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Market Niche We Never Knew We Had: WiFi Dog Fences

Why shouldn't wireless connectivity extend to our pets? Although wireless dog fences have been around for more than a decade, WiFi fences are the latest thing in safe-pet technology.

Companies that market these systems have a point — wireless fencing has been a laggard given the rapid advancements in communications technology. Wireless fencing systems now use the 802.15 communications protocol and can provide a circular containment area up to 2.5 acres.

The dominant electronics in wireless fence systems are transceivers that connect a smart base station to the dog's collar. Systems typically include the base station; up to two collars; rechargeable lithium ion batteries; and various probes. Average prices are $400 to $600 per system.

According to Amazon.com, here’s how the systems work: Collars can be preset to one of four fixed static correction levels or a progressive correction setting. (The “correction” setting is a nice way of saying the collar shocks the dog.) When approaching the preset boundary the collar emits a warning tone. If the dog continues to approach the boundary, the preset correction level will be triggered.

Progressive correction starts at the lowest level. If the dog continues toward the boundary the internal microchip will continually increase the correction level based on the speed at which the dog is approaching the boundary and the dog's distance from the boundary. Dog owners (and, presumably, pet cats) can monitor all this from the WiFi base station.

In a multi-dog system, each collar can be independently programmed, allowing you to customize the system for the temperament of each dog. This is a cool feature. My neighbors had an electric fence system and two dogs — during a power outage, one dog ran for the hills, and the other cowered within the boundary line watching anxiously as her brother ran away. I eventually contained the non-conformist in my basement — the downside of this system is that once the power comes back on, the collar shocks the dog if it is out of bounds. This was very stressful for me, but the dog seemed OK with the situation.

What do you think of this technology? Have you found any other electronics in unconventional places? Let us know on the message boards!

22 comments on “Market Niche We Never Knew We Had: WiFi Dog Fences

  1. eemom
    June 3, 2011

    I love this new product.  While I don't have it myself, a friend of mine does and loves it.  Instead of installing wires in your yard, it just works via the central station in your home with a set circular radius around your house.  I hadn't considered the downside about the power outage, but like any new product, I am sure future versions will contain a some kind of a safety that resets the device so the dog doesn't have to get shocked if outside the radius.  Also, hopefully future products will increase the radius limits so if you have a really big yard, you can still take advantage of the technology.

  2. Clairvoyant
    June 3, 2011

    That's a neat idea. I never realized this product existed. I knew about the 'invisible fence' product, but not this one.

  3. itguyphil
    June 3, 2011

    I feel like we are soon going to be in a completely wireless society. Everything is going to be controlled by a remote or just work without any wires and/or controls. I'm not sure if this is a good thing but I guess we'll see what comes next.

  4. t.alex
    June 4, 2011

    A few questions come into my mind. Is 802.15 wifi technology? How does it shock the dob? Using ultrasound?

  5. eemom
    June 4, 2011

    I am not exactly positive on how it works but I know the dog wears a color which shocks him when he tries to go beyond the radius.  Instead of having wires in the ground, its wireless but the same technique is applied to train the dog.

  6. t.alex
    June 4, 2011

    “Shock” sounds like a negative word. I wonder if it really “shocks” the dog. What if it's just a puppy..

  7. Adeniji Kayode
    June 4, 2011

    This is amazing,but then what effect can this have on the dog?

  8. eemom
    June 4, 2011

    The “shocks” are not harmful to the dog.  Its just negative reinforcement so the dog does not venture out of a given area.  This is the same technology as the “invisible fence” that required wires to be installed in-ground around the perimeter of your yard.  This new technology is simply wireless.  Also, dogs are smart animals, after the first one or two shocks, they get the idea. 

  9. Adeniji Kayode
    June 5, 2011

    This is Really amazing, but what is the main purpose of this. Is it for the purpose of training the dog to know it juridiction or just to prevent the dog from leaving the compound and get missing?

  10. eemom
    June 5, 2011

    It is mostly used to confine a dog to one's yard so he doesn't run around the neighborhood, get lost or worse, hurt.

  11. SunitaT
    June 6, 2011

    @eemom,

      But how will the dog know  that the shock is because its going beyond the radius ? I don't think its a good feature.

  12. saranyatil
    June 6, 2011

    It looks like an awesome idea, but I am not sure how the idea of shocks will work. should the dog be trained to get back to its yard.

  13. Jay_Bond
    June 6, 2011

    I think this is a great idea. We have used an invisible fence for years. It works great to keep your dogs trained and in their respective yards. The only drawback to them is the “wired” part. If you are trying to encompass you're entire yard, it is hard to get the wires across your driveway. A wireless system cures that problem.

    The way these fences work is that the kit comes with flags, you can buy more if you have a large area. You line the perimeter of the yard with these flags. You then put your dog on a leash with the collar on and you walk them around the yard near all the flags. They start to get a sense of the boundary by hearing the beeps and sometimes getting a minor shock. As the time goes on you just slowly remove the flags until they are gone. The dog won't go to the edges or leave the yard for fear of getting shocked. The dogs are not harmed by these shocks.

     

  14. FLYINGSCOT
    June 6, 2011

    Many years ago my friend got an “invisible dog fence” as he loved his dog so much he wanted to let it roam the yard but not get into trouble with the neighbors etc.  He was concerned about the “shock” hurting the dog so decided to try it himself to make sure it would not constitute dog cruelty.  Anyway, it took me several days to recover from the laughter that ensued from watching my friend running around his yard being “zapped” every few seconds by a dog collar. 

  15. Barbara Jorgensen
    June 6, 2011

    This is hilarious! I know a number of people who would also try this…

    From what I can tell from dog owners, the shocks aren't harmful, but they are enough to keep the dog from roaming beyond its set parameters. I think the shocks are surprising and uncomfortable and they can be adjusted for the dog (large or small, or how much tolerance they semt o have…) In the long run, the shocks are better than any of the number of disasters that a free-roaming dog could encounter: cars, other animals (coyotes are a big problem around my area;) cruel people — I hate to think about it

  16. Ariella
    June 6, 2011

    Good point, Mary, a dog that wanders into an unsafe area is subject to far greater danger. The wifi dog fences do sound like a highly practical solution for dog owners.

  17. stochastic excursion
    June 7, 2011

    It's a good idea with the audio feature.  One thing to try is sample the master's voice giving a command.  Most dogs are intensely loyal and don't need to be “whacked” once they are adults.  The electric shocks are more appropriate for livestock.  This is especially so if there are good reasons for a dog to leave an area when its owner has been incapacitated.  Abandoning a dog under an electric shock regime, however mild, seems to me somewhat on the cruel side.

  18. Adeniji Kayode
    June 7, 2011

    That is really funny Flyingscot, but did your friend tell you how he felt and if that may not be too bad for a dog

  19. Adeniji Kayode
    June 7, 2011

    Well, with what some said, I don,t think its that dad afterall. It might really be a smart way of telling your dog your expectation about it roaming the compound.

  20. t.alex
    June 8, 2011

    I wonder if there is any GPS based solution equivalent to this ? GPS might be a better idea I believe.

  21. eemom
    June 8, 2011

    This is meant to train your dog not track him.  GPS would be good to find a lost dog, if he doesn't get hurt in the meantime.  Dogs have a tendency to run across roads and get hit by moving cars if they are small or not well trained.

  22. Barbara Jorgensen
    June 8, 2011

    Dogs that are adopted from shelters actually are injected with a small chip that tracks them. (I call them doggie LoJacks). Although they don't transmit live 24/7 like a GPS, if a dog is lost, found, and reported to a shelter or vet, the chip can match the dog back up with its owner.

    A GPS would be a great idea for a lost dog–I know owners that roam streets when their canine escapes. When my cat disappeared for two weeks one summer (I'm convinced he was locked in a vacationer's garage) it would have been nice to know where to find him (one way or another).

    He came back skinny and really, really needy (unheard-of for cats), but he's back.

     

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