The Dangers of Underground Fencing

We are providing information below to explain how deadly invisible fences can be.

We’re sorry to tell you that due to the extreme dangers of underground fencing, we are unable to accept applications to adopt, or applications to become a volunteer, when an underground or invisible fence is being used to keep dogs contained, even when the owner is outside with their dog.  

Because of these dangers, we do require either a traditional fence or the use of a leash. The leash must be used 100% of the time if a dog is in an unfenced area. 

Because of the information we have provided below, we consider an invisible fenced yard equal to an unfenced yard.

We’ve seen too many situations where dogs have bolted past underground fencing, and have sadly, ended up being killed by cars.

Another danger is that an electric fence doesn’t keep other animals (perhaps wild animals) from coming into your yard. Click here Coyote Attack for a link showing a coyote dragging a precious baby out of an invisible fenced yard.

It also doesn’t prevent someone from coming in and stealing a dog,  behind an invisible fence.

Sadly, now in our 22nd year, we’ve gotten the news of all of these things happening to grieving owners. 

Many precious lives have been lost. 

Below are some links explaining the dangers of this type of fencing and why we had to come to this decision.

And this is an excerpt from an email,  from an applicant who was denied to adopt from us because of their use of an invisible fence.  Sadly the husband had run over their family Bichon. 

“Thank you so much for your email response.  It’s unbelievable to me that no one – our veterinarian, groomer, puppy preschool class, friends, family – no one has ever mentioned the hazards of using an electric fence.  Our home had one when we bought the house (before we had Lily), and they had 2 large dogs.  It never crossed my mind, until I read your email and the attached articles, how little this really protects animals.  Lily was rarely outside alone – she mostly only went out without us to use the bathroom.  But occasionally she did like to sit on the front porch and watch the world go by.  But the UPS truck and the mail truck got her very excited and she’d bark her little head off.  I can only imagine after reading this stuff, that perhaps it would have only been a matter of time until she decided it was worth it to go after them.  And we thought we were good, responsible dog owners!  We have a lot more to do to be ready for a new dog.  I’ll look into fencing the back yard today.  There is already a fence along the backside, so it would only be a matter of adding it to the sides of the yard.  I’ll contact our HOA right now and look into it.  Thank you for all that you do there, including this sort of education. These little things that truly save dogs lives!” 

These are links about invisible fencing.

Coyotes Kill Family Dog in Wheaton Park

Coyotes Kill Family Pet In Texas

When is a fence not a fence?
(This is an excellent article from Whole Dog Journal on Invisible Fencing)

How Safe is Invisible Fencing? What the Average Dog Owner May Not Know

Electronic Pet Containment and Liability for Dog Bites

“Pet containment systems such as electronic fences do not prevent dog bites as well as ordinary fences. Dogs get excited and run through the boundaries. Neighborhood children are particularly at risk because the electrical systems do not prevent the kids from approaching the dog, and mislead kids because of the dog’s apparent good behavior (which in fact was caused by the electronic fence).

“Do you think a wireless invisible dog fence will contain a shiba inu?”

Question posted on message board:
“Do you think a wireless invisible dog fence will contain a shiba inu?”


‘Invisible’ fences don’t contain any type of dog reliably. Most dogs, especially those with strong prey drives, will take the shock to leave the yard when in chase. However, they won’t take the shock to get back into the yard when they return. Personally, I find them unreliable and fairly useless. They also do not protect your dog against people and other animals entering your yard and harming him”

“Also when either the battery runs out or there is an electric outage then what
My friend has one and quite often the dogs are running about every 3 months when the battery runs out. One was just recently hit by a car.”

“As the owner of a Shiba Inu myself (I feel your pain!!) and as a dog owner in general, I would never trust JUST an invisible fence. Dogs blow through those all the time. Your friend is lucky and of course, there are lots of success stories. But there are plenty of failures as well. I just don’t trust it by itself, ESPECIALLY not to contain a willful little Shiba.”

“I wouldn’t trust one. They work on SOME dogs in SOME yards and in SOME situations: but more often than not they fail. If you don’t acclimate the dog properly, if the collar isn’t set on the dog properly, and so forth then the dog will not respect the boundaries.

Reasons not to use:

– If the batteries die or the wire snaps, you wouldn’t know until the dog is long gone.
– If the dog really wants what they’re after then the zap won’t bother them a bit.
– Doesn’t keep anything else OUT of the yard (including children.)
– Passers-by don’t know the fence is there, neither do other dogs: this can cause issues with those people/dogs because any charging dog can be scary. My aunt’s dog developed fear aggression to other dogs because people in their neighborhood have these fences and the dogs charge RIGHT OUT TO THE PROPERTY LINE BY THE ROAD.
– A dog with the wrong personality may become fearful of the yard itself and will refuse to go out.
– If it’s set too high it can cause burns on the dog’s neck.
– Lightening can fry the system, including the box on the collar (which can and usually does melt.)
– I don’t know of any *good* reasons to use them. The only time I’ve seen them successfully used is WITH an actual solid fence (an extra deterrent for escape artist dogs.)