At What Age Can a Puppy Use an Electric Fence SAFELY?

Going outside with your puppy can be one of the most exciting times as a new pet owner, but it can also be anxiety-inducing.

An invisible fence may seem like a great choice to keep them safe, but at what age can a puppy use an electric fence?

Let’s take a look and what age is the best for training a puppy with an electric fence according to manufacturers and experts.

At the very end we’ll tell you our opinion based on our experience with our dogs.


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

Training your puppy 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 emotional distress without the proper training.

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

At What Age Can a Puppy Use an Electric Fence?

8 week old puppy
Invisible fencing is suitable for any dog over 12 weeks old, though some trainers recommend waiting until 26 weeks.

A puppy can use an electric fence beginning at 12 and 26 weeks old.

It’s important that proper care is taken during the training phase to ensure that your electric fence does not cause your dog fear. 

There are a few exceptions to this, such as dogs with certain health conditions or those with a history of physical, mental, and emotional trauma

In these cases, it’s advisable to ask your veterinarian for advice before beginning electric fence training. 

Read More: At What Age Can I Use a Shock Collar On a Puppy? If your goal is to use shock collars for training, here’s when you should start!

Consider Your Puppy’s Age

It’s key that your dog is the proper age before beginning training with your invisible fence, as age relates to many other important factors such as mental development, and emotional maturity.

Consider your dog’s breed as well.

An 12-week-old Chihuahua is nowhere near ready to wear an invisible fence collar, whereas an 12-week-old Bernese Mountain Dog may already weigh 30 pounds.

Never use the dog’s age as the sole calculator for training readiness.

The dog needs to be heavy enough, have spatial awareness, and respond to your basic speech and commands to begin training.


Weight is a crucial factor when beginning training because most products have a minimum weight requirement.

This weight requirement is related to the amount of electric shock that your dog’s collar will produce. 

The right amount of shock should only be a sensation to your pet and is not meant to cause injury, so make sure your electric fence is the proper intensity for your breed and size of dog.

Most invisible fences are designed for dogs 8 pounds and up, but some can be put on dogs and cats as light as 5 pounds.

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

Consider Your Dog’s Mental Development

puppy playing with toilet paper
Some puppies are not mentally ready for serious training even if they’re heavy or old enough to technically wear the invisible fence collar.

Another essential training factor related to age is mental development. 

If your puppy has not reached an ideal state of mental development before beginning training, they may be unable to understand certain commands or have a hard time learning lessons even with repetition. 

If you need to train your puppy to an invisible fence but it is oblivious to commands, complete some dog obedience training first.

This will make your job of training to the fence a lot easier.

It can be more effective to do invisible fence training once other training lessons are complete, and once your new puppy has already learned to trust your guidance.

Below is a video of a man teaching his 6-month-old Great Pyrenees puppy to stay inside the invisible fence.

By this time the puppy is able to learn the fence with very few exposures to the correction.

We recommend a much more comprehensive training regimen for using an invisible fence.

The training should take several weeks to ensure your dog is not scared and is fully trained.

We’re often asked, “How do I train my dog to use a dog fence?” Check out the right way to train your dog in our training article, but enjoy the cute puppy learning about the fence below.

Consider Your Dog’s Emotional Maturity

Emotional maturity is related to mental development but refers to the puppy’s ability to feel complex emotions. 

For young puppies, it is necessary that they have an environment where they are made to feel safe, cared for, and have their basic needs met.

This process helps develop trust between the dog and the owner.

It’s important to have a good, trusting relationship with your dog before beginning electric fence training, or the dog may learn to think of the training process as a punishment. 

This is not ideal, because it can make your dog afraid of you, or afraid of the outdoor area that you are trying to train them in. 

There are many invisible fence myths about the safety of these fences, and while electric fences are perfectly safe, it’s important to be sure you’re using the correct settings and product for the weight of your dog. 

Read More: Electric Fence Shock Side Effects in Dogs. Watch out for these signs in your puppy to keep your pet safe outside!

Tips to Train Your Puppy With an Invisible Fence

dachshund walking on a leash
Take your dog on a walk with a leash and a separate non-metal collar, within but near the perimeter of the invisible fence line. 

All products should contain instructions on how to best train your puppy to use your model of the invisible fence.

Be sure to follow any guidelines set by the product manufacturer before beginning training to ensure the safety and wellbeing of your pet. 

Learn how to do it before you start so your dog isn’t confused.

There are many invisible fence training tips and methods available for your dog. It’s also a good idea to brush up on training with positive reinforcement before you begin.

Positive reinforcement gets the fastest results from dogs and creates a bond of trust and reliance rather than a relationship build on fearful obedience.

Here are some general tips for successfully training your puppy on an invisible fence.

Read More: Does an Electric Fence Hurt a Dog? We discuss above-ground and in-ground electric fences to see how they might negatively affect your dog.

Be Patient With Your Dog

dog being trained to a fence
One way to remind yourself to be patient is to remember that you love your dog. 

Different dogs learn at different speeds and may have a harder time learning how to interact with their invisible fence. 

It is important to have training sessions regularly and to always end a training session and provide comfort to your pet if your puppy shows signs of fear or stress. 

Patience is key because if you get angry with your dog, you destroy the trust and training that you’ve already done.

Recent studies show that when you get angry your dog doesn’t trust you anymore.

If your dog just “doesn’t get it” and you’re feeling frustrated it’s time to end the session. Start again later or tomorrow when you’re relaxed.

If the dog is “untrainable” it’s time to go to professional dog training classes with your pup.

These classes teach you and your dog how to communicate with each other. Your dog wants to please you and may just not know how.

Use Shorter Training Sessions

While many owners may want to use a longer training session to get results faster, this can increase the stress on the dog and does not always produce the fastest results.

Consistent, short training sessions of around 15 minutes in length are long enough to be effective. Most dogs will be trained within 2 to 3 weeks.

Do other outdoor activities with your dog

If you only take your dog into their outdoor play area when it’s time for fence training, they may associate the area with the difficulties of training. 

It’s important to use your outdoor space to have playtime with your puppy so that they look forward to being outside. 

Playing with your dog after a training session can also help them release any stress that may have built up during training, and will keep your dog healthier and happier in the long run. 

Final Thoughts

In our experience, it’s fine to begin training huge breeds at 6 to 12 weeks old because they can handle the collar and training regimen.

They still benefit from obedience training first.

Tiny puppies should never be trained until they’re physically big enough to handle it.

Even fences that can be used with a 5-pound dog may not be appropriate for a tiny dog that needs constant care.

It’s better to judge by the size and maturity of the dog.

For “normal” sized dogs, any time between 12 weeks and 6 months is safe to begin when the dog’s mental powers are developed enough for training.

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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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