Choosing The Right Wire Gauge for Electronic Dog Fences
14 Gauge Dog Fence Wire vs. 16 Gauge Wire vs. 18 Gauge Wire vs. 20 Gauge Wire (thick vs. thin)
Most DIY Dog Fence Systems include a reel of 20 gauge wire. But, most professionally installed systems use a thicker 14 gauge wire. Why the difference?
Fewer Wire Breaks
The thicker the wire the more resilient and the less likely you are to get a wire break. For example, the thickest wire (14 gauge) is around 6 times stronger than the standard 20 gauge wire. This thicker wire also contains a thicker jacket, making it impervious to all but the strongest impacts.
When a dog fence is being professionally installed, we will usually use an industrial trencher, that is very tough on the wire. This makes using the thicker gauge of wire almost mandatory.
There are however disadvantages. Firstly, thicker wire is harder to work with. Thinner wire is is more flexible and easier to get into place. Second, the thicker wire is more expensive. The thicker wire uses 4 times more copper and has a thicker jacket, making it more expensive to make and transport. While a 500 foot role of 20 gauge wire costs around $20, 14 gauge wire costs around $80.
Almost any dog fence will work with any almost gauge of wire. But, thicker wire has lower resistance makes it a little easier for the signal to get around. (Just like it is easier to drive down a wider road than a narrower road) The difference is modest, but in extreme cases you can get a little extra range using the thicker gauge of wire. For example if you are running a system near the limit of it's rated capacity then using thicker wire will allow you to have a slightly larger range. Thus if you had a system rated to 20 acres and were trying to do 22 acres, then having thicker wire would help.
You need to use twisted wire to run between the transmitter box and the boundary, and for any other place where you do not want the wire to trigger the receiver collar. By twisting two wires together, the radio wave cancel each other out and thus the dog can walk over the twisted wire without getting a correction.
The easiest way to get twisted wire is to buy it. You can usually buy twisted wire from the people that sold you your system. It will cost you around $25.
You can also make your own twisted wire. First decide how much you will need and cut two single pieces of wire double that length (twisting the wire makes it shorter). Tape the two pieces of wire together at both ends using some masking or electrical tape. Now tape one of those ends to an electric drill and hold the other end in your hand. Turn on the drill and let it twist the wires together until you have about four twists per inch. This is harder on the thicker gauges of wire, with 16 gauge wire it is very difficult so use a thinner gauge for the twisted section.
For more details on twisted wire, take a look at the following tutorial video:
Hear what our customers are saying about the Dog Fence DIY difference:
I recently purchased the Innotek 4100 from Dog Fence DIY. The previous owner of my house had the wire laid already and took his system, I called the old commercial installer and the quote came back at $1500 (ouch). So I did some research and purchased the equipment from Dog Fence DIY. In a few days the new system and collars showed up (earlier than promised), I plugged in the system on the following day placed the flags on the boundry and started training. By the way the training video helped a lot. I have 3 dogs, an australian sheppard, a jack russell terrier and a Shitzu mix. After a couple weeks the dogs are all trained and even if we forget to put the collar on they will not go past the line, no matter what (I guess they don't like the shock the get, even on the lowest setting). One thing I might caution you is remember to take the collar off if they are in a vehicle (we forgot once). So by doing this job myself I have saved over $1000, thanks Dog Fence DIY for all the info and great service.