innovation and the development of more advanced products, as did the concurrent leaps in computer and wireless technology. Today there are wired underground fences, wireless pet fences and WiFi dog fences.

As well as Invisible Fence, names such as PetSafe®, Innotek™ and Perimeter™ have become synonymous with quality pet containment systems. This breadth of choice means that every dog owner can find an electric dog fence that suits their individual needs, regardless of their property's size or location. It also means that you, the consumer, can expect more competitive pricing and continued advances in product features and specifications.

Perimeter technology's WiFi Wireless Dog fence is the next generation of pet containment
What Does the Future Hold for Pet Fences?
It seems the future of electronic fences is already upon us. Just as WiFi technology has revolutionized your cell phone, so it is opening the next chapter in pet containment systems. Perimeter's Wire Free Dog Fence, and D.E. Systems' Border Patrol TC1 use WiFi and GPS technologies respectively.

Who knows what innovations will come next...

By John Bone
[1] Stephen Lindsay: Handbook of Applied Dog Behavior and Training, Volume Three http://www.scribd.com/doc/86891818/Handbook-of-Applied-Dog-Behavior-and-Training-Volume-3-Procedures-and-Protocols#page=609
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