Alternative Methods for Finding a Cut in the Boundary Wire

by Gajan Retnasaba on February 1, 2010

Sometimes the RF choke method for finding a cut in the underground dog fence wire just gives you no love. There are other options

I have my wire around my acre lot, most of which is woods…and the wire is covered by leaves, twigs, etc. I cannot for the life of me find the break. I tried the RF idea, but only have a manual AM radio and have a hard time knowing when I’m on 600. Going to try to find an AM radio with a digital read-out, but not optimistic about finding the break. May have to re-wire the whole yard! Too bad, because when the dog fence was working (SportDog SDF-100), it was awesome. Very frustrating now……
Cowboy Ken

Cowboy Ken,

I sometimes feel like I have spent half my adult life searching for breaks. I feel your pain. Most of the time it is easy, by occasionally you get one that is harder to pin down than Osama Bin Laden. (and the reward for finding it is considerably smaller)

A manual AM radio should work fine. (It’s what I use, I don’t believe in those crazy new fangled digital ones!)

Once you have the RF choke plugged into the box and the system powered on, the system should show that there is a break (since there is now a complete circuit through the RF choke).

Now hold the radio near the RF choke and tune it to around 600. There is no need to be very precise. You should hear a throbbing noise. If you aren’t hearing it, you should move the frequency a little up or down. Increasing the boundary width on the dog fence base station will also help to increasing the strength of the throbbing noise.

It that works, then connect up the boundary wire, and follow the wires around with the radio. Note that the twisted wire sections will not produce the noise, so you need to go out to where the single wire loop starts to get to the point where you start to hear the throbbing.


If that is not working for you, here is another method that works 100% of the time but is a bit more work. It doesn’t get you a pinpoint on the break, but tells you the general area so that you only need to replace a small section of the dog fence wire.

As always, walk the path of the wire and check for any damage. The most common places for a break are along the side of pathways or driveways (where it was hit by an edger). Also check all the splices if you remember where they are. Also look for obvious ground disturbances, and look over any parts of the wire that were not buried.

Connect only the left side of the boundary loop, and connect the other terminal to a long piece of spare wire. Use the other end of the long piece of wire as a probe. Take the wire out to the halfway point of your loop. Cut the loop and connect the probe wire to the left side of the loop. If the system shows you no break you will know that the break is somewhere on the right side of the loop. If there is still a break, you will know that it is somewhere on the left side.

Keep repeating this procedure at the halfway point of the suspect section until you have narrowed it down to a manageable amount of wire, then replace that section.

With a 1 acres system, you probably have about 1,000 feet of wire. Doing this 3 times should get you down to a 125 foot section; doing it 5 times should get you down to a 30 foot section at which point it starts to make more sense to just replace that section rather than doing more cuts. Dog fence system should be up and running!

Hope that helps.

Stewart Aldous
(678) 389 6661

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