Virtual Fencing - past, present and future

TitleVirtual Fencing - past, present and future
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2007
AuthorsAnderson D.M.
JournalThe Rangeland Journal
Date PublishedJune 15, 2007
ARIS Log Number196640
Keywordsanimal tracking, biotelemetry systems, Directional Virtual Fencing, dog training collars, DVFTM, electronic fences, Global Positioning System, GPS
AbstractVirtual fencing is a method of controlling animals without ground based natural or man made structures. Control occurs by altering an animal's behavior through one or more sensory cues administered to the animal after it has attempted to penetrate an electronically generated 2-dimensional boundary. This boundary can be any geometrical shape, and though unseen by the eye, is detected by an electronic computer system worn by the animal. Autonomous programmable systems use an electronic signal, most commonly from the Global Positioning System (GPS) of satellites that emit electronic signals in the radio frequency (RF) range. Algorithms within a Geographic Information System (GIS) within the computer system worn by the animal use these data to determine if a cue should be applied and if so what cue(s), where on the body the cues should be applied and for how long. The first commercial virtual fencing system, patented in 1973 for controlling domestic dogs, was successfully used in 1987 to contain goats in the first experiment to control livestock using virtual fencing. Since then researchers using commercial as well as custom designed systems have successfully demonstrated that virtual fencing can successfully hold as well as move livestock over the landscape (proof-of-concept). Commercial virtual livestock control systems do not yet exist; however, research in Australia and the United States continues toward this goal. Pending research needs relating to this method of animal control are discussed in light of the currently available technologies.