It can be stressful placing the health and safety of our dog in the hands of technology you can’t actually see, as is the case of invisible fences.
Can a dog jump over an invisible fence?
It’s unlikely a dog will jump over an electric fence, though if the boundary is too close to the wire, it could give your dog an advantage to jump over.
It’s important to understand how invisible fences work and how you can prevent your dog from escaping your yard!
How Can a Dog Cross an Above or Below Ground Fence?
The lack of a physical barrier means that something else has to stop the dog from jumping over the perimeter.
This something else is found in the specialized dog collar that links to the underground fence via a transmitter.
The transmitter activates when it is too close to the fence and can take the form of an electric shock, a vibration, or an unpleasant sound.
Once trained, the dog will correlate the unpleasant response with its location, and stay well away from the barrier.
Thus, an underground fence is seen as a viable alternative to above-ground barriers.
Not only do they actively incentivize the animal to not even test the boundaries, but they operate without many of the disadvantages that plague above-ground infrastructure.
Read More: Can Underground Wire Be Used Above Ground? See if you can install your underground fence above ground SAFELY in this guide!
Can These Devices Hurt My Dog?
However, electric underground fences do come with some drawbacks.
First among these is the fact that this method relies almost entirely on the dog’s response to the stimulation.
If something scares, entices, or otherwise arouses the animal, it may make a beeline past the underground wire, ignoring the negative stimuli in favor of a more immediate priority.
This can be avoided or mediated with sufficient behavioral training, but that training could pose other drawbacks.
For instance, in order to avoid unnecessary pain from the collar, a dog must be made familiar with the boundaries it’s supposed to abide by.
Not educating the animal in this way can confuse it, and the necessary correlation in the dog’s brain could fail.
To ensure this education sticks, there needs to be sufficient stimulation so that a dog does not easily forget or misinterpret the property boundaries.
This will likely be a tad unpleasant for the animal as it learns and adapts to its circumstances.
While the collars will not do any long-lasting damage, the pain, by dint of its purpose, would need to stay with the animal.
This could, naturally, be difficult to inflict upon a dog, even if it is a matter of safety.
Not providing sufficient incentive to keep the animal away from the boundaries might lead to the dog simply passing over the fence, invalidating the purpose of the fence.
Read our related article, Will an Electric Fence Hurt a Dog? If you use your fence correctly, your dog shouldn’t be affected physically or mentally!
How Reliable Are These Devices?
It is also important to realize that the fence itself is inherently useless without the collar component on the dog.
The wireless connection between the collar, its mechanical components, and the fence perimeter itself is what makes the dog dissuasion possible.
If this collar is removed, broken, deactivated, or malfunctions, there’s nothing to stop the dog outside of its own hesitation.
For particularly active dogs, sheer boredom may also lead the animals to attempt to breach the perimeter.
The lack of a visual boundary can confuse the animal, and it may forget about the physical sensation until it is flying past the underground barrier at full speed.
I’ve Trained My Dog – Now What?
There are still some drawbacks to underground electric fences that don’t relate to keeping dogs in.
Above-ground electric fences are at least somewhat effective at keeping unwanted critters out of the cordoned-off areas.
Small pests like raccoons or squirrels might not pose a threat to your four-legged pal.
But those that live in the vicinity of larger or carnivorous animals, like wolves or bears, might benefit from the barrier that an electrified fence provides.
As a result, it’s important to recognize that, while your dog is unlikely to jump the fence, there’s little stopping an unwanted animal from doing so.
Depending on your specific location and needs, you may need to accommodate this scenario.
Read our related article on Training Dog for Invisible Fence. These are the BEST methods for training your dog to use your new invisible fence!
Can I Change the Dimensions?
Underground electric fences operate on a principle of association, usually between an area and unpleasant consequences.
Shifting the barrier’s perimeter after a long period of establishment, or moving from one property to another, can confuse the dog.
This might also extend to unintentional associations.
For instance, if the fence perimeter has a sizable amount of a specific plant or color, the dog may attribute the unpleasantness it feels to these stimuli.
This, while unintentional, can cause problems down the line.
Here is a video describing the installation of a below-ground fence:
How can I limit the risks further?
At the end of the day, there are only so many ways to protect your dog via an electric fence.
There are other aspects of your dog’s safety and health that you can influence to ensure that the fence you use is as effective as possible.
Tackling animal motivations is a sizable portion of both training and protection.
Though a dog is not going to jump over an electric fence, whether it’s above ground or not, without reason. Unfortunately, those reasons can span a wide gamut.
All sorts of stimulation can influence a dog’s behavior.
Smells and sounds are significant sources of motivation, causing a dog to ignore the correction its collar gives it.
This is especially true for instincts to socialize and/or mate.
To help curb this, spaying or neutering your dog is a viable option.
This might not cut down on its urge to socialize, but it will help ensure that its responses are more reasonable, and not based on impulses that cannot be ignored.
In all, a dog jumping over a fence, whether physical or invisible, is possible but highly unlikely.
It would require a number of circumstances that are either uncommon or generally preventable to result in your loyal companion bolting over the fence and into danger.
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