Is a Wireless Fence Suitable for My Dog?

Wireless fences stop pets from endangering themselves in the street
Invisible pet fences have saved the lives of countless dogs and instead given them the freedom to play outdoors away from the dangers of the street. It's not surprising then that invisible fences remain high on the list of 'pet essentials' for many dog lovers.

Recent developments in wireless technology have resulted in wireless pet fences that are far easier to install and offer greater portability than wired fences. This has made wireless fences very popular with dog lovers, but it must be said that wireless fences are not effective with certain types of dogs.

Anyone thinking about a wireless pet fence system should read this article to see if it will be suitable for their dog.

Wireless Fences and Pet Psychology

Beagles are cute but headstrong and they don't always obey wireless fences
Certain breeds of dog are simply not compatible with wireless fences and no matter how much training you do with them, the fence will never properly contain them. This all boils down to the psychological makeup of certain breeds, although it can also be attributable to particularly hard-headed dogs of any breed.

Every dog has its own unique personality; a character as identifiable as any human's and this is what makes him or her so special to you. However it can also mean that a wireless fence won't have much of an effect on him or her. Similarly, certain breeds have typical traits that run through most dogs of that kind and this too makes them less likely to heed a wireless fence.

In essence breeds that are notoriously headstrong and willful are less likely to obey the correction signals of a wireless fence, no matter what intensity they are set at. Beagles, Jack Russells, Labradors and most Retrievers are all breeds known to have had less than stellar success with wireless fences.

Large dogs are also less inclined to heed a wireless fence's corrective signals than smaller breeds. For example Huskies are infamous for being escape artistes and are renowned for not being wireless fence compliant.

A big collar on a small dog won't work
Size Really Does Matter
Another potential issue facing dog owners thinking about a wireless fence is that of size. Currently the wireless fence manufacturers are working on a 'one size fit's all' policy which means the collar that comes with the equipment will only fit dogs' necks in a certain size range. This doesn't present a problem for many dogs, but if your dog's neck is over 22-inches in circumference, or under 6-inches the collar probably won't fit.

Of course you might be able to remove the receiver element of the collar and attach it to a collar of your choice to create a collar large enough for a particularly big dog, but the size of the receiver might preclude this from being done with a smaller collar.

The 'Unfair Shock'
Whenever some wireless systems lose power the receiver collar automatically assumes the dog has crossed the boundary and emits a corrective 'shock'. While the 'shock' in question isn't really a shock, but a corrective communication such as a tone or tingling sensation, it is still confusing to the dog to receive the correction when it hasn't crossed the boundary. In areas that experience lots of electrical storms during the summer, power outages (often just momentary ones) can be a daily occurrence, and these 'unfair shocks' might perplex the more timid breeds of dog such as Doberman or Greyhound.

Some wireless systems have battery backups built in, or you can buy separate backup units to avoid these issues. However, if you think the occasional 'unfair shock' will cause anxiety in your dog, perhaps it's best to steer clear.

So is a Wireless Fence Suitable for Your Dog?
Ultimately it all depends on your particular dog's individual personality, regardless of breed. One indication might be how easy it has been to train your dog in other areas. Was it easy or difficult to train him or her to sit and heel? If it was easy, then training it to obey a wireless fence probably will be too.

By John Bone
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