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.
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 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 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.