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Anyone experienced with invisible fence for stubborn dog?

merlinmerlin 279 replies4 threads Junior Member
edited June 2011 in Parent Cafe
We have adopted a 6 year old rescue dog, a Labradoodle from a kill shelter in Tennessee. I am concerned that, unlike other dogs we have had, the invisible fence will never work for him. He has escaped four times. After the first two escapes, we replaced the collar and transmitter with a stronger system for stubborn dogs. We have done the training for nearly 2 weeks and he has experienced the strong zap while leashed. It has been tough to do the training because he is so reluctant to go near the perimeter of the yard. Doodles are pretty smart and usually learn quickly; we also have a a 10 year old doodle --Old Dog.

However, when in my presence and not leashed, New Dog has twice run through the fence with the highest zap setting on. Each time, DH has felt that the collar may not have been tight enough. This dog has a shaven, skinny neck; he is very tall--28 inches at shoulder. I think the collar has been tight enough and suspect that he just runs through the zap when he sees something of extreme interest, such as another dog. Today he was tethered to an Adirondack chair while I worked in the garden, a few feet away. A man and dog walked by and New Dog flew out like lightning, tipping over the chair, dragging his tether, wearing his zap collar.

We expected to do a fair amount of training with a New Dog, but I am also thinking that we may just need a physical fence. Four escapes were four messages to New Dog that he can get out if he chooses. DH wants to keep training to the invisible fence so New Dog can ultimately have a larger space to roam with Old Dog, who doesn't need the zap collar to stay in the yard.

Is the invisible fence training worth pursuing?

Please do not flame with opinions that disagree with the concept of invisible fences. A zap is better than being hit by a car and allows compliant dogs to live safely.
edited June 2011
42 replies
Post edited by merlin on
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Replies to: Anyone experienced with invisible fence for stubborn dog?

  • pugmadkatepugmadkate 5824 replies64 threads Senior Member
    I have good friends whose dog would just run through the invisible fence, on the highest setting as well. They finally decided it was just a quirk of that dog and put up a real fence.

    Hopefully someone here will have some ideas for you. Good luck.
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  • haydenhayden 4359 replies55 threads Senior Member
    A family on our block has an invisible fence, and whenever I'm walking my dog, their dog runs right through it and jumps on us (friendly). So obviously some dogs just don't care, if the temptation is great enough.

    By the way, no flames from here for having an invisible fence! Dog owners who rescue animals, then care enough to purchase the fence and do the training are admirable. Good luck.
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  • cptofthehousecptofthehouse 30390 replies59 threads Senior Member
    If a dog runs through the invisible fence, he experiences a zap for just an instant. If that's worth it to him, the fence is not going to work. There is a system that will continue zapping the dog for 45 seconds that might be effective. I had that system for my dog as a second electrical fence. But then a month later he was escaping both fences. The batteries were wearing out in the collar at a rapid clip. I harangued the poor clerk at Radio Shack accusing him of selling me old batteries. Then I happened to catch my dog in the back yard patiently walking the perimeter of the yard, letting the battery give its warning buzz but not the zap, wearing down the $14 battery. When the warning zap sound stopped, he sauntered right out of the yard.

    Some dogs just aren't meant for those fences.
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  • MomofWildChildMomofWildChild 23877 replies208 threads Senior Member
    Our Golden will run through if he really wants to- I.e. If I've gone to the neighbor's yard or something. Generally, he stays put, but if there were a lot of people/animals visible to him from our back yard I would go with a physical fence.
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  • ebeeeeeebeeeee 5017 replies182 threads Senior Member
    We had a springer spaniel that would just go through the invisible fence. She just didn't care about the zap. It seems that some breeds are just not suited for them. You may need to get a physical fence.
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  • HuntHunt 26787 replies131 threads Senior Member
    I recommend getting an invisible dog.
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  • poetgrlpoetgrl 13231 replies103 threads Senior Member
    None of our retrievers will stay inside an electric fence. We finally just put in a real one. good luck.

    I don't think some dogs can even feel it, frankly. :eek:
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  • college_querycollege_query 4446 replies354 threads Senior Member
    I think some dogs are just stubborn. We have an Irish Setter who is. We hired a dog trainer who trains local police dogs who had no success. Haven't tried an invisible fence, but we had an electric bark collar that didn't work - kept turning it up; he would bark and yelp and just about wore all the fur off his neck.

    He's 11 years old now and is still a "special" dog. Thankfully he has a sweet disposition, and since he's old he sleeps a lot now, but is still strong as an ox. He pulled D over a couple of weeks ago, and he's pulled me down too. And he wears a special leash that supposedly "hurts" if he pulls.
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  • komaromy31komaromy31 190 replies4 threads Junior Member
    I have a german short-haired pointer mix (about a 15 inches) that seems immune to shock. We ended up putting up a real fence, but it was pretty easy because there was already some existing fence and she only ran off the side of the property adjacent to the street. Once that was fenced, she didn't seem inclined to run out the back.
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  • midmomidmo 3715 replies5 threads Senior Member
    Ours works pretty well for our Brittany Spaniels, including the one who was a rescue. The older dog is extremely pain-shy, so no problem at all there. The rescue dog will run through when the batteries are extremely low and I haven't done my duty and walked him enough miles.

    When we had the system installed, one of their employees did the training, and claimed they have never found a dog they couldn't train to the system by adjusting the warning distance and the 'shock' level. Well, of course they would say that...

    Good luck.
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  • paying3tuitionspaying3tuitions 12571 replies759 threads Senior Member
    the warning distance and the 'shock' level.
    Did you use the warning distance as part of the training? We used flags (visual) perhaps 3 feet inside the entire permeter of the invisible fence wires.

    If you haven't yet done so, I'd drive over to the company to verify that the battery and collar both work. Since the batteries need replacement a few times per year, perhaps you just were given a "lemon" battery by mistake.

    If it's a recent installation, they should come to your property to verify that the collar fits the dog properly. It might be in a service contract.

    Are you absolutely sure the wire's not been cut, for example during a gardening session or with a lawn tool? Or, as we did once, cut it ourselves while burying a guinea pig :(

    I wish you luck because these invisible fences give big dogs a lot of freedom.
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  • opera-momopera-mom 376 replies6 threads Member
    cptofthehouse....that's about the funniest story I've read in awhile.

    We have small dogs. When we tried to train them to our fence one of them, after being shocked, decided that she would just be a porch sitter...thought we were going to have to take her to a do shrink there for awhile she became so nervous. What was worse is that we discovered there was one room in our house that the wire must have been just a bit too close to. Poor dog got shocked in the house...we gave up, however, before doing so I had the joy of experiencing that little jolt....carried a colar across the wire one day and just as I did that it swung up and shocked me on the wrist....OUCH...don't understand how a dog would think it was worth it to run across that fence knowing that was coming....

    BTW...I think they are great inventions when they work.
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  • momof1momof1 787 replies7 threads Member
    Hi there!

    We have a wireless invisible fence giving the 3 huskies (not the most intelligent breed and very determined runners) a half acre perimeter. No wires to bury, and the transmitter just sits on the counter in the kitchen. We have had it for just over a year and it works like a champ. We did have to play with the shock levels so that the more determined among them was effectively deterred. We did have the oldest dog go for the shock when a moose walked up the path from the lake, but you can hardly blame her for that!

    Ours did stay on the deck for a few weeks after being shocked but now are very well aware of the perimeter and stay on their side.

    The very tiny toy dog next door also knows where the limit is! Very cute to see him stand there and bark at the big dogs while they lounge inside their own "territory."

    I highly recommend this wireless kind and do encourage sticking with the training. It worked for us!
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  • churchmusicmomchurchmusicmom 3980 replies79 threads Senior Member
    We have a "wired" invisible fence and it generally works well for our VERY intelligent border collie/aussie mix. I have found that my dog actually responds more readily to the audible warning signal preceding the "shock". I discovered this because we also have a corrective collar (which we no longer need to use, actually) for when she is in the house and starts barking at passers-by. A "shock" correction would just send her into a frenzy, while the audible tone would stop her in her tracks and send her to my side.

    So, is there any adjustment in your system for the range in which the warning tone is emitted? Or the volume of the tone??

    Good luck to you with this! I hope it works out. And bless you for rescuing this dog!
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  • mathmommathmom 33185 replies161 threads Senior Member
    My brother's dog is convinced there is an invisible fence wherever you take her. So at our cabin in Vermont she only wanders what she considers a safe distance away. It's pretty funny to watch.
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  • vandygrad87vandygrad87 717 replies30 threads Member
    I must be twisted because I just laughed myself silly reading this thread! We have an Invisible fence that we use with our dogs and it works well for them. The problem was us- our dog developed a fear of the car and we couldn't figure out what her problem was.. Until we realized that we were forgetting to take the collar off and every time we backed down or pulled up the driveway, the poor thing was getting zapped. Oh Lord, did we feel guilty about that!
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  • cptofthehousecptofthehouse 30390 replies59 threads Senior Member
    Yeah, well we didn't think it was so funny those days and neither did our neighbors as our dog loved to leave his mark with a nice big "Hershey Kiss" on front walks. He also regarded garbage day as the the restaurant tours day. He was an expert of getting out of the house, never mind the yard. We were the joke of the neighborhood because of him. When we were digging to plant flowers, the joke was that we were putting in a moat to keep the dog in the yard.

    Even before the debacle with the two shock fences (one wired, one not), we had tried a physical fence and he could dig right under those. When we got the first invisible fence, he merely turned the collar around to put the prongs on the back of his neck which was well protected. Caught him doing that, so had to pay to get extra prongs put on the collar so no matter how you turned it you had something at the throat.

    He was a Snoopy looking dog and lived for 19 years. He died after escaping our yard here when he was arthritic, diabetic, blind and deaf, his last hurrah. He died as he lived. Oh yes, his final laugh on us was when I called the police to report him missing, and was describing his ailments. There was absolute silence on their end of the line when I answered their question as to what was his name. His name was Lucky.
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  • massloumasslou 289 replies49 threads Member
    Big fan of invisible fence! Our former dog, a springer spaniel, and current dog, a beagle, have both done very well with it! Rabbits, squirrels, etc sit just on the other side and taunt the little beagle, but she won't take the zap and go over the line!!

    Vandygrad, we load dogs in the car with their collars on and they don't get zapped. I always assumed the rubber tires of the car served as insulation and eliminated the zap. Hmmm....

    I do understand your feelings of guilt, though. I was holding Dog in the yard one day (so she wouldn't bark at the neighbors who were walking in front of the house) and walked too close to the line and dog got a good jolt due to my error....Poor girl....
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  • parent56parent56 7523 replies135 threads Senior Member
    we had one and it kind of worked, most would go through it for a squirrel. One dog though, Tipper, would go through that thing everytime, with a yelp when he got zapped. But he would not come back into the yard once through.. he would sit at the boundary and bark until we came out and took his collar off . a few years of this and one day the county was doing water work and destroyed our perimeter wire.. we never got it fixed, and Tipper would continue to yelp (even though there was no zap) and then refuse to come back through for 5 more years
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  • BUandBC82BUandBC82 2057 replies4 threads Senior Member
    I use the Stubborn Dog Collar on my dog and it works...most of the time. He'll chase squirrels and bunnies right to the edge. He seems to get scared and confused when there are loud sounds...thunder, fireworks, loud hammering from roofing...all those things have caused him to run through the fence. My H thinks he only runs through when I'm not home, thinking maybe he's scared and looking for me. We continue to use the invisible fence, but he stays inside when no one is home. I have the collar on the strongest setting and we use the widest warning area for the perimeter. I've also gone through the fence with the dog in the car, with his collar on, and he hasn't been zapped.

    P56 - Funny story. A friend with a golden retriever told me his dog ran through the fence every night, and every morning the dog was waiting on the other side of the fence to be let back in.
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