June 6

Dog Charges an Electric Fence


My neighbors have an invisible fence for their dog. They tell me that it’s completely safe and that the dog will never cross the line. I’m not so sure. Every day the dog charges to the edge of the yard and barks at anyone going by. I’m worried that one day he’ll come after a kid on a bike. Are these electronic fences really effective? ~ Martha

I think you are right to be worried. We all get better at what we practice, and this dog is rehearsing aggression. Arousal levels and aggression are closely linked. So each day, this dog is getting the opportunity to get all charged up to bark at people. It is not uncommon for a dog to bolt through the electric shock in pursuit of something exciting.

If possible, have your kids play in a different area. Practice the “be a tree” pose with them so they know what to do if they encounter a loose dog. Kids are far more likely to be bitten if they are running away, so this is very important rehearse with your kids.

You might also want to talk with your neighbor to see if they would only allow the dog to be out when they can be outside to supervise him or suggest that they allow the dog to be in the back yard only.


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