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.

Similar Transmission

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.

Twisted Wire

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:

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{ 138 comments… read them below or add one }

denise March 13, 2014 at 10:21 pm

I have a innotek contain and train, i already had some wire installed so i just hooked up this new system. The light is green showing no breaks however my collar won’t beep or signal at all. Do I have to redig new wire?? Why wouldn’t it show me as a broken wire?

Thanks.

Bill March 4, 2014 at 10:13 am

I seen in forum that coax cable gives mixed results. I just installed a system, about 3 acres 3 months ago and consistently having problems with wire that came with system. I own a audio/video company and have a ton of RG6 coax. It is 18g center conductor and between sheathing, shield, and foam core it should have plenty of protection from nicks, etc. If I do the entire perimeter except for twisted wire that goes to controller, do you think it will work?

Greg March 1, 2014 at 7:10 pm

I have about 2.5 acres fenced. It has worked for 10 years. A while back some utility mowers snagged the wire and broke it. I replaced that section and it once again has worked for a couple of years. It has now stopped again. With a meter I get continuity but the loop alarm still goes off. I have tried the short loop and it works fine.

So evidently I have a weak splice somewhere. I have redone the splices multiple times and still can’t get it to work. The meter reads .15 when I test continuity. When I check a 500′ roll of 20ga wire it is zero. So I am guessing the resistance it wrong?

Any ideas?

lisa February 19, 2014 at 1:13 pm

I have an Innotek system and I fixed 4 breaks in the line and not sure if these another. Will my light on the transmitter come on if there’s a break? Its on and I have the repairs done correct. But my collars still aren’t working. Any ideas?

ADMIN – Hi Lisa, try plugging in a short 10 foot length of wire to test the transmitter. It should beep when the wire is unplugged. You can test the collar with the short loop as well.

Lee Murphy January 21, 2014 at 11:06 pm

My next door neighbor has an existing in ground system and I plan to put in a similar system but from a different manufacturer, very soon. Both of our dogs enjoy playing together and both I and my neighbor would like to create an area where the two systems overlap to allow the dogs to socialize. Do you see any problems and or could you offer some suggestions to create this common area without compromising the effectiveness of either system? Thanks for your help. Lee Murphy

ADMIN – Hi Lee, in order to accomplish this, you will need to purchase the same fence brand and model. Then I would recommend simply modifying her loop to encircle your property as well, cutting out the line of boundary wire that divides the two properties.

Bill January 14, 2014 at 12:14 pm

If I choose to use 14 gauge for boundary wire, what gauge can I use for the twisted wire. Thanks.

ADMIN – Hi Bill, 16 gauge twisted is a great choice when installing 14 gauge boundary wire. It is easier to plug the 16 gauge wire into the wall transmitter.

Dan Lupica January 12, 2014 at 7:22 pm

Have a pet safe system that came with 20 gauge. Buried 2-3 inches… Roughly 1 acre. Have a stone driveway. Ran the wire through a garden hose and buried 6″ across the driveway.
I have had the system for about 6 years. Have had to repair quite a few breaks over the years and now am going to replace all wire with 16 gauge for some strength and longevity.
My question is… Can I run all new 16 gauge EXCEPT under the driveway. Cut wire on both sides of driveway and replace everything else. Don’t want to tear up driveway again.
thanks, Dan

ADMIN – Hi Dan, unfortunately, you’ll need to replace it all with 16 gauge. The fence will otherwise not recognize a complete loop is made. You may want to try attaching the 16 gauge to the 20 gauge and then pull the 16 gauge through the hose. That could save digging.

Mike November 30, 2013 at 12:01 am

I’m getting ready to install my perimeter wire and have about 500 ft of low voltage 16 ga left over from landscaping lights. Because its direct bury I am thinking it will work well. I will either pull the 2 strands apart to make it a single wire or just abandon one of them. Do you see any problem using this wire?

ADMIN – Hi Mike, we have not had success with landscaping lighting wire. However, the 16 gauge may work well. You can pull apart the strands for use. I recommend running a test of 100 feet first before installing.

Kara November 9, 2013 at 9:37 am

Great information. Can you tell me if using stranded wire will have the same effect as a solid copper wire. It appears that stranded does not carry the same amount of voltage but I don’t know what effect that has with an IF system. We have an Invisible Fence receiver and collar from an old house that we are trying to install on a new property (about an acre). Thanks.

ADMIN – Hi Kara, yes the there is no functional difference between the stranded and solid core copper wires. We prefer the solid over stranded for strength purposes.

Michael November 8, 2013 at 7:44 am

I have a fenced in yard with the fence made of wood and metal about 5 feet high. My Brittany keeps climbing over at different spots. I need a containment system. I would like to put the wire on the fence not buried. Which gauge wire should I use, how high up should I put the wire, and which system should I use. What should I use to attach the wire. Could I drop down and bury the wire at the gates. Also to make a loop could I loop back around the fence it self. Thanks Mike

ADMIN – Hi Michael, we recommend at least the 16 gauge for strength and durability. You can attach the wire with anything that will not damage the wire insulation. The best are insulated staples. Yes, you can drop the wire down using a 45 degree angle to the ground to bury at the gates. Yes, you can loop back on the fence. Make sure to keep a separation of around 4 to 5 feet between wires.

Sierra October 30, 2013 at 12:43 am

I bought a cheap $70 underground fence system off eBay. My husband and I installed the fence with the 20 gauge wire that came with our system. It worked like it should. 4 days after burying the wire it broke. I found this site and saw I could use heavier wire. My husband went to lowes and bought the yellow 18 gauge pet safe fence wire (my system is some cheap off brand it’s called the new 2013 underground fence on eBay). We installed the wire again; above ground this time. Both times we used a little less than 1,000 ft of wire.
After about a week the system quit working properly. I had to turn the fence all the way on the highest setting. I put the collar on my hand and tested it and it didn’t even shock on high till I crossed the wire but it beeped 24/7 even when it was far away from the wire. I turned it back down hoping it would work on low and the collar did nothing; not even a beep. I left it on high hoping the beep would keep the dogs in my yard. Eventually the beep no longer meant anything and the small shock from the fence when they crossed it wasn’t enough. One of dogs left my yard and was attacked by the neighbors. Now my dogs are tied up which I hate. Any ideas on how to fix this issue?

ADMIN – Hi Sierra, I would recommend buying the PetSafe In ground Fence PIG00-13661. It’s a reasonably price fence that is going to be reliable and safe to use with your dogs than that Ebay junk fence. It will work great with the wire you have already installed.

Chuck October 14, 2013 at 3:33 pm

I have a petSmart RF1010 with 20 gauge wire that suddenly started producing a barely traceable signal. After trouble shooting we determined the wire is most likely damage. Thought process is to rebury the line and run it through 1/2 PVC. Would this be wise or would the PVC reduce the transmission? I’m running about 1500 foot thru this system.

ADMIN – Hi Chuck, yes, pvc is a great idea and should work wonderfully. It will not hinder the signal and it will protect the wire nicely.

Markie Farrell October 9, 2013 at 9:24 am

I met with a Pet Stop dealer and he told me that a feature of Pet Stop is that it will continue to deliver corrections when the dog is outside of the fence (regardless of how far past the boundary they get) until they come back inside the yard. That sounds impossible based on the little I know about how this type of product works. Have you heard of this?

ADMIN – Hi Markie, we sell a fence that has the same operation. It’s called the PetSafe YardMax. Basically, if the collar is inside the boundary loop it is okay. It will only correct when the collar is on the outside of the wire.

Joe October 8, 2013 at 4:45 pm

Bought a pet safe system from Lowes. Had it temporarily above the ground and it worked great. We buried the wire and we inclosed our back horse pasture. It does not work now. I ran the dog fence wire through the same hangers on the post as our electric fence. The electric fence and the dog fence wire touch. Is this my problem? Thanks for your time.

ADMIN – Hi Joe, if the wall unit displays continuity, then yes, the electric fence wire is the problem. If the wall unit is beeping, you have a splice issue.

LCB September 5, 2013 at 11:24 am

Hi, I recently had an Invisible Fence Boundary Plus system installed. Due to a lightning strike, it seems that the surge protector and transmitter have been fried. Due to various issues with the Invisible Fence dealer I would like to replace their transmitter with another brand, My question is – Will the existing wire work with another brand transmitter? (I think so) or do I have to replace it?

ADMIN – Hi LCB, yes, you can replace with any system. The only reason you will need new wire is if it was fried as well.

Donald August 8, 2013 at 11:36 am

I’m looking at installing an invisible fence system, but I live in the mountains where there are more rocks then dirt. I have field fencing and want to install the wire on the t-post above ground to help limit the chance of the dogs digging under the fence. Will a invisible fence work properly installed above grade and if so what type of wire should I use or would a shock wire work better? I do live above the snow line.

ADMIN – Hi Donald, you can definitely install the dog fence wire on the fence. I would recommend installing it several feet off the ground. You can upgrade the wire to 18, 16 or 14 gauge. With it being on the fence, it’s not absolutely necessary to upgrade all the way down to 14 gauge though.

Mari August 6, 2013 at 12:08 pm

We have 2 acres of property and initially had a system installed by Invisible Fence themselves. There are now many breaks in the system due to planting outside. I have 2000 feet of 10g wire, could I use that to repair what I have currently or do I need to replace the entire system with 10g wire? I was going to contain the system in PVC to prevent future breaks, but do I even need to bother with that since I am using 10g wire?

ADMIN – Hi Mari, 10 gauge may be too large for the system. The wire may not fit into the wire terminals on the wall transmitter. It is recommended that you match the same gauge of wire with the installed wire if planning to make patch repairs.

Robert July 31, 2013 at 11:00 pm

Hello, I have a golden retriever puppy, 7 months old and 55 pounds so far. My yard is 5/8 of an acre and am wondering what would be the best system for this situation. I am leaning towards wired but am open to options and which one would be best. I will probably be in this house around 2 years, any recommendation on wire size? She seems to be a pretty stubborn dog too if that changes anything. Thank you! – Robert

ADMIN – Hi Robert, For your Golden Retriever, I would go with the PetSafe Ultrasmart PIG00-13619. It will be plenty of fence for your Golden. Slim collar. Rechargeable. Lots of features. Wired is always superior to wireless. The best choice is to upgrade the wire to 16 gauge for strength. The small gauge wire will break from roots and the ground changing through the seasons.

Greg July 9, 2013 at 11:38 am

Hello, I recently adopted a strong willed hound, who is acclimating to the yard. I have an unused 14 year old Invisible Fence system and will be replacing the wire because it has breaks and is old. Invisible Fence told me the transmitter box should still be functional, and that its value is about $500. Their costs to redo everything else is exorbitant, but if I lay the wire, I may just get the collar and some training from them. Would you start from scratch given the age of the receiver, or are receivers usually problem-free? Could this receiver be used with a different brand of collar? I would consider another brand without the cadillac pricing. Thank you

ADMIN – Hi Greg,

The transmitters don’t have any moving parts and so last a very long time. But, unless you can get a collar inexpensively (eBay is good, but you can’t adjust the collar levels without a special IF programmer), then getting a new collar will end up costing more than a completely new system and will also saddle you with their expensive proprietary collar battery.

If you can’t get a reasonably priced second hand collar that is the right level for your dog, I would instead get a whole new system (and see if you can sell the transmitter), preferably one that is rechargeable.

John July 8, 2013 at 7:19 pm

I am considering a DIY electronic dog fence. I have two unused 3ft long coaxial cables that currently run from the inside of my basement to the outside of my house. I’d like to plug the transmitter into an outlet in my basement and use 20 gauge wire for the all of the loop, except the 3ft segments of coax cable in and out of my house.

I’ve read other posts on this site that indicate that coax cable could cause some issues if used for the entire loop. Would using two 3ft segments of coax cable within a loop mostly consisting of 20 gauge wire cause any issues?

ADMIN – Hi John,

The coaxial cable is gives inconsistent results because of the shielding. But, in your situation, the cable doesn’t need to be active – because it is running through the house. I think you will be fine using the wire in your particular situation.

Jeff July 8, 2013 at 11:34 am

Our vet (and a friend) gave us a used older system to try with our dogs. I couldn’t tell you which system, but we tested it with a small loop and it worked. The wire that he had available to give us (14-gauge, black) wasn’t quite enough for our yard. Since I am trying to do this as inexpensively as possible, I am a little put off by the cost of additional 14 gauge wire. Would it be okay to use 20 gauge for the remaining distance, or will the signal get messed up with two different types of wire? Thanks! This site is a wonderful resource.
Jeff

ADMIN – Hi Jeff,

You can mix gauges if you have to. But note the boundary will be a little narrower in the section with the 20 gauge wire.

Dan Weekley June 22, 2013 at 10:33 am

Great site, very informative. I am having a Petsafe system installed and due to rough terrain and lots of trees they are installing 14 gauge wire trenching it in to 6 inches deep. The materials I have read recommend installing at 2-3 inches. Is 6 inches too deep for the system to function properly?

ADMIN – Hi Dan,

Trenching the wire down to 6 inches deep should not be a problem. You may need to turn up the boundary width dial a little more to compensate for that extra soil the signal has to travel through, but otherwise it should work exactly the same as if you buried it at 2-3 inches.

Michael June 6, 2013 at 7:10 pm

Hi, I have an Invisible Fence system installed underground at my house for my yellow lab. Is it possible to buy gauged wire, unhook my box from my house, lay the wire out at a different location (different house) and use it at the different location that doesn’t previously have an Invisible Fence? I would like to try and use the new location as a somewhat portable “mobile system”. I would only be at this new location for a few weeks so its not worth having an entirely new IF System. What gauge wire would you suggest for a female yellow lab? Would this be an easy movement? Thanks.

ADMIN – Hi Michael,

Yes, you can set up the fence in another location in the way you described. Just lay out a new boundary at the new location and plug it into your transmitter. It is a snap.

Invisible Fence usually uses the thicker gauge wires for higher durability. But, the lower guages will work just as well. If you are only going to be there for a couple of weeks, I would just buy the cheapest 20 gauge wire. If it is just a temporary installation, you don’t even need to worry about getting direct burial wire – pretty much any cheap single conductor insulated wire from the hardware store would work.

Kristin June 5, 2013 at 3:29 pm

Hi! I have an underground fence box and collar that was given to me and I think it has two strands of 14 gauge wire. The only thing I could find to bury is a 20 awg yellow solid copper wire. These are definitely two different sizes. Can they work together? If so, how do I connect them?

ADMIN – Hi Kristin,

You can use the thicker and thinner wire together, but the fence will be wider in the sections with the thicker 14 gauge wire, and narrower in the 20 gauge wire sections.

To connect the two wires together you can use a waterproof wire nut, or any other type of waterproof splice (available in any hardware store in the electrical section, or in our store).

FYI – we sell direct burial 14 gauge wire. You can also purchase it locally at electrical wholesalers, and landscaping supply stores. (It is also used in sprinkler systems)

Wiegand May 24, 2013 at 1:59 pm

Coax will work, it is 17-18 gauge (so says my AWG gauge) and I did a test run and it worked fine. However you must splice (join) the coax outer coat with the center wire so it acts as a single conductor. If anything….. doing it with coax is an advantage because joining the 2 conductors makes for one big conductor and will conduct better than just a 18 guage wire. Besides the fact coax is cheap and comes in black (Home Depot) which is specifically made for outdoors, you can crush it and it still is weather impermeable.
Have fun.

Dennis Espinoza May 2, 2013 at 4:18 pm

I have a Pet safe system which has been in place about 3 yrs. The transmitter went into audible alarm and loop led went off. I did the short loop test and the transmitter worked fine. I checked the continuity on the wires which hook to the transmitter and have continuity which
confirms a closed loop.

I am not sure what to think of this other than ground moisture may causing any issues with a splice. Any thoughts on this or how to find the problem when the loop reads closed?
It has been extremely wet the last couple weeks.

ADMIN – Hi Dennis,

As well as the continuity, check the resistance on the wires, it could be that you have continuity but a very poor connection. If the resistance is as per normal, try turning the boundary dial upward and switching the slider on the side of the fence to large loop and seeing if that makes the transmitter stop beeping? It could be that the transmitter is not putting out enough ‘juice’ to get all the way around the loop (either because of a failure in the device, or because someone accidentally changed the settings)

It could be water infiltrating the splice, but as long as you used the waterproof splices, that is unlikely to be the case. Given that it worked fine for 3 years, I don’t think that is the issue, but if none of the above give you an answer, then I would try redoing the splices.

Nicole April 24, 2013 at 8:48 am

Hi, can I use 18 AWG Direct Burial Wire Single Strand Irrigation Wire – used for Lawn Sprinkler System wiring with a petsafe system?

I can’t seem to find any affordable direct burial 18-20 gauge wire that is stranded. I need about 3000 feet.

Thanks so much for the very informative site!
Nicole

ADMIN – Hi Nicole,

Yes, irrigation wire will do the trick. You can use any type of insulated copper conductor, that has a direct burial insulator, in any type of dog fence system.

Doug March 27, 2013 at 6:07 pm

I have a PetSafe underground fence that has been in place for about 4 years. I recently replaced about 80 % of the total 400 foot length as I know that the line was broken in numerous spots due to aeration of the yard. The fence works but I can’t reduce the range down any farther than about 10 feet from the line, which is too far as it gets close to the house. Sometimes I can set the range lower and it is okay for a bit but then the transmitter begins to beep and I have to raise it back up. There are at least three splices in the line and I’m not aware of any breaks. Any thoughts on what the problem might be? I would think if there was a break in the line that I would get continuous beeping from the transmitter which I do not.

ADMIN – Hi Doug,

I think you have a hairline break somewhere in the system, and the current is still conducting through the ground at the point of the break. The other possibility is that the transmitter is defective.

The later is easier to test. Just connect a 10 foot dummy loop to the transmitter and see if it has the same problem. If that dummy loop has the smae issue, then the transmitter need replacing. Otherwise it is the wire that is the problem.

bonnie March 21, 2013 at 11:08 pm

We have. 12 lb chihuahua & an english springer spaniel puppy. Would the dogtek 6000 be a good choice? Looking to cover a half to 3/ 4acre lot in cold snowy minnesota. What gauge wire should we buy & how much wire will be needed? Thanks!

Carl March 18, 2013 at 10:00 am

I have 2 puggles and want to do about 3/4-1 acre. Is there a certain model I should use? Also I also have 3 paved driveways to cross, how do you cross pavement? If I choose to put in pipe how deep should the pipe be?

ADMIN – Hi Carl,

For Puggles, you want one of the smaller and lighter collars. The Dogtek EF-6000 would be a good choice. It is a well built system with lightweight collars, which are also rechargeable.

To get across driveways or pavements, we look for a convenient expansion joint, clean it out, lay the wire, then seal it in place with some caulk. If there is no handy expansion joint nearby, cut a slot with a circular saw (using a masonry blade), clean out the slot, lay the wire, the caulk over.

If you want to lay pipe under the driveway, you want to avoid the top of the pipe being greater than 6 inches from the surface. Any deeper than that and you start blocking the dog fence signal. Note, that without specialized equipment, boring a hole under the pavement, then fitting a pipe is very laborious. Using an existing expansion joint, or cutting a slot in the driveway is a lot easier.

Shannon March 15, 2013 at 10:07 am

We have an in-ground system with ~3000′ of wire and it has been in service ~5 years. Recently the transmitter started beeping and we had to up the signal. After a certain amount of time, it started again and we upped the signal strength again.

Petsafe has told us this is due to the wire degrading slowly over time and is common around the 5 year mark.

What type of wire can I get to avoid this? Laying 3000′ of wire is a daunting task and I don’t want to have to do it for a third time.

ADMIN – Hi Shannon,

The most important thing is to get a wire that is intended for direct burial. The insulation on regular housing wire is what tends to degrade the most quickly. Direct burial wire has a coating on the insulation that makes it more resistant to soil acids. The thicker gauges of wire also tend to hold up better than the thinner gauges.

It is also important to use a waterproof splice, as regular splices also tend to develop weakness over time.

Jake March 14, 2013 at 5:15 pm

I purchased a pet safe electric fence kit . The kit came with 500ft of wire. My yards perimeter is roughly 700ft. Can I buy a new spool of wire to cover my perimeter and will the unit be able to power the longer distance of wire?

ADMIN – Hi Jake,

You can indeed add additional wire to expand your containment area. The amount of wire you can add depends on your model, but all the PetSafe models can power at least 2,000 feet of wire. You will also want some waterproof splices to connect those two bits of wire together.

emily January 11, 2013 at 7:41 pm

We twisted the wire, but it it is still sending a signal to the dog collar. Any idea what we did wrong?
emily

ADMIN – Hi Emily, the you cannot connect the single wire to the twisted wire to cancel the signal. You’ll need to run a double loop in order to do that. Under Installation on our menu bar, choose Planning/Layouts and then click the link “Gate” to see the double loop layout that allows you to put twisted wire along the fence boundary.

Tamer September 18, 2012 at 2:30 pm

I mam replacing a wire around my place that is tore up from landscaping. It is 3750 ft. It is 14ga awg wire direct bury 3″ deep. I want to not have in dirt. to much changing at all times to not get broke.
Plan a Staple to wood rail 12″ off ground. Plan b Sleeve wire in a piece of 1/2″ poly drip pipe. Pipe comes in 500′ coils and pretty cheap The pipe is black and the place is wood fenced so the poly would just lay in the grass at base of fence. Which is better? Does having wire in sleeve effect how it works? If I sleeve, can I use 18ga wire?

ADMIN – Hi Tamer, Either way works great. Installing the wire inside the poly drop pipe will offer the best protection and will not hinder the signal at all. If you go with the sleeve, it would be safe to go with 18 gauge for sure.

Jessica May 16, 2012 at 2:35 pm

Hi I have invisible fence and have a break in the line so I want to move the existing line and re-route the loop so it doesn’t get cut again. What gauge wire and other supplies would I need to purchase to the splice work properly?

Admin- Hi Jessica,
To avoid any possible signal issues, you will want to use the same gauge of wire that was initially installed. You will only need to purchase enough wire to extend the loop and one or two splice kits.

Amy P May 6, 2012 at 8:06 pm

Hi, we bought a PetSafe fence sometime ago but did not include our back deck. We now want to cancel the signal that runs under it. The deck is part of the enclosure so I know we can use the twisted wire method, we could run the wire up the house and through guttering but we need a quick solution. Would using copper pipe cancel the signal? If we encased that length of wire with copper would that work?
Admin- Hi Amy,

Unfortunately you will not be able to create a dead zone in the wire under the back deck without routing the wire to the gutter or trim level. The twisted wire can only be used for the wire that is leading from the transmitter to the start of the boundary loop. Also, metal or copper pipes will not cancel the wire out.

Juli April 30, 2012 at 8:36 pm

Hi, if I run the dog fence wire along my horses electric fencing will there be any interference between the two?

Admin- Hi Juli,

You can run both systems at the same time close to each other. The signals will not interfere with each other; however, make sure that the two wires do not touch.

Donald March 22, 2012 at 1:11 pm

Hello, great site, very informative. We have a new husky which are notorious escape artists, wanting to protect 7 to 10 acre tract that also has approximately 3 acres of woods. What would be your recommendation for a system and wire size? I tend to overkill on projects so I don’t have to go back a second time and redo something. Plan on being here 40+ years good Lord willing. Thank you so much! Sincerely,
Donald

ADMIN – Hi Donald,

A great system for your Husky will be SportDog SDF-100a. The system and collars is design for a sportier breed of dogs. The system comes with 1000 feet of 20-gauge boundary wire and to contain 10 acres you will need 3000 total feet. We have available wire up grades from 18-14 gauges. The 14-guage wire offers the thickest and most durable wire that will give you peace of mind once installed.

John K. March 21, 2012 at 8:25 pm

Hey, I own Guardian underground fence by PetSafe ….. I need to by more wire, but I don’t know what gauge to get…. will any work?

ADMIN – Hi John,

PetSafe recommends using a 14-20 gauge boundary wire. Any of these wires gauges will work with your system. Note, you do not want to mix the gauges of the wire. If you start with one gauge, complete the set-up with that gauge. If you just used the standard gauge wire that came with your system, it was most likely 20 gauge wire.

Lewis March 20, 2012 at 12:27 pm

I want to put down 1000′ ft of wire for our underground dog fence but because our land is full of rocks and trees I was thinking of a couple options. Option Number one would be use a Coaxial Cable and use the center 18 gauge solid core of the wire for the fence and the rest would protect the wire. This is the preferred option but I do question if it will work or not. Option two was to buy 18 gauge wire and run it thru drip tubing for added protection.

My question is … will the Coaxial Cable hold up underground … and will the weaved ground in the Coaxial Cable interfere with the transmission to the collar?

ADMIN – Hi Lewis,

Option Two, running the wire through a protective conduit, would be your best bet. When you use co-axial cable, the shielding tends to create uneven results. Also, as you mentioned most co-axial cable is not direct burial rated and will tend to rot out in the ground.

Keith March 6, 2012 at 11:08 am

I have a pet safe in ground fence system and need to rewire. Would it be a problem to use 12gauge 3.3mm non solid wire with this system?

ADMIN – Hi Keith,

You can use thicker wire, and it will work fine. But, the 12 gauge wire probably won’t fit in the transmitter socket (14 gauge is the thickest that fits). So, you need a small bridging section of thinner wire, or you need to pare down the wire at the point where it goes into the transmitter.

Laura Hunkel March 4, 2012 at 1:28 pm

My lot is 640 by 230. I would like to leave the 230 foot of lake frontage available to my dogs. They love to swim and chase fish. I understand this wire can go underwater (inside a hose) but how deep can the water be? One foot-2 foot -4 foot? At the end of my dock the water is about 5 foot deep…can the dogs swim in front of the dock as they do now? I will be inclosing about 450 by 230 foot area, not entire lot. How will “ice” in winter effect the system? Thank you. Laura

ADMIN – Hi Laura,

The depth of which the wire can be underwater is based on the boundary width. The wire can be underwater around 6 feet if you have the yard space to set a wide boundary around 6 to 10 feet wide. If you set the boundary width down to 3 feet you’re dogs will be able to swim around the dock and not get a correction. Ice will shorten the signal around 10%.

Colleen February 22, 2012 at 10:57 am

Hi, great article but would appreciate it if you could clarify a couple of things. You state the 14 gauge wire can be spliced onto thinner gauge wire if short pieces of the thinner gauge are spliced in to go into the transmitter, but later state different gauged wires shouldn’t be spliced together. I have both 18 gauge steel wire and the 20 gauge copper wire that came with the kit, and need to know if it will work using both together or not, before I go cutting stuff up. Thanks very much

ADMIN – Hi Colleen,

Generally you don’t want to mix wires of different gauges together, as you get variability in the boundary width (the thicker wire having a wider boundary). Mixing 18 and 20 gauge is not a big deal because they are so close, but you wouldn’t want to mix say 20 gauge and 14 gauge wire.

The exception to this rule, is for the sections of twisted wire, you can use any gauge you want. This is because the twisted wire is not active, so there is no impact caused by having a different gauge wire in this section. (Note however, both strands of the twisted wire need to be the same gauge otherwise it will not work)

Steel wire does not tend to work consistently. We would only use the copper wire.

Teresa February 17, 2012 at 7:36 pm

I have purchased 900 feet of 14 gauge in ground wire for my petsafe system. This is an all new installation and we aren’t sure how to twist this wire because its so heavy.

ADMIN – Hi Teresa,

The thicker wires are very difficult to twist yourself because they are so stiff. The least difficult way is to get a long length of wire, fold it in half, insert a rod into the fold and rotate the rod. Another option is to purchase pre-twisted wire.

melissa January 27, 2012 at 8:19 pm

Why does the wire have to be insulated for above ground use?

ADMIN – Hi Melissa,

We have found that when you use uninsulated wire, you don’t get a consistent field from the wire. You get sections where the field is uneven and inconsistent. We don’t understand why that is the case, so am afraid we can’t give a very satisfying answer. But, our experience is that it rarely works satisfactorily.

melissa January 27, 2012 at 8:01 pm

Can I use regular galvanized electric fence wire with the petsafe system we are going to run it on the fence just like a electric fence?

ADMIN – Hi Melissa,

Afraid you are going to need to use an insulated copper wire. The uninsulated Galvanized electric fence wire does not get you a consistent signal, even when fence mounted.

Jay January 26, 2012 at 3:06 pm

I currently have a petsafe underground fence. The underground boundary wire was struck by lightning. Since the lighting strike the continuity of the loop is not consistent. One acre 20 AWG wire, ohm reading 7.2 some days and somedays it’s completely open. I have tried to locate the open section with little luck. It would be nice if it was just cut somewhere. Question is can I abandon the old underground wire and run new 18 gauge wire in parallel? Do I have to remove the old damaged wire?

ADMIN – Hi Jay,

You can indeed just run new wire in parallel to the old wire. As long as you unplug the old wire it will have no impact on the signal in your new wire. You do not need to remove the old damaged wire – just unplug it from the transmitter box.

Trent January 25, 2012 at 3:38 pm

Can a person use bare wire connected to fence posts as would be used in an electric fencing to keep cattle in?

ADMIN – Hi Trent,

You don’t get a consistent signal with bare wire, even if it is on the insulating rods they usually use for electric livestock fencing. Afraid you need to use an insulated wire to get a good consistent signal.

Marshall January 23, 2012 at 10:13 pm

I have 10 acres I would like use the underground fence on. My question is most of that is fenced with barbed wire could I zip tie the insulated 16 gauge wire to this or would cancel the signal?

ADMIN – Hi Marshall,

Attaching the electric dog fence wire to a barbed wire fence will work well. There would be no signal cancellation.

Frank Parkinson January 20, 2012 at 12:31 pm

I need to run the twisted wire for about three meters over a terrace – the best place is in a channel already used for co-axial television cable (from a satellite dish). I notice that you advise that dog fence cable shouldn’t be with electric or cable Tv cable, but will it be fine with the co-ax alongside?

Thanks for all your great advice.

Admin- Hi Frank,

If you are able to cross the cable lines at a 90 degree angle, you can avoid all possible interferences. However, the best option is to lay the wire in your planned route and test the system. Testing the collar around the house at the boundary and where the co-ax cable enters the house, you will be able to see if you receive any feedback. The only interference you might see would be an amplified signal. If you layout out the boundary wire and test the loop, you will know instantly if you have any interference. If you did receive interference, you will need to adjust the boundary wire.

W Brown January 16, 2012 at 6:29 pm

I ordered a surge protector for my system. Unfortunately I no longer have any RFA wire left. Is there any commercially available wire that can be purchased by the foot for these cases or do I have to buy another roll? Thanks!

ADMIN – Hi W Brown,

For the lightning protection unit, you can use any single insulated electrical wire. It is available by the foot at most hardware stores. Since this wire is not used outdoors, only between the control box and the lightning protection, we do not need to be as picky about the type of wire we use.

Scottie January 13, 2012 at 3:50 pm

I have a ditch going through the middle of my property. Any suggestions on the best way to run the wire without the dogs getting out? I was thinking of maybe running the wire through pvc pipe about a foot above the water level.

ADMIN – Hi Scottie,

To get across a ditch, you can create a bridge above the water as you suggested, using something like PVC pipe to span the ditch and running the wire through the pipe. You can also run the wire through a flexible conduit (ilke sprinkle tubing) and staple it to the base of the ditch (below the water).

Joanie January 3, 2012 at 4:16 pm

I already have an existing Invisible Fence brand system. I was wondering if we are better off
to run new wire to expand the distance of the boundry? Or is splicing it feasible? What is the best gauge of wire to use? Is it worth it to do it ourselves? Or pay a professional? Thanks, Joanie

ADMIN – Hi Joanie,

If there is existing wire in place, I would just splice in a new section of wire to expand the system (and disconnect to old wire that is no longer a part of your layout). It is easy enough to do, but is labor intensive. Whether you do it yourself, or have a professional install it is usually just a matter of price.

Thomas Nunn December 17, 2011 at 8:59 am

Hello, I have two reels of 500 feet of coax meant for direct burial that I would like to use for enclosing 5 acres with an older pet safe transmitter we brought from our old home that did close to 10 acres using 5 pair phone wire that was shielded. Do you see any problems with using this? Thank you, Tom

ADMIN – Hi Tom,

The shielding on coxial wire tends to cause the boundary to be inconsistent. I would avoid using coax, and would try to use a single core copper wire.

Dotty November 13, 2011 at 5:05 pm

We have a radio fence for our dogs. We had it double looped across our front yard leaving our back yard open. The fence worked good. We have another small dog that likes to run off, so we took half of the loop up and spliced other wire onto it and now the whole area within the loop sets off a constant correction to the receiver collars. This circle encloses about an acre of ground,so the loop is not close together. Even when we took the splice out and connected the original wire ends together in a wide loop, the whole inside area remains active with the range set as low as it will go. What is the problem and how do we correct it?

ADMIN – Hi Dotty,

If the entire area within the loop is setting off the correction sounds like the boundary width dial is turned up too high (or the area size switch is turned to high instead of low). If making those changes doesn’t fix the problem, then do a small test loop and see if you still have the same problem. The problem is then likely with the system transmitter and it will need to be repaired or replaced.

Jennifer November 9, 2011 at 8:31 pm

We have a PetSafe brand system and used it successfully at our other house. We move the transmitter and bought new basic identical gauge copper wire from the hardware store. The collar beeps and lights up, but does not send a shock. Could the wire be the issue?

ADMIN – Hi Jennifer,

If the base station doesn’t give you an erro and if the collar is still beeping, it is definately not a wire issue. (Generally, the systems aren’t very fussy about wire – any copper wire will work at least in the short term) The issue is in the collar (more likely) or the base station (less likely).

Bubba October 26, 2011 at 1:23 pm

Hi, Can I use galvanized wire with the invisible fencing? Thanks

ADMIN – Bubba,

Unfortunately, no. The transmitter requires an insulated copper wire, either solid or stranded.

brian October 17, 2011 at 11:18 pm

Hello, I tried to review as many of the answered questions as possible but never really found an answer to mine.
I am attempting to keep my two labs out of certain rooms IN my house and the principle seems the same. I plan to take my wire in one end of my house and run it through the crawl space to the areas where I don’t want my dogs, taking care to not cut across “permitted” areas.
I was planning on figuring out the distance the collar had to be from the wire before it did not register and make the necessary distance adjustments under the house.
My question:
If my floor joist are 2×8 and there is insulation between them as well as approximately 3/4″ subfloor and another 1/2″ of hard wood flooring on top of that, the signal (in effect) would have to travel upward for about 9 1/4 inches to get to the interior of the house and then up another foot to foot and a half to my dogs neck. This is a potential total of 27 and 1/4 inches or 2 ft 3 1/4 inches of travel to the transmitter.
Will I need to run the wire directly on the underside of the subfloor or can i go over the insulation to make the install easy?

Thanks

ADMIN – Hi Brian,

You can install the wire over the insulation as the signal will travel through the floor. The boundary radius is adjustable, so you’ll need to figure out the where you want the signal to reach and install the wire accordingly underneath. It may take a bit of troubleshooting but it’s doable.

Rich October 5, 2011 at 7:30 am

I am looking to get a puppy, My entire back yard is fenced in besides the driveway (which is in between the fence and my house. The driveway is 12′ wide. I would like to avoid adding a gate on to my fence. Are there any solutions with using an electric fence? Can I possibly make a small circle, just going across the drive, maybe 1′ diameter? What would you recommend?

ADMIN – Hi Rich,

You could do a long thin loop to cover the driveway. Something like the single-sided layout. (See our layouts page for more details. You would however need about six feet of separation between the opposite wires.

If you are looking at blocking just a small area, using a single outdoor pod may be a cheaper and easier solution than a full dog fence system. Something like the Pawz Away Outdoor Pod would work well.

Dave September 21, 2011 at 6:48 pm

I am looking to only keep my dog in the back yard. I put the module in the garage and have one side of the fence hooked to it directly. The other end of the fence is at the opposite end of the house. Could I use twisted wire from the garage to the other end of the house – where the twisted wire would be connected to both Pos/Neg on the module (In addition to the beginning of the fence, which is only connected to Pos), but only connect the Neg lead to the end of the fence on the opposite side of the house? (The Pos lead of the twist would be capped.) My theory is that this setup would allow the twisted wire to remain neutral while the rest is active.

ADMIN – Hi Dave,

Afraid this will not work, the twisted section will still be active (but it was very creative!). By capping the ‘positive’ lead of the twisted wire, you will get no current flowing through that lead and consequently it will not do it’s job of canceling out the signal from the ‘negative’ twisted wire.

Brian September 15, 2011 at 6:51 am

Can you isolate a flower bed off the existing boundary loop by running a line of the perimeter boundary inwards around a bed then back to the perimeter. I have tried this using the petsafe system and it doesn’t seem to be working. Would the secondary loop connect to the main one at the same place?

ADMIN – Hi Brian,

You can indeed protect a small isolated area like a garden bed. You just run the twisted pair of wires from the main perimeter to the bed, and then create a secondary loop at the bed. Remember, that the opposite sites of the garden bed loop need be be at least six feet apart, other wise they will cancel each other out.

The diagrams on our Installation — > Layouts –> Exclusion Zones pages should help.

Margaret September 12, 2011 at 3:18 pm

We have a chain link fence 4” tall. Our dogs either go over or dig under it. We want to run our wire along the fence line. Can we just weave it in and out of the chain link fence instead of putting it in the ground? Or run it along the top of the fence?

ADMIN – Hi Margaret,

You can indeed run the wire through the chain link, instead of burying the wire. I would weave it through or use zip-ties. If you use a weed-eater, then be sure to place the wire at least a foot above ground to keep it out of harms way.

jeff August 29, 2011 at 10:32 am

2 Questions.

1. Cattle wire, would that not work as a antenna as well (I know it will not shock) but why could it not be used? the pvc jacket on the other wire does nothing for the antenna does it?

2. above someone said about using 8 ft stake (copper?) to ground, does this mean I would not need to complete the loop (I think I would)

ADMIN – Hi Jeff,

1. You are right. In theory you don’t need the PVC jacket. In practice, when you use an uninsulated wire you have to be really careful that nothing touches it – otherwise you get weirdness in the boundary field. The resistance on the cattle wire also tends to be too high. That is why we strongly encourage people to stick to the standard insulated copper wire.

2. The grounding stake is primarily used with some systems to provide a path for lightning (an alternative to the lightning protection module). Some people use a pair of grounding rods to complete the loop (i.e. they don’t close the loop). It is very hit and miss and often will not work, or will stop working when the ground dries out. We would avoid this method as well.

Chris August 28, 2011 at 1:05 pm

Will flexible pvc electrical conduit work to protect my wires or will it dampen the signal?
Thx.

Admin- Hi Chris,

Flexible PVC will work great for protecting your wire and will not affect the signal at all.

Janice August 27, 2011 at 5:04 pm

Hello
We are installing the Pet Safe in-ground fence system and do not want to cut our paved driveway, could we run the wire through a hose then through the culvert?

Admin – Hi Janice,

Absolutely, you can run the wire through the culvert. We also recommend putting the wire inside a water hole for added protection inside the culvert.

Angela August 20, 2011 at 9:08 am

Hi there. I have purchased an Innotek 5100 for my dog. And will be installing the wire underground.I have a few question re: wire gauge ( which seems to be a popular topic. ) I’ve read lots of posts re: 18 and 20 and a few posts re: 16 gauge wire.

What gauge does Innotek use in their systems? I have access to 14 gauge wire and was wondering if it is possible to use 14 gauge instead? Will it do anything to the transmitter? Is the main advantage to a 16 or 18 gauge wire that it will potentially withstand more wear and tear? Thank you for your help. We have a large heavy dog that we will not leave out alone, even with the fence, but I would like him to be able to wander the yard with us when we’re outside.

ADMIN – Hi Angela,

Innotek systems (and indeed nearly all systems) include 20 gauge wire as standard. All systems can be used with thicker gauge wire. The thicker wire has a lower resistance and accordingly transmits the signal slightly better which is useful if you are trying to use a system above it’s rated capacity (e.g. doing 30 acres with an Innotek IUC-5100), but on a regular sized yard it is of no benefit in terms of transmission. The principle benefit of the thicker wire is that it is less prone to breaking.

Ben August 8, 2011 at 3:15 pm

Fantastic job helping all these people. I use a petsafe brand system to do a 1 acre yard for our aussie shepherd. I ran into the problem of allowing our dog out the front door, but still allow access to the rest of the yard. I ended up using 8 foot copper grounding stakes. one to terminate the run, and one to ground the transmitter. I have had excellent results with this as to date (7 years). More issues with people planting flowers in the fence ;)

ADMIN – Hi Ben,

Thanks for the tip.

Rodger Vandveer August 7, 2011 at 5:39 am

Your right, finding 20 gauge wire is a bear. I am look for 1000 ft. of twisted pair (black/white). Can you accommodate such an order and if yes how soon?

ADMIN – Hi Rodger,

We sell twisted wire (in white) in 100 ft increments ($22.95). It is all in stock, so you could get it shipped out today.

Chad July 31, 2011 at 9:47 pm

I have tons of electric fence wire that I use for cattle. It is 14 gauge uncoated steel wire. Can I use this and run it above ground just like electric fence used for cattle?

ADMIN – Hi Chad,

Unfortunately you need to use insulated wire for dog containment systems. So, the steel wire from an livestock electric fence will not work. The dog fences work a little differently, touching the wire does not cause the correction – the wire only sends out a radio signal. The correction all comes from the collar that the dog wears.

Rex July 26, 2011 at 11:20 am

I re-wired my acre, cable tying part of the fence to existing rebar posts. I did the short wire test to check the collar and signal and it worked fine. Once hooked to the whole run, the signal lights and control range indicator work fine, but the collar doesn’t respond. It has a fresh battery. Now what?

Admin- Hi Rex,

Check that you have the boundary width dial (or switch) turned up enough that you are getting a good signal.

Also check that you don’t have a short in the twisted wire section of the wire. When that happens you have a complete loop, so the transmitter will show a complete circuit – but the collar will not trigger.

Sue June 29, 2011 at 11:37 am

Can having different wire gauges spliced together cause an amplified signal or make the signal inconsistant? I think we were sent one spool that was a heavier gauge than the others. We have the tone set for 8 feet but it is not consistent. It seems to move every day. Sometimes doesn’t go off until 1 foot from the wire. Other times it is 8 feet.

ADMIN – Hi Sue,

Having different gauges of wire spliced together results in the boundary zone being wider in some sections than others. In the areas with the thicker wire, the dog will get the correction further out from the wire. And in the areas with thinner wire, the dog will get the correction nearer the wire.

You will get fluctuations in the boundary width. But with a wired system it should only move 10-20%. It should never go from 1 foot to 8 feet. Sounds like there is something wrong with the system or the way you have it set up. What kind of system is it and what is boundary layout like?

Sue June 29, 2011 at 11:32 am

If we have an amplified signal, can this cause the correction to be higher than normal, or does it just cause the correction to happen in places where it should be safe?
My dog is trained with a remote training collar. We use it on level 5 and she responds without yiping or jumping around. She usually only needs the tone now.
When we got her an electric fence, the first time she received a correction, she jumped up, snapping at the air around her and yiped mulitple times. It seemed like the shock was much higher than it should have been, and she is afraid of the new collar now. The correction level was set to low. I am afraid to let my dog be corrected by this system again. It seemed to really hurt her, although she was not injured.

ADMIN – Hi Sue,

An amplified signal makes the boundary zone wider. It does not change the intensity of the correction.

First we need to make sure the correction level is set correctly. What kind of system are you using and what correction level are you using? What kind of dog is she? If you can turn down the correction – then turn it down.

Did you use the same training protocol that is on our site (with the first week of the training with no correction)? If not, then go back and do that. The first week with no correction often helps because it lets the dog learn what is expected of them before we add the stress of the correction.

Mike H June 24, 2011 at 6:13 pm

I have 500′ of uncoated solid aluminum wire (stuff used for horse electric fences). Can I use and bury uncoated wire for the RF pet fence, or will this affect the performance of the system?

ADMIN – Hi Mike,

The system will only work with coated (insulated wire). You cannot use the uninsulated wire that is used in electric livestock fences – these fences work in a different way than dog fences. Livestock fences run a high voltage current through the wire and the animal only gets the correction when they touch the wire. Dog fences run a low voltage radio signal through the wire and touching the wire itself does not result in a shock.

Ray June 18, 2011 at 1:00 pm

I’ve read about the gauges of wiring here but little is written about the correct wire insulation. One of your replies stated you sell 20 ga wire with a high density polyethylene jacket. Would you elaborate on what this jacket accomplishes? Thank you

ADMIN – Hi Ray,

The jacket is the insulation that covers the wire and protects it from damage and rust. The PET jacket on the wire we use holds up better to soil acid than standard PVC & Vinyl wire that is used for household wiring. PVC/Vinyl jacketed wire tends to rot out after about 5 years, so you can certainly use it, but where possible the PET jacket is preferable.

Paul June 15, 2011 at 10:27 am

I have a PetSafe dog fence and I love it, all my dogs are trained, but I’m getting regular breaks in the line. It is the line that is exposed under my deck that runs along a seawall, rabbits or other critters get at it and it causes a full break or worse an intermittent break. I cannot bury the line because the ground tappers down and the wire would be too far from the dogs to work. My questions is, is there any sort of conduit that I can run my wire through or a heaver gauge wire that I can run?

Also, I just read that I can use twisted wire to cancel the signal, is there a limit on how long a section of twisted should be, I want to go 90 ft

ADMIN – Hi Paul,

To protect the wire you can run it through a conduit. I prefer to use a flexible conduit like an old hose, or irrigation pipe – but you can also use something rigid like PVC. You can also use one of the thicker wires like 16 gauge of 14 gauge that has an extra thick layer of insulation around the wire.

There is no limit on the length of twisted wire. Note that it cannot be used as part of the loop, only to connect your loop to the transmitter.

Jess Runge June 8, 2011 at 7:47 pm

Hi, we have a 32 acre farm in the middle of our small town. Our two dogs currently have access to all of it–as well as the bordering two roads, the village park, one upset neighbor, and forest. I’d like to fence all the acreage, as the dogs are our best “rodent control”. However, several creeks cut across the property. Do you have any suggestions for crossing them with fence wire? And, what system would you recommend? We can bury the portion of the wire that’s in the lawn (or attach it to a “people” fence we may build later), but the rest will just be laying on the ground. I’d appreciate your advice. Thanks!

ADMIN – Hi Jess,

For 32 acres, I would go with a SportDog SDF-100A (http://www.dogfencediy.com/reviews/review-sportdog/). The system will take you up to 100 acres, so you should have plenty of capacity in reserve

To get across the creeks, the easiest way to go is to put the wire in a flexible conduit (like hose pipe) and weight it down so it sinks to the bottom of the creek bed. If there is a fallen tree or something else conveniently located, you can also go over the creek.

You can mix it up and have some of the fence above ground and other parts below ground.

Julie Chapman June 3, 2011 at 10:15 am

We have an Invisible Fence pet containment system. Just had a ton of landscaping done, all well, you can imagine. There are multiple cuts in our system. We are going to start over and try to do it ourselves. Can you recommend a gauge of wire that will best work with Invisible Fence. I’ve heard that they use 12. Thank you.

ADMIN – Hi Julie,

Any gauge of wire will work fine with the invisible fence system. They usually use the 12 gauge because it is tougher and will take more abuse before it break. It is however much more expensive than the standard 20 gauge wire used in most DIY kits (Around $90 per 500ft reel vs. $22). Both would work from a technical standpoint – the big difference is in their resilience. (See here for exact prices)

If you think it is going to be a low wear area and the wire is unlikely to get damaged, go with the 20 gauge. If you think it is likely to see a bit of traffic, the 12 gauge would be worthwhile.

Joe Dollison June 1, 2011 at 9:25 am

Hello. I had a wire buried in our yard and over the course of a year, I now have a number of breaks in the wire. Some of it was due to moles digging in the area where the fence wire was buried. Can I use a PVC pipe to protect the dog fence wire or will it hinder the signal? If pipe can be used, is there a difference between PVC or galvanized metal? Thank you.

ADMIN – Hi Joe,

It would be preferable if you did not use metal pipe. You can run the wire through PVC, flexible conduit like an old hose pipe or sprinkler system tubing also works well. Flexible tubing tends to be cheaper and easier to work with.

Jon-Paul May 16, 2011 at 12:29 am

Hi, does twisted wire negate active wire if I loop it back too close? I ask because I want to have the wire running alongside my fence and then looping back and it states if you double loop the wire needs to be at least 3 or 4 foot away. Is this so with twisted wire? Thanks JP

ADMIN – Hi Jon-Paul,

No the twisted wire will no negate an active wire. Only active wire will act to negate another active wire.

Brad May 9, 2011 at 11:12 pm

I Have a new Invisible Fence and accidentally sliced it in one spot. Can I splice it at both ends with 16 gauge wire and wrap it with electrical tape? Thanks for your help!

ADMIN – Hi Brad,

To repair a break in the wire, you can indeed splice in a small section of extra wire. I would however use a waterproof splice instead of electrical tape. A gel filled splice capsule, or a waterproof wire nut would work well. Splices protected only with electrical tape tend to get water infiltration and rust out.

If it is just a small section of wire, the gauge is not particularly important and 16 gauge will work fine.

Lisa May 4, 2011 at 4:45 pm

I installed an invisible fence around the edges of the garden, at least 6 meters away from the house. Near the house patio door, where the dog usually lies- it sets of a signal of shocks. There is a tv near the door, is this interfering? And is there anyway this can be resolved? I can’t understand as there is no way the area is connected to the transmitter. I hope you can help!

ADMIN – Hi Lisa

The first step is to turn off the dog fence and see if the collar is still set off in the house. That would tell us if it is something else in the house or the fence itself.

Most likely the collar is not triggered when the system is on. This would tell us that the base station is somehow causing signals in the house. Start by checking to see how wide you have your boundary set, (i.e. how close can you walk to the wire without triggering the collar) if it is wider than five feet then turn it down so the signal only projects five feet from the wire.

If the collar is triggered, even when the fence is off, it means something in the house is triggering it. I would start switching things off one-by-one.

Interference would usually reduce the boundary, not increase it. So I am pretty sure it is not an interference issue. It is definitely nothing to do with your TV, but if you wanted to test the hypothesis you could move the TV and see if the issue persists.

PS – is the house or door metal?

kent May 3, 2011 at 10:49 pm

Would it be possible to use electric horse fence wire in one of these systems? It comes in very long lengths and would not break as easy. I plan on attaching it to an existing barbed wire fence at the second strand up.

ADMIN – Hi Kent,

Unfortunately you cannot use electric horse fencing. The wire used in electric fencing is uninsulated, because it works by shocking the animal when they actually touch the fence. The dog fence wiring needs to be insulated, because it works a little differently sending out a radio signal that is picked up by the dog’s receiver collar. You can however still attach the dog fence wire to a barbed wire fence.

Jason May 2, 2011 at 9:22 pm

What would occur with dog fence wire running parallel or even contacting satellite cable. Thanks

ADMIN – Hi Jason,

When you run the dog fence boundary wire too close and parallel to another wire, the dog fence signal can get induced in the other wire. This means that wherever the other wire runs acts like it is the dog fence boundary too. This can result in weird boundaries in the house along walls that contain the wire.

This is not common, but if you are going to run the dog fence wire parallel or in contact with satellite dish wiring, you want to test it before doing the permanent installation. Tape or otherwise temporarily secure the dog fence wire in place and plug it into the system and turn it on. Taking the receiver collar, walk around inside the house and test the collar particularly along the path that the satellite wiring takes and near the outlets for the satellite wiring and make sure the collar is not triggering in those spots.

FYI – Twisted wire does not have this problem, so if you are just running the twisted link from the boundary loop back into the control box you are in the clear.

Jeff Sullivan April 26, 2011 at 1:37 pm

I have a black aluminum fence for my 75lb dog, thinking that would do the trick. Unfortunately she is pushing right through the fence slats, bending them. So I installed an underground fence, and was wanting to run it just barely outside the fence, so she can still roam the perimeter of the yard.

The question is…can I run the wires along side one another without canceling? How close is too close, or as long as they are not braided, am I ok? I was hoping that the wires could be buried in the same slot in the ground, but just not braided. What do you think?

ADMIN – Hi Jeff,

The wires have to be separate by around six feet (depending on how wide you set the boundary). If you put them together, even without twisting them together, they will cancel each other out. Also note, that a aluminum sheet fence will often amplify the signal so it will intrude further into you yard. Could you run the wire along the fence, one leg along the bottom of the fence and the return leg along the top of the fence?

You could set the signal low, so the dog could still get within about three feet of the fence.

Michael April 22, 2011 at 5:25 pm

I am getting my new puppy tomorrow and i have yet to complete my electric fence. I plan to lay the transmitter beside the switch box in my house (uk) and run the twisted wire down the wall and across my concrete yard alongside my house’s main power cables. This wire will be twisted and thus not required for the boundary. Would this affect my actual boundary for my pup?

Thanks in advance = ]

ADMIN – Hi Michael,

You’ll need to install the wall transmitter at least 5 feet away from any utility breakers or switch boxes. This can create the signal to be amplified. You also want to make sure the boundary wires are separated from the the power cables at least 6 to 10 feet away to avoid the same issue.

PS – I would avoid teaching a new puppy until they are six months old. Prior to that they typically don’t have the attention span to effectively receive the training. Also, with any new dog, I would spend a few weeks bonding with the dog before doing any kind of correction based training.

Steve March 29, 2011 at 1:50 pm

What is the easiest way to bury the boundary wire? I have used the shovel method (not fun) and I have attempted to us a lawn edger with mixed results. Best idea?

Admin- Hi Steve,

We strongly recommend renting a trencher. Trenchers can be found at most tool rental locations. It really can make burying the wire a much easier task.

Andrew March 29, 2011 at 11:26 am

I am looking two buy the sport dog fence for two Chesapeake bay,AKA hardheads! I want to install a fence for 10ac of land to allow access to our pond. The question I have is on the transmitter. I want to install it in the back of or metal pole barn,need to run 20 feet of twisted to complete boundary, the question is will the METAL building effect the signal, that building is our only option. Thanks in Advance Andy Esham (AAoutdoors/Hardcore Waterfowling)

ADMIN – Hi Andy,

The metal barn will affect the signal around the barn itself if you run any boundary line within six feet and parallel to the barn. You would notice that the signal that wire transmits would be amplified in the barn area. This could cause your Chesapeake bays to receive warning or corrections anytime they are relatively close to the barn and not just the wire.

You can solve this by running the boundary loop a little further away from the metal shed and running the twisted wire from the transmitter (inside the barn) to the loop.

Greg March 26, 2011 at 5:54 pm

We are getting ready to buy a underground fence system. I have electric fence running around my property for our horses. Can I have the dog fence wire on the same T post as the electric fence ? I not, how far away do I need to be ?

Admin- Hi Greg,

We recommend that when you purchase a fence, set up a small section next to the electric fence and test it out. The interferences are hit or miss, so you might have issues or it might work perfectly. If you have any interference like an amplified signal, you will need to separate the two fences by 12 feet.

john March 25, 2011 at 10:23 pm

Hi, I have a circle driveway and have the fence installed all the way around. My problem is where I crossed the driveway for 20 feet I buried the wire in PVC about 4-6 inches deep. It has worked for 3 years and now there is 10 feet of the wire that is not beeping or shocking. The rest of the fence (600 feet) works perfectly, the only thing I can think of is the PVC might have ice in part of it and blocking signal. Only half of the driveway is not working so really confused any help would be appreciated.

Admin-Hi John,

Typically ice does not completely block the signal. I would first try and turn the field width on the transmitter to a higher level. Test the collar at the driveway again to see if you get a signal back.

Cory March 8, 2011 at 3:10 pm

Hi… I have buried power and cable which both cross my desired containment loop at different points. Is this a problem? Thanks.

ADMIN – Hi Cory,

Crossing utility line like cable and electricity is fine. Just, try and cross the utility lines at right angles where possible and avoid running the dog fence wire close and parallel to these wire.

Garrett February 17, 2011 at 1:02 am

looking at sportdog system for 3 1/2 Irish wolfhound 1/2 rotweiller puppies, would the standard collar provide a strong enough shock? as rotweillers are known for pain resistance and they will be very large dogs, also with HEAVY deer traffic and virtually no human traffic would it be possible to lay, insulated wiring intended for house wiring? im not sure if laying something like 6 gage wire would interfere with the system or not but would definitely be strong enough that when anchored wouldn’t get hurt by animals running on it

ADMIN – Hi Garrett,

The SportDog fence will offer the higher correction levels. It has the same correction strength as the PetSafe Stubborn. As for the wire, the systems can take up to 14 gauge wire. The wire we sell is 20 gauge solid copper wire insulated. The jacket is made of a high density polyethylene so it holds up well in the ground. The wire is also rated 600v. We highly recommend burying the wire to provide the greatest amount of protection to the wire.

Ron February 15, 2011 at 10:32 am

I will need to bury in the front but have rough forest in back yard. I would like the dog to have the freedom. Can the wire be set directly on rough ground winding amongst the trees and rocks. We do have deer occasionally. People traffic seldom. Burying is impossible. Above ground fence is impossible. Is this possible? What would be the best wire?

Thanks

Admin – Hi Ron

As far as working, laying the wire on the ground is fine. The concern might be the deer. There is always the possibility of damage with the wire exposed.
You may want to consider the upgrade to 18 gauge wire for this reason.
I hope this is of some help to you.

gene January 11, 2011 at 10:52 pm

you have talked about two wires twisted for a dead zone. what would happen if you ran one of the twisted wires parallel to the two twisted wire to run the loop in a different direction, or would you have to twist the wire with the other two , would either work ?

ADMIN – Hi Gene,

I fear that we are not very good at explaining the twisted wire. The twisted wire is two regular wires twisted together. You can never have a single twisted wire, it is always two wires twisted together. (check out the diagrams and video on the twisted wire page) If you add a third wire to the two twisted wires it would act like a single live wire and it would be an active boundary.

I presume you are trying to create a dead zone in the loop. Essentially, there is no way to create a non-active (dead) section in the boundary loop using twisted wire. The twisted wire is really only to get you from wherever the transmitter is located to the start of your boundary loop. To create a dead zone in the loop, we have to be a little creative with out layout, either doubling back on yourself to create a U-shaped loop; or elevating the wire so that the signal does not reach ground level. For more details check out the dog fence layouts page.

Not sure that I understood your question, let me know if I added confusion rather than clarity and I will try again. A diagram of what you are trying to do would be awesome.

Mike December 26, 2010 at 9:07 pm

Do you have any experience with the Rock Pet Barrier? I have several fence acres and only need a signal to stop the dog from leaving two entrances. Instead of going through the hassle of setting up an underground wired fence I was thinking about using a Rock Pet Barrier by each entrance. Any pros or cons about this system?

ADMIN – Hi Mike,

The Pawz Away Outdoor Rocks are great if you just need to block off a few small areas. The systems can either work in wireless mode and create a circular field up to 12 feet in diameter that stops the dogs entering the circle. Or you can switch the dog to wired mode and run up to 150 feet of wire off the rock.

The Pawz Away set that comes with the rock and collars is a great fast and inexpensive way to block off small areas. The rock is battery powered so you can just drop it in place and be up and running in a few minutes. The disadvantages are that they can only do very small areas. And, the collar that comes bundles with the rock is not very good. It should be fine if you are just blocking a small area, but it is not suitable for large containment areas.

Rick December 22, 2010 at 11:17 am

We have five acres with horses. The outer perimeter fence also has an electric fence for the horses. Since I have extra wire for this system can I use this for the innotek system for the dogs? I know it cannot be connected to the system for the horses, but running a separate line for the dogs. It would be very convenient since I have several spools in the barn. It is available in aluminum or steel but it is not coated but very durable.

ADMIN – Hi Rick,

Unfortunately you can’t use electric fence wiring from a cattle fence or a horse fence. The wire used in livestock electric fencing is typically not insulated (there is no plastic cover over the wire), because the horse gets the correction when they touch the fence wire itself. With a dog fence, the wire needs to be insulated because all the wire is doing is sending out a radio signal – the animal does not actually need to touch the wire to get the correction.

Rodney December 19, 2010 at 2:36 pm

I am planning on installing my invisible fence from my old house to my new house, new house is 1.5 acres and the old was only 1/3 , would the old system work on the larger yard and i would be burying new cable, was planning on 16 gauge wire.

ADMIN – Hi Rodney,

Your invisible fence system will work fine in the new house. As you say, it will just need new boundary wire. Those invisible fence systems can easily do anything under 5 acres, some will do even more (it depends on what model you have). You will of course need to turn up the boundary width dial to compensate for all that extra wire you will be laying.

16 gauge wire will do the trick, you can also use something much thinner for such a small area.

Meralee November 28, 2010 at 11:13 pm

My wire will start at one side of the house, go around the back yard and end at the other end of the house. I’ve seen your suggestions to others with this set up, but there’s a problem with each one. If I go up through the gutters, the corner of the house where the dogs sleep (in my master bedroom) will be within the shock zone. I can’t go along the top of the fence then back along the bottom because I have 4 foot chain link. I can’t go into the front yard because if I forgot to take the collar off the dog and took them somewhere in the car, it would shock them. Any other ideas?

ADMIN – Hi Meralee,

That is tough! There are four basic options for doing a backyard layout: (1) Around the Front; (2) Up and Over; (3) Doubling Back on Yourself, and (4) Going Under.

#1 – Seems like we have rules out this possibility, although it still may be worth considering – you would just have to remove the collars before taking the dogs out. This is a good habit even if you don’t have a fence in front, because you don’t want those collars getting triggered by a neighbor’s fence when you are out with the dogs.

#2 – Instead of running the wire up the corner of the house, can you could run it up a wall midway along the side of the house or even at the front of the house?

#3 – You could go along the top of the chain link fence, then double back on yourself about three feet out from the bottom of the fence.

#4 – Do you have a basement or a sub-floor. If so you could run the wire under the house to complete the loop.

Duane November 27, 2010 at 5:00 pm

This is for a PetSafe system. Because of space constraints, I have 60 feet of fence wire running parallel to and six feet away from a TV cable. The part of the TV cable is now acting like the dog fence. Moving the TV cable is an option, but A LOT of work. The problematic portion of the cable runs under an exterior doorway. No problems inside the house. To eliminate the problem, can I either (1) ground the TV cable’s shield prior to the doorway, or (2) add a ferrite choke (available at radio shack) to the TV cable, prior to the doorway?

ADMIN – When you run the dog fence wire parallel and close to another wire for a long distance, the signal can sometimes leak into that second wire as has happened here.

You can fix the problem by moving the two wires further apart, or by creating more of an angle between the two wires so they are not parallel (even zip-zags will work).

You can try grounding or a choke to try and eliminate the signal in the TV cable, but our experience has been that this fixes do not work consistently and that you inevitably still get a little signal in the TV cable. I always find that with signal leakage issues, it is easier to try fix the underlying problem than to try and filter out the signal after the event.

kingsrex November 22, 2010 at 11:42 am

Can I add a second boundary with the same system maybe 2 to 3 feet away from the first. In other words can I have 2 layers one after the other, so it will cover more of the area and will not let him pass. My dog knows were the wire is but he still passes that one so I want to add one more layer to see if that helps

ADMIN – Hi Kingsrex,

The you can add a second layer, but you will need to keep the second wire at least 6 feet away from the first otherwise they will cancel each other out. But, it is much easier to increase the boundary width by turning up the boundary adjuster dial on the control box. I am not sure what system you have, but all modern systems have this option.

Also note, that usually when a dog passes through the boundary it is usually a collar fit, or a training issue. The collar must be fitted properly so that the dog gets the correction and the dog needs to be trained to turn and retreat at the sound of the beep. Without the training and the collar being properly fitted, adding additional boundary width will not help. You rarely need a boundary wider than 5 feet on either side of the boundary wire.

Steven McJuary November 10, 2010 at 2:22 am

Your advise when it comes to Dog Fence Wire is the wrong message to send to dog owners looking for their first Dog Fence kit. Without a doubt 18 Gauge Polyethylene wire is buy far the best wire for transmitting signal and avoiding constant problems with wire breakage. This size and type is primarily used by the pro installation people for a reason. They want a strong wire they can install with a machine. Wire they can depend on so they can minimize trouble calls due to wire breaks. Sure 20 Gauge will transmit signal but that’s about it. It won’t hold up to and type of disturbance or abuse. Tree and plant root growth, moles, critters digging for bugs to eat, these are just a few reasons why the heavier the wire the better.
Also stay away from the budget sizes and there PVC jacket. It will crack and rot, stretch and split from the cold or the heat.
Polyethylene jacketed wire with a triple jacketed coating .45 mil. thick will last for years. The bigger the better in Dog Fence Wire. How often do you want to be burying wire? More than once would be to often when it comes to the work in burying the wire. We have great tips on installing your dog wire without breaking your back.
“16 Gauge wire is to hard to use ” Twisting the wire? Not even necessary.
Just tape it or ty-rap it together. Or simply lay it in the trench next to each other. It will work just as well. The biggest reason for the tight twist is so that the wire will slide through a trenching machine. If you don’t have a trencher you don’t have to be so critical about the twist. Use the proper DBY connectors to make your connections. Tie a square knot in the 2 wires to be spliced and make your splice . The knot will give you the same strength as if there was no splice at all.
Heavier wire is the only way to go. The secret to a good fence is the strength of the wire and also always have a good battery in the receiver. If you look on the net you can seek out the good stuff. If your forced to buy a hardware brand fence throw the wire away and find some real good heavy dog wire. You can always upgrade the equipment later if necessary.

ADMIN – Hi Steve,

Appreciate the different perspective.

Our experience has been that the thinner wire does as well as the thick in terms of breakages. Soil disturbances and roots don’t tend to cause breakages because the wire is so flexible. What causes nearly all breaks is some kind of mechanical activity such as a lawnmower, aerator, or edger. Those devices will slice through even the thickest cable – so there is not a lot of advantage to using the thick over the thin.

The one place where thicker wire seems to help is when you are doing very large installation (read 5,000+ feet of wire) and are operating close to the limits of the dog fence system. Thicker wire transmits the signal better and lets you have wide boundaries widths in these large installations.

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