Do Invisible Fences Work for Big Dogs? (Solved & Explained!)

Yes, invisible fences do work for many dog breeds classified as big. However, the effectiveness of the invisible fence depends on the dog’s nature (aggressiveness, prey-chasing instincts, etc.) more so than in smaller dog breeds. 

How Does an Invisible Fence for Big Dogs Work? 

The term “Invisible Fence” is simply a term describing a containment system for animals that exists underground so you cannot see it. It works through a wire that is placed below the earth’s surface enclosing the desired space. This wire connects to a collar worn by your dog through an electronic radio signal which will beep as your pet comes close to it. If they attempt to cross the line designated by the wire, the collar will shock them.

Are Invisible Fences Effective for Big Dogs?

The effectiveness of an invisible fence depends on which type of big dog you have. If your big dog has a high prey drive (for instance, border collies or Australian shepherds), an invisible fence could be problematic. This is because these dogs inherently run after prey and may forget the fence boundary when doing so leading to frequent unpleasant shocks. 

Further, if your big dog is prone to being aggressive or on the other side, frightened, the invisible fence could traumatize them exacerbating these issues. 

Do Invisible Fences Hurt Big Dogs Less than Small Dogs?

Not necessarily. One might think a big dog can endure frequent shocks more than a small one can; however, this is largely untrue. The shock level varies according to the dog. Therefore, the amount a shock affects the dog is proportional to the specific dog. 

That being said, if you set a small dog’s collar to the same level as a large dog’s collar, the small dog may be hurt more so than the big simply because of body size and pain endurance. 

What Distance Should I Set the Warning Beep To?

The point of the invisible fence is to train your dog to understand the area they must stay within so the shock should not be too aggressive while also being strong enough that they avoid the feeling. 

Firstly, we recommend setting your fence so that it gives your dog a fair warning when approaching the perimeter. The initial beep is essential because it alerts your pet that the shock will follow if they continue forward. Your big dog may be able to learn with this warning beep and avoid the shock altogether. 

How High Should I Set the Shock Collar for my Big Dog?

The shock settings generally have 5 levels. Again, the shock must be at the perfect level to not scare or hurt your dog while being strong enough that they learn to avoid it. 

We recommend starting low and adjusting based on your dog’s behavior. Remember that your dog’s large size does not imply the collar must be set at the highest level. Depending on your dog’s tendencies and characteristics, they could learn their territory on the lowest setting.

What Happens if My Big Dog Runs Through the Invisible Fence?

If your dog continues running through the fence, you may need to increase the collar’s shock level. Try increasing by just 1 level at a time to be sure you are not hurting the dog.

However, as discussed, your dog may run through the fence because of its instincts. If your big dog has prey chasing tendencies, the invisible fence may not be the best option as compared to a physical barrier. 

What is the Biggest Issue with Using an Invisible Fence for a Big Dog?

When it comes to big dogs, invisible fences are not always ideal. Depending on the nature of their breed, big dogs may not respond positively to the fence as smaller dogs tend to. 

This is primarily because of prey-chasing instincts as well as how the dog responds to the shocks. 

For instance, if your dog is naturally on the aggressive side because of its breed, the constant shocks could cause them to become angry and defensive. In this case, a real fence may be more beneficial.

How Big Can My Invisible Fence Be?

Invisible fences have no size limit. In fact, if you are fencing in a very great area such as a farm, many invisible fence companies offer systems that operate using GPS satellite technology. This is beneficial because the fence is charged per linear foot and thus, a massive area could be exorbitant. The GPS means your big dog has the space it needs to run freely.

Further, these fences do not need to be kept to regular shapes such as circles or squares either. If your space has a bizarre shape to it, it’s no issue. Plus, you can include off-limit areas, such as pools or gardens, within the fence system.

How Do I Take My Big Dog Out of the Fenced Area?

If you would like to take your dog out for a walk or to the dog park, you must be sure to either turn off the invisible fence (by temporarily deactivating it) or simply by taking off the collar connected to the system.

If you prefer the latter option, we recommend buying a regular collar for your dog that is distinct from the shock collar. This will limit the mistake of forgetting to switch the collar and thus, avoid an unnecessary shock for your pup.

How to Thin My Dog’s Coat so the Collar Shocks Properly?

Many big dogs have long and full coats. This can be an issue when it comes to the collar’s efficacy. If this is the case, we recommend trimming your dog’s fur in the collar region so that the collar works properly. To do so, simply ask the groomer to thin it out there or take the clippers around the region yourself.

Are Invisible Fences More Expensive for Big Dogs?

The price of your fence depends on how large it is and which company you use. The size of your dog does not impact the price directly. However, you may be more inclined to make the fence surround a greater area (if the space is available) because big dogs need more space. In this case, your fence will be more expensive than otherwise.