Electric Dog Fences vs. Traditional Fences: Which is Better?

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Electric dog fences and traditional fences are two primary methods pet owners use to keep their furry friends safe and secure within their boundaries.

While traditional fencing has been around for centuries and is a reliable option, more and more pet owners have been turning to an electric dog fence to keep their pets from running off and getting into hazardous situations.

With pros and cons to each method, it can be challenging to determine which one is the best option for you and your furry companion.

In this article, we’ll explore the differences between traditional and electric dog fences to help you make an informed decision.

Difference Between Electric Fences For Dogs and Traditional Fences

Electric Dog Fence vs Traditional Dog Fence

First of all, let’s discuss the major differences between electric fences and traditional fencing.

Traditional fencing is installed in your yard with posts, rails, or panels. It can be made of various materials, including wood, metal, vinyl, or chain-link, and can range from 6 feet to 8 feet in height. Traditional fencing creates an actual physical barrier, keeping your pup from escaping or other animals from entering your yard.

Electric dog fences are different in that they create an invisible border around a designated area using radio signals, hence why they sometimes are referred to as invisible fences. When your four-legged friend crosses the boundary, they’ll receive a mild static from the collar, alerting them to stay within the safe zone.

Will electric dog fences hurt my dog, you asked?

Yes and no.

What I mean by that is it depends on the intensity of the static shock you set.

Some people will tell you that electric fences will hurt your dog because in order for it to work, it needs to deliver a painful, corrective stimulus that is strong enough to deter your dog from roaming beyond the boundary. Over time, they’ll associate crossing the boundary with an uncomfortable sensation and eventually learn the consequences.

If that’s what you’ll do, then yes, the electric fence will hurt your dog.

However, there’s no need to go that far.

In fact, electric dog fences are only designed to deliver a mild, static correction instead of an uncomfortable jolt to cause pain. The sensation is similar to the static electricity you might get if you touch a doorknob after walking on a carpet. This acts as a reminder for your canine friend to basically tell them, “hey, you’ve gone too far. Come back.”

So if you set the static shock level at what it is intended to be, it won’t harm your dog. That also means you’ll have to train your dog to use the fence. Otherwise, they won’t know what the static correction means and will continue to wander off.

Why Install A Physical Fence?

Traditional fencing is a popular choice for pet owners because it is sturdy and durable. It also provides a physical barrier between your dog and any outside threats, protecting your canine from other animals, strangers, or neighbors’ pets who may enter the yard without permission.

Depending on the type of fencing you choose, traditional fencing also adds privacy and security to your yard and can be tailored to fit the size of your property. Plus, you can opt for shorter fences or higher fences if you have larger dogs that like to jump.

Other than that, traditional fences, specifically solid wood fences and brick fences, have an added advantage for pet owners whose dogs are barrier aggressive or prey-driven since these types of fences block the view of what’s on the other side.

In other words, your pup won’t be able to see any potential triggers like cats, other dogs, squirrels, mail carriers, or anything else that may set them off. As a result, they won’t bark, lunge, snarl, act out, or bolt out of the yard and potentially put themselves in danger.

Key Takeaway: If you're looking for a more permanent fix that provides privacy, security, and peace of mind, traditional fencing is the way to go.

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Why Install An Electric Dog Fence?

While traditional fencing works great, not all pet owners can install one on their properties, as some neighborhoods have restrictions against it. That’s where electric dog fences come in. It is a great solution for those who live in areas where traditional fencing isn’t allowed.

Electric fences are also an economical alternative for pet owners on a budget who want to keep their pups in check. Plus, they are relatively easy to install and set up. All you have to do is bury the buried wire, attach a transmitter in your house, and you’re good to go, making it ideal for those who live on a large property that spans multiple acres.

Best of all, this type of fence requires minimal maintenance since you don’t have to worry about painting, staining, or replacing boards.

Not having an actual gate also means less hassle, as you won’t have to worry about opening and closing them whenever your pup wants to go outside.

Additionally, they are an excellent choice for pet owners who are renting. Yes, renters still need permission from their landlord before installing an electric fence, but they’re more likely to get the go-ahead than if they asked to install a physical fence.

Aside from that, an electric fence may be the better option to keep escape artists who love jumping or digging under fences contained.

This type of fence also provides extra security against burglars or intruders, as the presence of a dog in plain sight within your yard should deter anyone from attempting to break in unless we’re talking about a dog thief.

As a bonus, electric dog fences allow you to customize the area your pup can explore and which areas they must stay away from. For instance, if you have a garden, flower bed, swimming pool, or a water feature on your property that you don’t want your pup to enter, you can simply place wire around these off-limits areas.

Key Takeaway: If you are on a budget or living in an area with restrictions against installing a physical fence, an electric dog fence is a great solution. It's easy to install, requires minimal maintenance, provides an extra layer of security against burglars, and is perfect for escape artists who like to jump or dig under fences. Plus, it allows you to customize the area your pup is allowed to explore and keep them away from certain off-limits areas.

Still Can't Decide?

If you’re still undecided between traditional fencing and electric dog fences, here are a few questions to ask yourself:

  • Does my neighborhood allow traditional fencing, or are there restrictions against it?
  • Do I have the budget for a traditional fence?
  • What’s more important for me: keeping my dog in or other dogs and strangers out?
  • Do I prefer something easier to install and maintain?
  • Am I okay with the upkeep and maintenance of a traditional fence?
  • Do I care about aesthetics or privacy?
  • Do I have an escape artist pup who likes to jump or dig under fences?
  • Am I renting and need permission from my landlord before installing a fence?
  • Do I want a fence that adds value to my property?

Answering these questions can help you narrow down your options and make choosing the right fence for your pup easier. Whether it’s a traditional or electric dog fence, they both offer great benefits and can keep your pup safe and secure. Good luck!