Are Wireless Dog Fences Safe? (2022 REAL ANSWERS)

We know that the safety and happiness of your dog are the most important things, and it’s hard to be sure that your dog will stay at home when you let it in the yard.

Not every house has a fence, and not every dog will stay inside a fence. Some dogs insist on digging out or jumping over.

A wireless dog fence may be just the thing to keep your dog safely at home.

But what are the risks of having a wireless dog fence, and are wireless dog fences safe for all dogs?

We’ll explore these topics and more so you can make the right decision for you and your dog.


Before opting for an electric fence, we strongly recommend 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 Wireless Dog Fences Safe?

Generally speaking, wireless dog fences are safe as long as the dog is trained to stay inside the boundary.

Some dogs refuse to stay inside the boundary, but most dogs are easily trained to stay inside.

A wireless fence does not protect your dog from other animals and people coming into the containment area.

If you live where there are many wild animals or stray dogs, the fence will NOT keep your dog safe.

A wireless fence is safe for a dog when the dog is trained positively and gently.

Some owners have problems with dog aggression or paranoia from forcefully training the dog with a shock collar.

Never use the collar as the means to train the dog to the fence.

Instead, use praise and treats to teach your dog the happiness of staying inside the included boundary flags, using the collar only as a backup reminder.

Read our related article, Are Wireless Dog Fences Safe for Humans? Here’s everything you need to know!

What is an Invisible fence?

An invisible fence creates an electronic boundary to keep your dog in. Use the flags to help your dog learn where the boundary is.

While there are many different options available for keeping your pet safe within your yard, an invisible fence creates an invisible boundary line with an adjustable radius that works with a receiver collar.

You can opt for a unit with or without a physical boundary wire.

Units with a boundary wire take longer to set up, but the shape and size of the containment area are customizable.

Owners with dogs who dig out or escape from physical fences often choose a wired invisible fence as a secondary measure to keep dogs inside the fence.

In this case, the physical fence is the boundary.

Wireless fences use a transmitter that has to be placed in the center of the preferred boundary, inside or outside the home.

These are easy to set up, but create a circular boundary that can be confusing.

In both cases, your dog is equipped with a shock collar that provides an audible warning beep if the dog approaches the boundary wire, and administers a small electric shock if they cross it.

Invisible fences are not intended to keep stray dogs/cats or wild animals out of your yard.

They offer protection from wandering pups and teach dogs to stay inside safe areas like the front and backyard.

Read More: Are Electric Dog Fences Legal? In general, yes, but your locality may prohibit them. Here are possible reasons and alternatives!

Does an Invisible Fence Use a Shock Collar?

Invisible fences use a type of shock collar to remind your dog to stay inside the boundary. A shock collar uses a small static shock to remind your dog of its training.

This type of static shock is the same as you feel when you shock yourself on a stair rail or car door. It can be alarming but it doesn’t cause any sort of injury.

The best collars have many levels of static shock, with the least amount of shock being barely noticeable.

We feel it’s important to choose a wireless fence system that includes a collar with beep-only capability and vibration as precursors or alternatives to the static shock.

These two settings can be used to gently train your dog, and many dogs need no additional shock features once they are trained to the beep and vibration stimuli.

We feel that it’s important to also note that regardless of which kind of electronic containment system you choose, it shouldn’t replace owner supervision, especially before the dog is confidently trained.

What Are the Benefits of Invisible Fences?

A dog stays inside an invisible fence
Once properly trained your fur buddy won’t even need a leash.

Other fences can be expensive to put up and take time to do so. The lack of a physical fence shouldn’t deter your dogs from enjoying their own yard. 

At the end of the day, your dog probably doesn’t mind the invisible line, so long as they have room to run around.

While invisible fences can still be pricey, they’re a great option for many dog owners over installing a traditional wooden fence. 

This is especially true if you’re one of the many people out there that rent your home and don’t have the option to put up a fence. 

The same can be said of homeowners with large properties, and no pre-existing fencing.

An invisible dog fence is also a reasonable alternative if you have limited space, and aren’t sold on assembling a dog run that won’t let your dog get exercise and work off energy and boredom.

A dog that barks incessantly inside a dog run may just need the liberty and exercise that an invisible fence offers while staying safely inside the yard.

What Are the Downsides of Using an Invisible Fence?

Invisible fences may not be right for every dog or dog owner. PetMD argues that they can lead to increased anxiety and aggression. 

They also note that injury can occur if the system happens to malfunction.

We can’t stress enough how important it is to gently train your dog to stay inside the boundaries.

It isn’t a one-day or one-weekend job. Some dogs take weeks to get the hang of staying inside the fence.

  • Gentle training and positive reinforcement are the keys to training your dog to the invisible fence without causing trauma and aggression.
  • Purchase an invisible fence with overcorrection prevention. This automatically stops shocking after a few seconds, even if the dog is outside the fence, to avoid traumatizing the dog.
  • Purchase a fence with beep-only and/or vibration-only correction options on the collar. This lets you train your dog gently, and you may not need shock correction if your dog obeys the beep.
  • Purchase a fence that allows correction-free reentry. Some fences zap a dog for coming back home – a feature that we hate. We only use fences that let our dogs come back home freely.

For more in-depth information on common questions and concerns about using an invisible fence, check out this PetSafe article that dispels common myths about invisible fencing – using science.

You can also stop by our article, Does an Electric Fence Hurt a Dog? where we explore above and in-ground electric fences and their effects on dogs.

When Is a Physical Fence the Better Option?

Dog inside a fence
A physical fence keeps your dog safe from other people and animals.

If you’re more concerned about keeping other animals or other dogs out of your yard, a wireless fence won’t benefit you at all. 

They only control the animal wearing the correction collar.

If your dog has a high pain tolerance, as some breeds do, consider getting a stubborn-dog collar that delivers a higher level of correction.

Still, some dogs don’t care and run away regardless.

If your dog discovers that it’s better to jump the boundary and endure a little shock in exchange for a day of running the neighborhood, you’ll need to install a physical fence instead.

In these cases, having a wireless dog fence is more dangerous for your dog because there is no mental or physical barrier to keep it home.

What Are the Alternatives to a Wireless Dog Fence?

If an invisible fence isn’t right for you and your dog, we have solutions for DIY fencing and exercise pens, too!

There are plenty of other safe alternatives to using a wireless dog fence. If you have a small dog that doesn’t need that much space, consider using an exercise pen. 

They’re easy to put together and portable so you can take them camping, to a friend’s house, or wherever you need so your dog has a safe place to play.

The important thing to remember is that a dog needs a safe place to run and play to work off extra energy, stay healthy, and avoid boredom.

If you can’t install any sort of fence, physical or invisible, be sure to take your dog on daily walks, visit dog parks, and hit the hiking trails for your dog’s mental, emotional, and physical health.

Here are some tips from an expert on prepping for a lovely day on the trail with your furry best friend.

Read More: Which is Better Wired or Wireless Dog Fence? We cover these two dog fence systems to help you find the right option for you!

Final Thoughts

Are wirless dog fences safe?

Using a wireless fence will not cause harm to your dog, but you should still supervise them while they’re outside.

Always be aware of where the boundaries are so you can encourage your dog to stay inside.

If you choose to use a wireless dog fence, be sure to also look out for other animals, and to properly train your dog on how to recognize the boundary so they can play safely.

How useful was this post?

Click on a star to rate it!

Average rating 0 / 5. Vote count: 0

No votes so far! Be the first to rate this post.

We are sorry that this post was not useful for you!

Let us improve this post!

Tell us how we can improve this post?

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.

You can read more about me in our about us page

Connect with me:

Leave a Comment