Do Fence Me In
Electronic fences are an option for fencing your pets, but choosing
to install one requires some consideration of your pet and the surrounding
Good fences may make good neighbors, but do they make good pets? In
addition to chain link or wood fences, you can pen your pet with a high-tech
option-electronic fences. The basic model for this type of fence includes: a
battery-powered receiver attached to your pet's collar, buried wires around
your yard, and a transmitter that sends radio-wave signals along the buried
wire, which are picked up by the collar. This fence keeps your pet in your
yard by delivering an electric shock through a receiver on your pet's collar
every time the animal tries to cross the buried wires.
Electronic fences are useful in that they can be installed in yards as small
as a quarter of an acre or up to yards as large as 20 acres. Unlike a
conventional wood or chain link fence, this fence (specifically, the wires
of the electronic fence) can be buried in streams or ponds, curved around
the bases of trees, and easily implanted up steep slopes. Installation is
relatively easy since the wires only need to be buried a few inches below
the ground, and the transmitter plugs into a standard outlet, generally in
your basement or garage. In the interest of saving your time and your back
many companies will install the system for you for a fee.
You can generally purchase an electronic fence starting at $200. Costs will
vary based on the type of installation you choose.
Once the wires are buried and the transmitter is in place, simply attach the
collar with the battery-powered receiver around your pet's neck. Most of
the collars weigh one or two ounces and are appropriate for dogs and cats of
Before installing an electronic fence, check with your pet's veterinarian to
ensure that the shocks will not harm your pet. Also, keep in mind that an
electronic fence does have some disadvantages. Some pets have a propensity
to charge the electronic fence to chase a squirrel, and once they are
outside of the electronic fence, without adrenaline running trough their
veins, they are understandably reluctant to cross the buried wires and get
shocked in order to return to the yard.
An electronic fence will not protect your pet from other animals that may
wander into your yard. These unwelcome visitors can cross freely in and out
of your yard, while your pet is constrained within the limits of your yard.
It is also possible for these outside intruders to corner your pet against
the electronic fence, resulting in serious injury to your pet.
Having options in how to corral your pet is valuable. Determining the best
option for your situation is an important first step in ensuring that your
pet has both safety and freedom, and that your yard meets your needs.
Sources include: Mike McClintock, The Washington Post.