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Black cat laying on sofa wearing cat fence collar

Cat Fence – how a cat fence saved my cat!

Cat Fence Saved my Cats Life!

I wanted to take a moment to tell you all about how a Cat Fence saved our cat’s (Figaro’s) life. You may have heard them called containment fences or even electric cat fences.

Without our Cat Fence I really fear that Figaro would not be with us anymore and I would not be able to tell you all his tail.

Figaro came to us when he was 6 years old we rescued him from a local cat shelter. The whole family fell in love the second we met him. He was so handsome; his glossy black fur and bright shiny eyes. I couldn’t believe my whiskers when the lady at the cat shelter told us Figaro had been tricky to re home due to the colour of his fur. Would you believe that black cats aren’t as popular because they don’t look as good in ‘selfies’? At this point in time we all felt that our garden was safe and had not even considered a containment fence or cat fencing.

Figaro settled into his new home nicely. We kept him inside for a week or so but he was so inquisitive about the outside world. I couldn’t keep him indoors any longer. Figaro had missed his freedom being in the cat shelter and I couldn’t wait to let him explore the garden.

black cat wearing cat fence collar sat on tool box

Figaro helping with the DIY!

At first he stayed within the garden and loved lazing in the bushes and hunting mice. Over the next few weeks Figaro began to explore further afield. At first it was the neighbour’s garden, then a visit to the tabby cat down the road. His adventures grew longer and longer but he always bought himself home in time for dinner. We never knew quite how far he went but he always returned.

That dreaded moment when the cat did not come home!

Then it came that awful night he didn’t come home for his dinner. It was getting late and he still wasn’t home. I went into the garden and called him…nothing. I tried to tempt him with his favourite – Tuna! But still nothing. I decided to leave his cat flap open and went to bed, he would be home in the morning, I was sure.

Morning came and he wasn’t home. I searched everywhere for him. As the days went on I started to fear the worst. We lived a reasonable distance from a few busy roads and knew two families that had lost their fur babies in road traffic accidents. Trying to remain positive I decided to visit as many neighbouring houses as I could to ask if they had seen him.

There had been no sightings. One of my neighbours (who had previously lost several cats to the road) told me about this amazing device called a

A small lightweight collar that the cat wears and a wire installed around the garden. The cat is trained to know how the collar works and receives a warning beep followed by a small static impulse to stop them from straying outside of the garden. She let me feel the collar as I had visions of my cat leaping out it’s skin for it’s life. I have to admit that I was skeptical as to how it would work because when I felt the sensation it was very small and not at all how I imagined.

My neighbour told me it’s the only way she’s been able to have a cat again after the devastating losses of her other cats. It enables her cat to explore its natural environment but keeps them safe at the same time and gives you piece of mind – How amazing!

I walked home furious with myself that I hadn’t discovered Cat Fence before. If I had just known about it, Figaro would still be at home safe in his garden. I brushed a tear away as I reached my front door. How could I have let this happen? I was probably never going to see my beautiful boy again.

Several days went passed and I resigned myself that he was gone. It was the not knowing that hurt the most, had been injured, killed or had he just found a new family. I hope it was the latter.

The day I decided to research Containment Fences.

One wonderful day after turning the key in front door and letting myself in I heard his little meow.  He came straight over brushing against my leg and purring. Actually he looked fine, a little thinner and obviously relieved to be home. We had had a lucky escape and I vowed not to let it happen again. I went straight around to my neighbour and got the details for the cat fence Company. Within an hour I had booked for our new Cat Fence to be installed.

The installer was excellent and explained all about the cat fence to me. He did some indoor training with myself and Figaro which allows Figaro to learn about the “no go zone” before using it in the garden. After 20 minutes Figaro knew what the beep meant and he was no longer entering the “no go Zone”. We had to keep indoors for a few days to ensure that he really knew how the cat fence worked.

The gentleman explained that cats are very intelligent and pick things up quickly and that I would need to use Flags in my garden for the first few weeks to mark out the “no go zone” but could take them out once he fully understood.

cat fence training for containment fence is carried out inside using indoor unit.

Cat in training.

It’s been 4 years now since our Cat Fence has been installed and I am able to relax Knowing that Figaro will always be home for dinner. As I type this I can see him out of the window, happily hunting the mice in the sun and enjoying his freedom whilst being safely contained in his haven.

Thank You Cat Fence!

dog wearing an old invisible dog fence collar

Freedom fence, Invisible Fence, What are they?

What is a freedom fence or  Invisible fence?

So what is a freedom dog fence? it’s actually is a generic name for an electronic dog fence. Very similar to a “hoover”, a freedom fence, invisible fence or DogFence are often used to describe the containment fences. These dog fences were first produced in the USA over 40 years ago.

The History of Invisible Fences

Electronic pet containment systems originated in the year 1973. The overall concept began due to humanitarian emotion from American Richard Peck. Peck was a salesman in Pennsylvania selling his company’s metal cutting and welding services.

Richard Peck original inventor of the freedom dog fence

Richard Peck with his original Patents

“I traveled the United States and everywhere I went, I literally saw hundreds of dogs that had been slaughtered by cars. They were all over the roadway,” Peck said years later. “I loved dogs and knew there had to be a way to stop this.”

The development of dog fences

In 1973, Peck partnered with an electronic engineer and patented the first electronic dog fence system. The collar was placed on a pet and received radio waves from a wire buried beneath the ground. The radio waves were transmitted through the wire from a transmitter protected inside the house. When the radio waves are received by the collar, it sends a brief uncomfortable static shock under the pet’s skin. The “shock” deters the pet from traveling farther into a designated zone. In todays’ world date the word “shock” should be replaced by stimulation as the impulse produced is incredibly low and incapable of inducing a state of shock.

Always concerned for dog safety, Peck worked with the University Of Pennsylvania School Of Veterinary Medicine. Together they conducted extensive research on the short-and long-term effects the new system would have on animals. The study proved it was extremely effective for influencing behavior of animals and keeping them contained in a specified area. Furthermore, the study proved that pets that were contained by a freedom dog fence had no long-term ill effects from the stimulation.

No boundary gardens

The late 1970s in the USA there was a rise in the popularity of housing estates forbidding traditional fencing. This made it almost impossible to have a large dog. Naturally with the new “invisible fence systems”  quickly became popular. Peck initially sold the systems through catalogs and direct mail. The growth of the company was very slow. There were only 50 systems sold the first year. The fences were promoted by two nationally distributed dog magazines, Dogs and Dog Fancy.

Peck retired in the early 1980s and sold his company to private entrepreneurs outside of Philadelphia. These entrepreneurs invested in product improvements and named the product “Invisible Fence.” The engineering staff began refining the technology of the existing product. The company began selling a compact, lighter version of the receiver collar that went from 13 ounces down to 3 ounces. Thus the market was opened so that smaller dogs and cats could utilize the Invisible Fence solution.

New Manufacturers enter the market

In 1990, the overall patent for the technology expired and other companies to began to appear. This led to the rise in other manufacturers, PetSafe, DogWatch, and Innotek. These Companies have produced their own version of the original invisible fence. The early systems were not available for self-installation and Freedom Fence Dealers were part of the PetSafe network that started offering installation across the USA.

The market went worldwide

Dog Fence, Invisible Fence and Freedom Fence dealers started to import the technology into Europe and Australia. These markets were mainly self-installation markets and over time some dealerships started to offer a limited installation service through agents and part-time sub-contractors.

In the UK there were 3 Companies offering Installation for freedom dog fences:

Invisible Fence

The original Invisible Fence UK Dealer has recently retired after selling both Invisible Fence and Innotek systems for over 25 years. Most of the Invisible dog fences were sold for self-installation.

Freedom Fence

This business model is slightly different and is made up of a large number of representatives who work on a sub-contract basis. These individuals will install the PetSafe and PetSafe Professional brand of dog fence. PetSafe fences use the same AM technology that was used to produce the original Invisible Fence systems. As these are part time representatives they do not all offer the same level of service.

DogFence

DogFence  Ltd were the first Company to offer complete onsite Professional Installation & Training for dogs and cats. This Company uses the DogWatch brand of hidden fence which was developed using an FM radio frequency. When it comes to technology the FM signal is far safer and faster than the AM operated fences. DogFence Ltd pioneered bringing the full installation & training service to the UK. Unlike Freedom Fence the installers are all employed by DogFence. This gives consistency in quality of service and equipment standards.

Why is Technology Important?

Arguably most peoples pets are part of their family, they are as important as children or siblings. Naturally one wants to do everything they can to protect them which is why they install a dog fence. As with your car it is important to look at safety features within each product.

The Original Invisible Fence used an AM radio signal. This was mirrored by all manufacturers except DogWatch (DogFence). DogWatch inc were concerned about the high numbers of false activation on the receiver collars with AM. The dog may not be in the zone but the collar was activated because the collar picked up a similar signal. It is for this reason that they decided to explore using an FM signal. After developing and patenting the FM signal it quickly became clear that this was a far superior channel.

Why is the FM signal safer? The reason for the FM signal is to ensure that nothing else can activate the dog or cats computer collar. The Freedom Fence and Invisible Fence brands use OOK (on/off keying).  With OOK the collar is open to picking up other signals when it is in the “down” time. This means that the collar can activate when the pet is not in the “no go zone” as it has “heard” another signal.

With the DogFence system the signal is constant and the collar can only read the programmed signal. In order to reduce case of false activation freedom fence and invisible fence systems use a 2nd signal to reduce confusion. Naturally checking for 2 signals slows down the reaction time on the collar.

Why does speed affect the dog fence?

Put simply if your dog is racing towards the no go zone the collar needs to stop him before he runs into the road. With the DogFence system if he runs at 10mph he will only get 0.125ft into the zone before the collar has given a warning beep and impulse. With a freedom fence he will be at 7ft before the collar has activated. Conversely many people never consider the shut down time on the fence. What happens if the dog retreats? How quickly will the collar stop? Again, speed is crucial the start up and the shut down times are equal. If your dog retreats the FM fences will shut down in less than 1 second. With the PetSafe, Invisible Fence and Freedom Fences AM brands the time is 2 – 5 seconds. Food for thought!

freedom fence and dog fence collar reaction times illustrated with 2 dogs running at 10mph

Collar reaction times for DogFence and Freedom Fence. DogFence is 15 times quicker!

Conclusion

Today there are well more than 2 million freedom dog fence systems installed worldwide. Recent studies by Lincoln University and the UK Governments consultation have proved that these fences save the lives of dogs and cats. It maybe that you are skeptical or adverse to the idea of using a Freedom dog fence but those that use them swear by them. A few of the comments from the Government consultation can be read here:-

If you would like to obtain more information on our containment fences call us (01628) 476475 or click here.

 

 

 

 

 

dog proof fencing, electric dog fence, invisible dog fence, dogwatch hidden fence

Dog proof fencing – Does it really work?

Let’s talk about dog proof fencingImage result for dog proof fencing

Dogs are a man’s best friend and we all want them to be part of the family, but trying to keep them contained and safe can be a tricky. Dog proof fencing is not only difficult to source but it can be expensive. According to the highways Agency, in 2016-2017 there were 286 reported incidents of dog deaths on UK roads. When it comes to installing a dog fence that is dog proof what are the options?

We have all spent hours searching online, gathering tips and ideas on how to install dog proof fencing. Often after hours of searching we can still be none the wiser. Lets examine the types of fencing and find those are truly dog proof!

Traditional fencing – is it dog proof?

Some properties have no physical forms of boundary so the idea of traditional fencing could be the only option. The more common form of dog proof fencing is post and rail.

Post & Rail

This is generally a costly option as it is installed by contractors who can charge upwards of £35/hr for labour and equipment and then there is the cost of the fencing itself which can be approximately £15/m. A customer recently spend £6000 for a 4 acre plot on this form of fencing and their dog was still escaping. Most fencing starts from around £30.00 per metre.

Post and rail fencing needs to be high enough to stop the dog leaping over it. German Shepherds, Weimarners and Pointers  can clear a 10ft fence in the blink of an eye. Then there are the diggers! Your dog may work on a tunnel over several days – so you may not be able to see it until it’s too late.

Having high fencing can look imposing and may block any views such as pretty countryside. Equally concreting netting into the ground is costly and unfriendly to small wildlife (in particular hedgehogs).

Trellis

 If you have real leaper you may want to install Trellis on top of existing fencing. This will may depend on local planning restrictions.

Wildlife

 There are pro’s and cons to installing traditional fencing when it comes to wildlife.

  • Wildlife cannot may not be able to pass  from garden to garden
  • Wildlife can damage fencing when trying to gain access to a neighboring garden
  • Dog’s will use holes made by wildlife to escape
  • Expensive patching up fences due to damage.

Dog runs and cages

Dogs love to run around and get as much exercise as they possible. If you have a large garden you may not be able to see where they are. Runs and cages are an ideal a way to keep them contained in an area. By using a run or cage they can still have some outside time. Whilst most cages are dog proof they don’t give much opportunity for exercise. For some dogs such as Labradors, Lurchers and Jack Russells they thrive on running around. They need to be stimulated by chasing birds or rabbits. With a run or cage this will not be possible.

Dog runs are ideal as a temporary measure. This type of dog proof fencing costs in the region of £300 for a 7.5ft dog run and goes up to around £1500 for an outdoor kennel.

Points to consider

  • May be able to dig underneath
  • Must have a kennel or somewhere to shelter within the run
  • Do not offer much exercise opportunity
  • Expensive to purchase

An adult dog can be caged for as long as eight hours on occasion, although daily crating of this length can have negative effects on your dog’s well-being. Make sure that they received adequate exercise before a long stay in the crate. The exercise should be at least 30 to 60 minutes.

Image result for large outdoor dog runs

All tied up – or dog fence?

Most rural gardens are not dog proof. It can be tricky to monitor dogs all of the time in the garden. They pick up a scent of a rabbit or see a group of people walking across a field. Dogs are social and they naturally want to say hello. Taking your eye off them or not having complete control can result in dogs running into the road and getting injured. Notably dog attacks on sheep are rising and it is essential to keep dogs under control. It maybe that the dog ran out whilst chasing a rabbit and ended up with livestock. These are real day to day scenarios often encountered by rural dog owners.

Is tethering a solution?

According to the RSPCA tethering isn’t illegal but it does have advisories.

dog proof fencing can be using a tether

Tethering does not offer freedom

“Tethering up dogs is only suitable for a very short periods of time, as dogs left for longer may become distressed or potentially cause injury to themselves”. Dogs love freedom and tethering them up isn’t the best way to give them that freedom.

Rather surprisingly we would agree with the RSPCA on this point! We have often been asked to install a dog fence for an escaping dog. On arrival the dog is tethered and usually they are all tied up against the tether post.

  • Does not allow freedom
  • Can be distressful for the dog
  • Must have access to shelter

Dog Fence containment systems – are really these dog proof?

Interestingly here at Dogfence Ltd one of our most common questions is “what is a dog fence”? At DogFence Ltd we supply and install electronic dog proof fencing to keep your pets secure within a boundary. This keeps them safe from roads and away from the threat of a farmer’s gun. The cable is installed underground around an agreed boundary.  White flags are then placed around the perimeter so that the dogs have a visual aid during the training. A radio signal is run through the cable from a transmitter and sent to a small collar worn the the pet. The receiver collar omits a warning beep followed by an impulse when the dogs approach the boundary. Dog Fences are far more dog proof than a traditional fence. cannot jump over signal

  • Cannot dig under the signal
  • Can be installed on any terrain
  • Covers driveways and open areas (river banks, lakes and ditches)

This form of dog proof fencing is positive because it gives the dog their freedom. A Dog Fence gives you as a pet owner the peace of mind that the dog is safe. It has also been proven to show that it strengthens the relationship between owners and their pets. Below are a few other deciding factors:-

Points to consider

An electronic dog fence is affordable for most people. Although electronic fencing can be expensive, it is often significantly less than the cost of materials and installation for traditional fencing.

Electric fences give homeowners some flexibility. Electric fences (stock fences) should not be confused with electronic dog fences. Of course electric fences are still physical fences and if touched by a human or child will give a significant jolt. They are also aesthetically unpleasing as they are designed for agricultural and not domestic users. Electronic fences don’t interfere with surrounding views. In addition, an electronic fence can be installed more quickly than many traditional fencing options and are safe to both wildlife and humans. These fences are often referred to as “invisible fences”.

An Invisible dog fence is proven to be effective. Many dog owners choose this fence because other alternatives have failed to keep their dog within the boundary. The dog either climbs over or digs under a traditional fence. In most cases, dogs quickly learn to stay within the boundary line to avoid the warning signal and correction. They work silently 24/7 covering all areas of the property, even driveways and open areas.

 

dog proof fencing with an electronic dog fence.

Electronic dog fence – a fraction of the cost of traditional fencing.

There are many types of fencing and when it comes to choosing dog proof fencing this will depend on your budget. If you choose to go down the traditional route this will be a large investment but it may also enhance your properties value. Electronic fencing is most certainly the cheapest option. This type of fencing can be moved from one property to another making it the most effective method of dog proof fencing.

To obtain an estimate or learn more call us on 01628 476475.  https://dogfence.co.uk/quote/