the berner-l on fencing

courtesy Pat Long

BERNER-L Digest 90

Date: Sun, 10 Sep 1995 01:09:12 -0600 From: (Marianne Becktel) To: Message-ID:

two of the dogs that I picked >up came from "electric fence homes" !!! The batteries on the collar > may fail, the underground wire may be bad, etc. etc., I would not >feel comfortable with my dogs dependant on this type of barrier. Had >a friend whose Berner pup was killed because it saw something really >interesting down the road and lunged across the line. Another point >that I don't like about the electric fence is that any animal can get >into the enclosed area and can be of possible harm to the dog. Well, >enough of that :=}

Another problem with them in that not only can an excited dog break through the barrier before it realizes it, but it also shocks on the way back too, which makes any dog think twice about going back. All kinds of critters and people can get to the dog in the yard - it has no privacy.

marianne Bob, Marianne & Sean at the Schatzhof, Bay City, Michigan Home to Schatzi, Sidli, and Facet - 3 generations of Bernese Mountain Dogs


BERNER-L Digest 91

Date: Mon, 11 Sep 1995 08:49:38 -0400 From: (Marjorie E. Reho) To: Subject: Electric Fences

Let me throw in a few points to the positive side of electric fences. First, let me say that until 6 months ago, I didn't have one (and have had Berners for almost 18 years) and was dead set against them. I have always had a fenced yard, and won't sell a dog to someone who doesn't. Right now, my dog yard is fenced with 5 ft black chain link (so it doesn't look too bad), with rails at both the top and the bottom. For almost 7 years, nobody tried to dig under the bottom ..... until this year. It only takes one dog once. They immediately train each other and will try every spot in the yard. So even though the bottom rail of the fence is at or below ground level, it no longer stopped the dogs. I had two options -- run an electric wire inside the fence which would shock the dogs if they touched it (typical horse fence approach), or go with an invisible fence approach. I didn't like the electric horse fence approach since I would like to let puppies run in the yard for short periods, supervised. I have no desire to shock puppies. So I went with the higher-priced approach of Invisible Fence. I did look into alternative brands, but wouldn't touch any of them. Invisible Fence is the most expensive, but worth it. You pay for the technology of the receiver on the collars. Their receivers are WATERPROOF, their batteries last over 3-months, and the receivers WILL NOT pick up airborne electric charges and shock the dogs during thunderstorms (yes, others will so beware). The voltage levels carried in the buried wire are fine-tunable (very fine tunable), so I can adjust the field to allow the dogs to go within my desired distance of the physical fence.

I wish I had done this years ago -- it would have saved trees, beds, etc, which I've now fenced off from digging dogs with the invisible fence. I still have the physical barrier, so no dogs can come in, and now, mine won't jump on the fence, run through the invisible fenced gates (I can come and go and don't get mobbed right at the gate), or dig out of the yard. Typical of Bernese, they trained INSTANTLY!!!! I used the quick train method of taking them to whatever spot I've disciplined them for (2 of the dogs dug under one stretch of fence, 1 used to dig under some bushes, and 1 liked to dig up my trees). I let them experience the shock, them pulled them back away from the field of charge so they would know what to do. After the one shock, they were trained and respected the warning tone immediately. Actually, one of my bitches was interesting in the training. Heike is my "all I want to do is please you, Mom" dog. She's a natural in obedience and carting and does everything off verbal command. When I trained each of the dogs to the new fence, they were on lead. On lead to Heike means "anything you ask me to do, I will do without error". So when I brought her over to her tree she dug under and let her get shocked, she stood there since to run away from my side is not what I asked her to do. I had to take her off lead, use no obedience commands, and give her the freedom to react of her own free will to allow her to move away from the tone and shock. She NEVER gets shocked when out in the yard.

I take all collars off each night to avoid neck irritation. Other than that, I'm hooked on it and feel very secure knowing that my dogs absolutely CANNOT get out of my yard now. When used in conjunction with a physical fence, I'm PRO PRO PRO. I just wish it was around (and I had known of it) in our last house. It was in a neighborhood with firm convenants regarding fencing. The only fence we were allowed to put up was three-rail split-rail fence. That's no good for dogs, so you end up putting a wire mesh inside of it (that was allowed). But wire mesh for a Berner is a since to either break through (yes, I had one who did that), bend (yup, had one of those), or use as a toe hold to go over the fence (my 98 pound bitch's approach). So even though I had a beautiful dog yard in the middle of an old oak forest with a wonderful clearing in the middle, I couldn't leave the dogs out unattended. Invisible fence would have been great under these conditions.

So don't rule it out. It's humane, safe, and if it keeps the dogs away from harm (the roads and wandering), it's definitely worth it. I agree with the points that it doesn't keep other critters out, but when used with a physical fence, all those concerns go away. In hindsight, I should have put up horse fence (4-board oak, common in Virginia), (which I have around the perimeter of our 12 acres) plus wire mesh in the dog yard and used the invisible fence. That would have looked even better than the chain link.

Margie Reho and the Dallybeck crew in Virginia


BERNER-L Digest 92

Date: Tue, 12 Sep 1995 13:47:47 -0700 From: (Modine & Thompson) To: Subject: invisible fence Message-ID:

I was pleased to read M.Reho's comments regarding the invisible fence. Every "containment system" has its good and bad points; there are some disadvantages to the invisible fence, but we have one and it works well for us.

Terry Thompson


Date: Tue, 12 Sep 1995 21:26:17 -0400 From: To: Subject: Re: electric fences

I am new to the group and am still working on on intro, but I do have an electric fence that works quite well as long as the batteries are kept fresh. I have several acres that I cannot afford to fence in at the present time. My dogs have a fenced smaller area, but like to get out and run at times.

The problems I've had have already been mentioned, low batteries (the dogs "test" them and know if they are dead, other dogs coming into the yard, a dog running really fast out of the yard (they get a short shock if they run- and they are out!!). My rottie doesn't care if she gets shocked and actually stands in the shock zone. My two berners are very well trained to the fence.

My conclusion is that a fenced yard is ideal, but not always practical. I would not trust the fence 100%, and I go outside with my dogs every time they are outside and I am relying on the invisable fence. I use it with supervision.

My berner's names are Echo 3 1/2 years old, and Demi, (also known as Demi-lition for obvious reasons) 1 year old on Thursday, in fact she is going to a birthday party with 3 of her sisters tomorrow. We live in Alaska and love it. I will have an intro ready soon.

Laura Lynne


BERNER-L Digest 196

Date: Mon, 22 Jan 1996 12:02:44 -0500 From: (Marjorie E. Reho) To: Subject: Re: invisible fencing

I know I've written on invisible fencing before, but the topic has resurfaced, so here I go again. I now swear by my fencing arrangement, which includes invisible fencing, but it does not use invisible fence by itself. I have 5' black chain link with both top and bottom rails. The fence mesh is buried along with the bottom rail where possible, or the bottom rail sits at ground level with fence mesh slightly buried. At any rate, it's not obvious to the dogs to think about digging under. At 5', the top is too tall for my guys to want to go over (although I guess that's not true for everyone according to some of the stories). After the chain link was installed, my dogs back then tested the fence and did find that it wasn't strapped down at small enough intervals. So I had the installers come back and strap the mesh to the rails about every 1.5'. Over the years, I had no problems with dogs getting out (or anything getting in) until last spring. Jana figured out two ways to get out. First, she worked at the chain link mesh to break some of the strappings. I replaced these with stronger, heavy wire. Then she worked at the fence to actually try to bend through some of the mesh itself (unsuccessful). But then, she dug under. I filled in holes as quickly as she dug, but she finally did get out. They can and do dig quickly when they figure something out! These are house dogs who spend some time every day outside, but don't live outside. Also, I have about an acre fenced, so it's not that they have no room to run. But she wanted to get down to the stream out in our field for a swim. Once she had it scoped, it became a regular thing to do, even if we limited her outside time to 15-30 minutes at a crack, and I filled in holes every evening.

My solution to the problem (which was a serious problem since she started taking others out with her) was to have invisible fence installed just outside the bottom rail of the chain link. This keeps the dogs back from the chain link. Plus, they can't just dash through an invisible barrier to get out. Because of the shock collars, they can't spend time near the fence to dig under, go through, or try to climb over. Because it's invisible fence, and a buried wire, it can't hurt puppies like an electric fence wire can -- so no problem with litters or young dogs. Berners learn the system after one quick shock. Then, as soon as they hear the tone, they quickly back away. So it's not cruel. They don't let themselves get shocked. Believe me, Berners are very, very smart in picking this up.

Now that I have it, I will always have this double line of protection type of fencing. Physical barriers are just not enough for these smart dogs. And lack of physical barrier (i.e., invisible fence by itself) is not enough to keep the unwanted critters out (nor is it safe enough in all cases to keep the dogs in). But put in combination as we've done is just perfect. Now too, I can fence off my flower beds and trees within the dog yard just by using invisible fence. I swear by it and would highly recommend it when used as we've done.

If anyone needs contact info on invisible fence, don't hesitate to e-mail

-Margie and the too smart for their own good Dallybeck girls who now never get out of the yard.


BERNER-L Digest 301

Date: 07 May 96 17:58:40 EDT From: "G. R. Gray" To: "" Subject: Re: Electric Fences

Hi all, Responding to the inquiry on electric fencing, we installed an electric fence as a defensive measure after our six year old Berner dashed out into the road and unfortunately was hit by a speeding car and did not survive. Our devastati on was, of course, complete. We had tried everything to keep him on our property , but nothing worked, even supervision, because went he wanted to roam, he roame d, especially if he perceived a bitch in heat if ever so far away. That was over 11 years ago, and 11 years since we installed an electric fence around 41/2 acres of our property. We have or have had four dogs since, including two mor e Berners, including my beloved Seppi, who died at the age of nine of cancer on Christmas Day of last year. Each dog was trained a a pup as tho the boudaries of the fence, and a "correction" if they cross the line (unfortunately I've "corrected" myself all to often in this process). We may have been lucky, but all our dogs, especially the Berners, have respected the boundries, even if there are temptations on the other side (including other dogs). I believe the younger dogs we've had learn the "safe" territory from the older dogs and the lore is passed down. We've had great luck with the electric fence system and as long as you are dilligent about maintaining it, e.g. mending broken lines that you have roto tilled over, and keeping the collar batteries fresh (although th e older dogs don't really need the collars as they respect the boundries from experience) you could have a positive experience with the fence too (I reccome nd that you do it while your dog is young and has not developed bad habits). Goo d luck. Regards, Doc Gray Newtown, PA


BERNER-L Digest 302

Date: Wed, 8 May 1996 23:04:10 -0400 From: To: Subject: Invisible fences

I have had alot of experience with the invisible fence.Doc Gray asked some good questions,and I will tell you some of our experiences. The only one to invest in is Invisible Fence,it's patented and although invisible fence is now a generic name ,don't fall for any others like Freedom Fence,for example.I know two people who bought Freedom and finally had to have Invisible Fence reinstalled.The dogs just kept getting out!In Fairfield county the franchise is called Canine Fence but the product is Invis- ible Fence,be sure to ask it's alittle confusing. I have had four dogs on the system,and they are out all the time,even when I'm out.We live on 5 acres so our yard is not really visible from the road.The biggest test was Sydney,our Irish Field Setter,who was a very bad dog,loved the ladies and wanted to explore all the time,even jumped out of windows to escape! The Canine Fence people were deter- minded to make the system work for him,so they tried every- thing,which was 4 long prongs,no delay on the transmitter 12 volt batteries for 3 days,they also have 9 volt instead of the normal 7 volt and occasionally when the "smell was in the air" he wore 2 collars.I think he was their most challenging dog but it worked.I think it is the greatest invention,but like anything you have to keep you eye on it,as lawn people etc can break the wire, and if you have a dog like Sydney,he was always testing it. Sydney died last spring at age 16,in his sleep in front of the TV. THe Mooseman,MooMoo and Brandy are all on the system and love being outside when Moms gone. Get the battery plan,they send you the batteries when it's time so you can't forget. My husband installed the one in Nantucket by himself,as we have a small square yard,it was easy.You just take the collars with you. I also have loops all over my garden so the dogs go where I want them to,and across the driveway so they can't get under the tires of the UPS truck or the Garbage man.I couldn't exist without it.Sorry to be so long! Tailwags, Daist and The Mooseman


BERNER-L Digest 345

Date: Thu, 20 Jun 1996 10:03:02 -0400 From: To: Subject: invisible fences

I responded to someone a while ago about the invisible fence,which I have been using for 10 years.I can't say enough good things about the product and the company,how- ever I have a true story to relate. All our dogs are on the system,and when we go to our summer house on the island of Nantucket, we have the system there also,we just bring their collars.The houses are very close to one another in town.I was up a month ago with one dog,not the Mooseman,who acted like normal,obeying the boundries. My nextdoor neighbor,who I didn't know well,but lives there year round and had gotten a second dog.She decided my dogs were so well trained to the system and able to be let outdoors without supervision that she looked into getting one .As "Invisible Fence" costs more,and she didn't do any research, she bought a system called Radio Fence,while she was away on vacation.It came with a video on installation and train- ing.Things were fine until I arrived and plugged my system in.Her collars weren't beeping along one side of her property, the side next to mine!I didn't notice as MooMoo is so trained he knows where to go.We finally figured our systems were cancelling each other out.Because of our driveways,neither of us could move our wires.She called Radio Fence who said after many calls,that they would send her a different trans- mitter.I talked to Invisible Fence who said they would ex- change my boards in both transmitters,there and at home and reprogram the collars,at no charge.The problem was The Moose man wears the old type collar which can have different volt- ages of batteries put in if he startes running through.(Being in town with people walking by all day,with dogs on leashes is hard for Moose,he doesn't have that temptation at home) Anyway,a new one of those collars is about $185.00,and they can't be reprogramed,you have to buy new. Bottom line,Radio Fence did nothing,she packed it up and sent it back for a refund.Invisible Fence costs more,but they stand behind their product,have franchises everywhere,and will come back as many times as it takes to get your dog and the system working correctly. Now my neighbor is looking for a used Invisible Fence system, so if anyone knows of someone moving out of the country or has one to sell,let me know.Sorry to be so long. Tailwags, Daisy and the Mooseman


Date: Thu, 20 Jun 1996 11:29:54 -0400 From: (Marjorie E. Reho) To:, Subject: Re: invisible fences

I too swear by Invisible Fence and the way they back their product. I use it differently in that I have it coupled with a 5' black chainlink fence. So why do I need the Invisible Fence? To keep the dogs from digging under the physical fence, or trying to break the mesh and go through it (yes, I had one try to do this). The Invisible Fence (IF) also keeps the dogs from jumping ON the fence, putting more stress on their rears than I like to see. I now have the ability to have actual landscaping, new trees and such in the dog yard too without the dogs digging up everything I put in (I IF around the landscaping and trees). We live in the country, in a subdivision of large (10-12 acre) lots. We have a lot of deer, foxes, skunks, rabbits, raccoons, etc., plus horses, cows and the new neighbor's dogs which run loose. I have all bitches, and IF can't keep the neighbor's fertile almost German Shephard from getting to my bitches if he wanted to (if I can't get the neighbor trained shortly). Plus, I don't want skunks or the like in with the dogs. So all that points to needing a physical fence. I just went with IF 1.5 years ago I wish I had done it 6 years ago. Now I definitely have no worries about the dogs getting out since they can't stay close to the chain link long enough to even consider digging under it.

In my last house, we were under community restrictions which stated that the only fencing allowed was split rail (3 rail) -- a purely decorative form of fencing. For the dogs, I was allowed to add green landscaping (invisible) "chicken wire" type of mesh inside the split rail fence. The dogs could go through that at will (one did, but most honored the fencing). So I could never leave the dogs out in the yard unchaperoned. Wish I'd known about IF back then.

As to standing behind their product, I just upgraded all my collars to the new ones for $7.00 per collar, not the $185 as posted. They're a great outfit to deal with. These new collars are now guaranteed for 3 years instead of 1, have new microchips in them which are protected against the power surge caused by inserting a new battery which shorted out the older model sometimes. I found out about the upgrade when I did have a collar fail. So anybody with IF, do check into the upgrades .... it's really cheap right now.

-Margie and the Dallybeck girls (Virginia, USA)


BERNER-L Digest 350

Date: Tue, 25 Jun 1996 23:24:33 -0400 From: To: Subject: re: Invisible Fence

I read the recent posts concerning the merits of Invisible Fence and just had to post my own comments. Last year we needed to put a containment system around our 2 1/2 acres and opted for the "invisible" type because it's so much cheaper than real fencing, although we did not go with the Invisible Fence company; rather, we just purchased a kit through one of the discount dog products catalogs, and ended up spending $300 tops. My husband and my son laid out and dug the fence wire in one weekend. The system has worked beautifully, but I have to underscore what someone else brought up about the difference between a "zap" fence and a real one: other animals can get in! There's the problem with females in heat, of course, attracting males (Abbey's spayed now), skunks (spayed AND sprayed) and run-ins with deer (spayed, sprayed and scared stiff!). But just a few weeks ago, we had a different problem when our dainty little Abbey (18 mo.) killed three young raccoons! Now, the first raccoon was a surprise and since we didn't know the particulars surrounding the event, including the timing and nature of the fight, rabies was suspected (it's quite a problem around here and for those who don't know, raccoons are the foremost victims/carriers of the disease, at least in the northeast US). And, since it takes a few days to get raccoon autopsy results, and humans must begin the rabies vaccination series within 24 hours of exposure, we opted to be on the safe side and went for the shots (that's 6 of us- all of us are always hugging Abbey, putting our hands in her mouth, etc- you know how it is). A few days later we find out the raccoon was not rabid, but it was a scare. Then my husband finds two more young raccoons (probably from the same litter) dead in the yard. Well, raccoons would probably get into a yard even if it was fenced in physically, but I'm torn about the merits of this kind of fence. On the one hand, I can't say enought about the quality of life dogs have with this system: it is so wonderful!! But with all the rabies cases that come up in our town, it seems like only a matter of time that some rabid animal will come wandering through someday. Many of our neighbors have had run-ins. True, usually there's a vicious fight in most cases and the dog's owner would see signs of such on the dog, but there is the possibility that on a black dog, you might not, and a family member could touch blood or saliva and become infected, even without knowing it! (a young girl in a neighboring town died last year from rabies without knowing she had contacted any animal- they concluded it must have been a bat bite, though) I don't know. I hate the thought of putting up a pen for our doggie, and intellectually it does make more sense. As it is, though, we're sticking with watching her run free and happy. Once you've allowed it, you somehow can't go back- it is THAT wonderful. It satisfies my very soul to watch her beautiful independence. But I must warn future consumers to think about the particular area they live in and the wildlife that could get in their yard before they go with the "invisible" fence.

Karen G. Jordan ( Westport CT USA


BERNER-L Digest 378

Date: Wed, 24 Jul 1996 11:39:26 -0600 From: modine and thompson To: Subject: Re: invisible fencing

Hi Bev,

We've had a Radio Fence system for about four years. The collars meet your neighor's specifications and the company has an 800 number for customer support. When I've called with questions or in search of repairs, etc. the company has been very good.


Terry Thompson


BERNER-L Digest 379

Date: Thu, 25 Jul 1996 09:19:37 -0400 From: To: Subject: invisible fences

Bev Barney wrote the other day that her neighbors wanted an invisible fence sysyem for their 11 acres and black lab. The estimate was $1000,which they thought was too expensive.As a very good and old customer of Invisible Fence let me say that first, $1000. for 11 acres is very reasonable, but they could start with a smaller area and then add to it. Also,I called my dealer and the new collars R-21 are water- proof to 12 feet.After hearing so many horror stories of people including my next door neighbor in Nantucket,buying a system mail order or one that isn't the real"Invisible Fence" system and finding there is no one to service them,I strongly recommend that people buy the real thing ,I have never heard of another system that has nationwide coverage.My dealer also said that used systems,from people who are moving out of the country or not having dogs anymore can be found in papers like the Bargin News.People who are looking can advertise there also. If you really love your dog,go with the best,because it works and they work with you until the dog is trained.Their service is invaluable.The systems that I have heard people have bad luck with are Radio Fence, Freedom Fence,and Dog Watch! Maybe I should go to work for this company I seem to talk to people about it constantly! Tailwags , Daisy and the Gooseman


Date: Thu, 25 Jul 1996 15:46:49 -0400 From: To: Subject: Vitamin C?/Agility?/Brags!

Cookie, our one-year old bitch, gets a tablet of Vitamin C twice a day; it's helping her paws develop along conformation lines nicely. (Sound advice, Bev -- thanks!)

Hi there - in response to..............

My neighbor who complained about my dogs barking has just got a Lab. They came over to talk about invisible fencing as they just got an estimate of $1000 to install a system. The husband is very handy and knows electronics. They would like a system that covers 11 acres, has a water proof collar, protected from lightning and has good customer support. Any suggestions as to which system would be best for them to purchase? .................................................................

The "Invisible Fencing" Company offers a system that meets these criteria. (They also personally train the dogs to teach them the barriers) In fact, I met with them the other day and was quoted about $800 for parts and labor and we have less than 1/2 acre. The company comes highly recommended by everyone in our neighborhood, especially those who had to replace systems that they installed themselves! And guess what - there is a berner on the cover of their marketing literature!

Lori Phlamm


BERNER-L Digest 474

Date: Wed, 30 Oct 1996 08:16:29 -0500 From: Margie Reho To:, Subject: Re: Invisible Fencing

When I had my IF put in (I have it running in parallel with my 5' high black chain link ... I needed the IF to keep the girls from digging under the physical barrier), my IF people showed me the controls, we talked about the collars, then he went through the training program details. At that point, he stopped, looked at me, and said "you're not going to do this, are you?" I looked at him, smiled nicely, and replied "no". What we were discussing was their method of training -- the 5 day or whatever approach. Now keep in mind, I had 5 Berners at the time, and already had the physical barrier in place, so they couldn't jump through the field. Well, the guy laughed, and said that they were just experimenting with another training program for the really intelligent breeds (was he talking about dogs or smart-ass owners??). It's what I would have done the minute he left. The goal is to let the dogs get shocked, instead of just training nicely to the tone. We left the signal strength up to shocking level. We put each dog, in turn, on leash and walked them to whatever area they were prone to violate (two were digging under the fence, one was digging around trees, and two were digging back in a flower bed -- all these areas were now IF'd off). I walked them to their "area" where they've been verbally corrected before, before IF. As each got close to the "bad spot", the collars toned and shocked. I immediately pulled them toward the center of the yard, out of the field and praised them for coming. We then went over to do it again. All refused. We tried a couple other spots. After 5 minutes with all dogs except one, they knew what was going on. The only problem child was my Heike who is so devoted, that she would do anything, including die for me, I'm convinced. By having her on lead and taking her to where I wanted her to learn by being shocked, she was convinced she was supposed to stand there and tolerate it because I asked her and was controlling her with the leash. When I saw what was going on, I simply took the leash off -- she's always worked totally on verbal commands anyway and is totally reliable. So now she had, in her mind, freedom to make a choice. We went to some "bad spots" again, and when commanded, walked into the field, but this time, without the leash, as soon as she heard the tone, she jumped toward the center of the yard out of the field. She's really one of a kind!

Anyway, the dogs trained very easily and will not allow themselves to be shocked. But they will test the system periodically, so make sure those batteries are kept up to date!

-Margie and the Dallybeck girls (Virginia, USA)


BERNER-L Digest 500

Date: Mon, 25 Nov 1996 19:03:12 -0800 From: bob jones To: berner-l Subject: Re: Invisible Fencing... Cruel? and Berner Smells - Long

Hi Folks,

I'm writing this in response to Jane Kroeze' questions and concerns about Invisible Fencing.

My wife Susan and I have 3 Berners, Lucy age 6.5, Lea age 4.5 and Otis age 16 months. All 3 have been trained for Invisible Fencing.

I personally trained all 3 with a little phone support from the dealer. But before they got zap 1, I tried it on myself. I carried the collar across the line, contacts firmly pressed into my palm. I too had concerns about the strength of the shock. What I felt was very similar to a strong static shock. It was instantaneous and left no lingering effects - none. It wasn't pleasant but it certainly wasn't harmful.

Convinced that I wasn't going to injure or terrify Lucy,my new 8 month old pup, we started training. She did get zapped once and immediately retreated to the "safe zone" in the yard,exactly as she was trained to do. Training went according to the book and within one week I started to let her outside by herself for very short periods of time (15 minutes) The entire test was monitored from a window. She tested it a few times and got the warning tone, but never ventured across the line. She's been on the fence for 6 years now and has NEVER crossed the line.

Two years later we got Lea, also 8 months old and repeated the process and even though she was a little frightened by her one and only zap (for about an hour), she was very happy to have the freedom. To this day, 4 years later she has NEVER crossed the line.

Next came Otis, a big, strong willed boy (Lea's son) and we decided to train him at 4.5 months. WRONG! He just didn't get it, and got zapped twice without really understanding why. I didn't feel confident that he could be trusted. After talking to the dealer and Otis' obedience trainer (she's pro-IF) we decided to wait a month and try again. One month later with collar and leash, we got to it again, this time with great success. Now he is 16 months old, 110 lbs. and still a mallethead, but he has not been zapped nor has he broken through the fence.

Our feeling is that this system is worth it's weight in gold. Between the 3 of them over six years, they have only gotten the shock 5 times total. They love it. They are are able to move about and play and exersize with complete freedom. When they are chasing squirrels, cats and rabbits they come to a screaching halt when they get to the boundary.

We don't have an ugly fence in the middle of our tree lined yard and we don't have any fence maintenance.

The only drawbacks to IF ? It doesn't keep the neighborhood males away from your bitch in season and it doesn't keep the skunks out either. Also people walking by your home don't know that the dogs can't leave the yard. Our guys have scared the bejesus out of a few people strolling by. I'd suggest using the small yard sign supplied with the fencing.

Well, I guess you know how I feel about it. If you decide to get the fence, email me and I can pass along a few training tips that you won't get in the booklet.

Lastly, over the weekend I had too much time on my hands and decided to check the dogs for popcorn/taco/other food item smells and was dissapointed to find that they just smell like dogs. Is this a genetic defect? Wait 'till I talk to the breeder! (Just kidding L.)

Hope this all helped.

Bob and Susan & the free-to-do-what-we-want-outside-berners Lucy, Lea & Otis


BERNER-L Digest 503

Date: Thu, 28 Nov 1996 06:01:00 -0600 From: Polybytes To: Subject: Sad Invisible Fence Story

To all interested in or using a radio fence: our neighbor's Bouvier de Flanders (pardon my spelling if amiss) was recently struck by a car and killed while hot on the trail of a rabbit. Their invisible fence was functional, and the dog was collared, but in the heat of battle it bound straight through and into the street.

Larry Reeve


Date: Thu, 28 Nov 1996 10:33:35 -0600 (CST) From: Kevin and Marie Melanson To: Subject: Invisible Fencing

I'd like to play the devils advocate on the subject of invisible fencing. It seems to be very popular in our area. On our walks with Tilly we have become accustomed to apparently unrestrained dogs loose on their property. It still makes my heart skip a beat though when I see a large animal bearing down on us, only to stop a few feet short of the "invisible" fence. (It's invisible to me and Tilly too!). One neighbour has a large Rotty who greets us at his property line every day, barking and jumping a mere 20 feet away from the road. He obviously "tests" the perimeter in his excitement as he sometimes recoils back a few feet with a yelp. I can't help but wonder what would happen if his batteries run out (now THAT would make an interesting EVERREADY ad), or there is a power failure. I just hope I'm not walking by on that day. I understand that the principle of the fencing is to "train" the dog to respect the boundary, even if the collar is off. However, it is not unlike a dog to forget his training when aroused or excited.

We had considered installing one of these systems around our property until we realised that keeping Tilly on our property is only half of our concern. We also want to keep other animals out. We live in a rural area with bears and bobcats in addition to the odd stray. Unless we could find a way to "collar" the wildlife, the invisible fence would not provide any security. Give these devices a second thought, or, consider using them in conjunction with a physical fence. Remember, you owe it to your pets to keep them safe and under control - even when the batteries run out.

I'm sticking to wood.

Kevin Melanson Mission, BC.


Date: Thu, 28 Nov 1996 15:03:12 -0500 From: (Barbara Grasso) To: Subject: Re: Invisible Fencing

First...Happy Turkey Day! Congrats on 500!

I tried invisible fencing in the 70's when it first came out. ! I thought I would be able to fence in the perimeters of the property, have my dogs with me at the barn and not worry about someone taking off. It was a dream come true!? Right? WRONG! Well........I had 4 dogs-2 Rotties, 1 Berner, and a field trial English Pointer. The English Pointer--if you have not experienced it, there is nothing more exciting than going out horseback and watching your dog work....that point is a thrill to see! Sara was a great house pet...but once out the door the only way I could catch her was to get in the car, start the engine and honk the horn. She thought she was going to a trial. The invisible fence started to curtail her natural instincts. We did manage to rank number 1 puppy that year -only without the invisible fence on. The two Rotties. What can I say. Natural territorial animals with a high drive instinct. The last thing I would now trust is invisible fencing! My gal (with the collar on) would get a running start, run thru the fence knowing she would get zapped. If she saw me come outside she would run back on to the property getting zapped again. My Berner gal....I gave up. Her coat was so thick she never even knew there was an invisible fence. No matter how tight the collar was she would walk right through the line. I also had a good size area in the back yard "properly" fenced in to use if someone was in season or for puppies to romp safely . One morning I put my gal in there, closed the gate, sat on the fence with my coffee waiting for her to exercise and potty, looked up and there is this St. Bernard in with her. Panic!! It is amazing the strength one has during an adrenalin surge. Grabbing this drooling St. in one hand and my gal in the other, I somehow managed to get her out. Mr. St. had traveled quite some distance, waited in the large dog house all night just for my gal. His owners (several miles away) were quite proud of their boy's nose! Lessons learned very quickly:................. The fencing was for my convenience and not my pets. It did not keep anything OUT! And in my case, not much IN. Learned that proper care and safety of my dogs included those on the other side of the invisible fence. Learned a little more respect for other breeds and their diversities in behavior. AND it gave "ME" a false sense of security. ( Legally I doubt one would have any defense for relying on the invisible fence...especially if a child walked through and was bitten.) My current fencing - the back yard is fenced with four board wood fencing, strong mesh wire on the inside and one string of electric wire on the top for climbers and one on the bottom for diggers. It's cheaper, safer for all concerned, asthetically appealling and I sleep at night without worrying! And the kids don't walk around with crazy collars on. Just another opinion. PS. One English Pointer was enough for a life time.

Barbara Grasso & The DeGrasso Kids Berners & Rotts in Virginia, USA


BERNER-L Digest 2850

Subject: Re: electric fence (long) Date: Wed, 29 Nov 2000 07:21:38 EST From: To:,

In a message dated 11/28/2000 8:49:57 AM Eastern Standard Time, writes:

<< But we have a creek on our property and traffic in our village is steady and I am concerned what is the best approach to give Zermatt some freedom to play or roam confined to our property yet not be harmed. >>

I'm sure you'll receive lots of differering opinions on the invisible some it is just plain cruel, some dogs are too soft for it..others too hard. It won't keep other animals or people (children) out, etc. Some people find it suits their needs to a T. I do believe that if you decide it's the best option, it's STRONGLY advised thaat you go with the Invisible Fence Company rather than the mail-order, pet supply store versions.

I'd like to mention a different angle... **NOW** is the time to teach your puppy to stay with you (off leash). You have a short window of opportunity while they're very young when they instinctively look to you for guidance and they don't want to loose you. Think about it this way, for a baby in the wild, survival depends on the protection of Mom and the pack leader...that's now you. They may get distracted momentarily but if Mom's not there when they look up...they get very concerned and immediately search for her. Use this to your advantage.

Hook a long line to your puppy's collar. A long line is a loooong web leash, usually cotton...when they're small you can use any kind of rope but as they get bigger the flat leash is easier to handle. The long line gives you something to grab or step on on if he's headed for trouble.

Take him out in the yard or preferably, some woods. Let go of the leash, let him check things out for a minute...then squat down, clap your hands, call his name in a bright-happy voice...he should come running back to you. As soon as he even looks in your direction, tell him what a goood boy he is...happy-happy...when he get to you play and give him a yummy treat...make a big deal out of how brilliant he is and how thrilled you are that he came to you. The goal here is for the puppy to find YOU more rewarding & interesting than all those great smells and leaves and sticks.

If he doesn't run towards you, get up and run in the OPPOSITE direction from him. He'll come running after you...when he gets to you and is looking for you to acknowledge him, praise him and let him know that you're glad he decided to join you....but it's not a BIG deal like when he comes to your call.

As you walk through the woods, do the above off and on. At some points, you'll find puppy gets really absorbed in what HE'S doing and has totally forgotten about YOU. That's when you use his instincts to teach him that he MUST be aware of you at all times and NOT go too far astray. Here's how...

If you're walking down a woodland path and puppy gets totally absorbed in something, you DISAPPEAR! Poof! You're gone! Hide where you can see the puppy but he can't see you, you'll be amazed. After a few minutes he'll tire of whatever caught his attention, he'll pick up his head and expect to see you right where he left you. "Uh-Oh...she's GONE! On no, I gotta find her...." and he'll start heading down one path or another looking for you. Let him get a bit stressed (NOT panicked!...just focused concern), then call out from your hiding place "find me". You may have to repeat it and help him to find you. When he does, praise him for "good find" and merrily go back to your walk. Repeat whenever you feel puppy is not keeping you in mind.

Likewise, if pup's out ahead of you when you come to a fork in the path, don't call him back and wait for him...just go the way YOU want to go...make it HIS RESPONSIBILITY to keep track of YOU. Obviously you may have to stop and wait for him to figure out what's happened, but let it be his realization that he's gotten himself separated.

All of this is best done with young puppies, BEFORE they start feeling their oats and think they're hot stuff.

I'd love to hear how others raise their dogs so they can go off leash in the appropriate setting and how you do boundry training. My yard is fenced so I don't have a clue!

Sherri Venditti


Subject: Re: Invisible fences Date: Wed, 29 Nov 2000 09:03:18 EST From: To:

I vote yes. no dimpled "chads" here. About a year ago while washing my van, I turned around and Bentley our almost two yr. Berner at the time was gone. In two seconds he had disappeared off our 11 acres. I searched everywhere. It was so frightening as all of you can imagine. After driving around country roads for 45 minutes, here he comes down the driveway panting happily, proud of his adventure. I also have two girls who stay put. No treats for Bentley that day.

I called for an estimate on placing an Invisible fence on four acres. All human activities are carried on in this space. We had it installed, did the weeks training and it has been very successful. I also did not like the part of letting the dogs be "zapped" once during the final training. (I made my husband handle that part), but every time I started to think about backing out of this deal I thought of all the things that ran throug my mind the day he escaped. We have not had any dogs wander in, and they still chase the cats, but stop in plenty of time to avoid even the signal. ( The cats have learned exactly where the shortest distance to the nearest flags are.

Of course, we never leave them outside unless we're home, and also remove the collars when they are crated, in the van or in the house. You still have to supervise, but slowly but surely, you relax and enjoy their freedom. They get alot more exercise now, and we left the pond open for their access. Small pond but their favorite place in warm weather.

The expense was hefty, but again really worth it. We found the trainers (2) to be very professional and although they had never trained Berner's they were amazed at how fast they caught on with just the "sound" warning. We weren't surprised of course, but that's why when we have friends tell us "pretty soon you won't have to use the collars" we just smile and say " yes we will". All of us know how fast a berner would catch on to that trick.

The only draw back for us is, we show our dogs and the collars do leave a color mark on their necks which is extremely difficult to turn sparkling white after a swim. But again, I'm willing to brush and clean. Anyway, Bentley is happy, as well as the girls and that's more important Right? Sue Ann - Bentley - Caddy - & Lexy


BERNER-L Digest 2852

Subject: RE: Invisible Fence Date: Wed, 29 Nov 2000 16:33:31 -0500 From: "Melissa Zebley, DVM" To:

Just wanted to add a few thoughts on invisible fencing. While I don't have it myself, over the years on the berner-l, everytime it comes up, we get a lot of folks who have used both IF and other brands all saying stick with IF. Second, IMO, the very best use for invisible fencing is in conjunction with a more solid barrier - though if you're using invisible fencing, that "more solid barrier" may be a picturesque 3 foot picket fence, rather than a "real" fence that might actually hold your dog inside. The solid barrier makes it much less likely that your dog will break free in a moment of haste AND less likely that another animal or person will accidently invade your guy's territory. The invisible fencing will make it highly unlikely that your dog will go either over or under the other barrier, even if he could easily do so without the invisible fence. Third, when setting up your invisible fence, give your dog an "anti- escape route". In other words, give your dog a way to get home should he or she get outside the fencing. If you're only fencing the back and/or side areas of your house, this is not a problem. But if your planning to fence your entire yard (or all around the house), I recommend leaving a "path" from outside the fencing to the house - either the driveway or the path to the front door or both. This not only gives him a way to get back to you should he escape, it also gives you a routine route to use when taking him off your property, so you don't have to worry about removing the collar, turnign of the system, or "tricking" him by always putting him in the car to cross the fenceline so he doesn't realize he can walk across it. But you do have to keep this free zone in mind, so he doesn't manage to bolt out the if someone leaves the front door or garage door open.

Melissa Melissa, Aylen, Tyra and Orry Granite Falls, NC Homepage: BEHAF Homepage:


BERNER-L Digest 2853

Subject: Re: invisible fence - opinions? Date: Thu, 19 Jul 2001 10:11:50 -0400 From: Molly Bass To: CC:

Personally I am against invisible fence for several reasons:

1. It does not keep other animals out of YOUR yard, only attempts to keep your animals in the yard. 2. Does not provide a physical barrier to protect your animals. 3. Cannot be locked - we had a rash of dog lefts in the area and it was nice knowing I could lock my gaits and add protection to the dogs. (Thieves could not open gaits and hope the dogs just run out) The dogs are not out when I am not home but these thieves were pretty bold. 4. It does not deter wildlife - we have coyotes in the area and they are less likely to jump a physical 4' fence than run across a yard. 5. The dogs cannot go outside without collars - my dogs never wear collars anyway. 6. Cannot plant vines and gardens along the fence line. 7. Cannot let puppies out to play - if you have a litter and want them to experience the outdoors when they are old enough - it is nice to have a fenced area for their protection. Granted, they should not be left unsupervised but better to be safe...

8. and best reason of all - hahah - when your cousin shows up with a horse on her way through town, you can't turn it out in your yard if you have invisible fencing!

I put in a heavy stock fencing backed with "pig" wire. The dogs have about an acre to roam - woods, grass, trees, etc. The wire is small enough it seems to keep the skunks and ground hogs out of the yard although it is low enough I know the deer can clear it easily - grrrr..... It deters the bears, coyotes, and bob cats, but I have a seen a few rabbits say "oops" and take off through the taller grass. I see squirrels periodically, and lots of birds.

An interesting thing is the deer know the dogs cannot get out and will graze in the overgrown gulley behind the house, just outside the fence line. Sometimes the dogs will chase them along the fence, most times they just look at each other and decide it's not worth the effort.

My neighbors have also put in physical fencing for the same reasons and we all seem to love it! Molly and the gang Charlottesville, VA - you can sort of see the fencing on the right side of the house photos


Subject: Re: invisible fence - opinions? Date: Thu, 19 Jul 2001 13:28:49 -0400 From: "Eileen Morgan" To: CC:

From: Molly Bass

Personally I am against invisible fence for several reasons:

While I agree with all that, my parents used it very sucessfully with two collies. Regular fence was not allowed in the community, and this allowed the dogs far more time out and exercise than otherwise would have happened.

In the specific situation we are talking about here, where someone has a dog in a townhouse and there is NO possibility of her having a solid fence, I think an invisible fence might be something to look into next spring, when the pup is old enough for it. This would allow the dog to run more freely when people were out interacting with him.

The cavaet would be, no unsupervised trips outside should really happen. You don't want him out alone and bored, because then he might get himself into trouble by crossing the line and then not coming back b/c of the shock, or something else might come into the yard and he would be unable to escape. For play sessions, picnics, etc., an invisible fence can be a really nice saftey net.

My parents kept collies in the invisible fence with no problems for years. They always removed the collars when the dogs were in (very important) and they also followed the directions for training and use of the fence to the letter.

I don't care for it and have a six foot chain link at my house, but, I also have no zone or landlord issues to resolve. Eileen Morgan The Mare's Nest


Subject: Re: invisible fence - opinions? Date: Thu, 19 Jul 2001 10:13:55 -0500 From: "Ruth Reynolds" To: CC:


This is a very controversial subject which has been visited on several occasions by Berner-L'ers. Basically, in a nutshell:

Those who like invisible fences usually have had personal experience with them and find them adequate to contain their dogs. Very few, if any, of these individuals have had incidences of fence failure which have resulted in tragedy. Neither have proponents had significantly harmful nor negative experiences with intruders.

Those who are opponents of the invisible fencing option find these shortcomings significant:

1) IF's do not present a physical barrier to intruders to the dog's territory he might defend 2) IF's do not present a physical barrier to the dog(s) they are designed to contain

Here's one of the stories that clenched my waivering on the subject.

The Berner awoke from his nap under the porch to find a strange man in a uniform holding a large object banging on his owner's front door. The substitute delivery person arrived after hours during the holidays and didn't notice the invisible fence sign staked in the ground as he walked up the sidewalk. The dog grabbed the courier's leg, inflicting a bite to hold him.

As require by his company, the courier had to report the dog bite. It was the dog's second offense. He was confiscated and destroyed by law enforcement officials.

Most perimeter physical barrier fences do not contain dogs who want to scale or dig under them. The truth is, most Berners want to stay home. The truth also is, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. My suggestion to you is that you discern what you believe to be the safest means of containment you can provide for your dog...and provide it.

Ruth Reynolds


BERNER-L Digest 2853

Subject: RE: invisible fence - opinions? Date: Thu, 19 Jul 2001 17:32:02 -0400 From: "Nancy Melone" To: "Sylvia" ,

To follow up on Sylvia's comments on Invisible Fence. You are advised by the IF people NOT to leave your dogs out in your yard when you are gone or cannot check on them.

I am not permitted to have a physical fence where I live, therefore I have an IF. I know that this "solution" is controversial among many Berner people. I can to it reluctantly, too, so I wanted to know what it felt like. Before I put the IF collar on my dogs, I put it on myself to see how the the signal felt. It feels like the little jolt that you get when you touch your TV in the winter when you have a wool sweater on -- sort of like static electricity -- not terribly painful, but darned annoying.

I use an IF on about 3 acres of my land. I have been very happy with it. I paid for the 6-hour battery back up because our power fluctuates fairly regularly (when your power goes off (without a battery), your fence goes off). My fence is set at the very lowest of 7 levels possible -- my dog's chase birds -- and do it within my IF. They have NEVER strayed -- even when there are deer, wild turkey, etc. outside their range. They know the range -- which was a bit of a problem, when I moved the fence to expand it. My older dog just would not go into the new area until I spent some time teaching her that it was okay (at this point, she responds primarily to the audible warning (never triggering the physical warning) and by teaching her that there was no warning sound, I was finally able to get her to use the extra yard).

I spent the required time training my first dog (a female). She trained my second dog (a male) in a rather interesting process which I did watch. I have seen him and her test the fence once -- both when they were puppies at a location where they could have been confused. Since, I don't shave my dogs' necks and they have gobs of hair, I am not even sure that they would feel anything if they walked over the wire (the metal studs on the collar must touch the animal's skin to be felt). They just don't leave the yard anymore.

Of course, my dogs have a pretty good life here, so they would be absolutely nuts to run away! :-)

Nancy P. Melone


BERNER-L Digest 2853

Subject: Re: invisible fence - opinions? Date: Thu, 19 Jul 2001 20:25:44 -0700 From: "Neens" To: "Sylvia" ,

Kim -

Don't have the dog - or the fence yet... BUT - have some info to share...

1. neighbors across the street with the psycho golden retreiver (great dog - just crrrraaazzzy) move in with crazy dog... 1 week later, install fence. Fence obviously isn't turned on, as crazy dog woke me up howling in my garage. Apparently he'd fallen asleep under the truck when I shut the door... A phone call and some yummies later - I deposited him on HIS front steps into the grateful hands of his owner. Two days later, the fence guy arrived to begin the training... See crazy dog all the time.. hehehe He knows me...knows I'm always good for bite of goodies (I treat him when his mom has him out) but won't come NEAR the edge of that yard. Now, Mr. Crazy woof doesn't wear a collar. He just knows that the perimeter of the yard ain't the place to be... the inside of the yard is where the action is...

2. During my dog search, and dog paraphenalia search, I queried a close friend who is a 30 odd year experienced dog person. She LOVES her IF!!! Here's her example story... She adopts two retired racing greyhounds. WOOOOOONNNNDerful sweeties! Installs fence on one acre of their five. Deer jump the fence, deer nibble the flowers... deer jump back over the fence - dog stops at the edge... BUT - once, immediately after fence installation - deer jumped in the yard, and back out... the dogs chased - sorta got in that greyhound sight/race/run zone, and ran so fast, they flew across that electronic fence w/o a peep. No buzz no yelp no flinch! Well, once on the other side, they realized they'd gone out of the yard, and stopped (could they possibly have been obeying their mom's frantic hollering to come BACK?). They wouldn't come back in the yard, because they knew what would happen... and didn't want to be subject to the wrath of the IF!

Terry had to go BACK in the house for the leashes, and walk them AROUND the perimeter to the driveway... Three years have since passed, and no other breakouts have occurred. Good doggies!

Neither of the above leave their dog unattended for extended periods... Both have "runs" where the dog can access that run area at any time via a pooch door in the wall of the garage. That way, the dog has outside privileges while the owners are gone, yet the dog is also safe from dog-napping, biting, poorly trained children, etc.

And to Sylvia in Tucson - your fence sounds goooorgeous - but being from Texas, I do NOT envy the reason you have that fence! Friends in Laredo have a fence made from 1/4" hardware cloth that's been set into a 4" high, 6" wide curb of cement. It surrounds a play area for their kids - so the kids can play outside safely.... and oh yeah... the fence is 6' tall... and has a flat metal shelf on it... them's some determined rattlers!