I have to say that I am shocked; since moving to Connecticut it has become obvious that most use electric fences. I haven't been here long enough to discover why people opt for an electric fence over a traditional fence but I will find out. My first day out in daylight brought this to my attention. Looking around as I drove the neighborhood I realized that there were no fences. I thought maybe it was because the properties are so big; they are all around the 2 acres range.
Now that I've been here for over a month I've been around. Even the smaller properties in town have no fences. Talking to some of residence they have concurred that they indeed use electric fences. Like I said; I'm shocked. I'm shocked that this many people use electric fences. I'm a fence person; I love fences, I mean really really love them. They make having dogs in my life really easy, safe and secure. But the fences I love are the physical type, chain link, page wire, wood, block wall or stone, not electric.
Over the years I have heard many stories of dogs who go through the electric zap but don't come back. Just imagine a squirrel driven dog; chasing a squirrel is definitely worth a zap. Coming back through the zap to get home, not so much. Fallout, with dogs there is always fallout behaviors. Just like with pinch or prong collars the association is unavoidable. Pain is quickly paired with whatever is near, a dog walking by, a person jogging or a child on a bike; the dog believes that this event caused the pain. The same thing can happen with electric fences; dogs walking by cause painful zaps, perhaps it is vehicles that cause the pain to happen. Whatever it is that would draw a dog near or across the fence line is the cause of the pain by association.
Great article on electric fences and collars.
The link above is an article published in the Whole Dog Journal; it is a good read although I was nearly in tears and almost could not continue reading about the Airedale Andy.
Electric fences will not keep a dog in if they want out badly enough but they will definitely keep them from coming back home. They do not have any safety value as far as keeping other dogs or animals out of your yard. With the amount of deer in the area I would think that keeping them out of the yard would be enough to put up a real fence. Sure they can jump a fence but I'm sure they'd rather go next door to the house without a fence to eat. As far as using the excuse that fences may be unsightly? I don't get this one, I love fences.
I cannot imagine putting a collar on my dogs and starting the electric shock training. Knowing my dogs so well I do know that they would both be traumatized; the emotional fallout would be horrific. I will never use an electric collar. For me the good old fashion fence system is my choice of canine containment; zapping is not even a consideration.