Are Wired Underground Dog Fences Cruel? – Should You Use One?

We may receive commissions when you buy through links on our site. Read here.

Dog Jump Over The Fence
A black labrador is jumping over the fence

You plan to install a dog electric fence as the Homeowner’s Association (HOA) does not allow you to put up a fence that’s tall enough to keep your furry friend from escaping. However, you can’t help but wonder, are these fences cruel?

Well, you’re not alone in your questioning. Many pet owners have the same concerns as you do. And much like dog shock collars, underground dog fences have come under fire in recent years for being cruel. It is, in fact, a controversial topic among pet owners, some of which feel very strongly one way or the other. So, what’s the verdict? Are wired underground dog fences inhumane?

Unfortunately, there is no clear-cut answer.

To better understand this topic, it’s crucial to first understand how these fences work.

How Do Underground Invisible Fences for Dogs Work?

Wired underground invisible fences work by creating an invisible boundary around your property. The wire is buried underground, and a transmitter is installed inside your home. The transmitter emits a radio signal that travels through the wire.

When your dog approaches where you’ve buried the wire, they will receive a warning beep from the receiver collar they are wearing. And if your pooch continues moving past the boundary, the receiver collar will deliver a static correction. Now, this is where people start to get concerned. You’ll, in fact, hear people say things like:

  • Electric underground fences are dangerous.
  • They are harmful to dogs.
  • Dogs will become anxious, stressed, and aggressive.
  • These fences will cause burns and abrasion.
  • I’ve seen dogs get shocked by one of these fences, and it looked painful.
  • I’ll never put my dog through that. It’s inhumane.

The Truth About Electric Invisible Dog Fences

A hidden fence won’t hurt your dog if it’s used correctly. However, as with anything, there is a potential for abuse. If you don’t follow the instruction and do not use it as it’s intended, then there is a greater chance for problems to arise.

And while the idea of shocking your dog may not sit well with you, it’s vital to understand that static correction is not harmful. Using it correctly will not cause your dog any physical pain or harm. Instead, it’s more like a nuisance than anything else. It feels exactly like when a chiropractor uses a TENS unit on you (if you’ve been to a chiropractor before). The static correction is only meant to get your dog’s attention, basically telling them, “Hey, you’ve crossed the line. Come back.”

Also, one thing to note is that you must take the time to train your dog to use the in-ground fence because if your fido doesn’t understand where the boundaries are, they will continue to cross the line and get corrected. It’s unfair to them, and that’s also when problems can start to occur.

Then How Do You Explain All The Negative Stories?

If in-ground fences are safe and humane, why are there negative stories floating around?

Well. There are always one or two bad apples in the barrel that can ruin it for everyone else. There will always be people who abuse them or use them without following the instructions. Or they’ve bought a cheaply made fence that doesn’t work.

Also, some people hear a story from those who have had bad experiences and will simply believe it without doing research themselves. And those that say in-ground fences are bad without really understanding how they work are like saying all cars are bad because someone got into an accident. But was it the car’s fault, or was it the person behind the wheels?

Should You Use a Hidden Underground Fence for Your Dog?

This is entirely up to you. If you want to give an underground fence a try, just be sure to do your research, get a good quality fence, and take the time to train your dog properly.

However, if you are not comfortable with the idea of using an underground fence, then, by all means, don’t use one. But think about this. Would you rather have your dog contained within your property where you know they are safe? Or would you rather take the chance of them wandering off and possibly getting hurt?

And I’ll say that hidden underground fences are probably the best thing I’ve ever invested in for my dog. It gives my pup the freedom to run and play in the yard without me having to worry about him getting into the street or wandering off my property. And I know that he is safe and happy, which is all that really matters to me in the end.

Also, to me, in-ground fences are not cruel whatsoever. Many people that I know say these fences are cruel have never used one. They’ve just heard stories from others and have made up their minds without even giving it a chance. And I’m sure those that have tried them and had bad experiences either didn’t have a good quality fence or use it properly.

That’s just my opinion. I’m not here to try to convince anyone to use an underground fence. All I can say, though, is that, in my experience, these types of fences are perfectly safe and effective when used correctly.