We love spoiling our canine babies. Part of that spoiling is giving them the full benefit of exploration. We want them to feel as free as possible. However, letting our dogs roam unsupervised and free can pose a dangerous risk to their safety.
They can wander off, get hit by a car or trespass the neighbor’s property and make a mess. Another possibility is to chain our dogs and limit their movements, but that is cruel and not recommended. Therefore, the ideal balance between giving our dogs freedom and keeping them safe is installing a fence.
There are several types of fences, including:
- Wooden fences – they are good looking but quite expensive. Also, wooden fences require high maintenance and can completely block the view.
- Chain link fences – they consist of several posts mutually attached metal wire made chain links. They are sturdy and durable. On the flip side, chain link fences are quite expensive.
- Picket fences – they are attractive and made of wood. Additionally, picket fences do not block the view. Their main disadvantage is that they are not suitable for small dogs.
- Split-rail fences – they consist of several rows of wooden posts attached by wooden bars. They have attractive designs but are not suitable for dogs that can dig tunnels under the bars or between the rows. To solve this issue, split-rail fences are often combined with wire mesh fabrics.
- Snow fences – they are made of wire mesh fabric attached to posts. Snow fences are cheap and suitable for keeping smaller dogs safe. Unfortunately, they are not very durable.
- Electric fences – there are two types of electric fences:
- Wired (in ground) fences – they consist of an underground, installed electrical wires and receiver collars on the dogs’ necks. They are costly solutions, and some dogs can get used to them and start ignoring the signs they send.
- Wireless (invisible) fences – they are similar to invisible fences. The difference is that wireless fences do not require underground, installed wires. Instead of wires, they use transmitters that emit signals.
The problem with regular fences is that they are quite expensive and do not benefit the overall external design of every house. So…what would be the ideal solution?
Lately, electrical – wired (in-ground) and wireless (invisible) fences are becoming the best and most popular solutions.
WIRED CONTAINMENT SYSTEMS – General features and buying guide
Wired containment systems are also called in-ground systems. They use a boundary wire set in loops. The wire forms the perimeter for the containment area, and it transmits weak radio signals. The dog wears a collar capable of picking up the signals the wire transmits. When the dog gets too close to the wire, it sends the signal to the collar. The collar then responds by giving the dog a correctional signal.
When purchasing wired containment system, you need to pay attention to several factors:
- Length of the boundary wire – you need to make sure the length of the boundary wire is enough to border the perimeter of the area you need to contain. If the included wire is not sufficient, you need to check if it can be additionally upgraded.
- Type of the boundary wire – pay attention to the material the wire is made of. Some materials are more durable than others. High-quality boundary wires are usually insulated to ensure prolonged use and durability. The thickness of the wire is also critical.
- Operation modes – check whether the system offers only static stimulations or if it includes vibration and tone warning training modes. Systems that provide all three types of stimulation are more preferable and easier to use. You should also check whether the intensity of the stimulations can be automatically or manually controlled and whether that intensity is progressive or fixed.
- Supporting system – it is vital to check how many dogs is the system capable of supporting. High-quality systems can contain an unlimited number of dogs, as long as each dog wears a compatible receiver collar.
- Type of collar – the collar should be comfortable, adjustable and waterproof. It is also advisable to choose a collar that works with either rechargeable or inexpensive disposable batteries.
- Safety features – make sure the system you buy has automatic safety features that prevent the receiver from emitting too many corrections.
WIRELESS CONTAINMENT SYSTEMS – General features and buying guide
The wireless dog containment system consists of a transmitter that creates a circular field. The margins of that circular field are the defined boundaries that limit your dog’s movements. Whenever the dog crosses the boundaries of the area, it receives an electric stimulation. With wireless fences dog easily learn their boundaries. What is more, wireless fences are extremely easy to install and because of their invisibility, go perfectly with every yard.
The boundaries defined by the transmitter can only be expanded to a circle around the transmitter. Perhaps that is the biggest issue with wireless dog fences – the shape of the moving field cannot be specially designed and individually shaped. The field is always circular with the transmitter in the center of the circle. Wireless dog fences are ideal for properties that are set back at least 30 feet from the road. The presence of slopes and landscaping can interfere with the transmitter’s signals. Also, wireless fences cannot function appropriately around metal roofing, aluminum siding, and other metal items.
Types of wireless dog fences
There are two different wireless systems:
- Wireless systems with a single transmitter
- Wireless systems with multiple transmitters.
The systems with a single transmitter create a circular containment field with a radius that depends on the strength of the transmitter. The transmitter should always be installed indoors.
The systems with multiple transmitters are designed to create overlapping containment zones. They enable dogs to move from one zone to another without being corrected. In these systems, the transmitters also need to be installed indoors.
When choosing the right wireless dog fence, pay attention to several important factors:
- Lightning protection – since the system is powered by your AC, it is easily vulnerable to power surges. The ideal wireless fence system should have proper lightning protection to keep both the dog and the system itself safe and sound.
- Battery back-up – if the electrical power fails, the system must feature a backup power source to keep it operational. The battery back-up is a useful precaution tool.
- Features of the collar – the quality of the collar is as important as the fence itself. The best collars should feature adjustable sizes and adjustable strength of the shock. It is also vital that they are waterproof.
- Price – wireless fences come at different prices, ranging from $100 to $500. Do proper research before purchasing the wireless fence system.
WIRED VS. WIRELESS CONTAINMENT SYSTEMS
When deciding between a wireless and a wired containment system, you need to pay attention to several metrics that define each type. Those defining metrics include:
Wireless systems: high-quality wireless models usually cost between $250 and $300. Depending on whether the model you chose works with rechargeable or disposable batteries, you may have to pay an additional $25 per years for batteries.
Wired systems: high quality wired models usually cost the same as wireless models. However, if instead of leaving the wire above ground, you prefer burring it, you will need to do a lot of digging and filling. If the digging and filling are performed by a professional, then the cost is significantly higher, ranging between $500 and $2000.
Ease of installation
Wireless systems: they are extremely easy to install. All you need to do is power up the main control unit, insert batteries in the receiver collar and check whether the central unit and the collar are linked. If following the manufacturer’s instruction, the entire procedure does not take more than 15 minutes.
Wired systems: unless you have specialized equipment, planning the cable layout and burying the wire can take up to 12 hours. Even with the specialized equipment or if done by professionals, the installation will still last for at least few hours.
Wireless systems: usually, most wireless systems cover a circular area with an approximate radius of up to 250 feet. Only a small number of wireless models offer the possibility of linking several transmitters and expanding the containment area. If several transmitters are used in conjunction, the safe zone can be shaped closer to a rectangle.
Wired systems: they cover significantly larger areas – up to 30 acres. Also, wired containment models can be shaped based on your needs. In a nutshell, the containment area of wired systems depends solely on the length of the wire and wire layout pattern.
Wireless systems: if sticking to the best practice advises and the manufacturer’s recommendations you can minimize the signal interference and ensure stable boundaries with only 0.255 to 1% wobble. Simply put, if you adjust the diameter to 200 feet, it is reasonable to expect an error margin of 0.5 to 2 feet.
Wired systems: the average boundary wobble in wired containment systems is around 0.25%. Additionally, these systems are not affected by possible signal interferences because they are buried deep underground.
Wireless systems: they are extremely easy to maintain. If the transmitter or the receiver malfunctions, I can be quickly sent for repair or replaced.
Wired systems: when it comes to maintenance, they are more complicated. If there is a wire malfunction, the entire line should be dug out and replaced.
Wireless systems: the standard collars that come with wireless systems are around 1 ounce heavier than those that come with wired systems. Also, these collars usually come with two pairs of correction probes – long probes for long-haired dogs and short probes for short-haired dogs. Most collars that come with wireless system feature a minimum of 5 different levels of correction intensity.
Wired systems: the collars that come with wired systems are lighter and usually more comfortable. However, they rarely have adjustable static correction level settings and typically do not come with two pairs of contact probes.
TRAINING YOUR DOG
The containment system will be effective only if you train your dog correctly. Since the fence is invisible, without training your dog may feel confused and refuse to move when outdoors. Both wired and wireless fence systems are recommended for dogs older than six months of age and heavier than 10 pounds.
To properly train your dog, let it wear the collar for a week without activating the system. The collar should be snug but comfortable. It is not advisable to have your dog wearing the collar for more than 12 hours. Therefore only use the collar when the dog is outdoors. Then, you should set flags to mark the boundaries of the perimeter and leave those flags for 2-4 weeks. After that, you can activate the system but walk your dog on a leash as you cross the perimeter. When you cross the perimeter command your dog to “Stay” and “Sit”. Keep training, and your dog will learn to respect its boundaries.
Best Wired and Wireless Dog Fences
To help you successfully navigate through the minefield of choices, we have created a list of the top 6 electrical fences for dogs. We also reviewed each one of them.
PetSafe Wireless Fence Pet Containment System
The PetSafe company is passionate about creating innovative behavioral, containment and lifestyles products for pets that will make your lives easier.
PetSafe’s Wireless Fence Pet Containment System is a quite simple, yet efficient and effective alternative to traditional containment fences.
Due to the simplicity of the system, the manufacturer claims that it only takes dogs three days to learn how the system works. To make this process even easier, the system comes with clear training instructions.
The PetSafe Wireless Fence Pet Containment System can cover up to one-half acre. The system creates a circular shaped safe area with a boundary perimeter of up to 90 feet in all directions from the indoor transmitter.
The PetSafe Wireless Fence Pet Containment System consists of a transmitter and a receiver dog collar. The transmitter should not be placed near electronic equipment like Wi-Fi routers and other digital receivers (they may interfere with the signal).
The collar has five different levels of static correction and one training mode. The training mode only gives audio signs and no actual corrections.
The receiver collar is adjustable and suitable for all dogs weighing more than 8 pounds or with neck sizes between 6 to 28 inches. Last but not least, the receiver collar is waterproof.
With no wires that need to be buried underground, the PetSafe Wireless Fence Pet Containment System is easy to set up. The installing takes no more than 1-2 hours.
It is also easily portable thus allowing you to have wireless and safe dog area when traveling. Another benefit is that the system can hold an unlimited number of dogs, as long as they all carry receiver collars.
It should be noted that the system’s operating range may be affected by specific factors like the type of terrain, topography, and presence of metal objects. Another issue is that the safe area cannot be shaped as a square or rectangle.
- Simple yet efficient design
- Covers an area of 1/2 acre
- Five correction levels and one training mode
- Waterproof and adjustable receiver collar
- Easy installation
- Easy portability
- Unlimited number of dogs can be added to the system
- Dogs can be trained in as little as three days
- Certain factors can affect the system’s operating range
- Creates only a circular shaped safe area
- Not suitable for dogs weighing less than 8 pounds
- Does not make pre-shock warning signals
PetSafe Stay + Play Wireless Fence System
The PetSafe Stay + Play Wireless Fence System is the perfect portable containment system for dog parents that enjoy camping, traveling or are generally on the go.
The PetSafe Stay + Play Wireless Fence System consists of an indoor transmitter and a waterproof and weather resistant receiver collar. The system is potent and capable of covering an area of 3 to 4 acres or a perimeter of 105 feet in all directions from the main indoor transmitter.
The receiver collar offers five different levels of static correction and one tone-only training mode. The collar is ergonomic and comfortable even for extended wears. What is more, the receiver collar is adjustable and suitable for all dogs weighing more than 5 pounds or with neck sizes between 6 to 28 inches.
The collar is powered by rechargeable batteries. Depending on the frequency of use, the batteries can last for up to 3 weeks. Additionally, they are quickly rechargeable and ready for new use in only 2-3 hours.
Designed to handle an unlimited number of dogs, the PetSafe Stay + Play Wireless Fence System is perfect for households with multiple canine babies. All you need to do is buy extra receiver collars that are compatible with the primary system.
The PetSafe Stay + Play Wireless Fence System is easy to install. The installation process is usually finished in less than 2 hours.
It should be noted that the system’s operating range may be affected by specific factors like the type of terrain, topography, and presence of metal objects.
Another issue is that the safe area cannot be shaped as a square or rectangle. Last but not least, the manufacturer’s warranty is valid only when the system is purchased from an authorized retailer.
- Simple but efficient design
- Covers an area of 3 to 4 acres
- Waterproof and weather resistant receiver collar
- Five correction levels and one training mode
- Quickly rechargeable and long-lasting batteries
- Designed to handle multiple dogs
- Easily portable
- Easy to install
- Certain factors can affect the system’s operating range
- Creates only a circular shaped safe area
- Not suitable for a dog weighing less than 5 pounds
SportDOG Brand In-Ground Fence System or Contain + Train System
With the motto “Gear The Way You’d Design It,” SportDOG Brand designs and manufactures long-lasting and high-quality products for dog training and containment.
The SportDOG Brand In-Ground Fence System or Contain + Train System is specially designed for two primary purposes – training the dog to stay inside its boundaries marked by the fence and reinforcing already learned and taught behaviors on open fields or open areas via the remote dog trainer.
The SportDOG Brand In-Ground Fence System or Contain + Train System consists of 1000 feet long wire, 100 boundary flags, transmitter, and collar. This main kit is enough for covering up to 1 acre.
By purchasing extra Wire & Flag Kits, the safe area can be additionally expanded to contain up to 100 acres. The system can also be expanded to train three dogs with the same remote transmitter. By purchasing Add-A-Dog Collars, the system can sustain an unlimited number of dogs.
The fence transmitter is wall-mountable and has a built-in lightning protector for preventing lightning strike or power surge damages. The transmitter also features a wire break alarm that signalizes potential breaks or cuts in the underground wire.
The water-resistant and submersible receiver collar works with both the underground wire fence and the handheld remote e-collar. The collar is adjustable and suits all dogs weighing more than 10 pounds.
The SportDOG Brand In-Ground Fence System or Contain + Train System offers three different modes of operation – the containment mode, the training mode and the combined mode. In the containment mode, the collar receiver only responds to the fence system.
When using this mode, the collar gives warning tone and vibration before delivering the correctional shock. The style offers seven levels of static correction. In the training mode, the collar receiver only responds to the handheld remote control.
This mode also features seven different levels of static stimulation, as well as tone and vibration warning. In training mode, you can also choose between giving momentary or continuous stimulations. When using the combined mode, the collar receivers respond to both the fence system and the remote.
In spite of being wired, in-ground system, the SportDOG Brand In-Ground Fence System or Contain + Train System is relatively simple and easy to install.
- Designed for two purposes
- Three modes of operation
- Seven different levels of static stimulation
- Tone and vibration warning signals
- Covers 1 acre but can be expanded to 100 acres
- Can sustain an unlimited number of dogs
- The transmitter has lightning protector and wire break alarm
- Easy to install.
- Not suitable for dogs weighing less than 10 pounds.
Perimeter Technologies Basic Ultra Comfort In-Ground Dog Fence
The Perimeter Technologies Basic Ultra Comfort In-Ground Dog Fence is specifically designed to keep your dog safe in a predetermined perimeter with a soft and gentle touch.
The Perimeter Technologies Basic Ultra Comfort In-Ground Dog Fence gives enormous flexibility by allowing you to change the frequency depending on your needs. It also provides for adjusting the intensity of the stimulations according to your dog’s personality and temperament.
The Perimeter Technologies Basic Ultra Comfort In-Ground Dog Fence system features a 500 feet long and 20 gauge wide boundary wire. This wire is enough for covering areas of 1/3 of an acre. If the wire is extended to 5000 feet, it can cover properties up to 5 acres.
The Perimeter Technologies Basic Ultra Comfort In-Ground Dog Fence works with a high-quality nylon collar that features exclusive and highly comfortable cushions. Opposed to the hard steel probes used in other collars, this particular collar is lined with soft rubber.
Therefore it is suitable for prolonged use. Many veterinarians recommend this design because it is easy on the skin and significantly reduces possible skin irritations.
The receiver collar is waterproof and durable. Weighing only 1.1 ounces, the receiver collar is also lightweight. Additionally, the collar comes with metal and long hair probes.
The Perimeter Technologies Basic Ultra Comfort In-Ground Dog Fence has three exclusive features – the TEMP CHECK™, the WIRE CHECK™ and the 12X BATTERY CHECK™. The TEMP CHECK™ is a temperature resistant system responsible for keeping the fence field stable and in the same position during temperature fluctuations.
Without this system, the boundary fence can move for up to 100% during temperature extremes. The WIRE CHECK™ is a safety system that automatically compensates and adjusts the amount of signal power in cases of for wire problems and issues.
The 12X BATTERY CHECK™ checks the training collar’s battery status every two hours, thus eliminating false low battery indications. This feature saves you both time and money.
The Perimeter Technologies Basic Ultra Comfort In-Ground Dog Fence is both designed and manufactured in the USA. The product comes with a limited lifetime warranty.
- Smart and effective design
- Features adjustable frequency and stimulation intensity
- Specially designed and lightweight collar with a comfortable cushion
- Reduces the incidence of skin irritations
- Exclusive TEMP CHECK™, WIRE CHECK™ and 12X BATTERY CHECK™ features
- Designed and manufactured in the USA
- Limited lifetime warranty.
- Expensive design.
Sit Boo-Boo Advanced In-Ground Electric Dog Fence System
Featuring advanced and intelligent technology, the Sit Boo-Boo Advanced In-Ground Electric Dog Fence System is one of the best products available on the market.
The Sit Boo-Boo Advanced In-Ground Electric Dog Fence System includes an upgraded transmitter, wire and receiver collar. The transmitter covers up to 20 acres of range. The transmitter’s box is not waterproof, so it should be placed indoors.
There should not be metal objects in the transmitter’s proximity. The industrial grade, copper core metal wire is 500 feet long, but it can be additionally extended. The wire is sturdy enough to endure different weather conditions. The receiver collar is waterproof and adjustable.
The collar is suitable for all dogs weighing more than 8 pounds. In spite of the collar’s high quality, the strap is a lackluster, and it is best advised to replace it with a custom strap of your choice.
The Sit Boo-Boo Advanced In-Ground Electric Dog Fence System has an auto-train feature which automatically adjusts the level of correction depending on the dog’s behavior.
For example, if the dog completely ignores the audible signal, the collar emits a vibration warning. If the dog decides to ignore the vibration warning too, then it gets electrical stimulation.
The intensity of the electrical stimulation increases gradually until the moment the dog decides to back off. For preventing unwanted injuries, the system has a Safety-Shutoff feature. This feature prevents the system from continuously issuing static corrections.
The collar is powered by rechargeable Lithium polymer battery capable of lasting up to one week on a single charge. The Lithium battery lasts longer and does not require frequent replacing. The collar also has a small display that indicates the battery’s status.
The Sit Boo-Boo Advanced In-Ground Electric Dog Fence System can be used with an optional remote trainer. The product comes with a 1-year warranty.
- Auto-adjusting level of correction
- Safety-Shutoff feature
- Supports an unlimited number of collars
- Waterproof and entirely submergible collar
- Fast recharging Lithium Polymer battery
- Can be used with an optional remote trainer
- 1-year warranty.
- Depending on the layout it may be unreliable
- The included wire is not thick enough for some terrains
- Not suitable for dogs weighing less than 8 pounds
- The collar’s strap is lackluster.
PetSafe Stubborn Dog In-Ground Fence (PIG00-10777)
The PetSafe Stubborn Dog In-Ground Fence (PIG00-10777) is specially designed for stubborn and tenacious dogs that require strong corrections. It is best suited for dogs with low pain sensitivity and giant dog breeds that need tougher stimulations.
At its full strength, the system provides up to 50% stronger corrections than the regular electric system.
The PetSafe Stubborn Dog In-Ground Fence (PIG00-10777) consists of 500 feet long and 14-20 gauge wide copper insulated wire, 50 flags, a transmitter with power adapter and a receiver collar.
The initial package is enough for covering 1/3 of an acre. If upgraded with additional wire and flags, the system can cover up to 25 acres.
It has five correction levels that can be adjusted by pressing a button placed on the side of the collar. The collar also offers vibration and tone warning signals.
The receiver collar is fully waterproof, durable, thick and quite heavy. Since the collar is designed for large and giant dog breeds, the weight of the collar is not an issue.
It is cross-compatible with other PetSafe products. The system works with collars from the PetSafe Little Dog, PetSafe Deluxe, and PetSafe InGround systems. This cross-compatibility allows containing dogs of different sizes and temperaments, with each dog having a suitable and personalized collar.
It uses a 9-volt battery. Unfortunately, the battery is not rechargeable and once emptied it should be disposed of. On the bright side, disposable batteries are not expensive and can last relatively long.
The PetSafe Stubborn Dog In-Ground Fence (PIG00-10777) comes with a 1-year warranty.
- Offers the strongest correction strength available
- Can cover up to 25 acres
- Adjustable correction levels
- Tone and vibration warning signals
- Compatible with other PetSafe collars
- Compatible with other PetSafe indoor pods
- Supports an unlimited number of dogs
- One year warranty.
- The batteries are not rechargeable
- No battery backup for the control box
- Large and heavy receiver collar
- Not suitable for smaller dogs.