Australian Shepherds/electric fences

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Question
I see where you were asked a question about electric fences back in 2004. Your response was that at that time you were looking into them as well. I'm wondering if since then, you have developed an opinion one way or the other.

My 19 week old aussie does not go outside without me and always stays close, but we have another dog, who has beagle in him and when we purchased our home with acreage, we trained him to an underground fence as a layer of protection, and it has been such a wonderful tool, allowing him much more freedom when we are out together. THere will never be a time when they are out alone, but as Spring approached and we will be working outside most of the time, I'm concidering training my aussie to it as well. I have read where they are not appropriate for aussies, but I don't understand how, being used as we will, it would be bad.

Any thoughts?

Answer
I absolutely do NOT recommend or use electric fencing.  I do not think it's a "wonderful tool" and there are many reasons why I came to that decision, and in fact now do NOT use choke, prong, or shock collars at all.  Studies have shown that there is fallout to using such devices in terms of impact on behavior, but in addition to that, shock fences cause pain, do not keep thieves out, can malfunction and cause injury, do not keep predators out (coyotes will occasionally kill dogs), and they do nothing to remove tempting "attractive nuisances" that dogs might wish to get at.  Here's a letter from Dr. Karen Overall, a leading veterinarian behaviorist: http://www.joelwalton.com/shockcollars.html.  Also her complete paper on the subject: http://www.dogdaysnw.com/doc/overall_collars.pdf.

Thanks for the "icy" review.  I'm sorry you took my remarks that way, as they were meant only to be factual and to let you know how unsafe electric fencing can be for your dog. No offense was intended.

Australian Shepherds

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Anne Springer, B.S., Dip., CAPCT

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I'm happy to answer questions about the Aussie breed and temperament, and basic information about working lines versus show lines, training your Aussie, grooming your Aussie, and what it's like to live with a dog breed that's smart and versatile, but isn't for everyone.

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Professional trainer, and Aussie owner.

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IPDTA, APDT, Truly Dog Friendly, Therapy Dogs, Inc.

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B.S., Diploma in Dog Obedience Instruction, Graduate, NY School of Dog Grooming, Certified Advanced Pet Care Technician (American Pet Care Assn.)

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