Any tips from MPU on geofence / invisible fence for dogs?

Hi all,

We are getting ready to move to a house in the neighborhood without a fence and I’m trying to figure out what the best solution is for our 8 month old Staffordshire (“Magnolia”). I could put up a fence but I’d prefer not to given the layout of our house, so I’m looking around for some kind of tech solution. I know @MacSparky mentioned that he likes the Fi Collar, but it doesn’t look like it is setup for creating an invisible fence? Then there is this from Cesar Millan which costs a small fortune plus a subscription, so while it looks rad I’d like to find alternatives. As I am researching, I’m finding a lot of stuff but it is really hard (for me) to tell if any of them are good quality so I’m looking for some recommendations if you have it.

Are any of you using something like this that you are happy with? Even better if it has an iPhone app. Thanks!

Thanks. Yes, I’m reading up on that side of things as well. Just found a couple helpful articles from this website:

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I’m sure they don’t work 100% but I can attest that they do work. When running through my neighborhood nearly every other home has a dog and invisible fence. Some of these dogs are big and aggressive! They come running toward me and make an abrupt stop, for which I’m grateful! :slight_smile:

As to electric fences being cruel, I’m not so sure. I am a life long dog lover and my best “friend” is my dog. He never leaves my side.

Perhaps living on a farm and around animals for eight years after my father retired from the military made me insensitive but we used electrified fencing all over the farm. This was kinder than the animals getting out and lost or hit by a truck, or caught in and cut by barb wire fencing.

Likewise, keeping a dog in the yard with a small electrical charge (which seldom happens once the dog learns to stop short of the “shock zone”) from darting in front of traffic or being hit hard in the nose by me, :slight_smile: is an act of kindness and care for the dog and others. It also allows the dog to be outside and not trapped in the house all of the time as many neighborhoods do not allow the type of fencing that will keep dogs in the yard.

I love animals (well, most of them, cats? :slight_smile: ) and especially dogs. I would never be cruel to them, in part because as God’s vice regents on earth we are charged to care for and steward all creation. I don’t believe electric fences are cruel. If I did I would never use one.

I will add that I’ve used invisible fencing for many years and have never observed the issues outlined in the article @cwdaniels referenced. That is not to say they don’t happen, I’m sure they do. But. I have not seen any of those issues with my Labs, German Shepherd, Siberian Husky, Golden Retriever, or Yorkie-Poo.


Upon reflection I realize that I gave a rather long response to @quorm. I want to be clear that my response was not a criticism nor were my comments directed at him personally. I would never do that.

I was attempting to give my perspective on the issue of invisible fences for dogs. But, after reviewing my rather lengthy response, I realize that it could have come across in a way I never intended. If I gave the impression to anyone that I was in anyway criticizing @quorm I apologize to him and to the forum.

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No real info on how invisible fences work but as a farmer that uses electric fences all over I can attest that a good hot electric fence works on dogs, sheep (except horned rams), cattle, pigs and chickens very well.

My concern on invisible fences is that if the dog is moving fast enough to get through the pain zone then they are totally gone. I would expect a lot depends on the breed. I seriously doubt if any invisible fence will stop a sight hound from chasing. A breed that was bred as a boundary breed, like German shepherds who are still used to set up “fences” around pastures to keep the sheep inside may acecpt them as well as they do being walked around the new pasture they are to guard. I would actually look at some sort of one or 2 wire regular livestock electric fence that uses an intermittant current and is both a visual and phystical barrier. You can run electric nets in all sorts of odd patterns so the layout of the place is somehwat irrelevant. You can get them in colors other than white and yellow to blend in more but I prefer the white nets as I want them very visible.


Thank you! I appreciate your perspective. I am glad to hear from a variety of perspectives.

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We have the Invisible Fence Brand fence. It has been install at our home for over 20 years through 3 sets of dogs. We currently have two miniature poodles. We live on a very busy, fast moving road with a decent sized area for the dogs to roam. I can attest that the fence does work. I would recommend buying the training from the company. They are experienced in training your dogs. They will leave you with homework to do with your dog between lessons. The dogs are trained with a very mild shock, flags, and the sound that the collar makes. We haven’t experienced any of the issues from the article with our dogs. I think it comes down to proper training. After the dogs are trained, they don’t really even need the collars any more and don’t receive any shocks on going either. They very quickly get trained to the sound that the collar makes as opposed to the actual shock.


Thank you! I appreciate you sharing your experience with this. I can see how training would be a key part of making this work well for everyone, pups included.

We had a DogWatch invisible fence in a previous house. After the training period it worked very well. My standard poodle wouldn’t go past the edge of the yard even when he didn’t have the collar on.

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We have a inground fence with collars for our 3 dogs. They got shocked a couple times and now just stay away from the perimeter. Works beautifully. It beeps when the dog gets close to the perimeter so they just learn the beeping and turn around if they do end up getting close to the perimeter of our yard.

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It might be a cultural thing so please do not be offended when I am saying this - just to provide you with a different perspective: invisible electric fences are forbidden by animal protection law here in Germany. Visible electric fences are allowed for professional use (used by farmers for cattle, sheep and so on) or for domestic use under certain conditions in certain areas.

I would second @OogieM’s thoughts, the post is well written and very considerate.

Again, given that there are cultural differences, I do not want to sound negative. I would like to propose considering a real fence. A physical one. There are nice ones that look decent (and can become expensive). I have solved the issue by combining a hedge with a barely visible hog wire fence (nice ideas for hog wire fences: I am aware of the fact that a hedge needs the right climate to grow and it takes time. Just to share my non-geek thoughts on this matter!

No offense and have fun with your four-legged family member! :slight_smile:


The culture on these seems to be changing in North America too. The breeder for our current golden retriever bans the use of shock collars (including invisible fences). Her contracts include a clause retaining the right to confiscate a dog if one is used. All of the breeders that we contacted (both in the US and Canada) included this in their contracts. The trainers that we use are also uniformly negative on the technology.

We used an invisible fence around part of our property for our last dogs (also both golden retrievers). It’s half a dozen heavily forested and steep acres and a visible fence that was secure enough to keep them in wasn’t really an option. But I was never comfortable with the technology. I was especially annoyed when I discovered that it had been installed with the warning tone distance the same as the shock distance. “That’s the way we do it with large dogs to keep them from running through it.” Grr… That’s part of the reason that I don’t think that I’d do it again. Even the installers didn’t totally trust it to work as advertised.

On the other hand we never saw any of the behavior issues that I’ve seen mentioned elsewhere and the dogs did love having a larger area to roam.

If you go this route I’d have doubts about ever letting them out without the collar. I regularly saw one of our goldens carefully edging up to the fence and sticking his neck out to see if it was active. He seemed very clear on what was enforcing the boundary.


While I appreciate your sensitivity, there is no need to qualify. :slight_smile: I think people are too prone to be offended when someone offers a different opinion. There is a proverb in the Bible that says, “Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another.” (Pr 27:17) When we share differing perspectives and even push back, respectfully, we sharpen each other. A little intellectual friction when done in a proper spirit makes us better. For that matter, even if shared poorly, different perspectives helps us consider and grow.

So, please never feel compelled to qualify in sharing one’s perspective–it is good for us–like eating vegetables. :slight_smile:


That is a PERFECT installation for an electric netting fece. Both a physical and shock barrier. Here’s a picture of some of our fences we use for the sheep to manage grazing also showing one of the guard dogs. Other than one guard dog the rest respect the fences just as well as the sheep do. We wanted to keep the sheep off the porch while we used them as lawnmowers.


Put the coffee on, I think I’ll come visit. It looks beautiful! :slight_smile:


Yeah … in southern Cal suburbs fences are EVERYWHERE so that problem was solved for me. It is funny that most folks think the FI is a shock collar because of its size. I just think it’s hilarious when I spend the whole day with my dog and I walk 15,000 steps and she walks 60,000.


Hmm… Maybe? This is PNW old growth heavily forested with head high blowdowns, steep ravines, bluffs, sinkholes, seasonal streams, and wetlands. We have trouble walking it and so did the installers. This looks like it would be a good way to expand our dog’s yard on a more limited basis though. Thanks.

Tell me when and I’ll have a pot ready

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We have an invisible fence brand invisible fence. Our Golden Doodle learned it really fast. She knows where it is and she stays away from it. The collar makes a noise when they get near so they know if they aren’t paying attention. When we are leaving for a walk, we say “collar off”, and she knows that she’s safe to walk through with us. We’ve never had a problem with it.

HOWEVER: one thing we didn’t think about was amazon deliveries to our front door. It’s been a while now, but the dog has torn up some packages.

A visible electric fence and an invisible shocking system are not equivalent. It’s difference I’d consider. No other comments on pro or con.