Havahart Custom Shape Wireless Fence


  • Custom shape boundary
  • 2 Rechargeable collar batteries
  • Computer tracker program


  • Wireless inconsistencies
  • No battery backup
  • Clunky collar


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The Havahart Custom shape wireless is the first wireless fence that lets you have a customizable boundary. This is the first wireless fence to offer this option! In the past, all wireless fences only let you have a circular boundary. The Havahart Custom lets you have pretty much any shape boundary you want and you can even have exclusion zones within the containment area.

The system uses four base stations mounted on the wall on the four corners of your home. The base stations work together to determine the position of your dog.

You use the included LCD controller to set the dog fence boundary. You switch the system onto boundary recording mode, then walk slowly along your perimeter, and the system records the boundary.

The Havahart Custom breaks new technological ground by giving the owner the ability to connect their home computer to the wireless fence. The computer is an optional feature. The application is accessible through the Internet and allows you to see your custom boundary and make changes to it. You can also track the position of your dog!

Like all previous wireless fences, there are still two nagging issues with wireless fence technology: boundary line fluctuation and slow collar response time. In our testing, we found that the boundary on the Havahart Custom does fluctuate significantly from moment to moment. From an average sized yard, expect at least five feet of variance. In contrast a typical wired fence will have much less fluctuation around 6 inches. Also, the collar response time is also slower to respond than compared to a wired fence. Expect your dog to retreat 10 feet back into the yard before the collar stops correcting them.

In terms of range capacity, the manufacturer gives a maximum range of 500 feet from the house, but we found that much beyond 200 feet and the boundaries become too wobbly. We think the maximum reliable range is about 2 acres.

The Havahart Custom Wireless, is a big step forward for wireless fences. For the first time you get a custom boundary line without needing to lay wire. The limitations on the fence are the boundary wobble and collar response time. The sweet spot for this system is for yards, ½ - 2 acres with few obstacles.

NOTE: The Havahart Custom Shape wireless system is currently only available for purchase within the USA.

LCD Controller

The fence is setup and operated through the LCD Controller. Set-up is involved and takes about two hours, but the system prompts are well designed and thorough and makes everything easier. The controller is used to set up the fence boundary and is also used to set the correction level on each collar. The controller also sounds an audible alarm to alert you if a dog is breaching the boundary, which was very handy, especially during the training phase.


The collar on the Havahart Custom is large and would only make sense on a dog over 20lbs. The collar fits dog’s neck sizes ranging 7 to 17 inches in circumference. The collar comes with two rechargeable batteries. While you are using one battery, you recharge the second in the included charger. There are 5 correction levels plus a tone only level. Like the collar on the Havahart radial , this collar is water resistant and has no external controls - everything is controlled from the remote control. Like the radial, we got 2-3 days of battery life between charges.

Fence Tracker Program

The Fence Tracker Program is an optional feature that allows you to connect your home PC into the master base station. One minor irritation is the supplied cord for the base station is short, which is fine if you have a laptop, but if you only have a desktop, you need to make sure the lead base station is placed somewhere near the computer.

After you create an account and start a program in your Internet browser window, you get a few cool features. First, when you set up your fence boundary, you can actually see the layout on your screen so you can make sure it recorded properly and can make corrections if needed. Second, you also get a little marker for each collar, so you can see the dogs running around on your computer screen.

For the moment only use the Fence Tracker application from a computer plugged into the base station, you can’t yet do this remotely. We really liked using this interface, although we did get the occasional glitch in the software, for example it was difficult to erase a layout on screen and get the new layout to update.

The Pros

The big advantage of this system is that you can have a completely custom layout with no wire. This is much faster and easier to set up than a wired system. You can be up and running inside of an hour. And you never have to hunt a wire break!

When testing, we found this had a couple of non-obvious advantages. You can run the boundary in places where you could not place wire, for example across water for a lakefront installation. You can even set the boundary on a neighbors property where you could not run wire.

The Cons

The biggest downside is the price. At $799 it is more than double the cost of any other Do-it-yourself dog fence out there. Second, like the previous wireless systems, the boundaries are prone to wobbling around and the system is slower to respond to the dog breaking through the boundary than wired units. Also, it does not work well where there are metal buildings or metal roofs, lots of trees, or steep slopes in a yard.

Like the previous Havahart Radial Wireless, this unit is much better than the competing wireless systems, but you still get up to five feet of wobble, and you really need at least a ½ acre lot with 10 feet of buffer to get a fence line you are happy with. It cannot do long-narrow sections, and is going to have interference issues with tree, metal, and steep slopes.

Third, you can only put two dogs on the system, so if you have three or more dogs, this is not going to work for you.

Fourth, set-up is a little more involved. You need to read the instructions to get this working.

Model Havahart Custom-shape fence 5144G
Type Wireless
Collar Battery Rechargeable – Lithium Ion
Correction Levels 5 Levels
Beep Only Training Mode Yes
Collar Warning beep Yes
Collar Vibration No
Independent Correction Levels Yes
Collar Dimensions 3.25” (L) x 1.25” (W) x 1.25” (D)
Collar Neck Size 7” – 17”
Collar Water Resistance Water Resistant
Collar Fit Test No
Maximum Number of Dogs Two
Minimum Dog Size 20 lbs
Minimum Age 6 months
Maximum Containment Area 25 acres
Boundary Radius 0-400 feet (adjustable)
LCD Controller Dimensions 3” (L) x 5.25” (W) x 1.25“ (D)
Control Box Power Source Wall Outlet (110V) x 4
Control Box Battery Backup No
Indoor Pod Compatibility No
Outdoor Pod Compatibility Not Required - Four Exclusion Zones
Included Boundary Wire n/a
Included Boundary Flags 75
Training Materials Manual and Quickstart Guide
Other n/a
Package Dimensions 12” (L) x 10” (W) x 6″ (D)
Package Weight 4 lbs
Warranty 12 months
Click the link for the Havahart Custom Instruction Manual (PDF). And click this link for the Havahart Custom QuickStart Guide (PDF)

{ 19 comments… read them below or add one }

Kevin March 15, 2014 at 12:31 am

I am interested in a wireless fence for my VERY active stud yellow lab. We have field and wooden land surrounding our home what is the best fence out there and will it keep him on even if he is on the hunt running full speed 35mps!!

Betsy September 24, 2013 at 10:40 am

Save your money and sanity! We tried doing 2 acres, with the wireless custom,TRIED and Tried AND TRIED. We have no obstructions live a field, in a wooden house, that 110ft x 28 ft, in the middle of a slight sloping field ( have sight line)! After 15 hours 6 calls some returned some on till a day later. the tech said the bases weren’t far enough apart, to do 2 acres. Is your house wider than 28-100.? Then they want a $10 restocking fee,not a reliable company!!!

GG June 18, 2013 at 10:03 am

I was excited about this product, and could not wait to get it in. I spent about $1000 on two collars and the system. I was intrigued by the 25 acres claim, and being able to create custom zones. I am now, after 1.5 years, thoroughly disgusted, and will be trenching in, over 5 rocky acres, a wired system. The weaknesses of this system are:
 Range – It uses the same technology as your 2.3 Ghz cordless phones. They do not go far. I could not fence in more than 1.5 acres. I was going for 5 acres
 Antennae strength – after 25 trips around the property, I put on 9 DBi antennae’s on the units, this made the 1.5 acres possible. There are no repeaters, and they do not allow for more than 4 base stations.
 Terrain – It must be flat, with no obstructions – I have two out buildings, which the dogs could not go behind. I also have a 15 ft gradual drop to a creek. The shore of the creek cannot be “seen” by the fence. Trees and wooded areas are also a problem
 Waterproof – The collars are not. The dogs like to play in the creek, which would destroy a $175 collar.
 Batter Life – Battery life with active dogs is about 6 hours. I had to replace batteries at least twice a day
 Inferior components. In the 1.5 years I have had the product, I had to replace two of the base stations, and all the collars twice.
 The fence boundary zone fluctuates. When I started, it was advertised as 3 – 6 ft. It is now listed as 6-13ft wide. I hope your yard is not too small, because that is 13ft off every side
The strengths of the system are:
 The support team for the product were outstanding. They were extremely responsive, and did a great job through my warranty period
 The real time mapping I could pull up on the computer was interesting, and helpful to get to know the patterns of the dogs in the yard

The bottom line:
If you have inactive dogs, in a small flat area without a water feature or obstructions, this may be a viable product. I would suggest using an old cordless phone to test distances before purchasing the product. Personally, I am going to be trenching in a new system

Jeff April 11, 2013 at 8:54 pm

THE DEFINITIVE TEST: 13 months, over 60 hours of setup and troubleshooting, 10 replacement collars, one replacement system, 6 hours of technical support, 20+ dog runaways. Conclusion: Havahart custom shape fence IS NOT RELIABLE! I can’t imagine that anyone has more first hand experience with this system then I do. When I first got the system I was very excited about it. 15 acres coverage, easy set up, exclusion zones, water resistant collar, high tech, computer troubleshooting and monitoring. Great! I first started with 5 acres. After re setting my fence 20+ times reducing it down to just over one acre. System still could not reliably work. Once the fence was in the “small” sizes, AND all the collars were functioning, It would contain our two dogs. Once they learned where the fence was and knew they would get shocked beyond it, they stayed in it. However the longest stretch of containment was probably 5 weeks. Then something would happen, mostly I think the collars go bad or the system just glitches. They were good about replacing collars and such, but they said there was never anything wrong with them once they examined them. With the “fence tracker” they could see that there was failures and dog breaches, but they could not tell me why. They say; Reset the fence (takes 45 minutes minimum or much if a large zone or deep snow), reset the collars, change position of monitors, change collar position. Sometimes it would work again for a few weeks, next thing you know, the dogs are gone for 4 hours during rush hour. All of what you read in the negative reviews is true. Is your dog ever outside in the rain or snow? Collar might go bad. Have a pond the dog might go in if the collar fails or not? dead collar. Have more than one tree? not good. Have any outbuildings? bad. Have a small yard? bad, the 16 foot variance in the fence (which they admit) will constantly correct your dog. Have a big yard? Probably not good, there has got to be an obstruction somewhere. Batteries don’t last a full day, so if people are not paying attention or you have kids letting the dogs out, plan on batteries going dead sometimes when the dogs are out. But they admit to most of that. What I finally concluded is that none of that really mattered. They collars eventually go bad the system gets glitchy. Especially with two dogs. If one collar goes bad and the dog gets out for some fun, the other will just learn to deal with the temporary shocking to go have fun with the other. There are just too many things that can go wrong. The final straw for me was after resetting the 4 week old collars (10th replacements) 5 times, each time taking them out to the fence line, one in one hand one in the other. Clear spots with no obstructions. Sometimes both collars would work, sometimes just one. Sometimes one would work and the other would let me through, but then start shocking when coming back in! This in not suppose to happen by there own claims! This keeps the dogs out! Over and over I tried it, It was never consistent. Yes, there were times over the year when it worked just as described. Bottom line, IT IS NOT RELIABLE! The point of a fence is reliability, if you can’t depend on it, it is not a fence. A huge waste of time and money. I’m going to a wired system with heavy 14 gauge wire that does not break. I could have buried 10 5 acre fences in the amount of time I spent troubleshooting this system. There is more I could tell but I think this gets the point across. If you have questions please ask, I have the answer.

charlene March 21, 2013 at 8:54 pm

I’ve been reading the reviews for the Havahart custom wireless fence. The specs sound perfect for our needs … however your reviews have me concerned. I noticed that they are 1+ years old…..do you have any input that is more recent? Have any improvements been made? We have a very large piece of property, and would love to allow our dog to roam a larger area freely. What are your thoughts on the product today?

ADMIN – Hi Charlene,

Havahart keeps updating the software, but we haven’t noticed any major change in performance. It is a very innovative product, but I still think the wireless radial fences (especially the Havahart Radial) and wired fence systems outperform it.

anthony June 25, 2012 at 11:07 pm

we have a pond on our property, is there a water proof collar?

Admin- Hi Anthony,

Most of the collar we offer are waterproof; however, the Havahart wireless collars are only water resistant. If you do purchase the Havahart system, your dog would not be able to swim with the Havahart collar on.

Matthew June 20, 2012 at 1:19 am

I noticed you said you took the system from stock until further notice, but I see it back up on the top of the page? Is it fixed and working better? Or did you just add it back for buy at your own risk reasons?

Admin- Hi Matthew,

Unfortunately we are not selling the Custom Shape system at this time. However, our in-depth review of the system is still active for evaluation but as far as we know, the system has not been update.

Greg May 4, 2012 at 2:24 pm

I’ve been interested in this fence solution for some time. I have not yet purchased it as I’ve been waiting to see some reviews. ALL of the reviews I have read on your site are quite negative including some of your responses (ADMIN responded to Jason: “It will likely be a little better than the PetSafe, but still not very good.”). With such poor reviews, i wonder why it gets 3 out of 5 paws on your paw (star) rating? I’m concerned that this is not a purchase that i should make (2-3 day battery life, unreliable, color isn’t waterproof, etc.) Do you have any success stories with this product yet???

Admin- Hi Greg,

Our first assessment of the Custom shape system was promising; however, do to customer feedback and more assessment on our part, we have pulled the system from stock until further notices. At this point, we do not recommend the Havahart custom shape system over the Havahart Radial system. The Havahart Radial shape system is the best wireless system on the market based on results and price.

Jay January 16, 2012 at 1:31 am

I bought the Havahart custom-shaped fence expecting it to live up to the reviews. Sadly, it did not. I have several trees and, having read the reviews, I decided to send pictures of my property to Havahart. I was told the system should work in a wooded yard like mine but should not be expected to work in timber. I accepted that and bought the product. After more than 30 hours of adjustment, reassurance from customer service that the system was working, and continued trial and error, I could not get the system to work consistently in even small areas around the house with no trees. After an extremely frustrating experience with this Havahart product, I the PetSafe wireless system and got (1) a larger roaming area, (2) near 100% effectiveness (compared to at most 70% with the Havahart custom system), and (3) a price tag of roughly half what the Havahart system cost. In return for my frustrating experience, Havahart kindly rewarded me with a 15% restocking fee. I was told the trees were my problem; that may be true. But the Havahart system is so fickle that it would not even work when I reduced the area to include only a few trees. I wish I had gone with PetSafe from the beginning. Today my dog is safe with a collar that is consistent and reliable. The Havahart system is neither.

Tara Flanery December 30, 2011 at 6:24 pm

I just want to say, I’m am incredibly disappointed with my Havahart Custom Wireless Fence…
I’ve had nothing but problems and they just always want me to send the fence back, only to have more problems. It’s unreliable. The collars don’t last the whole day and die before I can replace the battery, resulting in multiple pick-ups by the animal shelter and lost dogs. They won’t take the fence back and the warranty wont transfer to another owner. They send me used and reconditioned collars when i send them in for repair, which would be fine if they worked but they don’t for very long and it’s a constant struggle. Don’t buy one.

ADMIN – Hi Tara,

Sorry you had that experience and thanks for sharing it with our readers. When you say that ‘they won’t take the fence back’, I presume you bought it from someone else?

Gary November 3, 2011 at 1:19 pm

We tried a Hav-a-hart custom shape wireless fence and had all kinds of issues with it. First we discovered our wireless speaker system in the house interfered with the wireless dog fence; we had to turn off our speakers just to get the dog fence bases installed. Next, we couldn’t get it to recognize straight boundaries for the fence even though we reprogrammed it three times walking straight from one corner to another. Testing with the dog collar was erratic; in about half the time the collar beeped within about two feet either side of the flags which is not too bad, but the remainder of the time I could walk up to six feet beyond the flag before it started beeping. Then I had to walk at least 10 feet inside the flag before the collar stopped beeping. It never could get the back corner of the fence correct. Sometimes the collar beeped 20 feet inside the flag but other times it beeped 6-8 feet beyond the flag. I didn’t want our soft-coated Wheaten terrier to get anymore confused than he already is. We returned the fence; I’ll be curious if we get any refund from it since it is beyond 30 days.

Jack August 19, 2011 at 9:45 am

I bought a havahart custom-shape wireless fence a few weeks ago and I have been having a wide range of problems with it. First, the accuracy of the location of the dog is so unstable that sometime the dog gets zapped in the middle of the yard, so this is very confusing to him. Not to mention, it breaks my heart. Second, the fence tracker usually doesn’t work. Third, I recently realized that the fence tracker program caused another USB device on my computer to stop working correctly. The process has been very frustrating for me. I haven’t given up yet though because there’s nothing else like it available. -Jack

jason August 13, 2011 at 2:34 pm

Will this work in a split-level yard? Our we have a walk-out basement into the backyard, but our main entrance from the front yard is on the first floor.

I also see that it recommends putting bases in the attached garage – yet large metal objects (like cars) affect the signal – so what is the right answer?

My wife already tried the PetSafe wireless system – which failed miserably. Does this mean that Havahart will not work?

ADMIN – Hi Jason,

A good rule of thumb for split level is to position the base stations in places where they would get a line of site to the boundary (assuming the house was glass). This might mean putting the basement side transmitters on the lower level and the front-side transmitters on the upper level.

Large metal object between the base station and the perimeter tend to cause problems. Cars in the garage don’t tend to cause problems because they are ‘behind’ the base station and don’t stop the signals going from the base station to the perimeter.

The wireless systems tend to get tripped up by the same things. If another wireless system failed (miserably) on your property, it is likely that you are going to get poor results with the Havahart as well. It will likely be a little better than the PetSafe, but still not very good. I would instead opt for a wired system.

Connie July 26, 2011 at 7:58 am

I’m so glad that I took the time to read these reviews! I think if your gonna ask big bucks for something. it should work like you advertize it to! I’ve been wanting to get this system, but now I guess I will keep looking!

Admin- Hi Connie,

Thanks for the feedback. If you need any help selecting a system, feel free to call us at (888) 936-4349 or email us.

Craig June 1, 2011 at 9:36 pm

For several weeks I have tried to install and use this system, but have finally admitted defeat. If my dogs were turtles, then this system might have some hope. The boundary is too inconsistent to be usable. From testing the system, my dogs would be in the middle of the street before the collar reacted, if it reacted at all.

Exceptional concept, but unfortunately the concept is ahead of proven technology.

Derek May 10, 2011 at 10:21 am

I’m contemplating buying this system or having an in-ground system installed. I only have a .18 acre lot (it’s pretty rectangular) and I’m concerned that I don’t have the space necessary to make it work properly given your recommendation for a minimum of a .5 acre lot. Why do you recommend that as a minimum?

ADMIN – Hi Derek,

We don’t recommend this system for small lots, because the boundary has significant wobble. Ideally you have safety buffers of 20 feet on all sides of the property, so even when the boundary line moves, the dog still cannot exit the property and get in a dangerous situation. In small lots if you have this kind of big safety margin, there is very little area left for the dog to play. Once you are up to 1/2 an acre or larger, leaving these larger boundary zones is not a big deal. The same is true of all the wireless systems.

Jeff May 8, 2011 at 9:27 pm

We waited A LONG time for this to come out, we thought it would be the answer to our odd shaped yard. We made the purchase, and walked through the entire setup. After many headaches, we ended up returning the system. The boundary was not consistent, with lots of interference. It would show a line 20ft from the road in our front yard, but we could walk to the neighbors house across the street before it would do anything. This was the case with different spots throughout the yard. The collar was very low quality, didn’t figure it would last long. For the price, we were disappointed…

Diane May 3, 2011 at 10:14 pm

We waited and waited for the Hav-a-Hart custom system to come out and were very excited when it came. My husband had a few last minute questions to ask and during the course of conversation with the customer service rep he realized that the Have-a-Heart COLLAR IS NOT WATERPROOF!!!!!!!!!!!!!! They say that it is “water resistant”. Well, our dog retrieves things out of the pond. When she is hot, she lays down in the water puddles that she is drinking out of. When I take her out to run when there is heavy dew, I have to towel dry her before she can come back in. We were very sad that they would have put so much time and energy into developing a system and not have come up with a waterproof collar.

ADMIN – Hi Diane,

Correct the collar is water resistant. So rain is fine, but swimming is not.

Emily April 22, 2011 at 2:40 pm

We installed an inground fence for our dogs about a year ago, but we get a lot of breaks in the wire. We even buried most of the wire, but still get breaks.

We have five acres, but only fenced in about an acre because we are waiting to clear the other four and put up an electric fence for horses. Ideally, I’d like to give our dogs the roam of the entire five acres. We were thinking a wireless fence would work and been contemplating purchasing the Havahart Custom Fence, but after reading your site, it doesn’t look like that would work.

Our house has aluminum siding and we have a garage with a tin roof and a pole barn with a tin roof. Will this cause a problem with the wireless fence?

ADMIN – Hi Emily,

The wireless systems like the Havahart Custom all have a lot of trouble with metal buildings. If your house has alumnum siding, it will not work at all.

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