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Golden Retriever running along boundary marked with containment fences

Containment Fences Explained

What are electronic Containment Fences and how do they work?

Containment fences hit the news earlier this year when the Government declared that they intended to ban e-collars for training dogs.

Sadly, the media jumped in with both feet first and declared that containment fences were also to be banned. At DogFence we were horrified having Professionally installed containment fences for over 17 years we had no idea why! For our customers that already used a containment fence there was outrage. How could the Government even consider banning a fence that had saved their pets life and given them back their freedom?  For those that had not heard about containment fences there was intrigue. What is a containment fence and why do they want to ban them?basset hound enjoying freedom with containment fences

Even the MP that called for the ban didn’t know if the containment fence was to be included within any ban and the officials at DEFRA did not know how containment fences worked! As experts in the field for containment fencing DogFence were invited to meet with officials from DEFRA and demonstrate the fence.

The comments from the DEFRA team were as we suspected “it’s not that bad” and “it’s not what I imagined”.

So what is a containment fence?

It’s actually an invisible fence or virtual fence which is created by a radio signal. Originally invented to keep dogs safe at home in the USA where gardens are traditionally unfenced their popularity has grown in recent years.

A containment fence is actually a very simple and unobtrusive system which can be installed on virtually any property at a fraction of the cost of traditional fencing. It also offers for safety than conventional fencing as the pet can’t dig under or jump over the fence and it protects open areas such as driveways.

A boundary wire is placed around the property boundary which transmits a coded radio signal to a collar worn by the pet. When the pet approaches the boundary wire a high pitched warning beep alerts the pet to go back. If the pet continues forward, an electrical impulse is given through the collar (this is often referred to as a correction or static shock) and the pet retreats back into the safe area.

How does the pet know where to go?

Every pet undergoes a training programme which usually takes 2 – 5 days. When training to a containment fence it is important that the boundary is flagged to give a good visual of where the virtual fence starts. The flags stay in the ground as a visual marker for approx. 2 – 3 weeks. Containment fences can be used for dogs over the age of 12 weeks and cats 16 weeks or over.

The trainer will take the dog outside and set the collar to “beep only” mode. Using some voice commands, he will introduce the dog to the containment fence training flags and later he will allow the dog to enter the “no go area” of his own accord. By re-focusing the dog back into the safe area with the assistance of the warning beep and vocal commands the pet will quickly learn where he can or can’t go. Following the beep only session the training moves onto to assess the correct level of impulse (correction) required for the pet.  If the owner has more than one pet the likelihood is that they will each have a different training level.

containment fences are marked with training flags

Visible boundary for the pet with flags.

 

With cats the training is carried out internally following the Dog Fence Cat protocol. This training protocol was used as part of the Lincoln Cat Containment Fence study.

 

Will the containment fence hurt my pet?

Of course the thought of giving any impulse or shock to your pet can be abhorrent. It is important to note though that the impulse is very low and is usually only felt during the training phase. The sad scenario is that the pain felt from a car is almost unimaginable and the discomfort of containment fence is no worse than an annual vaccination. Also for dog owners there is always the threat of a shot gun as dog attacks on sheep are rising annually.

What areas of the garden will the containment fence cover?

Interestingly, containment fences can cover the entire garden including the driveway. The largest installation that we have installed at Dog Fence is 450 acres. Usually the fence wire is dug directly into the ground (approx. 3 – 5” below the surface) but it can be attached to existing physical boundaries. It is not uncommon for the fence wire to be attached to post and rail fences, stone walls, run through hedges, ditches or streams and even the odd moat! When it comes to the driveway any surface can be crossed except Resin bonded drives which require special attention.

Containment Fence Collars

The original containment fences from the early 80’s used heavy bulky collars but as with the mobile phone technology everything has been scaled down in recent years. Not only have the collars become smaller and lighter but the battery life has also increased.

At Dog Fence we can boast the smallest and lightest collars worldwide. Our mini containment fence collar only weighs 30g but still features an incredible 6-month battery life. Incredibly our standard collar has a 2-year battery life and weighs in at only 48g which is still the 3rd lightest collar available worldwide!

How much do containment fences cost?

A containment fence costs a fraction of the cost of installing a traditional fence or driveway gates. Unlike a wooden or stock fence a containment fence becomes more cost effective the larger the area. Naturally the price is dependent on the owner’s location and the number of dog or cats that they have. There is no need to visit a property to give an estimate for the containment fence; this can all be carried out via our online survey tool.

Summary

Thankfully, the Government looked at the evidence, research and responses from containment fence owners and deemed these lifesaving systems safe to use. Indeed, Michael Gove stood up and supported the life-saving fences in Parliament.

If you are interested in receiving a quick free quote contact us today on 01628 476475 or fill in our quote form https://dogfence.co.uk/quote/