Frequently Asked Questions

So you want to enjoy the relaxation of your yard and not worry about your dog escaping, but traditional chain link or wooden fencing can be financially difficult or your neighborhood may not allow above ground fences. So what do you do? An invisible dog fence may be your next best friend.

Do invisible dog fences work? If you train your dog with the pet fence properly, invisible dog fences have a great success rate. The problem is most people do not select or install their pet fences correctly, or take the time to properly train their pets.

How does an invisible dog fence work?

For an in-ground wire dog fence, there is wire that is connected to a transmitter that resides inside your house or garage. This wire is buried around the area in your yard you want to allow your pet access to. The wire emits a signal, 360 degrees around the wire, to the electronic dog collar that beeps if the dog gets too close to the wire. If the dog continues past through the zone, he will receive a correction. When a dog is properly trained, he will learn to go back towards the house when he hears the beep.

There are also wireless dog fence systems. These work in a similar fashion to the in-ground type, but the boundary area is established by an energy field emitted from the transmitter rather than a buried wire. This field has a range specified by the product model. When the dog moves to close to the limits of the field, a beep and eventually a correction are given in the same fashion as the in-ground pet fence models. The great advantage of an outdoor wireless fence for dogs is that it is portable. So you can take it with you if you move or if you bring your dog on vacation. The best wireless dog fence on the market is the PetSafe Instant Fence PIF-300. This wireless fence has been around for a few years, but it is still the most popular, and the most reliable outdoor wireless fence.

Where can I install the wire?

The great part about an underground fence is that you can place the underground wire under flowerbeds, driveways, go around trees, down steep lots, and even run it underwater! Product models contain detailed instructions about how to install the wire in these environments.

What fence system should I buy?

There are a few really important things you should look for in the system you ultimately select. One of the most important features is having an adjustable signal field level and knowing how to properly adjust it. The signal field is what controls the distance from the boundary wire where the collar gives a warning beep. Many of the horror stories you hear about dogs running away is that people have the signal field set at only 3 feet from the wire. That only makes the signal field 6 feet long and 3 feet high (remember the signal is 360 degrees around the wire).

Many dogs can jump that and at high speeds it’s really nothing to discourage the dog. It is recommended that you set the signal as far back from the wire as your property allows, minimally set the signal back 6-8 feet from the wire. If you set the signal field at 8 feet then the correction zone is 8 feet high and 16 feet wide. Most dogs will not test that kind of correction.

The differences between “good, better, and best” dog fences are generally related to the:

  • size of the area the system can support
  • collar size, weight, & durability
  • correction strength
  • technology used by the collar to address the size, weight, and stubbornness of the dog

Additional features you should be aware of that are offered on a few select models of dog fence systems are:

Rechargeable batteries

Given that most manufacturers recommend changing the dog fence collar battery every 3 to 6 months, they can become quite expensive.
Pet fence systems for multiple pets. PetSafe offers multiple styles of collars that all work on most of their Fence systems. So if you have a timid dog and a stubborn dog or even a cat, they can all use the same underground dog fence system and each will wear a different collar style.

Anti-linger feature that works well for smart dogs that have figured out if they stand in the warning zone long enough, they can wear out the battery. After the battery is dead, your pet can leave the yard with no possibility of static correction.

A waterproof transmitter that can be mounted outside

These features will vary by brand and by model. Often, dog fence systems are provided as bundled kits with everything you require. You may still need to purchase additional accessories like extra wire, flags, and sod staples if you plan to install in a larger area than what is provided for by the kit; and extra collars if you have multiple pets. Most standard kits include enough wire and flags for about 1/4 of an acre.

What type of extra wire should I buy if the standard wire amount included isn’t enough?

The great thing about pet fence wire is that any type of pet fence wire can be used with any system. So you don’t need to use PetSafe wire with your PetSafe dog fence. When selecting additional wire for your pet fence system, thicker is always better. The thicker the dog fence wire, the less likely a wire break will occur. 20 gauge wire, which typically comes standard with most pet fence systems, is on the thinner side, and as the gauge decreases, the thickness increases. So, for example, 18 gauge wire is thicker than 20 gauge wire. The best wire on the market is the High Tech Ultra wire. It is 3 times thicker than 18 gauge wire and is engineered specifically for pet fences.

How do I install a DIY dog fence?

The wire needs to make a complete circle around the area you want to allow the dog to freely roam. Where the wire ends meet, you twist the wires to cancel the signal and then run the twisted part to the transmitter in your house or garage. That allows your dog a free zone all the way around the house. You can also use this twisting wire method to fence out gardens, landscaping, etc. In some places you will need to bury the wire, put the wire through a water hose (such as with underwater installation), and sometimes just attach it to a surface such as an existing fence.

Do not use garden hose with a metallic reinforcement or lining as that would block the signal. Most electric pet fence systems include detailed installation information and videos. Adjust the signal field by taking a charged collar and walking toward the wire. Set the pet fence boundary flags in the ground when you hear the collar beep. Adjust the button if the beep happens too close or too far from the line. Continue this around the entire containment area setting your flags.