Underground Dog Fence vs. Wireless Pet Containment

by Gajan Retnasaba on September 27, 2009

How to Choose an Underground Dog Fence

Dog Fence DIY.com shares insiders tips on installing your own underground dog fence.  In this guest post, they will share three tips for how to choose a dog containment system.

Underground vs. Wireless

Underground dog fences use a buried wire to define your dog’s boundary.  Because you actually have to lay down the boundary wire, this involves a little more work in setting up the system, with an average installation taking a full day.  But, what you get for your hard work is a boundary that is precisely shaped to your property.  The other big perk is that these systems are very precise, the boundary line will be very consistent and it will be easier to train your dog on where the boundary lines lie.  For these reasons underground dog fence system are by far the more popular choice.

Wireless dog fence systems are a little newer.  They use a central base station that creates a circular boundary around your property.  They are great for getting up and running quickly, you just plug them in and you are ready to go.  They are also highly portable, you can just pick them up and move them to a new location, so you can take them to a holiday house.  But these systems have a couple of limitations.  First, you can only have a circular boundary, so they don’t fit well with most people’s rectangular property lines.  Second, they are prone to interference, and can have a lot of trouble getting their signal out through your walls leading to a wonky boundary line.  Finally, the boundary they create tends to be imprecise and can wobble a few feet from moment to moment.  This inconsistency makes it harder to train you dog on where exactly the boundary line lays.

Most professionals would recommend that people training a dog for the first time start with an underground dog fence over a wireless.  You will put in a bit more work, but you are going to be much happier with your results.

Disposable vs. Rechargeable Batteries

The collar on a dog fence is battery powered.  Systems with a replaceable battery require you to buy a new battery every few months as the old battery becomes exhausted.  Particularly if the battery is some kind of special battery, like the proprietary battery on the PetSafe small dog fence,  the cost can quickly add up.  However, these systems do tend to be significantly cheaper up front.

Rechargeable systems have a battery that can be recharged by plugging them into a wall outlet.  This is a major convenience, since you never run out of batteries for the collar.  It also tends to be a major money saver.  If you go the rechargeable route, look for a system with a Lithium Ion battery like the Innotek IUC-5100.  Lithium ion systems give you a longer time between charges and a longer battery life than the older NiMH systems.

We think the rechargeable systems are the better deal.  Even though you pay a bit more up front, after the first or second year you will be ahead.

Training Materials

The final and most important ingredient for getting great results with your dog fence system is training.  For a dog fence to work, your loyal companion has to understand what exactly you want him to do and for that they need training.  With good training the dog will be safely contained.  Without good training, the system is worse than useless.

Training is easy if done correctly so look for a system that comes with some good training materials.  Some system include a training DVD which is useful, but at the least you should get a well illustrated guide that will show you exactly how to get your dog comfortable with the system.

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{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Vivian Hall January 26, 2011 at 1:54 am

I have a Blood Hound He is 6 months old he was easy to train to stay in the yard with the electric fence. At the beginning but lately he has went over the line a few times. is there a fence that is maybe stronger than another. He is neutered do you think I need to go back over the training. We have about 3 acres fenced in I have 3 other dogs they never go over the line.Thanks for any help you can give me in this matter. The underground fence we have is petsafe brand.

ADMIN – Hi Vivian,

Observe the dog’s reaction when they go through. If there is no strong reaction, then either the collar is not working or the collar is not fitted right.

Usually when a dog starts going through the fence, the culprit is that the collar is not fitted correctly, with the collar prongs not making contact with the dogs skin. This can be a little tricky with all the folds on the skin on a blood hound. You may want to use the long prongs even through they are a short hair dog, and tighten the collar enough so that you can slip two fingers under the collar band but no more.

You also want to check that the collar is working. Use either the supplied tester if your system included one, or find a rube and get them to go through the fence with the collar on their hand.

If the dog is getting the correction and reacting, but going through anyway – increase the boundary width and turn up the correction level. Then go back and redo the second week of the training.

The strongest fence collar is the PetSafe Stubborn collar. It is compatible with other PetSafe inground systems. Try these steps first, most of the time a stronger collar is not needed.

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