Does An Electric Dog Fence Really Work?

dog sitting in back yard with invisible fence

An electric dog fence, also known as an underground or invisible fence, is a system designed to contain pets within a predefined area without needing a physical barrier. Instead of traditional fencing materials like wood or metal, invisible fences use a combination of underground wires and a receiver collar worn by the dog. But these fences are not infallible, and it is important to consider the legal and ethical implications of installing these types of barriers. 

How Does An Invisible Fence Work?

The invisible fence system consists of three main components: the boundary wire, a transmitter, and a receiver collar.

  • A perimeter wire is buried underground along the desired boundaries of your yard. This wire emits a low-level radio signal that defines the containment area.
  • Usually installed indoors, the transmitter sends a radio signal through the boundary wire, creating an invisible barrier around your yard.
  • Your dog wears a specialized collar with metal contact points that deliver a mild electric stimulation or vibration when approaching the boundary zone. This serves as a deterrent to prevent the dog from crossing the invisible barrier.

Why Do People Install an Invisible Dog Fence? 

Many dog owners opt for invisible dog fences for various reasons, each influenced by their unique circumstances and preferences. Some common motivations for installing an invisible fence include:

Aesthetic Considerations

An invisible fence offers a solution for dog owners who want to maintain the visual appeal of their property without obstructing views or altering the landscape with traditional fencing materials.


Unlike physical fences, invisible fences can be customized to accommodate irregularly shaped yards or specific containment areas, providing flexibility in defining boundaries.


Invisible fences are often more affordable than traditional fencing options, making them an attractive choice for budget-conscious pet owners.

Preserve Relationships

In neighborhoods with strict HOA regulations or shared property lines, invisible fences can be a compromise that allows dog owners to contain their pets without encroaching on neighbor’s property or facing disputes over fence placement.


Invisible fences can offer a level of safety by keeping dogs within the confines of the property and preventing them from wandering into potentially dangerous situations, such as busy roads or neighboring properties with aggressive animals.

Freedom for Pets

Invisible fences allow dogs to roam and explore within a defined area while ensuring their safety and containment.

Avoiding Digging or Climbing

Some dogs might be prone to digging under or climbing over traditional fences. Invisible fences eliminate these escape routes, providing a secure containment solution.

Preserve Landscaping

Traditional fences can pose challenges for landscaping and gardening efforts. Invisible fences allow dog owners to maintain their outdoor spaces without the interference of physical barriers.

Who Installs An Underground Dog Fence? 

The homeowners can install an underground dog fence themselves, but many opt to hire professional installers for a seamless and efficient setup. These professionals are often affiliated with companies specializing in pet containment systems or offer installation services independently.

Who Is Liable if the Electric Dog Fence Is Faulty?

Liability depends on various factors, including the terms of any contract or agreement between the homeowner and the installer, local regulations, manufacturer warranty, and the specific circumstances of the situation. Homeowners should communicate clearly with installers, review contracts thoroughly, and understand their rights and recourse in the event of a malfunction or defect in the fence. If there are liability concerns, consulting with legal professionals familiar with local laws and regulations can provide further guidance.

Legal Implications of An Electric Dog Fence

In Colorado, as in many other places, dog owners have a legal responsibility to ensure their pets are properly contained and don’t pose a risk to others. The use of an invisible fence to contain a dog carries specific legal and ethical implications for the owner.

Just because you have installed an electric fence does not mean your pet is adequately confined. Underground fences come with special considerations that you will want to research before you install one. Keep the following in mind:

An Electric Fence For dogs Requires Extensive Training

You cannot just put in an underground fence and expect it to keep your dog confined immediately. Your pet will need consistent training to understand what is going on and where the boundaries of the yard are. 

Electric Fences For Dogs Do Not Always Work

If there is a power outage, a circuit issue, or a lightning strike, your electric dog fence may stop working. If it is early in the training stages for your dog, it may attempt to cross the border and successfully escape.

An Electric Dog Fence Does Not Keep Out Other Animals

Electric fences for dogs do not keep out other potentially dangerous animals from your yard. They also do not obscure animals from the dog’s view. If it sees an animal it wants to chase badly enough, it may bolt across the boundary line regardless of potential discomfort. 

Electric Fences Can Cause Concerning Behaviors

Teaching a dog to avoid certain areas requires something called “aversion” training. This type of training can lead to anxiety in some dogs, and territorial aggression in others. 

What Happens If A Dog Escapes An Electric Fence?

If a dog repeatedly escapes from an invisible fence, several consequences can arise, such as:

  • Legal penalties (increased fines and penalties)
  • Mandated containment measures (installing a physical fence, removing the dog, or tying the dog to a fixed post)
  • Legal action if the dog causes injury or property damage

What To Do If An Escaped Dog Bites You?

Colorado has strict liability laws for dog bites. This means that if a dog bites someone, the owner can be held liable regardless of whether or not they knew their dog was dangerous or had previously bitten someone. Containing a dog with an invisible fence does not absolve a homeowner of this liability if the dog escapes and injures someone. 

Get To Safety

If a dog does manage to escape an electric fence and bites you, your first concern should be getting away from the aggressive animal and to safety. 

  • Do not run, as this can provoke the chase instinct. 
  • Remain as calm as possible and slowly back away.
  • If you have anything in your pockets, you can throw it as far as you can to try and get the dog to focus its attention elsewhere. 
  • If the dog remains aggressive, look for a parked vehicle or other tall surface that you can climb. 

Get Medical Care

Once you are out of harm’s way, you will want to see a medical professional who will assess the severity of the bite, clean it thoroughly, and provide any necessary care such as stitches, antibiotics, or vaccines. Make sure to document pictures of your bite and keep records of all medical treatments and expenses.

File A Police Report

It is a good idea to file a police report and/or report the incident to animal control. Having a documented report could help strengthen your case should you decide to pursue legal action.

Call An Attorney

Once you’ve left the hospital, the next important step is to contact a personal lawyer.  The Roth Group is a top Denver personal injury attorney that can help you seek compensation for your injuries and emotional suffering. We will help you understand your legal rights and options filling a claim or lawsuit. 

Remember that Colorado is a one-bite state, meaning dog owners are strictly liable for injuries caused by their pets even if the dog doesn’t have a dangerous record. With the right lawyer by your side, you can get the compensation you deserve.

Seek Compensation After a Dog Bite

Being bitten by a dog can be a traumatic experience, both physically and emotionally. Seeking compensation after such an incident is not only about covering medical expenses but also about holding the responsible parties accountable and ensuring that similar incidents are prevented in the future. Call 303-662-8082 or go online today to schedule your free evaluation