Because I have nearly a one acre lot, I have had an electric fence. Barney was able to tell when it wasn't working. Chief has the same ability. Bella, on the other hand, has mastered the psychological barrier concept and won't cross it. But this weekend with the recent thaw and re-freezing apparently, a wire broke, breaking the fence. An alarm sounded on the unit, but the fence guy wasn't able to come until Monday. I left their collars on, hoping for the best. Bella, good girl that she is, never tried to leave. Chief, yep, after 24 hours, he figured out that the warning sounds weren't sounding, and sure enough, he cross the forbidden line into freedom. In the 2 minutes I wasn't watching him, he made his break. I searched the yard and the neighbors' yards. My youngest saw paw prints in the fresh snow going around the house. I asked him to get his brother to help. While I ran around the other side, my oldest son spotted Chief out the front windows strolling down the street. He ran to the door and called him inside. Saving me from further anxiety as I cried, running down the street, calling for Chief. Fortunately, the fence was fixed today. Now Chief doesn't need to go out on a leash each time to do his business, and I don't have to tramp through the snow to take him. Crisis averted.
So while an electric fence is not fool-proof, it is effective on nearly all dogs who are properly trained, and who have working collars and fences. It actually is the best option for Bella who is a big digger and would probably dig under a regular fence.