The Paw Print Blog

Pet Parenting Articles

Which Is Better, a Traditional or Electronic Fence?

When you buy a new house or add a dog to your already established home, you'll need to consider which type of fence is best for your family and your pet. This article will discuss the major benefits of the two major fencing options - traditional vs. electronic fencing.

What's the Difference between Traditional and Electronic Fences?

Traditional fencing consists of either metal or wood fencing that provides a barrier between your yard and the outside word. These fences provide containment by creating a physical barrier. In the case of wooden privacy fences, they also provide a visual barrier so your pet can't see what's happening on the other side of the fence. If you fancy a DIY project, you can install the fence yourself, or you can hire someone to install it for you.

In-ground fences keep your pet in your yard by placing a wire underground around the area you wish to fence. Wireless fences work the same way, but the barrier is created wirelessly. You teach your dog where the yard boundaries are in short training sessions in 2 weeks. Your dog wears a special collar that can sense when he's approaching the perimeter of the yard near the wire. The collar emits a sound to warn your pet that they are nearing the barrier. If your pet continues towards the barrier, a correction will occur. The degree of the correction can be adjusted or removed altogether depending on the dog. Most dogs learn the boundaries of the fence quickly during the training period, and some will no longer need the correction to stay within the boundaries of the yard.

Why Buy a Traditional Fence?

Traditional fences have some benefits over wireless fencing. One major benefit is that they keep some other animals and people out of the yard in addition to keeping your pets in the yard. This is beneficial if your neighbors allow their pets to roam off leash or if you have wildlife nearby that wanders into your yard. This can also be of benefit if you live near young children who might try to approach your dog, especially if your pet is apprehensive or aggressive.

Another benefit of some traditional fencing, specifically wooden privacy fences, is that dogs who are barrier aggressive can't see people or other dogs, so they may be less likely to bark. This also provides privacy for the people enjoying the backyard.

Dogs who are very prey-motivated or very timid might do better with traditional fencing. In some cases, dogs who are highly prey motivated might bolt through the wireless fence if they see something to chase, despite the correction, but then be reluctant to re-enter the yard. Timid or fearful dogs may have a hard time adjusting to the correction, especially if you don't complete the recommended training.

Benefits of Traditional Fencing

  • Keeps other animals (pets and wildlife) out
  • Keeps children from approaching your dog
  • Visual barrier to decrease barking
  • Visual barrier for privacy
  • Better for some dogs with intense prey drive or anxiety

Why Buy a Wireless or In-Ground Fence?

Electronic fences have a different set of benefits. One major benefit is cost. Wireless and in-ground fences are often significantly cheaper than traditional fences, to the tune of thousands of dollars in some cases. If you have a large yard, the lower cost may let you fence a larger portion of your property, which will give your pet more freedom.

Electronic fences are easy to install and can be installed in a short period of time, usually in a weekend. In-ground fences can also be installed in unique patterns to avoid certain areas of your yard. For example, if you have a garden or a water feature, the wire can be placed in front of the garden so your dog cannot enter this area.

Because these fences work without being seen, they are ideal for neighborhoods that prohibit traditional fencing in order to keep specific aesthetics.

Another benefit to electronic fences is that some dogs will escape from traditional fences by jumping over, climbing over, or digging under the fence. Dog who try to escape from traditional fences often do well with the wireless or in-ground option. If you already have a fence in place that is not containing your pet, such as if there are holes in the fence or if the fence is too low, you can add an electronic fence to the perimeter to help keep your pet confined.

Another major benefit to electronic fences is that they do not require as much maintenance. Wire or wooden fences undergo wear and tear from sun, rain, and snow. They need to be maintained or replaced periodically, which adds additional cost and time. With a wireless fence, you will only need to charge or replace the collar battery regularly. With an in-ground fence, you might also need to repair boundary wire occasionally.

Benefits of Wireless & In-Ground Fences

  • Lower cost
  • Easy to install
  • Easier to fence large areas
  • In-ground fence can be placed strategically to avoid parts of the yard
  • No obstruction of view
  • Prevent escape by jumping or digging
  • Low maintenance

Choosing the right fence is an important decision. Hopefully this article will help you choose the best option for you and your dog.

Leave a Comment
An unknown error occurred while submitting your comment.
Please wait a bit and try again.
Your comment has been successfully submitted and is awaiting moderation.
Check back soon!

Thanks for sharing this!  My home is not as protected as I want it to be, so I plan on building a fence some time soon.  I had no idea that wireless fences could save you so much money in monthly costs.  However, it would be nice to have a fence that my kids can see clearly.  I don’t want them to accidentally get hurt.

Thanks for sharing this!  My home is not as protected as I want it to be, so I plan on building a fence some time soon.  I had no idea that wireless fences could save you so much money in monthly costs.  However, it would be nice to have a fence that my kids can see clearly.  I don’t want them to accidentally get hurt.

Thanks for posting this! My dog has been barking a lot at people passing by my house, so I need to find a new fence that will separate him from pedestrians and cars. Personally, I like the idea of installing a traditional fence better. I already have a chain link fence, but since wooden fences will block his vision of what’s on the other side of my yard, it seems like that’s what I should have installed so that my dog won’t bark at anything passing by my house so much.

It seems there aren’t many people out there that have these electric fences and I cant find a whole ton of information out there that I’d like to have before making a decision. I am also wondering if many fencing contractors will be able to do fences like this in the first place as I haven’t heard of any around me. Maybe these are just getting popular or just aren’t around where I live.

Thanks for the post. We might be getting a dog and kid in the next year, so that’s two reasons to get a good fence around the yard. I think we’re going to go with a traditional fence; I like that they provide some privacy as well as protection. Do you have a recommendation on the material?

Thanks for listing the pros and cons of electric and traditional fencing. I’m a bigger fan of putting in a traditional fence myself. For me it is more because I like the privacy and being able to let my dog into the backyard is an added bonus. I did like how you mentioned that it also keeps other dogs/animals out. It is honestly not something I thought of before.

My wife and I just got a dog, and we are trying to prepare our backyard for him to run around in.  We love the idea of a low maintenance in-ground fence, however it seems more worth it to us to have a traditional fence in order to have a visual barrier for decreased barking.  Thanks for sharing this with us to help us make our decision!

Thanks for sharing thoughts on electric fences. It’s good to be able to weigh the pros and cons. My brother and his wife are considering an electric fence. I’ll have to share a copy of this post with them. Thanks for sharing!

I recently moved into my first home and I am trying to decide if I should get a fence. Tight now I don’t have any dogs but I am planning on adopting one soon. By then I will probably want a fence. It is good to know that a traditional metal fence can keep other animals out of the yard and keep mine from running away. I will have to keep that in mind.

Hi Zach,

We have other articles to help you decide which kind of fence is right for you.

For DIY fences, you can find them online or in stores that sell pet products like Petsmart, Petco, and Walmart. You can call our Customer Care Center if you need help deciding between different fences:

Your local Invisible Fence® brand experts can give you an estimate for installation cost if you don’t want to install an electronic fence yourself:

Hi Nick,

You should consider how long the fence will last, regular maintenance, and most importantly whether it will effectively prevent your dog from escaping. Make sure the fence is high enough and there are no places for your dog to dig under the fence. Some dogs find it easier to dig under a chain link fence, so make sure the fence is properly installed. Get a sturdy gate that will properly latch.

I do know of a helpful material cost calculator that might help you make your decision: I can.‘t guarantee its accuracy though.

Thanks for reading!

A traditional fence looks like a good way to go especially if it will decrease my dogs desire to bark at all the neighbors. Right now he thinks that he owns the whole neighbor hood and bark anytime someone even starts walking down our street. He has even started running up to people and barking! It is so embarrassing.  I’ll look into finding someone to come put a fence in for me.

Thank you so much for being so detailed on the benefits of having both types of fences. I have been trying to decide on what type of fence I should have installed around my yard to keep my dogs in. However, after reading this post, I really like the idea of having a traditional fence to separate my dog from the neighborhood children due to his aggression. Also, I like the idea that a fence is a physical boundary that even people will adhere to. Plus, it can have decorative railings on it to make it look more appealing.

Cool, post-Gretchen! I really learned a lot about the difference between a traditional and electronic fence. I really liked how you explained that"Electronic fences have a different set of benefits. One major benefit is cost. Wireless and in-ground fences are often significantly cheaper than traditional fences, to the tune of thousands of dollars in some cases. If you have a large yard, the lower cost may let you fence a larger portion of your property, which will give your pet more freedom.”. I have been hoping to replace my fence lately, so hopefully these tips can help me figure out which type will best fit my yard and lifestyle.

That is cool that there are so many different types of fences that you can get. I like that fencing can create a barrier between your yard and the outside world. I like the idea of getting a fence to give your dog room to roam the yard.

I like what this article mentions about visual privacy with standard fences. I have noticed that my dog is relatively calm until he sees someone. I think getting a fence that reduces his visibility he will bark less. I’ll have to keep this in ind when looking at different types of fences.

My wife and I just bought our daughters a pet dog.  We’re trying to find some fencing for our backyard now, and I really appreciated this post.  I can see how traditional fencing would be nice to have a visual barrier to decrease barking, which is probably a good enough reason along to get a traditional fence.  Thanks for sharing this.

Thank you for the help. My wife and I are hoping to have fence installed around our yard soon. I think a traditional fence would be best for us. The main purpose is to keep a couple pets in. But, we are hoping to have kids too and I would be nervous with having them outside with an electric fence. Thanks

Hi Justin,

I think you may be confusing “electric” and “electronic” fences. Our electronic fences are completely safe for children to be around.

In-ground fences activate your pets’ collars when they approach the buried boundary wire. Wireless fences do the same when your pet approaches the boundary, but there aren’t any wires.

You and your future kids can enter and exit the boundary area freely. Only pets who wear the collar will be reminded not to cross the boundary.

Thanks for reading! Give us a call at 1-866-738-4379 if you have any more questions about electronic fences.

We are moving into a new home and since I have two dogs I was considering getting a fence for my dogs so I wouldn’t have to worry about them. I don’t know if there are a lot of different animals in our neighborhood so I’ll have to check that out.  Thank you for the simple list of the pros and cons of dog fencing.

We are renovating our backyard, and a new fence to keep our pup safe is one of our top priorities. i really like that with a traditional fence you are keeping people and other animals out instead of just keeping your dog in. I never thought of it as being a visual barrier to decrease barking too. How high would you suggest making the fence? Thanks for the great information!

The in ground fencing seems like an amazing thing. It can keep the animals in, and still allow me to have the open feeling with my property. I have some larger animals, and they like to wander off. I think that underground fencing would be a great option. I am going to look into someone who can do it. Thanks for the information.

I would really like to get a fence that would keep my dogs safe. I have wondered if vinyl is too soft for a dog. I have also wondered if the vinyl would keep it steady.

Hi Siaosi,

Vinyl fences are basically plastic fences meant to look like wood.

You should talk to a local fence specialist. Home improvement stores like Home Depot and Lowe’s may be able to answer your questions and give you options for DIY and professional installation.

I already have a traditional fence, but my dog keeps digging underneath it and running off. I think we will try the wireless electric fence. I am just worried it will hurt him. Do you know if the shocks hurt really bad, or is it just enough that the pet will not try to venture from the property?

Hi Luke,

The static correction from the fence collar is safe, mild, and harmless. Static correction is a light tingling sensation that’s effective enough to get your pet’s attention but not harm him. Learn more about static correction.

You’ll train your dog with a few training sessions over the next 2 weeks. If you dog approaches the boundary, he’ll hear a warning beep to remind him to stay in the boundary. Once they learn the new fence boundaries, most dogs only experience the static correction as an occasional reminder.

To keep your dog from digging under your fence while still giving him full reign of the fenced-in yard, you might consider an in-ground fence instead. You can customize the boundary up to the fence line.

Give us a call at 1-866-738-4379 and we’d be happy to help you find the best option for your little escape artist.

I learned a lot about fencing by reading this article. I like how you explained that traditional fences can help to keep other animals and people out of your yard. I can imagine how helpful a good fence can be when it comes protecting your pet and your yard.

© PetSafe. All Rights Reserved. Content is provided as a public service. Links and views may lead to companies that may or may not be affiliated with PetSafe or other brands of Radio Systems Corporation.