Electronic Containment Systems just don't work - and here's why

Electronic containment systems - the devices that either have wires that you bury in the ground or are wireless and transmit to a collar you put on your dog - work through the use of electric shock.

You put the wires around the perimeter of your house and when your dog comes too close to those wires usually the collar will make a beep or have a vibration and if the dog keeps going the collar will then emit an electric shock to tell the dog to back off so that he does not leave your property.

That is how things should go when everything is working as you want it to - but there are a lot of things that can go wrong.  And I am going to lay out a few of those things.

There was a newspaper article in the Chronicle Herald about a dog In Eastern Passage that was attacked by a coyote - it was very serious - the poor dog almost died - it is very serious, and really it's still very touch and go - hopefully the poor dog Daisy is  going to pull through - I've put the article at the end of this post so you can read it.  She had an electronic containment collar on her so that she could have free run of her back yard - and this is scenario #1 of why these collars don't work - they keep the dog in - but they don't keep anything OUT of your yard.

Coyotes, other dogs, humans who want to hurt your dog - anything can get into your yard because there's no physical fence there for them to get over.  Kids could come in and tease and harm your dog - whatever it is - your dog has no ability to protect themselves.

Scenario #2 - people walking up and down the street - your dog comes too close to the perimeter and gets shocked - he doesn't know why he's getting shocked but the thing he sees that's closest to him is the kid who lives across the street - so he now associates getting shocked to the kid across the street - that is not a good thing the next time he is actually next to that kid.

Scenario #3 - your dog has gone through the perimeter and shocked themselves - do you think they are going to want to shock themselves in order to get back into the yard?  Hell no - they are just going to keep running and go for the walk about of their lives!

One of my best friends runs the Nova Scotia Lost Dog Network and she is always going on about all the dogs that are found that have shock collars on them.

I have a former co-worker who lost her two dogs TWICE because of an Invisible Fence - and the second time she lost them - only one of them came back - the second one was never found - which is just the saddest thing in the world - that was the most beautiful dog and she must have had a really awful death in the woods somewhere.  So unnecessary.

Scenario #4 - the thing about these containment systems is that the collars have to be on the dog 24 hours a day 365 days a year - with other types of shock/e-collars they are only on the dog while you are training with them.  So the dog has to always be uncomfortable and have the prongs of the collar jutting into their neck - and if the collar malfunctions and the dog is being buzzed all the time - how do you know?  Your dog could be being shocked 24 hours a day and you wouldn't know.  That would be truly horrific.

Everyone loves their dogs and wants the best for them - people who use electronic containment systems love their dogs - but these are devices that are just not good for dogs and are not good for owners.

Thank you to Eileen and Dogs for this - I'm just going to quote her below - I talk about the Five Freedoms on this website and Eileen talks about how electronic containment systems breaks three of them:

“Freedom” for your Dog?

The marketing materials of the electronic fence companies often feature photos and videos of dogs romping on huge, lush green lawns without a care in the world. They promise “freedom” for your dog, over and over again. We (USA folks in particular) are practically wired to have a positive response to that word. But frankly, is a dog alone in a yard, with an automated electronic shock collar strapped tightly around its neck, really free?

It’s a myth that [electronic fences] provide dogs with more freedom. In fact, these devices violate three of five freedoms that define adequate welfare for animals: • Freedom from pain, injury, and disease • Freedom to express normal behavior • Freedom from fear and distress–Karen Overall, Manual of Clinical Behavioral Medicine for Dogs and Cats, 2013

I know that many, many people who install electronic containment fences have their dogs’ best interests in mind. The salespeople have told them the collars don’t really hurt the dog. They may figure in any case that a little “tap” once in a while is worth it for their dog’s safety. I hope I’ve shown you here that the pain is probably not trivial, and the safety is definitely illusory.

Here is the Chronicle Herald article: