An electric dog fence or invisible dog fence is a wired and powered fence that’s placed underground. It creates a real fence for your dog via a collar the dog wears. When they cross the boundary, it jolts the invisible fence collar. The dog will be warned that they’re approaching that boundary through vibrations in the collar.
Benefits of an electric dog fence include total freedom in how you lay it out as long as you can power it and not having to put up a visible fence to contain your pets. Nor can your dog dig under it to escape. If you want to know how to install an electric dog fence, we’ll explain the best way to do so.
Do Your Homework
Mark your utility lines before you start digging to install an electric dog fence. For example, mark underground gas lines, sewer lines and sprinkler lines. You don’t want the dog fence to be cut up by someone repairing a water main. Furthermore, the dog fence’s performance is undermined if it is too close to a metal pipe. Consider running the dog fence parallel to these utility lines but at least three feet away. If you have to cross the utility line, that’s all right as long as it is for a brief space. Ask the neighbors if they have a dog fence before you lay your own, since there should be six to ten feet between your dog fence and theirs.
Mark Where You’ll Install the Dog Fence
Once you know where the utility lines are, mark where you want to install the dog fence. Creating straight lines before you dig the trench or holes where the dog fence will be installed minimizes your digging. It also minimizes how much wire you’ll have to lay out. Round the corners of the dog fence. This prevents sharp corners that could kill the signal from the dog fence. This is your last chance to decide if there is anywhere you don’t want the dog to have access, whether it is preventing the dog from digging in the rose garden or being able to approach the mail box. You may also want to keep the dog away from the hot tub or swimming pool.
Once you’ve marked the area, get the precise length of the path. This will tell you how much wire you’ll need when laying the dog fence. Also calculate the size of the area, since the transmitters involved often cover a set area. This ranges from a third of an acre to 500 acres. This is a good time to decide where you’ll want the transmitter located. It shouldn’t be near any source of electrical interference such as your wireless router, power breaker, or appliances. The transmitter should be indoors, though, to protect it from the elements. It should also be grounded. This protects it from mild interference and from being shorted out due to power fluctuations in the power grid.
Buy the Necessary Hardware
Now you can buy the necessary hardware for the dog fence. This includes the transmitter, dog collar and wire. Most dog fence sets come with the wire and transmitter. Verify that the transmitter covers the area within the fence perimeter. And ensure that you have enough wire for the fence perimeter. You can improve the electrical protection for the dog fence transmitter by buying a surge protector for it to plug into.
Lay the Wire along the Marked Perimeter
Lay the wire along the marked boundary. Verify that you have enough wire at this point, before you start digging. Don’t twist the wire, since this could interfere in the signal it generates. Don’t wrap the wire around the flags for the same reason. Do connect the wire to the transmitter. Carry the collar along the boundary, ensuring that it works at multiple locations. After all, you don’t want to dig a trench and bury the wire only to learn the transmitter, wire or collar don’t work. Don’t wear the collar yourself or put it on the dog while doing this test. It should make a noise to inform you when it is working.
You’ll dig the trench 3 to 12 inches deep. You don’t want the trench more than a foot deep, since the additional soil will interfere in the signal it produces. However, if it isn’t deep enough, the wire will be exposed to the elements after the area is walked on or when the soil shifts; that could break the circuit. Burying the wire also ensures that you won’t accidentally cut it with the lawnmower. After you dig the trench, you can lay the wire. Then cover it with dirt.
Once the wire is buried, test it again. Verify that the collar picks up the signal along the perimeter. This gives you the opportunity to excavate the spots where the wire is too deep and fix the problem before the dog discovers the gap in the invisible fence.
Train Your Dog
Once the fence is in place, it is time to train your dog. Don’t let them just run outside, hit the new electronic barrier and be literally shocked by the discovery. Attach the collar to the dog. Let it be comfortable, and don’t make it too tight. Now you can take them outside, ideally on a leash. Take them close to the boundary and then stop. Let them wander close to the boundary and get accustomed to the vibrations and, if triggered, the shocks. Reassure the dog if shocked. Let them learn where the boundaries are.
If the dog passes the boundary at one location, you may need to need to move the wire closer to the surface at that point. If they ignore the boundary altogether, you may need to increase the setting on the collar or buy a stronger shock collar. If you’re concerned about hurting them, consider getting one that sprays citronella when they cross the barrier.
Once you know that there is an enforcement mechanism for the wireless dog fence, train your dog in its location. Take the dog for a walk around the boundary every hour while on a tight leash. Use both the leash and collar to teach them not to cross that boundary. For example, pull on the leash to pull the dog back from the edge of the invisible fence every time the shock collar beeps in warning. Don’t let the dog cross the boundary at any point, or you’ll have to restart the training process.
Conversely, if the dog comes up to the barrier and immediately comes away, give them a treat and give them praise. The positive reinforcement will help them feel like the area inside the boundaries is indeed safe. Leave the marking flags in place to give the dog a visual reminder of where the barrier is, too. Over the next few days, take the dog for walks along the edge of the fence and let them get accustomed to it. Play with the in the open yard, too, so they don’t feel like the outdoors are dangerous. After several days, let them go outside without a leash and verify they are able to stay inside the yard without cowering by the door. You should only remove them after the dog reliably remains inside the invisible fence.