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Discussion Starter #1
Can't believe I'm saying this... but I LOVE "Invisible Fence" - and the pups do too

Wow. Pigs must be taking flight somewhere because I swore I would never use any cruel horrific shocking device on any animal, EVER.

Well... it turns out that (at least the Invisible Fence brand) is anything BUT cruel or horrific.

I posted a few weeks ago that we were looking to fence in our (large) back yard, but that the quotes we were getting were $5-8,000 (mainly because our lot is so large, wooded, and hilly).

Someone was kind enough to post about the "Best Friend fence," which honestly is what we would have gotten if we had a property that is so hilly and uneven. It's affordable and not atrociously ugly (in fact their website says it's pretty much invisible until you get really close to it).

Since our property is too even for that (at least with us installing it ourselves), I reluctantly called Invisible Fence so I could grill them with a bunch of questions. I figured the line that dogs don't get painful shocks with their fence was a bunch of sales baloney, but after asking if I could try the collar myself to see what the shock felt like before putting it on my dogs, we decided to try it.

Not to sound like an infomercial - but I love this thing. The whole training process is the key, IMO - first you work with them to get them to retreat when they hear their collar beeping and see the little flags marking the fence line, then a few days later is when they get the first zappie.

I put the collar on myself and walked into the fence, and it was basically like when you touch a door knob and get shocked. Not painful, just unpleasant and surprising.

The thing that amazed me though was... it took a lot to get my puppies to even approach to the beeping zone. They had already learned to turn and go back when they hear beeping and to stay a few feet away from the flags. One of them even just sat down and wouldn't go within the beep zone (not having felt ANY shocks at all, ever)!!

"Distraction training" usually happens in the 2nd or 3rd week, but we had some built-in distractions... a family walked by walking a dog and stroller, the across-the-street doggie came and paid a visit, AND the next-door-neighbor puppy was out on the deck (usually the boys dart straight over to play with her).

They just sat down and watched!!! :O I seriously could not believe my eyes.

The most wonderful thing though was watching how happy they were to be FREE of the leash. They darted and zoomed and wrestled and played ball so happily, then tonight I watched carefully as they played for another TWO HOURS in the yard. It's amazing!! It really warms my heart to see them with this much freedom and not have to worry about them digging under a fence or climbing over it!!

I'm not sure if this would be the right thing for a less bright dog... my puppies pick things up right away, but if a dog took a while to catch on, or if their parents didn't take the time to train them to retreat when they hear the beep, I don't like the idea of them getting shocked a lot.

For my little geniuses though... I seriously love this thing. I never post about products but am so amazed that it lives up to the hype (and then some) I just wanted to share... especially for anyone who avoided them because they believed it was cruel.

Oh - like I said, the key to making it humane and safe and fun is the training. I can't vouch for other competing products but I would NEVER go with one of those off-the-shelf things that just shock a poor dog without any warning or without any training.
 

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Re: Can't believe I'm saying this... but I LOVE "Invisible Fence" - and the pups do t

Glad it is working for you. How much did it cost? I have 2 acres and like you don't want ugly fencing all around.
 

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Discussion Starter #3 (Edited)
Re: Can't believe I'm saying this... but I LOVE "Invisible Fence" - and the pups do t

For us it was about $1400... but keep in mind we have three dogs (so three collars), and we wanted allll of our property and then some (it encloses some of the surrounding woods that technically is not ours but no one will ever own). I'm thinking for the wire itself it's like 50 cents a foot. Let me know if you want to dig up the itemized invoice to see how much of that was the collars etc.

I am seriously giddy... it did my heart good to see the babies having so much fun not confined to a leash and how fast their Mom can run. :D

Oh - and that sounds like a fortune compared to a $25 thing you can buy at Petsmart, but like I said, it was important to me that this NOT be a cruel dreaded thing. I wanted it to give freedom, not fear, to my pups. You could probably do your own training etc. with other types of invisible fences, but for me, it was worth every penny and then some to see the look on my puppies' faces as they were finally free to ruuuun like crazy (and for ME not to panic and watch helplessly if they were to dart into a yard several houses away or, horrors, the street!).
 

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Re: Can't believe I'm saying this... but I LOVE "Invisible Fence" - and the pups do t

can i ask a dumb question?

how did you train them to retreat when they saw the flags/heard the collar??
 

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Discussion Starter #5 (Edited)
Re: Can't believe I'm saying this... but I LOVE "Invisible Fence" - and the pups do t

LOL - that's not a dumb question at all because I was wildly curious (and skeptical) about that too.

A trainer comes out three different times and shows you what to do. The first training, you walk around with your dog, leashed. You never pull or call for the dog to walk into the fence line... but if/when they do and you hear the beeping, you immediately run back into the "safe" area, calling for them to come if necessary, and praise them crazily when they do. (Treats were involved too a few times. :D) The beeping phase is like a game for them... my puppies picked it up in no time and before long were running back into the safe zone on their own as soon as they heard a beep.

The trainer also had me walk across the line to see if the pups would follow me. If they did and the beeping started, she'd run them back and praise them profusely when they backed away. She said that you know they "get it" when they don't follow even their owner but just sit down outside the beeping zone. I couldn't believe that my puppies started doing that the very first training session! (It's the whole genius thing ya know. ;))

Also, my trainer occasionally would get down where one of the flags was, shake it, and say "Noooooo!" in a very funny voice. I'm not sure how much that had to do with their picking it up, but it did make me giggle. :D

The training schedule they give you has you do the retreat training twice a day, 5-10 minutes each time, for 3-4 days. The whole training schedule lasts for 28 days and includes distraction training and finally removing every other flag every other day until the flags are gone. Crazily, my puppies have the routine down after only a few days but I'm not sure if that's normal.
 

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Re: Can't believe I'm saying this... but I LOVE "Invisible Fence" - and the pups do t

Glad to see this is working so well for you, We just got a Red Heeler and I'm really looking forward to letting him run free in the yard. We have to keep him on a lead right now and he gets so much energy built up that he can really be difficult to handle for the first few minutes when we try to do training and take a daily walk.

I would like to note that substantial savings can be had if you want to install your system yourself. It is time consuming on anything but flat terrain but if you're willing to put in a little effort you can save some major $. I used an edger to cut a line in the ground, (if you're lucky you can rent one with an attachment to insert the wire for you.. super easy.. I am not so lucky though) then put the wire in and press the sides back together.

I've spoken with several people who use the PetSafe fence available at many retailers (PetSafe makes InvisibleFence) and they've all liked it and had no problems with it. I'm installing mine myself, and have about $250 in it with enough to do a 1000' perimeter, an additional 500' of wire and flags run about $30. Of course nobody comes out to train with you and your pet, but they include an instructional DVD that pretty much goes with the same thing MrsJohnnyG described.
 

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Re: Can't believe I'm saying this... but I LOVE "Invisible Fence" - and the pups do t

The main reason I'm against invisible fences is that some dogs actually get smart enough to wait just in the beep zone and let the battery drain and then go as they please.
 

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Re: Can't believe I'm saying this... but I LOVE "Invisible Fence" - and the pups do t

I'm glad it's working out for you and your dogs. Just be cautious. I have a friend who's dog use it just fine and have never had one problem......but I also have a cousin who has it and their dog just learned eventually that if she just ran through the shock quickly, it stops once she got over the boundry line and she could keep going, hence making the fence pointless. Also, another thing to consider, especially because you mentioned how many other dogs and such are in their site, is that the invisible fence might keep your dogs IN, but it will not keep other dogs/people/animals OUT. I think it's a great device if you are out there with your dogs or watching from a window, but I don't think I could ever just go relax and watch tv for a while while they are out there unattended. Again, I don't think the fences are cruel at all and I have a friend who has been using this for years and LOVES it so I think it just depends on the situation. ;)
 

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Re: Can't believe I'm saying this... but I LOVE "Invisible Fence" - and the pups do t

I hope the fence works well for you. Our neighbors beagle was behind an invisible fence for over 4 years with no problems...unfortunately, this week he challenged the fence and escaped. He was killed when he was hit by a car.

Just be aware of the risks and mitigate them as best you can...
 

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Re: Can't believe I'm saying this... but I LOVE "Invisible Fence" - and the pups do t

We use to dog-sit for a couple of dogs that would run as fast as they could through he invisible fence. They were large dogs, Bernese Mountain Dogs. I think the fence had worked for them when the dogs were younger. It seemed to work sometimes.

I hope the fence continues to work for you, but be careful.
 

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Discussion Starter #11 (Edited)
Re: Can't believe I'm saying this... but I LOVE "Invisible Fence" - and the pups do t

You all brought up a great point, and I wanted to add that I personally would NOT leave my dogs unattended out there. The company tells you to do unsupervised time as one of the weeks of training (where you're watching from a window etc. but the dogs don't know it), and I've already done that for a couple of minutes at a time to make sure they don't try any funny business, but I would not and WILL not just leave them out there without keeping an eye on them (and would definitely not leave the house or something with them out there). Never in a million years would I recommend this for anyone with an "outdoor-only" dog (which I personally have a problem with in and of itself, but that's another thread ;)).

I had read on different review sites before we decided to go with this that the training, the customizing the zap to the dog (the trainer sets a pulse rate -- so that it's not just one zap and that's it -- so it's not tempting to just run through it), and not letting the batteries run down are the keys to ensuring your dog doesn't eventually decide to break through the fence. I've heard that people who don't spend enough time on the initial retreat training are more likely to have a dog who tries to run through it eventually. The trainer told me that if any of our pups ever run through it, to go back to the beeping-only retreat training (on leash then off leash) and to call them to adjust the zap level and pulse rate. It's definitely something I will be watching as they grow.

Oh, and if my area had any incidences at all of wild animals attacking pets, I would have a 6' tall fence in a heartbeat -- $10,000 or not.

This morning when I was out with them, I had to go get something that was all the way at the back of the property. The puppies blissfully trotted along with me. Dabney stopped and sat down a few feet away from the line... Jackson kept trotting with me but then remembered and immediately turned around and skipped back -- before he even heard the warning beep! I really think that the retreat training (which happens before the zap feature is ever turned on) is so key to this.

I seriously am on such a honeymoon with this. Before, if I had seen a dog trot up close to an invisible fence line then immediately turn around and go back, I would have thought, "Wow, that poor dog must have so much fear of the invisible fence line... how much cruel shocking did he have to experience to learn that"... until I saw with my own eyes how they learn to turn away from positive reinforcement when they hear the beep.

Anyway, just wanted to reiterate that this isn't for every dog owner... and like all good dog owners should know, you have to put in the initial training time to make it work... but it's definitely working great so far with my little goofballs. :)

Oh yeah, the distraction training is really important too IMO -- if that part is glossed over, you're risking your dog will someday go after an irresistable squirrel or neighborhood dog or ball that goes out of range.

Of course, I will be making sure our boys get snipped long before the Golden next door comes into heat (assuming her owner doesn't have her spayed in time)... that would be asking for trouble!
 

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Re: Can't believe I'm saying this... but I LOVE "Invisible Fence" - and the pups do t

You all brought up a great point, and I wanted to add that I personally would NOT leave my dogs unattended out there. The company tells you to do unsupervised time as one of the weeks of training (where you're watching from a window etc. but the dogs don't know it), and I've already done that for a couple of minutes at a time to make sure they don't try any funny business, but I would not and WILL not just leave them out there without keeping an eye on them (and would definitely not leave the house or something with them out there). Never in a million years would I recommend this for anyone with an "outdoor-only" dog (which I personally have a problem with in and of itself, but that's another thread ;)).

I had read on different review sites before we decided to go with this that the training, the customizing the zap to the dog (the trainer sets a pulse rate -- so that it's not just one zap and that's it -- so it's not tempting to just run through it), and not letting the batteries run down are the keys to ensuring your dog doesn't eventually decide to break through the fence. I've heard that people who don't spend enough time on the initial retreat training are more likely to have a dog who tries to run through it eventually. The trainer told me that if any of our pups ever run through it, to go back to the beeping-only retreat training (on leash then off leash) and to call them to adjust the zap level and pulse rate. It's definitely something I will be watching as they grow.

Oh, and if my area had any incidences at all of wild animals attacking pets, I would have a 6' tall fence in a heartbeat -- $10,000 or not.

This morning when I was out with them, I had to go get something that was all the way at the back of the property. The puppies blissfully trotted along with me. Dabney stopped and sat down a few feet away from the line... Jackson kept trotting with me but then remembered and immediately turned around and skipped back -- before he even heard the warning beep! I really think that the retreat training (which happens before the zap feature is ever turned on) is so key to this.

I seriously am on such a honeymoon with this. Before, if I had seen a dog trot up close to an invisible fence line then immediately turn around and go back, I would have thought, "Wow, that poor dog must have so much fear of the invisible fence line... how much cruel shocking did he have to experience to learn that"... until I saw with my own eyes how they learn to turn away from positive reinforcement when they hear the beep.

Anyway, just wanted to reiterate that this isn't for every dog owner... and like all good dog owners should know, you have to put in the initial training time to make it work... but it's definitely working great so far with my little goofballs. :)

Oh yeah, the distraction training is really important too IMO -- if that part is glossed over, you're risking your dog will someday go after an irresistable squirrel or neighborhood dog or ball that goes out of range.

Of course, I will be making sure our boys get snipped long before the Golden next door comes into heat (assuming her owner doesn't have her spayed in time)... that would be asking for trouble!
I agree. I have had the invisible fence for four years. You are right the key to this fence is training. I love the fact that I can take my dogs out and practice agility and not have to worry about them visiting the neighbors or the neighbors dogs (who by the way have an invisible fence also.) And as far as run through most fences now have run through protection (which means that the fence senses the rapid approach of the dog and ups the correction that is given.) I agree that this type of fence is not for everyone. However I have even forgotten to put the collars on both my dogs on one occasion and they both stayed in the yard (that is what the training does.) Love the fence but then again it is not for everyone.
 

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Re: Can't believe I'm saying this... but I LOVE "Invisible Fence" - and the pups do t

And as far as run through most fences now have run through protection (which means that the fence senses the rapid approach of the dog and ups the correction that is given.)
The experience I had with dogs running through the fence was several years ago, so perhaps the new technology works better now.
 
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