How Do You Touch an Electric Fence Without Getting Shocked

When it comes to electric fences or anything with electricity, they should not be touched, though sometimes you may not be able to avoid it.

In-ground and wireless pet fences will never shock you, even if you cross them. They only work with receiver collars.

However, electric livestock fences will shock anything that touches them. So, how do you touch an electric fence without getting shocked?

Though you should never willingly touch an electric fence, if it’s completely unavoidable, there are a few ways to keep yourself safe.

How to Touch an Electric Fence Without Getting Shocked

electric fences are usually used to contain livestock and deter predators
An electric livestock fence is designed to be non-lethal, but the high voltage to keep livestock inside can seriously injure a human or pet.

An electric fence works by conducting electricity through the wires to electrical ground. If you provide a new path to ground, the electricity will travel through you.

You can avoid this by turning the fence off or insulating yourself so the electricity doesn’t find a path to flow through your body.

Rubber-soled shoes and rubber gloves protect against electrical current.

Turn Off Your Electric Fence

The most obvious option to avoid being shocked when dealing with an electric fence would be to simply shut it off.

To shut the electric fence off, flip the switch on your energizer panel or charger box to the off position.

Your electric fence is likely either run by a battery and solar panel or by an electrical outlet.

For both types of fences, there are likely several switches for the different wires and they should all be shut off.

Once the power is shut off, you should still check to make sure there’s no electricity flowing through the fence before handling it.

To do that you can use a multimeter to double-check before touching.

Read our related article on How to Test Dog Fence Wire With a Multimeter for a complete step-by-step guide to finding breaks with this tool!

Wear Rubber Gloves

When handling any kind of electricity, it’s extremely important to make sure you wear gloves, more specifically rubber gloves that are rated for electrical protection.

It’s important to make sure the rubber gloves are 100% rubber. Gloves that are only partially rubber mixed with other materials will not do the job.

You can find amazing 100% rubber gloves at an affordable price.

100% pure rubber gloves work because electric current can’t flow through them and make it into your body.

It’s also important to make sure you are inspecting the gloves each time you wear them to make sure they are in great shape.

Tears in the rubber can cause you to get electrocuted.

Here’s a video that gives you some unique methods to touch an electric small livestock fence without getting shocked.

Wear Rubber-soled Shoes

Another precaution to take that will help you avoid getting shocked is wearing rubber shoes.

Just like the gloves, the soles on the shoes you’re wearing need to be 100% rubber where they contact the ground or they will not prevent electric shock.

Rubber boots work at preventing shock because electricity cannot flow through the rubber, and you can’t be shocked unless you’re giving the electricity a path to flow to the ground.

These precautions could greatly protect you in circumstances where you are around an electric fence.

Even if you think you will not be touching the fence, it’s important to still take the proper precautions listed above.

How Do Electric Fences Work?

Dog sitting by an electric fence
Low voltage electric fences are sometimes used to keep game birds inside a pen, or pets inside a yard while keeping predators or other neighborhood animals out.

When it comes to electric fences, the good news is, that they aren’t necessarily dangerous when touched.

It will startle you but won’t harm you unless you have a pre-existing medical condition.

Electric fences aren’t meant to harm, they were made to deter whatever touches the fence, and leave a lasting impression, so it will never want to touch the fence again.

They do this with high voltage and low amperage.

  • Electric fences normally have a voltage of around 8,000, which will scare you but won’t do any real damage.
  • 11,000 volts could be fatal if you were exposed to it for a long time because you were unable to let go of the fence.
  • Fence amperage is usually around 120 milliamps, which is very low, though, anything over 100 milliamps could kill someone with a heart condition.
  • Regardless of the voltage or amperage, you never want to have a steady stream of electricity running through your body, as it can cause damage or even be fatal.

Luckily when manufacturers make these electric fences, they make them with the intention of startling whatever comes in contact with it, and they’re never designed to cause fatality.

They ensure to make these fences with a high voltage and low amps, so they don’t pose a threat.

The only way it can be fatal is if the animal (or human) becomes entangled in the fence and can’t get free.

Always take precautions to protect yourself around an electric fence and test it to make sure it’s off before working with one or attempting to cross it.

Read More: Electric Fence Shock Side Effects in Dogs. For some dogs, it’s possible to experience adverse effects after getting shocked. Here’s what to look out for.

Safer Alternatives for Pet Containment

Boundary Training Using a Clicker
Invisible fencing and boundary training are better ways to keep pets inside the yard without posing any risk of electrocution.

Generally, it’s safe to use an electric fence, however, if you only need to keep your dogs in the yard, there is a safer alternative so you can completely avoid the risk of ever being shocked.

That would be to use an invisible fence instead. Though you can’t use an invisible fence for all animals, you can use it for any dog (or cat) you can put a collar on.

The good thing about using an invisible fence is they are completely safe for humans, and safe for your pets as well!


Do Invisible Fences Work for Your Dog? We cover the best (and worst) breeds for invisible fences in this guide!

Invisible Fences Are Safe for Animals

If you are able to get a collar on your pet, invisible fences would be a great option for you.

Are wireless dog fences safe? Invisible fences are completely safe for dogs, as long as they are properly trained with the system.

Most dogs are trained to stay inside the boundary in 2-3 weeks, and some invisible fence systems have a low weight limit so you can train your cats to use them as well.

Read our related article, Can an Electric Fence Kill a Dog? We discuss the dangers of electric dog fences and traditional electric fences for dogs, small dogs, and puppies in this guide.

Invisible Fences Are Safe for Humans

We know invisible fences are safe for dogs but are wireless dog fences safe for people? Invisible fences are also safe for humans and pose no threat at all.

Unless you are wearing the collar, you are not going to get shocked by an invisible fence.

So if you want to keep your pet contained, but you don’t want to have the risk of getting shocked by an accident, an invisible fence may be the perfect option for you to ease your mind.

Final Thoughts

If you must have electric livestock fencing, safety should always be top of mind for everyone who may come into contact with it.

Be sure to train dogs and other pets to stay away from it also.

If you only need to contain your dogs, consider using an invisible fence instead, because they only offer feedback to the dog that’s wearing the collar without posing a risk to other animals or people.

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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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