How to train your dog on an invisible fence

Invisible fences for dogs

Invisible fences are an increasingly popular option for dog owners. While it is not for everyone, it tends to offer more space for dogs to roam, without the hassle and cost of having a physical fence.

Invisible fences have been debated time and time again, so weigh your options. If you decide they are best for your situation, it is important to pick a quality fence and properly train your dog.

How to choose an invisible fence

When choosing an invisible fence, the first thing to look at is the diameter. The fence should accommodate a person's spatial needs. Because invisible fences have improved in recent years, it has a range of reach from a few feet to hundreds of acres.

When buying an invisible fence, be aware of how long it will last. Most brands will last roughly 10 years, but some will need the batteries changed.

In general, look for invisible fences that offer a battery. While rechargeable batteries tend to degrade over time, it is still usually better for the planet and your wallet.

Wireless vs. underground

There are two main types of invisible fences for dogs: wireless or underground. Wireless fences usually offer a fixed diameter size and shape. Underground fences require more work but offer diameter personalization.

Wireless fences have smaller and fixed diameters depending on its power but require much less effort. Setup with wireless fences usually takes only a few minutes.

GPS fences also fall under the wireless category. GPS fences tend to be managed from a mobile app and are customizable but less accurate.

Another subgroup of wireless fences is pet barriers. Invisible barriers are used to keep pets out of a specific area, like a flower bed.

Underground fences require much more work but offer more personalization and range. The barriers on underground fences are also generally considered more reliable.

ll in all, wireless fences are for busy people who don't mind a fixed radius. Underground fences are best for people willing to spend the time or money in the set-up, to have a more customized size.

Regardless of which kind of fence you decide on, make sure to carefully follow the instruction manual. Each invisible fence tends to have slightly different instructions.

Training a dog on an invisible fence

Once the invisible fence is installed, train the dog to obey the boundary. Before beginning, read the manual that comes with the fence. Manuals will often have training tips specific to the fence that was chosen.

If there are multiple dogs, train each of them on the fence separately. This will ensure they respond properly and won’t be too distracted.

Before beginning, also double-check that the collar is properly sized. If it is not on properly, the training will not work. If a dog does not know how to recall well, put a leash on the dog.

    • Bring the dog to the edge of the zone. When the warning signal begins to beep, stop. Do not go any closer to the barrier.
    • Turn and walk back to the house or center of the yard. As you turn back towards the center of the yard, give the dog a treat. This associates the warning sound with walking away.
    • Repeat the steps until the training sticks. Continue the process of walking to the edge and back. Regardless of how well the dog is adapting to the training, do so for 10 to 15 minutes at a time. It usually takes around seven days for the training to become a habit.
    • Keep an eye on the dog to make sure a habit is formed. If a dog wanders too close to the barrier, use a recall command to get them to come back quickly. Playing with the dog in the yard is a great way to make sure that the boundary is respected.
  • There are multiple ways of training a dog to get it to obey the invisible fence. It is best to associate the training with the sound and not a correction stimulus. While it may be time consuming, it keeps the dog from having a fear response.

    Take note of the dog’s posture. If the dog shows signs of stress during the training, take a break. If the training does not seem to be going well, consider a different kind of fence.

    Recall training

    Regardless of how a dog is going to be contained, recall training is vital. Recall training is important for keeping a dog safe in the yard and when the owner is out.

    Recall training, sometimes called the “come command,” is useful for making sure your dog’s invisible fence training sticks.

    Regardless of how obedient a dog is, make sure local leash laws are obeyed. Often when you are out and about, a dog will need to be on a leash.

    Fence alternative

    Invisible fences don’t work well for all dogs. Luckily, there are a number of alternatives.

    If you are very worried about your dog getting out of your fence, it may be good to take them outside on a leash . While this may be tedious, it is a great temporary option for young dogs.

    Longline tie outs are also an option for people who do not want a physical fence. However, tie-outs are not long-term solutions.

    All in all, a physical fence is a tried-and-true solution to keeping your dog contained. Mesh fencing is a great option for dogs that like to climb and is affordable.