Shock Collar/ Electric Fence

14 replies [Last post]
Joined: 2012-10-28

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Hi all,

 We are training Bella for better recall now using the traditional long long training leash, treats, and sit stay come. We have re- started again with help from our doggie -guru- sitter. We had a one hour private lesson here; so he could see the terrain and the challenges of containing an active dog in a private semi-natural area.

Although we really like him alot, I am not sure if he realizes how sensitive dobermans are in general. He thinks that an electric fence and collar worn forever would keep her in boundary. That would be a low level stimulation ramping up to a higher as she approached the perimeter wire. 

There are other things a hand held shock collar could be used for I'm sure, I know the most important thing is timing but I feel that she deserves to know where a command is coming from.

My gut reaction is to not follow this course AT ALL. But Michael and the trainer are willing to try it.

 She is such an intelligent, good and trusting girl, and so willing to please. I would hate to put her up to this. If you have any comparisons or knowledge about this; I would appreciate it very much.

She is outside on a 30' line about 80% of her outside time; when I am home, she sticks around the general area of the house very well when I let her off of her line. I would rather build a real fence... that would be ALOT more $$! But I think that she would respect it, rather than jump over it. The problem is connecting the fence to the giant boulders that she is willing to rock-climb! That girl is fearless!!

God Bless


Julia and Bella


talisin's picture
Joined: 2011-02-25

oh my, I am with you I would rather have a real fence nothing shocking, you know your girl and what she can tolerate and I would stick to that, ignore the men hahahaha, do right by your girl.....there are fence companies that know how to traverse boulders with their fencing....

DJ's Dad's picture
Joined: 2010-10-04

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Two things about an invisible fence that you really need to consider before going to the trouble and expense of having one installed: 

1) if your dog sees something that she really REALLY wants to chase after, running through the shock might actually be worth it to her...but then she'll be too scared of the shock to come back through it into your yard.  and

2) they do NOT keep other dogs, cats, people, or anything else out of your yard. 

Just something to keep in mind.

HarleyBear's picture
Joined: 2011-08-16

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Didn't you already go through a little shock training for the rattlesnake training?  From what you described, she seemed really sensitive to it.  I know it's hard where you live without fences and being in a rural area, I think KevinK has a similar set up.  Hopefully he can come on and provide some tips.  

My suggestion would be to not let her out unless you are there to supervise.  Always have a no fail recall.  For me, if I go back into the house and spin the food container (Harley can hear that from miles away, lol) he comes running back full speed.  I wish my husband would of thought of that to call Harley away from a skunk last weekend. In the meantime train train train with the long line and super yummy irresistible treats or toy. 

KevinK's picture
Joined: 2010-07-15

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My opinion on this topic is that NOTHING will ever replace training.  Using an electric fence, but not doing the training along with it is not "solving" a problem, it's like putting a band-aid on a wound that will never heal.  When you take off the band-aid, the wound is still there.  Once you fix the wound, you no longer have a need for that band-aid.  So, what do you do?  Wear that band-aid for the rest of your life?  No, you do whatever you can to heal that wound!

I have dealt with Drivey dogs, not so drivey dogs, scared ones, the list goes on.  And I have never had a problem teaching a dog to respect the boundaries of the yard.  I use marker training, and as they approach an area where I don't want them to go, I tell them "No, back up" and they pick that up pretty quickly.  Once they understand the boundaries, I start introducing distractions...  A tossed ball, a frisbee, if I see a squirrel or other animal, that's a PERFECT time to do some on the spot training.

I'd be curious to know if the trainer is actually going to help you train your dog, or if they are just selling you a product instead.  In my book, that's not training, that's taking the lazy, easy way out (from a training standpoint... I don't mean that as a negative towards you, but I wouldn't put much stock in a trainer who relies solely on a fence for life) I know many people that have these fences, and simply put, they don't work that well.  A drivey dog will run right through it and couldn't care less about getting shocked, because the thrill of the chase outweighs the negative of the shock.  Plus, smart dogs will quickly figure out when and if the fence is not on, or if the batteries have died, etc.  Take off the colar, and it won't be long before they notice "Hmmmm....  I'm not getting that beepy sound...  maybe it's ok for me to go over there now!" 

Knowing what I know, I would NEVER trust an electric fence or collar to contain a dog, especially one that is known for leaving the property.

I would recommend taking some time to research and learn more training methods, as it will make your life signficantly easier.  It's not hard stuff to understand, but it is tricky to master.  But once you do, you realize all this stuff is very unnecessary, and doesn't really help all that much.

If you have any specific questions, don't hesitate to ask, or send me a private message if you prefer.  Would probably be easier, as I don't come on here that much anymore.

Joined: 2012-10-28

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Hi All,

 Thank you very much for your replies.

Just the thought of B getting shocked for coming back to the house is enough for me to fuggettaboudit.

Whatever training we choose to do with our trainer, he will help us and follow through completely or as needed.

Our trainer's only drawback is that he used to be an electrical/techie, maybe now he is Mr. Gadget! He certainly is not pushing any products of any kind.

He actually reads and understands dogs very well, when they are all (I have seen him voice control 6) playing in his unenclosed front yard they respect the boundary. He monitors them inside and in the backyard. He trained his therapy dog, also rehabs rescues.

 When you come to retrieve your dog they have to all line up and sit and be calm, before they can greet you. Bella was squirming, but her paw was not allowed over the line. So we know he has the alpha position and the reading of dog behavior pretty good.

Kevin I need to work on your suggestion for boundary training, sounds rational and sound. I will pm you thanks very much, again, I had wrote a reply when we were both on, but my service crashed:(


Woof from Bella and Julia

A story from Doggie Guy fyi

Bella was there for the day, also an unaltered male 10 month Visla.

 Whole family 3 humans 6 dogs watching tv. The Visla is bothering an older bitch little. DG touches him on the neck to request him to cut it out. Visla gives a certain look to DG. DG asks all other humans and dogs to go outside, wife to bring training collar and leash, then leave. DG puts collar on gets up with V... 5 steps later Visla (tries to )viciously attack DG, gets held up by collar until calmed.

This dog was disinvited from returning to a kennel, in the only other time these owners ever took him to a sitter/ kennel. I don't think they told DG any details about the other incident. He told them to neuter their Visla and only after that, he would help them with him. Don't have an update yet.

interesting, no?

talisin's picture
Joined: 2011-02-25

hmmmmm, the visla story worries me cause I don't believe in holding any dog up by the neck/collar/leash due to physical damage that results, it shuts off the windpipe so of course the dog relaxes/calms down, it needs to breathe, I don't believe in that type of training.....I realize the dog was trying to bite but there should have been a warning or some other way of avoiding the dog rather than lifting the dog via neck/collar......

My first collie was a great dog - I walked him around the edge of our yard and just talked to him the way I would a person, and said "now this is the edge of our yard don't cross that ok, here let me show the rest of the yard" yes it was that talkative and calm and you know that wonderful dog NEVER ever stepped beyond that line that I showed him that ONE time!!! Dogs are amazingly smart when you trust that they get never dawned on me that he might not understand hahahaha

The other thing to consider is that the collar works off batteries and at some point the batteries get low and that is an escape option at that point.....

Joined: 2012-10-28

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Tal, I understand fully what you are saying. The DG was trying to get the dog safely away from his family and the other dogs. I think DG didn't have time to get him outside to a private area before the Visla made the mistake of trying to ATTACK him. DG showed us a scar from another red zone dog, that he ended up rehabbing for a rescue who found it a loving home. I doubt if he had much choice not to hold the dog away from his own body until it calmed down, and remember this dog was a day visitor/ boarder, not one that he knew for more than a few hours.

Michael's picture
Joined: 2012-12-12

Years ago, I had border-trained a my black lab using a choke-chain (that’s all we knew back then).  She got to the point where I could toss a Frisbee over the boundary, and she would chase it to the border and stop.

Today, I would never train using the chain and certainly never with anything that shocks or sprays.  My point is that it can be done by training alone.

We are currently boundary training our two dogs using positive reinforcement (treats).  Progress is slow, but it will pay off in the end.  They will stay in the yard because they want to – not because they’re afraid of getting shocked.

There are thousands of dog training videos online- some good, some bad.  We’ve been following Emily Larlham’s (A.K.A. Kikopup) tutorials.  She uses positive methods only.  Check out her boundary training methods.

It’s ultimately your decision, but please avoid the shock collar.

Joined: 2012-10-28

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We have decided not to use the shock collar again and to build a real fence and to work on the boundaries.


jerial13's picture
Joined: 2010-07-22

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After reading this thread yesterday and then also today, I have to share what happened last night.  I have mentioned previously that we purchased the radio wave electric fence(the one with no underground wires), but we never installed it.

Last night I let Shelbi off the deck to "potty" and she went on her normal round and got to the barbed wire that surrounds the pasture.  There was a coyote in the pasture and she alerted to the danger very loudly, we have let her chase them from the property before.  We do not allow her to attack only chase and thus far this has been affective they normally stay away and there are no fights.  It dawns on me as she is throwing an absolute fit that all she has to do is duck under the bottom rung of barbed wire and she could give chase, but all she did was bark bark bark and look at me, then bark bark bark and look at me.

This was an inadvertant lesson taught to her during her training.  I never told her the pasture was off limits, but I also never told her it was her territory.  I have horses and with the exception of when we have sent her after the coyote it has just never been used as her area.  She was asking for permission to cross the boundary to chase the coyote.  I told her "Leave it" and "Shelbi Come", and she disgruntally returned to the deck where I was watching.  I say disgruntally because when she returned she pouted because she didn't get to chase the coyote.

I thought this was a good example of how well training can work over anything.  Please understand this is not a brag I didn't even realize that I had trained her not to cross the barbed wire fence this is just not an area that we go into unless we go to the other side and go throught the large swing gate.  This is really an example of how smart they are even when we aren't smart enough to teach something clearly.

Sorry for the rant,

Jeri & Shelbi

Joined: 2012-10-28

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The main reason we need a real viable fence is cuz' we got coyotes around here. We saw 3 yesterday evening, 1/4 mile away, in plain sight tromping around and climbing the cliff so easy

Kim's picture
Joined: 2012-02-05

Oh, I LOVE Missy Bella - she reminds me a lot of Libby, except in a lovely brown. I'm SO glad you decided on a fence. I can't stand shock collars or invisible fences.

And because you have coyotes there, it's all the more important to have a barrier between her and them.

Just a warning story for all...a friend was walking the fields with his dog (a large Lab), and a coyote appeared at the top of a nearby hill. The dog started after it, and he called the dog back. The coyote disappeared over the hill.

A minute or two later, the coyote appeared again, and again the dog started after it. Again, he called the dog back, while the coyote went back over the hill.

The third time the coyote appeared, he leashed the Lab, and walked up the hill. On the other side was a PACK of coyotes. They were waiting for his dog to come chasing the one over the hill, so they could take him on, and kill him.

Coyotes are very clever.

talisin's picture
Joined: 2011-02-25

wow kim that's a crazy story, I would have been horrified, and yes the native americans called coyote "the trickster" and that's a good example of that could have turned out so bad.....glad he leashed his dog.......

Celly Swehykol's picture
Joined: 2020-08-28

Hi, check out the informative videos on electric dog fence . I think you will find the answers to your question in it. Just flags are placed around the perimeter and form a safe zone. And if your dog goes beyond these limits, a small discharge of current passes through its collar. It's safe.