Is a Dog Fence For You

Benefits of a Dog Fence

The benefits of a dog fence are:

  • Aesthetic  – for most people the biggest benefit of an electric dog fence is that it is invisible.  You can still have an open yard while keeping your dog securely contained.  This is particularly useful where zoning guidelines prohibit fences in your front yard.
  • Containment – a dog fence that has been properly installed and more importantly, where the dog has been properly trained is better at containing a dog than a traditional fence.  The dog cannot jump over, tunnel under or chew their way through the fence, and nobody can accidentally leave the gate open.
  • Price - an electric dog fence will be much more affordable than even the cheapest physical fence.  You can get a top-of the line dog fence (like the Innotek Ultrasmart) for a total cost of around $300 and a weekend’s work.  A physical fence is going to cost in the $1,000s and take a lot longer.

Disadvantages of a Dog Fence

But, a dog fence is not the right choice for everyone.  For the dog fence to work you will need the following:

  • Training – unlike a physical fence an electronic dog fence will not work without training your dog. Your dog needs to be trained to “turn and retreat” when they hear the warning beep. Without the training a dog does not know how to respond to the correction and may freeze in place or try to run through the fence to avoid the correction. The dog fence training takes about 15 minutes twice a day for two weeks.
  • Minimum Yard Size - for your dog to have a reasonable area to play, the smallest dimension of your yard should be at least fifteen feet.   DIY Dog Fence systems work in yards of up to 100 acres.
  • Power Source – your yard should be near a power outlet.  It is okay if the power outlet is indoors.

Who Should Not Use a Dog Fence

You should not install a Dog Fence if the following apply:

  • Aggressive Dogs - dogs that are aggressive with strangers should not be trusted on only an electronic dog fence.  There is not only the problem of your dog escaping but the problem of visitors entering your property and getting bitten.  Instead consider getting a combination of both a physical fence as well as an electronic fence to make certain your dog is securely contained.  Also note that these stronger will dogs should use a system designed for stubborn dogs.  (e.g. PetSafe Stubborn Dog Fence)
  • Pregnant or Infirm Dogs - you should not start training a dog on the use of a dog fence in the later stages of pregnancy or if the dog is infirm.  Wait till your dog is back to normal before introducing them to the fence.  Puppies should be 6 months old before you start training.  Small dog (under 10 lbs) should only be trained on a system suitable for small dogs (e.g. PetSafe Little Dog Fence)
  • Infirm Owners - some owners just cannot bare the thought of imposing any type of discipline or boundaries on their dogs.  (If your dog thinks the couch belongs to it, this probably applies to you!)  The fence will not work by itself, you will need to commit to training the dog for two weeks, three fifteen minute sessions a day.  Without the training the system is useless.  Be honest with yourself, if you can’t commit to the training, save you money and buy “doggie steps” so that your dog doesn’t get hurt while climbing onto your couch.

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{ 84 comments… read them below or add one }

April June 24, 2014 at 5:40 pm

I have a 12lb dog who can clear my 4ft chain link fence in one leap. She is a natural runner, additionally, she is very prey driven when she sees something she wants to chase. She has a pure tunnel vision at these times, and can not be dissuaded from her target. She doesn’t want to eat or attack the target …just chase it. I fear that with her issues, even with training, when a prey is in view, the warning, and subsequent correction will not keep her from jumping the fence. Has anyone else had an ADHD dog of this type respond to this type of fencing?

ADMIN – Hi April, when combining a dog fence with a physical fence, you should expect to contain even the most prey-driven dogs. The added boundary zone on the inside of the physical fence should prevent your dog from jumping the chain link fence.

Christina May 22, 2014 at 10:45 am

Hi! I have 5 dogs and cannot decide which fence would be best as well as affordable. Four dogs are Yorkshires around 12 – 15 pounds and one is a rottweiler, golden retriever mix around 100 pounds. I was looking at the yard-max but the extra collars are so expensive. Does a cheaper collar work with this system?

ADMIN – Hi Christina, I would recommend going with the PetSafe Stubborn and use that collar on the Rottweiler. You can add in the PetSafe Deluxe collar for the Golden and Yorkies. Most collars cost around $100, so the Deluxe collar at $89.95 is a great value.

Jon V. March 7, 2014 at 11:18 am

I have a large dog(70 lbs) and a small dog (40 lbs). Can I use the same fence for both?

Bob December 11, 2013 at 11:19 am

hi, we have a yr old gsd who is quite energetic to say the least. we have a fenced yard around the back of the house but our driveway is wide open. recently sarah decided to run down the drive and across the main road. is there a way to cover just the driveway so we can allow her to run free like a puppy should?

ADMIN – Hi Bob, You can accomplish this using a Pawz Away Outdoor Rock and collar. These are located under Accessories in our store.

Jane November 10, 2013 at 5:49 pm

We have a 7 mo old great pyranese who is running off our 10 acre property onto a busy country road. We’re working on making fence repairs but think maybe one of your systems would work. He’s currently 95 lbs and should grow to 140 to 150 lbs. Which system? Any special advise?

ADMIN – Hi Jane, with a dog of that size, we recommend the PetSafe Stubborn. This is the perfect fence for large breed dogs. The collar possesses the higher correction level which your Pyrenese will need.

Kenny October 5, 2013 at 5:48 pm

I am seriously considering an electric or hidden type fence, hopefully you can help me through this….great website BTW.

My dog is a 2 year old German Shepherd/ Husky mix. He is 82 lbs right now and still growing.
He has recently learned that he can gain his freedom by digging under the fence that surrounds our back yard, primarily in two along the two stretches that border our front yard, one on either side of the fence.

I feel very confident that he won’t try to dig under other areas, so ideally, I would prefer to just have two 20′ sections that are electronically fenced off. I don’t think that is possible, but thought I would check. Another issue is that I would need him to have access to the back door, so a closed loop around the perimeter of my backyard would be tough.

This dog was already used to a hidden fence from his previous owner, and was very good about it so I think the training would be relatively easy.

So, iF I do have to perimeter my entire backyard, I am looking at approx 1/3 of an acre. The yard wraps around 3 sides of the house with the narrowest section being 20′.

Please advise…thanks

Anne Marie August 27, 2013 at 10:17 pm

Hi there, Just wondering… typically, how close can the dog get to the boundary before getting shocked? Our yard is sort of short in front of our house to the street, and I want to make sure that our dog would actually still be able to use most of the yard. Thanks!

ADMIN – Hi Anne, all current dog fences where the collar needs to respond a minimum of 3 feet from the wire.

Aimee August 14, 2013 at 4:37 pm

I’m so happy I found this site. My husband and I are trying to decide if an underground fence is the right choice for our puppy. We have a 9 week old female Small Munsterlander who will grow to about 40-45 pounds. She will be trained for bird hunting and field trials. Our neighborhood does not allow visible fences. Our concern is that she will blow through a fence to chase a bird/rabbit/squirrel. I understand that training from a young age will increase the chances of success. At what age is it appropriate to start training? What fence do you recommend? Thanks for any advice you can give us.

ADMIN – Hi Aimee, you will want to start training between 3 and 6 months old; as soon as they are attentive to training. Distractions are addressed in the later stages of dog fence training and you should expect 100% containment as long as thorough training is administered. We have a video series online on dog fence training under our Training tab on the main menu of our site. For a 45 lb dog, the PetSafe Ultrasmart PIg00-13619 is a good size fence collar for a very trainable dog.

Drew August 6, 2013 at 3:53 pm

I have a four year old lab that when he gets out of his pen he runs out of our yard and roams around the neighborhood. Would one of these systems be able to let him roam in our yard and not run away and which one?

ADMIN – Hi Drew, absolutely! For a lab, we typically recommend the PetSafe Stubborn fence unless he is a smaller, more timid lab. In that case, we would recommend the PetSafe Ultrasmart Fence PIG00-13619. The key to containment is consistent, thorough training on a fence with an appropriate level of correction that is not overwhelming or underwhelming. Please read through all our Installation pages on our site and check out our dog fence training series in it’s entirety under our Training tab to give you a perfect idea of what is expected.

Stephanie May 30, 2013 at 10:49 pm

Hi,

I have a 3 year old border collie mix. She is very sweet and mild-mannered but does like to roam the neighborhood when she is alone outside by herself. She always comes back when I call her and is used to be able to go and come as she pleases as we have lived in a very remote area at the end of a road abutting a forest. We are moving to a new house that is in a neighborhood and I am considering installing an electric fence. I am mainly concerned about how she will react to the electric shock of the fence. She is a very emotive dog (she over-responds to praise and reprimands). How painful is the correction system? How can I help her get used to it? I work full-time but will need to leave her outside while I am at work. When I first get the system, will I need to commit to being at home the entire first few days to help her get used to it?

These are probably pretty basic questions but I want to try to make this the least traumatic transition possible for her, and to get her to a point where she can really enjoy being able to roam through the fields that surround our new house (we’ve got about half or 3/4ths of an acre) and not be constantly worried that she is going to get shocked by the collar and become scared to even move around the yard.

Thanks,
Stephanie

ADMIN – Hi Stephanie,

When it comes to minimizing the discomfort of the dog, the training is key. When customers diligently do the training, particularly the first week where we introduce the fence without correction, then the dog will only get corrected a couple of times before they learn the system. When the dog is put outside without any training, that is where you get digs becoming fearful, and where a dog gets corrected a lot because they have no idea why it is happening and how to make it stop.

We balance positive and negative reinforcement in the training. So if we sense a dog is getting overwhelmed or scared, we will focus more on rewarding the right behavior (returning to the yard when they hear the beep), and we will reduce the negative (turn off the correction and just given them a verbal “No” instead of the shock).

If you get the chance, check out our training videos. You will see three dogs getting training, I think those three dogs nicely represent the spectrum from very sensitive to very hard headed. In each case, you can see that while the dog was temporarily in discomfort, they only got a couple of corrections, and quickly learned the system without getting fearful.

Border Collies tend to catch on very quickly, as I am sure you have noticed they are very smart dogs. I would not anticipate any problems, but if something crops up give us a call and we can talk you through it.

Jodi April 26, 2013 at 9:31 am

HI, I have a 70 pound, female, 6 year old Boxer mix. She is smart and very trainable when she wants to be, but stubborn about a few things, like pulling on-leash and “welcoming” visitors by jumping on them. While we have never had a problem, she gets a little aggressive with dogs she doesn’t know while we are walking her on-leash, growling and putting her hackles up. We are moving from the inner city to a new house in a suburban neighborhood with a 1/4 acre corner lot and barely any backyard. She stayed contained in our backyard chain-link fence, even though she could have easily jumped it. We don’t want a traditional fence and we think our dog will get to know most of the dogs in the neighborhood because it’s so suburban.

Can you recommend a fence that will work for our current dog, and ideally future dogs? We are likely to have other family friendly large mixed breeds (shelter rescues) like labs or boxers in the future.

Thank you!

ADMIN – Hi Jodi,

The PetSafe Stubborn would be a good choice with your Boxer. I don’t think you will need a system this strong with a Boxer, so keep it on the lower levels. But, what I think will make this system a good fit is that it has a lot of flexibility. The PetSafe Stubborn collars (on the lower levels) will work well with other labs and boxers and are among the least expensive. If you need to add other types of dogs to your pack, you can also use the smaller PetSafe Little Dog and PetSafe InGround collars, so it will make adding other dogs easy.

If you know you are only going to have Boxers and Labs, the PetSafe Ultrasmart would also be a good choice. It is a little more expensive, but has a smaller collar that is also rechargeable.

gail April 11, 2013 at 10:38 am

We rescue dogs we have 5 dogs: a dalmatian, beagle hound mix, lab, a beagle mix, and a standard poodle. We have a 1 1/2 acres to fence in we need to keep them from getting over to the neighbor yard, which fencing would be the best and reasonable on cost. What is the difference between the non rechargeable and rechargeable collars?

ADMIN – Hi Gail,

With that range of dogs, one of the systems that allowed for independent correction levels on each dog would make sense. The PetSafe Stubborn / Inground / Little Dog systems would be a good choice, because they let you mix and match collar to suit each dog. This will give you flexibility if you end up rescuing a very big or very small dog.

The cheapest good option would be the PetSafe Inground. The PetSafe uses a non-rechargeable disposable battery, meaning that you need to replace the batteries in the collar every 2-3 months at a cost of around $5.

The rechargeable collars are generally more expensive, but can be recharged by plugging them into a wall outlet. A good rechargeable system that allows for independent correction would be the Dogtek EF-3000. (The system with five collars and 1500 feet of wire costs around $810 vs $580 for the PetSafe)

Michelle March 19, 2013 at 3:12 pm

I have an 80 lb great Pyrenees/Lab mix. He has a dog kennel. I currently take him for walks, but I would like for him to get more exercise, so I am looking at getting an invisible fence. I’d like to enclose my back yard (where his kennel is) so that he has a lot more room to roam. He has a LOT of fur and normal choke type collars do not faze him. Will the training collars work well through all that fur? Which system would you recommend? Is wireless or wired better? Also if we go for a walk outside of his area, how does that work? I plan to lock his kennel at night; should I take the collar off of him whenever he is confined to the kennel? Sorry so many questions, but I want to get a system that will work for us and I have no prior experience with these. Thanks.

ADMIN – Hi Michelle,

(1) Training collars will still work through a thick coat. You do need the collar probes to be touching the dog’s skin, so you want to use one of the systems that includes long-prongs instead of just the basic length prongs. You will also want to thin out the dog’s coat with some scissors where the prongs contact the skin. You will also want to be careful when you fit the collar to make sure you are getting good contact between the probes and the skin, and that the collar is on the dog tightly enough.

(2) Wired fences work a lot better because they create a very consistent boundary. Wireless fences are a lot easier to install.

(3) Once you have the dog trained, you create a routine for leaving the boundary. Take off the dog’s collar, put them on a collar, say something like “Lets Go” and then march through the boundary. At first, the dog will resist, but soon they will understand that they can go through the boundary when you give them permission. More details in the training section of our website.

(4) I would take the collar off for the night when put the dog to bed. It will give the skin around the dog’s neck a bit of time to breath and will be more comfortable for the dog.

(5) The Dogtek EF-6000 would be a good choice. It is one of the stronger collars and it also includes the long-probes that you will need. I presume you are on less than 5 acres.

Mark January 1, 2013 at 10:41 pm

I am new to the underground wire fence concept. I think I understand most of it, and I want to enclose my backyard only. It is about 1/2 acre. Running it high up the gutter downspout would be very difficult on our house. Is it possible to run the wire loop from the control unit inside my house, down into the crawlspace, and out the two opposite sides of the house? That would save a lot of wire and digging from the double-loop option, I think.

ADMIN – Hi Mark, Yes, that would be a great idea. As long as the wire signal is out of range it does not matter if it’s running over or under.

Tonya December 31, 2012 at 6:14 pm

Hello, We’re considering installing an electric fence around an existing physical fence to keep our dog from digging out/climbing over. Is this a good idea and is the training time the same? Thanks, Tonya S.

ADMIN – Hi Tonya, this is a great and highly successful way to contain your pet. We see a high success rate when customers combine a physical fence with an invisible dog fence. The training is much briefer cause your dog really only is forced into one option; that is turn and run back into the yard.

Liz November 17, 2012 at 11:59 am

Hey there!
For 5 months now I have had a 5-6 pound, one-year-old Chihuahua/Daschund mix. He is usually well-mannered but this morning was the 9th time I have had to chase after him. I really cannot keep dropping everything to go on a 2-mile sprint.
I have never considered an “invisible” dog fence before and I have no idea where to start. I will be willing to train him, as I work with him almost every day but the boundary training we have been working on just isn’t working. When I open the door just wide enough, he slips out at a dead sprint leaving the yard and travels on busy streets,yikes.
I’ve been trying to find the right fence, but there seems to be size minimums.
My yard is about 1/2 an acre. I do not know exactly what my price range for this is, but I’d prefer not to go over $400.
Any help would be greatly appreciated!
–Liz

Admin- Hi Liz,

No worries, we can help. The key will be training but with everything you have said, I do not foresee many issues with the training and your Dachshunds mix should respond well. A great dog fence system for you Chihuahua /dachshund will be the PetSafe Little dog system. The PetSafe Little dog fence offers a slim-fitting collar. The dog fence comes with 500 feet of boundary wire that can 1/3 acre. For ½ acre you will need to added an additional 500 feet of boundary wire.

George September 21, 2012 at 6:18 pm

Hello, I am comparing the PIG00-13619 and 5100 systems. We have a 1 year old Wheaten Terrier approx 30lbs. He is high strung and loves to run down the block to neighbors dog. This is dangerous due to living in a highly congested NJ suburb. What are your recommendations and have you had any problems with this breed just running through the shock.

ADMIN – Hi George, Both systems will contain your Wheaten Terrier. The difference between the two is that the 5100 has a remote trainer and a roll of twisted wire included. The collar is also larger. We do not have run through issues with any particular breed of dog. The key to pet containment is in the training, not the correction. With good training, you should expect your Terrier to be contained 100% of the time.

Phil Conkling August 9, 2012 at 12:04 am

I have just acquired energetic 20-pound terrier mix. I also have a 70 by 60 foot backyard which is fenced in except for an eight-foot-wide driveway to access our garage, also in back. I’m looking for an alternative to installing a gate in the driveway, and wondering if there are simple invisible systems designed specifically for my situation. There’s already an expansion joint in the concrete driveway at exactly where I could install wire.

ADMIN – Hi PHil, I would recommend looking at the Outdoor rock as a solution to driveway containment. Bundle in the PetSafe Ultrasmart collar (IUC 4100), the charger, roll of boundary wire, and flags.

lecia July 25, 2012 at 9:45 pm

We have a 10 month old beautiful border collie and a 6 year old pug. We have a rod iron fence in our primary home but we have a second home in a small subdivision without a fence.
My question is would it be too confusing for the dogs to only use a wireless fence 2 to 3 weekends a month? We would really like to avoid putting a permanent fence in. Thank you

Admin- Hi Lecia,

Absolutely not, with good training at the location with the wireless system; your Border Collie and Pug will understand the boundary’s. However, the training period might be expended a bit because each training season is separated weekly. Also, I recommend keeping the training flags in place until your two dogs are well acclimated with the boundary.

Deborah July 22, 2012 at 10:12 pm

Great and informative site. We are considering a wired fence for two new dogs, one puppy, one older, so we’d wait until the puppy was 6 mos per your advice. But they would not be limited to playing in our yard or riding off property in the car. We go for walks a few times a day, leaving through the front door and walking down to the nearby woods, and we really don’t want to start driving this short distance. When we considered a wired fence for our previous dog this was a problem, since if she was sometimes shocked (with collar) and sometimes not (if we took the collar off for walks) she wasn’t going to understand. At that time the company we consulted said that if you were very religious–invisible fence the back, use back door for play, front door for walks–it could work. But because of the way our kids use the yard, running from back to sides to front, I fear trying to limit the dogs to the backyard only would be confusing. Thoughts? Thanks for any help.

ADMIN – Hi Deborah, we recommend introducing what we call a safe gate to your dogs after they have been contained for at least one month. We designate one point on the boundary as the safe gate. We then swap the dog fence collar for a regular collar and leash. We exit and re-enter only at the designated safe gate and then swap the collar back. This accomplishes several things: 1) Your dog associates the walking collar and leash separate from their correction collar. 2) They can only leave the boundary with you 3) They cannot leave while they have the correction collar on. During training and the first month on the fence, we recommend removing the collar and driving them over the boundary unaware to get them over the boundary for walks.

Sam June 15, 2012 at 10:23 pm

Hi. I have a 43lbs. half border collie/half lab rescue. He is about 16 months old now. We split our time between Brooklyn and upstate NY where I have a place on a lake. When in the city, he is always leashed and upstate he is let outside on his own but sometimes refuses to come back in and of course leaves the yard. He’s very friendly, but very energetic. As the house sits on the lake (and he likes to jump in on a whim) I am wondering if you have any suggestions. I’m less concerned about him getting in the lake but really am more concerned about keeping him to my 1/3 acre yard. Thanks for any help.

Admin- Hi Sam,
My top choice for your border collie mix will be the PetSafe IUC-4100 system. The PetSafe rechargeable collar is very slim and will fit comfortably. Plus, the collar is fully waterproof and can be completely immersed in your lake without worry. The system comes with 500 feet of wire that can cover one-third acres. 
If you wish to create boundaries at both locates, you could simply install boundary wire at both places and carry the collar/transmitter between locations.

Ryan Gunter May 3, 2012 at 8:15 pm

We have a Bandogge Mastiff who is about 5 months old and a little over 50 lbs (I suspect he will end up being over 120 lbs full grown) He is with a trainer for the next two weeks and I’m strongly considering installing an underground fence in our front yard while he is away (3 sides of our yard are surrounded by a 6 foot wooden fence, but I would like to secure the front yard between the wooden fence). Based on his size I’m thinking the Petsafe stubborn dog is the way to go. Is that what you would recommend for his breed?

Admin- Hi Ryan,

Absolutely, the PetSafe stubborn dog system is designed for a large breed of dogs like your Bandogge Mastiff. For the two sides of your property, you could attach the boundary wire directly to the wood fence than bury the rest. Please see our install diagrams under our installs tab.

Dianne Griffith April 18, 2012 at 7:42 pm

Our dog has a nice fenced backyard, but we recently installed a waterfall, which she likes to climb on, rearranging the rocks! Can we install an electric fence around the waterfall to keep her OUT, or does it only work to keep a dog INSIDE the loop? In other words, do we need to put the fence around the entire yard, excluding the waterfall?

Admin- Hi Dianne,

The Outdoor Pawz Away Rock could be a solution for you. The Pawz Away is an independent transmitter that can project a wireless radial shape diameter anywhere for 8-12 feet or you can hook 150 total feet of boundary wire to the Rock to create a loop around the waterfall area.

Rick Lee March 17, 2012 at 1:36 pm

I have 2 dogs, 1 small and the other medium size (65 lbs). We have three areas in the back yard we would like to keep the dogs out of. Do we need 3 complete setups, wired or wireless? Any help would be appreciated.
Thanks.

Admin- Hi Rick,

A good system for you two dogs would be the PetSafe Little dog system. You will use the small dog collar for you small dog and bundle in a PetSafe Deluxe collar for the medium size dog. You would only need one system to complete the install. You could run the boundary wire around the three separate areas to keep the two dogs from entering them.

Tom March 2, 2012 at 11:33 pm

I have a lawn that is rectangular shape in the middle of a good size backyard. I want to let the dog roam freely in the backyard, but not on the sod lawn (he’s a digger!). I did not see any of your designs that would fit this need.

Suggestions?

Admin- Hi Tom,

You would be able to section off the sod lawn with it’s own boundary wire. The setup would be very similar to our exclusion zone diagram. You can view the layout plan located on the black tool bar on our home page. Under dog fence installations, click on planning/layouts and scroll down to exclusion zones.

Deana Behan February 20, 2012 at 6:18 pm

I have two american eskimos. One is a toy (10lbs) and the other is a mini (15lbs). Which one would I use for them both?

ADMIN – Hi Deanna,

For both dogs, but particularly the toy eskimo your best bet would be to use the smaller collars on the PetSafe Little Dog Fence wired system. The PetSafe Little Dog system has the smallest collars, and proportionately lower correction levels to suit smaller dogs.

Terese February 12, 2012 at 10:22 pm

We have a Weimeraner/Lab/? mix; she’s almost 16 months old. Xena is very smart and is totally motivated by treats, but when she accidentally gets out in the front yard area, she’s gone like a flash. She has chased the UPS truck and the school bus, and has run up on neighbors, taking a stance and barking. She about went through the front window when the FedEx guy came to the door, hackles up, barking, jumping. She is actually quite friendly when people come over, but has a watchdog personality, and doesn’t like people even walking by our house on the street. In the summer, our garage door is almost always open, due to the kids riding bikes, skateboarding, etc. and the chances of Xena getting out of the house to the front yard is extremely high. She doesn’t come real well when we call her – she’s doing better, but mostly comes when she feels like it or if there’s nothing else distracting her. I took her to obedience school but we dropped out because she was always lunging at the other dogs and was totally distracted; it just wasn’t worth it. She obeys perfect in the house though. I think the Stubborn Dog inground electric fence is just what we need to keep her in the front yard with us when we’re out there this spring and summer. She hates being tied to the basketball hoop and barks (oh, she loves to bark) so I can’t get any pruning done, nor can she be out when the kids are out in the front yard with their friends. What do you suggest? Thank you!

ADMIN – Hi Terese,

A PetSafe stubborn system along with a little training should have her safely contained. I would be sure to start out on the lower correction levels, with Weimaraner and Labrador in her, she is unlikely to need a very high correction level. The PetSafe Ultrasmart would also work well, it is going to be equally effective but also has a rechargeable battery and a smaller collar.

Nicole February 3, 2012 at 6:37 pm

We have an American Eskimo and a Beagle–the beagle has been taught before to retreat and she still knows this well, however the Eskimo has never been in an unfenced yard without a leash. He is stubborn but trainable, I’m concerned that he will run right through the shock and not want to return…

ADMIN – Hi Nicole,

Untrained, that is very possible, which is why the training component is vital. With the training, you can teach the dog that the proper response to the correction is to turn and retreat. If taught in a structured way, the dog will assume that turning and retreating is the only way to escape the correction and will have idea that running through is a possibility.

If we need to, we can also make the fence a little wider than usual during the training phase, and make the correction a little stronger. However, these measures are rarely needed and I would only take them if the regular training was not proceeding according to plan.

Mac Chandler January 9, 2012 at 2:56 am

Our lot is bounded on one side by a neighbor’s metal storm fence. A small section of our lot abuts a busy city street. All other boundaries of our lot are unfenced neighbors yards. We have a 30lb short hair, and a 1.8 acre property. What boundary widths do you recommend for the various portions of our lot? Or do we have to have the same boundary width for the entire perimeter?

ADMIN – Hi Mac,

A good rule of thumb is that 1500 feet of wire will enclose about 2 acres. For a high energy dog, I would want at least five feet on either side of the wire, at least for the training. You are lucky to have a nice big yard, so you can make the boundary wider if you want without taking away too much space from the dog. Wide boundaries are always better, because the dog takes longer to run through it makes training easier.

Lucy December 13, 2011 at 2:01 am

We have 3 dogs a lab, a pitbull mix, and a pomeranian mix, what would be the best fence for us to use since we have a little dog? Do you have any fences that come with multiple collars or different size collars? We were also wondering how close to the wire they can get before getting shocked?

Admin- Hi Lucy,

We recommend the PetSafe Little dog system. A PetSafe system is a good multi-dog system. You will be able to purchase the collar that fits your dogs best and each collar will have independent correction levels for each dog. I would use the PetSafe little dog collar for the Pomeranian mix. I would bundle two additional PetSafe stubborn dog collars for the larger Lab and Pitbull mix. You will be able to adjust the signal strength projecting off of the wire anywhere from 2-12 feet.

Janine November 20, 2011 at 12:04 am

We have 3 dogs, 2 labs and 1 Schnauzer (16 lbs). The Schnauzer is also deaf. Which system would be best for our situation? Also, we have no place to keep the dogs during training so that they don’t cross the boundary while not training. (Currently they have full roam of our 5 acre property). Should we put out the flags during training and then remove them when not training? Not sure how to handle this?

ADMIN – Hi Janine,
I’d recommend the PetSafe Deluxe fence with 2 additional Deluxe fence collars. This way, you can set each collar to it’s own correction strength. As for training, it is important to find a way to contain your dogs in-between training sessions. It takes about 3 weeks to complete training and you’ll need to train each dog separately. If they are not contained in-between training, it will be difficult to complete training and experience 100% containment.

Khali November 14, 2011 at 5:47 pm

Hello I have two 9month old cocker spaniels and I have a fence around my house but they are like miners they dig holes that they sit in and I cant even see them. I have to refil them every so often so that they dont get harmed in a tunnel collapse. I keep them on leads that allow them to run the yard without getting to close to the edge of the fence which they can also fit through at certain spots. They are constantly tangled up and before the end of the day they are wrapped aroung the tree, the bushes and the pole they are attached to. I would like to have them be able to run out there without the leads on. Also when I walk them on one of their walking leads gets loose from my hand or they see a cat they take off and dont like to come back. I am wondering what would work best for me?

ADMIN – Hi Khali,

For your two cocker spaniels I’d recommend the Innotek IUC 4100 fence. The collar will fit them well being that it is not bulky. Plus, it is rechargeable which is a great feature. You can attach the dog fence wire to your existing fence, which will work very well. If you are fencing only the back yard, I recommend utilizing the back yard only layout. This means either elevating the boundary wire that runs along the back of your house into the gutters so that your dogs can go underneath it out of range of the signal. Or, you can simply wrap the wire around the front of your home and include your house in the loop. This will also give your dogs access in and out of the back door of your home. Here’s a link to see these layouts illustrated: http://www.dogfencediy.com/installation/plan/#backyard

Aaron October 24, 2011 at 10:24 am

Thank you for all of the reviews, and information you provided on this site. I just bought the Innotek 5100 and installed it yesterday, started at 2 and finished at 8. We have a Treeing Walker Coon Hound (2 1/2 year old) who discovered this weekend that she can climb the fence, lucky us. I have a standard 1/4 acre lot and want to maximize the play area for the dog. During the training should I have a wide “Field Width” then after a few months gradually minimize the field width, or should I train to the smaller field width. Thank you

ADMIN – Hi Aaron,

Thanks for the feedback! The best plan is to set your boundary to as wide as you’re yard will allow that still gives your Coon Hound ample yard space to run and play. If you combined your IUC 5100 with your actual fence, you can have a tighter boundary that simply keeps your Coon Hound away from the fence. But it’s good to set up the long-term boundary upfront for the training so your Coon Hound will know what to expect.

Elizabeth September 28, 2011 at 7:14 pm

Hi, I have 3 Xoloitzcuintli (Mexican Hairless), all about 30-35 lbs. My two boys stay in the fenced yard very well, but my girl is constantly finding new and different ways to escape. She’s VERY athletic – can clear the 4′ fences from a standstill. I’m particularly worried because one of my neighbors has a VERY dog-aggressive dog. The neighbor has warned me several times that if my girl gets in their yard, their dog will kill her. She’s good about coming when I call her if she’s loose, but I’d like to prevent her from getting out in the first place.

These guys are a primitive breed, so can be very stubborn, sneaky and very very smart. They tend to respond a lot better to positive reinforcement rather than correction, so I’m a little concerned about relying on the negative reinforcement. One of my boys is particularly sensitive to correction – he once cowered for about an hour because I *shook my finger* at him, though they’re all pretty sensitive. Would I need to put collars on all three of them, or just my escape-prone girl? Any suggestions on if their hairlessness would impact how the fence works? Also, there are a couple of gates that the gardeners will need to open, but that I don’t want the dogs escaping out of. Is that a problem?

Thanks much! I think one of these systems will likely be able to solve my problem. Elizabeth

ADMIN – Hi Elizabeth,

If only one dog is escaping, you only need to put the collar on the one dog.

I would run the dog fence along the fence (ziptie it or staple it to the fence), and then go underground when you get to the gated sections. That way the dogs cannot escape if the gate is left open.

You are right to calibrate the training to your dog. If they are sensitive to negative and respond well to positive, use that approach in the training. Lean more heavily on the reward for returning to you when they hear the beep in Step One of the Training. It is however important that she gets the correction at least once, you need a bit of negative in there to get complete compliance.

With hairless dogs, you need to take a little more care to check the collar area everyday for the first two weeks, then weekly to check that the dog isn’t having any kind of allergic reaction to the collar prongs. It is rare, but if it happens we want to catch it early before it turns into a sore.

Ryan September 16, 2011 at 8:05 pm

Hello – We have a 7 year old lab/pointer mix who is very friendly and fairly well behaved but still loves to run and has habits of going on “walk-a-abouts” chasing deer/cats. In our old neighborhood, we backed up to forest and he nearly always returned. However, we have moved. In our new neighborhood, we’re trying to prevent him from meeting the neighbors before we do, especially considering there’s alot of livestock around. During the day he has a large Kennel/run but we’re looking for an electric fence that would keep him contained to our property (3.5 acres) while we’re hanging around the yard. We are concerned though that we still get deer/animals coming through our yard and in the heat of the chase, he might break through and then be dissuaded from returning. Electric fences are new to us, so we really appreciate the info on your website. Any thoughts on systems/models/ and or strategy that might be appropriate? Thanks!

ADMIN – Hi Tom,

If you do the initial training, breaking through should not be a problem, no matter what lies on the other side of the boundary. When a dog is trained on the system, they don’t realize that going through is a possibility. They assume the only way to ‘switch off’ the correction is to turn and retreat back into the yard. If you are particularly concerned about something like your dog chasing critters, we want to work with that trigger in the third stage of the training. We will use whatever they find tempting, to teach them that the boundary rules need to be obeyed no matter how excited their state.

http://www.dogfencediy.com/training/step_three/

For a lab/pointer on 3.5 acres, the Innotek IUC-4100 or the SportDog SDF-100A would be a good choice.

megan September 4, 2011 at 8:03 pm

We have two dogs(one a terrier 15lbs, the other a German Shepherd pup currently 30lbs at 5 months). I’ve been looking into underground fencing for a while now due to the acres(a little over 5). But what has stopped me is the power outages we get(averaging about once a week for two months now!). It worries me that they could learn when the fence is down and go bother the neighbor’s horses. I’d also like one with a remote so when I go out of town to visit or camp, I can take them with me without bothering with wire. I’m thinking about the Innotek IUC 5100. What do you suggest?

ADMIN – Hi Megan,

There are systems that have a battery backup (the Innotek IUC-4100 and the IUC-5100). The battery backup kicks in when there is a power failure and gets you 2-3 days of power before the batteries need changing.

In practice this is not a huge issue. As long as the power failures don’t drag on for several days, the dogs don’t figure out that the fence is down and stay away from the boundary out of habit.

The Innotek 5100 would be a good choice if you want a remote trainer. Those two dogs are going to have a big difference in size, so you are going to want to use a resistor to reduce the correction on the Terrier’s collar.

Holly August 28, 2011 at 8:04 pm

We have four dogs and about 1 acre fenced with split rail and wire mesh. Only one of our dogs ever gets out and she constantly gets under the fence and escapes. We have put solid garden ties around the bottom of the fence in the places she gets out, but she finds another place. We are wondering if we could use an electric fence for her. She is 25 pounds and a little timid. If we mount the wire on the existing fence, how close could she get to the fence. The other dogs run up to the fence, and she would want to be with them. How far do they have to stay back from the wire? Would it be better to put the wire further outside of the fence?

ADMIN – Hi Holly,

Many folks use the dog fence in that ways to reinforce a regular fence. You can indeed mount the wire on the existing fence. The distance the dog can get to the fence can be adjusted using a control on the base station. With a 25 lb dog and a physical fence already in place, you probably want to set it so the collar so it triggers 2-3 feet away from the base of the fence. Less than that and it would be hard for you to train the dog. So she would not be able to get as close to the fence as the other dogs.

You could also put the wire on the other side of the fence as you suggest, but you would still want to keep the dog 1-2 feet back from the fence.

Krystal August 17, 2011 at 3:28 pm

I am currently looking at electric fence options in case we cannot find a fenced yard in our next rental home. Installation of the fence looks pretty easy. Is removing a fence just as easy? If done carefully, could the fence be reinstalled in a new location? Thanks for any advice!

ADMIN – Hi Krystal,

You can easily move an electric dog fence to another location. Most, people just take the transmitter and collars and leave the old wire in the ground at the old location, and get new wire for the new location. While you can certainly salvage the old wire, it is so inexpensive ($30 per 500 feet) it is not worth digging up.

Danielle August 3, 2011 at 2:20 pm

My fiance and I have an large 70lb pit bull mix…he was an inside dog until we had to move in with my in-laws and they won’t allow him inside….he stays outside in a small fence and I want to change that because he needs to be able to run as he has a lot of energy….we live out in the country on about 3 acres but he can’t run loose as he would try to play rough with the cats next door. I was wondering what type of fence would work for him he is very strong and does escape his fence now sometimes but comes right back when called all he wants to do is run and play as he is only a little over a year old….he is very sweet and loving but he is stubborn he doesn’t have a lot of training either (we are working with him on basic commands now)….What fence would you recommend for him?

ADMIN – Hi Danielle,

With a Pitbull, having one of the stronger systems like the Innotek IUC-4100 or the PetSafe Stubborn would be a good choice. Often Pitbulls, need a little stronger stimulation to respond. I would not assume you need that higher level correction and would as always start low, but it is good to have those extra levels of correction available if needed.

Both the above systems are good. The Innotek is a higher end system with more features like a smaller collar and a rechargeable battery. The PetSafe has a bigger collar and a disposable battery but is a little cheaper.

Chris July 26, 2011 at 3:30 pm

We have just adopted a one year old male terrier mix who weighs currently 10 lbs and should reach 11 lbs. We live in a ground floor condo unit on a golf course. Our back patio is approximately 40 feet by 8 feet, open on three sides. It is elevated 2 feet above the outside ground and is fenced with a railing system about 4 feet high with vertical bars which the dog can get through. We would like to have him outside when we are but don’t want to put him on a leash. We would also like to train him to stay out of the living room. What products do you recommend and if an electric fence is recommended, how deep is the warning zone. We don’t want the warning zone to use up most of the deck.

Admin- Hi Chris,

The best system for your terrier mix will be the PetSafe Little Dog. The collar is specially designed for small dogs and will work perfect for a 10-11 pound terrier. You will be able to adjust the boundary width coming off of the wire to your preference. The minimum boundary is around 1-2 feet. Also, the PetSafe Little Dog collars are compatible with the PetSafe Radio Indoor Pod. You will be able to set the pod in the living room and create a boundary around the living room.

Eric July 18, 2011 at 9:50 pm

Hi Stewart, in an earlier reply you said “Using twisted wire to create a neutral area works where the wire connects to the transmitter, but cannot be used in the middle of the main boundary loop line.” How long can the twisted wire coming from the transmitter be before you have to switch to the normal boundary wire? Also do the twisted wires coming from the transmitter have to be the same length? I’m looking for a creative way to have a neutral area in my “loop” that will traverse a fence opening where i want to allow my dog to cross freely. Thanks.

ADMIN – Hi Eric,

There is no limit to the distance of twisted wire you can use to get you from the transmitter to the start of the loop.

The twisted wire is just two regular wires twisted together, and you just use one of those twisted pair to go out from the transmitter to the start of the loop. The twisted pair of wires each have to be same length (otherwise you could not twist them together). There is no way to avoid having a loop of single wire – you can’t have the twisted pair opening up to create a gap in the loop.

There are some creative layouts that will effectively get you a gap in the loop, the most common being a backyard only layout – where you may only want to enclose three sides of a yard and leave the fourth side open so the dogs can enter and leave the house at will. For more details on how to do this, checkout our Installation–> Planning / Layouts page. Or email us a diagram and we would be happy to help you design something that would work.

Elestia Kearney June 23, 2011 at 12:52 pm

I have been reading a lot of the comments on your site and have learned a great deal about these systems. One person mentioned the system not being reliable on slopes or retaining walls. One side of our back yard has a two-level graduated step-up slope and approx. 4 1/2 ft.high ivy covered retaining wall in one section. We recently adopted a 10 month old Australian Shepherd/lab mix from shelter and she loves to run in the ivy row between the two levels. It is like a play course for her and I would like for her to be able to continue to play there by putting the fence on the top of the hill were our property ends. Our house is built on a flat section on the side of a hill, so the front yard also slopes toward the street. Will the units only work on level ground? I have to do something to keep her in the yard because she is too friendly and will jump on total strangers wanting to play. She wanders off to explore, and has selective hearing. She only comes if she feels like it. I am trying to train her to come, but if we leave her outside unsupervised to play or take care of busy, it only takes a minute for her to disappear. I would appreciate any advise you may have. Thank you.

ADMIN – Hi Elestiak,

I am not sure what specific comment you are referring to. But, we often tell people to avoid wireless dog fence systems where there are steep slope or steps – because these changes of elevation block the wireless signal. This does not apply to the wired systems. Since there is wire all along the boundary – they can be used even with very steep slopes or with retaining walls. You can run the wire at any elevation and it will work fine.

So in your situation, we would definitely recommend that you use a wired system. With a Aussie/Lab, training should be straight forward.

Em June 22, 2011 at 10:05 pm

Hi there, I have read through most of your comments and hadn’t come across many comments from renters. I always rent and tend to move every year or two so I was thinking of buying a wireless unit. I just moved into half of a side by side duplex. The yard is rectangular extending 75 feet from back of the house and 25 feet off to the sides. There is one tree at the end of the property on my side but the current neighbors would be fine if I allowed my dog to run onto their side where there are three trees clustered in the middle of the yard. I’m open to enclosing her to only my side or allowing her on both sides. What would you recommend for a long term economical and reliable solution? (Even wired with installed short fencing has crossed my mind.) My Beagle/Boxer mix is very energetic and very trainable. Thanks for the great website!

ADMIN – Hi Em,

So you were a renter before it became trendy!

If you can do wired, it definitely the preferred option. You will get a much more consistent and reliable field. Wireless is very hit and miss, it likes some houses and will not work at all with other. Wired on the other hand will work anywhere. With the wired units, usually renters just leave the wire behind when they move and take the transmitter with them. The transmitter is the expensive part, the wire is cheap. For a Beagle/Boxer – something like the Innotek IUC-4100 would work well.

With a Duplex, it is easier to go around the entire property. If you only want to do one side, you either have to run the wire up and over the middle of the building to complete the loop, or double the wire back on itself to make a big U-shaped loop.

Andrea Gerhardt June 20, 2011 at 7:56 pm

Nice information provided to compare the various models. We have two westies, one is a 3yo male (23lb) and a 6 month old female who is 9lbs. I realize owning an invisible fence requires consistent training upfront and I think they would get the concept quickly. However, I am wondering if the male’s hunting instinct would kick in and he would run through it to chase a squirrel. Just wondering if you have had any Westie owners who find invisible fencing a good choice for this breed?

ADMIN – Hi Andrea,

We get great results with Westies and other dogs with a sporting heritage that have high prey drive dogs.

The key is the upfront training. When we first train a dog, it is a big change for them and is a good time to introduce new modes of behavior. If you get sloppy and don’t train them, they quickly get into bad habits which are hard to break.

I would not expect any problems with a Westie and the standard training. But, if you are particularly concerned, in what we call Step Three of training, where you are testing the dog with big temptations, try and take them out early in the day or late in the day when the squirrels are out and about. You can also have a friend bring by a dog or cat or some other high temptation animal so that your dogs learn that it does not matter what is on the other side, they cannot approach the fence.

Dan June 8, 2011 at 5:01 pm

I have two medium size dogs and I just moved into a new house. We have a 3~4 ft wire fence around the backyard specially made for the dogs. On the first day, we’ve learned that they can jump over the fence in a heartbeat and they’re not trained. One is very immune to all the little tricks Ive did to get her back so there is nothing I can do to get her home until she’s done playing, The other one is bit aggressive and also refuse come when I call her. Now the question is if I get the invisible fence around the existing wire fence in the backyard, how do I train them since they wont attempt to jump over the fence when I am near, and the collar wont beep unless they jump over the fence? Thanks! Dan

ADMIN – Hi Dan,

Usually when you set how wide your boundary zone will be, you set it a little wider than the fence, so the dog cannot come with 1-2 feet of the fence without the collar beeping and correcting the dog. You don’t want the collar to trigger only when the dog is sailing over the fence, because by then it is too late for them to change course and as you say it makes training difficult.

Jen Faigel May 11, 2011 at 2:06 pm

My dog uses a Dogtra training collar now for recall — she does great with the pager feature and doesn’t need the shock. Am I better off using a Dogtra fence system as well, since she already responds to the pager, or will that just confuse things??

Also, can all fence systems have a neutral area in the middle of the line or only where the wire connects to the transmitter?? many thanks!

ADMIN – Hi Jen,

Dogs that have already got a little training collar experience tend to do well with dog fences, because they already grasp the basic concept that they need to do something when they hear the tone in order to avoid a correction. You don’t need to stick with the same brand, they all work in a very similar way.

Using twisted wire to create a neutral area works where the wire connects to the transmitter, but cannot be sued in the middle of the main boundary loop line. You main ways to create a neutral area in the middle of the boundary line loop are:

  1. Elevate the Wire – raise the wire high enough that the signal does not reach the ground
  2. U-Shaped Loop – create a U-shaped loop where the wire doubles back on itself (opposite sides six feet apart). The open part of the U is where you want to create the neutral area.
Elizabeth Blackwell April 3, 2011 at 6:23 pm

We have a black lab mix that is between 90lbs &100lbs and we have as daschund that is about 12lbs to 15lbs. We would like to get an invisible fence to be able to leave them out durning the day while we are at work but don’t know which fence to go with. We don’t have a huge back yard but it’s plenty of room for the two dogs to run and place while we are at work. The lab mix is very good about staying in the back yard when he knows we are home and knows we are calling him back in after he is done doing his business. But the daschund does not stay in the back yard and runs off if he isn’t on a leash or tied up. We are just looking at our options right now and trying to figure out what to do! Thanks!

Admin-Hi Elizabeth,

We recommend the PetSafe Stubborn dog. The PetSafe Stubborn dog offers independent correction levels; therefore, you will be able to set the correction level for each dog. I would use the included stubborn collar for the Black Lab and bundle in an extra PetSafe Deluxe collars for the Daschund.

Stephen Moran March 24, 2011 at 2:15 pm

Hi – We have a 1 year old Golden Retriever / Lab cross and a 10 year old Golden Retriever / Red Bone Coonhound cross. Both are very friendly. We have a backyard fence that has worked excellent for the older dog w/ the hound in him. But when the gate is left open it takes hours for us to get him back. The Golden pup is great off leash but will still dart occasionally. When he is left in the fence he digs under to escape. I want to use the electric fence around the entire property front and back. The older dog is ~ 70lbs and the golden pup is ~ 90 lbs. What is your suggestion? Thank you, Steve

ADMIN – Hi Stephen,

For a pair of Golden crosses, the Innotek IUC-4100 would be a good choice. It is a small rechargeable collar and a collar fitting mode that helps you get the collar fitted perfectly which is useful for long hair dogs. The PetSafe Stubborn would also be a good choice, it uses a disposable 9V battery and is a little cheaper.

Barb March 23, 2011 at 6:53 pm

I have three big dogs, ranging from 53 lbs to 85 lbs and have quite a few questions about invisible fences. A few years ago we tried a DIY dog fence , a petsafe, but had some reliability and containment issues so we stopped using it. The wires are still buried somewhere in the yard but I’m not exactly sure where they are. The wires aren’t connected to the transmitter anymore because we no longer have it. Will the old wires interfere with the new wires when they are buried? I think the containment issues stemmed from the reliability issues but if we get another we will be VERY consistent in the training. The system would correct the dogs randomly while in the house or when they weren’t near the boundary. Which system is known best for reliability?
Also, our dogs are pretty stubborn but respond to commands pretty well with consistency. One dog has very long hair, a German Shepard/husky mix and is the most stubborn of them all. If we train them well will a regular fence work okay or do we need a stubborn dog fence? Another, a rottweiler mix, likes to charge when she’s out. She’s not aggressive just likes to pretend she is when people are walking by. Will a fence be able to give the correction fast enough before she’s through it if she is running towards it at full speed? I thought about using a remote trainer to try and keep her from running towards the street but wasn’t sure if this was would be a good way.
Lastly, our neighbors have a petsafe invisible fence. Is it possible to put the fences on different frequencies so they don’t interfere with each other? Our backyards are right next to each other and ours is only about 8 feet wide. I would like the dogs to be able to play in the backyard since that is where they would be let out. If we have to have the wires 6 feet apart they won’t be able to.

ADMIN – Hi Barb,

The old wires in your back yard will not interfere with the new system as long as they are no connected to the old transmitter.

With your neighbors having an invisible fence next to your own backyard, a system with adjustable frequencies like the new SportDog SDF-100 or the Perimeter Ultra would be a good choice. Both have in dependant correction levels so would work well with your dogs, but of the two the SportDog would be the most reliable. If we set up the boundary so it is an appropriate wideness (5+ feet on either side of the wire), and we do the training, we should not have any issues with running through.

Remote trainers are not great for containment training, because most people aren’t consistent enough and you tend to teach the dog to escape only when you aren’t looking.

Bob K February 28, 2011 at 10:13 pm

We have a 5 year old Lab mix and a 4 ft spaced picket fence. Our dog has always been a little skiddish and we now have two neighbors with young children. We want to get an electric fence to keep her from possibly snapping at a child’s arm or fingers if they come up to the fence. How far away from the fence should we install it and how easy/difficult will it be for our dog to adjust to the new boundary? She has had five years of being able to go right up to the fence. Thanks

ADMIN – Hi Bob,

You could install the dog fence right on the fence, then use the boundary width control on your base station to control how close you want to let her get to the fence. Training when there is a physical fence in place is really easy because there is a visual marker. For labs, two weeks of training is typical. You can do it faster if you need to, but following our two week protocol tends gets great results and makes it easy on the dog.

Cláudio February 28, 2011 at 4:34 pm

Hi, i know this site is about DOG fences, but do you know if it works fine on cats too? Thanks.

ADMIN – Hi Claudio,

PetSafe makes an electronic cat fence.
The collar is small and the correction is lower to better suit cats.

Pete February 6, 2011 at 8:17 pm

We live on 20 acres and have two 3 month old puppies. They are mix of border collie, beagle, and maybe lab – we are not sure. Currently they weigh 12 and 15 lbs, and we expect them to grow to about 40 pounds. Based on your advice, we are considering the Innotek 4100 or the Dogtra EF-3000. How old do they need to be before we can start using the fence system and training them?

Thanks

ADMIN – Hi Pete,

Yes, either the 4100 or Dogtra would make a good choice for your two pups.

In terms of training, we like our customers to wait until the pup is six months old to start training. Until six months most dogs are not cognitively ready. Most young puppies are concerned with just playing and not ready to give you the proper attention necessary for proper training. Of course if your dog is exceptionally advanced and it is a matter of safety, you can start training a bit earlier. I will usually ask a customer to demonstrate that their dog can confidently do a sit, stay, and a come before I will train a dog under six months, that seems to be a good test. But for most dogs, waiting till six months makes the training process much easier and faster for both pup and master.

liz January 25, 2011 at 3:14 pm

We live on a farm. We have a 12 year old Lab-Shepherd mix and two 9 mo. brother labs. The three are like to wonder the surrounding mile or so. This has not been a problem until now. We have cattle pens and are now having newborn calves that the puppies have been messing with. Also, they recently developed their “hunting” instinct and have killed two of our neighbors chickens. Needless to say, this is not a good situation. They have never been fenced in or tied up (the older dog included) and I am looking into electric fences especially for the pups. Is this a good option for us and would we be able to fence around the cattle pens? We do use some electric fencing for the cattle. I adore our dogs and would hate to have to find new homes for them. Thank you.

ADMIN – Hi Liz,

Labs tend to be easy to train, and you should be able to introduce a dog containment boundary with the standard two weeks of training. Old dogs, contrary to the proverb learn just fine. You do want to check with older dogs that they still have their hearing. If they don’t you would want to use a collar that vibrates as well as beeping (e.g. the SportDog SDF-100A or the PetSafe Stubborn).

One tip, if there are specific triggers like the calves or the chickens that the dogs find attractive, try and incorporate them into the last week of the training so that they dogs learn the specific lesson that chasing the chickens or the calves through the fence is a very bad idea.

jessica roper January 11, 2011 at 7:41 pm

hi i have a dog that i rescued and can be very shy around new people. he has dug under fences and balconies before. He seems to be a doberman cross and about 1 year old. im concerned about how he has been treated in the past and whether or not it will harm his progress. the fence will mainly be to stop him climbing through a wooden alpaca fence.

ADMIH – Hi Jessica,

My intuition is that you have build up enough trust that all will be fine. If you do the training, the introduction of the system should not be huge deal – it will just be accepted as you imposing discipline on the dog and changing their territory. People mainly run into problems where they don’t do any training and the dog has not idea what they are supposed to do when the collar starts beeping and then correction, leading to panic.

You will want to be confident when you do the training, if you are fearful or console the dog it makes them think there is a reason to be fearful. It is wonderful that you rescued him and gave him a new start. Your disciplining the dog for breaking your containment rules is very different from abuse.

As always, if still concerned, consult with an experience trainer that can work with you and your pup in-person.

Katie Waldron December 27, 2010 at 8:50 am

Hi I have 2 beagles and bought a petsafe radio containment fence. I did the training with them and they tested it, they both got a shock and now won’t go any where near it but 1 of my dogs seems to traumatized or something from the shock. He won’t move at all, he only moves when it’s feed time. Is there any way to help him with this? Was the shock to powerful for him although my other beagle is fine?

ADMIN – Hi Katie.

Sometimes dogs will form such a negative association with the boundary that they will not get anywhere near it. They learned the lesson you wanted, but took it a little too far.

So, now you want to focus on helping them form some positive associations with the safe zone inside the boundary. You can play with the dogs and walk the dogs in the safe area. Feed them in the safe area, and provide them bones and toys to play in the safe area. Timidness near the boundary is natural and will gradually fade away as they get more experience and have more positive associations in the safe area. It can take a few weeks with timid dogs, but you should notice they gradually go out further and further.

You should check what shock level you have your collar set to, and make sure it is on one of the lowest levels. With the dogs that over-reacted you can turn the correction off and just have the system beep for the next few training sessions.

Whatever you do, don’t try and comfort the scared dog. Redirecting their focus to something fun is great because it puts you in control and tells them that everything is ok. Comforting, is going to confirm in their brain that there is something to be feared and that you cannot protect them.

To prevent this fearfulness happening, there are a few techniques we use.

  1. No Correction in Week 1 – if you use our training method the first week has no correction so the dog learns that the boundary is a bad place to go and that the rest of the yard is fine without actually getting corrected. That way, once the dog does get the correction they know that it is caused only by going beyond the boundary.
  2. Start Correction Low – we start training on the lower correction levels and work our way up after gauging the dog’s reaction to the correction. Even two dogs that are from the same litter can have different reactions to the same correction, so it is best to start low and work your way up.
  3. Don’t React – after your dog gets the correction, don’t react and carry on as normal. Redirect the dog’s focus to walking to another part of the boundary or playing with a ball. Dogs are pack animals and take their lead in unfamiliar situations from the pack leader (you!). If you comfort the dog, however well intentioned, you signal to the dog that something is seriously wrong. When you take command and act like everything is normal and you are in control, it helps your dog learn the lesson you are trying to teach without over-reacting.
Amy December 14, 2010 at 3:22 pm

I have a 9 month old beagle, about 22 lbs. He is a digger. He has not tried to dig out of the fence, but his favorite place to dig is my vegetable garden. I was looking to fence around it, so that I can plant in the spring. The area is only 12×13 ft. Is there a fence you would recommend?

ADMIN – Hi Amy,

If you are just trying to keep the dog out of a small area, the Paws-Away outdoor pod and collar set is a good choice. It is a much cheaper alternative to a full dog fence. It looks like a fake rock that you plonk down in the vege garden. It either works in wireless mode and will give you a circular boundary with a diameter that you can adjust up to 12 feet. Or, you can run up to 150 feet of boundary wire off the rock.

Peggy Vitale November 24, 2010 at 6:33 pm

Questions: What power outlet do I need for the Innotek 4100–is a regular household 110 outlet used? What is the monthly electric cost to operate the fence?

ADMIN – All the systems use 110V (the Dogtra is availalbe in 220V for European customers on request) and can be used with a regular power outlet. The electricity cost is around $30 per year.

Michelle November 11, 2010 at 11:29 am

Do you have any experience with German Shorthaired Pointers? Ours is a year old, has passed basic obedience and does well with a Gentle Leader. She does not respond to a choke collar or seem very sensitive to pain. She is not used for hunting but is very distracted by all wildlife. She is also independent minded. Outside she will not even acknowledge us and if loose will run for hours. We feel terrible that she is always tied up and worry about safety when she gets loose. Do you recommend this system for this breed and if so which one? We have 5 wooded acres with about 1/3 acre yard in the back. We are off the road but it is a busy one. Which areas would you recommend to enclose, just the yard area to keep her in the back or the entire property? Great website and thanks for your time, Michelle

ADMIN – Hi Michelle,

I have not had any difficulties with German Shorthair Pointers, like most hunting dogs they are very trainable which should make your life easy when you start the training. A good choice would be the Innotek IUC-4100.

You could give the dog either the big area or the small area. With an active dog like a young German Shorthair Pointer, I would prefer to give him the bigger space so he can burn off some energy and also so he can be trained to potty in the woods rather than in the garden.

Julie November 3, 2010 at 7:55 am

We have a 2 1/2 yr old female Black Lab/Mastiff – we installed the wireless PetSafe fence. I believe my boyfriend rushed the training and that since our dog was catching on really fast, he rushed the training and allowed her to receive a correction(s) to quickly (2nd day!!) – nor did he even complete the entire two weeks with her! Now the dog is terrified/traumatized! Every time we put the collar on her she cowers at the door or in a corner of the yard far from the boundary line- we cannot put the collar on inside the house as we can’t get her out without literally dragging her by the collar and we will not do that. Worse, we live in the country and it’s pitch black out here at night, the dog is black and I can’t see her at night when I let her out to “potty”, I’ve been using a little flashing light that clips to her collar and even that freaks her out now when it never did before – she won’t move let alone go out to do her business. Even after I take the light off, she remains in this “psychologically traumatized”/ “paralyzed with fear” state for hours, or sometimes the entire day. I’ve tried to retrain her correctly on the fence following the steps on the instructional DVD to the letter, but she is just too terrified and pulls at the leash trying to get away and go hide- she’s 90lbs of muscle- more Mastiff strength than Lab strength- I know Labs are huge manipulators so I’m not sure if she is “playing” us, or if there really is some psychological trauma going on from receiving a correction(s) too soon. This has also botched up the leash training I was doing with her (previous owners did not leash train her). Any advice and coaching you can offer is appreciated more than you will ever know! Thank you so much!

ADMIN – Hi Julie,

The first week of the training without the electric stimulation is really important because it teaches the dog how the system works and what is expected from them. When you introduce the correction in week two, the dog knows what is going on, and knows to how to stop the correction by retreating. When you skip straight to correction, the dog doesn’t know why they are getting the correction and makes the association that it is the collar and the entire yard that cause the problem.

What you want to do if your dog is starting to develop a fear of the collar and yard is start to give the dog more confidence in the safe parts of the yard, and with wearing the correction collar (the same way you would treat a human phobia). You are definitely on the right track. You want to project confidence and take the dog outside to do things that the dog thinks are fun. Feeding, grooming, playing with a ball, etc will help the dog make positive associations with the safe parts of the yard. Expect the process to take around a month.

Also, it sounds like you could afford to turn the correction levels down.

Kathy October 27, 2010 at 8:58 am

Do ANY of the systems work with a Basset hound? My 16 month old almost got run over this morning…my screams alerted the driver, who had to go off the road to avoid the dog.
We live in a rural area, but have moderate traffic on the main road. Puppy has an 1/2 acre fenced in the back, ( we have 8 acres that she does not access because it is used for growing hay)
The front yard is about an acre.
She is slippery and gets out the front door any time that she can. I have heard that Bassets and beagles are impossible..but I do not want my dog squashed!
Any suggestions? We would use ANY type of fence…wired or wiFi. Thanks Kathy

ADMIN – Hi Kathy,

Basset hounds and beagles do have that strong scent drive, but with the training they do great on an electric dog fence.

I would definitely do a wired fence if you can, they are much more dependable than wireless and are much easier to train your dog that a wireless fence. A good fit for a Basset hound would be an Innotek IUC-4100.

Mike October 24, 2010 at 8:52 pm

Great site! We have a 4 yr old Lhasa Poo (10lbs) and our new 10 month old Shepard/Hound mix @ 90 lbs now! I am confused about which system to use due to size difference in our dogs. I believe both need collars because they both tend to wander off. The Lhassa is a meanderer but the shepard darts off quickly and never stops until he’s tired. He loves to chase after squirrels and neighborhood cats. We will be covering about 1.5 acres. I thought the 5100 was the one to use but then I saw you didn’t recommend it with dogs of large size difference like ours. Since this is a rental can we put the wire on the ground with ground staples? Much of our yard perimeter is wooded and I would like to put the boundary partially in the woods if that will work. Thanks for your help on this in advance!

ADMIN – Hi Mike,

The PetSafe fences are great where you have that kind of size difference since you can mix and match collars. I would get the PetSafe Stubborn system and use the Stubborn collar for the Shepard/Hound (you could also use the PetSafe Deluxe, but the Stubborn is significantly cheaper). Then add an extra PetSafe Little Dog collar for the Lhasa.

You can indeed staple the wire to the ground – the only section you might want to bury are sections that you mow. Running the wire through the wooded area is fine.

Tina October 23, 2010 at 12:46 pm

Your website has been a huge help. Thank You! I still need a little clarification I have a 8 lb long haired Chihuahua that loves to bolt and chase gophers and birds and I am afraid of him being trampled by our horses so I am looking at the underground fence with small collar, however I also am interested in the in house boundary system to keep him out of my childrens rooms (he thinks their toys taste real good) From what I have read am I correct in thinking that I can use the underground system and also some of the in house ones too and they will work with the same collar? Also I have 2 cats I need to keep out of certain areas is it possiable to use the same type of collar on them?
Thank You!

ADMIN – Hi Tina,

With a Chihuahua and two cats, I’d suggest going with the PetSafe Cat Containment fence and add two additional collars. The cat collar is nearly identical to the Little Dog fence and collar, plus you can save 70 dollars with going with the cat fence. The cat collar also has a break away feature that does come in handy with cats. Both the Little Dog and cat collar take the same battery.

Also, these collars are compatible with the PetSafe indoor Radio fence so you can protect the children’s rooms from your dog going in and chewing up toys.

david moore September 30, 2010 at 1:51 pm

Hi – I have a question please. I have 2 one year old boxers who love to play (ie tussle). Will the 4100 and/or 5100 collars stand up to that or can they wreck each others collars and thus make the system useless? We would clearly train them separately but once conditioned I don’t want them to work each others collars off when the two of them are out having fun!

ADMIN – Hi David,

For durability, I’d recommend looking at either the PetSafe Stubborn or the SportDog SDF 100A. Both are super durable and require only a regular 9 volt battery. As a matter of fact, we just posted the new SportDog review to our site. Please check it out: http://www.dogfencediy.com/reviews/review-sportdog/

leeann hill September 10, 2010 at 11:53 pm

Ok I have a 18 month old Boxer-German Shepherd. He’s already hit 81 pounds and the vet says he’s got one good growth spurt left. We have a fence. A cattle fence which he blithely jumps whenever he feels like it. I would really like one of these. They worked great with our terriers in our old house but they just had a basic one and I have no idea which one I should get for him. He’s real smart totally knows down, sit, etc but after six months of off again on training classes he still jumps on me, just me. He’s sweet and friendly just with his size I don’t want some cattlemen thinking he’s a feral dog after his livestock. So should I get the stubborn one or just stick with a more basic one.

ADMIN – Hi LeAnn,

The amount of correction you need varies a lot from dog to dog. With a big dog that is part German Shepherd – I would go with the PetSafe Stubborn dog (they tend to need a stronger correction because of the way they were bred). Of course, you want to start training on a lower correction level and only work your way up if you find that the dog is not responding to the lower levels.

Lisa August 16, 2010 at 1:29 pm

Hi,
I have a 2 year old rescued Treeing Walker Coonhound. It appears that the Innotek 4100 or 5100 would be my best bet. We have frequent, brief power outages where I live. Should I consider this when deciding on which system to purchase? Also, my property is heavily wooded with a lot of accumulated leaf cover on the ground every year. Would this be a problem with regard to the depth that the wire is covered up?

ADMIN – Lisa,

For power outages, the 4100 and 5100 are great cause they do have the battery backup option. The PetSafe and SportDog fences do not have that.

As for burying the wire and ground cover, you don’t need to bury it very deep. The wire trenchers will bury it just 3 inches in the ground. The signal will transmit through the ground cover nicely. Alternatively, you can run the wire along the ground in the wooded areas and secure it with lawn staples. That will save you from hitting tree roots trenching.

Kathy July 16, 2010 at 11:49 am

Hi,
I am just beginning my research on invisible fences and have found your site very helpful. We recently moved into a house where we were told by the neighbors that invisible fencing is already installed. We can not locate a transmitter so have no idea what kind of fence it is (I think the previous owners took the transmitter with them when they moved). Would we be able to purchase a new system (I think the Innotek IUC-4100 would meet our needs) and have it work with the existing wire? If that is possible, how would we figure out where the existing boundaries are located?
I appreciate any info you can provide as we would love to be able to use the existing wire and skip the digging part of this project!

ADMIN – Hi Kathy,

You just lucked out! It is easy to reinstall the dog fence if the previous owner had a fence and just took the transmitter. You just get a new transmitter and plug it into the old wiring. Any system should work with the old wiring.

To find the spot where you plug in the old wiring, try looking in any outdoor shed, a garage, in a crawl space under the house or a closet on an exterior wall. The connection point will just look like two exposed wires. It can be a little tricky to hunt down if it is in an odd place. If you are still in contact with the old owners, now is a good time to make a phone call!

Once you have the system put in, you can use the collars along with the supplied testing tool to figure out where the existing boundaries lie.

Jamie May 26, 2010 at 11:02 pm

I have a 1 1/2 year old Yorkie and a 7 year old lab. Our lab is quite happy with his space in the fenced in back yard and even if left out with gate open, he resists running off. However, our Yorkie likes to take off when no one is looking on. His brother lives 4 houses down and he is always searching for him or other “company” to play with. I was wondering since he is a house dog and safely contained already in our back yard, if just purchasing one of the indoor sensors to place in door ways would be possible rather than installing a whole underground fence? Do they work without having a complete system surrounding the house? He is very smart and it probably would only take a time or two before he realized he shouldn’t step pass the 2 door openings I plan on installing it on. Just thought I would ask and see if I could get by with less. Thanks- Jamie

ADMIN – Hi Jamie,

That’s a great idea. You can get the Indoor door zone and collar set and purchase additional indoor zones to accomplish exactly what you’re planning.

Dustin April 29, 2010 at 3:12 pm

I have a rescued 2 year old brittney that is a very sweet dog and very well behaved when inside or on a lead outside. Twice though he has gotten loose from either sliding the screen door open or a miss latched collar. It seems that when he is off lead outside he looses his mind and training. He loves to point and chase rabbits or birds, but only does so when off lead. Would an “invisible fence” be a good option? My fear is the instict to hunt is going to be too strong and he’ll dart past the line. He is not aggressive, infact both times we found him playing with some neighborhood kids and he jumped right in the car when we called him.

ADMIN – Hi Dustin,

With the training, you can nearly always overcome hunting instinct and make the dogs observe a territory defined by the fence within the first 2-3 weeks. I like your instinct to be concerned about these trigger points. When there are particular concerns, like say chasing birds, I like to test the dog with that actual trigger before I am comfortable letting the dog go off leash. It is much easier to train a dog past a problem, like running past the fence on a particular trigger like birds, if you identify it earlier rather than letting it become a habit and trying to fix it months down the line.

Linda April 19, 2010 at 12:27 pm

Hi, Thanks for the great site and all the helpful information. I have horses and they are contained in an electric fence. I was all set to buy an invisible fence for my dog, but then someone told me they heard you couldn’t use them if you have an electric fence. Is this true? Is there a minimum distance I can just keep away from the electric fence with the dog fence, or won’t it work at all with electric fence on the property. We have 65 acres and I was planning on fencing about 10 acres, but it would totally encompass the horse pasture. Can I do this or do I need to keep looking for a different way to contain the dog?
Thanks!

ADMIN – Hi Linda,

Cattle, horse, or other livestock electric fences are hit and miss as far as interference goes. Usually you can get away with it, although sometimes the dog fence signal can jump into the horse fence wire and make anywhere with the horse fence wire act like dog fence boundary wire, which causes layout problems for some The only way to tell if it is an issue for you is to rig up a test section and then see if the dog fence is working properly. If it is a problem, you need to move the dog fence wire six feet away.

If you are just enclosing a larger area, with the horse fence in the middle, it will be a complete non-issue.

Adam March 23, 2010 at 11:29 pm

I rescued a 2 year old Basenji/Pit Bull mix from the pound. I have a 3400sq. ft backyard with 4 ft. chain link fence around it’s entirety. My dog jumped the fence with ease going after a ball and now I’m terrified she’ll get out of the yard during playtime. When she sees a rabbit or squirrel she takes off on a mission, luckily I have a hold of the leash! Even with the in ground system, I don’t plan on leaving the dog in the yard unsupervised.

I’m thinking about purchasing the SportDog SDF-100, I wouldn’t mind the bulkiness and like the idea of the vibration warning. Would this be a good system to keep my dog from jumping the fence to chase things? Also, I am wary about looping it through my existing fence. I worry that it would be too easy to tamper with the wire continuity and/or damage the wire. I’m not opposed to burying the wire. Since I would be getting the system to prevent fence jumping, would you recommend burying the wire or attaching it to the fence?

ADMIN – Hi Adam,

Both burying the wire and stringing it up along the existing fence are good options. Burying tends to make the wire less prone to break, and is less visually obtrusive. Running the wire along the fence is faster, and while you do get the occasional break, they are easier to find and repair.

I usually recommend people start with attaching the wire to a fence, just because you can be up and ready to train the dog in an hour. Then if you want to go back and bury you can do it whenever you have time. My instinct is to take care of the fence jumping safety issue as soon as possible, then worry about where the wire will be permanently installed later.

Any info would be greatly appreciated!

glen Parker March 23, 2010 at 4:33 pm

I am looking onto getting a wire fence. My yard gets pretty wet in the spring. how will this effect the fence and its use?

ADMIN – Hi Glen,

The systems work fine when the yard gets wet, even if it gets water-logged. Just be sure to only use the provided waterproof splices, and where possible try to avoid splicing in places that are likely to be particularly waterlogged.

Veronica West March 19, 2010 at 10:36 pm

We are planning on purchasing a “wired” invisible fence tomorrow – as our 5 year old dogs have recently figured out they can dig under the existing fence and have been escaping the yard to chase bunnies, squirrels etc. They MUST be contained to protect them from the 55mph road we live on and an unfriendly, sue-happy neighbor. My questions is this, we are regular campers and are wondering if you think it would work to have a remote trainer system, set up a flag boundary around the campsite and give them a correction with the remote when they near the flags. We (and they) hate being tied out when we are camping. What do you think?
Also, I am very glad to have found your website as we purchased a the Petsafe wireless system this evening and your reviews have made me reconsider and return it for a wired system (plus the wired system will be less expensive). Thank you!

ADMIN – Hi Veronica

Mostly when a dog is trained, it will avoid any small flags. For example if you take them for a walk past a construction site where there are marking flags they will stay well away. Whether this will be true of your dogs is a hit and miss. We have had customers that just lay out the flags when they go camping and had the dogs happily contained. You could also use the remote correction systems to reinforce the message, but as a practical matter this usually doesn’t help a whole lot because most people aren’t vigilant enough to keep an eye on the dogs 24/7. It usually only ends up teaching the dogs that they should not try and escape while you are around.

Laural March 10, 2010 at 10:22 pm

We have a 90 lb lab that is very headstrong – bordering on aggressive. He has been through training and has responded beautifully – he is very smart and “trainable”. Over the winter, however, he seems to believe he is the alpha male again. He routinely jumps our split rail fence that has been double and triple reinforced. Lately he jumps our fence visits the neighbors then jumps their fence and tears off after people walking on the front sidewalk. He doesn’t bite, but is aggressive toward the dogs, barking w/ fur up etc. What can we do?? We would like to contain him both front and back yard (front unfenced). He does visit w/ his BFF next door regularly (a Boston Terrier). They don’t mind when he jumps the fence to visit and play. Both dogs share yards and homes. Our total lot size is 140′ x 75′. Our neighbors’ is close to the same. What are your thoughts…. should we try to reinforce our split rail some more, or go w/ some sort of electric fence… still not sure which would be best after reading reviews.

ADMIN – Hi Laurel,

A really solid physical barrier is always the best solution. Unfortunately this is not always practical, and reinforcing a fence that is not quite up to snuff can be a source of endless frustration. Electronic dog fences work really will in conjunction with real fences because the two work together. The physical fence is a nice visual cue, and the electronic stops the dog having enough time on the border to try and jump over or dig under. The Innotek IUC-4100 would be a good choice for just the lab. If you wanted something to handle both dogs, I would get the PetSafe Stubborn for the lab (keep it turned down) and a PetSafe Little Dog extra collar for the Boston.

I am always concerned with containment of an aggressive dog, mainly because the consequences of their escaping can be so serious (for both the dog and passers by). I would definitely do something to get him contained in the short term, even if it means tying him up. And I would not let him off leash in the yard unsupervised until you are 100% sure he is contained.

Becky March 10, 2010 at 11:40 am

I have two dachshunds, 12 & 14 lbs, one is long-haired and the other is medium-haired, but not short. Dachshunds are known for being very stubborn and also for having very strong necks. I only have 1/3 of an acre to fence in but also like the idea of setting indoor boundaries, as we now use baby-gates. I would not categorize the dogs as aggressive, but I’m sure some of my neighbors would. They are definitely very territorial and very vocal. Which system would you suggest? Also, what is a proprietary battery? If the system is not easy to use or batteries easy to change/recharge, the system will not be a good fit. Thanks… love the info on the site and my husband will appreciate the guidance in installing the system!

ADMIN – Hi Becky,

A proprietary battery is one that is made only by the manufacturer (i.e. it is not a regular battery you can get in the Supermarket, such as a AA battery of a 9V battery). Proprietary batteries are easy to change, but are usually more expensive ($4-$10 every three months or so depending on brand). They are also inconvenient because you cannot easily find them and usually will have to mail order them, something that inevitably leads to situations where the dog battery is not replaced and the collar is non-functioning. For that reason we much prefer rechargeable batteries.

Since they are both over 12lbs, I would go with the PetSafe Ultrasmart. It is rechargeable and has one of the smaller collars so should be fine on a Dachshund. You can also use them in conjunction with the Innotek indoor zones, to keep them away from certain areas instead of the baby gates. (My child is starting to walk, can we have your baby gates!)

Kerry January 21, 2010 at 9:30 am

Hey great website and heaps of really good information. I have a 12 year old staffy that is more than happy to hang around our 6 acres most of the time. That is until there are fire crackers or a storm. In these instances she just puts her head down and runs. There have even been times when I have been with her when she has heard these loud noises and there is absolutely nothing I can do to stop her or get her to come back. So I was wondering when a dog is in this kind of panicked state would one of the electric fences work on stopping her run off?

thanks Kerry

ADMIN – Hi Kerry,

The key to getting the dog contained under those panicked states is training her, then testing her by simulating the panicked state (e.g. a confederate lets off a firecracker). If storms are an issue, you will also want to make sure the system you select has a battery backup, you don’t want the system going down when power goes down – the exact time when you need it!

But, I’m not sure you need a fence. If the panicked states are the only problem, I think you could probably train her go to a “safe spot” in your house when panicked. Talk to a good local trainer. They should be able to redirect that behavior in a couple of session. Thanks for the compliment.

Liza January 19, 2010 at 7:10 pm

Hi there. I have a precocious 2 year old shih-tzu/poodle mix who is an absolute escape artist and very stubborn. She digs under our chain link fence or shoots out an open gate like a bat out of you-know-where. Of course our 1 1/2 year old lab goes right out with her. Our backyard is a little less than half an acre. Which do you suggest for our different breeds and also how much do we need as far as fencing? I’m SO frustrated because I can’t turn them out in the backyard without looking out the front window to see a little blonde body zipping down the street! I’d hate to lose her or have her be hit by a car. Please help?

ADMIN – Hi Liza,

It should be pretty easy to install the system and teach them to stay in the yard if you already have a physical fence in place. You can just zip tie the boundary wire to the exsisting fence and get right into the trianing.

How big is the poodle mix and the lab? Do you want a rechargeable system? I am guessing there is a pretty big size difference, so we want a system that lets you set the correction level independently for each dog.

Three good options:

(1) Dogtra EF-3000 – rechargeable, but it has a little bigger collar
(2) SportDog SDF 100 – uses a regular disposable 9V battery, also has one of the bigger collars
(3) PetSafe Deluxe – uses a proprietary PetSafe battery, but has a smaller collar.

If the lab only escapes when the poodle mix does, perhaps you will only need a single collar to contain the precocious poodle? Sometime when there is a lead dog and a follower, you only need to contain the leader.

Lori January 19, 2010 at 6:16 pm

I have a shepherd/husky cross and a full malamute, both with dense woolly undercoats and coarse heavy top coats all year round. I can’t even see skin on the husky her undercoat is so dense. Are these collars really effective with these coat types. Would one system be more effective than another. The husky cross is over 75 lbs. and the malamute is still a puppy but will probably be over 75 lbs. also. We want to set up about a 4 acre perimeter. Thanks – This site has been really helpful!

ADMIN – Hi Lori,

That thick undercoat is tricky. We want to thin out the fur a bit with scissors (just a bit! – don’t shave the poor fellows). Then when you put the collar on the dog, use your fingers to dig under the probes and move all the hair out of the way. It will take a minute or two the first time, but after that it will be easy.

The Innotek 5100 or PetSafe Ultrasmart are particularly good here because they have long probes included in the box, and the collar fit feature lets you know when you have proper contact with the skin. They both do up to 25 acres.

Bob January 19, 2010 at 9:10 am

I am getting a samoyed puppy soon. Breeders for samoyeds state that they are far too intelligent for electric fences and will endure a shock for the opportunity to chase wildlife. Gven my yard size, trees, and configuration, I would prefer this type of fencing as opposed to creating a 6′ high dog run for considerable $$$. I don’t anticipate leaving the dog out during the day, but rather, long enough to do his thing. My question is whether I should trust the advice I’ve received from samoyed breeders or try an electric fence?

ADMIN – Hi Bob

I am reluctant to contradict your breeder, they know their dogs a lot better than anyone else. But, I think most breeders that have personally tried a dog fence using a reputable company that showed them how to train the dogs are our biggest advocates.

I find Samoyeds and huskies (I know I am not supposed to lump them together, but AKC be damned they are really very similar in temperament and appearance) easy to train despite their reputation for stubbornness. They may be stubborn when you have no leverage, but are big sensitive babies and highly motivated by the correction.

There are a couple of pitfalls. (1) During the initial week of training when there is no correction they will show no interest and will show no signs of having learnt anything. Don’t fret, they are learning, they are just not reacting because they are not motivated … this will change. (2) With their thick undercoat, make sure the collar is fitted properly. Thin the hair a little with scissors, then use your fingers to make sure the collar probes are actually contacting skin. If there is no contact the dog gets no correction.

Nicole January 14, 2010 at 1:19 pm

I have no experience or knowledge about these fences. Please Help! I have a 10 month old Saint Bernard puppy and a Golden Retriever. The Saint is already about 140 lbs. and very stubborn. The Golden is fine with our 4 ft. wooden picket fence, but the Saint constantly either breaks down portions of the fence by jumping on it until it falls or jumping over. He really scares the nieghbors because of his size, but the only thing you need to be scared of is his drool…lol Anyways, which fence can i use to contain him, cost effectivley, and do i have to bury this type of fence or can i attach it to existing fence? He will probably be 175-200 lbs. mature. Also, will the collar fit him? Thanks.

ADMIN – Hi Nicole,

Hi Nicole,

I would use a PetSafe Stubborn or a PetSafe Ultrasmart. But start on medium. I have found that while they are Stubborn, St Bernards tend to be sensitive to the correction, so you don’t need to turn it up too high. Only turn it up if you find he is not feeling it.

You do not need to bury the wire, if you have an existing fence you can zip tie it or staple it in place to the new fence. Just keep it high enough that it doesn’t get hit by the lawnmower or edger.

The neck size goes to about 23 inches on the units I mentioned.

Joni January 10, 2010 at 2:35 pm

We have two large dogs and one of them has become well known to the local animal athourities. He is not dangerous, very friendly but impossible to contain. He climbs up and over chain link or any other fencing with holes in it. He jumped over the 6ft wooden fence. He is very intelligent and gets bored when the kids aren’t home. He is very large, 120lbs catahoola/lab and our other dog is an English Bulldog he is not small himself. Will one of these fences work? My husband is going to give up on the dog but we really love him. His size scares people so when he runs off they call the pound.

Hi Joni,

That’s a tough situation. It seems the smarter and friendlier they are the more they escape.

If you do the training with the dogs, we are very confident it will work. The training more than anything else is really the key. Just be consistent and do it 2-3 times a day for two weeks and I think you will be very happy. We have a success rate of about 98% with in-ground systems. (Wireless systems which we do not recommend have a much lower success rate – around 50%) And if it does not work, just send it back. I don’t want to be too salesy, but we really try to make it a no lose proposition.

Since you already have a fence, just zip tie or staple the wire to the existing fence and get right into the training.

Ben January 4, 2010 at 7:29 pm

We have an english setter ~ 50lbs and our housemates have a pomeranian. Would this system be suitable to both sizes of dogs?

ADMIN – Hi Ben,

The PetSafe systems are good for dogs of very different size, because the collars are mutually compatible. A good choice would be to use the PetSafe Little system (for the Pommeranian), this is really the only collar that is a good size for a dog of that size, and add a PetSafe Deluxe collar for the Setter.

Dave December 17, 2009 at 11:11 am

We have an older Boston Terrier who is mostly blind and 90% deaf. Is an electronic fence suitable for us? What issues will there be for training?

ADMIN – Hi Dave,

Training is of course going to be the main issue. I would use a collar that had a vibration warning instead of sound (Dogtra would be a good choice). Then be really patient and do a lot of work with the dog on training. You may want to try laying down a scent trail to help you give the dog a way another way to perceive the boundary.

Don September 11, 2009 at 11:10 am

Great Website with tons of helpful info! Is use of the Dog Fence appropriate for use with a puppy? If not, at what age do you recommend that dogs be introduced to the system?

ADMIN – Hi Don, I would try not to start training until they are 6 months old. You could start a bit earlier, say 4 months provided they are mentally ready (i.e. can do some training basic training confidently … sit/stay/come).

Tom August 31, 2009 at 8:27 pm

I am considering the 5100 for use at my home in the city. Can I use the collar and the correction feature when I am at a different location than where the wire is burried? I have a vacation home where the dog runs free but occasioanlly will chase the neighbors car. A good ZAP might help break him of this.

Admin – Hi Tom,
The remote training feature is independant of the fence, so you can continue to use the remote training when you are at a different location to the burried wire.

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