Best 12 Alternatives to Invisible Dog Fences

Are there alternatives to invisible dog fences? More importantly, why would you want an alternative to invisible fencing? I know for me, I live on two unfenced acres. Yet, I don’t use a hidden fence system for my dog, Henry. The reason is that the costs are just too high for him. Yes, an invisible fence can be dangerous for your furry friend and you. The good news is that there are alternatives. So, today let’s dig in and discover great alternatives to invisible dog fences that are safe and affordable. 

A weiner dog runs in her yard which is secured with an alternative to invisible dog fences.
disclaimer note
Budget tip:

Trying to fence a large area or contain your dog to a certain coverage area can be pricey. But choosing the wrong containment system for your dog can be devastating - both for your dog and you. Thus, selecting a way to keep your dog safe in your yard, without causing pain or health issues with an electric dog fence, is priceless. While I use a vibrating collar, there are other affordable options such as DIY fencing, training, and even temporary fencing. In short, selecting the right containment unit that is safe for your dog is a huge WIN-WIN for your dog and your pocketbook!

Want a vibrating collar similar to Henry’s collar? Here’s where you can buy one!

What is an invisible dog fence anyhow?

There are two basic types of invisible fencing. One is a wired pet fence and the other is a wireless fence. Nonetheless, both of these types are electric fences. Moreover, they both work the same. Your dog wears a collar and when he gets within a certain distance, he’s shocked. This is a negative training to tell your dog if he goes close to the boundary you’ve set, he’ll feel pain in the form of a shock at the neck.

Simply put the goal of this type of fence is to keep your dog safely in your yard without investing in a physical fence. Therefore, an invisible electric fence is much cheaper than a physical or visible fence. Yet, there are other costs with this type of electronic dog fence.

Want to learn how to create the dog backyard of your dreams on a budget? In this article, I share some great ideas you can put into action. 

What are the drawbacks and hidden costs of invisible dog fences?

There are a few hidden costs of an invisible fence you’ll want to consider, especially when compared with a traditional fence or even an alternative fence. These aspects include:

1. Predators can enter your yard easily

This means that a predator such as a coyote, bear, or bobcat can easily cross into your yard and harm your dog. Yet, your dog won’t be able to escape further than the fence line.

Do you have a dog who loves to dig? In this article, I provide easy ways to fix this problem.

2. Shocking your dog

An invisible fence, as mentioned above, also includes a shock collar. It’s been proven that shock collars cause more damage than good for dogs. In fact, these collars can not only cause physical pain and health issues, including seizures, heart distress, and respiratory issues, but also result in shorter lifespans. Additionally, a shock collar can make your dog aggressive. Basically, being shocked is bad for your dog. 

3. Dog won’t cross the fencing line to return home 

You may be thinking that there’s no reason for your dog to cross the fence line. After all, you want to keep your dog in your yard. However, think of a predator chasing your dog or even a loud noise such as fireworks scaring your dog. While your dog may withstand the pain of being shocked and cross the line to escape your yard, there’s a very low probability that your dog will endure the shocking pain and cross back to go home. The end result is a lost pet.

Do you have a dog who jumps your current fence? In this article, I provide easy and affordable ways to solve this issue. 

What are affordable alternatives to invisible dog fences?

I realize that a wooden fence or any kind of physical fence may be pricey, especially if you have a large yard. However, the negative aspects of an invisible fence, mean it’s not a viable option. Thus, here are the best alternatives to invisible fencing:

1. Dog run 

Of course, you’ll want to make sure that the dog run area is secured and completely enclosed so that no predators can get to your dog. For instance, where I live there are coyotes and mountain lions that can jump 6’ fences. Plus, for small dogs, like Henry, there are HUGE barn owls, eagles, and hawks. All of these can enter a dog run from jumping or entering from the top. Thus, your dog run needs to be completely enclosed, including a roof. 

However, you will still not want to leave your dog unsupervised for any amount of time in a dog run. Safety comes with not only securing the dog run but also supervising. Even security cameras on your dog run can help. 

This is a great affordable dog run with a cover.

2. Temporary fencing

You may be surprised to learn that you can install temporary fencing, even in a small section to make your yard secure. Of course, the type of temporary fencing you select will depend on your location and your dog’s needs. Some temporary fencing ideas:

3. Dog playpen 

This is great because not only is it affordable it can also be considered a portable dog fence, especially for a small dog.

This is a great dog playpen and you can configure it as you like. Plus, you can even purchase a cover for this playpen here to keep your pup more secure.

4. Outdoor kennels

These can be very affordable compared to a traditional fence. Yet they will keep your dog safe and often are considered a portable fence. Thus, you can take it with you if you should move.

This is a nice large outdoor kennel with a cover. And it’s definitely cheaper than building an entire fence.

5. DIY dog fence

This can be surprisingly easy. Moreover, a DIY dog fence can be much safer than electronic fences. Want to learn how to build your own affordable physical pet fence? Check out this great tutorial by Officially Fran. 

6. Rent a yard

Surprisingly you can actually rent a safe traditional fence rather affordably. This is great if you will only be at one location for a short period of time.

7. Trolley line

Of course, like with all these alternative invisible fence options, you’ll want to watch your dog. In other words, never leave your dog unattended with any fence option. 

However, if you’d like to make your own DIY trolley line, then this tutorial by the Fresno Humane Society is great! It includes videos and written instructions.

8. Friend’s yard

Dog friends are great and dog playmates are even better. So, you can ask to have a playdate with one of your dog friends who has a safe and secure yard.

9. Dog walker

If you want your dog to get more exercise and you don’t have the time, then a dog walker can be a safe option. 

Want to learn how to find a great dog walker? This article includes everything you need to know. 

10. Doggie daycare

Henry absolutely LOVES doggie daycare! He plays, socializes, and comes home completely exhausted for a very affordable price. It’s a super option!

Not sure how to find a great doggie daycare? In this article, I walk you through the process.

11. Boundary training

Simple dog training and learning about boundaries can be very effective. I did this with Henry. To learn more boundary training check out this article. 

Also, if you want to learn how to teach your dog basic obedience training on your schedule and for here, then you’ll LOVE this article. 

12. Vibrate collar

I actually use a vibrating collar with Henry on my property. It works well for keeping him safe without hurting him. However, I’m always right beside him. Basically, I use his vibrate collar if he gets the notion to chase a bunny across the street or onto a neighbor’s property.

Here’s a great vibrate collar very similar to the one I’ve used with Henry for years.

Do you know how to find the hidden hazards lurking in your yard? In this article, I share what to look for to protect your dog. 

Henry is secure on his property with a vibrate collar alternative to invisible dog fences

What about a Halo GPS fencing system?

The Halo GPS fencing system is rated to be safe without shocking your dog. In fact, instead of shocking this fencing system with the halo collar will nudge your dog. The Halo system is a series of escalating warnings when your dog approaches the boundary line starting with a whistle, then a vibrate, and finally a pulse. 

Moreover, the pulse is said to be equivalent to a tap on the shoulder. 

However, the problem with a Halo GPS fencing system is that it won’t keep predators out of your yard or encourage your dog to enter back into your yard if chased outside the boundaries.

Want to learn about free and easy ways to extend your dog’s lifespan? In this article, I share exactly what my vet told me.

What about SpotOn GPS fencing system?

This type of fencing system uses a shock collar. Thus, I would highly recommend avoiding it for all the reasons described above under “What are the drawbacks and hidden costs of an invisible dog fence? – Shocking your dog”.

Discover how to create shade in your yard affordably in this article!

What are the cost benefits of using alternatives to invisible dog fences?

The benefits include not hurting or instilling fear in your dog. Additionally, you won’t have a missing dog, if your pup is chased from your yard. However, for a better idea of the cost savings of using an alternative to invisible fencing, consider the following for a moment:

IssueCost
Purchase of invisible dog fencing$150 – 600
Burn injuries$200 – 800+
Seizures$200 – 500/ year
Respiratory issues$50 – 150+
Heart distress$1,000 – 3,000+
More behavior issues, including aggression$30 -100+/hr
Lack of trustBEYOND WORDS!!!
Missing dogHEARTBREAKING!!!!
Victim to a predator HEART-SHATTERING!!!!

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Summary of best safe alternatives to invisible dog fences

I know when I first adopted Henry, I was worried about how to keep him safe and contained on my property. While we were doing boundary training, I needed to make sure he was always safe. Sure I never let him outside without being right with him. Yet, I was still worried. That’s when I discovered a vibrating collar. Of course, I checked it on me before letting him wear it. Honestly, it didn’t hurt. It was equivalent to your phone being in your pocket on vibrate. 

Personally, the negatives of invisible dog fences are simply too high for me. I won’t shock Henry. Nor do I want a predator possibly chasing him off the property. Or Henry being too scared to try to cross the property line to escape or come back home. Although I never leave him unattended, something could happen while we are outside like I fall or get distracted. Things can happen in a blink of an eye leaving only heartache and regret. Thus, using alternatives to invisible dog fences is the best option for Henry and me. 

Thankfully, a vibrating collar works well for Henry. However, you may need another option such as a temporary fence, an enclosed dog run, or even a secure playpen. Basically, whatever containment system you choose, it just needs to be safe and keep your dog within your yard. 

A beautiful husky plays in her yard that is secured by an option to invisible dog fences

Did you know about the alternatives to invisible dog fences or the importance of them? Would you use one of these alternative now for your furry friends?

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About Terri Rodefer

Terri Rodefer is the founder of Tail Wag Wisdom, a blog focused on affordable pet care. She likes to say helping pet parents afford and love their animals even more, makes her tail wag. As a lifelong lover of all animals with a background in economics, biology, and marketing, allows Terri to bring a unique spin to pet care. 

11 thoughts on “Best 12 Alternatives to Invisible Dog Fences”

  1. When I was growing up my father got a Norwegian Elkhound. We lived on a large property in the woods. Most fencing options wouldn’t have been practical or possible. The dog was insanely stubborn and a runner. She only listened to dad. After bailing her out of the pound a few times he built her a nice big run. After solving her penchant for digging her way out it was a great solution.

    Reply
    • A dog run is perfect! There are tricks to keep them from digging as well. I swear fur kids do challenge us to keep one step ahead to keep them save. I’m glad your dad figured out what your doggo needed. Thanks for sharing your experiences!

      Reply
  2. Doggy daycare was used by a neighbour to make sure their dogs got exercise and enrichment, I think it’s a great idea and worth the investment for your dog. Or I would use a run (just don’t let your dog bark and bark and annoy people) a run should not mean not taking your dog for a walk though, so many people here do that.

    I have not priced invisible fences but I can imagine they are expensive so your advice is priceless!

    Reply
    • Yes, I completely agree with you, Marjorie! A barking dog is annoying. But that barking dog is stressed too and the owner is responsible for calming their pup. It can be done. I’ve done it. It’s not difficult. I hope folks down there get more respectful with their dogs.

      Reply
  3. Fantastic post and although I do not have a yard your ideas and information are really great as it helps those with yards keep their pets safe from everything plus getting lost. Henry is one lucky dog to have a Mom like you

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  4. Anything that shocks a dog, no matter the claims a dog can hardly feel it is never an option for me…and shouldn’t be for anyone. Thanks for presenting so many harm free alternatives for keeping a dog safe and still having some freedom.

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  5. Great alternatives to invisible fencing. I’d never use any kind of shocking mechanism for my pets! It’s a horrible option. We once constructed a temporary DIY wire fence for Icy & it worked great!

    Reply
    • I love hearing that you built a successful temporary fence for Icy. Proof that it works! I agree on shock collars. They are horrible and I wish they were banned.

      Reply
  6. I feel like I’m an expert now on temporary dog fencing! LOL You have lots of great suggestions and I agree with avoiding shock collars at all costs!!

    Reply
    • Thanks, Tiffany! I’m glad to hear that this was a useful article to you. And I agree on shock collars. I wish they were banned.

      Reply

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