Hidden fences? You’ve come a long way!

Dear Pet Column,

Hidden fences for dogs have been around a long time, however I know so little about them. Are they safe and effective?

Seeking solid boundaries

Hello Seeking! Great question as historically there was reluctance on the part of animal welfare organizations to endorse hidden fences due to a perception that they were ineffective and that they ‘shocked’ pets, which many felt was inhumane. Regardless of how valid those points were, things have changed a great deal and most animal welfare organization now view hidden fences as a highly effective way to safely contain your pets.

From my research, I have found that hidden fence systems have been around for over 2 decades and use the latest technology to monitor pets while providing them a real sense of freedom. One of the big concerns revolved around the perception that the systems were inhumane and could cause behavioral issues with pets. The reality, however, is that hidden fences issue a warning in the form of an audible alert, and with a properly trained pet, provide a clear boundary that your pet can’t dig under, climb over or otherwise scale, like a normal ordinary fence. And let’s face it, there is the occasional pet that, no matter what you do, can manage to find a way out of your yard and into trouble!

Notice I keep saying “pets”, too? That’s because many systems now can be used indoors for cats as well as dogs. Pets are truly a lot smarter than humans think… we pick up on things quickly and can easily learn to respect boundaries.

But, just like everything, you as the pet owner have to take some responsibility. If you do introduce a hidden fence, make certain to set aside time to train your pets properly so that they can effectively learn the boundaries you set instead of learning them on their own. Training truly helps mitigate any risk of an adverse reaction. And, just like humans, if you do a poor job at training for a specific task or skill, you should probably expect poor results!

All in all, I’d give hidden fences two paws up as a safe and effective method of keeping your pets safely contained. Get one professionally installed, do a bit of training and you’ll be good to go. And if that is what it takes for you to decide to adopt a lovable dog like me – than I am willing to learn how to work with you on this.

My name is Deuce an 18 month young Catahoula Australian Shep mix. My sibling Ace and I were surrendered to Second Chance as, after lots of training and despite being bred for cattle or farm work, we both decided we prefer to be with people and play with dogs than work. We are true family dogs to the core – and definitely smart enough to be trained to a hidden fence.

Second Chance Humane Society Animal Resource Center and Thrift Shops service San Miguel, Ouray and Montrose counties. Call the SCHS Helpline at 970-626-2273 to report a lost pet or to learn about adopting a homeless pet and the SCHS spay/neuter, volunteer, feral cat or other programs. View our shelter pets and services at

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