MSPCA-Angell Headquarters

350 South Huntington Avenue, Boston, MA 02130
(617) 522-7400
Email Us

Angell Animal Medical Centers – Boston

350 South Huntington Avenue, Boston, MA 02130
(617) 522-7282
More Info

Angell West

293 Second Avenue, Waltham, MA 02451
(781) 902-8400
For on-site assistance (check-ins and pick-ups):
(339) 970-0790
More Info

Angell at Essex

565 Maple Street, Danvers, MA 01923
(978) 304-4648
More Info

Animal Care and Adoption Centers – Boston

350 South Huntington Avenue, Boston, MA 02130
(617) 522-5055
More Info

Animal Care and Adoption Centers – Cape Cod

1577 Falmouth Road, Centerville, MA 02632
(508) 775-0940
More Info

Animal Care and Adoption Centers – Nevins Farm

400 Broadway, Methuen, MA 01844
(978) 687-7453
More Info

Animal Care and Adoption Centers – Northeast Animal Shelter

347 Highland Ave., Salem, MA 01970
(978) 745-9888
More Info

Donate Now


More Ways to Donate

From an online gift to a charitable gift annuity, your contribution will have a significant impact in the lives of thousands of animals.

Electronic Dog Containment Systems

The MSPCA-Angell strongly urges owners to appropriately supervise their dog’s outdoor activity. There are many reasons for this, including concern for the health and safety of the dog and to prevent the dog from becoming a nuisance, unintended breeding, and interactions with other domestic animals and wildlife.

Electronic dog containment systems are designed to confine dogs to a defined area without the use of traditional fence structures. They are marketed as less expensive and easier to install than traditional fences. As a result, they are often chosen for aesthetic or financial reasons or to comply with zoning restrictions. However, the MSPCA-Angell has concerns that electronic dog containment systems are not always adequate nor are they the most appropriate restraining device for dogs.

All of these dog containment systems work by delivering an aversive stimulus when the dog wearing the collar approaches or breaches a preset boundary. The intention is for the dog to learn to avoid the correction by staying away from the boundary and, therefore, remain in the defined area.

Although some dog owners report that these systems have been successful in restricting their dogs to a desired area, the MSPCA-Angell has several concerns about their use. These concerns are:

  1. Dogs may have a fearful reaction to the aversive stimulus. The training process may be stressful and painful for the dog. Significant training is required to insure that these systems will work as effectively and humanely as possible. Some dogs may be traumatized and distressed by the training and use of such systems, even when appropriate training methods are used.
  2. Even after appropriate training, a dog may at times be highly motivated and ignore the training and cross the barrier in pursuit of prey species, a dog in heat, a stranger, or another animal visible from the property. In addition, once dogs have been motivated to cross the barrier in this manner, with some systems they will be unlikely to cross back through the boundary (and sustain yet another correction) to return to the yard. Also, if the dog is compelled to go through the barrier by something outside the barrier (such as a dog, person, or child) the correction the dog receives may become associated with what the dog is seeing at the time. This can have the unfortunate effect of causing the dog to behave in a threatening manner in the future to keep others away in order to avoid the correction.
  3. Because these systems lack visual barriers, it is possible for children and adults to wander into the dog’s boundary area. If a confined dog has a strong sense of territoriality, the dog may react aggressively to this intrusion. In addition, these systems do not prevent interactions with free-roaming domestic animals or wildlife, in contrast to traditional fencing.


Because of these risks and deficiencies, the MSPCA-Angell believes that such electronic dog containment systems are inadequate to meet the full range of requirements for complete and humane restraint, and therefore discourages their use.

If such systems are used, we strongly encourage careful assessment of the dog’s behavioral response to the initial training as well as of the dog’s ongoing reactions to such a system. If the dog shows any sign of fear, aggression and/or a proclivity for escape, a veterinary or certified applied animal behaviorist should be consulted, and the use of the containment system should be discontinued.