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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{ 177 comments… read them below or add one }

Emily Berner November 2, 2015 at 2:27 pm

I have 2 rolls of solid 14 gauge wire & 1 roll of stranded 14 gauge wire. Can I use them all for my invisible fence? The stranded was given to me but I bought the 2 solid 14 gauge wire because I read that it is better. Any advice would be appreciated :-) Thanks! Emily

ADMIN – Hi Emily! We recommend using the solid core boundary wire only. We have not had success with the stranded wire for this use.

Bucky Wagner October 31, 2015 at 9:35 pm

I have a neighbor who has a electric fence will that interfere with one if I install it, the distance is aprox 12′ apart from the neighbor, also I had a pet safe fence installed several years ago it was cut in several places will I have to dig the old one up or can I trench one right next to the old one without any interference.

ADMIN – Hi Bucky. In most cases, 12 feet should be enough distance between your electric fence and the neighbors fence. You may want to lay out your wire where you think you want it and test the collar to make sure it is beeping and correcting at the proper locations before burying your wire. If you think you may not have enough room to keep this much space between you and your neighbors yard, you can look at the Perimeter Technologies Ultra Dog Fence. This fence system is made to be used next to an existing fence and allows one to change the frequency so that there is no interference with the other system.

Payton August 24, 2015 at 11:53 am

Hi I am trying to contain about 25 acres but not spend an arm and a leg. Does it matter what brand or gauge wire I order? And it seems I can get 500′ rolls cheaper on eBay, can I splice them together even if they’re not the same gauge. Also what receiver and collars do you recommend? We have 5 dogs but I am going to put it on the dominant to see if everyone else will stay home. He’s the ring leader but will look into additional collars of that doesn’t work.

ADMIN – Hi Payton. What is the age, weight, breed and temperament of your dogs? Answering these questions will help me match your dogs to the best electric dog fence system. You will need 5,000 feet of Boundary Wire to contain your dogs in a 25 acre perimeter loop. We recommend using the same gauge Boundary Wire throughout the perimeter loop.

Brendan August 16, 2015 at 1:53 pm

Looking at buying the stubborn dog fence system for our two labs. We have 22 acres with 9 acres already fenced in with high tensile electric fence. I read a couple other questions about people asking if they can use one wire as the dog fence and the answers say not to do so because of signal interference, and to keep it away 5 to 10 feet. However, we do not have any other animals and we do not power the electric fence, so if we just made a loop around the house and tied it into the bottom strand of the electric fence, will this work as intended?

ADMIN – Hi Brendan. What is the age, weight, breed and temperament of your dogs? How much of the 22 acres are you using to contain your dogs? We recommend running the Boundary Wire 5-10 feet away from the high tensile electric fence to avoid amplification problems and unintended corrections to the dog’s collar.

Kris July 12, 2015 at 11:19 am

I have had a my fence installed for about a year now. Recently my two dogs have started getting through (70 lb male labs). My system and collars are still working. Although the only way, I can get the collars to work is to hold them about two inches above the wire. When working, the shock is still very effective. I think the problem is that the signal is not transmitting to the two or so feet above ground that is necessary when in use on my dogs. I say this because I don’t get a sound or a feeling when after receiving a shock at two inches. I don’t feel anything at two feet. I installed the standard 20 gauge wire provided by the manufacturer. Could it be that I need a bigger wire to transmit the signal that high? Could it be that the collars are wearing out (dogs have jumped in pool with them on)? I have installed new batteries with no benefit. Again the system has been effective in the past. Any help is greatly appreciated!! My yard is about two acres

ADMIN – Hi Kris. What is the model of your electric dog fence system? When did you purchase your invisible fence?

bird July 7, 2015 at 12:14 pm

I have a pure breed lab and he is constantly running to the neighbor’s. What is recommended for him?

ADMIN – Hi Bird. What is the age and weight of your Lab? What is the size of the pet containment area? Answering these questions will help me match your dog to the best electric dog fence system.

Danielle July 6, 2015 at 11:03 am

I have the Invisible Fence system for my dog. I recently moved and need new wire. What kind of wire is compatible with the Invisible Fence system, and kind or a particular one. Because I was looking at the Pet Safe wire but it says it is only compatible with Pet Safe and Innotek. Thanks!

ADMIN – Hi Danielle. Yes. The Boundary Wire on the DogFenceDIY Store is compatible with the Invisible Fence electric dog fence system.

Graeme May 21, 2015 at 3:59 am

Dose putting a thicker wire around increase the signal to the dog collar
I.e give them worning between the collar and boundary

ADMIN – Hi Graeme. Technically it does, but the difference is not visibly noticeable. What is the age, weight, breed and temperament of your dog(s)? What is the size of your pet containment area? Answering these questions will help me match your dog(s) to the best electric dog fence system.

troutlily May 20, 2015 at 9:50 pm

Hi – we’re getting ready to install a PetSafe system, with the supplied 20 gauge wire. I can’t seem to find any info on how well this wiill operate in a very cold climate. We have long, cold winters in Northern Ontario, we’ll hit -40 F/C (or worse) at least a few days every winter, with average low temps of 0 F / -18 C. I know the batteries in the collar will be an issue, what about the wire?

ADMIN – Hi Troutlily. I’m sorry for the inconvenience, but our sales and support are limited to the United States coverage area. Therefore, we are required to only do business and process shipments within the United States. However, you may want to look for some local pet stores in your area.

Dan May 20, 2015 at 6:47 am

Is you 14 gauge boundary wire solid copper wire or braided copper wire?

ADMIN – Hi Dan. We carry 14 gauge solid copper boundary wire and you can upgrade your boundary wire by clicking the “Upgrade Wire” drop down option.

Jody May 11, 2015 at 9:02 pm

We have the Invisible Fence Brand wires and control unit. It was installed 20 years ago. We now have use for it so I have a couple of questions.
1. Do you know how long wire lasts?
2. Can we buy our own transmitter box/collar and switch out from the old system?

Thank you.

ADMIN – Hi Jody. What is the size of your pet containment area? What is the gauge of the Invisible Dog Fence boundary wire? Yes. You can purchase an electric dog fence system without boundary wire. What is the age, weight, breed and temperament of your dog(s)? Answering these questions will help me match your dog(s) to the best electric dog fence system. Please let me know if you would rather keep your dog fence wire (provided there are no wire breaks in the perimeter loop boundary wire) and upgrade your transmitter and collar to a new system. Simply, unplug the old transmitter, connect the new transmitter, and test the collar with the Test Light Tool on your new dog fence system. NOTE: 20 Years of wear will not provide the best system performance due to the age of the existing boundary wire.

Chris May 4, 2015 at 11:14 am

I’d like to fence a large yard, about 40 acres. I have electric fence high tensile steel wire already run for the horses that used to be here. would I be able to use that wire to send the signal? I have two large dogs both well over 100 punds is there a unit with enough power to stop them from visiting our neighbours kids?

ADMIN – Hi Chris. You will need about 6,500 feet of boundary wire to contain your dogs in a 40 acre perimeter loop. No. We recommend installing the boundary wire 5-10 feet away from the metal fencing to avoid signal amplification. We recommend the PetSafe Stubborn Electric Dog Fence (PIG00-10777) for dogs 100 pounds and up.

will j May 2, 2015 at 7:42 pm

Hi! i forgot to ask one question with my initial message (below). We have a cobblestone driveway (cobbles are around 4 inches thick). Can i just lift the cobbles, run the wire underneath, and then lay the 4 inch cobbles back over them? Will the signal work through the stone?

ADMIN – Hi Will. No. We recommend burying the boundary wire 1-3 inches in the ground. This also applies to stone pavers. Also, make sure the stone pavers do not contain metal material. This would create interference problems with the signal in the boundary wire.

will j May 2, 2015 at 7:29 pm

HI There!
I have 2 pomeranians, 8 and 5 pounds. Both are mild temperament dogs, that love running around outside on our 2 acre property, so we’re looking at hidden fences. Any recommendation on the dealer installed brands? We already had invisible fence come by and give an estimate.

I might consider the self installed product as well, although i dread having to figure out troubleshooting issues, and i know trenching around 2 acres is going to be a lot of work. Also wonder if these products are just as good as invisible fence etc?

Would be great to hear your recommendations, thanks

ADMIN – Hi Will. What is the neck size of your Pomeranians? Have you looked at the PetSafe Elite Little Dog Electric Dog Fence PIG00-10773? You will need 1,500 feet of boundary wire to contain your dogs in a 2 acre perimeter loop. We recommend using a wire laying trencher to dig the 1-3 inch trench for the boundary wire.

Sara April 27, 2015 at 9:59 am

Hi, i have 5 acres that is already fenced on 3 sides. Can I use one of these systems to fence off the front of the property from the road and how would I do that? Would I run a loop in the same trench in order to complete the circuit? Thanks

ADMIN – Hi Sara. What is the age, breed, weight and temperament of your dog(s)? Answering these questions will help me match your dog to the best electric dog fence. You will need 2,000 feet of boundary wire to contain your dog(s) in a 5 acre perimeter loop. Does your fence contain metal? Please look at the “Single-Sided Boundary” layout on the DogFenceDIY “Planning, Installation and Layout” page. We do not recommend running the boundary wire in the same trench due to interference problems.

Dawn Mann April 18, 2015 at 5:00 am

I am a little confused on what kind of wire you can and can not use with the petSafe in-ground dog fence. I have model #PIG00-13661. Does it have to be copper? Can I use 16gauge braided steel wire. Can copper & steel be used together? Great site by the way. Thank you.

ADMIN – Hi Dawn. Yes. We recommend using the copper boundary wire on the DogFenceDIY website. Our dog fence systems will not work with 16 gauge braided “steel wire.”

Bowden Oakes April 13, 2015 at 7:34 pm

We have 5-1/4 acres of which 4 acres are dense woods. I wanted the dogs to have access to part of the woods, but not all of them. When I ran the original 20 gauge fence wire (roughly 4 rolls) I buried it in the open area and laid it on the ground for the wooded area. I would estimate 30% open and 70% woods. It would be extremely hard to bury it in the woods. Of our two dogs, (Beamer) half boxer / half lab (60 lbs.) respects the fence. The other, (Porsche) half lab / half German Shepard knows the fence is there, but is willing to sacrifice the pain of crossing it to follow us away from the house in our car and truck. I can bury the wire in the open area, but have to lay it on the ground in the woods. I can change to 16 gauge wire, can twist the wire myself from the charger to the perimeter of the containment area. I should also be able to buy the poly wire at an electrical supplier in a long roll. What I would like from you is the best suggestion for charger and how to deal with the dense woods. Thanks for any response you could give.

ADMIN – Hi Bowden. You could use Lawn Staples to secure the boundary wire in the woods and cover the wire with the natural foliage (e.g., leaves, etc). We also recommend running the boundary wire through PVC pipe or a garden hose to help protect the wire from nicks, which can cause an “open” in the circuit and cause the transmitter to beep.

Bernie April 6, 2015 at 5:52 pm

Why don’t they sell the wire in bulk so we don’t have to splice?

ADMIN – Hi Bernie. We offer the 16 gauge boundary wire and 14 gauge boundary wire in 1,000 foot spools.

jennifer March 16, 2015 at 12:03 pm

We just bought the innotek ultrasmart 5100 , we have about 3 acres to cover . we have lots of ground moles will the chew the wire or cause problems for the system?

ADMIN – Hi Jennifer. I’m sorry to hear about your ground moles. You will need 2,000 feet of boundary wire to contain your pets in a 3 acre perimeter loop. We recommend running the boundary wire through PVC pipe, or clear plastic tubing to add another layer of protection over the boundary wire.

Dan February 26, 2015 at 11:29 pm

Hi! We have an Innotek system in a 3/4 acre yard. We used the wire that came with it when we installed it about 4 years ago (20g solid?). It kept breaking so we replaced most of it with 14 gauge THHN. It worked for a while then it too was cut (in two places due to landscape work) — the light on the transmitter blinked red indicating a cut.

We finally found the breaks using the RF choke and fixed them and the light on the transmitter now indicates the wire is ok. However, the collar does not beep. So I checked the wire for continuity with two different devices and it indicates there is still a break.

I then performed a short wire test on the transmitter (10 ft of wire) and it showed no break and the collar worked fine. When I disconnected the 10 ft of wire, the transmitter indicated a break — so that light seems to work correctly.

Why does the transmitter not indicate there is a break on my fence if there is no continuity according to two different test devices (and the collar does not work in the yard)?


ADMIN – Hi Dan. I’m sorry to hear about your Innotek underground dog fence system. Sometimes test devices do not locate bad splices. How many splices do you have in your boundary loop? Do all of your splices have reinforcement knots and Gel Caps for waterproofing each splice? What is your boundary width control dial set to on the transmitter? We recommend increasing the boundary width control dial to a higher number if the collar is not responding. If the collar still does not respond when using the test light tool it could mean that the battery has failed in the collar and needs to be replaced.

Teri February 14, 2015 at 1:30 pm

Hi – My Pet Stop pet fence system has been out of use for several years now. I just recently adopted a dog who has pulled practically all the wire off the chain link fence and I am looking to replace it. The current wire has printed on it “Dog Containment Tracer Wire”. Am I able to purchase a 14 gauge wire to replace the “specialty” wire? Thank you, Teri

ADMIN – Hi Teri. Yes. You can purchase our 14 gauge boundary wire, but I would not recommend mixing the two wires together in your boundary loop. This can create intermittent problems with the transmitter in the underground dog fence system.

Thomas January 10, 2015 at 3:31 am

Can you add an exclusion zone by running a second twisted wire inside your main loop? ie flower beds next to the house. The first twisted wire carries the signal to the perimeter, then a second to your exclusion zone with is own loop.

ADMIN – Hi Thomas. Twisted wire cannot be used as part of the main boundary loop. The main loop is a single wire. Twisted wire is two wires. Thus you cannot splice 1 wire into 2 wires. Doing so only completes the boundary loop. Twisted wire can only be used to connect the boundary wire loop to the transmitter or connect one boundary loop to a second boundary loop. Therefore, we do not recommend installing 1 loop inside of another loop. The transmitter will not work in that application.

Kyle Farmer December 20, 2014 at 10:38 pm

We practice rotational grazing with cattle and sheep on our 2400 acre ranch. Three beautiful Great Pyrenees dogs protect our sheep from coyotes and other predators. Our challenge with these dogs is keeping them off the of the public road that runs through the middle of the ranch. We have been successful in using a Sportdog electric fence, run along existing fence lines, to keep them in a few pastures, but scaling the system presents challenges. We have a four wire electric fence encircling the ranch. Would it be possible to turn one of the of the wires insulated aluminum 12 gauge wires into a radio wire as long as it completes a loop? Any other ideas? I’ve looked into the GPS fences but they seem to be limited to circles.

ADMIN – Hi Kyle. No. Unfortunately, you can not install boundary wire in between electrical fence wire. We recommend installing boundary wire 10 feet away (in front or behind) an electric fence to avoid signal interference. Have you drawn out your physical layout design for your under ground dog fence?

patty December 2, 2014 at 1:35 pm

I have 2.75 acres to fence in. I bought an underground Innotek fence several years ago. The terrain is very rocky (mostly silica) however, I have a wooden horse fence surrounding my property. Can I run the wire above ground with my wooden fence? If so, what guage do you recommend.

ADMIN – Hi Patty. Can you tell me about your dogs? What is the age, breed, weight, and temperament of your dogs? Yes. You can use lawn staples to run Boundary Wire across the wooden horse fence. If you live in an area with extreme temperature changes, I would recommend using something stronger than 20 gauge wire. I do not hear a lot of complaints from customers that go with the 16 gauge and 14 gauge Boundary Wire. What dog fence were you thinking about installing? The PetSafe YardMax PIG00-11115 is our new top choice in-ground dog fencing.

Dustin Hudson November 29, 2014 at 11:15 am

What if I was to put the wire on top of the ground and use landscape staples to hold if down

ADMIN – Hi Dustin. Yes. Lawn Staples can be used to install the Boundary Wire on top of the ground. However, if you have a lot of trees on your property, you will want to be mindful of falling branches and debris landing on the Boundary Wire. This could damage the insulation and expose the copper in the Boundary Wire, which could signal to the Transmitter that there is a wire break.

Sue October 10, 2014 at 8:20 pm

Hello, What can you tell me about outside temperature fluctuation and effect on the underground wire signal? Thank you

ADMIN – Hi Sue, the temperature should not create any significant affect on the dog fence signal broadcast.

chris September 3, 2014 at 3:18 pm

If I bury the wire by our hog barns that have steel sheeting on the sides and roof will it interfere with the signal? Thanks

ADMIN – Hi Chris, no there will not be any interference from the hog barns.

brent September 2, 2014 at 4:17 pm

I have about 2000 feet of 18 gauge wire to bury at about 3 1/ 2 inches in the ground. My question is: can I run the entire length in a thin walled pvc pipe, like irrigation pipe, and it work all the way around for that distance encased? The reason for wanting to run it entirely in pvc conduit is because of ground moles. I have one dog that doesn’t have a collar and when he digs he often digs and or chews through my current unprotected wire and I’ve made quite a few splices in it.

ADMIN – Hi Brent, yes you can run the wire through pvc conduit. The signal will broadcast properly.

Rob August 13, 2014 at 9:01 pm

We have a 2 acre lot and will be installing about 1300′ of 14 gauge stranded wire we commonly drive our truck and camper over the wire and brake it how can I install a expansion loop with out it canceling the signal.

ADMIN – Hi Rob, I would recommend running the wire in that area in schedule 40 pvc and bury it around 8 to 10 inches in the ground to avoid it breaking.

Dan August 4, 2014 at 10:00 pm

Hi, I just purchased an IF brand “New Boundary” system second hand on eBay. I assumed there would be a standard wire connection from the transmitter box, however there are two plugs. Do you know if IF sell twisted wire with the plugs retail?

ADMIN – Hi Dan, Most likely, the only way you get parts is through a Invisible Fence installer directly.

Christie June 25, 2014 at 8:29 am

Hi I was wondering if the below wire that Lowes carries will work? We are putting down about 1100 foot for with an Invisible Fence brand transmitter model 801. Wire description is:500-ft 14-AWG Solid Green Copper THHN Wire. Type THHN or THWN-2 conductors are primarily used in conduit and cable trays for services, feeders, and branch circuits in commercial or industrial applications as specified in the National Electric Code when used as a type THHN conductor it is suitable for use in dry locations that are not to exceed temperatures of 90 C THHN copper conductors are annealed (soft) copper
Heat-, moisture-, gasoline- and oil-resistant Thanks, Christie

ADMIN – Hi Christie, THHN rated wire is okay, but not nearly as durable as a polyethylene (PE) coated wire. PE is rated for direct burial and is expected to last longer than 10 years.

Lisa June 23, 2014 at 1:16 pm

We had an Invisible Fence (the name brand) but due to a rowdy neighbor we had to install a 6ft fence, so we could have some peace and keep the neighbor out. Upon installation of the 6ft fence, we must have cut the fence wire because it is no longer working. Invisible Fence wants to charge $95 for service call, $65? to find the break(s), and then $16.95 for each break repair. We have a 100 ‘x 200’ yard. Is it possible to buy waterproof wire and replace their wire but still use their (control) system in the garage? If so what type of wire waterproof 14g? Will it still have a 6 foot boundary around the wire, like the Invisible Fence system has? Any suggestions are greatly appreciated. I just know there has to be a less expensive way to fix the Invisible fence. We still want the Invisible fence because we did not fence in the front yard or across the ditch area behind our house. Plus we did find out that having the invisible fence kept moles out of our yard. Lisa

ADMIN – Hi Lisa, the answer is yes. You can purchase your own wire and re-install it. You can pull up or leave the original wire in the ground. If you purchase your own 14 gauge, it will operate the same as it did before. We sell boundary wire kits in our store.

Patrick June 19, 2014 at 7:42 pm

I have large amounts of extra unused THHN 12 gauge solid core tracer wire available to me leftover from old jobs. Can I use this wire in lieu of 14 gauge I see recommended so often on here? I am installing a sport dog 100 acre system on a 3 acre lot. Thanks in advance- great website!

ADMIN – Hi Patrick, THHN is not bad. It does not hold up as long as the polyethylene coated wire, but is will still work. We recommend 14 gauge as the largest gauge simply because the wire terminals on the wall transmitter will not hold anything larger. 14 gauge itself is a tight fit.

Jeff Harrison June 19, 2014 at 12:17 pm

I recently purchased the PetSafe YardMax PIG00-11115. It came with the 20AWG wire and I bought two more. I also have a spool of 18AWG wire available. Can I add the 18AWG wire to the loop or does the loop need to be all one gauge? Also, what about the twisted wire run, does it have to be the same gauge as the loop? Thanks for any input you can give. Jeff

ADMIN – Hi Jeff, you can actually use 18 gauge with 20 gauge. We typically recommend sticking to the same gauge so our recommendation is communicated clearly, but you can mix gauges if it is only one step off.

Penny June 9, 2014 at 4:43 pm

One strand is yellow, the other green coated, but I am told they are both 20 gauge. so that question is irrelevant. My next is, can I run the twisted wire along a fence for 20 feet, and run the single 20 gauge wire below it in the opposite direction without any interference? It will look like a small h on it’s side, with the upper part connecting to the fence in one direction, and the lower loop connecting to the fence in the opposite direction. thank you

ADMIN – Hi Penny, can email me a diagram of this layout? I will be able to answer more definitively if I can see what you are trying to accomplish.

Bill May 5, 2014 at 8:33 pm

We’re thinking of crossing our wire over a neighbors so that our dogs can play together in the overlapping area. Will the signals cancel each other out? Theirs is an Invisible Fence, ours is Pet Safe. Thanks

ADMIN – Hi Bill, with different brands cancellation of both lines will not occur. What is expected between those two fences is that one will cancel and the other will not cancel.

Jim Burton April 22, 2014 at 5:10 pm

Hello- moved into a new house and will be putting in a dog underground fence. I bought a Pet Safe RF-1010/ 500ft of yellow Pet Safe wire- I think 20 ga. Question: can I put this on a black metal fence. I would then put it underground at the gates I also read where you could twist wires together so this could be a safe area/ won’t get a shock? I would need to do this around the house foundation. Can you hook one end of this to the transmitter? thanks for the help.

ADMIN – Hi Jim, You can use this along your fence. You will not be able to use twisted wire along the fence. Twisted wire is used as a return wire to the wall transmitter. The wire is connected in a closed loop with the wall transmitter.

jeff April 10, 2014 at 12:43 pm

I have a system that my girlfriends parents bought us last year…I have a large property so looking to get about 2000 ft maybe of wire. Can you use electric fence wire like for cows being g there’s more in a spool? Just wondering. Is there a certain unit that will be better handle that much area?

ADMIN – Hi Jeff, 1. the wire must be an insulated copper wire since it is a radio broadcast, not electric. 2. No, 2,000 feet is a small layout which can be handled by an entry level dog fence like the PetSafe In-ground PIG00-13661.

Leslie April 7, 2014 at 7:36 pm

How do I splice invisible fence wire that remains above ground?

ADMIN – Hi Leslie, I would actually bury the splice so that it is not an eye soar or in danger of getting hit. We simply use a regular wire nut with a waterproof capsule.

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?


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.

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!

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?

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,

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?


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.

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