The Petsafe Wireless Fence (PIF-300) is one of only two systems that does not require you to bury a boundary wire. The system transmits a circular boundary wirelessly. You just plug it in, adjust it to the desired radius and you are ready to train your dog. The great thing about this system is that it is just so easy. Instead of spending the weekend burying boundary wire, you can have it installed in about five minutes. The lack of boundary wire also means there is no maintenance required as there is no boundary wire to break. Because of the quick set up many of our customers use this product for vacation homes or when they are taking their dog on camping trips.
After recovering your strength from that lengthy installation, you train your dog just as you normally would with a electronic dog fence.
The system needs to be sheltered, so you will need to find a spot in your house or shed that is near to the center of your property. It has no problems transmitting through walls.
The downside is the lack of flexibility. First you can only have a circular boundary, and the unit must be in the center of that circle. This makes it impractical for most urban dwellers who live on rectangular plots of land and want a rectangular boundary. It is really most useful when you live on a large plot of land.
This brings me to the second downside, the circular boundary radius can be adjusted to a maximum of 90 feet. That is a fairly decent radius, covering about half an acre. But many people that want a wireless system live on very large properties and would like something that would give their dog a larger space. We would really like a version of this that had a radius of 200 feet, covering say two acres.
Summary: If you can live with the significant limitations (circular field, maximum 90 foot radius, obstructions, vague boundaries), you can’t get an easier solution than this.
Lets be frank. Ask anyone involved with dog fences about wireless systems and they will give you a look of disgust and pity. You would get a similar look if you told them you were going to contain your dog by tying them to a stake with a roll of Charmin. Now part of that is probably us protecting our jobs. Installing $2,000+ in-ground systems is where we really make our money, so if everyone did wireless (or Do-It-Yourself Kits for that matter) we would all be out of jobs. But, the bigger part is that they just do not work nearly as well as in-ground wired systems. Here’s why:
- Circular Boundaries- wireless units only let you have a circular boundary, with the control box in the centre of that boundary. You can overlap multiple control boxes with some systems, like the Petsafe Wireless PIF-300, but even then it is very hard to get good coverage of the average lot which is a long thin rectangle.
- Interference & Obstructions- wireless units are temperamental, like a Jack Russell in a handbag. They will just not get on well with about 50% of homes, with little rhyme nor reason. Systems have trouble getting through walls, but can even have trouble where there is direct line of site through a window. They never do well where there is metal siding, a metal roof, trees, or where the land slopes down from the house.
- Consistency- there is a lot of vagueness in wireless units. The boundary line will move from minute-to-minute, so you never get a nice crisp boundary line to train the dogs. The boundary line moving 3-5 feet minute-to-minute is typical. This makes it hard to train the dogs. And it also means you have to be very conservative with the boundaries and leave more safety space between say the road and the boundary.
Part of the problem is that wireless is often promoted as a one-touch solution, which is an attractive if not misleading pitch. Push a button and you never need to worry about the dog escaping issue. But, for most people wired is a much better solution. Wired means 1 day of work, but will work 99% of the time and get you a better result. Wireless is batting under 50% and is at best a compromise. Still the promise of the one-touch solutions is seductive.
Let me temper all that bleakness about wireless a bit. Wireless definitely has it’s place. There are two situations where wireless makes a lot of sense. First, being highly portable they work great to keep the dogs nearby at a camp site, RV, trailer or small cabin. With fewer and thinner walls it is easy for wireless systems to get through. Second, if you think you absolutely can’t do boundary wire then it is worth a try. If it doesn’t work, you can always swap it for a wired unit (we are pretty cool about returns).
Subject to all the above limitations, if you are going to go wireless, the Petsafe Wireless is the better choice. The PetSafe PIF-300 is a little better than it’s competitor the Wifi Fence. The PetSafe has a significantly smaller range, but build quality is much better and it is a little more tolerant of obstacles. The PetSafe is also about $100 cheaper.
Du Du Du Charmin!
Stewart C. Aldous
PetSafe Wireless Transmitter
The PetSafe Wireless Fence transmitter unit is large, a little bigger than a one-gallon paint can. The system can create any boundary shape you want as long as it is a circle. You can control the size of a circle, from anywhere from a few feet up to a maximum of 90 feet in radius (0.5 acres). Transmitter units can be overlapped to create a larger containment space. (something you cannot do on the Wifi Fence)
An advantage with wireless units is that the boundary correction extends out infinitely so the dog cannot run through the boundary line. However, the collar will timeout and stop correcting the dog after 30 seconds if the dog does not return to the safe area.
Setting up the PetSafe wireless is a snap. You just plug the unit into a wall outlet, put it on a table (or wall mount the unit) 2-4 feet above ground level. The unit has just three controls:
- Boundary Switch Boosts the wireless signal. Set it to “low” for boundary circles under 45 feet radius, and set it to high for boundary circles over 90 feet radius.
- Boundary Control Dial Use this dial to fine tune the size of the boundary circle.
- On/Off Switch Enough said.
The system also has a basic power light to tell you when the system is plugged in and switched on.
PetSafe Wireless Collar
The Petsafe Wireless collar is a larger collar, around the size of two boxes of matches and is appropriate for dogs over about 15 lbs. The receiver sits on a good cloth band and fastens using a snap type buckle.
Correction Level Button The collar has five correction levels, plus a no-correction beep only level. The correction levels are toggles by removing a plastic cap on the collar and pressing the button underneath.
Indicator Light The light lets you know when the collar is working properly and when the collar battery needs to be changed. It also lets you know what correction level the collar has been set to.
Long/Short Probes The collar comes with long and short collar probes that you would use with long and short hair dogs respectively. The probes are simply screwed into place on the receiver.
Disposable Collar BatteryThe collar uses the disposable PetSafe RFA-67 collar battery. The batteries come in at around $5 each and last 2-3 months.
The PetSafe PIF-300 comes with 50 boundary flags for you to mark the boundary circle. The best way to locate the boundary line is to use the collar and take it toward the edge of the boundary circle. Where the collar starts beeping, you should plant the flags to mark the start of the boundary.
Instructional DVD and Manual
The PetSafe training videos and Manual can be located online at PetSafe.net.
The Petsafe Wireless has a limited lifetime warranty – really a one year warranty. After the first year repairs are charged to you at a fixed rate depending on whether the collar or the transmitter broke. The units have been reliable and repairs have not been a major issue.