My Dog Runs Through the Invisible Fence: How to Prevent it?

Last Updated on July, 2024

Wondering why your dog keeps running through the invisible fence despite extensive training?

Well, then you are seeking the answers in the right place!

Here you’ll learn why, what to do and how to prevent your dog from running through the invisible fence. 

Quick Summary

A dog may run through an invisible fence if the collar is loose, the batteries are dead, or the base station is not working properly.

If a dog does run through an invisible fence, the owner should check the system, train the dog, and/or adjust the collar settings.

To prevent a dog from running through an invisible fence, the owner must make sure the system is working properly, the dog is properly trained, and the collar fits snugly.

Why Does Your Dog Run Through the Invisible Fence?

a dog is running on the ground

This rarely happens if your dog has successfully completed its invisible fence training. And if it does happen, then the following reasons will help you understand why.

Failure in Delivering the Beep/Shock

Here you will learn all the possible technical aspects that may have gone wrong with your containment system.

Loose Collar 

This is the most likely reason in the majority of incidents. The metal pods of the invisible fence collar should be in touch with your dog’s skin. 

It will not matter if your dog is just beginning or has years of experience within the invisible fence. If the collar is loose it will only serve as a beeper.


Your dog is smart! Soon it’ll figure out that an electric shock won’t be applied when crossing the fence.

DID YOU KNOW? A research conducted on dog owners using invisible fences revealed that around 90% of the incidents account for a loose collar. 

Dead Batteries 

Short battery life or a rechargeable battery means it’s highly likely to have a dead battery.

This will increase the chances of your furry friend leaving the invisible dog fence.

A veterinarian from PetMD claims “I personally know of one Border Collie who would sit within the “beep zone” until her collar’s batteries worn out and then calmly stroll out of the yard”

YES! They are sneaky little creatures who can trick you.

invisible fence collar battery

Worn Out Collar

Wear and tear is common even with expensive and high-quality dog fence collars. This will affect the functioning of the dog’s receiver collar. May even stop working altogether. 

Base Station Trouble

Problems in the base station may interfere or block the communication with the receiver collar.

This can in turn render the invisible fence system useless.

In some cases it may block the beep and cause electric shock. And in some cases it is the other way around.

The warning lights on the transmitter will tell you if a problem lies with the base station or the wiring. Check the owner’s manual for detailed instructions.

red light in invisible fence

Wire Breaks

This can result in the transmitter not beeping when it should. If your pup does not hear the beeping sound it may not know when or where to stop at the invisible fence.

Signal Interference

Disruption of the radio signal field will cause glitches in the system. This will serve as weak points in the fence. 

Your dog will test the boundaries for any weaknesses. Like the Velocirapors from the first Jurassic park movie. 

Some dogs learn to outsmart the system. ESCAPE ARTISTS!

Here’s the complete guide to troubleshooting an invisible fence if you think the device is not working.

Can it Just Be Your Dog?

Distracted Dogs

This is a common problem with dogs who easily get excited or startled. 

The VCA hospital states that “If a dog sees something he really wants to chase, like other dogs or animals or is frightened by thunder or something inside the yard, he may breach the electric fence ignoring the electric stimulus”.

Some dogs may struggle with barrier frustration. It happens when your dog realizes that the neighborhood dog is freely romping around.

This will tease even the most friendly and sociable pupper.

a barking dog standing on the ground

They get frustrated if they cannot greet other animals or humans, especially when just out of the fence.

But Don’t worry, you can retrain your pet to work within the fence boundaries. Keep reading to learn more on this.

Lack of or No Proper Training

If your dog is obedient (unlike my dog who walks me instead of me walking him) then you have to consider this reason even if it has completed its training. 

Most invisible fence systems come with a comprehensive training manual and training assistance. 

Just know, opting for a “certified trainer” does not necessarily mean the trainer has years of experience.

Always check with other customers for reliability.

A proper training should include the pet owner who will be required to continue on certain prescribed training instructions. 

a human training a dog

Most dogs learn to stay in the yard, if you follow through with good training.

Dog Not Hearing the Beep Tone

The beep will not have the intended effect on dogs with hearing difficulty. This especially applies to elderly dogs and deaf dogs.

There are pet collars that come with vibrations as a part of the correction. And pet collars that exclusively use vibrations alone. Instead of a beep, the vibration will serve as the warning and/or the correction. 

Checkout the best virtual dog fences that we tested and reviewed on our website.

What to Do if My Dog Runs Through the Invisible Fence?

a dog is jumping

Here’s what you can do to solve your invisible dog fences issues:

  • Check that the dog’s collar is in a snug fit around the dog’s neck for the correction or vibration to permeate the skin.
  • Check if the collar emits the warning tone and is fully charged. Test the sound or vibration function on yourself at the boundary.
  • Replace batteries and dog’s collar when required. Read on to know when to consider a new collar
  • Check if the base station is plugged and is working
  • Replace/ repair transmitter if applicable
  • Check and repair any underground wire breaks
  • Look for metal objects and other disturbances that can distort the signal. Set up boundary wire at least 3-4 feet away from electrically charged materials and heavy metal objects
  • Make sure any replaced equipment is compatible with the system
  • Re-train your dog to understand the invisible fence system. Much more on re-training your dog explained below.
  • Conduct manual training to teach your dog to stay within the yard.
  • Conduct distraction training. Tips on distraction training to follow in the next section.
  • Check the owner’s manual on invisible fence systems. Contact your manufacturer for assistance on technical aspects to resolve the issue.

How to Prevent Your Dog From Running Through the Invisible Fence?

Make Sure Your System Works Properly

The transmitter is a vital part of the invisible dog fences. It successfully sets the desired restriction of the invisible fence line for your pets.

So it’s essential that the transmitter is functioning properly. 

Ensure the unit is efficiently hooked up to the power outlet. It should output the right signal to the dog collar. 

Make sure to check the owner’s manual for guidance and maintenance help.

green light in the invisible fence

Common transmitter failures include:

  • Battery trouble leads to growing inefficiency while sending signals
  • Inadequate transmitter variety (transmitter not being able pick up on wide range of frequencies) 

When to Consider a New Dog Collar Replacement?

You should try repairing it, if you are good at electronics or know someone who is. Else, you may consider getting a new dog collar. 

Issues with the receiver can be harder to repair. So if in doubt, best you purchase a new collar.

Re-Train Your Dog to Improve Schooling

Static correction from the dog collar alone is not enough to keep your dog within the fence perimeter.

Retraining is necessary for stubborn dogs. 

Train your dog to stay within the invisible fence ground.

We recommend walking your dog on a leash around the ground marked with boundary flags.

This will help your dog remember the fence boundaries.

Quick tip: Use a whistle as your dog runs toward the invisible fences.

a human training a dog

Be sure to check out our easy to follow comprehensive dog training guide and distraction training tips mentioned below for effective results.

Training Tips for Easily Distractible Dogs

Tried and tested tips by dog lovers and trainers successfully using an electric fence:

  • Help your pet realize what the collar means

Set your dog’s collar on the lowest setting and resume boundary training.

Using a long leash and boundary flags re-introduce the invisible fence boundaries. Walk around the perimeter. Let the beep tone go off. And draw him back off the fence boundary.

  • Train with distraction

Ask a friend and their dog to act as a distraction. Have them walk on the other side of the invisible fence.

If your dog approaches the perimeter and backs away at the tone, treat him.

And if he doesn’t you should adjust the collar setting one point higher and continue training. 

Always remember to keep training sessions short and fun.

Don’t forget to praise your dog with treats when he backs away from the boundary.

a dog sitting on the ground and a human holding dog's leash

Your dog needs to associate the right side of the fence with treats and praise.

  • Always start with small distractions and work your way into intense ones.
  • Make your dog run around the boundary with the leash on. 

Your friend should do the same on the other side of the fence with the other dog.

Speed will help take your dog’s mind off the distraction. The faster your dog runs, the easier it will be to take your dog’s mind off the distraction. In this case the other dog and human on the other side of the fence.

  • Tie out method

Tie your dog to a long leash/rope that will cover the distance of your yard to the shock area of the electric fence.

And not any farther. If your dog reaches the fence there is no choice but to come back.

Keep your dog on the tie-out for a few days. At some point a distraction will tempt your dog.

If your dog runs to the electric fence and gets shocked, there will be no choice but to come back. 

This will train your dog to the fence even with a distraction present.

a dog sitting on the grass and wearing a long leash

What Happens if My Dog Runs Through the Invisible Fence?

a dog is running

Invisible fences sound a warning tone, vibration or apply a mild shock when your dog runs through it. This is adjustable based on the size of the dog. 

The aim is to discourage your dog running across the invisible fence.

Some dogs may consider this a punishment in the long run. So it’s best if you tend to such behavior at an early stage.

The common problems listed above will help you figure out the issue. This will prevent your “dog escapes” that may end up in dangerous situations.

Better safe than sorry. Afterall, priority should always be your pet’s safety.

Final Thoughts

With proper training your dog will learn how to play by the rules. 

As a dog owner you have to make sure to maintain your dog fences functioning properly. Follow through with up-to-date training sessions to refresh your dog’s memory. There should be no reason why your pet would leave the safety of your yard fence.

Frequently Asked Questions

Look for uprooted roots, unearthed wires, uneven ground and/or other disturbances at and around the boundary area.

Locate the wire break. Reconnect or replace the faulty segment. Restore the fence.

How To Locate A Wire Break In Your Underground Fences?

You can use a wire break locator or the short loop method to locate the faulty segments of the underground wire.

The following steps will reset the base station.

Make sure your dog is inside the house. Unplug the unit from the power outlet. Disconnect the boundary wire from the transmitter.

Once the containment system is fully inactive, you can check for sources of interference. If there is none, reconnect the buried wire to the system. This should reset the base station.

The signal field can be disrupted by electrically charged materials and heavy metal objects.

Was this article helpful?

User Avatar
Stefano Giachetti
Stefano Giachetti is always excited to share his knowledge and love of animals with you through our blog, IPetGuides. And he has always loved animals and has been blessed to have many pets throughout his life. Currently has a Pomeranian Dog Breed.

Leave a Comment