My morning running route takes me along the sidewalk in front of a property that is home to a very territorial, very big dog. Despite the fact that I’ve been doing this run almost every day for the past couple years, the dog still charges in my direction, barking furiously.

Fortunately, they have an invisible fence.

Or so I assume. There aren’t actually any signs or posting indicating that such a fence is present (as there should be), but the dog stops its advance at or near the same invisible line every time.

Today I saw an announcement that Woodstream Corporation has recently introduced the Havahart Above Ground Electric Fence Kit for dogs and small animals.

Neither above ground nor below ground fences are anything new. Both solutions have been around for some time, but I got to thinking about the merits of one over the other and wondered which I would choose if I owned a dog.

While the invisible fence is great aesthetically, the dog has to forever wear the special collar and the fence is only good for the dog that is wearing the collar. Other dogs and animals are not confined or kept out by the fence.

The above ground fence, on the other hand, will keep any dog in and any dog or animal out. It’s not the most pleasing thing to look at and I don’t think I’d want this thing lining the perimeter of my yard, but I can see its use in a garden setting to shock any would-be munchers of flowers and vegetables. It would also protect my dog from any aggressive neighborhood strays.

When my dad and his twin brother were toddlers, their mother used to leash them to a tree in the yard to keep them from wandering away and swatting the heads off of neighbors’ flowers. True story. I can only imagine my grandmother would have installed the invisible fence and collared my poor dad and uncle had this technology been available back then.

I’m not advocating any parent adopt this method of child control, by the way. I think shocking a dog is already bordering on the cruel. Doing it to a small child is grounds for intervention by Child Services.

Which type of fence would you prefer?