We have just finished installing an underground dog fence for Buster the dog this weekend. I know that many of you may be wondering why we have decided to do this. As with everything in life, there is always a bit of a story behind every choice.
It all started a couple of weeks ago. Beth and I were about to go to the local shopping centre to get our weekly groceries. As always, we locked the house, said goodbye to Buster, gave him a hug and assured him that we would be home soon. Then we got in the car and drove out the driveway and headed up the street. We stopped up the street to make a turn, looked in the mirror, and there was Buster, running along the road behind us. This was awkward.
I’ll attempt to try to shorten the story a little. After a bit of experimenting we discovered where he was getting out. Basically, wherever he wanted to get out. He can easily clear any of the fences surrounding our yard. On a positive thought, he was only getting out to be with us. He was not attempting to get out to go exploring, or to harm another person. He was just wanting to be with us.
This was going to create a challenge for us. We do not own the property where we live. We rent the property where we live. We do not want (nor do we have the available funds) to extend the height of all of our fences, that is a very expensive proposition indeed. We knew that we were going to have to search for an alternative method of keeping our loving dog within the confines of our (rented) property while we are not there. We realised that we were going to have to do something, and that it was probably going to involve some serious training.
After quite a lot of research we came across the hidden fence type of system. We then discovered that there are now a lot of companies that are making very similar systems only a lot less costly. Also known as Underground Fence, and Invisible Fence. It is actually quite simple in operation. A wire is run around the boundary of the property forming a single loop. It is connected to transmitter that can also adjust the width of the field (exclusion Zone) surrounding the boundary wire. I’ll include a link here for the product from Amazon, so now you can check it out yourselves.
The dog is fitted with a collar that has a small receiver attached. When the receiver on the collar gets close to the boundary wire, it emits a warning tone. When the Collar gets closer, it will emit a very small corrective shock to the dog. Now I gotta admit, I was a little concerned at that idea, so I tried it myself. That’s right, you are reading this correctly. I care enough about my dog that I personally put the collar on myself to experience what he would feel. Yes, it is a jolt. Yes, it is a little bit frightening (especially if not expecting it), but it is certainly not dangerous or painful.
The idea being that the dog gets a warning from the proximity beeps that he is getting too close to the designated exclusion zone. He learns from the beeps that he will get a correction should he not move away from the area. We have made all of the boundary fences the exclusion zone. Our thinking is that if Buster can’t get to the fence (the fence is inside the exclusion zone) there is no way that he can jump over the fence. So, using this theme, we can train him (the underground fence should be used as a training aid, not to be used 24/7) not go near the fence. He is a smart dog, he will learn that he is not allowed to go near the fence.
We ordered the product and after a short time it arrived in the post and we fitted it this weekend. We had a few initial challenges with the set up, but we worked through them and got the system operating reasonably quickly. We did a lot of testing, making sure that the exclusion zones were where we needed them to be, while still allowing Buster freedom of the space where he needed to be, plus access to those areas. We did more testing, made some adjustments, and tested again. At no point did we test it with Buster. We only ever tested it on ME. I walked the complete boundary exclusion zone to ensure that it was all working correctly. We love and care for our dog Buster.
So, after all of that testing and adjusting, how did it all turn out? Quite well it seems. Buster was initially a little concerned at this strange collar. He was very upset at the first corrective shock. We did some more training, teaching him the exclusion zones. He is learning very well, he is a clever dog. It does still require more training, but the potential seems to be very promising.
The latest update on the success of this Hidden fence system can be found here.