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  • April Schrader, CPDT-KA

The Price Dogs Pay for Electric Fences: Fear, Anxiety & Aggression

Updated: Jun 22, 2023

Electric fences have gained popularity as a cost-effective option for containing dogs. While they may seem convenient, it is crucial to understand the potential behavioral risks they pose to our beloved canine companions. In this blog, we will explore the behavioral implications of electric fences and why they may not be worth the risk for your dog's well-being.


Let's delve into these behavioral challenges and explore why the price dogs pay for electric fences is simply too high.

Close-up photo of a dog's neck showing injury caused by an electric fence collar

Behavioral Risks!


Fear: The electric shock, beep, or vibration delivered by the fence can cause fear in dogs. Even the auditory and sensory cues alone can have a profound impact on their emotional well-being and overall quality of life. Dogs may become apprehensive and associate the warning cues with aversive experiences.


Anxiety: Dogs are sensitive creatures, and the presence of an electric fence can trigger significant anxiety. The anticipation of a shock, even if it rarely occurs, can keep your dog in a state of constant vigilance and distress. This chronic anxiety can manifest in various ways, such as restlessness, pacing, excessive panting, or withdrawal.


Aggression: The emotional toll of an electric fence can push some dogs to exhibit aggressive behaviors. The fear and anxiety they experience can cause them to become defensive, leading to reactive responses towards other animals, people, or even their own family members. This aggression is a direct result of the psychological stress caused by the electric fence.


Barrier Frustration: Dogs confined within an electric fence may experience frustration and increased arousal when they are unable to access people, animals, or objects located outside the boundary. This frustration can lead to undesirable behaviors such as excessive barking, digging, or attempts to escape.


Aversion to the Environment: The presence of an electric fence can create an aversive association with the surrounding environment. Dogs may start perceiving their own yard as a stressful and unpleasant place, which can result in avoidance behaviors and reduced overall well-being.


Cost-Effectiveness vs. Behavioral Health:


While electric fences may offer cost savings initially, it is essential to consider the long-term implications for your dog's behavior and happiness. Ask yourself the following questions:

  1. Is the potential risk of anxiety, fear, and barrier frustration worth the cost savings?

  2. Are there alternative solutions that prioritize your dog's well-being, such as traditional fences, or supervised outdoor time on a long 30ft leash?

Choosing Your Dog's Well-Being:


When making decisions about your dog's safety and containment, it is crucial to prioritize their behavioral health. Consider the following factors:

  1. Emotional Well-being: Will the use of an electric fence, including the warning cues, compromise your dog's emotional well-being and overall happiness?

  2. Alternative Solutions: Explore safer and more humane alternatives that allow your dog to thrive without the risks associated with electric fences.

In conclusion, the potential behavioral risks and negative impact on your dog's well-being outweigh any cost savings or convenience offered by electric fences. Saying no to electric fences is a decision that prioritizes your dog's emotional health and happiness.

Instead, consider alternative solutions such as traditional fencing, positive reinforcement training, and supervised outdoor activities. These options provide a safer and more humane approach to containing and training your dog.


If you need guidance or assistance in training your dog and creating a secure environment, don't hesitate to reach out to us at Best Buddy Dog Trainer. Our experienced certified professional dog trainer are dedicated to helping you build a strong bond with your canine companion. Call/text us at 301-231-1907 or email Jeff@bestbuddydogtrainer.com to speak with a trainer and take the first step towards a happier and healthier relationship with your furry friend


Remember, a happy and well-adjusted dog is a result of responsible pet ownership and compassionate choices. Let's create a safe and loving space for our four-legged friends without subjecting them to unnecessary fear, anxiety, and aggression.

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