Are Electric Dog Fences Legal? – GUIDE to Local Regulations

When considering getting an electric dog fence you may have many questions. One of those questions is, are electric dog fences legal where you live?

The good news is that invisible and above-ground electric dog fences are legal in more places than not.

However, it really depends on where you live exactly as every place is different and every place has different sets of rules.

When thinking about purchasing an electric dog fence, it’s important to look up the rules and regulations for your specific state, town, or city.


Before opting for an electric fence, we strongly suggest obedience training and taking the time to understand and carry out the process.

Training your dog can prevent the potential stress of an electric fence collar, and focuses on positive cues to reinforce boundaries. 

While electric fence collars aren’t physically harmful, for certain dogs they can cause potentially severe emotional distress without the proper training.

Brain training techniques are a science-backed way to help prepare your dog for new boundaries without the use of force or dominance!

Are Invisible Dog Fences Legal in the U.S.?

Invisible dog fences are legal in the United States
In most cases, invisible dog fences are legal, but electric fences are not permitted in some cities. You will need to conduct some research on your particular town.

In many cases invisible dog fences are legal, and a great way to keep your dog in your yard when you do not have an above-ground fence.

With that being said, the legality of these fences relies on your specific town, not so much the state.

Some cities have a municipal code that requires you to have an actual fence, not an electric fence.

If that is the case for your city, and it mentions nothing about having electric fences, then you can assume that they are not allowed in your city.

There are also other codes that will be more specific, and will strictly state that electric fences are not allowed where you live.

You will need to do some research on your specific town.

Are Above Ground Electric Fences Legal in the U.S.?

Are Above Ground Electric Fences Legal In The U.S.
Electric fences are illegal in the majority of American states if they touch public places such as highways, public roads, neighbors, roadways, parks, and so on.

In the U.S. above ground, electric fences are legal for the most part, though depending on the state you live in there will be specific bylaws for your specific state.

It is so important to do research on your specific state regarding above-ground electric fences.

In most cases, your state will prohibit you from putting an electric fence too close to your neighbor’s property line, or too close to the road.

However, if they are close enough to your house, they shouldn’t be a problem. 

Can I Install an Invisible Electric Fence in Residential Areas?

Invisible fences can be installed in residential areas
You can install an invisible electric fence, but you must exercise some extra precautions.

When it comes to installing an invisible electric fence in residential areas or near roadways, you are going to have to take a few extra precautions.

When you have an invisible electric fence in residential areas, you have to make sure you alert the public that you have an invisible electric fence.

You can do this by putting up signs around the perimeter or somewhere you are sure it will be seen.

Does the HOA Allow Invisible Fences and Above Ground Fences?

If the residence you live in is managed under an HOA you may have a more difficult time when it comes to fencing options.

Does HOA Allow Invisible Fences?

The HOA in a lot of cases prohibits the use of invisible electric fences due to the dog being able to run through the perimeter if they have a high prey drive.

The HOA also does not allow the posting of signs unless it is for-sale signs.

This could be an issue because in residential areas you are required to have signs alerting the public that you are using an electric fence.

Does HOA Allow Above Ground Fences?

When it comes to above-ground fences, the HOA normally does have some rules for them as well.

When the HOA is involved you are more than likely going to need approval from them to do absolutely anything landscape-wise on your property.

The process to get approved for fencing or other projects can take weeks, but it is possible.

The HOA may also prohibit chain links or wire fences as they are not pretty to look at.

If you go against the rules you can almost guarantee that it will be torn down.

Therefore, it is important to read up on the HOA rules in your area to prevent this from happening.

Are Invisible Electric Fences Safe?

Are Invisible Electric Fences Safe
In most cases, invisible electric fences are not dangerous.

Are wireless dog fences safe?

When it comes to invisible fences, in general, they are safe for the most part.

In some circumstances though, they may not be the best option for your animal.

If your dog is always chasing after people or animals, is already aggressive, high-strung, or even anxious, an invisible fence that shocks your dog can make these problems worse.

There are also some cases in which an invisible fence could lead to seizures in susceptible dogs.

Read More: Does Electric Fence Have to Be a Loop? Can you run an electric fence in a straight light on your property? Yes and no. Here’s what to know!

What are the Dangers of Electric Dog Fences?

What are the Dangers of Electric Dog Fences
Electric fences increase barrier aggression. In addition to leaving the dog vulnerable to attacks, electronic containment systems lack any physical barrier to protect unwary passers-by from the dog.

When taking electric dog fences into consideration and deciding if an invisible electric fence is a good fit for you, it is important to note some of the dangers of these fences. 

Some dogs simply do not do well with electric fences due to chasing, and pre-existing aggression issues.

This can be especially bad if you live somewhere where people and other animals are walking by all the time.

Some dogs have an extremely high prey drive and will chase anything that walks by them.

As you could imagine, this temperament and wireless fences would not be a good fit as they could run straight through the fence. 

If your dog runs through invisible fence boundaries, it could result in them getting shocked, and could result in them being a danger to whatever they are chasing after.

Not to say that invisible electric fences won’t work, it just may not be the best option out there for highly reactive dogs.

Proper training, however, could make the difference between these fences working for your pet or not.

Here is a video showing you proper dog training:

Electric Dog Fence Alternatives

Electric Dog Fence Alternatives
Electric dog fences are far less difficult to maintain than traditional above-ground fences. But there are alternatives that are safer.

Invisible electric dog fences are a great option and extremely setting up wireless dog fence kits is easy.

However, if you find that they are not allowed where you live, there are many great alternatives.

Some other options that can be found online are:

You can also check out our guide on easy DIY Dog Fence ideas where we share step-by-step guides to help you get started!


If you are looking for alternatives because your electric fence isn’t legal, or the HOA prohibits physical fence options, using cable is the easiest and cheapest alternative.

These cables attach to your dog’s harness or collar and can hook on to about anything making them extremely easy to travel with.

These cables also come in different sizes. Though, if you are looking for something really long-range, cables will not be a viable option.

Trolley Runner

If you are looking for something that is slightly more flexible when it comes to how far your dog can go, then a trolley runner would be a great alternative. 

A trolley runner is a cable that kind of looks like a zip line that another cable hooks onto that then gets attached to your dog’s collar.

This allows them to move as far as the cable stretches across your yard, which could give them plenty of room to roam.

GPS Collar

If you’re looking for something similar to an invisible fence, this is the closest you are going to get.

To set up a GPS system you simply set the perimeter based on the location where the collar is currently located which will be the center of the perimeter.

You can then set the perimeter limit, and how far they can go.

Read our related article, Are GPS Dog Fences Effective? for more information on these systems!


If you live somewhere you’re able to put up a kennel in your yard, then this could be a great alternative.

The good thing about this option is it will not only keep your dog in, but it will also keep other animals out.

Dog Pen

Another option that is similar to a kennel is a dog pen.

If you are looking for something bigger than a kennel with more space for your dog to roam, then this might be a great option.

There are many great alternatives out there if you cannot use an invisible electric dog fence in your specific location.


Overall, invisible electric dog fences are legal in most places, with some places only requiring you to abide by a few rules and regulations.

Regardless, it is best to do your research and weigh all of your options.

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Jesse Hopping, CCDT

Jesse is a natural-born dog-lover certified dog trainer (CCDT), dog foster, and former volunteer at Richmond SPCA and surrounding dog shelters for over 10 years. Her pack includes a Bernedoodle and 3 Boston Terriers. She’s sipping caramel coffee and watching her pack play in the sun when she’s not writing blogs. Jesse has her Certified Dog Trainer designation from CATCH Canine Trainers Academy since 2018 and and majored in English from the University of Virginia.

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