Finding a Break

Finding and Fixing a Wire Break

Every now and then you will get a break in the wire for your dog fence.  You will know this because the system will stop working and the transmitter box will sound an alarm or display an error light.  Here are two methods for finding the break, starting with the easiest method.

Need to fix your break now? Check out our Dog Fence Wire Break Kit.

Finding a Break by Visual Inspection

The most common cause of breaks is someone running an edger, aerator or other digging device across the wire.  These breaks can usually be found by walking along where the wire runs and looking for spots where there has been recent digging.

Also check the connections between the wire and the transmitter as well as all the wire joints as these are common break locations.

Finding a Break using an RF Choke with an Innotek Dog Fence

First, buy a 100 µH RF Choke. You can usually find these at an electronics supply store.  You will also need an AM radio tuned to anywhere between 60 and 600. It just needs to be clean static.

Now, go to the dog fence transmitter box and disconnect the two wire leads where they connect to the transmitter.  In place of each wire lead, connect one end of the RF Choke.  Now turn up the transmitter signal strength to full.  The transmitter box should now be showing that there is no break in the signal.  Next take the two wire leads and wind the insulated section around the each of the legs of the RF choke with the uninsulated end touching the leg of the RF choke.  (Note if the legs of the RF choke are too short, lengthen them with some wire.

Get the radio and walk along the path of the wire.  You should hear a throbbing noise where the wire is intact and an absence where the break is located.

Note: This method works with Innotek systems. PetSafe or SportDog in-ground systems require the PetSafe Boundary Wire Break Locator to find wire breaks.

Fixing the Break

Once you have found the break, strip a half inch of insulation off each side of the broken wire and then use a weatherproof wire nut to connect the two sides.  If the break is large, you may need to splice in some extra wire so that the two sides can meet.

Dog Fence Wire Break Kit

Our Dog Fence Wire Break Kit is designed to include everything you need to find and repair wire breaks. The kit comes with a couple of feet of 20-gauge boundary wire, 1 RF Choke, 2 Waterproof Gel Capsules, 2 Wire Nuts, and full Instructions.

When you purchase your inground system from Dog Fence DIY you receive the Wire Break Locator and Repair Kit FREE. We certainly hope you never have to use your wire break kit, but breaks do happen and we want you to be prepared with our Dog Fence DIY Wire Break Kit.


  1. steve says:

    my problem is I have 2 flashing green lights on my receiver I cannot get to go out what is causing this I have a W-227 system thanks

    ADMIN – Hi Steve. That is not a system that we currently sell or have ever sold so we do not have any information on troubleshooting that system. I would recommend contacting the manufacturer for that system. They should be able to help you out.

  2. Shelley says:

    A crew recently edged flower beds and cut the dog fence wire in 3 different places. They used electricians tape for the splicing. I offered to get wire nuts, but the foreman said that the tape would work. I am concerned that the splice will eventually leak, as the tape will likely degrade or lose adhesion.

    Also, one of the breaches was in the double-twisted wire that leads from the transmitter to the boundary wire. He spliced it with some extra twisted wire. When I tested the collar, I noticed that it continues to shock after I pull it back within the boundary. If I continue across the boundary, it stops, which is the exact opposite of what it’s supposed to do. (We have the Invisible Fence that continues to correct beyond the boundary.) Is there some sort of polarity in the double-twisted wire? If he lined up the splice the wrong way, would it cause this error?

    If so, should I ask the landscaper to come back and re-do the twisted wire splice, or should I hire a professional? I am also wondering if I should insist the landscaper replace the tape with wire nuts.

    Any help would be appreciated. Thank you.

    ADMIN – HI Shelley. We would recommend replacing the electrical tape with wire nuts and a waterproof gel-filled splice cap. This is usually the most secure way to create your splices.
    From what you are describing with the correction, it sounds as if your wires may need to be flipped in the transmitter. Try flipping your wires in the terminals and test your loop again. When the wires are backwards, or in your case, the twisted wire splice probably reversed the signals coming in from left and right, this causes the extended correction to be on the INSIDE of the loop instead of the outside.

  3. dilek says:

    I started my Sport Dog invisible fence in a shorter area, but now I expanded thru the whole 6 acre perimeter.
    I also extended the twisted wire to the corner coming from the electric shed in the middle of the property.
    I am getting Loop break, ran short wire and no problem
    I am walking thru the line manually and finding some small nicks I think happened because the wire got burried under the hugely growing weeds, now i put the wire attached to the fence I have (only maybe 90%) fenced. Sport Dog guys told me instead of splicing to fix the visible copper wire nicks (they are so small), I can put electric tape which is easier, because otherwise I will have so many splice
    Is that possible? little nicks that show copper wire visible would cause signal (transmitter alarming and no loop light on) breakage?

    ADMIN – Hi Dilek. Yes, that is possible that smaller nicks on the line would produce a wire break alarm.

  4. Brenda says:

    I have a 300-210/PG-1010 Guardian Underground Fence. It has worked for a couple years, no problem. All of a sudden, the base transmitter loop light randomly goes off and on. There is no alarm that notifies me of this, leaving me unaware there is a problem. My babies will go wandering to the neighbors and I’m afraid they will go to the highway. I have checked it with the loop test and it works fine. There are no splices in the wire since I ran a new one all the way around. I thought it may be the transmitter and bought a new one. The new transmitter does the same thing. I can adjust the Boundary width and sometimes it works fine by increasing to a number higher but only works for a while may be a day, may be 20 minutes, never consistent. Have tried just unplugging the terminal wires or the power cord sometimes it may help for a few minutes. I do not have a broken wire detector, but the wire is new. This has just got on my last nerve. Please help.

    ADMIN – Hi Brenda. The only thing that we can think of is that something newly introduced into the containment area or near the transmitter or wire that may be causing interference or a mixed signal. You may want to move your transmitter to a different location to see if that helps. I would also recommend calling the manufacturer to see if they have some helpful tips concerning their product. As we do not sell that fence, we have limited information on them.

  5. Karen Lehman says:

    I have an invisible fence and accidentally chopped through the wires planting shrubs. The installation was very sloppy and did not install the wire on the exact perimeter where it makes sense but cut across curving arcs in the yard without warning. I want to dig up the wire and move it to the outer edge to avoid future difficulty but I can’t figure out how to locate where the wire is to dig up…any tips or tool recommendations?

    ADMIN – Hi Karen. There is not an easy way to check the location of the wire if the wire is not currently carrying a signal. However, you can detach the wire from the transmitter and just run new wire in the layout that you want. The unused wire should not pose a problem to the signal with the new layout.

  6. Craig says:

    I bought the choke and tied in 1 wire. Worked like a charm!! Found 1 break and I spot that was caroded and causing major resistance. Thank you!

    ADMIN – Thank you for letting us know of your success!

  7. Jim B. says:

    We’ve had an electric dog fence for 7 years (that we installed ourselves). Due to an aerating lawn job I shouldn’t had done, I had to replace the wire 2 years ago (this time we rented a trencher machine to make sure the wire was installed deeper). Anyhow, the system and wire have worked fine until recently. Now the collar seems to beep randomly when inside the fence area. I checked the wire and there is no breaks (wire resistance is ~1.9 ohms for a 0.6 acre lot). Nothing else has changed in the area with the neighbors and I even bought another system which had the same problem. Any ideas? Also, I didn’t check this before, but I thought it was strange that I measure a constant 0.6 volts DC on the fence wire to ground (with the wire disconnected from the unit).

    ADMIN – Hi Jim. How many splices do you have in your perimeter loop? Also, we recommend burying the Boundary Wire 1-3 inches in the ground.

  8. Kathy says:

    Bought house that had fence installed using 14 gage wire in late 1990’s. Worked then not used last 5 years as house unoccupied. Transmitter (Invisible Fence 700) tests fine, but indicates break.
    What is typically longevity of wire in ground? Have identified insulation weed wacked off twisted pair where leaves building to go underground, then break a few feet later…wondering if passed expected lifespan & should just replace or if worth it to keep looking/fixing breaks?

    ADMIN – Hi Kathy. Wow! That wire is over 10 years old! We recommend replacing all of the wire with new 14 gauge Twisted Wire and new 14 gauge Boundary Wire. 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.

  9. Ed Aubin says:

    I have a pet safe model pig00-10777 with 700′ of 18 ga copper sprinkler wire. It has been only in for a little over a month. I have 2 splices with heat shrink kits. The problem has just began a few days ago. The transmitter shows power light & loop light on but no output I reset the power & seems to work til the next day. I notice if I keep on “b” setting & keep boundary setting below 5 it works if I tun up over 7 it automatically stops the output even though both lights are still on. I did short loop test & it works except when turn to 10 I get nothing with both lights on. Although the test says to try on A or C setting & it works on A but when I put on C within 10 seconds it sounds alarm. I also did ohm test & is 4.3 ohms. Please let me know what to do next.

    ADMIN – Hi Ed. We do not recommend using “sprinkler wire.” Also, we do not recommend using “Heat Shrink Kits.” Please visit the DIY store and consider removing the “sprinkler wire” and “heat shrink kits” and installing the approved 18 gauge Boundary Wire on our website. NOTE: Do not mix “sprinker wire” and the DogFenceDIY Boundary Wire together on your perimeter loop. The electric dog fence will not work correctly.

  10. Jason says:

    I have a petsafe RFA-347 system and it had been beeping with a non-lit loop light for some time. I could unplug the system and it would run fine for a while, maybe a few hours, maybe a few days, then start beeping again. I know there were two splices in the line from when my driveway was redone, However yesterday just for piece of mind I pulled up the old line and completely reran and replaced about 450 feet of line. There are no splices, its a band new line, and its all once piece freshly buried. It worked fine yesterday. Today its raining and my transmitter is beeping again with no light on the loop indicator. Is my transmitter bad?

    ADMIN – Hi Jason. Where did you purchase the Petsafe RFA-347 Stubborn Electric Dog Fence (PIG00-10777)? Do you have your receipt? The Stubborn dog fence system comes with a 1 year warranty. It sounds like the transmitter needs to be replaced.

  11. Carley says:

    Hi I am hoping you can help me
    We have an innotek SD2100 pet fence system it stopped working last night
    The collar is fully charged, there are no breaks in the wire, the system says all ok and yet still the collar isn’t working

    Do you have any suggestions what the issue may be???

    ADMIN – Hi Carley. When did you purchase the Innotek SD2100 electric dog fence system? If the collar is fully charged and there are no breaks in the perimeter loop you may have a defective collar. Do you have another collar that you can test with the electric dog fence system?

  12. Birgit says:

    Hi there… We inherited an old Dog Guard invisible fence system with our current home. Last year, after a nearby lightening strike, the main control panel “fried.” Do you know if I can just replace the main “control,” hook it up, and purchase a compatible collar?
    Any advice would be appreciated.

    ADMIN – Hi Birgit. Yes. You can keep your existing dog fence wire (if there are not wire breaks in the perimeter loop) and upgrade your transmitter and collar to a new dog fence system. Simply, unplug the old transmitter, connect the new transmitter, and test the collar with the Test Light Tool on your new electric dog fence system. What is the age, weight, breed, and temperament of your dog(s)?

  13. Brian Touse says:

    This method worked great! I have a PetSafe stubborn dog system and it still worked despite part of this article saying it wouldn’t and I had about 800′ feet of wire buried. Love that a $1.50 part for the RF block and a few more dollars for a watertight wire nut is all it took to repair it!

    ADMIN – Hi Brian. Thanks for sharing your success story with your wire break repair! Please feel free to post a “Customer Testimonial” on the DogFenceDIY Blog page.

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