Buried electronic fencing is a wonderful tool for boundary training a dog. It is not, in and of itself, the answer to dog control. Whippet owners using buried electronic fencing should be aware of the following cautions:
1. Buried electronic fencing does not offer 100% safety for your dog. It does not prevent the dog from leaving the yard if the temptation outside the boundary is worth the shock. For example, if a Whippet sees a squirrel which then begins running away, the Whippet is highly motivated to give chase, ignoring the shock as it passes the boundary line. The squirrel goes up a tree and the Whippet is now "stuck" outside the fence. There is no motivation to return home which exceeds the aversiveness of the shock
2. With a dog that is very quick, the dog can run so fast that it can cross the line almost simultaneously with the shock. For example, a Whippet is running laps around the yard, very fast, and approaches the boundary. The warning buzz is quickly followed by shock, but the Whippet is moving too fast to avoid crossing the line. The Whippet is again "stuck" outside the fence.
3. A wandering dog, a child, or even a rabid animal can easily enter your yard. A Whippet's natural instinct is to choose flight over fight, but your Whippet is now "stuck" inside the fence with a dangerous predator or a harassing child. The fence seriously limits the dog's available avoidance responses.
4. If you are planning to course or race your dog, a buried electronic fence may create a special training problem. Dogs who live behind buried electronic fencings do not develop the concept that they can run freely as fast as they wish in open areas without visible obstructions. Such dogs may be afraid to run the course because they have learned that there are no visual cues associated with the shock from buried electronic fencing.
The wise owner of buried electronic fencing uses it to control the dog while under the owner's supervision. It should not be used in the owner's absence as a reliable form of protection either for the dog or for the neighbor's property or children. Too many owners have sad stories to tell of Whippets which were hit by cars, nipped a neighbor's child, or ran away when buried electronic fencing was relied on.
That said, it should also be noted that NO fence should be relied on for dog-sitting in the owner's absence. An unsupervised Whippet is only truly safe inside the house or in a closed dog run.