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Electric Fences: The Shocking Truth

Author: Andrea Miller | Date: September 20, 2013

I took my dog Bosworth for a walk last week on one of our regular routes in our neighborhood, when two very large dogs charged at us from the back of a house. They ran until the very edge of the property and proceeded to come to a full halt. I breathed a sigh of relief until I noticed their electronic shock collars. We picked up the pace just as the two dogs started fighting with one another. They couldn’t get to Boz, so they reacted to each other.

It always amazes me when pet parents use electronic fences.

After all, your dog is your companion. You feed him, you play with him, you make sure he stays in good health, you train him to have good manners and hopefully, enjoy sharing your life with him. So, why would you use a cruel punishment like shock training to keep them inside your yard? To me, it’s the lazy way out.

An electric fence is simply an electric collar with a very large perimeter. An electric shock is sent through a special collar when a dog gets too close to the perimeter of the fence. An underground wire provides the shock and sometimes, a high-pitched noise is sounded as a warning.

The problem is, dogs still run through these fences, especially if they are spooked by loud noises such as fireworks or thunderstorms. Then, they are usually so frightened to go back through the fence that they end up lost, being hit by a car or picked up by Animal Control. Another downside is that these fences do not stop other animals from getting in and harming the animal behind the fence.

Marketing of these fences promise quick fixes and “freedom” for dogs. These fences may be invisible but their damaging effects are very real.

As Victoria Stilwell, Animal Planet’s It’s Me or the Dog dog trainer, said in a “Positively” newsletter,

“Dogs contained behind electric fences tend to become more reactive and in some cases more aggressive toward strangers and even family members because of anxiety and frustration. Recent studies show that dogs without previous aggression problems are more prone to attack family members when the systems are activated. Only a proper fence will keep people or other animals out of the yard and offer more protection. Keep your dog inside your home and take him out for regular toilet breaks and walks or invest in a solid fence around your yard. It is a much safer and more humane and effective containment option than an electric fence will ever be.”

Stilwell recently posted on her Facebook page that evidence against the use of electric fences is growing. I look forward to reading the new research done on the dangers of electric fences and electric shock training.

Have you had experiences with electric fencing? Share your feedback.




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