Are Invisible Fences Cruel? (Top 5 Pros & Cons)

A chained-up dog can be a heartbreaking sight, especially when left out in the cold or tied to a chain that doesn’t give them room to move. To tackle that problem, invisible fences hit the market, aimed at keeping dogs near their home and giving them more freedom to roam around.

Are invisible fences cruel? While some may argue that they are not, there are increasing movements against them, mostly due to their lasting effects. When pets go outside of the lines of the invisible fence, they receive an electric shock, getting instantly startled.

Studies show that dogs that receive shocks are at risk for increased anxiety and bouts of aggression. On top of that, there are many other reasons why invisible fences might not be as helpful as once thought, leaving many to try more traditional training.

Invisible Fences are Cruel: Top 5 Reasons Why

While some owners may find success when using an invisible fence to train their dogs, their still widely considered to be cruel. Below, we’ve gathered 5 of the top reasons invisible fences are considered cruel, most of which pet owners agree with.

#1. Painful and Confusing

Perhaps the cruelest part that can come from using an invisible fence is the painful, sudden shock that comes when pets cross barriers. This shock is meant to train animals to stay within a certain perimeter, though it could have lasting and damaging effects.

For instance, dogs don’t know where the shock is coming from and tend to get anxious and confused. Continued exposure to pain can lead to aggression, as they can feel annoyed and scared. This could put other animals or people in danger, as dogs could lash out in response.

#2. Increased Aggression

Some breeds tend to be more aggressive than others, making them more prone to unexpected bouts of aggression. For breeds that are more aggressive or territorial, an electric fence could increase their aggression and cause them to become potentially harmful to other dogs or neighbors.

Over time, you may notice your pets starting to bark or growl more, getting more hostile the longer that they are exposed to conditions that increase anxiety. When you do take them out again, your pets could become less friendly with other dogs and become less patient overall.

#3. No Protection

With a traditional fence or barrier, animals are not only kept near their home but are also protected from other animals. When adding an invisible fence, your pets will be exposed to any passers-by, even if it is a dangerous dogs.

They will not be able to run outside the perimeter for fear that they will get shocked. This exposes them to dangers that could include other dogs or malicious humans that want to steal them or cause harm to them.

#4. Anxiety When Returning Home

Because pets will eventually get used to the shock, they will start to notice the area where it happens. When going away from the home, they may soon become anxious or scared to come back, fearful of their own home. This is never a good idea, as dogs should feel comfortable and protected at home.

#5. Decreases Playfulness

Pets that feel protected at home are the most playful and sweet creatures. When you take that ability away from them, they can easily become less playful and more serious, which can lead to other complications. Most pet owners want the best for their pets, doing what they can to give them their best life.

Invisible fences can take some of that playfulness away, causing more issues over time and getting in the way of their playful personalities.

Why Invisible Fences Are Not Cruel 

#1. Freedom

The one benefit that comes from invisible fences is the feeling of freedom. Pets love to be outdoors, not happy when confined to a small area. Instead of having a fence that gets in the way of your home and keeps your dogs from interacting with others, an invisible fence is much more welcoming.

If you live in a safe neighborhood, it could be a better idea to use an invisible fence, letting your dog be social without leaving your home.

#2. No Pain

Invisible fences do send a shock to dogs, though it’s nothing painful. It’s actually just something to kind of scare them, teaching them where the limits are. The fence will also beep, indicating that pets are out of their range before sending shock, which helps to also train them. 

Invisible fences always get a bad rep, though they do not harm pets in the process. You’ll notice your pets behaving better in no time, staying in your yard and learning where they can and cannot go. 

Non-Harmful Invisible Fence Alternatives

Invisible fences and their ability to shock animals make them cruel. To keep your pet in place without causing them any physical harm, here are a few alternatives.

#1. A Traditional Fence – The Best Non-Harmful Alternative

While you might not like the idea of having your dogs within a perimeter, an actual fence is perhaps one of the best, non-cruel options. It allows them to roam around, prevents other dogs from getting through, and will keep them close to home.

Make sure that you give your dog plenty of room, and access to shade, food, and water, and make the fence high enough so that your dog cannot escape.

#2. Training – Best Long-Term Option

Training can take a lot of time and effort, especially for older dogs. However, with patience and repetition, dogs can be taught to do just about anything. Owners can train their dogs in the areas they are free to roam in and those they are not.

This option can take a lot more time and dedication but, in the long run, it’s great for pets and their owners. They can both understand each other better and dogs will behave much better in the long run.

#3. Non-Electric Fencing – The Best of Both Worlds

If you like the idea of the invisibility of a fence but don’t like the shock, there are alternatives that make the best of both worlds. Instead of an electric shock, some of these fences let out a loud beep instead.

Others will use a very fine, non-visible polypropylene plastic along the perimeter that can work to keep dogs in. Both of these options are much better than electrical invisible fences, not causing your dogs any harm along the way.

Choose Friendly Fencing

Keeping your dogs close to home is necessary, especially if you have cars and neighbors passing by. While there are a number of ways to do this, chaining them up or adding an invisible fence are not the best. Go for friendly fencing that keeps them happy and friendly.

As a pet owner, you want to give your dog the best possible life, which includes a safe and positive atmosphere. To do that, choose a fence that’s not cruel and proven to keep your pups in place.

The safer your dog feels, the more friendly they will act toward others, living a long, tail-wagging life that’s full of fun and positivity.