Above Ground Installation (No Dig Method)

It is not necessary to bury the boundary wire.  An effective boundary can be created in minutes by simply laying the wire along the ground and fastening it in place with lawn staples (also known as sod staples, landscaping staples or grass staples).  The boundary cable is surprisingly resilient and can stand up to light traffic, and even vehicular traffic.  Even professionals will often not bury the wire when the installation is for a very large area, particularly a wooded area where it is difficult to operate a mechanical trencher. Over time, (three to five years) the cable will bury itself as the lawn grows and leaves fall.

The advantage of the no dig method is the time required for installation.  However, the wire is visible so it is less attractive than buried wire.  On the surface the wire is also more susceptible to breaks especially due to lawn mowers and edgers. Critters such as squirrels may also pose an issue as they are know to chew on the wire.  Of course, being on the surface, the boundary wire is also easier to repair.

To install the cable with the no dig method, lay out the boundary cable just as you would for a normal installation.  If you use boundary cable that is green for grassy areas and black for wooded areas it will be less noticeable.

Now use lawn staples (pictured right) to affix the cable to the ground at 3-5 yard intervals.  In heavily trafficked areas, reduce the space between staples.  Similarly, in areas where the wire changes direction often, increase the staple frequency. Staples can usually be driven into the ground by hand or by standing on the staple. In harder soils, a mallet or hammer can be used to gently drive the staples.  Do not hammer the staples over zealously otherwise you may damage the boundary wire.

To get across driveways and pavement, you can cut across the cement and bury the wire.  Alternatively, you can just lay the cable across the driveway, preferably in an expansion joint where it will be protected. See this link for more information on getting the dog fence wire across a driveway.

You can buy lawn staples in our online store, and at most landscaping and home improvement stores. They are inexpensive, typically costing around $15 per 100.

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{ 64 comments… read them below or add one }

Steven Harrell July 8, 2014 at 9:31 pm

I have a 95lb Catahoula/Pit mix that does not get along with the neighbors dogs on two sides of a rectangular yard. I need to keep the dog away from theses two fences roughly 125 feet long but he needs full access to the house side and the back fence line each is 55 feet long. The fence boundary is the aluminum fence 42 inches high. What would be the best fence and suggested design.

ADMIN – Hi Steven, I would recommend the PetSafe Stubborn dog fence for your Catahoula mix. The only way you can accomplish your layout is with a double boundary, specifically the gate layout. You will run one wire along the top of the fence and the other along the base of the fence. Where you want the signal canceled, you will want to run twisted wire.

Denise June 10, 2014 at 3:43 pm

Can the fence be tied to or run on a bob wire fence have a large area to cover 8 acres. Or if I just wanted to keep the dogs off the road can I make a barrier line with the fence?

ADMIN – Hi Denise, you can do either one of those. If you plan to run a road side boundary, you will accomplish this buy running a long narrow loop just along the road that you connect back to the wall transmitter.

Suzette May March 2, 2014 at 6:48 pm

Can I use an existing electric fence (for livestock)?

I have 2 Great Pyrenees that guard my orchard/garden/chicken coop area. It’s about 1/2 an acre with an 5 wire electric perimeter fence to keep the livestock out. It does not keep the dogs in due to their long coats. Can I hook the controller up to a wire not being used for the livestock fence? One dog is an older pup (90#) and very shy/nervous so I think the regular collar would workfor her. The older male (120#) takes his job very seriously and will chase stray dogs all the way back home so I think the stubborn dog version would be better. Would those collars and a controller work with my existing setup?

Scott February 4, 2014 at 10:57 pm

Hi there, I recently purchased an Innotek SD 2000 to try and keep my boxer from escaping my yard while I’m @ work. My installation would be a “U” shape as my backyard is square, my house would make up the 4th side of the boundary. I plan on running the wire along my existing fence, but it’s only 5′ tall on one side of the yard, will this be an issue? Also when I head back to the transmitter does that wire also need to be 6′ apart? Thanks for your help! Scott

ADMIN – Hi Scott, it will work great along your 5 foot fence. You can install on the top or bottom if you choose. You will want to twist the wire going back to the transmitter together at one twist per inch.

Dan Johnson January 30, 2014 at 1:31 am

It’s winter time here in Iowa and not a fun time trying to find a break. Our fence is an older PetSafe system (400-032 Item No. RF-102, Knoxville TN) and we have about 2 acres fenced with wire, some buried in the open areas and some on top in the woods. Over the past two months we have had 6 breaks in the wire, all appearing to be chewed through very cleanly. One of the 6 was underground and It appears the critters are seeking out the wire on purpose since I have been finding deliberately dug holes in the snow right down to the wire. There never seems to be any footprints in the snow either so I’m guessing it’s squirrels, rabbits, or moles in cahoots with the dog. Is there some reason the critters are attracted to the wire? Any ideas how to reduce this problem? Thanks.

ADMIN – Hi Dan, I would recommend running the wire through cheap irrigation hose to keep critters a bay.

Chris January 23, 2014 at 9:13 am

Hi, I’m currently looking at getting a containment system for my 8 month old Boston Terrier. We live on a wooded lot approximately 2 acres in size. The boundary I’m planning is likely about 1400 feet. I was contemplating the YardMax system. Most of the wire runs through wooded area. There will be one driveway crossing, and one footpath crossing. I was leaning towards a no-bury installation just to avoid the hassle of having to dig some kind of a trench through the woods. My question is this – should I upgrade the gauge of wire, or will 20 gauge be ok, given that the wire will be mostly in the woods, in areas where no one usually goes?

ADMIN – Hi Chris, it’s advised to upgrade to at least 16 gauge. While, the wire is above ground, it is still a very thin wire that is prone to break. Of course, you could go with the 20 gauge and replace it over time since it is laying above ground.

Juliet Newton January 18, 2014 at 9:58 pm

Hi, I just bought the underground system and I do see that you can basically just staple it to the ground. We live in the desert, My dogs also jumps hop and skip over our 7 foot boundary wall. Would you suggest we do it ground level and staple it, or somehow make it higher off the ground. I have breeze block walls, so I presume I can not staple it to that. And thank you for all your answers you have given, very professional!

ADMIN – Hi Juliet, I would recommend stapling it to the base of the fence. Then adjust the signal to broadcast around 3 to 4 feet from the wire. This will activate the dog’s collar before they can jump the fence.

Terry August 27, 2013 at 12:00 pm

OK I have been reading others posts and got great information. Now I have 3.5 acre ranch and want to put a wire on my existing fence on 3 sides with bury line for the front driveway and backside border. I have 2 dogs, one large (50 lbs) and 1, 8 lb small dog. What do you suggest is the best system for my place?

ADMIN – Hi Terry, you will want to get a fence that allows you to mix and match collars. Your 8 lb small will need the PetSafe Little Dog collar. I would recommend purchasing the PetSafe Little Dog Fence and bundle in the new PetSafe Rechargeable collar (located in the store under PetSafe collars). I recommend upgrading to at least the 16 gauge and add an extra 1,500 feet of wire to cover 3.5 acres.

JD June 9, 2013 at 8:17 pm

I’m looking to get a wired fence and I have a gate on one side of my house. I was thinking about running it along fence and then when it gets to the gate bury it. I noticed after reading some info on your website here. That it may affect the boundary at the gate. Ex. attaching the wire about 6″ from the ground would be stronger than the buried spot under the gate in turn making a weaker signal. What do you think?

ADMIN – Hi JD,

The boundary zone will be slightly narrower at the gate where you bury the wire than it will be in the rest of the boundary where you attach it to the fence. But, for practical purposes, the change in the boundary width will not be enough to matter – the dogs are unlikely to even notice.

Erin May 31, 2013 at 11:34 am

Can you tell me if we can put the entire wiring inside PVC and secure it to the ground? We do not want to have to dig and would rather not have the exposed wire either. We have 3 dogs; 2 rottweilers and a black lab. We have an acre we would like to cover. What are the best options?

ADMIN – Hi Erin,

Yes, you can put the wire inside PVC tubing and secure it to the ground. I find that irrigation pipe, used in underground sprinkler systems also works well. PVC can be hard to work with, because it is not flexible.

For a two rottweilers and a lab, a PetSafe Stubborn system would work well. Rottweilers often require a stronger correction to refocus their attention, particularly when they are all riled up. The lab is likely to require less correction, but you can still use the PetSafe Stubborn collar, just keep it on the lower correction settings on the lab’s collar.

Paul March 10, 2013 at 5:07 pm

We have a dog that climbs over the fence. We have a fence on 3 sides and the house makes up the 4th side and the dog has to enter the house via a deck. Instead of a double loop, can we run one wire around the fence and twist the wire along the house so she would have access to the deck/house but still correct her from getting too close to the fence?

ADMIN – Hi Paul,

Running a twisted wire as fourth side of the fence will not work (the wire will still be active). Instead you can complete the loop by either: (1) doubling back on yourself as you suggested, (2) running the wire around the front of the house, or (3) running the wire up a downspout on one one side of the house and across the gutter along the back of the house.

You can see some diagrams and other approaches for doing a backyard only installation in our Installation –> Planning pages.

Karan February 17, 2013 at 4:56 pm

I have french doors opening to deck with a gate on the backside of my house. I am trying to figure out a way that they can walk out the doors, onto the deck and out the gate into a contained area, and am unable to think of such a configuration, w/o going to the roof or around the front of the house. Is there a better way? Thanks!

ADMIN – Hi Karan,

To do only the backyard, the two options you mention would work (running the wire up and over the house, or running the wire around the front of the house). The other option would be to run the wire around the three sides of the backyard, and then double back on yourself six feet apart (to make a big U-shaped loop).

Richard January 17, 2013 at 7:14 pm

Is there a test , meter or other way to find a break? Or is visual inspection the only way?

ADMIN – Hi Richard, there are two testing methods depending on the fence you have. 1) If you have the 4100/PIG00-13619 fence by PetSafe/Innotek or the Innotek 5100, you can walk the boundary line with a radio to locate breaks. 2) If you have any other fence, you’ll need to purchase the PetSafe Boundary Locator to locates breaks. It is similar to 1, but you need the locator product in order to set up and run the test. You can always do a visual inspection of the wire to confirm continuity as well as insulation integrity. A nicked wire insulation can hinder it’s functionality.

robert wavro December 6, 2012 at 10:06 pm

I have a house on a lake with 300 ft. of lakefront. I want to contain three sides but not the lakefront including the dock. Can I run the wire deeper under ground along the lakeside to break the signal in that area or is there another way. Thanks Robert

ADMIN – Hi Robert, you’ll want to use one of our lake front layouts. You can find the layouts page under the menu title “Installation” on the black menu bar located at the top of the page. The lake front layouts are located toward the bottom of the layouts page.

Carolyn February 3, 2012 at 10:51 am

How high off the ground can you put the wire? We were thinking of putting it in the trees. Say 15 ft off the ground. Will that work? Thanks

ADMIN – Hi Carolyn,

If you want the boundary to be active, you need to have the wire within a few feet of the ground. The exact height depends on how wide you set the boundary width dial. Assuming a normal width of 5 feet on either side of the boundary wire, you would want the wire within three feet of the ground.

You could set the boundary really wide (say 20 feet) and then you could have the wire 15 feet above ground, but it would make the boundary 20 feet wide where ever you have it at ground level.

Kelly B January 13, 2012 at 3:17 pm

so excited to get this up and running! two questions:

1. Is there a limit to the length of the twisted wire section? I have to run them between 500-700 feet from my garage to the area I need a boundary.

2. about 150 feet of the boundary has a couple of electric poles and wires above ground. I wanted to run my wires along this boundary, but saw that parallel application in not recommended. How far away do I need to place the fence if I have to run parallel?

ADMIN – Hi Kelly,

1. There is no limit to the length of twisted wire you can run. However, when calculating the system capacity you need, remember to count the length of twisted wire twice. (i.e. if you had a boundary of 3000 feet and 500 feet of twisted wire, you need a system strong enough to transmit over 4000 feet.

2. Above ground wires are so far overhead that they never cause a problem. We only need to think about parallel runs if there is less than five feet of separation.

amy December 29, 2011 at 10:58 pm

We have 46 acres and never realized that an electric fence would be an option. how do the dogs pass a boundary? ie go out of the yard at your bidding and desire of course? having 2 Aussie pups about 10 months, with 2 activity levels, this is a very luring option especially that most is wooded and that we would not need to bury the cable!

ADMIN – Hi Amy,

Once the dogs are confident on the fence, we can train the dogs to go through on command. We create a routine, for example taking off the collar, putting the dog on the leash and walking them through the same spot. The first few times the dogs will resist, but after a few times of you dragging them through they will realize that there is an exception and that they can go through the boundary when given permission. More details in the Training –> Walking Your Dog section of the website.

Tim November 26, 2011 at 9:32 pm

I am planning to use the Innotek ICU-4100. I will have about 10 acres enclosed. About 95% of this distance will consist of the wire on the surface and elevated, depending on the ground conditions. Can I use #12, #14 or #16 wire, in order to achieve better critter resistance? In an area where there will be occasional vehicle traffic, can I splice in a 10’ to 15’ section of #10 or #8 wire?
If some of these ideas will not work, could you explain why? The information may come in handy, as I add to, and modify this initial installation at some later date. Thanks

ADMIN – Hi Tim,
#14 is the largest gauge of wire these dog fences can handle. It will be more difficult for critters to gnaw through but I would expect that they would still be able to destroy the wire. It just may take them longer. However, #14 wire rarely experiences breaks which makes it a great choice for large installs like yours. For vehicle traffic areas, I recommend running the wire through a hose to protect the wire. You cannot splice in different gauges of wire together. The transmitter does not register this as a complete loop.

Tony September 27, 2011 at 7:32 pm

We have 7 acres with a 40 wide stream running through it. I would like to run the wire across
the stream and back. Labs love the water and would not want to try to change that.
What system would you suggest?

Admin- Hi Tony,

1. The Innotek IUC-4100, offers is rechargeable slim-line collar that is our top choice. The SportDog SDF-100 would also be a good choice, it has a bigger collar and uses a disposable 9-Volt battery, but is also is a little cheaper and has an extra 500 feet of wire included in the package.
2. Both systems above have fully waterproof collars that can be completely immersed in the stream.
3. To get across the creeks, the easiest way will be to install the wire in a flexible conduit (like PVC or Water Hose) and weight it down so it sinks to the bottom of the creek bed.

Emily August 29, 2011 at 5:36 am

Hi! Can I staple gun the wire to an existing wood fence? Will my dog be able to make it through the boundary if the wire is above her head? She is a small 8 pound dog and the fence is up about 1 foot off of the ground? Also, is this safe for children? The wire isn’t live unless you have the collar on correct? The kids are always climbing the fence. Thanks for all of the great answers on the site!

ADMIN – Hi Emily,

You can staple the wire to a wood fence. You want to be careful not to use a power stapler or anything else that is going to cut the wire or damage the insulation. Home Depot now has some great wire staple, that have a little recess in the top of the staple for the wire to sit in.

If you put the wire above the dog’s head, we can turn up the boundary width at the control box to make sure it still reaches the dog down on ground level. 1 foot is not a problem. If it was going to be over 6 foot above ground we could run into problems.

The big advantage of the dog fence over a livestock fence is that the wire is completely safe. There is just a weak signal going through the wire – you kids can’t get shocked from the boundary wire. You do however want to make sure the kids don’t monkey around with the collars. There is risk for the children if they decide they want to put the correction collar on each other and try and test the fence. (You can witness much of this monkeying around on YouTube!)

Donny June 26, 2011 at 6:02 pm

We have 10 acres with a creek cutting through the middle of our property with a 1/3 of the acreage on a steep, wooded, hillside. We have 2 questions. The creek is in rugged terrain. How could we use the dog fence across the creek? Also, other than the Sport Dog collars, which collars are waterproof and rugged? We also need to allow for individual correction settings: 20 pound cocker spaniel to a 120 pound golden retriever with 2 more dogs inbetween.

ADMIN – Hi Donny,

Will you be able to walk the wire through this rugged terrain? If you’re worried about the wire getting damaged, we offer wire upgrades all the way down to 14 gauge. When crossing the creek, you can run the wire through pvc and weight it down if it’s a fast moving creek. The PetSafe Stubborn Dog fence is the next most rugged. It does share the same collar base, but the collar band is a nylon cloth type with a plastic quick release buckle. I’d recommend going with either the SportDog or Stubborn and adding in a PetSafe Deluxe collar for your Cocker Spaniel. For the two other dogs, if they are rowdy or stubborn, you can put a Stubborn collar on them. Otherwise, they can also wear the Deluxe collar. (Note that the PetSafe collars are compatible with the SportDog. So if you go with the SportDog, you can add in the Deluxe collars with that system.) The Stubborn Fence and SportDog Fence support independent correction levels for each collar.

Dorothy June 5, 2011 at 5:37 pm

We would like to use existing posts for the dog fence but there is an electric fence(cattle) on the posts would that interfere with the dog containment? Thanks, Dorothy

ADMIN – Hi Ken,

Yes. You can also use a dog fence to keep animals out of an area like a flower bed. If it is just a small area, you may want to consider a couple for these small outdoor exclusion zone pods as well.

Val May 18, 2011 at 7:03 pm

How about my irrigated pasture? The dogs love to slop around out there in the water. Is that going to be a problem with the collars? My waste ditch is a couple of feet deep, and they love to lay in the water.
Thanks!

ADMIN – Hi Val,

Most of the collars are waterproof, so the dogs can fully immerse the collars in water without a problem. You can check the individual collar on the specifications tab on each product page.

Chris April 29, 2011 at 10:59 pm

Hello,
I’m looking at layout options for our property where my house is centered. In order to give the dogs access to the entire property, it would appear the base unit would need to be attached to an outlet on the outside edge of the property. If I put the base unit in the basement, the wires running to/from would cut off access to that side yard.

I live where it snows and is below zero for several months. How will this affect the base unit and what could I do to protect it from the elements. Could I cover it? Would you venture a guess as to how much the cold will shorten it’s lifespan? Thanks.

ADMIN – Hi Chris,

You can run two wires, twisted together from the base station to where you want the loop to start. These twisted wires will allow the dogs to pass over without getting the correction. That way you start the active loop, somewhere away form the base station. Take a look at the Perimeter Layout on this page (http://www.dogfencediy.com/installation/plan/#perimeter).

You probably want to position the base station somewhere in the house, because that way it is sheltered from the elements and near a power source (unless you have an outbuilding somewhere on the perimeter). I would avoid keeping the base station out in the elements unless you needed to.

Brian April 29, 2011 at 3:27 pm

I have a pitbull/chow mix. He loves to dig under fence and jump on the top rail. He cant jump over
(yet). He loves people but its other animals he goes for. My neighbors have poodles and constantly barks. if he evevr gets out(dead dog/poodle. My back yard is approx. 60′ x 90′. Should I mount fence to top rail or in middle of chain link fence. Don’t wanna take to much yard away from him.

ADMIN – Hi Brian,

I’d recommend mounting it halfway up the fence. This will prevent digging and jumping over. Also, you can adjust the boundary width down so that it does not take too much of your yard. I’d recommend a boundary signal of 2 to 3 feet when combining a dog fence with a natural fence.

david April 18, 2011 at 3:38 pm

I went with a no dig method but I have a 6 foot privacy fence. I used a staple gun to mount the wire @ 6 inches above the ground on my fence. will this cause me any problems or breaks in the future. so far the fence works good.

ADMIN – Hi David,

I don’t see any additional wire break risk with your current install. If it works great now, I’m sure it will continue to do so.

max April 10, 2011 at 4:12 pm

Has anyone be transporting the receiver between two properties? is that possible? I’m thinking of installing the wires at both my house and my camp. but don’t want to buy two systems. This system will work on any 15-20 gauge wires right?

ADMIN – Hi Max,

You can indeed move the receiver between properties. Often folks lay wire in say their city home and their weekend home and just take the control box with them when they shuttle between locations. The systems work with pretty much any insulated single copper wire.

max April 10, 2011 at 4:07 pm

Hi there, I am looking at doing the no-dig system as my lot if full of rocks and digging is an issue. My question is probably a dumb one….but how to do you fish all this wire through a hose?

ADMIN – Hi Max,

There are a couple of different techniques that you can use to insert the dog fence wire inside a protective sheath like Garden Hose or PVC piping. You can use fish tape to pull through longer sections of wire, you can slit the garden hose along it’s length so that the wire can be inserted in through the slit, or you chop the garden hose into short section and insert the wire through each section.

Cindy April 7, 2011 at 7:16 pm

Also, where do I install the “box”? I don’t have a garage. Does it go outside? In the kitchen? In the basement??? I’ve been reading a lot and you have the BEST site. I can’t believe there is actually someone there to help with this process! Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!

ADMIN – Hi Cindy,

You can put the base station anywhere that is sheltered. If you don’t have a garage to mount the base station, then I would put it somewhere out of the way in the house. A closet that is on an exterior wall or the basement is ideal because it will not be seen.

Cindy April 7, 2011 at 6:58 pm

My husband and I are considering installing the PetSafe In-Ground fence for our 4 dogs. I spoke with someone from the invisible fence company, and they quoted us almost $3,000.00. The will include training one time for 2 of the dogs. What about the other 2 dogs? You’d think for that much money they’d actually help train the dogs. Anyway, My property is almost 2 acres in a rectangular shape. There is an area that is about 40 feet across that goes down a hill and then back up. This area is heavily wooded. The other area that is of concern is the pond. The pond is mostly on my property, but the end of it is not. In order to give the dogs the whole yard (my dream), we have to cross the woods and the pond. From reading all that you have explained I think the wooded area will not be a problem, however what do we do with the pond? At the end that we need to cross it is only a couple of feet deep. There are a lot of leaves and such on the bottom. This will only cost us around $500. if we install it ourselves. That is an incredible difference in price. I am just so worried abput crossing that pond. I need 1,100 feet of wire total. Is the wire that comes with these systems good enough or should we buy wire separately? We have 2 beagles, both around 50 Lbs, one is 4 years old, the other is 7 years old. We have a chow/Golden Retreiver mix who weighs about 65 lbs and he is 9 years old, and we have “happy” who is a collie mix, 12 years old and 90 Lbs. Happy likes to chase cars and bite strangers. We have a fence now around some of the yard, but the dogs climb it. They are now going to the bathroom all over our brand new (6 months) house. I really need help. Please let me know anything you can.
1. What kind of wire do we need?
2. How do we cross the pond?
3. Which system should we buy.
4. Is this In-Ground fence safe while we are at work all day? (considering Happy likes to bite and chase people)

I really hope that you can help me to decide and figure all of this out!
Thank you so much for your time!!!

Admin- Hi Cindy,

1) The systems we offer come with 20-gauge wire. We feel that the 20-gauge wire will more than suit your needs. We also offer an upgrade to an 18-gauge wire which is a little bit thicker. We recommend that if you have any areas that are of concern, you place the wire in a water hose or PVC pipe for extra protection.
2) If you want to cross the pond you can simply sink the wire at the point you wish to cross the pond. We do recommend that when you sink the wire in the pond you place the wire in a water hose or PVC pipe for extra protection.
3) A great system for your dogs would be the PetSafe Stubborn Dog. With the differences in weight between your dogs, the Stubborn Dog will allow you to set the correction levels for each dog.
4) The dog fences are safe. The key to containing Happy will be in the training. With good training and the dog fence to reiterate the boundary, you should not have any issues.

Rob March 7, 2011 at 4:19 pm

There are many trees and of course roots around our fenceline. Our fence is 4x4s with wire fencing connected between. There is a cable running through the top of the fence all the way around.
Could I tie or wrap the dog fence wire around the current cable, even though it is at the top of the fence?? It would avoid all of the tree roots and be quick and easy. Thanks for any suggestions

ADMIN – Hi Rob,

You can run the dog containment system wire along the current fence, either wrapping around the fence or using zipties or staples to hold it in place. As you say it is much quicker and easier and tends to make finding and repairing any breaks easy.

Martin L February 6, 2011 at 1:41 pm

We have about 15 fenced acres, that include two parallel horse pastures with a driveway between, fenced with t-posts and wooden posts, using woven wire and no-climb fencing. The other half of the property is enclosed by t-posts and woven wire fencing,some overgrown with blackberries. Is the size of the charger based on the length covered, more than the total acreage? what is the rule of thumb of charger size per foot of dog fence? Is it better to put it all on the ground or can some be strung along the current pasture fence lines? Does it have to be insulated from the woven wire fencing and t-posts? Can it just be stapled to the wooden posts? I want to put the charger in an outbuilding about 10 ft from where the fence is – can we twist the two ends together and then go opposite directions when it gets to the fence?

Admin – Hi Martin,

The size/power of the system transmitter would dictate the capacity of the systems. The various systems have different capacities raning from about 5 – 100 acres. To be precise, coverage is driven by length of the wire rather than acerage as you say, however most capacites are reported in acreage as a matter of convention and convenience. Unless you have a very long and thin property this shortcut works fine.

We have several that would do the job for 15 acres. The Innotek IUC 4000 and 5100 as well as the Sportdog SDF 100A would be good choices depending on the type of dogs you have.

The wire can indeed be attached to the existing fence. Be a little careful if stapling, you want to make sure that the staple does not cut through the insulation.

The twisted wire should be used to make the 10 foot run from the transmitter to the start of the fence, going in opposite directions and making the loop from there. You method for making the twisted wire, would work fine and would avoid you needing to make a splice.

Paul Z January 12, 2011 at 1:36 pm

I have a four foot chain link fence with wood posts and wood toprail. My dog jumps over the fence without touching it. If I run the wire along the toprail, will it stop him from jumping the fence after a running start?

ADMIN – Hi Paul,

You can run the containment system boundary wire along the fence (either top or bottom) and it will work fine. You will want to adjust the boundary width control so that the system starts correcting the dog a couple of feet before he actually gets to the fence – that will stop him getting close enough to mount a challenge on the fence. You don’t want the boundary width to be set so narrowly that the only time the dog gets it is when they are sailing over the fence – at that stage it is too late for the dog to change his behavior.

Frankie December 20, 2010 at 9:44 pm

I am planning the area for a fence installation on my property, which is about 3 acres, mostly located behind the house, with a wooded hillside (running downhill from the house). Some parts of this area will be buried, but most will be surface-laid in the woods. At the foot of the hill is a small stream (a few inches of water), and I own some land on the opposite side. What would be the pros & cons of possibly trying to include this? Or is it best to stay away from the stream entirely. Thank you.

ADMIN – Hi Frankie,

You can run the wire through the stream without any problems. Either run the wire across the bed of the stream (preferably protected from debris by running the wire through some old hose pipe), or run the wire above the stream along some fallen branch.

The biggest disadvantage of running the wire through water is that you give the dogs access to the water. Particularly water loving dogs like labs and golden retrievers will be constantly in the water and tracking the mud into the house which becomes a major nuisance if they are inside dogs.

Repairing breaks in the water is more difficult, which is why we encourage people to protect wire that runs through the water. And you want to avoid having a long boundary in deep water where the dog’s legs can’t touch the ground – because turning around when the dog is swimming is slow and you don’t want a swimming dog to start panicking when they get the correction and cannot easily retreat. But, neither of these will be an issue with you just crossing a shallow stream.

Barbara November 26, 2010 at 10:05 pm

Hi, I have a petsafe radio fence. I have a wire that’s about 900-1000 ft. long since I have 2.5 acres and I wanted to give my dogs a lot of space to run. One of my dogs, a Labrador/Great Pyrenees Mix, doesn’t care much about getting zapped. Do I need to get a different collar for her ?

And, when I try to turn down the boundaries it beeps, does that indicate that there is something in the way? Do Metal Buildings mess with the signal ? Please advise,
thanks, Barb

ADMIN – Hi Barb,

For some dogs, the correction level needs to be higher. This is typically in large breeds that have historically been guard dogs or fighting dogs, where low pain sensitivity was a desirable trait. (Pitbulls, Dobermans, Rottweilers, Pyrenees, etc) For these dogs, you can either add a second collar, or use a high powered collar like the PetSafe Stubborn. The PetSafe Stubborn collar is compatible with other PetSafe Systems (PetSafe Deluxe and PetSafe Little Dog). You can check if low correction level is the problem by adding a second collar from one of your other dogs to the Pyrenees and seeing if that gets the correction to register.

You also want to check that the collar is correctly fitted and that you have the collar prongs contacting the skin directly. When the collar is not properly fitted, the dog does not get the correction.

The PetSafe systems require that you turn up the boundary width dial a certain amount (more if you are covering a large area) in order to establish a complete loop. If you have it down too low, the system will beep and act like there is a break in the wire because there is not enough current going through the wire. This is normal and nothing to be concerned about. Metal buildings are a problem for wireless systems, they don’t block the wired systems you have.

jule November 24, 2010 at 8:08 pm

I too wish to forgo the burying and just put it on my fence. The directions talk about a 6 foot ideal distance between the two wires, why? It would be easiest to just run the two together. Any thoughts on why the separation is necessary? Thanks

ADMIN – Hi Jule,

When the wires get too close to each other, the signals from each wire cancel each other out and the collar does not get triggered. If the fence is high enough, you can run one wire along the top and the other along the bottom.

I presume the reason you are trying to run wires close together is you are doing a U-shaped loop so you can do the backyard only. There are some easier ways to get the same effect. Check out the backyard layouts on our dog fence planning page.

Jill November 24, 2010 at 3:12 pm

Can an invisible fence, most of which will be above ground or tied to an existing fence, be taken up and then put down again. We need the fence now, but are going to be doing some extensive yard work later.

ADMIN – Hi Jill,

You can remove the reinstall it or move it at a later date. This is true of both buried wire and wire that is above ground. However, it is often easier to just get new wire – especially if the old wire is old and has started to harden – the wire is very cheap relative to the rest of the system.

Beth November 11, 2010 at 9:00 am

Hi! I have a 5 acre horse pasture that I would like to fence for the dogs. The current fence posts have two strands of electric horse tape running through them. I would like to attach the dog fence above ground, to the existing fence posts. Mainly because in wet weather, the horses’ hooves can sink pretty deep along the fence line. I’m thinking it would be safer for the horses to install dog wire along the existing fence posts.
Will the pulsing of the electric horse tape cause electrical interference with the dog fence? Do you have any experience/suggestions for this situation?

ADMIN – Hi Beth,

Afraid I don’t have a good answer. Horse fences are a bit hit and miss, some interfere – most don’t. The only reliable way to figure it out is to string a small section of the dog fence up temporarily and then test with the collar to see if it working. It is definitely easier to use the existing posts and I would try that before trying to bury the wire.

Tonya Leleux November 10, 2010 at 1:27 pm

We are making plans to install underground fencing and were going to avoid the wooded portion due to the roots. Can we install above ground through the wooded portion of the yard and underground through the lawn portion? This would provide more room for the dog to roam. Thanks for the great info and web site. -Tonya

ADMIN – Hi Tonya,

You can indeed install the wire above ground in the wooded portion of the yard and only bury the wire in the grassed part of the yard which is mowed. When you lay the wire on the ground, you may want to staple it down or weigh it down with a rock every ten feet or so to stop the wire moving.

Joe in ktown October 29, 2010 at 9:29 pm

Instead of putting it in pvc can you run it through metal pipe? Like the kind that runs along the top of a chainlink fence?

ADMIN – Hi Joe,

The system will work fine if you run the wire through a metal pipe. One caution, when the wire is run parallel to other metal objects, sometimes the signal can jump into those objects, and everywhere the metal pipe runs will act as if it is a dog fence wire. That may not be a problem for your layout, but if that would be undesirable check using the collars to make sure that signal is not going anywhere you don’t want it to go.

Marlene September 26, 2010 at 9:55 am

I have been reading about the “No dig Method” of fencing for dog containment. I own 50 acres of property that is pie shaped with no cross fencing. It has a perimeter fence of 5 wire barbed wire that we could attach a wire to for the dogs. There is a circular driveway with 2 entrances that I would need to cross with the wire. What type of a system would you recommend and what guage wire would I need to go that distance? Also, I would like to be able to take my dogs out of the driveway for walks, can that be done by taking the collars off and leading them out on a leash? Marlene

ADMIN – Hi Marlene,

For a 50 acre property, the SportDog SDF-100A would be a good choice – it is the only system that does well over 50 acres and can go up to 100 acres. What kind of dogs are they? If they are under 20 lbs, we will still use the SportDog system, put may use different collars.

The standard 20 gauge wire works fine, but given the long distance, you may want to do the 18 gauge. It will transmit the signal a bit better.

For the first few weeks, I would avoid taking the dogs throught he driveway on a leash as it will be confusing to them as they learn the boundaries (when taking them out for a walk, take the collars off and either carry them or drive them over the boundary) But, once the dogs have learned the boundaries, you can teach them that it is ok to cross the boundary when you give them permission. For more details on the training technique for creating this invisible gate, take a look at the training section.

Joe September 13, 2010 at 10:12 pm

I have 20 acres of horse property. 75% is surrounded by 4 strands of high tensile wire of which 2 strands are insulated. Can I use one of the strands that is about a foot off the ground for the boundary and then complete the loop where needed.

ADMIN – Hi Joe,

I contacted Innotek directly. They do not recommend the high tensile wire, even insulated. Now it may be worth a try, but we don’t have any field test results to share and the manufacture highly recommends using the solid core copper insulated wire they manufacture.

Dave July 17, 2010 at 9:21 pm

Can it be run through the culvert at the end of our driveway? it is the typical 10-12 inch drianpipe. I am considering the no dig route and wonder if driving over a hose will degrade the hose to the point that it is no longer protecting the wire.

ADMIN – Hi Dave,

You can run the wire through the culvert provided it is not buried too deep (say 1-2 feet). The issue is that when the wire is too far down in only one place you need to turn up the signal strength a lot to get a decent signal in that place – but that leads to the boundary being too wide everywhere else.

Hosepipe seems to be pretty resilient to being run over. You typically will get a good five years before you need to replace that section or wire and protective hosepipe.

Glenn April 18, 2010 at 10:03 pm

My system seems to have a break. How do you recommend finding the break or should I just bury a new cable?

ADMIN – Hi Glen,

Generally it is a lot easier to locate a single break than replace all the cable. There are two exceptions, where there are multiple breaks and where the wire is old. Where the wire has been for example cut with an aerator, there are some many breaks that trying to repair them all is an exercise in futility and replacing the shredded section is easier. Similarly where the wire has started to deteriorate, with the insulation brittle and rotting, you will develop a lot of breaks in the coming years and replacing it all is easier than repairing a new section once a month.

Damian April 18, 2010 at 10:53 am

I plan to do a two acre area that is heavily wooded and fairly steep terrain. Can I run all the wire in 1/2″ irrigation tubing, burying where necessary? This should help prevent having to chase wire breaks from rodents and falling tree limbs.

Hi Damian,

Irrigation tubing works great. You can also use old garden hose pipe if you have it lying around.

JJO April 16, 2010 at 2:51 pm

We have 3 sides of our fenced with a six ft fence. Is there a way to install it only on one side of the yard?

ADMIN – Hi JJO,

The dog fence boundary wire does need to be a complete loop. So you have a couple of options:

(1) run a long thin loop along the one side of the yard where you need it (keeping the two parallel wires six feet apart), OR
(2) running the wire along the one side where you need it, then high along the fence on the sides where you don’t need it. Running it high up should allow the dogs to get right up to the fence without getting the correction because of the vertical height.

Suanne March 19, 2010 at 3:06 pm

I have 4 dogs all different sizes (and shapes!) and own 100 acres, I never thought I would be able to let them run the whole 100 acres, or even being able to take them on our walks without having the worry that they will run off the property (they are actually pretty good already). I never knew you didn’t have to bury the wire, this in itself is great news.

Your website has been so much help, and greatly appreciated.

Suanne

J Arrington March 9, 2010 at 4:11 pm

GREAT website BTW!!! Our property is almost completely wooded and situated on a mountainside with mostly mountainous terrain. Could we “install” our fence with the no-dig method using garden hoses through the most rocky areas? And would we then be able to lay a rock on top to hold the hose/wire in place? Many spots will not allow staples, Also – would a wireless systems work for our “hilly” terrain? We like the portability of the wireless to other locations as we visit friends but I’ve heard it is not suitable for high to low hilly terrain….

ADMIN – Hi J,

Running the wire through garden hose works well in places where you think the wire could be damaged by the terrain. Weighing the wire down with rocks works well whether you protect it with the hose or not. I would definitely avoid wireless in hilly terrain. It does not work well at the best of times! Appreciate the compliment.

Kurt February 20, 2010 at 8:18 pm

I would like to go over the driveway at about 12 feet above the ground from tree to tree. Is this too high for the system to work?

ADMIN – Hi Kurt,

To get a boundary that is wide enough at ground level, you are going to need the boundary to be about 15 feet wide which you will not be able to do with the current systems. Also, unless you have a really large yard you are not going to want to have a 15 foot wide boundary.

Karen February 9, 2010 at 12:35 pm

Is there a store that you can buy the staples at, like home depot or something?

ADMIN – Hi Karen,

You can get lawn staples at nearly any home improvement store (Home Depot, Loewes, Ace, etc). They are sometimes called sod staples. You can also get them in our store in the accessories section. They are cheap, about $10 for 100.

cara January 24, 2010 at 12:27 pm

I just had a question? I was thinking of buying this product for my 70# goldendoodle. She is hopping our chain link fence alot and I was wondering if it would be enough of a shock to keep her in? She already wears a petsafe bark collar that doesnt give off enough of a shock for her! I was also wondering how u would install the invisible fence if u already have an exsisting chain link fence?

ADMIN – Hi Cara,

Especially with a golden doodle, I would be very surprised if the correction was insufficient. I usually find that the dog does not properly feel the correction, because the probes aren’t getting good contact with the skin, it can be really tricky to get it through their fur. Is the dog showing any reaction to the bark collar? If not, I suspect, we may need to trim her fur a little with some scissors where the probes contact, then put the collar on and use your fingers to make sure we have contact between the skin and the fur. You will probably need to move some fur out of the way. If you get a dog fence, the PetSafe Ultrasmart would be a good choice, because it has a little sensor that can tell you if the collar is on right. Again, it would really surprise me if you needed to go higher than the medium correction level.

If you already have a fence, I would just weave the wire through the chain link, or zip-tie it in place. That should save you a lot of installation time and get you right into the training quickly.

Pam Spielman January 13, 2010 at 10:24 am

I would like to use the above-ground method but will I have trouble putting the lawn staples into frozen ground or will they go in ok?

ADMIN – Hi Pam,

You should be able to bang a few staples in, but it would also work if you just weighed down the wire in a couple of places with a brick or rock. All you are trying to do is stop the wire wandering around and keeping it fixed in a spot.

Micah Indiana January 11, 2010 at 10:54 pm

Two questions: 1) Is the frequency strength diminished the deeper the cable is buried? 2) I have a log fence surrounding most of my property to which I planned to staple the cable, instead of burying it. Will this method be just as reliable as burying?

ADMIN – Hi Micah

(1) The strength of the signal is weaker when buried deep underground, so you usually turn up the boundary width to compensate when you bury the wire.

(2) Stapling the wire to an existing fence works great, it is just as reliable as burying.

amy January 6, 2010 at 12:09 pm

We have 5 wooded acres so the no-dig method is appealing. How much “critter” issues should we expect. We have an abundance of squirrels. Will we be constantly repairing chewed wire?

ADMIN – Hi Amy,

Critters do ocassionally chew through wire, but not often (it is not tasty), But with 5 acres, I would expect to get one break a year from some source.

donny December 7, 2009 at 7:22 pm

hi, just purchased a PetSafe Ultrasmart. i have 8 acres with 5 strand barb wire & t post fence. i wanted to zip tie wire to fence. what height would be best? also, is the 20 guage wire big enough for that distance? is making rounded corners a must? all my corners are 90 degrees. i buried 1/2″ pvc across gravel drive, how deep can you bury? thanks donny

ADMIN – Hi Donny,

(1) The height is not particularly important. You can adjust the boundary width to compensate for the wire being high or low. Ideally the wire would be at the height of the dog’s neck (where the receiver collar lies). But, again this is not critical because you can turn up the signal strength to compensate.

(2) 20 gauge is fine for anything up to 25 acres on the PetSafe Ultrasmart.

(3) Try to round the corners, if you don’t you can get some signal loss in the corners. If you are going to do a sharp turn, test it to make sure there are no signal cancellation issues in the corner — you don’t want a hole in the fence!

(4) The depth you can bury depends on how high you have the boundary width turned up. I wouldn’t not bury it more than a couple of inches underground. Again if you are concerned, just test that spot with the collar to make sure it is not too deep.

Dennis December 7, 2009 at 12:52 pm

How deep does the wire have to be buried? We also live in an area were snow is on the ground 3 to 4 months of the year so will the Petsafe system work properly during the winter months and how will the wiring hold up when buried in frozen ground and wet ground (when the snow / ice melt)?

ADMIN – Hi Dennis,

The wire only has to be buried half an inch underground. All you are trying to do is get the wire protected from the evil lawnmower.

The systems will work even in the freeze and the thaw. When there is a heavy accumulation of snow, you may want to turn up the boundary width, to make sure the signal is getting through all that snow.

Try and make sure the control box is kept in a place that stay above freeze. Repeated freezing and thawing will reduce the unit’s life span.

Catherine December 6, 2009 at 1:38 am

We have an electric fence that runs the perimeter of the property. If we attach the boundary wire to the existing fence posts, will the electric fence interfere with the diy fence?

ADMIN – Hi Catherine,

The electric fences will occasionally interfere when the dog fence is close. The only way to tell for sure, is to string up a short section of dog fence and test it. If there is interference, you need to move the dog fence wire six feet away.

Lee November 23, 2009 at 6:32 pm

We are installing your sysytem in our yard. My husband and I are weighing the no dig options. We have two young kids and are surrounded by neighbors whose lawnservice equipment may ride over our wire. Will the no dig work for us?

ADMIN – Hi Lee,

Burying usually works best where there is a lawn because of the lawnmower factor. The sweet spot for “no dig” is really in areas that will not be mown. But, you can do it on grass: here’s how:

I would first cut the grass pretty short, then staple the wire as closely to the ground as you can, and let the grass grow back out. After, that you should cut the grass at the maximum height. Over time the grass will work it’s way over the wire and “pull it down” under the shoots.

You will definitely get a couple of breaks where the lawnmower catches a stray wire. But, finding and repairing the breaks will be pretty easy.

Bill November 21, 2009 at 6:29 pm

I saw the comment about running the wire through a garden hose — would it work to run the wire through PVC?

ADMIN – Hi Bill,

It does work just as well run through a PVC pipe.

Msmith October 14, 2009 at 10:02 am

What about running the wire through flowerbeds. I have read that it is important for the wire to continually make contact with the ground. Going through the flowerbed, the wire would be on top of the pinestraw.
MS

Thank you for your time

ADMIN – Hi MS,

There is no requirement that you make contact with the ground. Laying it on top of pinestraw would be fine.

debbie genthner October 11, 2009 at 2:58 pm

can i run wire thru a garden hose across the driveway

ADMIN – Hi Debbie,
You can indeed run the wire through an old garden hose. That should help protect the wire from the cars.

admin August 6, 2009 at 12:48 am

Michael – LOL – ziptying the wire to a fence is a great way to get your system installed fast.

DSWUZ – in areas where the wire is not buried, I would use at least a few lawn staples to hold everything in place. One every 10 yards is fine. If you are concerned about metal staples in the ground, you can get some great biodegradable staples made of sugar (made by DuPont) at the hardware store.

dswuz August 3, 2009 at 8:52 pm

Hi, I have a quick question. Is it a good idea to put the wire down and not use the lawn staples but just bury it in a couple of places. We have 20 acres and will probably try to cover about 2 acres for the dog’s boundary.
Thanks. Btw, very helpful website!

Michael Quinn August 3, 2009 at 2:47 pm

Can I ziptie the wire to the chainlink fence? My fence is a 3 ft. tall fence and my dog climbs it. I have thought about just taking a lamp cord and hooking it to the fence for a 110v shock (just kidding!)…. I need to do something to protect him from cars and upset neighbors!

Thanks! M.

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