Are Electric Collars and Fencing Safe?


Determining What’s Best For Your Pet

The conversation about electric dog collars and fencing is an emotional one. An electric fence or shock collar should be used for only certain purposes, if used at all. The excessive use and wear of a collar is not necessary or ethical.

Electric dog collars and fencing have three main uses and benefits to owners:

  1. Boundaries – Electric fencing provides boundaries to keep your dog in a specific area.
  2. Noise Control – Some electric collars will keep your dog from excessive barking by creating a minor shock or vibration.
  3. Training – In order to train your dog to sit, fetch, point, or stay, owners use electric collars to help the animal learn good behavior.

The use of electric collars and fencing is highly debatable. Many people feel the equipment is helpful if used in moderation and can successfully train a dog to stay away from other animals and automobiles, which can potentially save the dog’s life.

Others compare the use of electric fencing and shock collars to animal cruelty.

Understanding the Equipment

It is possible to use a shock collar for the other functionalities that are beneficial to training. Just because you own an electric collar, does not mean you have to use the shock capabilities.

Many electrical collars come with two additional settings that provide similar benefits as a shock, but without the pain:

  1. Beep Mode – At the push of a button the owner can make the collar beep. The sound is used in conjunction with shocking and vibrating sensations to help the animal learn good behavior.
  2. Vibrate Mode – By pushing the vibrate button the collar will vibrate just like your cell phone. Dog owners use the vibration function to get their dog’s attention.

Often, once the dog recognizes the connection between the beep or vibration sensation and a command, there is never a need to shock the dog again and the owner can rely on the beep and vibrate function to solicit desired behavior from their dog.

Shocking a Dog

Shock collars are designed to create an unpleasant sensation through two entry points on the dog’s neck. The amount of pain the animal feels is dependent on the size, skin, and amount of fur and weight of the dog.

If you decide to use a shock collar it is important to understand that you are inflicting temporary pain on the animal. Do not underestimate the capabilities of the collar, and be sure to use the function in moderation.

About Electric Fencing

Although mostly used to contain animals, electric fencing is sometimes used as a security measure in prisons and military bases. Electric fencing is mainly used to keep livestock contained, but can work with an electric collar to keep your dog within boundaries. The fencing is made of metal and carries an electric current, so when an animal touches the fence it is temporarily shocked. The sensation is similar to the pain a dog would feel with an electric collar.

Additional Resources




  • Anti Dog Bark, by ZHEN WEI AHANG, available on iTunes for a fee
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