Are Electric Dog Fences Humane?

Are you thinking about installing an electric dog fence and wondering if it’s the humane thing to do? Electric fences can be an effective method of keeping your dog in the yard, but this article will go over the few aspects of electric fences that you need to know about to keep your dog safe when using one.

An Electric Fence

Whether you own a large property or a small one, you may be faced with a dilemma on how to keep your dog within your property. For some people, a traditional wooden or chain fence may seem like the perfect option.

However, traditional fences don’t always work. Dogs can either dig under or jump over the fence.

Instead, pet owners may consider an electric dog fence. The biggest reason most pet owners are wary of installing an electric fence is that they feel that it might be inhumane or cruel to their dog.

To determine if electric fences are inhumane or not, it’s important to discuss the positives and negatives of an electric dog fence. Here are a few of them.

1. Pro: Affordable

When it comes to the installation of an electric dog fence, it’s typically more affordable than building a traditional fence. You typically pay one flat fee for the unit.

From there, you only shell out a few dollars for batteries and perhaps a replacement collar in a year or two.

Whereas with a traditional wooden or chain fence, the installation costs more. This is especially true for homes with large properties.

You’ll also need to worry about the upkeep of that fence. If it starts to break down or wear down, then the dog might be able to escape through it.

Because wood can degrade over time, you’ll also be looking at cleaning and painting it every so often. It’s a lot of maintenance and can cost a lot over time.

Electric fences are typically more affordable.

2. Pro: Flexible

When you’re installing a traditional fence, you’re essentially stuck with what you can do with the land. If there’s a hill or tree in the way, you may have to go around it or cut it down.

You may be limited as to how much land you can give your dog to play in, too, if you’re on a budget and the fence is costly to install. Finally, a traditional fence can obscure your view of the surrounding area.

An electric fence removes a lot of those problems. Because electric fences typically are built with a circle or sphere in mind, your dog can move about almost anywhere.

An addition of another transmitter also lets you increase how much coverage the electric fence extends to. You can also sometimes use polygon shapes if you choose an electric fence that has underground wiring.

You essentially have easier control with an electric fence. The best part is that it’s invisible, so your view isn’t obscured.

3. Pro: More Coverage

Your dog will have further space to roam with an electric fence. All you need to do to give them more space is to buy a transmitter that offers a lot of acre coverage or buy more than one transmitter to expand the area.

This also makes properties with rough terrain like rocks, hills, and underbrush easier to fence in. You don’t need to place a physical barrier up a hill.

Many electric fences allow coverage up to 25 acres. That’s plenty of space for your dog to run around in and explore.

4. Pro: Effective

Finally, electric fences are effective in keeping the dog on the property. Traditional fences can still be thwarted by a clever or strong dog.

Because collars emit a sound before they stimulate the dog, most dogs will learn that when they hear the tone, it’s time to stop. The stimulation might be unpleasant, but dogs typically only need to be shocked once or twice before learning to heed the tone.

Electric fences can keep a dog in the yard provided that the collar used has an intensity level strong enough for larger and more stubborn dogs. No longer will you have to worry about your dog running off after a car or animal.

5. Con: Pain

Because electric fences do use small shocks to dissuade the dog from crossing the boundary, there is pain involved. For some pet owners, they worry that the pain is too much.

Pet owners can always try the collar on their arm to determine the strength of the shock if they’re worried that it’s too intense for their dog. A good rule of thumb is to never shock a dog with an intensity level that you can’t stand yourself.

However, pain is necessary to teach the dog. Most dogs only need to be shocked a few times before they learn that the tone is warning them of an oncoming shock.

6. Con: Negative Reinforcement

Electric fences basically use negative reinforcement to train dogs. This isn’t always the best option to begin with training.

It can sometimes make a dog more aggressive. Instead, you may want to try taking your dog to the boundary line and letting them hear the tone.

Once they hear it, keep them from going further and offer a treat. They’ll associate the sound with stopping and reward.


Are underground fences safe for dogs?

Underground, or electric, fences can be safe for dogs provided that they are not abused. A small intensity level should be used initially to test the strength of it.

Your dog may need only a low-intensity level to have their behavior corrected. Anything more than that is cruel.

Sometimes accidents can happen, too. You should always check that the collar is working properly before using it on your dog.

Are electric fences cruel?

Just like wondering if the fence is inhumane, electric fences are only cruel if they are abused. When used correctly, they are an affordable, easy, and effective tool to keep your dog safely in its yard.

are electric dog fences humane