Marking Utilities and Obstacles

The first thing we need to do is have your underground utility lines marked so you know where to be careful when digging.  811 is a free service that alerts water, sewer, electricity, cable and gas suppliers to mark your property with the route of any underground utility lines.  Simply call 811 and the utility companies will mark their underground utility lines with either flags or spray paint.  It can take up to  a week so you will want to call now.  If you have privately installed any utilities like a septic system or lines for gas cylinders you will want to mark these as well.  Most utilities are deeply buried (over a foot deep) and you will only be burying the cables a few inches deep so usually underground utilities are not an issue, but it is better to be safe than sorry and dig carefully in areas where utilities are located.

If possible mark the location of any sprinkler system lines or low voltage power lines for any outdoor lighting system you have had installed.  If you can’t determine the location of these lines, make your best guess.  Damaging a sprinkler line or a low voltage power line is not a big deal, both are easy to fix.  Just be sure to shut off the water and power before you start digging.

Diagram Your Yard

On grid paper, sketch a rough map of your property showing any buildings, paths, driveways, garden beds,  underground utilities and other obstacles.  Figure out which parts of the garden you want to give your dog access to and which parts you want to block access to.

Decide where you will locate the transmitter box.  The transmitter should be located near a power outlet and protected from the elements.  Inside a garage or electrified shed is ideal.

Now determine where you will run your fence.  The fence needs to make a complete loop starting and ending at the transmitter box.  You will use a pair of wires twisted together in places where you want the dog to be able to cross the wire safely. For more details on twisted wire, see here.

Design Principles

Some things to keep in mind when deciding on the placement of wires:

  1. Cross utility lines at right angles – you want to avoid running wire close to a utility line for an extended stretch because, in some rare instances a boundary wires running close to a utility wire can induce a signal in the utility wire making part of your home wiring trigger the collar receivers.
  2. Round corners –  boundary wires should turn corners gradually, avoiding sharp 90 degree turns.
  3. Separate parallel boundary wires – Boundary wires emit signals that will cancel each other out, so you want any boundary wires that are parallel to each other to be at least six feet apart.  Similarly, if your neighbors have a dog fence, keep your wires about six feet from theirs.

Sample Layouts

Perimeter Dog Fence Layout

Dog Fence Basic LayoutThe most popular layout runs along your yard’s perimeter.  This layout allows your dog access to the entire property.

The twisted wire joins the house transmitter box to the boundary wire.  This enables the dog to safely walk over the twisted wire path.

Where possible lay the boundary wire two yards back from the road to give a good safety buffer for you dog and to allow a space for pedestrians.  Also try to allow three yards between the boundary wire and the house on at least one side to allow the dog room to pass between the front and back yard.

Backyard Dog Fence Layout

The challenge in doing a backyard only installation is that you want the house side of boundary to be inactive so your dog can freely enter and exit your home without getting the correction. However, for the system to work, you still need a full loop of single (untwisted wire). There are a number of approaches you can take:

Backyard Dog Fence LayoutThe easiest way to make a complete loop, while only giving the dog access to the backyard is to make a loop that goes tight around the front of the house too. This completes the loop, but there is not enough space around the front of the house for the dog to have access to the front yard. When you do this type of layout, it is important to do a quick check with the collar inside the house to make sure that the signal is not inadvertently spilling into the house in rooms where you dog will stay. If there is a problem, just decrease the boundary width, or move the wire a little further from the front of your house.

Dog Fence Gutter LayoutAnother popular method is go high over the back of your house. Run the wire up a downspout on one side of the house, across the gutter, and down the downspout on the other side of the house. This vertical height over the ground gives your dog enough space to get in and out of the back door without triggering the correction. As always, you want to test with the collar at the back door to make sure there is no signal accidentally reaching down where the dog will walk. Also test rooms near the gutter line to make sure there is no signal spilling into those rooms. If there is unwanted spill, turn down the boundary width setting on the control box until you are getting no spill.

Dog Fence Layout Double LoopThe final method is to go around the three sides of the yard, then double back on yourself to make a U-shaped loop. The two opposite wires need to be separated by at least six feet to avoid the signals from one loop from interfering with the other.  If they are too close you will not get a nice strong signal along the boundary, and you may have dead spots where there is no correction at all. If you already have a tall fence in place, on way to achieve this without digging is to run one leg of the wire along the top of the fence, and the return leg along the bottom of the fence, so you get the necessary separation.

Exclusion Zones

You can also add small exclusion zones to keep your dog out of small areas within your property. For example you may want your dog to have full access to your yard except a small garden bed.To do this you loop some boundary wire around the area you want to protect and join the loop to the main loop with some twisted wire.

The hourglass layout contains the dog in both the front and back yard, but does not allow the dog to cross between the front and back yard. This is great if you want the dog with you in the front or back yard but do not want them crossing between them.
Note that the two loops are connected to each other on the left hand side of this diagram and that they both connect to the transmitter box on the right hand side.

Figure 8/Hourglass Layout

Single-sided Boundary Layout

With a bit of inventiveness, you can create a single sided boundary. The only stipulation is that the twisted wire section can only be half the length of the looped boundary wire. For example, if your loop is 100 feet in a circle, you can only run 50 feet of twisted wire back. This install is very popular with people who live in a rural setting and they want to protect their dog from running out onto the freeway. You simply run a long length of twisted wire from the wall transmitter out to the road. Create a long, skinny loop of boundary wire, remembering to keep the parallel sections a minimum of 6 feet separated to avoid the wires interfering with each other. The key for success of this installation method is run your loop far enough along the road so that your dog doesn’t run around it.

Lake Front Layout

On a lake front property, if you’d like to incorporate the lake into your fence you have several options.  Do note that there is no danger for your dog to receive a correction when swimming.  The correction level will not change or pose any sort of safety threat.  When incorporating the lake, it’s useful to know if your lake front gradually gets deeper or simply drops off.  Depending on what you’re trying to accomplish will determine how you go about incorporating the lake.  It’s recommended when sinking wire into a lake to run it into a water hose or irrigation hose and sink it to the bottom.  This will protect the wire from critters and fishing hooks.

Lakefront Option One is to simply submerge extra boundary wire out into the lake at your desired distance. Do you want your dog to just be able to walk into the lake a few feet so she can get a drink or lay down in the water to cool off? Or do you want to sink the wire over 10 feet so that she can go for a deeper swim or freely jump into the boat when the family goes out? You’re goal will determine how much wire you plan to sink. Dog Fence Lake Installation Option 1
Lakefront Option Two if you have enough yard space, you can use a double back approach to create a three-sided boundary. Simply set an extra length into the lake when doubling back so that your dog will not be able to easily run around the fence. Dog Fence Lake Installation Option 2
Lakefront Option Three is a modification of the first where you incorporate the dock and boat house, but the lake is otherwise not incorporated into the fence plan. Dog Fence Lake Installation Option 2

Gate on the Boundary

Dog Boundary Gate LayoutThe Boundary Gate allows you to create a “gate” along the boundary where there is no correction. This is useful where you have a physical gate that you want to use in this section instead of the electronic fence. For this layout to work, you will need to use the double back layout and keep the parallel wires separated by at least six feet. Where you get to the non-correction gate area, you will bring the two wires together and twist them.

Since this requires a lot of extra wiring, many people find it easier to use a non-layout solution. Instead when they create a virtual gate, training the dog that when they you take off their collar and give them permission, they can walk through the gate without fear of correction. This is covered in more detail in the Dog Fence Training section of the website where we look at walking your dog through the boundary.

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{ 274 comments… read them below or add one }

Ron March 30, 2012 at 11:29 am

Hello…thank you for an incredibly informative website! I have purchased an PetSafe Ultrasmart 4100 and will be installing it shortly. I’m very comfortable with how the system works and how to install it, but I would like some advice on wire location. I have a large rectangular yard (about 1 acre) that is bordered on three sides by thin woods and light brush, with the fourth side bordered by the road. I plan to only bury the wire on the roadside section, and will leave the wire on top of the ground in the woods. The demarcation where the lawn ends and the brush/woods start is very clear. My question is should I locate the correction zone so that it is begins just inside of my yard, or right at the edge? Locating it just inside would put the flags actually in my yard, and not on the brush line. I could put the wire about 2.5 feet into the woods and set the zone size so it is about 6 feet, meaning the correction zone should start about six inches into my yard. Or, I could put the wire 3 feet into the woods and set the zone size so that the correction zone begins at the brush line. In your experience, which would be the most effective and the easiest for my dog to understand? I have rescued a 2 yr old golden retriever who can be a little bit stubborn at times. One other question regarding the road-side of the yard. Should I bury the wire so the entire correction zone is in the yard and doesn’t extend into the road, or should there be a gap between the road and where the correction zone ends? Thanks in advance!

ADMIN – Hi Ron,

(1) Either configuration would work. The dog should learn either line with ease. A nice visual demarcation is helpful, but for me the bigger priority is pushing the boundary out as far as possible, because this will give your dog more room to play in the back yard.

(2) Again, either configuration would work. But, in this case I would try and keep as much of the correction zone in your yard (and off the road) as possible. This give you a bigger safety buffer between your dog and the road. Of course, the tradeoff here is that you are taking away some of your dog’s space.

Merlin March 20, 2012 at 10:10 pm

What an awesome site! Getting excited to install something this spring but have one question.

Any restrictions on wire size. My father works for an electrical company and says he can get huge spools of wire for 25% the cost anywhere else. He thinks the smallest gauge may be 10 though. I am building a cable plow for my tractor so maybe something a little thicker would decrease installation problems anyway? Probably going to have 2000 – 3000 feet of wire total (5 acres rectangular).

ADMIN – Hi Merlin,

There are minimum thickness requirements, but no maximum thickness. The thicker the better from a transmission perspective (it is like a wider highway). It is particularly useful where you are using something like a cable plow that can be tough on the wire. The big spools of wire are great because they mean less splices.

There are a couple of things worth noting for thicker wire. First, it is a harder to work with because it is stiffer. Second, thicker wire won’t fit in the transmitter plugs, so you need a short bridging section of thinner wire. Third, make sure your father gets wire that is direct burial wire – regular housing wire can rot in the ground, particularly in acidic or reactive soils.

Kim March 17, 2012 at 1:14 am

Once again, thanks, for all the info. I have to do this and quick. My wonderful 8 year old Pit/Mastiff keeps jumping the fence. I’m looking at purchasing the 4100, but I have one major issue. I live in the mountains of New Mexico. The ground is hard. Brick doesn’t start to describe it, so burying anything is out of the question. The closest fence line is 50ft from the house. I, also, have 2 younger dogs, that most likely will chew or break any wire that is staked through the yard. Can the system be converted to solar? Or is there a reasonable solar system available on the market?

ADMIN – Hi Kim,

(1) If you need to protect the wire from other dogs (that aren’t on the system – dogs that are on the system will of course not be able to get near the wire), you can use a protective conduit like hose pipe or pvc piping. You could also spray the wire with something like bitter apple for the first few days. That should help break the dogs of the habit of chewing on the wire.

(2) Afraid there aren’t any solar fence on the market, that is something we would like to see. To get the system working on solar power, you need to get a transformer that steps the power down to 12 volts (DC) and outputs 200 milli-amps.

Aaron C March 16, 2012 at 9:15 pm

I’m wanting to do a backyard only, but I don’t want to double up the wire around the yard. Our yard is not that big. I don’t want to lose the yard space. I could do the gutter route, but our house is a 2 story walk out. I’m a little nervous that high in the air. So here’s my idea for up against the house:

Since our yard is not too big, I was wondering if I could run the wire along the back of the house, overlap it along the back of the house, and then overlap it a third time. Then twist the three wires together so that the dog could go in and out. Any chance that would work?

ADMIN – Hi Aaron,

Afraid that running a third wire will result in an active signal. If you don’t want to double back, you choices are either running the wire up and over the back door (it doesn’t have to be the full 2 stories high, just 10+ feet over the ground so the signal does not reach the dog when they enter the back door) or run the wire around the front of the house.

Yvonne March 16, 2012 at 7:26 pm

Hi, I’m hear reading about the IUC 4100 to see if it is a good solution for a med size labradoodle and my property. Can you tell me how close the dog can be to the wire before it gives her any type of warning or signal to back away? Thanks!

ADMIN – Hi Yvonne,

With the Innotek ultrasmart (and indeed all the wired dog fences), there is a dial that controls how far the correction zone extends from the wire allowing you to custom set this distance. For a medium sized labradoodle, a good minimum would be 5 feet (less than 3 feet and training will be difficult). The warning zone (beep but no correction) is generally 10-20% of the size of the correction zone (so if you set the correction zone at 5 feet, the warning zone would be 0.5-1 feet).

Jonathan March 16, 2012 at 12:49 pm

I’ve looked through all your sample layout designs. I want to use something like your backyard layout, but for various reasons it would be difficult to wire around the front of the house, and looping back the same way is problematic because the distance between the wires would cut into walks and such. So I want the loop to be around my backyard and then hug the back of the house on the way back. Of course this creates an issue with the back door, deck and patio.

Here is my question. Would it be possible to get some similar gauge but shielded wire to use near the house where I can complete the circuit but the signal itself would be contained within the wire in the area where I use it? I didn’t see anything on your site about this but I am assuming if shielded wire stops interference from coming into a wire, it will also stop it from flowing out. Any ideas on this?

ADMIN – Hi Jonathan,

Unfortunately shielding the wire does not consistently cut down the signal enough to avoid triggering the fence. Have you considered elevating the wire along the back of the house, so that the height of the wire avoids the signal triggering the collars down on ground level. We usually just run the wire up a water-spout, run it across the gutter, then down the water-spout on the other side of the house.

Bob March 4, 2012 at 11:54 pm

I was wondering if I could combine the twisted pair leaving the unit inside the home with a 240volt circuit that feeds through the exterior wall? It would be in the same conduit for 8″. Would I have any problems with a “Bleed-over” affect from the AC circuit?
Also, I have a Miniature Pinscher that weighs 14 pounds. The area that we want to use is approximately 80’X80′. What system would you recommend?
Thank You.

ADMIN – Hi Bob,

What do you mean when you say combine? Are simply wanting to run the twisted pair beside the 240volt wire? If that’s the case then yes, it will be okay.

I’d recommend the Innotek IUC 4100 dog fence. For a 14 lb mini pin the collar is small enough and streamlined enough to fit as long as your mini pin’s neck circumference is at least 7″.

David February 25, 2012 at 4:03 pm

Can you run a boundary wire across a driveway without tearing up the pavement?

Admin- Hi David,

If there is an expansion join in the driveway, you just put the wire in the joint and caulk over. Otherwise you can run the wire through a culvert or cut a shallow slot with a circular saw, lay the wire, then caulk over.

Matt February 18, 2012 at 1:43 am

Thank you for this informative website, I found it while researching wireless dog fences. I’ve now decided that they are not the best option for our house. We live in a duplex, with a yard that is almost twice the length from front to back, compared to the front( or rear) property line. A wired one will allow more area for the dog, but I’m not sure how to handle the property line that we share with our connected neighbor. What would you suggest?

ADMIN – Hi Matt,

Running the wire in a duplex is tricky, because of the connected unit. Usually the yard is not big enough to do a double loop (go around the three sides of the yard, then double back six feet away. One way we have seen it done is to run the wire around the three sides of the yard, then up and over the home along the common boundary with your neighbor. You can either go straight over, or go through the gutter system so you circle around the edge of the home.

Kerry February 12, 2012 at 1:05 am

I already have an existing fence for the backyard but our dog is escaping under the fence even though we have tacked it down with stakes. The fence is 4 feet high and a combination of a chain link fence along the back property line and decorative aluminum along the sides. We have a pedestrian gate and vehicle gate on each side of the house. I plan on using the double back layout with twisted sections to cancel the signal where the gates are. I read that the untwisted parts of the double back layout need to be 6 feet apart or they will interfere with each other. My fence is only 4 ft high, can I still put one strand on the top and one strand near the bottom, ( this maybe about 3 ft apart on the decorative fence parts). Will the aluminum fence affect the signal? Am I correct about having the twisted wires for the gate openings, probably for the first 30 ft coming off the control box? Thank you in advance.

ADMIN – Hi Kerry,

The amount of separation you need between those wires depends on how wide you set the boundary width. If you set a typical boundary of 3-5 feet on either side of the fence, then you need at least 4 feet of separation, preferably 6 feet of separation. Using the 4 foot fence will be cutting it close, the 3 foot fence is unlikely to work and you will need to run one of the wires along the ground to get the needed separation.

The aluminum fence will have no effect if it is aluminum pickets. It could amplify the signal and make it project out a couple of extra feet if the fence was aluminum sheet metal.

Bringing the two wires together and twisting them along the gated sections would indeed cancel the signal in those local areas.

William February 11, 2012 at 10:56 pm

I’ll get right to the point. Four-sided loop, but one portion of the length that runs from backyard to front will be pretty close to the side of my brick house. That’s OK, I don’t want my dogs traveling up/down that side of the house anyway. Can I run the wire close (3-4 ft) to that side of the home without having the signal bleed through to the inside rooms and bother my dogs (if they happen to have collars on) or with electronic equipment (phones, clocks, stereo). Also, by running it this close, am I effectively “sealing off” that portion of the yard (this would be good because I can much more effectively see them on the other three sides).

ADMIN – Hi William,

The answer as to whether you will get the signal inside the house will depend on how wide you set the boundary width and what the walls are made of. We would get the wire as far away from the side as possible, then test inside the house with the collars to make sure you aren’t getting any signal. If you are getting a signal, you will want to turn down the boundary width dial until you consistently get no signal. 3-4 feet of separation, plus the blocking effect of the wall should be enough.

The dog containment fence will not cause any problems with electronics in the home.

By running the wire close to the side of the house, you will indeed be effectively shutting off this areas of the yard. The dogs will not want to negotiate a long narrow strip.

Marty Bowlds February 8, 2012 at 9:42 am

I have a wooden fence in my back yard and an in ground pool. I want to keep my dogs off of my pool cover, they have already ripped it once. They cut my concrete pad around my pool and would be perfect for putting the wire in and caulking it in there. Can I use an invisible fence around my pool and keep them out instead of containing them inside the wired area?

ADMIN – Hi Marty,

You can indeed use the invisible fence system for keeping dogs out of an area instead of for containment. You will just lay the wire around the area you want to exclude the dogs, and do the training in the same way as you would for containment.

Mike Robinson February 4, 2012 at 5:06 pm

Thank you for all of the great information! I have an outdoor outlet on the back of my house where I want to mount the transmitter. However, the transmitter will not be very sheltered from the elements. Is there a waterproof transmitter system available?(If not, I think I just came up with an idea to make me millions). If not, what happens if the transmitter gets wet? Lastly, do you have any clever ideas for a waterproof housing that could contain the transmitter and be mounted on the outside of the house.

ADMIN – Hi Mike,

The only weatherproof transmitter is on the Humane Contain, but I would avoid that system. We usually just use a regular system and put it in a weather proof box. You can get the boxes in the electrical section of most big-box hardware stores for around $20. You don’t want to put the transmitter unit outside unprotected otherwise after the next heavy rain it will short circuit and stop working.

Let us know how it goes with your million dollar idea. I am guessing it is a way to stop it raining.

Deborah January 28, 2012 at 9:45 am

Thanking you in advance, you have a great website that answered most of my questions, but I need to be sure which fence to buy from you. My pup is only 9 weeks old right now, a lab/and something else cross (maybe golden,GSD and/or Chow) I live in a rural area in VT and am able to lay the wire through the woods on all sides of my house except when it crosses the driveway. There is a culvert running under the driveway and I was wondering if I could put the wire through the culvert or will that be too deep? Some of the wooded area is very thick with bushy vegetation, could other animals (like rabbits) pull the wire up and break it if they were to get near it? I want to fence in about 1.5 acre…..can you suggest the proper fence? Thanks.

ADMIN – Hi Deborah,

Appreciate your kind words. You can run the wire through the culvert. How deep depends on how wide you intend to set your fence boundary width settings. But, in general anything over one foot deep is going to block the signal getting to the surface and will compromise the fence in that area.

Usually with a wooded area we just staple down the wire to avoid some animal snagging themselves on the fence and breaking it. You will get the occasional break with a critter chewing through the wire. You can mitigate this by running the wire through irrigation pipe or sprinkler system pipe to protect it – but in our opinion this is not worth the extra effort and we find it easier to just deal with the occasional break.

For that kind of dog you have many options. The Innotek IUC-4100 is a good choice, it is a smaller collar and is rechargeable. The PetSafe Stubborn is also good, it has a bigger collar and uses a disposable battery, but is a little cheaper. Note if you use the Stubborn, you will want to keep it on the lower settings because anything beyond the medium correction on that system is likely to be counterproductive with your dog.

FYI – I would wait until he is six months old. Training is much easier once the dogs have matured a little bit, when they are just a pup they have a limited attention span. So you might want to wait a few months before making your purchase.

Pat January 25, 2012 at 10:06 pm

We have an 8 month old Malti-Poo that was taught to “run away” by our older dog (who has since been given away)! Our little guy originally would stay right by us when walking outside but now is gone whenever he gets out of the house. This seems to be a game for him and when neighbors find him they give him treats to “catch” him (which seems to be reinforcing the bad behavior). We have coyotes in the neighborhood and I am terrified that our baby will get out and will be an appetizer for the coyotes. Toby Mac is 12-1/2#. Our yard is fenced with a block wall (we live in Arizona) but Toby can get out the front door or garage door through the laundry room. What would you suggest?????

ADMIN – Hi Pat,

If the problem is darting out the garage and the front door, I would run the boundary wire around the entire property perimeter. When you are going around the rear which is already fenced in, I would either bury the wire or staple it to the side of the fence.

A good system for a dog that size would be the Innotek IUC-4100. It has one of the smaller collars, and is rechargeable. The PetSafe Little Dog is also a good choice and is a little cheaper, but there is a significant ongoing expense due to the proprietary PetSafe batteries it forces you to use.

Frank January 23, 2012 at 1:02 pm

Using the exact house/garage/driveway/control box location illustration in your Single-sided Boundary Layout, is there a way to create that single-sided boundary without having the wires cross the driveway twice? One way I’m thinking is to lay the wire from the control box, along the right side (as you’re looking at the house) of the driveway, across the driveway to the opposite property line, back to the left edge of the driveway, up along that left edge of the driveway, through the garage and bypassing the control box, then alongside the right side of the driveway again down to where it turns onto the driveway.

Then, from there, twisting the wire along itself back towards the garage, bypassing the control box, back along the left side of the driveway, then back again towards the garage (still twisting it) until it reaches the control box. In the end, the wires on the right side of the driveway will be twisted twice on itself, and the wires on the left side will be twisted three times on itself. You probably haven’t heard of a layout like this, but I rather not make any more cuts in my asphalt driveway than necessary.

ADMIN – Hi Frank,

Afraid your creative wiring would not have the desired effect. You only get cancellation if two (or four or any other even number) wires are twisted together. When you twist three (or any odd number) wires together, you get a signal.

There is no good alternative to crossing the driveway twice that we have ever found.

Stuart Keen January 9, 2012 at 11:51 am

1. My dog is a Labrador/Golden Retrieve mix, his coat is medium length and weighs 55 lbs. My concerns are a) he is an older dog (14+ years) and is developing bladder problems so he must have access to the unfenced back yard 24/7 (there are dog doors from the house to the lanai to the yard). But twice he wandered away from home, so I need the invisible fence to contain him. How often must I remove the collar and for how long? Basically, if he has access to the outside, he needs to wear the collar all the time, but I can periodically restrict him to the house without the collar for short periods if necessary.

2. Both sides of the back yard are open to my neighbors. The back of the yard has a 11 ft high concrete wall that extends to all properties in this development so this does not have to be “fenced”. However, in the right hand corner there is a 12 ft wide x 25 ft long “dead end” run (corridor) that runs parallel to the wall, behind my neighbor’s wooden fence. The configuration is like a fat upside-down “L”. The dog needs access to this corridor. How can I run the “invisible” wire fence from the house, along the right side of my yard, up to the corridor, then jump the entrance to the corridor over to the wall, along the top of the wall and back along the other side of the yard to the house? The 12 ft width of the corridor presents a problem. If I went up the fence and over to the wall, then the radiation from vertical wire would interfere with the entrance to the corridor. If I went down several feet into the ground, then when I came up the side of the wall, I would again have radiator from the vertical rise there. I understand placing the wire in a metal pipe would not help. Would covering with sheet metal help? Any suggestions for wiring this non-standard configuration?

ADMIN – Hi Stuart,

1. The manufacturers all recommend that the collars are worn only 12 hours a day. In practice, many people leave them on around the clock and this works fine. The important thing if you are going to leave the collar on constantly is to check the dog’s neck every couple of days for the first month, then weekly. If the dog develops a rash or allergic reaction, you want to catch it early.

2. To create a gap in the fence, you can go up high (8+ feet) overhead or deep down (at least 3 feet, maybe more depending on soil type). To avoid the vertical sections where the wire goes up/down, causing an signal that blocks the corridor, you may have to place the vertical sections further back from the opening.

The other option to create a gap is to make a big U-shaped loop that goes around the entire yard (but not the passage to be left open, then doubles back on itself six feet apart to complete the loop.

Shielding with metal pipe or sheet metal is not effective.

kellygf December 16, 2011 at 6:12 pm

We are looking to purchase the Innotek 4100 for our 2+ acre property…for our 3 Australian Shepherds. We have 3 gates that we would like to be “free pass” areas. Is there a way to make the gate areas in the loop not charged? There is no overhead options for these gate areas.

ADMIN – Hi Kelly,

Other than going up high, or going deep down underground, there is no easy way to great 3 separate breaks in the fence. If you want the dogs to go through the gates, you will need to switch the system off or remove the collars every time.

dave December 15, 2011 at 2:37 pm

I would like to do a back yard only setup. If I were to use the twisted wire along the back side of the house then double back one of the wires and twist it with the other two, then create my loop along the outer yard would this work,( the double back /3 wire twist?) The gutter method is an option but our gutters tend to get full of leaves and then freeze, I know I know clean the gutters…. that aside.

ADMIN – Hi Dave,

Three wires twisted together does not cancel out the signal and will trigger the dog fence collar. Afraid, the gutters are your best bet. (PS – my feeling is that if you don’t have anything growing in your gutter, then it doesn’t need cleaning)

Auslander Scofflaw's Dad December 12, 2011 at 5:28 pm

The back door of the house is literally on the NW corner of the house immediately adjacent to the driveway. The far side of the driveway is my property line on the west side I would like to keep Aussie from exiting the property from the driveway. The driveway is 9 ft wide. I understand I could form a narrow loop along the top and bottom of a fence along the driveway and happens to end even with the NW corner of the house. How “hard” is the perimeter? Do I end the loop 3 or 6 ft from the back door? Do I run a loop top and bottom of the fence and adjust the boundary to the edge of the house but not the door? If the later, then there is only 6 inches between the West edge of the house and the left side of the door. Fortunately there is a material difference in the driveway at the NW corner of the house. One side is asphalt the other is cement with a wooden grid embedded so if I had to I could loop on the ground closer to the door from the fence. But how far must the door be separated from the loop to be safe?

ADMIN – Hi James,

(1) By hard, I presume you mean is the boundary consistent. With the wired fences, the boundary will be much more consistent than with a wireless fence but there will still be a bit of vagueness, the boundary moving 1-2 feet from day-to-day.

(2) I would indeed run the loop along the top and bottom of the fence. But, I would adjust the boundary width so that you have 3 foot buffer between the where the boundary triggers and the door.

Danny December 2, 2011 at 9:39 am

I had used to system I bought at walmart underground fence (wired). I noticed at least 2 problems:
(1) I live in a mobile home with no metal roof and no metal siding but with a metal frame (26×52). The correction would hit the dogs as they approached the house.
(2) The fence was slow to react and the dogs would run through. I live on 2.5 acres 200 x 400 feet of full trimmed woods (lower branches removed ) with the home offset to one side.
I was thinking about the wireless system because of the run through what type of system would you recommend ? ,what other info do you need ? Pictures?

ADMIN – Hi Danny,
(1) If the correction is getting inadvertently triggered, it is likely a problem with your layout. Take the collars and figure out where they are getting triggered. Email us a diagram of the layout and where the collars are getting triggered and we could help you figure it out.
(2) The slow reaction time is due to the brand of fence (I am guessing from Walmart that it is the Humane Contain). I would try switching it out for another brand. Since you have 2.5 acres, you set nice wide boundary zones. If you do the training with the dogs, then running through should not be a problem.
I would advise against wireless systems. Generally they are not as good as wired systems and in particular they are not good in wooded areas where there are many obstructions.

John Robinson November 29, 2011 at 6:24 pm

I would like to install a perimeter style around my 1acre property. Is it possible to put gate areas in so I can walk my dog to the neighbors property with out having the dog put on the brakes when she comes to the boundary line?

ADMIN – Hi John,

There are no gates per se. Once you have the dogs fully trained, we can start to teach them that it is ok to go through the fence when you give them permission. (You will of course have to take the collars off the dog before they cross the boundary) For more details on how to do the ‘gate’ training, see the Training –> Walking Your Dog section of the website.

Rusty November 20, 2011 at 10:14 pm

We currently have twisted wire running from the front of our house to the outside perimeter. It makes a complete loop around our property. We are installing a pool and want to run twisted wire from the front of the house to the pool, make a boundary around the pool, and then run twisted wire from the opposite side of the pool to the outside perimeter which will make a complete loop around our property. Is this possible or do I need to run it like the exclusion zone diagram? Is there a maximum on how far the twisted wire can be run? We have the Pet Safe Stubborn Dog System. The outside perimeter is approximately one acre. Thanks for your help!

ADMIN – Hi Rusty,

Yes, this will work perfectly because it is all in one loop.

Andrea Halverson November 16, 2011 at 11:00 am

I’m wondering how high or low the wire would need to be to allow my dog to pass through. We are thinking of fencing only our backyard and for now must leave the wire above ground (until spring). We were thinking of running the wire along the house and then around the yard to complete the loop. We need to make sure our dog can go out the patio door onto the deck. If the deck is about 5-6′ above the wire, would that be enough clearance? Keep in mind, we are in Minnesota and will likely have to turn up the radius to account for the snow in a few weeks. Thanks!

ADMIN – Hi Andrea,

The most you’ll be able to dial up the boundary width for snow would be 6 feet. We recommend a minimum boundary width of 3 feet. If you’re running the wire under the deck, I’m afraid 3 feet is all the wiggle room you will have. You can also alternatively wrap the wire around the front of the home and include the entire house in the boundary too. The other option is to run the wire up and over through the gutters. Considering you’ll need to adjust the boundary for snow, I’d recommend a height of more than 10 feet.

Mark November 11, 2011 at 1:34 pm

On the lakefront option 2 how far apart does the wire need to be from each other when looping back around. Thanks and great information.

ADMIN – Hi Mark,

The wires need to be about six feet apart to avoid them interfering with each other.

Gary November 3, 2011 at 1:40 pm

We have a soft-coated wheaten terrier, about 35-40 lbs. I tried the Hav-a-hart wireless system with poor success; we sent it back. Our lot is 2 acres; I would fence probably 1.5 acres. First, which system would you recommend? Second, comes with burying the wire. Part of the lot is treed; how deep do I bury the wire, and will tree roots eventually wreck havoc with the wire? What causes wire breaks? If I don’t dig near the wire can I still expect periodic breaks caused by frost (ground heaving and settling)? I currently have a stone driveway and would plan to slice through the stone to bury the line. If I pave in the future (probably blacktop) what do I do about the wire? You mention gradual curves instead of 90 degree corners; how gradual are the curves? Is a 3 feet radius okay?

ADMIN – Hi Gary,

We’d recommend the Innotek IUC 4100 for your wheaten terrier. 500 feet of boundary wire comes with the fence. You’ll need to buy an additional 1,000 feet to cover 1.5 acres. We recommend burying the wire 3 to 4 inches deep. The tree roots should not interfere with the wire. We do offer wire as large as 14 gauge as well if you want a heavier gauge. Yes, breaks do happen with the ground heaving and settling. 14 gauge almost never experiences the breaks that 20 gauge experience. Are removing the stone driveway before laying the blacktop? It’s not really critical on the corners. You just don’t want to bind the wire in a 90 degree angle. However, the softer the better we recommend. A 3 foot radius is the minimum boundary width we recommend. I’d recommend 5 to 7 feet if you have the space.

Jeremy November 2, 2011 at 10:44 pm

Looking to add an underground fence. I would like the dogs to be able to utilize both front and back yards. We are on a cul de sac and the way the property lines are, the front of the houses are much closer than the rear. So, at the front corners of the house, there is maybe 3 feet between the house and property line – this is true for each side up front. Is that enough space, assuming I place the fence right at the property boundary?

Admin- Hi Jermy,

The minimum boundary distance projecting off of the wire is 1-2 feet. With only the 3 feet in the front corners, I do not think this will be enough room for the dog to pass freely.

Andrew October 30, 2011 at 3:06 pm

I live in Alaska on a 1/2 acre wooded lot with some rolling terrain. We tried a wireless system but the boundaries were very inconsistent due to the hills and rolling terrain. We have decided to install a wire fence but the snow has already started to fall here. What would you recommend for installing with snow already on the ground?

ADMIN – Hi Andrew,

Once the ground starts to freeze, we usually just lay the wire on the ground. You can staple the wire down with lawn staples or you can weight the wire down in a few spots with a rock to stop the wire moving. When the weather heats up again you can do the permanent installation.

Shazad October 27, 2011 at 9:48 pm

I realized you had already answered a similar questions that Kendal had asked earlier in the page. Looks like this may not work (the u turn method). Another thought crossed my mind. For this one side, what if I split the wire, connect two wire sections along the one side and twist those? That should cancel each other’s signals right? Again thank you for the great information on the site!

ADMIN – Hi Shazad,

If you utilize the double back layout (see diagram above), you can bring the parallel wires together as twisted wire in order to create a “dead area” along the boundary.

Harvey October 25, 2011 at 10:20 am

I have not been able to find a non-metallic collar for training. All seem to at least have a metal ring for attaching the leash. Is it OK to use a collar that will have a ring for attaching the leash? The leash has a metal snap on it anyway and the ring and snap will be on top of the dogs neck during the training.

ADMIN – Hi Harvey,

The manufactures go a bit overboard on this one. I believe you be absolutely okay with a non-metallic collar that contains a metal ring for the leash.

Malcolm October 14, 2011 at 4:48 pm

I just bought a Innotech 4100 and notice the manual recommends the wire is kept at a distance of 10′ from the street.
The dog experts book you provided states one yard.
Which is correct ? as the field adjustment control could cold be set to control this distance.

Thanks for a very informative site.

Admin- Hi Malcolm,

We recommend one yard. However, if you wish to install the boundary wire closer to the road you can. You will be able to set the field width coming off of the wire. We recommend having a 4-6 foot boundary from the wire.

Harvey October 11, 2011 at 2:32 pm

I want to do the backyard thing, but would like to have a gate at the back of the yard. I understand I can use the double loop, but I would like to know is what would happen if I ran the wire through a grounded section of metal conduit. Would that cancel the signal?

ADMIN – Hi Harvey,

Running the wire through metal conduit will most likely amplify the signal or make the signal random bounce around the yard. I know it uses more wire, but the double loop is really your best option for creating your desired layout.

julie brunette October 8, 2011 at 9:45 am

We are installing an underground fence and have a question about the chain link fences that both of our neighbors have. I would like our dog to be able to go up to the chain link fences and smell and greet the neighbor dogs.
I am using the backyard only configuration on a large pie shaped lot.
My question – Is there an easy way to eliminate the correction charge along the fence lines on both sides of the yard? My two thoughts are
!) bury the wire really deep along the fence line to reduce the distance of correction in these areas
2) run a double boundary wire the whole perimeter and twist it when we get to the fences. I don’t like this because it requires more wire and two trenches to bury the wire at least 6 ft apart.
3)tell him he can’t smell his friends
4) another option perhaps?

ADMIN – Hi Julie,

Number 2 is the only option in terms of a functioning layout that will work precisely as planned. Otherwise, you may have to tell him he can no longer smell his friends.

Roch October 4, 2011 at 12:53 pm

Can I increase the wire length from 300 meters to 400 meters with the same performances?

ADMIN – Hi Roch,

You can indeed increase the length of the wire without a drop-off in performance, as long as you keep within the maximum distance for your system. 400 meters is not going to be a problem for any decent system. You will need to turn up the boundary width dial a little.

Jessica October 3, 2011 at 9:54 pm

What a great website! I’ve read alot of the info and still have some questions. We’re looking at installing our own fence in our backyard which is bordered on each side with a privacy fence and then across the back by a large creek that has a dock/pier. Is it possible to somehow create a loop that would follow our side perimeters but not include the side against the water? That way our dog could swim but hopefully learn to not cross the side boundaries into the neighbors yards. OR have you seen good response with a total closed loop that includes the water side but teaching your dog when it is ok to go into the water? I’ve seen mention of teaching your dog to only go in water when the collar is off and I was wondering how this usually works. Thank you so much!

ADMIN – Hi Jessica,

If you want to allow free access to the water, then you have two options. You can do a U-shaped loop, going around the three sides where you want containment, then doubling back on yourself – six feet apart. Or you can do a loop around the whole property, running the wire out into the lake and sinking it down deep so the dogs can swim over without triggering the collar. See the lakefront dog fence layout diagrams on this page for more details.

If you want to restrict access to the water, you just do a regular loop and then, as you mentioned, train the dog to go into the water when the collar is off and you give permission. (See the training section of the website for more details on how that is done.)

Both layouts will work. We usually find it is better to restrict access to the water for indoor dogs, otherwise they are constantly wet and tracking mud into the house.

Greg October 1, 2011 at 9:07 pm

I am trying to come up with an idea for a lakefront lot. The double loop method will cause too much loss of yard. Could I run twisted wire from the house and all along the beach; then when I get to the corner spin one of the wires back down the beach as a 3rd wire;when I reach the opposite side of the beach I will send just the 3rd wire up the side yard to splice in the backyard with the other wire that went up the opposite side yard. Ultimately my question is will the 3rd wire cancel as well along the beach? I’m not concerned with containment in the water.

ADMIN – Hi Greg,

Afraid that running three wires together would cause that section of fence to become active.

Jerri October 1, 2011 at 7:27 pm

You say not to run fence to close to electric wires for extended periods, The whole width of my front yard has electric lines running across it. the dog fence will run the same path across front yard. How far away should I keep the fence from the electric lines? Its probably 150 to 200′ across the front yard. Thanks. Great site!

ADMIN – Hi Jerri,

You don’t want the electric lines running too close and parallel to the dog fence wire. If you can keep it more than 6 feet away, you will be fine.

If you must run them close together, it is usually not a big deal. You just want to be sure to take the collar in the house and test that you aren’t getting stray dog fence signals in the electrical system. Take the collar and test around power outlets to make sure the collar is not triggering in the house. This rarely happens, but it is worth taking the time to check.

Tim September 11, 2011 at 9:54 am

Our dog will only wear the collar when going outside (she’s an inside dog, most of the time.) Since we only want to zone the backyard, could we route the wire thru the crawlspace underneath the house instead of along the gutter and get the same results? Thanks, Tim

ADMIN – Hi Tim,

You could route the wire through the crawlspace under the house and the system would work. Unless, the crawlspace if particularly high, the signal would however still get through the floor so you would not be able to take through the back of the house to the outside without taking the collar off and likewise when you took her back inside.

While it would work, I would caution against this type of arrangement. Putting the collar on and off throughout the day becomes a huge pain, and inevitably someone will forget to take the collar off when bringing her in resulting in an unintended (and undeserved correction). Nearly every time a customer does this, it tends to be a short-term solution and they end up re-routing the wire to a more user friendly layout.

Linda September 4, 2011 at 4:28 pm

We get a lot of snow. If the snow banks are higher than the distance set. Would the system still work in between the snow banks? (Hope I explained this correctly.) Also we have an area in our yard that has many rocks and boulders. Can we simply run the wire behind the boulders? What would be the draw backs? Thank you for your help.

ADMIN – Hi Linda,

When the snow accumulates, the signal would not get through the snow banks that are higher than the range set. But, the signal would still work in between banks where the range was set higher than the height of the snow.

You can run the wire along the ground and staple it every few yards to stop the wire moving. If it is not mowed, then there should be no problems. The only issue would be aesthetic.

Mark Whiteman September 2, 2011 at 4:01 pm

What gauge wire is recommended? I would think the lighter gauge wire would tend to break easier.

Admin- Hi Mark,

We recommend that if you are installing more than 1000 feet of wire. A thicker gauge (14-16) would be a better option than the lighter gauge (18-20) wire.

Jeff August 29, 2011 at 5:12 am

I have an above ground pool that for safety sake I would like to exclude. Could I simply enclose the pool inside in the main loop and then create a pigtail that was twisted with a single wire around the pool? Sort of a lollipop shape. With the “stem” being the twisted wire? My concern is that where the “stem” meets the outer main single wire there might be an “opening” to escape from.

ADMIN – Hi Jeff,

If I am understanding you correctly, you are going twisted wire out to the pool, then the two twisted wire as branching out and going around the pool to make a single wire loop. (similar to the pool exclusion zone in the diagram above) That would work.

There will not be a gap in the boundary where the twisted wire branches out and goes into the main loop. While the signal right at the join may be canceled out, the wires on either side will still work and will cover the weak spot.

Dan August 14, 2011 at 9:50 am

I just bought a house and have a full fence around the property except the small drive way is it possible to just run the electric fence across the drive way?

ADMIN – Hi Dan,

You can run a small loop across the driveway. Note that you need a complete loop, so you would have to go across the driveway and double back on yourself a few feet away to complete the loop. The Layout woudl look similar to the diagram for the single sided layout on this page, but the loop would be much smaller.

Kinsey August 7, 2011 at 2:08 pm

I have a four foot completely fenced back yard. We need to keep our bullmastiff from jumping up and barking on only one side of the fence. It is built right on the property line and the yard is rather narrow already (50 foot wide lot). Is there any system that would allow us to just activate this one side of our fence? As we already have a small yard we want as much room as possible. Thanks.

ADMIN – Hi Kinsey,

You need to have a complete loop of wire, but there are some creative options. One idea would be to run one length of the wire along the top of the fence, and run the return leg along the bottom of the fence. That would let you cover just one side of the yard..

Donna D'Alterio August 5, 2011 at 5:45 pm

Hello. I have a 3 year old american bull dog mix. I live on the water. All of my property is rocks and I have a 3 foot chain link fence around my property-on the right side of the house only (worthless). With that being said, i dont have much to work with when it comes to burying the wire. I was originally going to purchase a wireless system because the wire system confused me a little when it came time for planning and plotting. My dog will run at any opportunity that arises. With living near a highway, I have to chose a product that will deter him (with the right training) from bolting like he does. I am back and forth on whether to purchase a wireless or in ground system. The wiring is really confusing to me. Can i run the wire through the chain link fence? I have a left side right side and front of house I need to wire, as the back of the house is the water. I guess my ultimate question is wireless or wire, i understand the pros and cons, but they arent helping with my decision.

Admin- Hi Donna,
1) For your American Bulldog, I would highly recommend a wired fence over a wireless fence. A wire fence is much more effective and will be better suited to contain your Bulldog.
2) You will be able to run the boundary wire along the chain link fence. We find that when you add the boundary wire to existing fence they are much more effective.
3) Please view our pre-planned layout page. There are several installation layouts that will fit your property.

Joe July 31, 2011 at 1:23 pm

I have a crawl space under my house that is about 5 feet deep. Can I run my wire through it without it shocking the dog when he crosses it in the house?

ADMIN – Hi Joe,

You can run the wire through the crawl space and use that 5-foot vertical clearance to allow the dog to cross over without getting the correction. You will want to turn down the boundary width dial so the boundary is no more than three feet wide on either side of the wire – that gives you a two foot safety buffer for the dog to pass over the wire. And of course, take the collar around the house and test to confirm that there is no signal getting in the house before you start training the dog.

ScottEDont July 28, 2011 at 12:02 pm

We have a chain link fence. Will this interfere at all?

Admin- Hi Scott,

A chain link fence will not interfere with your boundary wire signal.

Elli May's Mom July 10, 2011 at 8:01 pm

I have a small hound mix, 35 pounds, 8 months old and a Pitt Bull, 5 month old. The Pitt stays home but the hound jumps or digs under the chain link fence. She is on a chain inside the fence to keep her home. We have overhead power lines that cross the back yard and a lot of squirrels. Can you help.

ADMIN – Hi Elli May’s Mom,

I would use a wired system and run the wire along the existing chain link fence. Either snake the wire through the chain link or use a zip-tie every three yards or so to hold the wire in place. For a small hound, an Innotek IUC-4100 would be a good choice.

Squirrels, are not a problem. Where there is already a physical fence in place, training tends to be very easy because it is obvious to the dog where the boundary line is – and running through is difficult. But, I would take a few days in the third phase of the training to tempt her with some squirrels or a neighbor’s dog to teach her that the boundary rules apply even when she gets excited and her prey drive kicks in.

Overhead power lines will not be a problem because they are so high above the dog fence – there will not be any issues with the dog fence signal getting induced in the overhead wires.

Elaine June 21, 2011 at 10:48 am

As I understand it, the wire can be run along an existing perimeter fence rather than stapled or buried. This is a lot easier in my situation. However, I do not have a driveway gate. At the fence opening can the wire be led from the end of the fence, through a drainpipe under the driveway and then continued on to the fence on the other side? Will the signal transmit and provide deterrence connection preventing the dogs from entering the road through the fence opening that we drive through?

ADMIN – Hi Elaine,

The dog fence wire can indeed be run along the fence line. You can also run the wire under the driveway through a drainpipe if there is already one (as long as not more than a foot deep – otherwise the signal does not get through to the surface). Otherwise you need to run the wire closer to the surface (usually you cut driveway with a circular saw, place the wire in the cut and then caulk over).

Kim May 22, 2011 at 1:57 am

Hi, we have a pet safe invisible dog fence system that covers about 21/2 acres. Our system says it will work for 5 acres. We installed the perimeter and connected it with the twisted wire to the transmission box, works great, good signal all the way around.

Dilemma: now we made 2 separate no dog zones around 2 different garden beds that our juvenile delinquents are trashing. It is so far away from the perimeter wire, we spliced 14 gauge wire to the existing twisted wire at the connection point of the transmitter, we then made a loop, and spliced twisted wire from the loop to 1 of the new no dog zones, then made another splice into the loop with twisted pair and ran it to the 2nd new no dog zone. Both of these new zones work pretty good, however now our entire 21/2 acre perimeter hardly has any signal. What did we do wrong?

ADMIN – Hi Kim,

When the system specifications say you can do 5 acres, that really means you can do about 2,000 feet of wire. Doing 2.5 acres, you probably used about 1,500 feet of wire. It is quite possible that when you added more wire to the layout that you went over that limit and now have low power everywhere. If the boundary width dial is at the maximum and the boundary size switch is at maximum, then there is not much you can do to fix the problem except get a more powerful transmitter. (The PetSafe Deluxe transmitter or the SportDog SDF-100A transmitter would do the would be good choices because you could keep you existing PetSafe collars)

Another possibility would be that you made a mistake in the wiring. I couldn’t quite understand your layout from your description. If you email us a diagram of your layout, we would be happy to take a look. As a general rule, all connection should be 1-to-1. There should be no situation where you more than two wires connecting together.

Dave May 19, 2011 at 6:21 pm

We have a fenced in backyard and want to let the dogs in the front yard.What can use to cover the wire so they don’t get shocked when they go near the existing fence.

ADMIN – Hi Dave,

There is no good way to shield the wire. If you have an existing fence, you can run the wire high up on that fence. The vertical height over the over the dog allows the dog to get close to the fence without triggering the warning beep or the shock. Depending on how high your fence is, and on how wide you set the fence, the dog may be able to go right up against the fence.

Thom May 7, 2011 at 6:41 am

I want to run a single loop around the perimeter of my yard (front and back). The one side of my backyard has chain link fence that I would like my dog to be able to approach. There is ground cover next to the fence that my dog likes to go potty in instead of the lawn. Can I run a loop around and wrap the loop with another wire to cancel the signal? My other thought would be to run the wire in conduit, will that cancel the signal so he can access the fence line? Thanks for all the excellent information!


If the chain link fence is high (6+ feet), you could run the wire along the top of the fence, that way the signal would not reach the dog on ground level. You could also do a U-shaped layout, where you do a U around three sides of your yard then double back on yourself, keeping the wires at least six feet apart.

Running the wire through conduit will not reliably block the signal, nor would doubling back on yourself (three wires act like a single live wire).

ty May 4, 2011 at 5:13 pm

I live on a lake and want my labs to have access to the lake. Can i use the twisted wire method at the lake to allow them access without doing the loop. My yard is not very big and i want them to have as much access as possible.

ADMIN – Hi Ty,

I am not sure I completely understand. I presume you are asking if you can run the twisted wire along the side of the boundary loop where the lake touches the water. Unfortunately this does not work, the twisted wire will be active and the dogs will not be able to pass over. Twisted wire can only be used to connect the loop to the transmitter, it cannot be used as part of the loop itself.

The typical layouts that people use for a lakefront would either to do a Giant U-shape or to run the wire out deep into the lake. (see the diagrams at the bottom of this page)

Patricia Montou May 1, 2011 at 4:19 pm

We have 2.5 acres and had installed the radio fence in the “dog yard” in a fenced 1 acre area, bringing twisted wire to a window and installing the box in a bedroom. This is about the right 1/3 of our property. We have 5 stray dogs we have adopted and would like to give them more room- so I am thinking about enlarging the fence. I would like to place wire over the rest of the property- but still keep the original fence intact- we have one that jumps the fence regardless, and I would like to have another boundary for him.. Can I run the wire over the rest of the property (basically a big square) and then splice into the other fence? Not sure how to connect the two fences. Could both of the fences wire ends fit in the electrical box?

ADMIN – Hi Patricia,

If I am correctly understanding you, you want both fences to be active, a first smaller loop, and a second larger loop. To do this you would add the second larger loop covering the whole yard. Then connect the larger loop to any point in the smaller loop using the two twisted wires.

jerryblalock April 29, 2011 at 11:24 pm

if you run wire in metal pipe at certain section will this block signal.

ADMIN – Hi Jerry,

Afraid, running the wire through metal piping does not block the signal.

Norman Rowen April 27, 2011 at 7:55 am

I left this comment first on the “splicing” page. Apologies for repeating it here, but this is more appropriate place. This is the first time I’ve looked at your informative site. I think I understand the basics of installation, but (if you’ll indulge me), a few questions. We need to fence off a “U” shaped area at our cottage and to the water. Two stone “docks” (about 50 feet each) need to be “fenced”, then up to the house (where we’ll fence off everything but the door we want our 10 month old retreiver to be able to go out with us – on leash, thereby having her able to romp around an area 250 or so by 100 feet wide) and back down the other side of the U to the other dock. The problem is how to allow her in the water between the two docks and, if I understand, how to complete the circuit. Is the issue simply burying the wire far enough out in the water (not that easy) or are there other alternatives to complete the circuit maintaining the “U” that we need? Also, there may be some disagreement as to how many feet are needed when doubling back: 3 or 6? Many thanks…. Norman.

ADMIN – Hi Norman,

I find the easiest way to create a U-shaped layout is do a complete loop, then when you cross the back of the house, elevate the wire running it through the gutters. (The wires are thus high enough that the signal does not reach the ground and the dog will not get corrected on ground level.)

You want the wires about six feet apart if you are going to do the method of creating a U where you double back on yourself.

To get the wire out into the water, I find it easiest to insert the wire into some old hose pipe or other tubing. (The tubing is not necessary, but IMHO the extra protection is worth it, because repairing a wire break in the water is not fun!) Tie a few sinkers to the wire every ten feet or so, then row or wade out and drop the wire into the water.

Don and Maria April 19, 2011 at 7:40 pm

We have 15 acres with the house (and electricity) essentially in the middle. We need a perimeter containment fence and our question is if we would run the twisted wire from the transmitter box to the closest boundary (about 300 ft.) and then the loop all the way around? The property has 3 strands of barbed wire on t-posts already (not electrified); could I attach the invisible fence wire to t-posts, maybe a foot off the ground?
Glad we found you and thanks so much for this site and valuable information.

Admin- Hi Don and Maria,

Absolutely, we have experienced in the past that if you attach the boundary wire 12 to 18 inches off on the ground to an existing fence. You will solve any containment issues almost instantly.

Rob April 12, 2011 at 6:31 pm

I will be installing this in my yard. I have tried to read all coments so as not to ask a question again but did not see it. I live in New England and we have an old rock wall going around 3 sides of the backyard. It is just woods on the other side of the wall. I know the wire can be just droped on the ground if I want to but would the signal go through the rocks if I put it on the other side of the rock wall? It is over a foot thick at some points.


Admin-Hi Rob,

The signal should transmit through the wall. The only true way to tell is to run a test loop and see if the collar receives the signal through the wall. Note, you may have to turn the field width on the transmitter to a higher level. This will increase the signal strength to help penetrate the wall.

Patricia April 9, 2011 at 5:42 pm

I just bought a innotek 2100 fence. I have a fenced in backyard already, however, I just want my dog to be able to roam on patio not in backyard, unless we are with her. The patio stretches from one side of house to another.
The door is in back of house and would go right out to patio. I am trying keep her from using backyard to do her business. the transmitter would be inside of course and I could use twisted wires from door to edge of patio (there is a small opening to put the wire across from where transmitter would come out from inside to other side of patio before the grass) Can I just do a continuous circular wire instead of a loop.? Hope this makes sense to you.

ADMIN – Hi Patricia,

If I understand you correctly, you want to run the twisted wire as part of your loop which unfortunately would not work. What I would suggest in your situation is to run a complete loop of the regular wire around the patio, and the back of the house. When you run the wire along the back of the house, raise it up high above the patio (e.g. run it in the gutter), that way the dog can still go in and out of the house without triggering the correction.

Robin March 27, 2011 at 12:24 pm

How big of a perimitor can be covered?

Admin- Hi Robin,

We offer a wide variety of systems that can cover perimeters as little as half and acre and as large as a hundred acres.

Brian March 25, 2011 at 5:19 pm

I plan to install a wired system on my 5 acre property and I want to create two exclusion zones within the property to prevent my very curious Border Collie/Spitz mix from getting into a drainage culvert that is inside my property. I prefer to create a wired exclusion zone as part of the main loop rather than using an outdoor pod. What is the minimum size (diameter) that the exclusion zone can be? I want the dog to have access to the parts of the property that are near the two openings of the culvert, but also keep her out of the culvert.

ADMIN – Hi Brian,

The minimum diameter of the the exclusion zone depends on the how wide you set the boundary width. WIth a typical boundary wdith of 3-5 feet on either side of the boundary wire, you can have exclusion zones with a diameter of 4-6 feet.

Robert Blake March 21, 2011 at 5:39 pm

We live in an urban area that is enclosed on 3 sides . The only exit open to our dog is the driveway.. Is it possible to set up a single line system to cross the driveway only??

Admin- Hi Robert,

Yes we have an option for your setup. We call it the Single-sided Boundary Layout. Please see your planning page for the setup diagram.

Rich March 17, 2011 at 2:23 pm

Thanks for a great website
I had a question in regards to installation etiquette

Our neighbors on both sides of us had electric dog fences professionally installed by Invisible Fence. The neighbor on the south had the fence installed 18″ from property line and the neighbor on the north had the fence installed on the property line( right against our split rail fence). If we install the fence six feet from their installation we will have shrunk our yard and space for our dog way way down. Is there some some of protocol that an installer professional or not should utilize when installing. I desire to simply install three feet from property line and if none of the systems work they both will have to call Invisible Fence to correct the problem. I know that sounds childish but certainly shouldn’t EF have known better???

ADMIN – Hi Rich,

Unfortunately, this is the reality of the situation. There’s a process I’ll recommend to help you find a solution so that you can install your boundary wire on the edge of your boundary line and everyone’s fence will continue to work. The first thing you’ll need to ask both neighbors is to see if their systems can change frequencies. If so, you can choose any fence you like and install how you like.

If yes, they can switch between 7k and 10k to avoid interfering with your fence. The only thing to keep in mind is that if they need to switch their frequency, Invisible Fence will need to recalibrate your neighbor’s collars and that roughly can cost around 150 to 175 dollars per collar.

If one or both of your neighbor’s cannot change their systems frequency, you’ll be limited to two options: 1) maintaining a 15 foot distance from each neighboring boundary wire or 2) purchasing a system where you can switch between 7k and 10k. We currently have two fences that allow you to do that: The SportDog SDF 100A and Perimeter Technologies Ultra dog fence.

Stephanie March 17, 2011 at 11:03 am

I have a two acre property. The backyard is fenced in and the front yard isn’t. I want to put the electric fence in the front yard while still allowing my dogs to cross into the back yard through the gate without being corrected. I would also like to be able to let them out through both the front and back door. Any suggestions would be helpful.

Admin-Hi Stephanie,

You will need to run twisted wire off of the transmitter and run it across where the gate is located. Continue the wire around your property until you reach your house again. I would recommend running the wire at the top trim or in the gutter on the front side of your house and than reconnect it to the twisted wire to complete the loop. This would give the dog the ability to cross underneath the wire.

Please see our planning pages for a visual of these concepts.

Gary March 14, 2011 at 12:19 pm

With a system such as the Innotek IUC 4100, what is the maximum length of wire that can be attached? I have a 10-acre, essentially rectangular property that I need to contain my dog in. Can extra wire be ordered directly from your company? Is the 4100 capable of covering my property?

Also, if there is a break in the wire, will the base unit indicate such? Is there a limit for how long the collar can remain on the dog re: comfort? How long is there between battery charges?

Admin- Hi Gary,

Absolutely, the Innotek 4100 can cover up to 25 acres. I recommend the Innotek 4100, it is by far the most popular system in our online store. The IUC-4100 dog fence system has proven to be extremely reliable and durable. When you order the system it comes with 500 feet of wire. To cover the whole 10 acres of your property you will need to bundle in an extra 2500 feet of wire. We do sell just the wire so when you’re ready to order, feel free to place your order online or simply give us a call. We are always happy to talk with our customers.

Yes, the control box will alarm when there is a break in the line. It takes about two hours to fully charge the collar and lasts about a month. Note that the collar will not last a full month when you are training your dog. The collars will be used a lot more in this period of time. Also, the manufacture recommends that the dog only have the collar on for 12 hours at a time.

KIM UMLOR March 3, 2011 at 2:36 pm

We have a acre pond that our newfie loves to play in and would like to include in the loop system, do you sell waterproof collars? Also what happens if the power go’s out, is there a battery backup system? Thanks for the help.

ADMIN – Hi Kim,

Most of the systems have waterproof collars, and a few have battery backup. A good system that would suit a with both would suit a Newfoundland would be the Innotek IUC-4100.

On systems that don’t have a battery backup, when the power goes out the system stops correcting the dog when they pass the boundary. While battery backup is nice to have, in practice this is not a big deal if you don’t have it. A well trained dog is unlikely to test the fence regularly and will not notice for a few days that the fence is not working.

Renee Dawson March 1, 2011 at 6:34 pm

I would like to fence my property but a stream runs through it. What options are there to keep him from going up or down stream to get out?

ADMIN – Hi Renee,

You can run the dog fence wire through the water or above the water on a convenient fallen tree (if available). If running the wire through the water it is preferable (but not mandatory) to run the wire through a protective tube like an old hose pipe. The reason for the tubing is that it will protect the wire from waterbourne debris – repairing a wire break in the water is no fun!

Bill February 24, 2011 at 1:04 pm

I am installing an irrigation system, any issues with laying fence wiring in trenches with sprinkler pvc piping?

ADMIN – Hi Bill,

Running the dog containment fence wire alongside the PVC water pipes for the sprinkler system is fine. Installing the dog fence at the same time as the sprinkler system is great because most of the hard work is already done!

John Davis February 23, 2011 at 2:50 pm

I’m interested in the Innotek 4100 and had been planning to use the full yard perimeter plan for installing the fence. However, I just realized that with that plan I don’t understand how the dog would leave the yard without getting feedback from the collar.

We live in an urban setting with a .20 acre yard. i want to contain the dog in the yard but we also routinely take the dog on walks – needing to leave the dog with the yard. How do people typically handle this?

ADMIN – Hi John,

When you want to leave to go for a walk during training, we recommend removing the collar and driving your dog over the boundary so he’s not aware of leaving. After your dog has been trained on the fence for at least one month, you can introduce a secondary training regiment to create a “safe gate.” This simply a rigid routine that you adhere to. When going for a walk, you remove the fence collar and replace it with a walking collar and leash. You designate one place on the boundary line as your exit and re-enter point, essentially your safe gate. After your walk, you swap the collars out. Your dog will understand with repetition that they can only leave with you when you go for walks.

Gordon Post February 19, 2011 at 7:19 pm

Can I, starting from the control box, run 3 feet twisted wire then 30 feet wire feet 6 feet apart for correction purposes then twisted again for 80 feet along the back chain link fence then 40 feet 6 feet separation again for correction purposes. The only place that I need correction is on the sides,The other boundaries are the fence and back of house. I do not want to have a correction along the fence or the back of my house since my backyard is not very wide at all and do not want to have reduce it by 3 to 6 feet. Thanks. Your diagrams and explanations are well done. I do plan on purchasing the one for small dogs since my dog is about 12 lbs.

ADMIN – Hi Gordon,

That would work. Clever layout! As I understand it, you are essentially making two long thin loops, and connecting them to each other and the base station with twisted wire.

Kendall February 4, 2011 at 1:31 pm

I didn’t see this shown in any of your diagrams, but if I want a portion, say 30 feet or so, of my loop to be inactive, can I simply twist the wire back on itself for that 30 feet and then back again forward so that for that 30 feet there are effectively 3 wires twisted together?

Admin – Kendall

Twisted wire is simply two regular wires twisted together. Having two wires so close together causes the signals coming out of each wire to cancel each other out and creates a dead-zone where the dog can walk over safely without getting the warning or the correction. But, the twisted wire can only be used in certain situations. The main use for twisted wire is to connect the main boundary loop to the control box. You can also use the twisted wire to connect one loop to another loop. But, you absolutely cannot use the twisted wire as part of the main loop.

If you run the wire down, due a u turn, run down, then u turn back to continue the loop, what happens is the first two wires cancel out, but the 3rd wire will be active. Because of this limitation, we have outlined the majority of ways by which you can run boundary wire. The only way to create a “gate” is to either suspend the wire high in the air, or far down below so that it puts the collar out of range.
I hope this helps you.

Bruce January 27, 2011 at 11:25 am

First thank you for this site and all your GREAT information. Simply the best.
I will be creating one loop around my property. Where the wires need to travel thru the safe area to get to my house/transmitter can i just twist the end of the 2 loop wires where they meet from the perimeter to go to the transmitter making the safe area. I have seen for sale twisted wire and would like to avoid the expense and splice.

ADMIN – Hi Bruce,

Twisting the two loop wires together as they come together and return to the control box works great. There is no reason to splice in a separate section of twisted wire – avoiding a splice as you point out is always a good thing.

Jamie January 22, 2011 at 12:58 am

I am considering a system in my back yard only for my Shitzu mix (10lbs.) and my Pomeranian (8 lbs.) but I live in a center 3-story townhome. I am not sure how to approach and meet the loop requirement because they would exit through the back basement door to the yard. Initially I was thinking that I could put transmitter on my deck (2nd level w/ an outlet) and run the wires from the ground up the exterior on both sides of the deck to meet at the outlet, completing the loop. But, I would have to remove their collars before allowing them to go out on the deck, correct? Also, would it impact them while they are in the house near the wall where the wire would be outside of the house?

ADMIN – Hi Jamie,

You have the right idea. For townhouses, the easiest way to allow access to the back door is to run the loop up and over the door. You could indeed run the wire up to the second floor deck. If you are going to put the transmitter outside, you will want to place it in a waterproof box – they are available in the electrical section of most hardware stores.

The dogs would not be able to go onto the deck without their collars off. When you run the wire along a wall you sometimes will get a small zone in the house the dogs cannot go. It will depend on your walls and how wide you set the boundary width.

Helen January 18, 2011 at 9:24 pm

We are thinking of moving to a house with a small yard overlooking a lake and the lake boundary is unfenced and about 30 ft long and all the other boundaries are secure. We have two clever water loving labradoodles. I am not sure there is enough room between the lake and the pool to put in a loop boundary as the pool is approximately 8 foot away from the lake. Would a Pawz away work in this instance or do you have any other suggestions?

ADMIN – Hi Helen,

If I am understanding correctly, you want to have two loops, one to stop the dogs going out into the lake, and a second to stop the dogs going into the pool. The problem is that those loops would get too close to each other, leading to cancellation along the common boundary?

The Pawz Away when run in wireless mode does not interfere with the wired dog fence boundary. The difficulty is that when run in wireless mode, the Pawz-Away rock needs to be in the center of the area you are blocking, and that is often not practical in a pool (i.e. you don’t want the rock to be in the pool).

If you email us a diagram, we may be able to come up with a layout that works. On idea, would be to make a single loop that encompasses both the pool and runs along the lakeside boundary.

Al Forwood January 18, 2011 at 9:05 pm

I have a physical containment fence around my property except a gap 200′ long and about 700 feet from my house. Can I run the loop wires from my house together, side by side, for the 700 feet and then separate them by 8 feet to form a loop to span the 200 foot gap?

ADMIN – Hi Al,

Yes, you could run a twisted pair of wires out from your property to the point where you have the gap, then separate the two wires to form a long thin loop that is 200 feet long and 6+ feet wide. (It would look a lot like the “Single-sided Boundary Layout” pictured above) The fence would then only be active on the long thin loop, not the twisted section leading up to the loop.

Doug January 15, 2011 at 2:54 pm


ADMIN – Yes, you can run as many loops as you want with all the systems. You will connect the first loop to the transmitter using the twisted wire. Then connect the second loop to the nearest point in the first loop also using twisted wire.

See the diagram on this page labelled exclusion zone. Your wiring will be similar to that diagram. (note the loops do not need to be nested inside each other like in that example, they can have any configuration you want.

Eddie Smo January 10, 2011 at 1:13 pm

Thanks much. One more question I just thought of. Would system work about 10 ft. above ground. I have trees all the way around my property and was thinking of running the wire through eye hooks on the tree’s. What’ya think?

ADMIN – Hi Eddie,

You can definitely run the wire above ground, but I think 10 feet above ground will be too high. You would need to really turn up the boundary width dial to get the signal to reach down to ground level where the dog will be. Most systems would not be able to produce 10 foot wide boundaries. It may work if you get a system that is a lot more powerful than what you would regularly use for your boundary area. (e.g. if you had a 2 acres yard and used a SportDog SDF-100A that is rated to handle 100 acres)

Eddie Smo January 9, 2011 at 5:54 pm

I just bought an invisible fence and am ready for installation. The only problem is there is about an inch and a half of snow on the ground. Even when it melts the ground will still be hard. Any suggestions; Do I absolutely have to bury it or can I fasten to the ground somehow?

ADMIN – Hi Eddie,

You can staple the wire to the ground with lawn staples. The burial isn’t necessary for the system to work, it works equally well above ground. Burial is usually only done for aesthetic reasons or to protect the wire from the dreaded lawnmower. In winter, most people staple the wire to the ground until the snow melts and then they do the permanent burial.

Lana January 2, 2011 at 6:02 pm

Hi Stu, we are looking for a fencing system to contain our golden retrievers to our 5+ acre property. Our neighbor recently installed a system on his property and we are amazed at how well it has worked for their lab. We would like to run the wire right along the edge of the property so we can plow the fields when needed without worrying about the wire. However, I’m not sure if the innotek iuc-4100 system has an adjustable frequency to prevent interference with the neighbor’s system that runs along his side of the fenceline. We like the idea of waterproof collars that are rechargeable and also like the idea of the training remote. We need a system that will expand to accommodate at least 3 collars. We have a big metal barn on the property so the wireless version won’t work for us.

ADMIN – Hi Lana,

When your neighbor has a dog fence system, interference can occur depending on the frequency they are set up on, and whether they are operating on AM or FM. The best way to find out if you will get interference is to rig up a small section and see if the collars are triggering properly. If you have 10 feet of separation between your boundary wire and theirs, you are almost guaranteed no interference.

If you do get interference you either need to move the wires further apart, turn down the boundary strength of both systems or change the frequency. Unfortunately the Innotek systems will not let you adjust the frequency.

The SportDog SDF-100A does have adjustable frequencies and would also be a good choice if the dogs are over 20lbs. The SportDog is not rechargeable but uses regular 9V batteries, so you could get rechargeable batteries and effectively make the system rechargeable. The Perimeter Technologies Ultra lets you switch frequencies but has the dreaded proprietary battery. Both those systems have good waterproofing, so your Golden Retrievers can swim to their heart’s content.

All the wired dog fence systems will let you have an unlimited number of dogs on the same system – just in case you ever want to open a dog sanctuary!

Let us know if you need any further assistance!

Megan December 31, 2010 at 11:24 pm

We are buying a new home that is not fenced in. Our dogs have always lived with a fence, so whenever they get the chance at an un-fenced home, they bolt. So, we desperately need to install a fence when we move. It sounds like it’s okay to just lay the wire above the ground now – and permanently install it when the snow melts and ground is soft? Any advice for making it stay in place over the snow without any attachments?

Thank you – we are very excited about the possibility! Your site is so helpful!

ADMIN – Hi Megan

For installation of a electric dog fence in winter, when the ground is frozen, it is indeed fine to lay the wire on the ground until the ground thaws and you can do your permanent installation. You can either weigh the wire down in a few places, or staple it down to stop the wire moving. The only place where it is important to bury the wire now is across the driveway if you get it plowed.

Nathan December 27, 2010 at 8:00 pm

Thank you for sharing your knowledge and your patience.

I just got a German Shepard/ rottweiler mix who is approximately a year and a half. He seems very smart but i have a couple concerns. one, it’s winter here in Minnesota and the frozen ground is currently under snow. I’d like to just make a smaller area in my back yard, just for the winter, then redo the system in the summer. can an average dog relearn new boundaries? What is your advice about possible options? we have lots of deer and wildlife so i think i should just lay it on the snow? ( and hope nobody drives there snowmobile over it) . can the wire be ran inside conduit or pvc to either protect it or cancel signal for doorway?

thanks for your patience and sorry if my question was redundant, i read and read but didn’t see another question like this, thanks, Nate

ADMIN – Hi Nate,

Dogs will relearn the boundaries but it takes a bit of training and a bit of time (I would say 1-2 months is typical). So while it is certainly preferable to do the final layout the first time around, it is no big deal if you need to retrain the dog after a few months. Just layout out the flags when you do the retraining, and take the dogs across the old borders a few times on the leash and play with them in the expanded area to show them it is ok. (confidence when leading the dogs into the new area always helps – they will be reluctant the first few times so you will need to drag them)

Appreciate the compliment. It is us that should be thanking you and all our other customers for making it possible to make a living doing something we love.

Brad December 25, 2010 at 12:39 pm

“the boundary wire always has to form a complete loop. You cannot use the twisted wire to replace a section of boundary wire.” That is in contradiction of your exclusion zone diagram! Technically in that picture you are using twisted wire to continue your loop.

ADMIN – Hi Sharpshooter Brad,

You are correct. Technically the twisted wire is used to complete the loop. What we are struggling to communicate in words is that you cannot insert a length of twisted wire into the loop to replace a section of single boundary wire.

Robin December 23, 2010 at 3:29 pm

I have a 4′ wide walkway in my yard, with low voltage lighting running along both sides. My planned fence wire layout will pass over the lighting wiring at a about 90 degrees. Will this interfere with fence signal?

ADMIN – Hi Robin,

Interference problems happen when you have long stretches of parallel wires. When wires cross at 90 degrees it is not an issue.

For other readers that might be running their dog fence wire parallel to low voltage lighting, what you need to check for is that the dog fence signal does not leak into the low voltage lighting wiring. Lay out the dog fence wire and plug in the system. Then take the dog fence collar and test where the low voltage lighting wires run and make sure you aren’t getting the dog fence signal in these unintended places.

dan December 22, 2010 at 11:58 pm

Trying to solve the backyard only questions. If I put the charger at one corner of the house, and run the twisted wire along the face of the house, and connect one end to the end of the boundary wire, and connect the other strand to a single strand wire which comes back alongside of the twisted to connect to the other end of the boundary wire near the charger will it cancel the signal in this section or will the fact that the current is going out two wires and back in one still emit a signal?

ADMIN – Hi Dan,

In any scenario that you’re talking about will create live section of wire along the back of the home. Every splice on a dog fence system is a one wire to one wire splice. If you try to create any “dead areas” with twisted wire, you’ll be forced to splice two wires into one or one wire to another with a left over wire. Either case will create a live section of boundary wire. The only backyard options are illustrated above. You either have to suspend the wire high enough to place the signal out of range, run the wire around the front of home, or create a 3 sided boundary by doubling back.

Cody December 15, 2010 at 6:20 pm

Hi, i have a question. Is their any way to make the boundary wire not give off a signal? or possibly just a significantly weaker signal for one side of the boundary (the side with the transmitter), perhaps putting the wire in a metal pipe? or a pvc pipe? We have 2 black labs. The area that we are fencing has a perimeter of about 2000 ft but we only need to cancel out the signal for about 200 ft. We cant put it above because of tree limbs falling. Any ideas?

ADMIN – Hi Cody,

Unfortunately no, there isn’t a way to create a dead area in the boundary loop. I’m not confident that suspending the wire in the air for 200 feet is an option either. The main options for layouts are the ones above on this page.

Steve December 6, 2010 at 10:01 am

Hi, We have a 3/4 acre yard with a pond bordering the back. We want the dog to be able to swim and play fetch in the pond (collar off of course) I understand the need for a complete loop. If you can use two sections of twisted wire to create an “exclusion zone” which keeps the loop, can I use twisted wire onlong the back to allow access to the pond. Thanks in advance

ADMIN – Hi Steve,

Afraid you can’t use the twisted wire along the back side of the fence. If you use the twisted wire in that way, it will act like a regular active wire. Take a look at the lake layouts we have posted for some other ideas.

FYI – if you are going to take the collar off when playing with your dog in the pond section of the yard, you could just train the dog to go past the boundary only when you take the collar off and give him permission. Basically, you create a sctructured routine that lets the dog know when it is ok to cross the boundary. For more details, take a look at the Training section of the website.

Chuck December 5, 2010 at 10:31 pm

I have 2 acres to cover with a perimeter layout, so it is about 1600ft to 2000ft of wire. I had a person come out and quote me a price and they install 12gauge wire in ground instead of 16gauge or 20gauge. He said that the thicker wire is needed for the longer distances and supposed to be stronger and last longer. Does this make much sense or is he just blowing smoke? Will the 20 or 16 gauge wire work just fine?

ADMIN – Hi Chuck,

There is a modest transmission improvement with the thicker wire. But, the distance/area ratings on all the systems (except the Dogtra) are calculated based on using the standard 20 gauge wire. So for the Innotek 4100 you can do 25 acres with 20 gauge and for the SportDog SDF-100A you can do 100 acres with 20 gauge. You might get some benefit if you are operating near the limit of a system with the thicker wire. But, if you are just doing a small area like 2 acres, I would not expect to see any benefit.

At least for us, when we do installations the only reason we use the thicker wire is to stand up to the abuse from the industrial trenchers we use or to satisfy a customer that absolutely wants the thicker wire. There is rarely any functionality reason for using the thicker wire – the 20 gauge recommended by the manufacturers works great for the vast majority of situations.

Jeff December 2, 2010 at 12:07 pm

What’s the real story with choosing wire gauge for the system we’ll be installing? Are the 18ga or 16ga “heavy-duty” wires necessary for longer runs? We are starting out with the 2 acres near the house, but will consider covering 15 acres eventually.

ADMIN – Hi Jeff,

The systems all come with 20 gauge standard from the manufacturer (except Dogtra – they use 18 gauge). The manufacturers all recommend 20 gauge and in our experience it works great. Some folks think that the slightly thicker 18/16 gauge last longer – that has not been the case in our experience, anything that cuts the 20 gauge (power edgers and power aerators) cuts the thicker wire just as easily.

I think the rumor got started because some of the full service installation companies like invisible fence use the thicker wire. But, the reason they use the thicker wire is to hold up to being ripped through the ground with an industrial trencher.

The only place where the thicker wire makes sense is where you are doing very long distances (think 10,000 feet of 50+ acres), where the lower resistance of the thicker wire starts to come into play

All that said, the upgrade to thicker wire is inexpensive and won’t hurt (it is a bit harder to work with). If the thicker wire makes a customer feel better, we offer it as a courtesy. Our candid advice is that you don’t need it and there are better uses of your money. For what it is worth, none of us use it with our own dog fence systems.

Julia November 29, 2010 at 7:54 pm

I have read just about every comment and answer on your site and like others have found it very helpful. I have a 40 foot boundary which I would like to fence without encroaching on safe area [all other boundary is enclosed already and a single loop won’t work for a number of reasons] and need to be able to use the double looped system. My understanding is that I need a separation of 6 feet between wires which [too severely] cuts 9 feet off yard area, at a 3 foot setting. Essentially i need to know the closest i can possibly run the wires without fear of problems please.

ADMIN – You can get a little closer than six feet if you turn down the boundary width. With the boundary set at 3 feet wide you can probably get as close as 4 feet. But, much closer and it gets very dicey.

Luane November 29, 2010 at 7:08 pm

I want to install an invisible fence but do not know what to do when you have a concrete driveway? I want her to have the run of the whole yard.

ADMIN – Hi Luane,

The easiest way to get across a concrete driveway is to find an expansion joint, clean it out, place the wire in the joint and caulk over it. If you don’t have an expansion joint you will just cut a shallow slot with a circular saw and masonry blade, lay the wire in the slot, then caulk over it.

For a lot more information on getting your dog fence across a driveway, take a look at our driveways page.

Mason/Dexter November 25, 2010 at 1:01 pm

This is a question that goes with Kris W. Nov. 6, 2009. I have a property that I want to only give them access if I am with them and they’re in sight and another section of the property if I can’t see them. How do I set-up the system with a switch to let me go from one configuration to the other? The system that I have is Innotek iuc-5100.

ADMIN – Hi Mason & Dexter,

The simplest way is to just have two completely separate layouts going into the control box. Then attach a switch to both the circuits for the inside layout and the outside layout so that when you flick the switch it breaks or connects the circuit for each layout. The current going through the wire is very weak so you don’t need a very fancy switch.

As with Kris, I would caution against having a switched system with two different layouts. Setting up the system is easy, but training the dogs on two different layouts is more difficult and should only be attempted by dog owners will a little more confidence and experience.

Michael November 22, 2010 at 11:54 am

You guys have been incredibly helpful but I hit a few snags putting in my Innotek 4100 fence.

1) I want an all yard system where dogs can go front back easily especially since they love to chase each other around the house in circles. Dogs love circles. However when they do this they cut corners and end up running through our mulch beds throwing mulch all over the grass and ending up dirtier than they need to be. What I learned is I can use a double wire to connect my perimeter loop to the mulch beds via twisted wire connecting the two so that handles that problem. But how do I exclude mulch beds close to the house when the perimeter wire is 40 feet from the house.

2) Another question again is the mulch beds, if it is a closed loop system if i dead end a wire in a mulch bed cut a foot off the end and spice it right back into the wire will that fool the transmiter into a closed loop system. )

3) How close can one get to utility lines before twenty gauge is canceled out and is there any way to strengthen the signal to overcome it

4) Can I create two loops using one transmitter where the perimeter wires are plugged in as one loop and into the same transmitter can i place the mulch bed wires or will that short my system? I have the technical skill to do this but my vision of how to do things has always been sluggish so I am trying to figure out the wire layout and can’t get the whole thing working at once.

ADMIN – Hi Michael

1) To handle mulched beds 40 feet from the perimeter, you can run the twisted wire from the perimeter to the mulch bed, then run a loop around the bed that starts and ends at the twisted wire.

Alternatively, you could use some of the outdoor pods with your Innotek IUC-4100 system. They can operate independently of the main fence and could be used to block off the mulched beds without having to run the wire from the main perimeter back to each bed.

2) No, the whole system needs to have a continuous circuit of wire, starting and finishing at the control box with no dead ends or three-way intersections. You will run the pair of twisted wire to the mulched-bed. The loop will start from one of the twisted pair of wires, and will terminate at the other. This video and these diagrams on twisted wire may help.

3) The reason we want you to avoid long stretches parallel and close to utilities is that sometimes the dog fence signal leaks into those utility pipes and wire. Then everywhere those utilities run act like they are part of the dog fence. (so a power outlet will trigger the collar) This doesn’t happen often, but if you are going to run boundary wire close and parallel to the utilities it is prudent to go check around the house and the yard with the collar to make sure you aren’t getting the collar triggering in the wrong places. If you are, you want to try and move the boundary wire further away from the utilities and make it less parallel. Turn down the signal strength helps (turning it up tends to make the problem worse).

4) You can have multiple loops. The best way to join them together is to create you primary loop (it does not matter which loop you designate as the primary loop). Then splice the twisted wire into any section of that primary loop to branch off and form the secondary loops.

The way you suggest where each loop independently plugs into the control box does work. But, each loop will have a different boundary wideness. The short loops will have extremely wide boundaries and the longer loops will have extremely narrow boundaries (meaning the dog has to get very close to the wire before the collar triggers) – which is highly undesirable and usually the opposite of what you want.

Also when all the loops are independent you will not know if you get a break in one of the loops because the system will not alert you with the boundary break alarm..

Pamela Geiser November 18, 2010 at 4:01 pm

Will an electric horse fence interfere with this system?

ADMIN – Hi Pamela,

Interference with electric horse or cattle fences is rare, but does happen. The best way to tell, is to string up a small section of the dog fence next to the cattle fence – and then test with the collar to make sure it is still triggering. If there is interference you will want to separate them by 10 feet.

Nick November 17, 2010 at 7:54 pm

On the Backyard Dog Fence Layout where the wire goes across the top of the roof to allow the entrance into the house, could I install twisted wire across the entire length of the house instead and just lay it like the rest of the wire ?

ADMIN – Hi Nick,

You cannot use the twisted wire across the back of the house to make the fourth side of your fence. There is unfortunately no good way to avoid having a complete loop (i.e. all four sides) that is all single wire.

Rick S November 17, 2010 at 10:14 am

Can a wired system be setup to enclose (surround) an area of a backyard that I don’t want my dogs to go into?

Think of it as subdividing a large rectangular rear yard that’s already totally enclosed by a physical fence into two areas. I’d enclose the back 50% of the rectangle with the wireless fence so the dogs are free to do their thing in the front non-wire surrounded rectangle (closest to the house) but are stopped from entering the rear rectangle by the wireless fence where I don’t want them to go.


ADMIN – Hi Rick,

You can use a system to exclude the dogs from an area. How big is the area? If it is a relatively small area, you can the pawz-away rock to do the job – it is much cheaper and easier to install than a full system, but can only cover a small distance (16 feet in diameter if operated wirelessly, or 150 feet of boundary wire if you use it in wired mode)

Nick November 10, 2010 at 10:38 pm

I read all the questions above and I still managed to have one of my own. We live in a duplex so I need to cover half the front and back yard as well as the side which contains the driveway. What is the best way to run along the perimeter of the yard but also through the house so our dog can use both the front and back doors? I’m assuming I would have to go through the basement or up over the roof? Also, depending on the route through, over or under the house what do you think the best way to hook into the close the loop into the receiver box?

ADMIN – Hi Nick.

For a duplex or semi-attached, we usually find it easiest to complete the loop by going up over the roof. You can also go down below through a basement if you have one, just be sure the basement is not an area you want the dog to be able to use.

After making your boundary loop, splice in the twisted pair of wires to connect the loop to the control box. The control box can go anywhere, you will not be using it much once your system is installed. I will usually try and hide it in a garage, closet, basement or attic. Any place that is protected from the weather will work.

Brad November 8, 2010 at 8:06 pm

I would like to install a single sided boundary as illustrated in your diagram but I do not want to have to cross the driveway twice. Could you use a shielded wire for half of the loop and the regular wire for the other half and bury them in the same trench? Is there any other way that you could make a single sided boundary and only have to make one trench?
Thanks, Brad

ADMIN – Hi Brad,

Afraid there is no getting round having that return wire to close the loop and the wires do need to be separated by about six feet – so I am afraid you will need to make a second crossing. We have never had any luck with using shielding, it doesn’t tend to work consistently and you are likley to get cancellation if you try and cross back in the same place. The only way to cross back in the same place without getting cancellation is to cross high overhead.

Jen November 6, 2010 at 9:19 pm

We tried to install an invisible fence and encircle our house, but ran into some problems with the signal coming into the house. We thought it might be coming from the underground power lines being to close to the boundary wire. So to test if the power lines were the problem, we laid the boundary wire in the back yard only and away from the house and any wires. We encircled about 1/4 acre in the backyard.

We tested the system and found that if we turned the field up to the highest setting, the dog collar was picking up the signal in the entire backyard. There wasn’t one place in the entire backyard that was not “hot.” Our system (PetSafe) was only supposed to be able to broadcast a 10′ to 12′ signal (which is a maximum of 5′ to 6′ on either side of the wire). We were at least 30′ from any boundary wire, but still were picking up the signal.

What causes this? We are also concerned about dog safety with a system that would allow a signal to travel 30+ feet from a boundary wire with just the simple turning of a knob.

PS: Forgot to say thanks for all of the good information on your site!

ADMIN – Hi Jen,

That sounds normal. When you have a small yard, you need to turn the field setting (boundary width dial) down otherwise it will blanket the entire yard and then some. Also make sure you have the boundary size setting switch turned down to the lowest setting (That is the “B” setting on most PetSafe systems, I suspect you have it on the highest setting). The reason that you can generate such wide boundaries on your small installation is that the system need to be powerful enough to do 25 acres, and for those installations the field setting will be turned all the way up, for a 1/4 acre installation you will need to turn it all the way down. You want to adjust the boundary width so that it is about 3-5 feet on either side of the boundary wire.

sue November 5, 2010 at 2:26 pm

Is there a kind of pipe that I could run the wire through that would block the signal in certain places? I have a bunch of old lead pipes in the garage.

ADMIN – Hi Sue,

We haven’t found there to be any way to block the signal through a pipe. I’ve contacted the various manufactures of these systems as well and they’ve confirmed that it isn’t possible.

Joyce October 30, 2010 at 5:30 pm

In the 25 acre fence system does it require additional wire or does the package contain sufficient wire to cover the entire area?

ADMIN – Hi Joyce,

Most systems come with 500 feet of wire, 50 flags, and 2 splices, which is good for about one-third of an acre. Extra boundary wire kits which include an addtional 500 feet of wire, 50 flags, and 2 splices cost $30 each. For 25 acres, you will need about 5,000 feet of wire total.

Dana October 26, 2010 at 4:10 pm

I do agree very informative site you have. I just need a quick clarification…..if I am only protecting the backyard and need to double loop using the ground and the fence, is 5 feet tall fence tall enough if the wire is laid at the fences’ feet?

ADMIN – Hi Dana,

5 feet is pretty tight – you could make it work, but you would have to have a pretty narrow boundary width setting of around 3 feet. That is not too bad if the backyard is fenced, since the fence acts as a deterent and slows down the dog if they are trying to escape, making it harder to run through the correction zone.

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