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Old 02-16-2011, 01:48 PM
 
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Hi everyone...

Just want some opinions on Invisble Fence for my situation. We have an acre (approx.), with only a small portion of it fenced (white picket fence) off the back of the house. The picket fence is failing, and our choices are between replacing it (ornamental aluminum, due to HOA rules) and putting in an invisible fence - for the whole yard.

The invisible fence would be cheaper (we would DIY the installation) - but I am concerned about the dogs really "obeying" the fence.

My dogs:

Sasha - 11 year old female schnauzer mix, 28lbs, Alpha (super alpha) Very territorial, always on the watch for invading bikers, joggers, strange dogs, skaters, etc..

Mischief - 4 year old male MUTT - looks like a blue heeler mix, 24 lbs, relatively submissive, but a little stubborn. Barks once Sasha tells him its time to bark.

Toffee - 2 year old Mutt (some kind of terrier mix - looks like benji) - super sweet, semi-skittish, fairly submissive. (Was tied out for the first year of her life before we rescued her). Tries to be "guard dog" when Sasha is out of commission, but is retreating as she barks.

Bear - 1 year old (8 months, actually) male, 40lb, Mutt. (Maybe a pyrenees mix??). Very mellow personality, but have a feeling may eventually become alpha, when Sasha is gone. Doesn't bark much, not particularly territorial.


I love the idea of the invisible fence, but have nightmare images of us "thinking" they're trained, and letting them outside and then Sasha bolting head first through the line to chase off a stray dog, or even to play with a stray dog. Or to chase down a jogger. Sasha is a fairly obedient dog (we are not dog whisperers), and is very respectful of boundaries. In our old house we accidentally left the patio door open while working outside -- we came around the house to find our cats on the patio wandering around while Sasha stood in the open doorway, barking at them to raise the alarm!!

I guess I just don't know if I trust her with the "jogger/dog in the street" temptation.

*sigh*. Any reassurance you can offer would be awesome!

Eventually we'll replace the picket fence, but its going to cost upwards of 5 grand (as a DIY project) and we just don't want to attempt that this year. So the other fence would allow us to have some peace of mind if they got through the picket fence (i.e. a panel blows down during a storm and we don't see it) - plus it would allow them to use more of the yard when for play times and would allow them to be with us when we working in the yard.

Thanks for any/all replies!
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Old 02-16-2011, 02:12 PM
ZSP
 
Location: Paradise
1,662 posts, read 4,706,744 times
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I guess it's a matter of your comfort level...just know that an invisible fence will NOT keep other animals out of your yard...dogs, cats, wild life, etc. And, if your dog sees something he/she wants, a shock might not be enough to keep him/her inside the boundaries. Once they learn the shock is tolerable, IMHO, you've lost the battle keeping them contained in one.

I know lots of pet owners use and trust them with great success, but it's just not an option for me. We have a secure fenced yard at our house but last summer, we had to bite the bullet and fork over $5k to fence in our 1/4 acre mountain property.
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Old 02-16-2011, 02:21 PM
 
Location: Montreal -> CT -> MA -> Montreal -> Ottawa
17,330 posts, read 30,219,432 times
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Someone asked this same question recently, so I dug up my answer.

What I was told about electric fences is that:

1. Your dog may not care about the split second of pain and continually cross the mark.
2. Your dog may go out, hate the split second of pain, and not cross it to come back.
3. It may keep your dog IN, but it doesn't keep other dogs (or other animals or people, especially kids) OUT, risking harm to your dog (or the kids)
4. It may keep your dog IN, but it doesn't stop a stranger from going in and taking your dog.

For all of these reasons, we chose to put up an actual fence. It's not a pretty one, but it gives Artie a nice place to play.

I know nothing about the price and depth required for an underground fence for the reasons mentioned above, but I have an idea for you:

Because the cost of putting up an actual fence is prohibitive for you, with over an acre to fence in, could you not put up a LARGE modular fence, the size of the area that your dog is currently used to?

These modular fences (called modular dog runs) are similar to chain link fences but have "additions" to make it as large as you want it to be. They are much less expensive than fencing in your yard, even with chain link and, apparently, can be easily put together.

ETA: I don't know where you live -- i.e. if there's snow -- but some neighbors of mine have an underground fence and, with all the snow going on this winter, their dog can't go out in their yard because the transmitters don't work with so much snow coverage.

Last edited by DawnMTL; 02-16-2011 at 03:05 PM..
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Old 02-16-2011, 02:27 PM
 
4,919 posts, read 21,537,778 times
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I know many who had it, some like it, some liked it and now hate it, some hated it right after using it. The thing I hear most often that is often overlooked is a dog running with speed can run right over the boundray and after the inital shock, they are FREE. BUt when they try to return, that may deter them from reentering the yard. I have heard many AC workers say they have found dogs using these systems pacing up and down the boundary on the outside. I think its a bit more comman than people think yet no maker ever mentions that in their sales material. Just something to think about.

The best advice I was given on these hidden fence came from my Vet. Go to the distributor, place a collar around your own neck, walk over the boundary. If its no big deal, buy it. If its not something you ever want to experience again, why are you subjecting your dog it that?

Last edited by PacificFlights; 02-16-2011 at 03:02 PM..
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Old 02-16-2011, 02:37 PM
 
Location: Colorado
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My wife and I just bought a 35 acre ranch, mainly for our dogs, but we wanted the privacy as well. We have 3 labs. We researched various types of fences and decided to go with invisible fence for two reasons.

1. our newly rescued black lab can jump 5ft fences without even touching them. 6ft fences if he really wants to get out.
2. the cost to fence our entire property would've been close to $50k. Just not in the budget at this time.

We lived in the house for several weeks without the invisible fence. We have no neighbors and live on a cul-de-sac but there is still the chance for car traffic. The dogs were starting to get brave and venture off the property and one/twice onto the (dirt) road. We knew at that point we had to do something.

Our yellow lab was trained on the invisible fence so he had no issues on this property. He stays within the flags. Our other 2 labs - who are very active and have strong prey drives - have done very well. They start running, see the flags and then veer off and run parallel to the property lines.

I totally understand other people's concerns and invisible fences are definitely not for everyone. We do not have neighbors so kids and other dogs entering the property are not an issues. Wildlife will enter our property whether we have an invisible fence or a 5-6 foot fence. Coyotes, deer, antelope, etc will jump if they really want to get in. We thought about the issue of the dogs getting out and not getting back in. Our dogs only have access to our yard when we are home and most of the time they only go near the boundaries when I am out there with them. For us, it was the only safe option.
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Old 02-16-2011, 02:46 PM
 
3,620 posts, read 11,656,207 times
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Personally, I don't recommend them for all the reasons that have already been listed here. Its best to fence a smaller area or take the dogs out on leash. There are just too many variables that can go wrong.

Last edited by Va-Cat; 02-16-2011 at 03:40 PM..
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Old 02-16-2011, 03:29 PM
 
Location: In the AC
972 posts, read 2,296,471 times
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We just spent weeks researching the different professional installs verses DIY. Like you, we were faced with a prohibative fence price verses the invisible fence.Plus, we could only fence in a small part verses 1/2 acre with the electric version. We decided to go with a professional install (DogWatch) because I liked their equipment better than anything I could buy myself.

If you DIY, you'll have to buy more wire to include your whole area. There are great websites with details on upgrading the wire and other options to avoid having to put it all in-ground.For our yard, it was twice to have it professionally done, which was worth it to me to have someone else deal with any problems.

I love that our dog really has room to run and play without always being on a leash or in a cramped fenced-in area.
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Old 02-16-2011, 04:11 PM
 
Location: Colorado
1,904 posts, read 3,763,558 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by msm_teacher View Post
We just spent weeks researching the different professional installs verses DIY. Like you, we were faced with a prohibative fence price verses the invisible fence.Plus, we could only fence in a small part verses 1/2 acre with the electric version. We decided to go with a professional install (DogWatch) because I liked their equipment better than anything I could buy myself.

If you DIY, you'll have to buy more wire to include your whole area. There are great websites with details on upgrading the wire and other options to avoid having to put it all in-ground.For our yard, it was twice to have it professionally done, which was worth it to me to have someone else deal with any problems.

I love that our dog really has room to run and play without always being on a leash or in a cramped fenced-in area.
I forgot to mention that we have professional installation with ours. It was probably assumed due to the large area.

We didn't see the benefit of fencing a small portion of our yard; which wouldn't work anyhow as our black lab would just hop over it anyhow. It would've been unfortunate to have 35 acres of land for the dogs but only allow them outside when they are leashed or when we can be outside with them.

I also forgot to mention that we have noticed our dogs being 'challenged' by the fence - birds in the adjacent lot as well as our neighbors behind us who have horses and cows. Our dogs have never once tried to cross the boundary.
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Old 02-16-2011, 04:34 PM
 
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We had one and I'll never have another one. Our male GSD ended up blasting through it and the fence had been up for a couple of years without any issues. Were not sure what came over him but he bolted. Alot of dogs that get out don't want to return due to getting shocked again. Lightning storms can short them out so that they aren't working. And if you have strange dogs coming around it's not going to keep them out of your yard.

Once my dog got out, and he did end up getting hit by a car, which he lived, but after that having a solid fence was so much more reassuring.

And ours was installed from a professional company.
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Old 02-16-2011, 05:30 PM
 
Location: In the AC
972 posts, read 2,296,471 times
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Another reason we chose an in-ground fence this time is that I got real tired of chasing down our dogs because some kid or workman didn't latch the gate. We also had problems with rabbits getting into our yard and then not remembering how to get out at our last house.

A lot of the decision also comes down to how much time outside your dog spends unsupervised, how likely your dog is to run through an electric fence, how easily your dog can escape or jump a solid fence and how often other critters wander into your yard.

There are horror stories with every kind of fence and containment system. You look at all the benefits and risks and choose what works best for your situation. To me, the OP seems a good fit for an in-ground fence IF he gets on that works for all his dogs. Many DIY kits do not let you regulate the collars to different dogs.
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