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We're going to be closing on a house by the end of October and the yard for the house is not fenced in. We can put a fence in but it would mean we'd have to remove tall pine trees that are on the property line which also means that we lose a bit of privacy.

Billy, my 3 yr old hound/pointer mix, is pretty good outside but I don't want to worry about him darting out to chase a squirrell or a cat, which has happened before, so I was thinking that I would have a electric collar (which we'd only put on him when we let him out to do his business) or a fence.

I was wondering what people thought of electric collars/fences. Is long time use harmful to dogs? Is the shock very mild and enough to keep them in the desired area?
 

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The problem with electric fences is that a dog chasing prey may be high enough to run right through the shock, but once they are outside the fence they won't take the shock to get back in. I would install a real fence.
 

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Can you put the fence behind the trees or just fence in part of the yard? I don't think an electric fence is going to hold your dog in, it sure as heck wouldn't hold mine in. There are also alternatives like ties out and trolleys.
 

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Fence is not very practical for us at this point and given we have a few other things to take care of it's not in the budget right now.

How about an electric collar with a transponder that sits in the house? With that the shock is sent if you're not within a specified distance of the transponder.
 

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Besides the dogs being able to get out but not get in, it doesn't stop anything from coming INTO your yard (or anyone), which can be a major issue, in and of itself. I'd install some kind of fence, too. Part of the yard, inside the trees, or even, yeah, using a tie out with supervision.
 

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How about an electric collar with a transponder that sits in the house? With that the shock is sent if you're not within a specified distance of the transponder.
That's not any better than the traditional electric fences that are dug into the ground. The dog can still decide that chasing a critter is worth getting shocked, and then he won't want to come back near the house.
 

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We have a welded wire fence and metal t posts. It didn't cost us a lot at all.
 

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We have a welded wire fence and metal t posts. It didn't cost us a lot at all.
This is what we have. Relatively inexpensive, easy to install/remove, and more effective than an ecollar. I have no doubt my older dog would ignore even the highest shock to chase a squirrel, bunny, or deer. It also keeps the neighbors' dogs and most critters out of our yard; critters who enter rarely leave on their own.
 

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I would either use a tie-out or fence a small area. My sister had a Heeler and tried to use an electric fence before they had time to dog proof the fence they had which was just rails. He would walk up towards the fence, then take a mad dash and go right through it and it was just when he decided he wanted out, did not even need the incentive of something to chase. On a really "soft" dog sometimes they will refuse to go outside once they have been zapped by the fence and you never know how it is going to affect your dog.
 

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I think that how effective an electronic fence is going to be depends on the prey drive of the dog. I have a four year old Pointer/Coonhound mix, and that would not work for her at all. She'd go right through it as soon as she saw a squirrel and then wouldn't want to come back through. My best friend and her husband, however, have a two year old lab that was very thoroughly fence trained, and it has been 100% successful for them (so far, anyway).
 

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Beyond all the other issues above, what happens when the dog happens to receive a shock at the exact moment they see a child/another dog/a car, and they end up associating the shock with that thing? Then you've got a dog who bites children/chases cars/fights other dogs. I'm not sure how that's the better option than a small enclosure or tie out.
 

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Besides the dogs being able to get out but not get in, it doesn't stop anything from coming INTO your yard (or anyone), which can be a major issue, in and of itself. I'd install some kind of fence, too. Part of the yard, inside the trees, or even, yeah, using a tie out with supervision.
What Capt Jack said. I've also heard of quite a few dogs who take the shock, to get free and have heard of some who get shocked then shut down. Lowe's has kennel panels & you can make a run out of those and save money for a real fence.
 

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I have an e-fence on 10 acres. Love it! Would not have it any other way. No my dogs just do not go and get shocked for the heck of it. It is all about training. I put the e-fence in when I had a houndini of a dog. She thought fences were no problems at all. Climb, dig, open gates, stretch the fence and she would not care about anything till she got out of the enclosure. The e-fence stopped her and she stayed in the yard. There are many different options to choose from when choosing an e-fence. They have them set up as wireless,GPS, ones that beep-shock when they get to the wire and now one that stays on as long as the dog is outside the boundary. This is to prevent the run through that some dogs have LEARNED to do.

Failures of the fence can be collar on too loose, boundary not set up with wide margins, dead battery, fur too thick, too short of prongs or even the collar not even on. The ones on the market tend to be for dogs up to 40 pounds unless you get the stubborn dog receiver. I have gone through about 4 different receivers because I have had it in for several years. Lightening tend to get mine.

I have the Sport dog model, use the stubborn dog collar (like that because the collar has its own control of static charge and each dog can be individually controlled ) and bought the wire from Seminole wire 14 gauge. I installed it myself many, many years ago. I only have it buried along the driveway for mowing purposes, other than that it runs above ground between my hot wire for my horses.

You can have it professionally installed too. Some positive, less backache for you and most offer training and help with the product. Drawback, some have special batteries you have to order.

I found a lot of helpful hints on this website http://www.dogfencediy.com/ and this one http://www.radiofence.com/

The con with an e-fence is yes it does not prevent critters from entering your yard but a barrier fence may not stop them either.
Youtube is filled with videos showing dogs escaping from kennels, crates, gates, fenced in areas. I have learned that if a dog wants to escape it will figure out a way.
 

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I can tell you what they are good for though: When I was 15 my best friend and I put the collar on his little brother and drug him outside the invisible fence..... I feel bad looking back on it, but as teenagers we found it quite amusing.
 

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I did a reply but it went into a moderator check. I still do not see the post.

But I have an e-fence and love it. I will probably always have an e-fence. If you want more info PM me and I will tell you what I use and what I have learned over the years with the different systems I have tried. I have 10 acres fenced in with a e-fence. Would I do it living in the city, probably not. Where I live and my set up an e-fence works for me.

What I have learned about keeping a dog in its yard. It is easy to keep the dog who WANTS to stay in its yard and becomes a challenge to always try to outsmart the dog who does NOT want to stay in its yard. Youtube is just full of dogs escaping into and out of fenced in places.
 

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Another possibility since you have trees around the yard is a zip line, like a clothesline tied between 2 trees or a hook on the house and a far tree, the leash goes onto the line and the dog can run pretty freely back and forth in the yard. We had one that we used for a dog that loved to run away and hated tie-outs (and we didn't have any money back then for a fence of any kind), the zip line was more successful and she didn't feel like she was tied up (as much).
 
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