(NEWS CENTER) - Lots of dog owners would love to have a fenced-in yard so their pets could romp around outside all day without being tied-up. But fencing is expensive and can block a nice view. In our Angie's List report this week, we look at another option, a so-called invisible fence.
Most invisible fences work like this: Electrical wires are buried underground to create a perimeter around the yard. They're connected to a transmitter that sends a signal to a battery-operated collar worn by the dog.
When he gets too close to the underground wire... He'll first hear it. Then feel it.
So will it hurt your pet?
Fence Contractor Bob Swarm says, "It used to be when I started here 10 years ago we had four shock levels. Now we have 13." "A lot of times I'll insist a homeowner feel it. I'll say I want you to know what your dog is experiencing. It eases their mind a lot to know that their dog is not getting zapped to a point where it's making them fearful."
Greg Smith has six Chihuahuas.
He installed an invisible fence at his home three years ago and says his dogs all adapted to it very quickly: "The dog's reaction at the very beginning it probably took us a couple of hours to get the dogs all used to it - with six of them. We kind of individually took each one out and brought them up to the fence so they could hear the noise and if they went any farther they felt the shock so it didn't seem like it hurt them or anything like that."
Proper training around the fence *is* very important. Angie's List recommends that before you hire a company to install your fence, you ask detailed questions about how much training the company will provide as part of the cost of the fencing package.
Angie Hicks says, "An invisible fence can be less expensive than a traditional fence. It can run anywhere from a few hundred dollars to a thousand dollars depending on the size of the area that you are trying to contain."
Invisible fences also require little to no maintenance. All you have to do is replace the batteries in the dog's collar every 3 or 4 months.
Wireless systems are also available. Rather than buried wires... they use transmitters plugged into an electrical outlet to create a circular perimeter.
A few other things to keep in mind about any invisible fence... While they work well to keep your pets *in*... They do nothing to keep other animals *out*.
As always, Angie's List suggests you research the company you're thinking about doing business with, and choose a company with a reputation for working with pets in a positive, safe manner.
And before you install any fence... Even an invisible one... You'll want to check with your town office and/or homeowners association to see if there are any regulations you need to know about.