Second Chance: Hidden Fences? You’ve Come Along Way!

Second Chance: Hidden Fences? You’ve Come Along Way!

Dear Pet Column,

Hidden fences for dogs have been around a long time, however I know so little about them. Are they safe and effective?

Seeking solid boundaries


Hello Seeking! 

Great question as historically there was reluctance on the part of animal welfare organizations to endorse hidden fences due to a perception they were ineffective and that they “shocked” pets, which many felt was inhumane. Regardless of how valid those points were, things have changed a great deal and most animal welfare organization now view hidden fences as a highly effective way to safely contain your pets.

From my research, I have found that hidden fence systems have been around for over two decades and use the latest technology to monitor pets while providing them with a real sense of freedom. One of the big concerns revolved around the perception that the systems were inhumane and could cause behavioral issues. The reality, however, is that hidden fences issue a warning in the form of an audible alert and, with a properly trained pet, provide a clear boundary that your pet can’t dig under, climb over, or otherwise scale, like an ordinary fence. And let’s face it, there is the occasional pet that, no matter what you do, can manage to find a way out of your yard and into trouble.

Notice I keep saying “pets”, too? That’s because many systems now can be used indoors for cats, as well as dogs. Pets are truly a lot smarter than humans think… We pick up on things quickly and can easily learn to respect boundaries.

But, just like everything, you as the pet owner have to take some responsibility.

If you do introduce a hidden fence, make certain to set aside time to train your pets properly so they can effectively learn the boundaries you set instead of learning on their own. Training truly helps mitigate any risk of an adverse reaction. And, just like humans, if you do a poor job at training for a specific task or skill, you should probably expect poor results.

All in all, I’d give hidden fences two paws up as a safe and effective method of keeping your pets safely contained. Get one professionally installed, do a bit of training and you’ll be good to go.  And if that is what it takes for you to decide to adopt a lovable dog like me – than I am willing to learn how to work with you on this.

My name is Deuce. I am an 18-month-young Catahoula Australian Shep mix. My sibling Ace and I were surrendered to Second Chance as, after lots of training and despite being bred for cattle or farm work, we both decided we prefer to be with people and play with dogs than work. We are true family dogs to the core – and definitely smart enough to be trained to a hidden fence.


And my friend Mercy here is a nine- year-old lovely feline. Due to her age, and despite her youthfulness, she is going to have a harder time finding a new home – particularly since it is kitten season. She is very cuddly and affectionate and will make the best new furry friend for any family.

Editor’s note: It’s no secret. The Telluride region is dog heaven. Well, pet heaven. Unless you are one of our furry friends who gets caught in the maw of neglect and abuse. Then heaven is on hold until Second Chance Humane Society comes to the rescue. Second Chance is the region’s nonprofit dedicated to saving animals’ lives and promoting responsible pet parenting and human-animal bond. In her weekly blog, executive director Kelly Goodin profiles at least one, generally two of the many animals now living at the no-kill shelter, Angel Ridge Shelter, a dog and a cat, hoping to find them loving permanent homes. The column is sponsored by Ted Hoff of Cottonwood Ranch & Kennel, who from time to time exercises his skills as a dog whisperer, partnering with Kelly and her staff to help train a particularly challenging animal.

Ted Hoff & Magnificent Mae

By the by, there is no better place to park your pup or get your pup (or adult dog) trained than Cottonwood whenever you head out of town (for locals) or are heading to town and staying somewhere that does not allow pets. Consider joining Ted’s Very Important Dog (VID) Club for added benies. (Details on Ted’s website.)

Second Chance Humane Society Animal Resource Center and Thrift Shop are both located in Ridgway, but service San Miguel, Ouray & Montrose Counties. Call the SCHS Helpline at 626-2273 to report a lost pet, learn about adopting a homeless pet, or about the SCHS Spay/Neuter, Volunteer, Feral Cat, or other Programs. View the shelter pets and services online:

Vetting the Vet: Dr. Michelle Dally, DVM, J.D. is Medical Director of Second Chance Humane Society. She also has a private practice, Dally Veterinary Medicine, 333 S. Elizabeth Street, Ridgway, Colorado. Her service area is  San Miguel Mesas, Placerville, Ridgway, Ouray, and Montrose. For more on Dr. Dally, go here.

Michelle & Wallowby

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