What system should I get?

Here are our recommendations for the best dog containment systems for different dogs:

(1)    One or more dogs, all over 15lbs and similar sizes – Innotek IUC 4100

Our overall favorite system is the Innotek 4100.  The Innotek 4100 does all the basics and is a good dependable dog containment system.  It is rechargeable and has three correction levels, plus progressive correction that increases in intensity the nearer the dog gets to the boundary.  It also has a cool “collar fit” feature that tells you if you have the collar on correctly, very useful with our furry friends.

The Innotek is best for dogs over 15lbs.  And since you cannot control the correction level of each collar independently, it is not good for dogs that are very different sizes (i.e 30%+ difference in weight).

(2)    Two or more dogs, different sizes all over 15lbs – Dogtra

 If you have dogs that have more than a 30% difference in weight, we would suggest the Dogtra system.  Like the Innotek it does all the basics right, plus has a rechargeable battery.  The Dogtra is a bit older than the Innotek and is a little more clunky.  But, since it does let you adjust the correction level of each of the collars separately it is a better choice where you have dogs that need significantly different correction levels. 

(3)    Any dogs under 12 lbs – Petsafe Little Dog + Petsafe PRF-3004W Deluxe

For dogs under 12 lbs you want a collar that is small enough for this kind of dog and that is calibrated to providing a lower strength correction for these dogs.

If you have additional dogs over 15lbs, you can use collars from other PetSafe systems.  The best of the lot is the PRF-3004W Deluxe collar which is also battery powered and has four correction levels.

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{ 26 comments… read them below or add one }

Matthew February 8, 2014 at 12:15 pm

I have hardheaded pit named Jax, that is an escape artist. Nothing I have done has worked. Got a hotwire to run the top of the fence we had to put up and he takes it like its a fly. I need something that’s gonna put him in the dirt a few good times so that maybe he’ll get it. I know they are stubborn breeds but something has got to work, recused him before he was fought and he has been great with our Lab/Shep mix and can tell he has learned from her and us but she can run without being corrected, even with other animals or dogs near by she stays. Please help only 1 acre to cover but need max strength to get it through his hardhead. My poor fence doesn’t look like a normal fence anymore, but like a prison. Thanks

Jordy January 7, 2013 at 4:58 pm

We have a 90-lb German shepherd that does well with the PetSafe Wireless Containment system. Will be adopting a 75-pound shepherd. Will this system still work for two big dogs? Can the second collar be an Innotek or does it have to be specific to PetSafe? The Innotek is about $60 cheaper.

ADMIN – Hi Jordy, the PetSafe Wireless will not be a great choice for two large dogs. With their sizes I’d recommend going with the PetSafe Stubborn fence for reliability and appropriate correction strength.

Jayde Rickers December 13, 2012 at 10:00 pm

Hi, we have a Pitbull, Dozer, who is about 70-80 pounds. We moved to a new town, and had to leave him at my mother-in-laws until we could get a house. We have just bought a house, and want to bring him home. We have a fairly big fenced in backyard, but even though the fence is 6 feet tall, were worried about him getting out. We want to put an invisible fence right around the inside of the fence to prevent him from digging out underneath or jumping over. What fence do you recommend?

ADMIN – Hi Jayde, the PetSafe Ultrasmart In ground Fence PIG00-13619 is a great fit for your Pitbull. You’ll have great success combining the dog fence with your natural fence. I’d recommend looking at our Planning/layouts page found under our Dog Fence Installation menu tab for backyard only layout solutions as well as solutions for any installation goal.

Jessica July 3, 2012 at 10:32 am

Hi, We have almost two acres and our house is in the middle of the property. We have an 80 lb. German Shepherd who is pretty good about our boundary lines, but we would like to put in an underground fence for added assurance. Most of our neighboring houses also have underground fences for their dogs and we want to make sure our dog will stay on our property off leash. The previous owners had an underground fence at this property, but we do not know where the lines were installed and we will be putting in a new fence. What would you recommend for our dog and do you think the previous run line will cause any complications? Also, her best buddy is a miniature schnauzer who is about 18 lbs. Would the recommended fence change or could just a different collar be purchased for the schnauzer (and which one)? Thanks!

Admin- Hi Jessica,

1) A great system for your German Shepherd and Miniature Schnauzer will be the PetSafePIG0013619. The system offers a slim fitting rechargeable collar with a build in lithium battery that takes about 2-hours to charge.
2) You will be able to use the same style of collar for each dog. However, the PetSafe system does not offer independent correction levels. Since there is a weight difference between the two, the training will start out on the lower setting but if you need to raise the correction amount for the larger dog and not the smaller dog. You could apply some resistors to the smaller dogs collar. Once applied to the collar, the resistors will reduce the correction about my 50% to 75%.
3) The old boundary wires already in-ground will not effective a new installed system.

Roylene Stinson June 20, 2012 at 10:07 pm

I have two dogs, a Pekingese and a Japanese Chin that are pretty much right at 12 lbs. I also have a new tiny Yorkie that is about 2 lbs. My Pekingese bolts from the house if she ever gets through the door before we can stop her. Then we spend who knows how long trying to chase her down. The Chin will bolt a little too, but will come back within a short time. Currently, we have lightweight cable ties that we have to carry each dog out individually and clip them to their ties then go back out after a bit and carry then back in the house. The Yorkie doesn’t really ever leave my side and has never run off, so probably don’t have to really consider him in the mix. We live in town on a reasonably sized lot. Not real large but not super small either. I really don’t want to have to mow around a fence and do not really like the looks of one for my older house that has some character to it. What would you suggest, and do these fences really work for bolting dogs??? Thanks.

ADMIN – Hi Roylene, Yes, these do work for bolting dogs. The key is good training with proper correction strength. Most think more static correction is the answer when training is the issue. For your 12 lb Pekingese and a Japanese Chin I would recommend the PetSafe Little Dog fence. The collars are smaller in size and correction strength for 12 lb dogs. Plus, it will be easy to add your Yorkie into the mix in the future if necessary. The fence comes with 500 feet of wire which is cover up to 1/3 of an acre. Adding an additional 500 feet will cover up to 1 acre.

Amanda April 11, 2012 at 12:22 am

I have a 85 Pound Weimaraner,a 65 pound lab mix, and an 11 pound Jack Russell. What do I do for an electric fence? I just bought a house on 5.5 acres.

ADMIN – Hi Amanda,

The PetSafe Stubborn, Petsafe Deluxe, and PetSafe Little Dog would be a good choice. What is attractive about these systems, is that you can mix and match the collars, so each dog can have a collar appropriate for their size and breed.

The cheapest way to do it would be to purchase a PetSafe Stubborn system, and use Stubborn collars for the Labrador and the Weimaraner. (Note, the dogs don’t require a collar that strong, so keep the correction level set to the lower levels.) For the smaller Jack Russell, I would use the smaller, PetSafe Little Dog.

Amandah Sinclaire January 28, 2012 at 5:39 pm

I Have 2 Shi Tzus weighing about 18-20 lbs. I would like to install a fairly small underground electric fence in my front yard. The dogs have lots of hair which I guess we could shave an area. I don’t like the collars that weigh heavy. what system would you suggest?

ADMIN – Hi Amandah,

If you want a small collar two good choices for 18 lb dogs would be the PetSafe Little Dog and the Innotek IUC-4100. The PetSafe is the smaller collar, about the size of a box of matches turned on it’s side, and weighing about 2 ounces. The disadvantage of that collar is that it uses a proprietary battery. The Innotek IUC-4100 is about double that size, but is a rechargeable battery. Both collars would work well with dogs in that size range.

FYI – You don’t need to shave their hair (and shouldn’t – the hair helps cushion the collar and keep it from chafing the skin). You can just thin out the hair a little with scissors.

Rob M November 24, 2011 at 11:27 am

Hi, Should the size of your yard help determine what kind of system you would recommend? I have a small plot ~1/4 acre with neighbors 12′ to each side. However, the backyard borders an open space that I’d like the dog to roam. Thanks!

ADMIN – Hi Rob,
Unless you wanted to fence over 25 acres, the size of your yard wouldn’t be a good determining factor. We usually look at weight and temperament of your dog first when making a recommendation. Most fences come with 500 feet of wire which is enough to cover up to 1/3 of an acre. If you want to create the U shape so you’re dog can roam out the back of your yard, the only way you can accomplish this is with a double loop. Lakefront option two is the layout you’ll want to use. This layout is illustrated on our Planning/Layouts Page located under the Dog Fence Installation heading on the menu bar. The downside is that you’ll need double the wire and you’ll need the space to separate the long narrow loop by at least 4 to 6 feet.

Denice September 6, 2011 at 10:22 am

I have a rowdy, wandering Golden Retriever (70 lbs) and a Toy Poodle (9 lbs). We intend to add a second Golden Retriever (a puppy) after the fence is in. I was considering the SportDog SDF100-A because my dog has successfully discarded expensive bark collars in the past and I liked that it says the collar is “built like a tank” (although I’m not crazy about the fact that it is bulky). I have just under 3/4 acre, so my place isn’t big, and there are no ponds, etc., just a watering trough for the cow… What system do you suggest?

ADMIN – Hi Denice,

If you think the collar is going to take a bit a beating, the SportDog SDF-100A would be a good choice. The collar is big, but would not be a cause for concern on even a small Golden Retriever. For the Toy Poodle, add a PetSafe Little Dog collar – it is compatible with the SportDog and is much smaller and lighter collar.

Rick August 21, 2011 at 11:27 pm

We have two Lhasa-poos (sp?) that are expected to be 10-14lbs (right now, they are 10lbs and 7lbs). We’re looking at simple, backyard installation where the dogs come in-and-out the back door. I’ve read through your site and gotten all kinds of good information, but I may have confused myself to the point that I am unsure which system we need. Please un-confuse me. Thank you!

ADMIN – Hi Rick,

For two small dog of that size, I would get the PetSafe Little Dog system. The collars on the PetSafe Little Dog are about half the size or regular collars, and particularly for the smaller of the two dogs, the only collar that is likely to be comfortable on the dog’s neck.

Ryan July 8, 2011 at 12:42 pm

I have a 2 year old Boxer what is 42 pounds. I have a fence in the back yard that she keeps managing to get out of. It is a splitrail fence and I have a mesh wire going all the way around (and secured to the ground). My wife wants to get rid of her because of frustration of getting her back once she gets out. I would like to put an electric fence along the back yard fence to try to keep her in. Which system do you recommend?

ADMIN – Hi Ryan,

For a Boxer the Innotek IUC-4100 would be a good choice (smaller collar, rechargeable) as would the PetSafe Stubborn Dog Fence (bigger collar & non-rechargeable, but cheaper)

With a fence in place, I would just zip tie the dog fence wire to the rails or weave it through the mesh – that way you can get straight into training. With a boxer, I would not anticipate any problems.

Jeani July 7, 2011 at 1:53 pm

Hi, I see it’s been some time since anyone has posted, so here’s to hoping I get a reply 🙂 First off, I love the info available on this site! This is by far the most informative site I’ve found, and I didn’t have to “join the club” or give you my CC info! Thanks for that!

I have a bit of a unique situation. I have two miniature dachshunds. The older one is very well behaved, almost never leaves the yard and if he does he immediately comes when called. The younger one (6 yrs) not so much. He must be on a leash or will charge out after every cat, squirrel, deer, cow etc. I have recently purchased a new home on about 2 acres and was thrilled to finally have room for my dogs to roam, George however still takes off into the woods after,..everything. I have an ornamental fence up both sides of our deep lot, but it is really more suitable for containing horses, not small dogs.

Now,.the real issue. Someone has dumped a lab/Shepherd/chow ?? mix in our neighbor hood. I think he’s probably 8-12 mo old and has been abused. I have fallen in love with this dog and want to keep him. He likes to roam and collect things from the neighbors,.like shoes, new papers, kids toys. Every morning there are new gifts waiting for me on my front lawn. I need a fence, as my neighbors will only be kind about this for so long 🙂

SO,.I need a fence that will work with both the 10lb dogs and this 50lb (?) dog. I think I need 1200-1500 ft of wire. I would love a rechargeable collar, however, how do you keep an outside dog in the yard while the collar is charging? Having several collars to switch out appears a bit pricey. I am also concerned about training this new dog. He obviously has had no training and is still afraid of my husband. It took me 2 weeks to even get a collar on him and he is afraid of the leash and just rolls over on his back and pee’s on himself when I try to put it on him. He has never offered to be aggressive, just very scared. I’m just a little concerned about how to go about training him. I hate to send this dog to the pound to be put down. He really is a sweet dog, just needs some love, and patience.

So which system? Different collars for different dogs? Thanks again for all the info! Jeani

ADMIN – Hi Jeani,

With that much different in size, the PetSafe systems are preferable because they allow you to use a mix of collars so each dog gets a collar appropriate for them. I would use a PetSafe Stubborn system and use the bundled PetSafe Stubborn collar with the mix. For the dachshund, use a smaller PetSafe Little Dog collar if they are under 12lbs, and the PetSafe Deluxe collar if they are over 12lbs.

The PetSafe Stubborn uses a disposable 9V battery, you can effectively make this rechargeable if you get a regular rechargeable 9V battery from your local Radio Shack or Wal-Mart. The PetSafe Little Dog and Deluxe do not take a rechargeable battery, they use a PetSafe proprietary battery.

The rechargeable systems aren’t a good fit for situations where the smaller dog is under 12lbs because the collar is a little bigger. In answer to you question about recharging – the better rechargeable systems like the Innotek IUC-4100 only take around 2 hours to recharge the collars and you only need to do it about once a month so you can usually recharge the collars at night when the dogs come in at the end of the day.

Kathy April 27, 2011 at 10:42 am

I have a 6 month old miniature schnuazer who weighs 10 lbs right now. I’m sure she will gain a few more before she’s full grown. Should I get the 4100 or Petsafe for little dogs?

ADMIN – Hi Kathy,

Start with the Innotek because it is a little better and has a rechargeable battery so will end up being a lot cheaper. Place the collar on the dog for a day or two and see if they are comfortable. If there are any problems, we can exchange it for the PetSafe.

Caroline April 12, 2011 at 8:33 pm

I’ve got giant schnauzer (100 lbs) that is very stubborn and strong. He damages our garden and we want to stop him but also we don’t want to hurt him. The area around the house is fenced. There is a pond in the garden and our dogs loves to swim there so the collar should be waterproof. What kind of system would you advise?

Admin- Hi Caroline,

A great system for your Schnauzer will be the PetSafe Stubborn Dog. You will be able to adjust the correction levels to fit your Schnauzer needs. The Stubborn Dog collar is fully waterproof and will not pose an issue with the dog swimming. Just note, that with good training your dog should not be receiving a lot of correction because he should not be testing the boundaries.

Mark April 11, 2011 at 8:49 pm

I have 2 dogs a Lab mix (60lbs) and a beagle (32lbs). The lab i raised from a pup, we don’t use a leash with him. The Beagle we recently acquired, needs to be on a leash, A Have about 3/4 of an acre to fence in. What would be the best system?

ADMIN – Hi Mark,

With that much difference in size between the two dogs, I would want a system that allows you to set the correction level of each dog independently. A good choice would be the PetSafe Deluxe. For something a little cheaper but with a bigger collar, the PetSafe Stubborn would work well (just keep it on the lower correction levels. For something a little more expensive but rechargeable, the Dogtra EF-3000 would be a good choice.

Mike March 15, 2011 at 6:43 pm

I have a mixed breed, but she looks to have a lot of Pit Bull Terrier in her. We are considering buying a home and the neighbor has a fence like the ones you describe. I am wondering if my less-than-intelligent pal would ignore the collar to go after a neighbor dog. At 62 lbs, what would you recommend?


Admin- Hi Mike,

In order to lay the wire next to your neighbors, either you or your neighbor will need a fence system that can give you multiple frequency options. The reason is when two in-ground systems are too close together, the signals each system sends out interfere with each other, creating dead spots where there is no signal. If there is interference, you will notice that the correction collar works on most of your property, but not on the parts where interference exists. You can have Interference with your neighbor’s system if there is not at least 15 feet of separation between your respective boundaries. Before recommending a fence to you, do you know what brand of dog fence your neighbor has?

You should not have a problem. The key with your PitBull Terrier is going to be in the training. A dog that runs through a boundary either isn’t trained properly, has an incorrectly fitted collar, or inappropriate correction level.

Michelle March 9, 2011 at 12:35 pm

I have a Great Dane an English Mastiff and a German Shepherd will the SportDog system manage the three of them? I want to enclose approximately 3 acres to start but would like to add on later, is that possible and can you have some of the wire underground and some on a fence?

ADMIN – Hi Michelle,

Yes, the SportDog will manage your Great Dane an English Mastiff and a German Shepherd very well. However, I would recommend the PetSafe Stubborn fence. The collars on the SportDog and Stubborn Dog are identical and offer the same correction levels. And since you need to only cover 3 acres, the Stubborn Dog transmitter is a better fit. However, if you plan to expand greater than 10 acres, then you’ll want to go with the SportDog SDF 100A.

Yes, you can expand your fence as you like to create a larger boundary area. It’s quite common to have some of the wire on a fence and some buried.

jack t December 23, 2010 at 12:27 pm

Can a system be attached to a chain link fence?

ADMIN – Hi Jack,

Yes, you can attach the boundary wire to a chain link fence without any issue.

Dolly F December 14, 2010 at 6:04 pm

We have a small but burly Lancashire Heeler (read “terrier”) who is right in the middle between 12 and 15 lbs. I am very tempted on the Innotek IUC 4100 because of your recommendations, but don’t know if the collar will work with the dog. He’s a short legged little beasty. Is there a significant size difference between the Petsafe little dog collar and the Innotek?

ADMIN – Hi Dolly,

When you are on the border, I would start with the 4100. Put the collar on the dog and let him romp around for a few hours and make sure he is comfortable. If he is not, we are happy to swap it out for a PetSafe.

The PetSafe collar is about half the size, but the batteries are pricey and if you have a dog over 12lbs, you should be able to get a comfortable fit with the Innotek.

Nancy C November 24, 2010 at 3:38 pm

We have a built-in swimming pool that our lab considers hers – she lives in it in the summer. I am considering the Innotec 4100 – can the collar be worn while swimming? If so, how much “swimming while wearing” use can it take? She swims for a while then gets out and romps then jumps back in in a flash.

ADMIN – Hi Nancy,

The Innotek 4100 collars are completely waterproof, so the labrador should be able to jump in and out of the water as they please.

Kim November 14, 2010 at 1:14 pm

I am looking for an inground system to contain a German Shepherd and Dachshund(11 pounds). After reading many of these question I am still confused which system would be the best. I have also heard the SportsDog system has the best wire(our ground is very rocky, and I will need something to stand up to it). I will be containing between 3-4 acres of yard. Any insight you could offer will be greatly appreciated.

ADMIN – Hi Kim,

With a big different in size like you have with the Dachshund and the GSD, I would use a PetSafe or SportDog system because you can mix-and-match collars. Get the cheaper SportDog SDF-100 system and use the included SportDog collar for the GSD. Then get an extra PetSafe Little Dog Collar for the Dachshund. That SportDog system will come with 1,000 feet of wire, and you will probably need another 1,000 feet for the 3-4 acres. You can upgrade the wire to the thicker 18 gauge if you are concerned about the tough conditions – but I am not sure that you will need it.

Misty November 2, 2010 at 10:58 am

I have a 4.5 lb Maltese that still runs everytime the kids open the front door and can run 10 blocks without slowing down. Is there a system you would recommend for such a small dog that has an extremely small collar?

ADMIN – Hi Misty,

Yes, we recommend the PetSafe Little Dog for dogs under 12 lbs. You can locate the review here: http://www.dogfencediy.com/reviews/petsafe-little/

Lori Oliver October 3, 2010 at 11:02 am

I have a Redbone hound that loves to hunt. We live on about 25 acres in the country and I don’t want to have to tie him. When I let him go he takes off but eventually comes home. I’m afraid that one time he won’t come back. His instincts are so strong I’m afraid he will just jump the wire before he gets shocked. What do you think and which system would work best

ADMIN – Hi Lori,

If you plan to install around 25 acres, the SportDog SDF 100A is the fence you’ll need to consider. With proper training, a correctly fitted collar, and having it set to the appropriate correction level, you’re hound will be completely contained and safe. It’s quite impossible for him to jump the signal as well. You’ll be able to set a wide boundary. Let’s say you set it somewhere between 7 feet from the wire. That means your hound will not be able to get closer than 7 feet to the wire. Also, the signal is 7 feet up into the air, which means he’d have to jump higher than 8 feet in the air to clear it. Plus, the signal is also 7 feet on the other side of the wire, so the total width of the boundary is actually 14 feet wide. So, if you make sure you do the 3 things I recommended (good training, fitted collar, correct correction level), you’re hound will do great on this fence.

As a side note, you can choose to run the wire above ground through wooded areas and simply bury it close to the home. This makes installation easier.

Nancy C April 4, 2010 at 7:59 pm

I am considering an inground fence system and would like your suggestion as to which to purchase. I have a 14 month old lab who is 95 pounds (trying to get her down to 85 pounds) and a 10 week old lab puppy whose parents ranged between 55 and 70 pounds. We obviously would not consider using a collar on the pup until at least 6 months (and could wait until 1 year). Also, we have an inground pool so the collar needs to be waterproof. I like the Innotec 4100, but I am concerned with possible weight difference on the two dogs.

ADMIN – Hi Nancy,

Hi Nancy,

The Innotek IUC-4100 would be a good choice. Because they are the same breed, and they are both labs so are going to be pretty easy to train and I think they are likely to need the same correction level. (medium on the Innotek 4100) If you did want something with independent correction levels, the SportDog or the PetSafe Stubborn would be good choices. All three systems I just mentioned are waterproof.

Joe Carey April 4, 2010 at 2:04 pm

I saw a website for hidden fence and they were promoting Pet Stop UltraElite Receiver and Pet Stop products. I didn’t see a review for their products. Any information on this system?

ADMIN – Hi Joe,

Pet Stop is a full service installation company owned by Perimeter Technologies. The systems they sell look very similar to the Perimeter Technologies self-installation systems, but I have never seen them in person and don’t know if the functionality is any different.

mike February 25, 2010 at 9:33 pm

Will my old Petsafe collars work on the sport dog100 system? If not do they make collars for small dogs with that system?

ADMIN – Hi Mike,

Do you know what PetSafe collar you have? All the current Petsafe inground collars work with the Sportdog sdf-100 (and vice-versa)

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