Dog Containment Systems and Pet Containment Systems

How a Dog Containment Fence Works

Dog Fence Basic Layout
Diagram: Typical Dog Fence Layout

Dog Containment Systems, also known as Invisible Fences*, Pet Containment Fences, Radio Fences, Dog Fences, or Underground Fences, work using three main component:

  • Transmitter Box – the transmitter box usually resides in the your home or garage and sends weak radio signals out through the boundary wire. The controls on the transmitter box control how wide the signals radiate out from the boundary wire.
  • Boundary Wire – the boundary wire is laid around the perimeter of your yard to mark the boundary line that your dog cannot cross. There are wireless dog fences that do not require boundary wire, but they have drawbacks like less precise boundaries.
  • Receiver Collar – the receiver collars are worn by your dog, and listen for the radio signal sent out through the boundary wire.  When the dog nears the boundary wire, the receiver collar beeps to warn the dog to retreat. The collar corrects the dog with a mild static shock if they do not retreat.

To learn more about the different kinds of Dog Containment systems take a look at our Reviews of Dog Fence Systems or Dog Fence Recommendations to figure out which fence would work best with your dog.  Or learn about planning and installing your system and training your dog.

Why a Dog Fence Works

The dog learns there are negative consequences for approaching the boundary and so learns to avoid the boundary.  In much the same way we learn not to touch a hot stove by being told that it is bad and having a couple of bad experiences touching a bad stove, the dog learns not to go near the boundary by us training it to think crossing the boundary is bad and by having a couple of bad experiences going near the boundary and receiving the correction.  Psychologists call this process Operant Conditioning.

Idle Speculation

We have been installing Dog Fences for a while now, and have a theory as to why they are so successful.  We think that Dog Fences mimic the boundaries a dog would have in nature. The closest relatives to our domestic dogs were nomadic but they had boundaries. The boundaries were marked by geographic features such as waterway or biological features such as the presence of competing animals as indicated by scent. The wild dog knows where it is safe to go and more importantly it knows where it is not safe to go.

The domestic dog does not have any of that.  It is not obvious to the dog that it cannot go outside your yard or that it cannot go onto the road. The dog fence fills the gap. It gives your dog a territory and teaches them that leaving the territory without you can be dangerous.

You will find it fascinating to see the change in your dogs once they learn their boundaries. Dogs that were running wild, digging under traditional fences or darting out open doors seem to transform. Suddenly, they are happy in their territory. The dog is at peace and does not worry about things outside the boundary, it does not even see them.  We speculate that dogs crave boundaries and that the dog fence provides the boundaries they crave.

*Invisible Fence is a registered trademark of Radio Systems Corporation.

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{ 165 comments… read them below or add one }

Gary July 2, 2011 at 10:35 am

Can I splice the wire to an existing 5 wire fence (Single strand) was a hot fence for the horse. Or does the wire have to be insulated?

ADMIN – Hi Gary,

You can attach the dog fence to a wire fence.

The dog fence wire is already insulated, so does not need any special insulated mounts (like the horse fence wire does). You can simply zip tie the dog fence wire to one of the non-hot wires.

Sheryl June 23, 2011 at 12:46 pm

Hi — I have an indoor electric fence, and after three weeks of use the collar has started giving false signals in the kitchen and hall. This is way out of range of the transmitter. However, we do have a DirecTV box in the kitchen and it’s connected to three TVs upstairs and operated with RF remotes. The collars have given false signals even when nobody’s using the DirecTV. Could this problem be related to the DirecTV receiver or remotes?

ADMIN – Hi Sheryl,

What kind of system do you have? To diagnose the source of the signals that are creating this false alarm I would:

(1) Temporarily switch off power to the house and disconnect the DirectTV and see if you can replicate the false signal. The only thing with power should be the dog fence system,

(2) Switch everything on and connect the DirectTV – only disconnecting the dog fence signal,

If the false signals happen in Scenario (1) – then the dog fence signal is somehow leaking into the house. Look for any dog fence wiring that is near the kitchen and hall. Also look for dog fence wiring that is running both close & parallel to some house wiring – sometimes the dog fence signal gets induced in other nearby wiring and makes the house wiring act like it is the boundary wire.

If the false signals happen in Scenario (2), then it may be some electrical device in your house is triggering the collar. This is very unlikely with any of the modern collars … so I would prioritize investigating the Scenario (1).

Leah Crafard June 22, 2011 at 4:31 pm

Not so worried about containment as we are keeping our Dane out of garden beds and other areas of our yard (tree areas – she’s excavating them!). Can this system work if the garden bed edge runs under the steps the dog uses to get into the yard?

ADMIN – Hi Leah,

Unless the steps have a lot of vertical clearance (5+ feet) over the exclusion area, you will not be able to use an electronic system to keep the dogs out without also keeping them off the steps. The best compromise to allow them continued access to the steps would be to set the dog fence wire back a few feet so that it was not near the steps.

If you set up the system during training so that it covered the whole area, you could then reduce the area later on and trick the dog into thinking the whole area was still covered.

Mike McGill May 26, 2011 at 9:47 am

I am concerned that having an electronic fence installed will make my dog panic when I try to take him across the boundary on his leash for a walk. How does your training program help him overcome that fear?

ADMIN – Hi Mike,

During the training, we try and be consistent and allow no walking through the boundary. Having no exceptions helps the dog learn the fence more easily. (If you need to take the dog out during that time, either drive them across or carry them across the boundary)

After the dog has learned the system, we can help them learn to cross when given permission by setting up a crossing routine. For example, taking off the correction collar, putting the leash on the dog, walking him to the same spot on the boundary every time, and crossing in the same place each time, The dog will very likely resist the first few times. But, after that they will quickly understand that when you give them permission that it is ok to cross. There are more details on this in the training section:

Jennifer May 14, 2011 at 12:15 pm

Hi, I have a fenced back yard and want to install a wire fence system. I have read that you can attach the wire to the fence. My problem is my pointer mix goes over and under. Its a 5ft. wooden fence. Where would I attach the wire, at the base or at the top?

ADMIN – Hi Jennifer,

You can run the wire at any height on the fence and just adjust how wide the boundary is by turning a dial on the control box. Avoid putting the boundary within a foot of the ground if you use a weed whacker, otherwise the wire gets weed whacked!. Otherwise, so whatever is easiest and least visually obtrusive.

You will set up the boundary width so the dog cannot come within a couple of feet of the fence. That way, the dog cannot get close enough to mount a challenge by either jumping over or tunneling under.

steve May 8, 2011 at 11:30 pm

Will this system have any effect on my Direct TV reception. I would like to run the wire right below the dish.

ADMIN – Hi Steve,

The dog fence boundary wire will not have any effect on your Direct TV reception, nor any other cable or satellite TV. You are fine running the wire right below the dish.

Radha March 11, 2011 at 3:25 pm

Hi Bill, We have an acre lot and I would like to know how much wire I need for the system? Assuming 20 feet of twisted wire to connect to the unit and allow the dog to go over that area.

Admin- Hi, Radha

To cover an acre lot you would need 1000 feet of wire. You can also visit our helpful wire-purchasing guide for more information on the amount of wire you may need.

Bill February 25, 2011 at 12:21 am

I live on 15 acres and have an over-enthusiastic one year old bird dog. I’m considering the innotek 5100 so we can train him to stick around and stop chasing deer and cows. Our property has a barb wire fence (not electrified). Could we wire tie directly to the barb-wire? I’m also curious how much electricity a system like this might use. I live in off grid house so electricity is a limited resource. I mainly interested in knowing the instantaneous wattage for running a fence.

ADMIN – Hi Bill,

The 5100 is great for containment, but a little weak for remote training – in particular it is not good beyond about 20 yards which may make training to avoid animals difficult. The sweet spot for the remote trainer in the 5100 is very basic household training like sit/stay or to keep a dog off furniture. For other applications you are better off trading down to the 4100 and getting a dedicated remote trainer.

The dog fence wire could indeed be attached to the existing barbed wire fence. We usually use zip-ties or twist-ties to hold the wire in place.

The 5100 uses about 10 watts of power.

Kal February 20, 2011 at 4:34 pm

We would like to install an invisible fence for our 2 labs that love to run, we want to fence in about 5 acres give or take with some wooded areas and some water areas (that freeze in the winter). I want to know what the best solution would be, also it needs it to handle up to -40 temperatures (the dogs still need to do business when it that cold) in winter and 100 in the summer,and also lots of DEEP heavy snow, that can easily get up to 7 feet or more in some areas. We have a small area fenced in but that does not stop them from jumping or digging. One of the dogs especially is extremely suborn.

ADMIN – Hi Kal,

I’d recommend the Innotek 4100 for your 2 labs. To cover 5 acres, you’ll need a total of 2,000 feet of wire. The fence comes with 500 feet, so you’ll just bundle in an additional 1,500 feet. The wall transmitter can handle the temperature swing, however, make sure you install it where it’s safe from wind and rain. During the winter months as the snow builds up, you’ll simply increase the boundary width to accommodate the snowfall.

Dwight February 16, 2011 at 12:27 am

Why in the world didnt I do this years ago. The system has been worth every dime. The dogs are happy and comfortable in the yard, and they love to go lay at the edge of the boundaries in the front yard so they can “keep watch.” Our house and cars were broken into three times in just a couple months after we had to put our lab down because of kidney failure, and we rescued our two dogs we have now to have a little bit of a deterrent for other would be thieves. One thing we have noticed is that the dogs have become even more protective over our house and yard since the boundaries have taught them that this house and yard is THEIR territory. the break-ins were traumatic for us and we were scared to leave the kids at home for a while. Now, with the underground fence system we can leave the dogs out while we are gone, and the kids are home and everybody around knows us as the house with the two really big dogs that are really scary. (Great Dane and Anatolian) They are big babies once they get to know you, but the fence has made them understand that this piece of real estate belongs to them and they are very protective of it. They also both love the fact that this system allows them free roam of the whole yard all day. We have about four acres and the stubborn dog system has been great for our place. Our dogs are outdoor dogs, and now that they have learned all about the underground fence and their boundaries they have been almost a year without having to be in their kennel. We only use that for the kids now 😉

Admin -Hi Dwight

Thank you. Always great to hear positive stories about the systems we sell and support.

Jayme January 18, 2011 at 8:12 pm

We have two dogs, a Black Lab/American Bulldog mix who is 2 yrs old and a 9 wk old Boxer. We live in the country and the 2yr old is extremely stubborn. He loves to run off, chase the deer, rabbit, groundhogs and anything with wheels. We would love to have him outside without him being tied up to a lead. Do you have any recommendations on a fencing type that would be able to keep them both in the yard?? We live in a norther state and our property is mildly hilly and has several trees.

ADMIN – Hi Jayme,

With a hard headed Bulldog mix, the PetSafe Stubborn Dog Fence would be a good choice if you property was under 5 acres. The SportDog SDF-100A would be a good choice if the dog containment area was over 5 acres. Both systems have stronger correction levels available, which is sometimes necessary to get the attention of a Bulldog in full flight.

With the nine-week old boxer, it would be great if you could wait until six months to start their training and contain him through conventional means. Most dogs have not developed enough to make the dog fence training productive until that age. When they are just small pups, they don’t have the attention span or learning capacity to do the training. At six months it becomes a lot easier and faster to do the training. It should also help that he will observe for the next few months that the older dog doesn’t stray beyond the boundaries.

Carol January 8, 2011 at 3:19 pm

I recently started renting house that has an existing invisible dog fence. I have a 2 month old boxer and I was wondering if I could just buy an invisible fence collar and be able to use the fence that is already here.

ADMIN – Hi Carol,

Hi Carol,

If the fence works (check the control panel and make sure you aren’t getting any error codes), then you can get an invisible fence collar and get right into training. (In case you are interested, we sell Invisible Fence Compatible Collar for around half the price of the branded collar. You just need to take a look at your control box and find out the model and frequency it is set to.

PS – waiting till six months makes training a lot easier. At two months, puppies are usually too starry eyed to focus on the training. I would wait a few months before you start relying on the Invisible Fence for containment.

Anna January 3, 2011 at 3:03 pm

Hi. We live in a 3 acre property. We adopted both dogs from the shelter, one is a runaway-artist and the other loves to chase anything that moves, even leaves that just fly in the wind. It seems like they really want to be in the outdoors, thereby our decision to install an invisible fence.
Q1. Which type of fence system do we get?
Q2. Can we just wire the fence system in the backyard and then later do the front? Cos the front involves cutting thru the driveway and it has a slope down hill. We dont want to get to that yet.

ADMIN – Hi Anna,

1. Happy to make a recommendation. Tell me some more about the dogs. (age, breed, weight, and temperament)

2. Yes, you can do the backyard for now and expand it to include the front yard later. You will of course have to do a bit of training when you expand the system so the dogs know it is ok to go in the front. It usually takes a month or two for the dogs to adapt to the change in layout and become comfortable in the new area.

Jim Durda December 22, 2010 at 9:19 pm

Hi.We have a small 5 acre farm and want to install a good wire fence system to contain a jack russell and she’s 15 weeks and just getting started and we have an old yellow lab. We also have an above ground 2 Joule electric fence to keep cows and pigs in,would that interfere with a dog fence?I would like to enclose whole property with dog fence and it would be running right under along some of the property. Thank you. Jim

ADMIN – Hi Jim,

Most electric livestock fences have no interference with dog fence systems – but occasionally you will get interference. The best way we have found to test out whether you will get interference before doing the full 5 acres is to string up a temporary section of dog fence wire right alongside the electric fence. Then we test the dog fence using a collar and making sure it triggers.

If you are unlucky and do get interference issues, then you want to separate the two sets of wire so that the parallel sections are about six feet apart.

Lori December 6, 2010 at 9:55 am

I’m in need of an invisible fence just for my front yard, so our dog can’t run out/off. We have a fenced in backyard, which shares a gate with our neighbor and her two dogs. We often let our dogs run and play between the two backyards. Can this be accomplished? My dog is a small terrier known for dashing!

ADMIN – Hi Lori,

Sounds like you want to secure only the front section and not the sides. Am I right in thinking you want the dogs to be able to run back and forth between the front and the back sections?

There are a few ways you could accomplish this:

  • Large Loop Around Front and Back – you could run a large loop around both the front and back yards. For the backyard, you could run the wire along the top of the current fence. If your fence is tall enough (six feet+) then you could adjust the boundary width so it does not reach your dogs when they are down on ground level.
  • Over the Front of the House – around the three sides of the front of the house, then run the fourth side up and over the top of the house. Running the wire through the gutters is a great way to keep it hidden. The height of the wire overhead will allow the dog to still enter the house without setting off the correction/shock.
  • U-Shaped Double Loop – Create a U shaped loop in the front yard, by running the wire along the three unprotected sides, then doubling back on yourself, six feet away, to complete the loop.
Karen November 26, 2010 at 5:52 am

Hi Stu, we are moving to a very rural area with our four year old husky who has always been in a fenced yard and we are planning to put in an invisible fence. She has always run away if she gets loose which is terrifying and I am unsure that her breed is trainable for an invisible fence. Plus there are many deer in the area and I’m not sure the fence could win over the temptation to chase after them. Thank you, Karen

ADMIN – Hi Karen,

Huskies don’t present any particular problems despite their reputation. With the two weeks of consistent training we describe it is very rare that a dog is not contained. I find that Huskies are very logical thinkers, they don’t do anything unless there is something in it for them. Once they get the correction the first time and know you mean business they become a lot more receptive to your boundary rules.

In the last few days of the training you are going to dream up the most irresistible temptation you can think up and teach the dog the dog they must still obeys, even when in a hyper-excited state. Only when you are completely satisfied that the dog will not leave will you start to let the dog out off leash. I think you will be very happy with the results you will get after just two weeks of training.

Bud November 17, 2010 at 4:39 pm

Question about RF interference:

Will there be interference in the operation of the fence if the wire is buried within inches of a previously buried cable TV wire and also an underground ethernet wire going between structures on the property to be enclosed by the underground fence? Thanks for your prompt response as we explore this option for our containment needs.

ADMIN – Hi Bud,

The ethernet and cable wires are unlikely to cause any interference to your dog fence. What happens in a very few cases is the dog fence signal gets induced in the other wiring and everywhere that wiring goes acts as if it is dog fence. So once you have laid out the wire, you want to use the collars to check and make sure you don’t get any stray signals in the house or the yard where the ethernet and cable wires run.

Connie November 12, 2010 at 3:07 pm

Hi, I’ve got 38 acres that I’d like a golden retriever to be able to roam freely; however, we have a large garage on our property that I’d like him to sty away from. Is it possible to purchase a fence that wil stretch the span of my property and shield the garage or will I need to purchase two seperate fences?

ADMIN – Hi Connie,

You could use a single fence to both contain the dog and keep him away from the garage. You would run a big loop around the property. Then a second smaller loop around the garage. Finally the two loops with twisted wire to each other and the transmitter box.

The SportDog SDF-100A would be a good choice. It is capable of doing 100 acres, and works well with Golden Retreivers.

tracie November 9, 2010 at 7:00 pm

We live in a hilly area, high on one side, low on the other. Are the wireless useless for this application? My English Mastiff loves to chase cars!
Also, are there ways to up the correction levels, if she remains stubborn-with either the wireless or the wired?
I am also concerned about boundary wobble. I don’t want a freaked out dog, afraid to move!
That doesn’t seem fair! Thanks for your help.

ADMIN – Hi Tracie,

Gentle slopes are ok, steep slopes are not going to work with a wireless dog fence system. My rule of thumb is that you need at the very least a clear line of site everywhere the fence is covering.

The wireless systems all have multiple correction levels, most of the wired systems have multiple correction levels. As you mention, the wireless systems do have the disadvantage of having boundary wobble – the new Havahart Wireless is much better than the other wireless systems in this regard, and if you are going wireless it is by far the best. Wobble does make it a little harder to teach the dogs, but the dogs just learn to leave a bit of a safety buffer between them and the boundary.

Kellie November 1, 2010 at 9:21 pm

I have a Pet Safe System currently. We have had this system for 2-3 years. Currently we seem to have trouble getting both collars to work. Are the collars dead? How can I find out what is wrong? The transmitter seems to be working it has a light on?

Thank You

ADMIN – Hi Kellie,

I’d recommend two things: 1) perform a test loop test. What you do is unplug the current boundary wire. Plug in a 10 foot section of wire and set the boundary width dial to 9 o’ clock. With the collar and tester walk toward the boundary and take note of the distance at which the collar gives a correction. Then set the boundary width dial to 12 o’ clock and repeat the last step. If you see an increase in the distance, the collar is working properly. (2) If the loop test fails, call PetSafe, after 3 years the full warranty has expired – but they will fix it cheaply under the limited lifetime warranty. (I presume you have put fresh batteries in the collars)

Alina L. October 25, 2010 at 12:17 pm

Hello! We have 3 dogs. A 60+ pound lab, an 18 pound mix, and a 5 pound Yorkie. We have approximately 3 acres. What system would you recommend?

ADMIN – Hi Alina,

With a 5lb Yorkie, I would definitely be wanting to use a PetSafe Little Dog collar with them. Everything else is going to be too bulky on the dog and too strong. A PetSafe Deluxe collar would be a good fit with a 18lb mix and for the lab. You could also use a PetSafe Stubborn collar for the lab – it is a bit bulkier but will also be a bit cheaper.

Jim September 29, 2010 at 1:34 pm

Our lot is pie shaped, progressively getting wider as you head towards the back of the property. In the front are the power and cable boxes for their underground cabling. Where should we run the boundary line in relation to those items?


ADMIN – Hi Jim,

You want to run the boundary wire a minimum 6 to 10 feet away from any utility lines to avoid interference. The best way to determine this is to lay the wire on the ground and turn the fence on. This will make it easy to test and adjust the wire.

Paul F. September 22, 2010 at 9:15 am

We have a coon hound mix that follows his nose like all good coon hounds. We have a 6 acre parcel in a wooded area that I’d like to install an invisable fence for containment. I think that 2 acres will be enough space. I’m not interested in burying the perimeter wire which would take me the rest of my life, I think that laying the cable on the ground and burying only in the high traffic areas will be fine. One concern that I have is with the idiosyncrasies of the coon hound will he bound through the signal area to get to the opossum on the other side. They are a determined species with a high threshold of pain. This guy is wound tight when he gets any animal in his sights.

ADMIN – Hi Paul,

Laying the wire on the ground works fine. I would staple or weigh it down with a rock every ten yards or so, just to make sure it doesn’t get moved by a deer or other critter. In wooded areas, the wire tends to bury itself over the years as the leaves fall and rot out.

I hear a lot about the reputation of Coon Hounds for stubbornness, but my experience has been that they are pretty receptive to the correction. Generally, I don’t find them to require the stronger systems like the PetSafe Stubborn. If you are concerned about your dog in particular being unaffected by the correction, a stronger system would make sense, but start with the correction level turned down low and only increase it if you need to.

Where there are particular triggers, try and do a bit of the training in the last week with one of those triggers nearby. I will lay down a scent line through the fence, or go out at dusk when the deer are out to train the dogs that the boundary needs to be obeyed no matter what and to test if they truly understand before starting to trust them off leash. Borrowing a neighbor’s dog as “bait” on the other side of the fence is always an option if you can’t get a friendly opossum to cooperate.

Red September 17, 2010 at 1:30 am

I already have a professionally installed system in my yard, but would like to add a remote training feature. Is it possible to simply get a remote device that will trigger the existing collar? Thanks.

ADMIN – Hi Red,

It’s highly unlikely that there will be a remote option for your current fence collar. However, I’d recommend contacting either your installer or the fence manufacture to confirm either way.

david September 14, 2010 at 11:08 pm

Hi im interested in installing an electric fence on my property, I have 9 acres. I want to know how much electricity the fences use. Do they vary from model to model? And will all of them work with more than one collar, I have two dogs.


ADMIN – Hi David,

It depends on the system and how much property you are fencing in. But left on 24/7 they will use about $30 of electricity a year.

All wired (inground) systems can be set up for multiple dogs. As long as each dog has a collar, you can have as many dogs as you want on the system.

Barbara September 11, 2010 at 11:30 am

Do any of these fences also work with as a training collar with remote? We currently have a wireless fence but also use a separate collar w/ remote that allows up to “beep” her for unwanted behavior (jumping, head in the trash, etc) Works great since she know that the beep is a warning … unfortunately it means two different collars! We are looking into replacing our wireless fence with a wired fence (the circular pattern of the wireless doesn’t work as well with our new dog) and would love to have a system where one collar can be used for outside AND unwanted behavior.

ADMIN – Hi Barbara,

The Innotek IUC-5100 sounds like it fits the bill, it is a wired dog containment system that can be used for both containment and remote training.

Tony September 5, 2010 at 12:54 pm

We have a lot on a lake and I don’t want to keep our golden from going into the lake. How do I run the wire without including the shoreline?

ADMIN – Hi Tony,

There are two options: 1) You can run extra wire into the lake and weight it down with fishing weights and 2) You can use the double back method where you run the wire down to the lake and do a u-turn at the shoreline and walk back and do the same on the other side of the yard creating a horseshoe shape. This does create a double boundary and you’d need to keep the parallel sections separated by a minimum 6 feet to avoid interfering with itself.

Nancy Anderson August 16, 2010 at 11:01 pm

My yorkshire terrier is now ignoring her training after 6 years to go visit the new neighbors dog. Turned up to 3.5, more would buzz. How do we get her to stay in the yard?

ADMIN – Hi Nancy,

First, make sure the collar is still giving a good correction. Use the tester tool and walk into the boundary to see if it’s working properly. Next, make sure the collar probes are making good contact with your dog’s skin. You may need to trim the fur with scissors. It’s possible that your Yorkie realized that it was either receiving a small to no correction and has now decided to go visit the neighbors. Next, until the training issue is solved, I recommend not letting your dog play in the yard unsupervised. You need to be close by to reinforce the correct behavior. Finally, if it’s possible, increase the boundary width. This will widen the correction zone and give your Yorkie more incentive to retreat into your yard. When your dog show a consistent respect for the boundary, you can begin to allow him back into the yard unsupervised.

Steve Nardini August 8, 2010 at 12:14 pm

Sorry if you have already answered similar queries. Could you recommend a solution?

We have a 15 pound Chihuahua and a 25 pound mixed with a two acre yard.
My sister has a border collie and uses Invisible Fence in a different neighborhood.

We’d like to buy a system for our yard that would work for both our dogs, and also contain my sister’s dog (and one where our collars would work in her yard).

Thank You

ADMIN – Hi Steve,

Unfortunately, we’re not going to have a fence that is compatible with Invisible Fence transmitters. Our fences aren’t even cross brand compatible either. For a DIY solution for your dogs, however, I would recommend going with a PetSafe Deluxe fence and adding in a PetSafe Little Dog collar for the Chihuahua.

Mary August 5, 2010 at 12:19 pm

Are there any collars that work with more than one system? I guess a better question might be are there any systems that will work with other collar manufacturers?

ADMIN – Hi Mary,

The Innotek IUC-4100, IUC-5100 and SD-2100 collars are intercompatible. The SportDog SDF-100, PetSafe Little Dog, PetSafe Stubborn, and PetSafe Deluxe colalrs are also intercompatible.

Chandler July 29, 2010 at 8:24 pm

I have yet one more question about electric horse/cattle fences. It has been stated above that interference between electric fences and radio fences is hit and miss. They may be able to run on same posts or may need 6 feet of separation. I have an Innotek UltraSmart Contain & Train that I am planning to use to keep my doberman within my 5 acre property boundary. My property is also surrounded by barbed wire and electric fences for horses and cows. I purchased 2000′ of heavy duty wire, and had planned on burying it. This has rapidly turned into more of a chore than I really want. Naturally, hanging the fence off of the same poles as the barbed wire / electric fence looks much more appealling. My question is this: What is the nature of the interference that may be caused by the electric fence? Does the collar just not give the stimulation it should, or can this cause damage to the transmitter? Thanks.

ADMIN – Hi Chandler,

The interference leads to the collar not being triggered. It is not anything that will damage the transmitter – it will just mean the collar does not work consistently when the dog approaches the fence. If you have posts in place – definately give hanging the wire a try before burying. It is much easier!

Dave Schmid June 18, 2010 at 9:31 pm

The online information manual on the Innotek UltraSmart In-ground systems says that you should “never leave the collar on the dog for more than 12 consecutive hours” or the dog might develop sores due to “Pressure Necrosis”. Makes sense, but I hadn’t really thought about needing to put on/take off the collar several times a day.

Are there any collars/systems that do not have that problem so that we can leave the collar on all the time, or is putting the collar on prior to releasing the dog into the yard and taking it off afterwards something we just need to live with?

Can the collar be left on all day and just taken off at night (24:00 – 08:00)? Tks

ADMIN – Hi Dave,

Plenty of people leave the collar on the dog more often, lots of outdoor dogs wear it 24/7. If you do leave the collar on longer, just check it frequently. For the first week check the neck every day or two, then after that check weekly. Not many dogs develop a sore, but it is worth checking the neck and being cautious, so that if your dog does have a reaction then you can catch it early.

mechele June 15, 2010 at 12:36 pm

I was wondering how far from my electric horse fence does a petsafe. Fence have to be.

ADMIN – Hi Mechele,

It depends on the electric horse fence. Sometimes you can get right next to it, other times you have to stay six feet away. I usually test a small section before I do the installation, if you are lucky you can mount it along the same fence. But, if you want to play it safe, you can just lay it six feet away.

rachael June 13, 2010 at 10:11 am

I don’t need a boundry around my house, I just need a boundry line so that my dogs do not go up the driveway to the street, which is the only concern I have – other than the drive, i want them to have the run of the property- any suggestions on a product?

ADMIN – Hi Rachael,

If you just want to block off a small area, instead of a full containment system, consider just getting one of the outdoor pods. They look like a fake rock and you put them down right where you want to block off the dog’s access and can either operate them wirelessly to block off a 16 foot area, or you can run 150 feet of wire off them. They are also much cheaper than a full system.

Mike June 6, 2010 at 6:28 pm

I currently have two petsafe recievers model # PIF-275 will this work with the Innotex Ultrasmart

ADMIN – Hi Mike,

Unfortunately, the Innotek and PetSafe systems are mutually exclusive.

greg May 14, 2010 at 10:06 pm

I need a system that will cover approx 2 acres. I do have an electric fence that goes three sides of this acreage. What is the best system to buy & can I fasten the three sides of wire to the existing electric fence posts that are probably 12 feet apart? Would it be advisable to run the wire through sprinkler tube?

ADMIN – HI Greg,

Interference between electric fences and dog fences is very hit and miss. Sometimes you can mount them side by side on the same post and nothing will happen, other times you need six feet of separation – the only way to tell for sure is to test out a small section.

You can definitely run the wire through the sprinkler tube and it will provide a little extra protection for the wire, but if you are going to mount it on the posts there is no great need.

Let us know if you need any further assistance!

Jack May 8, 2010 at 7:10 pm

Our back yard has a six foot wood fence around the perimeter. It does a great job of keeping our 5 year old Goldendoodle in, but our new 8 month old Aussiedoodle is another story. She has found that she can easily dig under the fence.

I am really glad to read that I can run the wire on my fence, this will really make the job a lot easier. As I was reading some of the other letters, I saw the one regarding running the wire through an old hose for an underwater installation.

Since I will be attaching the wire to my fence it will be exposed to the elements not to mention my 4 and 6 year olds. Does it make any sense to run the wire through some type of waterproof tubing for protection and then attaching both to my fence?

Thanks, great website!

ADMIN – Hi Jack,

You could definitely increase the life span of the wire by running it through hose pipe or irrigation pipe (used for inground sprinkler systems). Personally, I would not bother, usually you will get a good 5+ years even in a really harsh environment with completely above ground wiring. Even when you get a break it is pretty easy to find when the wire is all attached to a fence. And replacing the wire after five years is not a big deal when it attached to a fence – because the whole thing should take about an hour or so. All that said, your way is definitely a better way to do it and can only help.

judy May 7, 2010 at 4:31 am

hi! I have an Invisible Fence transmitter and collar from my previous home but cannot afford the cost quoted to reinstall at my new home. How difficult is it to move the system myself? thanks

ADMIN – Hi Judy,

Moving an Invisible Fence system is the same as installing a DIY system. You just need to map out a new layout for your boundary wire, install the wire, and then retrain your dogs.

Andrea May 4, 2010 at 11:51 am

We currently have a privacy fence on only two sides of our yard and where it connects to our house. We were thinking about finishing off the fence, but it is really expensive, especially for only the back side and replacing a gate. My concern with the privacy fence is that it will hurt them. Also, if they get out, they won’t want to come back in and get shocked again. Also, we have a lot of bunnies in our yard that the dogs are VERY interested in. My concern is that they’ll see one of those bunnies, take off after it, and then be stuck outside the fence. Do you think an invisible fence is right for us?

ADMIN – Hi Andrea,

The correction is definitely unpleasant (that is after all the point), but not overly so. If you are concerned try it on yourself. It is a lot like the feeling you get when stepping out of a car and getting a static shock. It is a quick intense unpleasant sensation that is very surprising, but does not linger. The dogs should only get the correction a few times, then having learned their new boundaries they will rarely if ever get the correction.

If a dog breaks through, it does create a dangerous situation where the dog can get stuck out. This is why everyone places so much importance on training. A properly trained dog will not realize that breaking through is a possibility, and will think that turning and retreating is the only way to escape the correction. You will work with your dog in the final sessions of training on the distractions most tempting for them. So if bunnies or a neighbors dog are a concern, we will figure out a way to test them on that distraction and teach them that no matter how excited they are – the fence rules must be obeyed. Only once they have demonstrated that they will not cross even with temptations on the other side will you start giving them unsupervised time in the yard.

Debbie April 26, 2010 at 4:32 am

My sister recommended putting an electric fence a few feet inside our wood fence that our HIGH ENERGY pointer/lab/Aussie shepherd is jumping. We want the warning beeps to happen before the fence, but want the dog to have the whole area inside the wooden fence. Do the beeps/vibration happen as the dog approaches the wire, and the correction happen only when they actually cross it? Is training harder because unless she jumps the fence, she won’t get the correction? She is stubborn, so I’m guessing we should get that system and start low and increase correction IF we need to. And, we want to be able to add a second collar. Thanks!

ADMIN – Hi Debbie,

The dog containment system gives the dog the warning as they approach the wire. Most people will want to set it up so that the warning starts 5 feet away from the wire (but you can adjust this distance). The first 1-2 feet will be warning, then the dog will get the correction for the next 4 feet on either side of the wire.

I would attach the wire to you existing wood fence. But, for training, you want to set it up with a fence so the correction happens before they actually reach the fence. Otherwise, it is very difficult to train the dogs, because most dogs will not attempt to leap the fence while the owner is around, and it is also hard to control the dog when they are leaping. Once the dog is trained, if you feel strongly about it, you can decrease the distance the signal travels so that the dog can get closer to the fence.

One word of caution. be careful not to confuse stubbornness with the amount of needed correction. What really drives the amount of correction you need is the dog’s pain tolerance. A dog may be stubborn when you have no leverage, but will often become very passive with even a very weak correction. Huskies are a very good example, they are generally very stubborn but are very compliant with even a very small correction. From your breeds, I would guess you would be fine on the medium setting of a regular strength system.

Joe April 22, 2010 at 10:15 am

I saw a question very similar to mine above in that I have an area of my yard that I am unable to put a fence in due to zoning restrictions. All we really want to do is close off the gap to our dog but I notice there may be an issue with running a straight line(or even creating a very mini loop) from fenced section to fenced section. Is this true? Also, will it confuse the dog is there is a physical fence in some areas and a deterrent shock in others, do we need to loop the entire yard even where there is a fence located?

Also if we only need 200 feet of coverage, is there a good system that does not also provide me with 25 acres of coverage?


ADMIN – Hi Joe,

If you are satisfied with the physical fence, there is no need to run the wire along the physical fence, although this may help you establish a loop. You will just run a mini-loop from fenced section to fenced section. (keeping the opposite sections of the loop more than 6 feet apart.

The dogs will be able to learn the difference just fine if we train them.

Unfortunately, there are no systems built for just 200 feet. You can use the larger capacity systems fine in smaller installations – they have a switch which lets you ratchet down the signal strength for that smaller size. The Pawz Away Outdoor Zone rock is an option for really small sections (under 150 feet of wire – since you need to loop it you effectively get around 70 feet of coverage), but i think that is going to be too small for you.

Rainey April 11, 2010 at 9:14 pm

Which unit actually controls the beep and static shock? Transmitter or receiver collar? I have 2 cats and a med dog. I would love to find a single transmitter that would permit cat collars (smaller and lower strength) and normal for the med dog.

ADMIN – Hi Rainey,

It varies. In some units like the Innotek IUC-4100 and IUC-5100 the controls are actually on the base station. In other units like all the PetSafe inground units these things are all controlled at the receiver collar. Where you have a situation like yours where there are significantly different needs animals it is prefereable to have a system where you can control each collar individually like the PetSafe.

The PetSafe systems have collars available for cats. A good bet may be to get the PetSafe Cat system and an extra cat collar for the second cat, and an extra PetSafe deluxe collar for the dog.

constanza montana March 17, 2010 at 8:03 pm

I live in France with 220 voltage. Will the Innotek iuc 4100 work there? Please let me know. Thank you, Constanza Montana

ADMIN – Hi Constanza,

The units we sell are adapted for 110 volts. Innotek does make 220 volt models, your best bet would be a European or Australian retailer.

Marc March 13, 2010 at 4:38 pm

We have a border collie, poodle mix. He has so much hair we can’t get the metal collar to come in contact with his skin. We have attached the longer buds for the collar, but we are still having no luck. We have only tried the indoor zone so far. We are reluctant to go through the full installation process if his fur repels all correction.

We are headed to the groomer to shave his neck. Do you have any other suggestions?

Marc Sweigart
Bridgewater, Virginia

Hi Marc,

You are going to want to trim some of that fur so that the probes will touch the skin. You don’t need to shave it down (but you can of course shave it if you were going to anyway), usually just trimming a bit with scissors does the trick. Our records show you have the IUC-4100, so I would use that collar fit mode to make sure you are getting a good fit.

Maggie March 4, 2010 at 10:49 pm

Can the wire be put through a culvert that goes under our driveway?

ADMIN – Hi Maggie,

You can run the electric dog fence boundary wire under the driveway in a culvert as long as it is not too deep. The signal starts getting really weakened when it is more there is more than a foot of concrete or dirt that the signal needs to go through.

Maggie Hepner March 1, 2010 at 4:39 pm

We live on a creek and our retriever loves to play in it. Will the wireless fence work? Can you use the wireless system along in conjunction the underground system? We were thinking of putting the wireless system in the back yard where the creek is and then putting underground fencing on the rest of the property.

ADMIN – Hi Maggie,

The wireless systems do work with water (as do the wired systems). One thing to watch for if you opt for wireless, if there is a small valley where the water flows through the signals will often not get down into the valley. As always, we would prefer to see you use a wired system.

You cannot use a wireless in combination with a wired system. You would need two separate systems, with two separate collars, and neither would recognize the other’s boundaries so the dog would effectively be confined to the intersection of the two systems.

I think you will be able to achieve the layout you desire using just a wired system. If in doubt, email or fax us a diagram and we would be happy to help you design the containment system layout.

Jon February 4, 2010 at 5:06 pm

We live on a 80 acre parcel of land with a pond. What would be the best kit to purchase?

ADMIN – Hi John,

The only system that handles 80 acres is the SportDog SDF-100, which does up to 100 acres. It is a good system, with great waterproofing, but the collar is on the bigger side and only makes sense for dogs over 20 lbs.

Dan January 21, 2010 at 12:40 pm

I have a concrete driveway with a spare (steel) pipe installed under it (about 12″ deep). Will the signal still work in these conditions?

Thanks, Dan

ADMIN – Hi Dan,

A foot deep should not be a problem, but you will have to turn the boundary width up to get through all that ground. This may cause problems in other parts of the yard where the signal is now too wide. If so, it may be easier just to put the wire in an expansion joint, or use a circular saw to cut a shallow slot across the driveway.

Ted Schultz December 19, 2009 at 6:51 pm

I have two dogs and live in an area with no leash laws. The Golden has always been allowed to go out by herself and do her business, she’s about 70 lbs. We have just purchase a Havanese 5 month old.The two are inseparable, but I’m still thinking of an electric fence for the little one. Questions:

Is here an age limit for the system?
Is there a body weight limit ( puppy is about 9 lbs)
Is there a system that will work for both breeds.
We’re thinking of fencing in an area of 200′ 75′ foot
What would happen if only the little one had the collar. I don’t think the big one would go far without her. But the big one would be allowed to go where the little could not. Will the little on need a therapist (kidding) or just get used to it

ADMIN – Hi Ted,

There is no age limit, you just want the dog to be receptive to training. So if there is an old dog, you want to make sure they are healthy. (Also test their hearing, you would be surprised how often an old dog has lost their hearing but has adapted so well the owner doesn’t know. If they have lost their hearing use a collar with vibration) I like to wait till puppies are six months old.

No single collar is going to work well with both, but the PetSafe systems let you mix and match collars on the same system. I would use the PetSafe Small Dog collar for the Havanese and use a PetSafe Deluxe collar with the Golden Retriever. One little tip, train them apart. Especially when dogs are very close, they pay too much attention to each other and not enough to the training when you do them together.

The injustice will torment the little dog, particularly since she probably already has a Napolean complex! I predict a failed campaign to take over western europe will ensue, followed by her involuntary exile to Elba. No big deal, the Havanese will just learn she has different rules to her buddy. A lot of times the submissive dog will follow the lead of the pack leader and if you contain the pack leader you contain them both.

Mike December 19, 2009 at 6:06 pm

In order to create a boundary around my front yard I need to run the wire across the concrete driveway. How is this done?

ADMIN – Hi Mike,

Three basic options: over, under or through. You can run he wire over the driveway, some people will use a plastic bridge or an old hosepipe to protect the wire and some people will just lay it over the driveway naked and just know that they need to replace it every few years. You can tunnel under the driveway although that is a major pain unless there is already a conduit in place. But, what most people will do is cut a shallow slot across the driveway using a circular saw, lay the wire and then fill over it with an outdoor caulk.

There is a lot more information in the installation menu in the driveways tab.

Bill December 13, 2009 at 1:01 pm

I have a pitbull-dalmatian mix. He can be very stubborn and has a high tolerance for pain, (a kid stepped on his tail and he didn’t even flinch). Will your collars work on him?

ADMIN – Hi Bill,

I would get a higher powered system like the PetSafe Stubborn for a pitbull. But, start low. Often a dog will have different thresholds for different types of pain — in this case it is not so much the pain, it is that it is such an unusual sensation for a dog that it may get their attention at a lower setting. If you aren’t getting a reaction then you can move up.

Philip McBride December 4, 2009 at 2:17 pm

If we train our dog to stay inside the fence, will she fight us if we want to take her past it for a walk or run?

ADMIN – After the dog is used to the system and confident, you can train her to go through the boundary when she is with you. The key is creating a new routine. Maybe you put her leash on (take the dog fence collar off), let her out and walk her out over the same spot every time. She will resist the first couple of times, but if you lead confidently, she will soon learn that this is an exception to the general boundary rule.

There is a lot more information of walking your dog in the “Enjoying your Fence” section of the website.

Robert Howard November 23, 2009 at 10:00 am

We would like to install the PetSafe Ultrasmart around our 15 acre parcel. However, a creek runs through it which the dogs cool off in during the summer months. Usually about 4 inches of water in it and about 2 feet wide. The creek bed itself is about 8″ wide with 6′ banks. During periods of heavy rain the creek can fill to its banks. The fence would have to cross the creek in 2 places and keep the dogs from wandering out by going up or down the creek bed. Would the e-fence work in this application? Thank you


The inground systems, including the PetSafe Ultrasmart will work fine going through water. There are two tips I would offer:

1. Run the part of the wire that will be going underwater through some old hose pipe, and sink it to the creek bed (this will help protect the wire from any debris during heavy rain

2. Make sure you don’t have any splices near the section that will be underwater. The splices are waterproof, but there is no need to test the fates!

Steve November 22, 2009 at 9:54 pm

I am thinking about putting in a dog fence in front of a section of fence that has blown down and is now part of a boundary dispute so I cannot put up a wooden fence for quite a while. I really just need to put in a straight line and I know I can’t do that, but there is a gardening bed immediately in front of the blown down fence so I could surround that to make a circle that would also block the opening. My real question is, how far of a distance of twisted wire can you put in? If the twisted wire can be 40-50 feet then I could reach the spot where I need to put in the dog fence.

ADMIN – Hi Stephen,

You can use as much twisted wire as you want. 40-50 feet of twisted wire will not be an issue.

Dianna November 15, 2009 at 7:59 pm

When laying the wire in a pattern where you loop back can the wire be laid in the same “trench” or will it cancel itself out?

ADMIN – Hi Dianna,

For the double horseshoe (U shaped) pattern, the wire cannot be laid in the same trench. You want to get six feet between wires. If you lay the wires closer than that they cancel each other out.

Kathy November 12, 2009 at 11:18 pm

Will the wire/fence work with above a 20 foot retaining wall? Our property is on a hill with the front yard, front door and front entry walkway above. Below a 20 foot retaining wall is the garage, driving and back yard. Should we loop the wire below the retaining wall and the bring it up the wall and loop back. Our dog has never gone near the edge of the wall and jumped but??? How high does the signal transmit??

ADMIN – The signal distance is set by you at the control box. Most people will set it at 3-5 feet. Too low and it is hard to train the dog, too big and it will take away too much of your yard. For that reason, I don’t think you want to set the boundary width at 20 feet, it would just make too much of your yard out of bounds.

If there is no concern about the dog going near the edge of the 20 foot retaining wall (that sounds like a cliff!), then loop it along the bottom, that way the dog can walk near the edge and get no correction, so they will get a bit of extra yard space. If you don’t want the dog going near the edge, then loop it across the top and it will prevent them going near the edge.

Starr November 10, 2009 at 10:14 pm

We have farm fencing and our beagle is quite crafty about getting out. Our vet said electric fencing is probably our best bet. Do we just attach it to the bottom of our fencing and let her figure it out when she starts trying to work her way out again. I saw in a earlier reply that we can zip tie it to the fence itself. Sounds pretty easy.

ADMIN – Hi Starr,

NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!! You absolutely must train the crafty beagle, so that they know when their collar gives them a warning beep, they need to turn and retreat. The problem with letting them figure it out themselves is that 50% of the time they figure out that the way to stop getting the correction is to go through the fence, rather than retreating back into your property. Imagine you were a dog and out of nowhere get a static shock – you wouldn’t know what you are supposed to do, run through the fence, freeze or retreat. The training makes sure that they develop the reflex of retreating. (see the training section for details)

If you already have a fence, zipties are your friend and will make installation a snap. You will need to spend two weeks (two fifteen minute sessions a day) on the training. It is really easy and you will be very glad you did it.

Katie November 5, 2009 at 11:31 am

I love your site. We live out on 5.5 Acres and we want to do the whole thing, is there a transmitter better than another for this large area?

ADMIN – Hi Katie,

The sportdog SDF-100 and the PetSafe Ultrasmart are good choices for over 5 acres. They can do up to 25 and 50 acres respectively, so you will have plenty of capactiy.

Linda October 29, 2009 at 2:16 pm

I have 3 large dogs (60 lbs. +) and one small dog (12 lbs.) Can I use just one transmitter with the 4 dogs?

ADMIN – Hi Linda,

I think the best way to go, would be to get the petsafe small dog (for the little one); and then get three extra collars for the big dogs. You can use any petsafe collars with the petsafe small dog. A good choice would be to get either the PetSafe Stubborn dog collars or the PetSafe PRF-3004W Deluxe collars. Both are good because they have multiple correction levels. Which one to get would really depend on breed and temperament of the dogs. For most cases, the PRF-3004W should be fine; but you could use the Stubborn for a particularly big dog or a particularly strong willed dog. Perhaps a mix of the two.

Robert Castner October 21, 2009 at 3:03 pm

Can you install two (2) boundary fences off the one transmitter unit??
I would like to fence the back yard (550 foot fence loop) and the front
(180 foot fence loop).


ADMIN – Hi Robert,

You can use one transmitter to get two boundary areas by doing a figure eight design. For some more detailed in formation, take a look at the layouts in the planning section of the site.

Charlene October 18, 2009 at 2:14 pm

Will it keep a dog from jumping a fence? Due to city codes, our fence can only be 30 inches high. It keeps the puppy from getting out, but when he grows up (Standard Poodle), he will be able to walk over the fence!

ADMIN – Hi Charlene,

Lots of people with fences use these to stop jumping over the fence or digging a hole under the fence. They work really nicely with a physical fence as it makes training really easy because it is quickly evident to the dog where the boundary line is.

If you already have a fence, installation is pretty easy, just staple or zip-tie the boundary wire to the fence instead of burying it and you are ready to go.

richard September 16, 2009 at 6:08 pm

Hi my name is Richard what will happen if the dog goes past fhe e-fence

ADMIN – Hi Richard,

If the dog goes far enough past the fence boundary they stop getting the correction. It also makes it difficult for them to return, because they will get the correction coming back in.

The key is to spend some quality time training the dogs when you first put in the system so that they do not learn that they can run through, and that they think the best (and only) way to escape the correction is to retreat.

Hope that helps!

Tim August 29, 2009 at 10:30 pm

How close can a dog get to the fence before she gets a warning beep? The reason for the question is that I want my dog to be able to go from the front yard to the back yard but I only have about eight or ten feet of yard width on each side of my house. Thank You!

Dog Fence DIY – Hi Tim
You set the boundary width at the control panel and can make it from 1-10 feet wide. Most people will want to set the width to about 3 feet wide. You probably want another 3 feet to make a nice corridor to let your dog go through without getting near to the boundary. So with eight feet in your house you should be fine!

admin August 19, 2009 at 11:10 pm

Hi Ken,

The dog will remember boundaries at a vacation home. But make sure
you have a continuous month of training in the vacation home to get him started. It takes them about that long to learn the system. So it is probably too late for this year. But if you start in May next year you will be

If you want to be extra cautious, you could put the flags out for a
couple of days when you get there each May to give them a refresher
but I do not think it will be necessary.

Ken August 19, 2009 at 5:34 pm

I’m thinking of installing an e-fence in my summer home, but I only live there from May-August. The rest of the year I live in a house with a fenced yard and don’t need an e-fence. Would a dog be able to go back and forth between a home with an e-fence and one with a physical fence? Thanks, K.

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