Invisible Fence is an electronic pet containment system. An electrical wire is laid underground along the perimeter of an area. The dog is fitted with a special electronic collar. When the dog approaches the boundary, a warning beep sounds. This gives the dog the opportunity to back away from the perimeter. If the dog ignores the beeping, a mild electric shock is delivered via the electronic collar to the dog’s neck.
This technique may sound cruel, but it’s not. The shock is very mild, as the power comes from batteries in the dog’s collar, not from the buried wire. It takes the dog by surprise. And the shock level is adjusted according to the size of the dog — smaller dogs get a much smaller shock.
Note that Invisible Fence, like all electronic pet containment systems, doesn’t work its magic in a vacuum. The dog must be conditioned to run away from the boundary when the warning beep occurs. Little flags are placed along the perimeter to act as visual cues during the training, which initially occurs with a leashed dog. The collar is also placed into training (no shock) mode.
Conditioning is done quite simply. The owner approaches the perimeter with the dog. As soon as the dog passes the flags that mark the perimeter, the collar will start beeping. The owner immediately tugs on the leash and walks quickly away from the perimeter, calling the dog’s name. With lots of praise, the owner makes it a fun game for the dog.
When done over several training sessions, the dog learns to immediately leave the perimeter area as soon as the beeping occurs. Eventually the training is done without a leash and with the collar in its normal mode. If the dog ignores the beeping, the first shock it receives is usually enough to cause it to heed the collar’s warning the next time it approaches the boundary.
All dogs do not need containment with an Invisible Fence system. But it works surprisingly well for those that do.