Dog laying outside contained in an invisible dog fence

An invisible dog fence isn’t right for every dog, but they can work under certain circumstances. They do require training. Initially, you must mark the boundaries so that dogs have a visual cue as to where they’re supposed to stop. When they approach the boundary, they should first hear a warning beep. If they continue towards the boundary, the beep is ideally followed by a painless vibration and then a mild electric shock. 

Our board of advisors reviewed a variety of invisible dog fences to select the products on our list. They chose the SportDOG Brand Rechargeable In-Ground Fence Systems as the best invisible dog fence for its durability and versatility. You can upgrade the system with additional wires or by adding extra collars. Read how they chose the top 5.

Our Vet's Top Pick
SportDOG Brand Rechargeable In-Ground Fence Systems
When you want the best invisible dog fence available, look no further than the SportDOG Brand Rechargeable In-Ground Fence Systems.

Of course, there will be times when you need an option for your pup that’s more contained, like a crate. And when you plan on walking your dog to get him used to the leash, consider a good escape-proof harness, too. For a good round-up of all the basics on fences, check out our vet-recommended Best Dog Fences.

 Our Vet’s Top 5 Invisible Dog Fences

Here are the top picks from our veterinarian. Compare the ratings and features of different models.

Editor's PicksBrandRatingTypeSize/RangeGPS?
Best OverallSportDOG Brand Rechargeable In-Ground Fence Systems4.4In-ground100 acre[No]
Best BudgetPetSafe Basic In-Ground Pet Fence4.2In-ground1/3 acre[no]
Best WirelessPetSafe Stay and Play Wireless Pet Fence for Stubborn Dogs from the Parent Company of Invisible Fence Brand4.4Wireless3/4 acre[no]
Best PortableWIEZ GPS Wireless Dog Fence, Electric Dog Fence with GPS4.0Wireless, GPS776 acres[yes]
Best ElectricExtreme Dog Fence Max Grade Electric Dog Fence4.4In-ground500 ft - 2000 ft[no]

*Ratings are on a scale of 1 to 5 and based on reviews, feedback, and opinions of actual customers

Types of Dog Fences: An Overview

One common area of confusion for pet owners is the difference between electric dog fences, wireless dog fences, in-ground dog fences, GPS dog fences, and invisible dog fences. Some people will use these terms slightly differently, but here’s a brief overview of the different types of dog fences:

Electric Dog Fence

Electric dog fences is a broad term that is often used to describe any dog fence that uses electricity. It will allow you to create a boundary that your dog will be unable to cross without facing correction. They typically have some kind of static shock once the boundary is crossed, but when approaching it they’ll hear a beep or feel a vibration as a warning. It won’t take long at all for your dog to understand just what the collar’s sound and vibration mean.

Invisible Dog Fences

Invisible dog fences are, simply put, fences you can’t see. By its design, it’s also an electric invisible dog fence and includes several subcategories, just like the electric fence. Also, like the electric dog fences, they often have a multi-leveled correction system that doesn’t go directly to shocking. Even within the shocking, there are typically levels of intensity so you can customize it to your Maltese or your Newfoundland.

In-ground Dog Fence

Much as the name suggests, in-ground dog fences are those that are intended to be placed in a ditch and buried. Ideally, the depth will be between 3″ – 20″ but the truth is that several in-ground dog fence options can actually be lain on the ground and still function. Bear in mind they’ll be less durable and the chances of something interfering with them (your dog especially) are pretty high.

Wireless Dog Fence

A wireless dog fence, or wireless invisible dog fence, is actually not a fence at all but rather a signal that emits from the base of the system. The other half of the system is the coordinating collar that receives a signal. As long as your dog stays within the range of the base, the collar won’t be triggered to set off any deterrent. If you’re looking for a portable invisible dog fence, this is probably going to be the best bet. It also serves well as an indoor invisible dog fence.

GPS Dog Fences

If you have a large plot of land, or frequent several places with your dog, an invisible dog fence GPS may be just the thing to make sure he’s secure and within his boundaries. It will use a GPS signal to assign the appropriate perimeters. Because it uses GPS, you can assign several plots of barriers, and you’ll notice far more control for you, meaning more freedom for your pup. Mind the monthly fees, though, as these often come with monitoring requirements.

Who Should Buy an Invisible Dog Fence

  • Those with a strict HOA. Some Homeowner’s Associations won’t care about fences, but more and more, they issue criteria you must meet in order to install a fence. Luckily, an invisible fence will nearly always fly under the radar. It’s not called “invisible” for nothing, after all!
  • Pet parents who think traditional fences are eye-sores. If you don’t want to hinder your property’s curb appeal by adding a fence you think is unappealing, the invisible fence is perfect to make sure your dog is safe without the distasteful design of a fence.
  • Owners of runners. When your dog bolts the second he sees freedom, you should probably consider a perimeter kind of barrier to keep him safe. An invisible fence is an excellent tool for teaching your pup a little moderation and restraint.

Who Should Not Buy an Invisible Dog Fence

  • When you don’t have the space for it. If you don’t ever have the opportunity (or desire) to let your dog run freely, then why buy a fence for him? Apartment dwellers or those living in areas not conducive to giving your dog the freedom of “off the leash” won’t have to worry about purchasing a fence.
  • Those with an above-ground fence. It may seem pretty obvious, but you won’t need to add an additional fence if you already have one. If, however, your fence is in your backyard and you want your dog to enjoy some front yard freedom, that invisible fence may still come in handy.

Research Tips from a Veterinarian

Always spend some time researching the features and reliability of each fencing system. Speaking to someone who has used the system you are considering can be invaluable. You may also want to ask your veterinarian or other pet care professional for recommendations.

  1. Adjustable correction levels. The best collars have adjustable correction levels. Always use the lowest level that works for your dog. Shocks, especially strong ones, can make dogs anxious and fearful. If your dog becomes anxious or fearful, immediately stop using the shock collar and invisible fence.
  2. Placement matters. The prongs on the collar can cause skin damage. Only put the collar on your dog when they are outdoors. The collar should not remain in place overnight or when it is not needed. And while discussing placement, also consider the placement of the fence Invisible dog fence installation must be as accurate and thorough as possible, otherwise
  3. They don’t fix everything. Some dogs learn how to outsmart these types of fencing systems or simply put up with the correction if the reward is appealing enough to them. Also, remember that invisible fences do nothing to keep other dogs, cats, wildlife, or people from entering your dog’s space.
  4. Shock deterrents. Whether you choose to use a static shock with your invisible dog fence training is entirely up to your discretion. Some owners aren’t comfortable with the shock –  The shock itself may not be as intense as you imagine and shouldn’t do any damage to your pup, but it will cause a static sensation for him.[efn_note]Buzhardt L, DVM. VCA Animal Hospitals. The Pros and Cons of Invisible Fences for Dogs. Accessed 23 Sep 2022. [/efn_note]

How Much Do They Cost?

[pricetag]Between $200 and $500[/pricetag]

If you’re in the initial phase of purchasing a fence, you’re probably asking yourself, “how much are invisible dog fences?” Of course, the invisible dog fence cost varies, but you can generally expect a range of between $200-$500.

Our Methodology: Why Trust Every Dog’s Dream

Every Dog’s Dream has a team of specialists and licensed veterinarians who make our “best of” selections. Don’t just take our specialists’ word for it, though. Talk to friends and family with invisible fences to learn what types have worked well for them. Your veterinarian or dog trainer can also point to any features that might be ideal based on your dog’s specific needs. Closely read product descriptions to avoid unpleasant surprises. Looking at customer reviews posted on trusted sources (like this one) can give you an idea of how satisfied pet parents are with their purchase.  

The Best Invisible Dog Fences: Full Reviews

Our Vet's Top Pick
SportDOG Brand Rechargeable In-Ground Fence Systems
When you want the best invisible dog fence available, look no further than the SportDOG Brand Rechargeable In-Ground Fence Systems.

The SportDOG Brand Rechargeable In-Ground Fence Systems has the best combination of features and value of invisible fences. The wired, in-ground fence allows for custom-shaped enclosures, and the long battery life for the rechargeable collar makes this a convenient option for whatever your situation.

This system is intended for dogs over ten pounds and will cover up to one and a third acre. The collar gives a beep and vibration warning before moving to one of seven shock levels (you pick a level appropriate to your dog).

[pros title=”Pros”]

  • Waterproof and submersible to 25 ft
  • Expandable to 100 acres
  • Tone, vibration, or static shock correction

[/pros][cons]

  • Occasional connectivity issues
  • Cannot mount base within three feet to anything metal

[/cons]

Best Budget
PetSafe Basic In-Ground Pet Fence
The PetSafe Basic In-Ground Pet Fence is an excellent option for those who value quality and value.

Like our top pick, the PetSafe Basic In-Ground Pet Fence utilizes a wired, in-ground fence so you can create custom-shaped enclosures. The system has an eight-pound weight minimum and the collar has a tone-only mode as well as four correction levels.

The system covers up to a third of an acre but can be expanded to 5 acres with additional wire. The system will work with most PetSafe collars so can mix and match in a multi-pet household based on individual dog’s needs.

[pros title-“Pros”]

  • 1/3 acre range
  • Waterproof collar receiver 
  • Low battery indicator 

[/pros][cons]

  • Frequently needs to be recharged
  • Installation is time-consuming

[/cons]

Best Wireless
PetSafe Stay and Play Wireless Pet Fence for Stubborn Dogs
If you don’t want to dig any wires in the installation of your invisible dog fence, check out PetSafe Stay and Play Wireless Pet Fence for Stubborn Dogs.

The PetSafe Stay and Play Wireless Pet Fence for Stubborn Dogs has an indoor transmitter which makes managing it easier than trudging outside to check it. It also will not correct dogs when they return home if they pass the boundary, which is a problem a lot of its competitors struggle with justifying. This is relatively portable due to its “plug and go” feature, but you will inevitably have some areas you don’t want your dog in that you can’t adjust for.

This is also a strong candidate for “best invisible fence for small dogs” because your dog need only be five pounds for it to work with him. You can add additional transmitters to the system, and the collar’s battery life is excellent.

[pros title=”Pros”]

  • Waterproof collar
  • Covers up to 3/4 acre
  • Tone and 5 static correction levels

[/pros][cons]

  • Some connectivity issues
  • Can’t set barriers within the perimeter
Best Portable
WIEZ GPS Wireless Dog Fence, Electric Dog Fence with GPS
For owners who appreciate portability, try the WIEZ GPS Wireless Dog Fence, Electric Dog Fence with GPS.

The WIEZ GPS Wireless Dog Fence, Electric Dog Fence with GPS allows you to monitor up to 776 acres and the control distance is adjustable between 98 and 3281 feet. For safety, if dogs go beyond the set range, the vibration or electric shock will keep working non-stop for 16 seconds, followed by a 30-second pause. Then it will repeat this three times, stopping until the dog returns to the set area.

The best feature of this fence that makes it ultra-portable is that you can design perimeters within your most commonly visited areas. So you can take this invisible fence to your parents’ house and have a barrier around your mom’s prized rose bushes to keep them safe.

[pros title-“Pros”]

  • Huge range (776 acres!)
  • Waterproof collar
  • Beep and 3 vibration and shock intensities

[/pros][cons]

  • Frequently needs to be recharged
  • Inconsistent customer service

[/cons]

Best Electric
Extreme Dog Fence Max Grade Electric Dog Fence
For an electric invisible fence option, consider Extreme Dog Fence Max Grade Electric Dog Fence.

The Extreme Dog Fence Max Grade Electric Dog Fence includes long contact probes for dogs with thick fur, short contact probes for dogs with thin fur, and conductive rubber comfort probe covers. You’ll also receive twisted wires that will not produce shocks for connecting boundary areas or allowing entry/exit areas. The boundary wire can be buried, used on the surface of the ground, placed in water, or attached to an existing fence.

This listing has all-inclusive kits available in combinations of 1/3 acre to 4 acres and from 1 to 5 dogs, and it can be expanded up to 15 acres with extra wire. Purchasing additional collars for extra dogs will sync easily.

[pros title=”Pros”]

  • Waterproof collar
  • Heavy duty boundary wire with a lifetime guarantee
  • Beep and 7 shock levels (you pick a level appropriate to your dog)

[/pros][cons]

  • Battery life issues
  • Difficult installation

[/cons]

Frequently Asked Questions

Can a dog run through an invisible fence?

They definitely can run through it. In fact, in the beginning, they very likely will run through it. But the deterrent that it triggers (static shock, to varying degrees of intensity) will, with your verbal commands during the training process, usher him back to the “safe zone” where he’s allowed.

Does an invisible dog fence really work?

In several cases, yes, invisible dog fences do work. As a general rule, static shock is a deterrent that allows your dog to recognize that the consequences of leaving his zone mean he has demonstrated “bad” behavior. It’s your job to make sure he makes the connection between “safe zone” and “no zone” so he can adjust his behavior. That being said, some dogs are less “trainable” than others. If you can’t train him to do more simple commands, don’t expect the invisible fence to work miracles.

Do invisible fences make dogs aggressive?

Though there is still some debate on this issue, generally no, an invisible fence doesn’t cause your dog to become aggressive. Some dogs will respond aggressively to being shocked but will not change who they are with a deterrent presented in a training environment. If you set the fence and just leave your dog to his own devices, he could respond poorly, but with proper training (there are no true shortcuts to a well-trained dog!), the fence shouldn’t change your dog’s nature at all.

Can a dog jump an Invisible Fence?

Yes, he can jump an invisible fence – but he’ll face the same kind of deterrent as if he ran over it. Because an invisible fence system has a collar that responds when it’s out of range, you can’t go so high that you “jump” it. For this reason, an invisible fence is excellent if your dog tends to escape via jumping.

Can Invisible Fence interfere with Wi-Fi?

Unfortunately, you can see some issues with interference between your dog’s invisible fence and the Wi-Fi in your home. Luckily, this only applies to wireless fences, and it’s only improving with time. You’ll typically only see this issue arise if you use the fence to cover your entire yard and home – it’s not a concern for a smaller boundary where the wireless router is located close by. Check the frequency of the fence (several now have their own unique frequency, and it should be listed in the description) to ensure it’s not the same as your wi-fi before purchasing.

What's the best invisible dog fence?

The best invisible fence for you may not be best for others. As a general rule, we’ve chosen the best five above, but you may still need to consider your options to determine which fits your specific situation best. We recommend finding an invisible dog fence that connects well with its collar, uses a heavy gauge wire (if it uses wire), and you can expand upon later, if you choose.

What do I do if my dog runs through an invisible fence?

Of course, you’ll want to do what you can to get him back first. After that, run a few diagnostic tests to see if the fence is working properly. The battery may be low on the collar, wires may have been damaged in your yard,[efn_note]Lesur F. Why underground cables are a better long-term choice for utilities. Power-grid.com. Published 22 Nov 2021. Accessed 29 Aug 2022.[/efn_note] or your dog may simply have decided he didn’t mind the deterrent. If you test the collar and see that it’s working, you may want to have your dog groomed so that the connections are close enough to the skin for him to feel the static shock.

What is the average cost of an invisible dog fence? (or How much is an invisible dog fence?)

As we mentioned above, you can expect there to be a cost difference based on quality, type, and size. There are outliers to any range for the most luxury versus the least expensive, but as a rule, you can expect to spend between $200-$500 on the fence system. (If you spring for the installation, costs will vary based on your area’s labor cost.)

Does an invisible dog fence have to make a complete loop?

Yes, the fence will need to connect in a loop in order to work. There are several options to design the layout and ensure your dog remains in the areas he’s allowed. All of them, though, are closed and complete loops.

How long does it take to train a dog with Invisible Fence?

The point is never to hurt him, so it doesn’t matter how “tough” the dog is – the deterrent and oral commands will train him given enough consistency. However, if you have a particularly stubborn dog, you may find the training doesn’t “stick” as easily. It still requires a significant amount of time for you to train him. – But far less than training without the fence and deterrents. Generally, you can expect 2 weeks for training.

If you’re looking for more information on the best fence to buy or set up for your dog, we have a series of in-depth guides on the topic. Check out any of the posts below for more information: