Dog owners have a responsibility for keeping their dogs confined, both for the dog’s safety and for the safety of others in the neighborhood, which often means getting a dog shock-collar fence. A dog safe inside its yard is less likely to be hit by a passing vehicle, stolen by a dog thief, or hurt in a fight with another dog. It’s also less likely to get caught up in a biting incident for which you, as the owner, could be held liable. An invisible fence—also called an electric fence, underground fence, or dog shock-collar fence—can be a viable solution for you and your pet.
If you’re considering an invisible electric fence for your dog, we can help. Our vet advisor, Dr. Jennifer Coates, recently reviewed dozens of them, looking at the ease of set-up, battery life (for the collar), number of correction levels, range of the fence, portability, fit for various size dogs, and cost. She selected the SportDOG Brand Rechargeable In-Ground Fence System as her top pick – for its sleek collar with a lithium-ion battery that charges in two hours and has a one- to two-month battery life.
If you want some extra security for your dog when you’re gone, you may want to add an outdoor dog kennel to your backyard setup. We’ve got some great recommendations from our vet expert, Dr. Jamie Whittenburg, for dogs who like to be outside but who sometimes need to be confined for their safety.
Our Vet’s Top 5 Dog Shock-Collar Fences
Here are the top picks from our veterinarian. Compare the ratings and features of different models.
|Editor’s Picks||Brand||Rating||Expandable||Range||Correction Level|
|Our Vet’s Top Pick||SportDOG Brand Rechargeable In-Ground Fence System”]||1 1/3 acre||Tone, vibration, 7 static levels|
|Best Budget||FOCUSER Electric Wireless Dog Fence System||25-300 meters||Tone, vibration, 4 static levels|
|Best Wireless||PetSafe Stay and Play Wireless Pet Fence||3/4 acre||Tone, 5 static levels|
|Best GPS||WIEZ GPS Wireless Dog Fence||98-3,281 ft||Tone, vibrate, 3 static levels|
|Best for Small Dogs||Pet-Safe Elite Little Dog In-Ground Pet Fence||1/3 acre||Tone, 4 static levels|
*Ratings are on a scale of 1 to 5 and based on reviews, feedback, and opinions of actual customers.
In This Article
Who Should Buy a Dog Shock-Collar Fence
- Dog owners without a fence – If you don’t already have a fence and would prefer not to build one, a dog shock-collar fence may be perfect for you. They are typically less expensive than traditional fences, can be adapted to various types of terrain, and can be installed more quickly than other options.
- Owners wanting to protect their view – If you don’t want to interrupt the view from your home and the feeling of the outdoors, an invisible fence may work well.
- Owners wanting to preserve their freedom of movement – Because there are no gates to close, they can be more reliable for pets with lots of family members continuously going in and out.
- Owners with dogs who are escape artists – If you have a dog who likes to dig under or chew through a fence, they may be better contained with an electric fence.
Who Should Not Buy a Dog Shock-Collar Fence
- Owners who live in potentially hazardous areas – Keep in mind that a dog shock-collar fence will not keep hazards from coming into the yard. Wildlife, stray dogs, and people can still access the yard and potentially harm your dog.
- Owners with prey-driven dogs – Dogs with a strong prey drive may go through the barrier despite the shock because their drive to chase is so strong.
- Owners living in neighborhoods with lots of other dogs – If you live in an area where a lot of other dogs are allowed to freely romp about, your dog may get frustrated and try to break through the barrier.
Research Tips from Dr. Jennifer Coates
As a veterinarian, I’m often asked about whether dog shock-collar fences are safe to use for dogs. In general, the answer is “yes,” as long as you follow a few precautions.
Talk to friends and family who have dog shock-collar fences to learn what types have worked well for them. Your veterinarian or dog trainer can also point to any features that might be ideal based on your dog’s specific needs.
Closely read product descriptions to avoid unpleasant surprises. Looking at customer reviews posted on trusted sources can give you an idea of how satisfied pet parents are with their purchase.
- Consider your particular dog – Some dogs aren’t suited for dog shock-collar fences. They may learn how to outsmart them or simply put up with the correction if the reward is appealing enough to them. Those with a strong prey drive may charge through to go after a cat, rabbit, or another critter. Very social dogs, as well, who want to play with other dogs, kids, or people, may not respect the barrier.
- Make sure you train your dog – Dog shock-collar fences require training. Initially, you must mark the boundaries so that dogs have a visual cue as to where they’re supposed to stop.
- Look for varying levels of correction – When your dog approaches the boundary, they should first hear a warning beep. If they continue towards the boundary, the beep is ideally followed by a painless vibration and then a mild electric shock. Always use the lowest level that works for your dog. Shocks, especially strong ones, can make dogs anxious and fearful.
- Check the prongs on the collar – The prongs on the collar can cause skin damage. Only put the collar on your dog when they are outdoors. The collar should not remain in place overnight or when it is not needed.
- Consider your environment – Remember that shock collar fences do nothing to keep other dogs, cats, wildlife, or people from entering your dog’s space.
How Much Do They Cost?
Between $115 and $340
The price of a dog shock-collar fence can range from about $100 to $350, depending on the number of features, battery life, the number of dogs you want to contain, how big your yard is, and the type of containment system (underwire, wi-fi, or GPS).
If you need to keep more than one dog inside your yard, for instance, you’ll pay more than if you need a fence for one dog only. If you have a “stubborn” dog that needs stronger correction, that usually costs more as well. But if you have a small backyard, you’ll pay less than if you have a larger one
Most collars are rechargeable and waterproof, so you won’t have to worry if your sprinklers come on. But the fences vary in terms of how many correction levels they have. Increased adjustment is usually best for your dog, though it may cost more.
Finally, consider what you want to happen if your dog does get out. Some fences will allow static-free reentry, so your dog can come back home without being corrected.
Our Methodology: Why Trust Pet News Daily
As a veterinarian, I selected the top five dog shock-collar fences based on several factors. These include primarily the safety of the dog, as well as levels of correction, range, battery life, ease of set-up, and the size of the dog. You’ll want to match the system with your particular type of dog and the size of your yard. Choose carefully and you should be pleased with the results. – Dr. Jennifer Coates
The Best Dog Shock-Collar Fences: Full Reviews
The SportDOG Brand Rechargeable In-Ground Fence System comes from one of the most recognized brands in the hunting dog training industry. SportDOG ensures quality by designing and testing its products in the field. Our vet made it her top pick because it has the best combination of features and value.
This fence is easy to install and includes everything you need to cover 1 1/3 acres of land for one dog. It can be expanded to cover 100 acres with more wire and flags and can contain an unlimited number of dogs with additional collars. The wired, in-ground fence allows for custom-shaped enclosures.
The collar is waterproof and rechargeable and features a lithium-ion battery that can be submerged in up to 25 feet of water. It features tone, vibrate, and static stimulation, and contains seven shock levels you can choose from. Made for dogs 8 pounds or larger.
- Great for small or large backyards
- Can be modified for an unlimited number of dogs
- The collar is waterproof and recharges in two hours
- Long battery life
- Costs over $300
- No remote training option
- Collar not compatible with other SportDOG electric fences
Create a fence without digging or burying wires with this wireless fence system. The FOCUSER Electric Wireless Dog Fence System will cover a radius of 25-300 meters (up to about 980 feet). You simply install the wireless transmitter on a wall higher than 3.5 feet, then when you turn it on, it will emit a 433Hz radio signal around your house.
Your pet wears a lightweight, waterproof collar that connects to the signals from the transmitter. When the pet gets close to the edge of the signal-covered area, the receiver will deliver a series of corrections to encourage your dog to get back.
There is a pre-correction warning tone that sounds first. If your dog ignores that, the collar creates a continuous correction with a warning tone static shock until the dog returns to the safe area. (There are four shock levels.)
- Has a backup battery for power outages
- Fits most dogs between 10 and 110 pounds
- Built-in safety chip to prevent over-correction
- Includes four levels of correction to fit the size of your dog
- Economical price and easy set-up
- The battery may need charging every day
- The signal is affected by barriers
- There may be a delay in the transmission
If you’ve got a stubborn dog that ignores most fences, give the PetSafe Stay and Play Wireless Pet Fence a try. It’s specifically designed for persistent and hard-to-train pets and will help keep them safe in the yard. Works for dogs 5 pounds and up with neck sizes 6-28 inches around.
Like our budget pick, this fence is wireless and easy to set up. You don’t have to bury a wire. Simply position the base unit inside the home, and it will create a wireless circular boundary. All you need is a power source.
Because of its compact and portable design, you can also take this fence with you. Keep your pet secure at home or on the go. One unit will cover up to 3/4 acre from where you place the transmitter inside, but you can expand the size with additional transmitters. You can also buy additional collars if you have more than one dog.
- Wireless with an easy set-up
- Portable—take it with you
- Long battery life
- Has a tone-only mode and five correction levels
- Kit includes 50 training flags
- Over $300
- The transmitter needs to be indoors
- The boundary may be variable depending on the connection
Take convenience to the max with this WIEZ GPS Wireless Dog Fence. All you need is the collar—no wires and no transmitter. Instead, the intelligent wireless system works via GPS to create a safe area for your pet. A total of 12 high-quality satellites support the system, so it can provide better accuracy than other similar products.
You simply set up the collar to the distance you want, then put it on your pet and begin training. The minimum distance is 98 feet, and the maximum is about 3281 feet—up to a maximum of 776 acres.
The vibration intensity and electric shock can be adjusted on three levels. If the dog goes beyond the safety range, the vibration or electric shock will work non-stop for 16 seconds, followed by a 30-second pause. It will repeat this process three times automatically, then it will stop working until your dog comes back inside the safe area.
- Wireless with an easy set-up
- No interference issues
- Once set up, there is no need for a daily reset
- Suitable for large areas
- Not suitable for dogs that weigh less than 10 pounds
- Won’t work for very small yards (less than 98 feet in diameter)
- GPS signal may vary depending on cloudy weather, dense woods, and tall buildings
Many dog shock-collar fences have collars that just don’t fit little dogs. The Pet-Safe Elite Little Dog In-Ground Pet Fence is different. It’s designed to fit dogs as small as five pounds, so you can let your little pal outside to play whenever you like. (Neck sizes 6-16 inches.)
This is a wired, in-ground fence that allows for custom-shaped enclosures, so it does require installation. It will cover up to 1/3 acre and can be expanded up to 25 acres for larger yards with additional wires. The collar is waterproof and comes with four levels of static stimulation along with a tone-only mode for training.
If you have more than one dog, this system will still work—just buy an additional collar. You can also attach this to a physical fence to discourage escape artists from digging under.
- Works for very small dogs
- Low-battery indicator
- A reflective strap on the collar adds visibility
- Durable and long-lasting
- It may not be best for large dogs
- Over $250
- Requires new batteries when the batteries run out
Frequently Asked Questions
A dog shock-collar fence works by transmitting signals from a wire, transmitter, or satellite to the collar your dog wears. When the dog nears the set boundary, these signals will stimulate the collar to emit a correction. This may be a tone, vibration, or electric stimulation. This encourages the dog to stay away from the boundary.
Yes. As long as you install and set up your fence per the instructions, then properly train your dog, a shock collar can keep your dog safely confined within the fence. Keep in mind, however, that some stubborn and persistent dogs may still get out if they are strongly driven to chase prey or play with other dogs.
Most veterinarians agree that keeping your dog confined is best for the pet’s overall safety. A shock-collar fence can be a safe and effective way to do that as long as you take the time to train your dog after installation.
This depends on how you use the shock-collar fence. As long as you adjust the correction level to the lowest possible and take the time to train your dog (as per the product instructions) so that they know what to expect, your dog is unlikely to get seriously hurt.
Shock collars can traumatize dogs if they are set to a level that is too high for them and if you fail to train them when you first install the fence. A dog that is suddenly shocked at a high level and doesn’t understand why may become anxious and fearful. Start with the tone-only training level as you train your dog, then adjust to the lowest level of shock that is effective. Ask your dog trainer or vet for more information.
Yes, many professional dog trainers use shock collars very effectively. In a professional’s hands, a shock collar need not harm or traumatize a dog. Instead, it is a simple correction that helps the dog understand where the barriers are.
Yes. Stubborn and persistent dogs may break through your electric fence, particularly if they see other dogs romping about or want to chase a cat or other small animal. You can try the dog shock-collar fence listed above that’s designed for stubborn pets. If that doesn’t work, your dog may go through the fence again. At that point, it may be best to build a physical fence.
If you have other questions about how to keep your dog safe, you may be interested in some of our other articles. If you have a dog that’s extra sensitive to weather, you may wonder if it’s safe to keep your dog outside. And as mentioned above, a kennel may be a better solution to your backyard safety concerns.
Looking for more information about dog fences? We have a library of in-depth information about various aspects of dog fences. Including tips and ideas for keeping your dog from jumping and building your own dog fence:
- 90+ creative and inexpensive dog fence ideas
- DIY dog fence ideas to build your own dog fence
- How to keep a dog from jumping a fence (or climbing a fence)
- How to keep a dog from digging under a fence
- How tall should a dog fence be?
As well as in-depth reviews of each category of dog fence (with recommendations generated by licensed veterinarians):
- The best dog fences (overall)
- The best in ground dog fences
- The best portable dog fences
- The best GPS dog fences
- The best invisible dog fences
- The best wireless dog fences
- The best dog shock collar fences
- The Best Outdoor Dog Fences
And in-depth product reviews of some of the leading dog fence brands:
(read our review for dog fence containment system as well)