Shock Collar Boundary Training for Cats and Dogs

Tired of your dog or cat running off your property every time you let them out? Looking to setup a wireless or invisible fence and need to figure out shock collar boundary training to get your pet started? If you’re looking for cat and dog behavior training you’ve come to the right place.

In this article we’ll cover everything you need to know to train your dog or cat on the boundaries of an invisible fence.

Note: If you click some of the links in this article we may earn a small commission at no additional cost to you.

Table of Contents

How to Train Your Dog To Use a Wireless Fence with a Shock Collar

Purpose: This training will show you step by step how to teach your dog to stay within the boundaries of PetSafe Stay and Play wireless fence.

Note – This topic was covered as well in our other related article that includes a few other fence types (How To Train A Dog With An Electric Fence, Wireless Fence, or Underground Fence).

Step 1 – Get a Wireless Fence and Dog Collar System

This instructional uses the PetSafe Stay and Play system. Any transmitter and dog collar combo will work for this. A stand alone electric shock collar with a push-button remote will not work for this type of training.

This system will work for large as well as small dogs (and cats too).

PetSafe Stay & Play Compact Wireless Fence for Dogs and Cats – from the Parent Company of Invisible Fence Brand – Above Ground Electric Pet Fence

Step 2 – Setup the Transmitter

Choose a location that’s away from dense, heavy metals. Cars, metal roof sheds, or radiators will block or distort the transmitter signal.

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Step 3 – Charge the Receiver Collar

Only train with fully charged collars. You want to do your best to ensure the collar is giving a consistent signal and has the strength to fully understand the boundary.

Mixed signals or weak receivers due to low batteries will only delay training or cause it to be ineffective.

Step 4 – Mark the Boundary with Flags

Flags act as a visible barrier and are vital for training in the beginning. A dog can’t see an invisible fence!

PetSafe Stay & Play Compact Wireless Fence for Dogs and Cats – from the Parent Company of Invisible Fence Brand – Above Ground Electric Pet Fence

Step 5 – Choose the Right Contact Points for the Collar

Short haired dogs get the short contacts. Long haired dogs need the extensions. Most collars will come with two sets of prongs that screw in and out easily for this purpose.

Step 6 – Put the Electric Dog Collar on Your Dog and Set it to the Sound Function

Note – Keep training sessions short at 15 minutes. Repeat a few training sessions per day. Too much training will stress your dog and increase the total time it takes to do this.

Step 7 – Use a Long Leash for the Initial Training. Pull it Short At First

The leash will provide more control in the beginning. Start it short and eventually you’ll lengthen the leash.

This also helps you control your dog from distractions like other dogs or squirrels. That training comes in week 2.

Step 8 – Walk Your Dog to the Boundary, Let the Collar Beep, Call Your Dog then Praise and Treat

This is the basic training you’ll repeat all along the boundary. It involves both negative reinforcement (getting the beep to go away) and positive reinforcement (getting treats and praise when they move away from the boundary).

Keep in mind that overall the beep, vibration, or electric shock is not fully intended as true negative reinforcement training.

It’s meant to get the dogs attention so they turn around and don’t cross the boundary.

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Many collars have increased intensity settings. That means it starts by beeping as they get close to the wireless fence. If they don’t turn around it increases the intensity to vibration or possible the lowest level of electric shock.

Step 9 – Repeat Step 8 and Keep Lengthening the Leash

Do this till the leash is at full length. The idea is that eventually they just come back when called without needing the pull from the leash.

Step 10 – Repeat Step 8 with the Longest Leash Over the Entire Boundary

Keep them on the leash for at least the first go around the boundary.

Step 11 – Repeat Entire Boundary Without the Leash. Just Use the Sound Function.

Days 2 through 3 should cover basic boundary training both on and off leash. Days 4 through 7 should focus on distraction training and fine tuning the collar intensity levels.

Step 12 – Work on Distraction Training and Setting the Minimum Intensity Level

To do this you’ll need to find the correct electric shock setting. Start with the sound function. Have other dogs or people try and distract your dog and get them to cross the boundary.

Was the sound function enough to get their attention, have them turn to you when you say “come”, and come back inside the boundary?

If not turned up the collar intensity one notch. See minute 15 of the video below on how to do that exactly.

You want to use the lowest collar setting. It should never be high enough to cause a yelp or physical pain.

Step 13 – Repeat step 12 for the second week.

By the end of week one they should have the boundary figured out. It’s good to spend extra time in week two helping them overcome distractions.

Final Step – Train your Dog When It’s OK to cross the fence.

You define when it’s OK to cross the fence. You’ll need to develop clear signals for this so your dog clearly knows it’s OK. Otherwise you’d dog will get stressed when you try and get them to cross over.

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Here’s a few examples:

  • Take off the shock collar and put on the leash
  • Remove the electric shock collar and put them in your vehicle

Watch the video below for a full demonstration of how to do the training listed above. Skip to minute 15 to see how to correctly adjust the intensity level of the shock collar for your invisible fence.

How to Train Your Cat to Use a Invisible Fence and Understand the Boundary

Purpose: Train a cat to use an invisible fence system.

In this particular video the system was chosen because this collar (PetSafe for Cats) did not causing any chafing or harm to the cat’s neck. This cat was a hairless Sphynx breed.

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Step 1 – Get Equipment

This training uses a PetSafe Cat Collar with a PetSafe compatible transmitter by Radio Fence.

PetSafe Premium In-Ground Cat Fence Receiver Collar

PetSafe Indoor Radio Fence for Cats and Dogs

PetSafe Radio Fence – Choose barrier of two feet up to 20 feet.

Step 2 – Charge the Collar

Step 3 – Install the Transmitter Next to the Forbidden Area (e.g. doggie door leading outside, counter top, furniture)

This style of transmitter emits a small signal that will keep them away from that area. It’s not intended to create a large boundary zone that surrounds the house. To setup a system like that use the full PetSafe Play and Play system.

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PetSafe Stay & Play Compact Wireless Fence for Dogs and Cats – from the Parent Company of Invisible Fence Brand – Above Ground Electric Pet Fence

Step 4 – Choose the Range – 2 Feet Up to 20 Feet 

The radio fence varies from 2 feet up to 20 feet. Remember, this transmitter works to keep your small pet away from the transmitter, not inside it.

Step 5 – Install Additional Transmitters By Every Exit, Counter Top, Or Areas You Want to Keep Your Cat Out Of.

Adjust the range for each according to how far you want them to stay away.

Step 6 – Put the Collar On Your Cat

Not too tight or too loose.

Step 7 – Conduct Leash Training to Get them Used to the Boundaries

Use a cat leash at first to make sure your cat understands the boundaries. Don’t pull them into the boundary. Just use the leash to walk them through the house over near the transmitters. 

Let the cat walk into the transmitter zone on their own with a loose leash. Pull back to help them understand the beep signal.

Step 8 – Remove the Leash and Watch to Confirm they Understand the Collar Signal and the Boundaries

Even with electric collars you should watch and make sure your cat understands it. This type of training won’t work for all cats.

If it fails go back to leash training until they understand the beep and shock signals to stay away from certain areas.

Step 9 – Remove the collars At Night.

If the intention was to prevent them from getting out of the house then block/lock the entrances and exits.

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Do Cat and Dog Shock Collars Work?

Yes, shock collars are effective training tools for both cats and dogs when installed and used properly. They provide a signal and aid in training very similar to using a clicker.

Shock collars can be used for both positive reinforcement training as well as negative reinforcement training. They work best when used in combination with a patient owner that gives clear commands and offers treats and praise for successful attempts.

Dog and cat owners need to be trained either formally or informally (via articles and videos shown here as an example) prior to using shock collars.

What Is a Dog Shock Collar (Cat Shock Collar)?

Shock collars provide a small sound, vibration, or electric shock to get your small pets attention. That signal can be used for manual dog training to get them to do certain tricks (come, stop, down) or to keep them inside or outside a boundary created by a transmitter.

Shock collars can also be used in combination with an invisible fence (AKA wireless fence). The signal occurs when the receiver collar gets close to the boundary. The intention is to keep your dog or cat inside the invisible fence. Although this is somewhat automatic, all invisible or wireless fences must involve active training at first from the owner.

How Does a Dog Shock Collar Work and Function?

Shock collars work in combination with a transmitter. The tranmsmitter can be passive or active.

Active transmitters utilize small remotes. The trainer presses a button on the remote and it triggers either a beep, vibration, or shock on the receiver collar.

Passive transmitters create an invisible boundary. When a receiver collar gets close to the boundary it then beeps, vibrates, or delivers a small electric shock (similar to a static electricity shock from rubbing your socks over carpet in the winter then touching metal).

Passive boundary lines can either be large to keep your pet inside them (e.g. an invisible or wireless fence). They can also be small to keep your pet away from small boundary areas (e.g. keep them off the counter, away from nice furniture, out of rooms, or away from doggie doors or main doors).

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Are Shock Collars Safe for Your Cat?

Yes, shock collars when properly sized and fitted are safe for cats. Never use a dog shock collar on a cat. Always check their neck regularly to make sure there isn’t chafing or abrasion from the collar. Lastly, don’t leave shock collars on at all times. Take them off at night and when not actively training.

Are Shock Collars Effective on Cats?

Yes, shock collars when used per the instructions and when actively trained will work on cats. See the cat training methods shown above.

Is My Dog Shock Collar Illegal?

Shock collars are illegal in some countries as well as some U.S. states. Check your local states regulations. Sadly, there’s no easy source of this information right now and things are constantly changing.

Does A Shock Collar Cause Side Effects?

Yes, shock collars when used incorrectly can cause physical or mental side effects. Here are some examples:

  • Tightly fitted collar can chafe
  • Prongs can abrade skin if used too often or with too tight a collar
  • Dog or cat can get confused and anxious if the signal isn’t consistent. Make sure all devices are charged and there’s no signal interference.