Choosing The Right Wire Gauge for Electronic Dog Fences
14 Gauge Dog Fence Wire vs. 16 Gauge Wire vs. 18 Gauge Wire vs. 20 Gauge Wire (thick vs. thin)
Most DIY Dog Fence Systems include a reel of 20 gauge wire. But, most professionally installed systems use a thicker 14 gauge wire. Why the difference?
Fewer Wire Breaks
The thicker the wire the more resilient and the less likely you are to get a wire break. For example, the thickest wire (14 gauge) is around 6 times stronger than the standard 20 gauge wire. This thicker wire also contains a thicker jacket, making it impervious to all but the strongest impacts.
When a dog fence is being professionally installed, we will usually use an industrial trencher, that is very tough on the wire. This makes using the thicker gauge of wire almost mandatory.
There are however disadvantages. Firstly, thicker wire is harder to work with. Thinner wire is is more flexible and easier to get into place. Second, the thicker wire is more expensive. The thicker wire uses 4 times more copper and has a thicker jacket, making it more expensive to make and transport. While a 500 foot role of 20 gauge wire costs around $20, 14 gauge wire costs around $80.
Almost any dog fence will work with any almost gauge of wire. But, thicker wire has lower resistance makes it a little easier for the signal to get around. (Just like it is easier to drive down a wider road than a narrower road) The difference is modest, but in extreme cases you can get a little extra range using the thicker gauge of wire. For example if you are running a system near the limit of it's rated capacity then using thicker wire will allow you to have a slightly larger range. Thus if you had a system rated to 20 acres and were trying to do 22 acres, then having thicker wire would help.
You need to use twisted wire to run between the transmitter box and the boundary, and for any other place where you do not want the wire to trigger the receiver collar. By twisting two wires together, the radio wave cancel each other out and thus the dog can walk over the twisted wire without getting a correction.
The easiest way to get twisted wire is to buy it. You can usually buy twisted wire from the people that sold you your system. It will cost you around $25.
You can also make your own twisted wire. First decide how much you will need and cut two single pieces of wire double that length (twisting the wire makes it shorter). Tape the two pieces of wire together at both ends using some masking or electrical tape. Now tape one of those ends to an electric drill and hold the other end in your hand. Turn on the drill and let it twist the wires together until you have about four twists per inch. This is harder on the thicker gauges of wire, with 16 gauge wire it is very difficult so use a thinner gauge for the twisted section.
For more details on twisted wire, take a look at the following tutorial video:
Hear what our customers are saying about the Dog Fence DIY difference:
The system (Innotek 4100) itself works very well and the customer support is the best. We trained the dog using the training manual, which was very good. Penny (Golden Retriever) can be a ditzy, hard headed, free spirit with a mind of her own sort of dog. She got corrected twice on the lowest setting and now she knows her area very very well. The line was easy to put in with the machine we rented. The only problem we have had is the line that came with the system has had 9 breaks so far, the 2 extra reels of line have had no breaks.
The training time, installation, and the product is well worth the investment. It's wonderful to watch the dog enjoy her area (almost 3 acres) and not have to worry about her being chained when we are at work, wondering into traffic or making mischief for the neighbors. I just wish all the neighbors had one.