Is Invisible Fence Worth It? (PROS & CONS to Consider)

Any dog owner knows that safety for our furry friends is extremely important.

The first step to keeping our dogs safe while outside is choosing the right type of fence to keep them in the yard. 

Wireless fences can be a great option for some people, though that is not the case for everyone.

Some dogs are too distracted and stubborn for an invisible fence, while others take to it right away.

So, is Invisible Fence worth it? Here are some tips and advice to help you make that decision for your home. 

Is Invisible Fence Worth It?

yard with an invisible fence sign
Although invisible fences keep dogs from leaving the yard, they do not keep hazards from entering the yard.

Generally speaking, yes, Invisible Fence is worth the cost and time to install it and train the dog. However, the answer will depend on your specific situation.

If you are looking for a cheaper fence option or want to avoid erecting an unsightly fence, and do not mind if other creatures enter your yard, then an invisible fence is perfect for you. 

However, if you want to keep other people and animals out of your yard, or are concerned about your stubborn pup running through the invisible barrier, then an invisible fence is probably not worth it for you. 

Read More: How to Test Invisible Fence Collar Battery. Collar not working? Here are possible causes and solutions for a failing invisible fence collar.

How Does an Invisible Fence Work?

An invisible dog fence creates a boundary that can be set up by you or professionally installed. Both wired and wireless fences rely on a special receiver collar that your dog wears. 

A wireless invisible fence uses a radio transmitter to place a circular boundary around a portion of the yard.

A wired invisible fence uses a buried wire (1 to 3 inches deep) to create a customized perimeter around the yard.

Both systems pair with a collar that senses the boundaries and gives the dog a warning beep when it approaches the perimeter or a static shock when it attempts to cross.

Read our related article, Does Invisible Fence Have to Be a Closed Loop? Will your fence work if it isn’t a closed circut? Find out!

What Is an Invisible Fence Receiver Collar?

Dog with a receiver collar on inside an invisible fence boundary
The receiver collar is the part of the invisible fence that communicates the boundary to the dog.

The receiver collar is a battery-powered box with 2 prongs and a small speaker and LED light.

When the dog approaches the boundary, the collar beeps to remind your dog to turn around and go back.

A well-trained dog will immediately respond to the beeps, never receiving a corrective shock.

If your furry friend crosses the boundary, a small electric shock is emitted from the prongs to send him back into the yard.

This shock can continue for up to 15-seconds while the dog is in the boundary zone.

The shock will stop after this amount of time to avoid over-shocking the dog. It will also stop shocking once the dog has crossed the perimeter and left the yard.

Don’t worry, this shock is harmless to the animal, and is more annoying than anything. It’s the same static shock you feel when you touch a doorknob or charged car door.

With proper training, your best friend won’t ever get far enough to ever feel the static. The key is to train the dog to respond to the warning beep and stay home.

Read our related article on How to Change the Frequency On an Invisible Fence Collar for troubleshooting tips and tricks!

Invisible Fence Installation

For wireless fences, the setup can take just a few minutes, and the boundary can be adjusted by you from the radio transmitter in your home.

The boundary created is a circle, with the transmitter in the middle of it. If you need to fence a smaller area and you don’t mind the circular shape, this type of fence installation is absolutely worth it.

Wired fences take a little longer to install, as they have a boundary wire that needs to be buried. It takes a few hours to dig a small trench and lay the wire in it.

This is most easily done with the pointed end of a pick ax. The trench needs to be only an inch or two deep, and just wide enough to lay in the wire.

This option is better for those that have an odd-shaped yard, want the boundary to be the same boundary as the yard, or need to cover several acres with the invisible fence.

Once the wire is laid and the boundary width is set, the dog is trained to stay inside the boundary.

Considering the extremely low cost of the kit and DIY installation, this type of fence is totally worth the effort to install.

Read More: Best Collars Compatible With Pet Stop Fencing. If you need a new collar for your dog’s electric fence, check out these compatible options!

See Wireless Invisible Fence Installation in action with this quick video:

The Pros and Cons of an Invisible Fence

Dog inside a graphic of an invisible fence
Invisible fences work remarkably well once the dog is trained and understands the play area boundaries.

Pros To Invisible Fences

There are many great aspects to getting one of these fences, whether you choose wired or wireless.

  • They are much more affordable and easier to install than a physical fence. 
  • Invisible Fences don’t require you to change how your property looks.
  • They are significantly cheaper than the cheapest physical fence, even with professional installation.
  • A great option for people that rent their homes and aren’t allowed to alter the property at all. It also means that renters can pack the fence and take it with them when they move. 
  • You can easily change the size of the area where you want to contain your dog.
  • You can contain multiple pets in your yard by purchasing additional compatible collars.

Do invisible fences work in winter? Can you trust your new invisible fence to keep your dog safe all year round? Here’s the answer!

Cons To Invisible Fences

Unfortunately, nothing is perfect, and there are several downsides to using invisible fences as well. 

  • It still allows dogs to see out of the yard. This is particularly an issue for dogs that are distracted easily, and like to chase animals, people, or cars. 
  • Don’t stop other animals or humans from entering your property.
  • If your power goes out the fence does, too. While the collar has a battery, the transmitter relies on 110v house service.
  • The communication can also be disrupted if the battery in the collar dies, or if the underground wire is damaged. The transmitter will beep repeatedly if the wire is damaged so you can fix it. Meanwhile, the dog can bolt.

While wireless fences can contain multiple dogs quite easily, it does cost more money to buy extra collars.

More time is required as well, as trainers do not recommend trying to train more than one dog at a time.

Read our related article, Do Electric Dog Fences Work in Snow? If you live in a snowy area, you’ll need to read this post!

the Best Type of Dog for an Invisible Fence

Best Type Of Dog For An Invisible Fence
Most dogs do great with invisible fencing, even those known for digging or jumping.

Certain breeds of dogs respond better than others to invisible fences. Of course, there are individual exceptions to this, but it does hold true generally. 

Highly intelligent and trainable breeds such as Labradors, Great Danes, Golden Retrievers, and Poodles are some of the best for invisible fences. 

These fences can also benefit hounds. They are known for being diggers and jumpers, and can’t so easily escape a wired or wireless fence. 

Terriers can also benefit from the type of security an invisible fence offers. However, their history as working dogs that hunt small pests can make them more likely to want to chase squirrels out of your yard. 

Honestly, most dogs can be trained to stay inside an invisible fence, but some will take more than the normal amount of training, or may still run away if they see a prime opportunity.

Read More: Can You Install an Invisible Fence in the Winter? Here’s what you can expect from installing an invisible fence in cold weather!

Types Of Dogs Not Suited For Invisible Fences

The most important type of dog to not use an invisible fence is a dog that has a history of aggression.

The shocking sensation, though mild, can lead to more aggressive behaviors

The last thing any dog owner wants is for their dog to escape their yard and attack a person walking by.

The fear and annoyance that an invisible collar can cause an aggressive dog will only make it worse. 

Hyper dogs, such as Spaniels, are not recommended to use invisible fences either. They are generally, though not always, harder to train to use the fence.

This is especially true for younger dogs, once they get older it can be easier.

It can also be dangerous for dogs that are easily distracted to be left alone outside with just an invisible fence as a barrier.

If your dog is an unrepentant squirrel or cat chaser, they may put up with the pain.

The chances of them ignoring the discomfort to be able to chase what they want is much higher for natural hunters than it is for other dogs. 

The same is true for particularly stubborn dogs. There are some cases where a dog that wants out of a yard will do whatever it takes to get out of that yard.

The pain of the receiver collar is not enough to deter an especially determined dog from getting out of the yard.

The collar is designed to never harm the dog, so a dog with a high pain tolerance won’t pay attention to it.

Read More: Can You Move an Invisible Fence? Not happy where you put your new fence? Moving house? Here’s what you need to know about moving your invisible fence!

Final Thoughts

So is Invisible Fence worth it? There is no cut-and-dried answer about if an invisible fence is worth it for you or not. It will come down to your personal circumstances.

Do you have a dog that is easily trained? Are you renting and unable to install a physical fence? These are factors to consider.

Invisible Fences are a fantastic way to keep dogs safe at home, but every circumstance and every dog is different. The key to using one is to patiently and lovingly train your dog to enjoy the space inside the fence.

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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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