The Darkside of wireless dog fences

Border collie wearing Petsafe collar

I’ve spent big bucks on this wireless fence. Then more on post-traumatic training, and still, Belle will take years to get completely over it. 


What you are about to read will save you hundreds of dollars (speaking from experience). 


I’m telling you what I wish someone had told me.


In the past years, vets & trainers have seen an increasing number of dogs coming in due to severe anxiety and unpredictable aggressive behaviors.


That was unheard of. 

What is it that changed in the past years to make so many dogs become anxious? Anxious to the point where some were so unpredictable that they had to be put to sleep.


Well, researchers started to go back in time to find the source of it. Oddly, these behaviors increased in number as one “miraculous” technology became more and more popular. Any idea what it is? 


That’s right, e-collars and wireless dog fences.


You know the expression “Too good to be true”, well that’s exactly what wireless fences are.

And I experienced it first hand. 


But my wireless fence works like magic

Yes, mine too. When you buy it, it is like magic (at first). You put it onto your dog and in less than 48hours, your dog isn’t trying to go out of the yard. Squirrel, cars, other dogs, name it. Nothing will get your dog to try to step out of the yard. 


And trust me, it’s great! People walking by believe your dog is well-trained and it makes you proud. Well it made me proud.  


This is the bright side of e-collars. But the darkside is not as obvious. It goes unnoticed for a while. When it is discovered, damage is already done. 


Some vets have stepped forward as whistleblowers. 

 But the companies making the big money off ignorant dog owners have shut them down. 


On the Internet, you’ll find a ton of vets and dog trainers promoting the benefits of e-collars. But what they are hiding is that they are paid to say so. And they are paid by the very same companies that make these collars.


I’ve managed to find this report that came out in 2015. It comes from the whistleblowers who have exposed the truth about wireless fences & e-collars.


Why are e-collars so bad for dogs?

Well, as highlighted in the report, it increases the level of stress. Accordingly, the dogs trained with e-collars show higher levels of cortisol, the stress hormone. They are more likely to engage in aggressive behaviors than dogs trained in other ways. 


In my experience, Belle started to be super stressed at random times. She would never rest. Every little noise would get her to jump back on her feet.


“A wireless dog fence is similar to a minefield”

I don’t know about you, but I wouldn’t enjoy much the time spent outside if I was standing on a minefield. I would worry at every step. 


101 wireless dog fence explanation


Wireless dog fences work with radio waves, as I turn a wheel on the base, the perimeter around the house increases or decreases. This perimeter determines where Belle can go and where she cannot. But radio waves don’t travel the same through every material. The perimeter varies and random beeps or shocks happen occasionally. 

top view of an house with wireless dog fence


Also, the collar eventually runs out of battery making it less and less reliable. At a certain point, the collar (from PetSafe) would beep on Belle as she was lying down in the safe zone.


So her idea of the safe zone wasn’t valid anymore. The collar would keep breaking her beliefs about the limits of that safe zone.


Every step she would take, she knew she could receive a shock. And it went on and on. She developed severe anxiety.


We all would if we were forced to stay on a minefield. 19 times out of 20, a spot was safe but then, it wouldn’t.


She started to be more and more aggressive. Biting became a problem. At this point, I contacted a trainer who told me that the cause of these behaviors was e-collars. It was the first thing she asked. “Does your dog wear an e-collar?”


Since then, we’ve been working with her to build trust again and break this dozen of triggers that get Belle to go crazy. This process is ongoing and far from over.


There’s a reason that the leash is so popular and has worked so well over the last hundreds of years, it is a physical limit that the dog can see. 


To keep Belle in the yard, we’ve been using a dog tie-out stake (which is the same principle as a leash). 

And it works great. The trainer supports this tool. Because the limit is determined by the tie-out cable, it does not vary so Belle can learn the limits once and for all. 


She doesn’t have to worry about interpreting noises as warnings either. 


This tie-out stake has helped tremendously in helping Belle’s mental state and in keeping her safely in the yard.


If you have an unfenced yard or your dog can escape from it, I would save the $300-400 of the wireless fence and put it towards training. 


In the meantime, get a tie-out stake like this one to keep your dog stake in the yard. It has proved to be the most reliable against all the other tie-out stakes on Amazon. 


It is super crucial that you get a proper tie-out stake in the first place. You can read this article on why it is super important to get the right tie-out stake right from the start.

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